Birthday boy Andrew Mears didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when a card marking his 40th landmark plopped through his letterbox - nearly a month late.
What made the 27-day journey even more remarkable is the card was sent by his aunt Carol McKenna who only lives three miles away.
Andrew turned 40 on December 5 but when no card arrived from his 65-year-old aunt he knew that something must be wrong.
Andrew, of Barleyfield, Bamber Bridge, said: “I wondered why my auntie hadn’t sent a card for my big day, but I didn’t want to ask her about it in case she’d just forgotten about it.
“I thought it was really unusual though, because I’d received cards off everyone else.
“She was probably wondering why I hadn’t called to thank her too. I’m sure she was just as upset as I was.”
Carol, who lives in Walton-le-Dale, was unable to visit Andrew to give him the card personally because of a recent knee operation.
The card finally arrived on December 30, but stamp on the card indicated Carol posted it on December 3 - meaning it had taken 27 days to complete its journey.
“There’s not much point putting it up now,” he said. “I’ve put all of the others away. And it’s a bit disappointing being reminded of my birthday now that it’s passed.”
Despite his birthday being around the busy festive period, Andrew has never had these sorts of problems before, but says it was all too common in 2010.
“When England gets a bit of snow, the whole country grinds to a halt,” he said. “But my birthday was on December 5, so the weather is no excuse.
“Everyone’s busy at Christmas,” he said. “So this just isn’t acceptable.”
He also experienced problems with goods ordered online being delivered.
“I’d ordered a music CD on December 7,” he said. “I ended up buying it from a supermarket in the end though. When it finally does arrive, I’ll have to send it back again.”
Andrew was put on hold for 25 minutes when he called the Royal Mail offices to complain, and was sent a form to fill out if he wants to issue an official complaint.
The belated card won’t be the only surprise Andrew will remember about his 40th though, and his parents treated him to a weekend in a mansion in the Lake District.
They also bought him a car, which he could use to drive around Bamber Bridge next year, collecting his own birthday cards before the snow sets in.