ex-subpostmasters, it's sink or swim time.
Geoff Porteus' sub post office closed on April Fool's Day and the irony was not lost on him - especially as he had held the Post Office to its contract, delaying his original closure date of January by three months.
He and his wife Lyn have served the village of Anna Valley on the outskirts of Andover, Hampshire, for 30 years. They have weathered many PO storms and watched babies grow up to become adult customers in their 600-strong community. But now they feel totally let down by the former and fear that they may suffer the same fate at the hands of the latter.
"We did have 600-700 names on the petition," says Geoff, "and a lot of people wrote personal letters of protest and attended the PR exercise in the village hall from the man responsible for the closure."
Geoff and Lyn then sent a leaflet round to every door explaining that the closure was not their fault and that if they wanted to retain the store then all it would take would be a household spend of £10 a week.
Response has not been huge. "We've now lost half our income. You talk to people and say our survival is in your hands and they say 'absolutely'. They are probably genuine, but lip service is easy. Since the refit we had a few years ago which put turnover up, it has now gone down."
Obviously, the fact that
it's only a couple of miles
to several superstores doesn't help matters.
The couple are now pondering how to pander for the 40% of the villagers who are not regulars and how to encourage the 60% who are to up their ante.
It would be interesting to hear from others in this same boat who have found a new lifeline.