A Kiwi woman says she's never heard of a case of snail mail quite like hers after a tablecloth she posted to Scotland returned home five months later undelivered.

Just what the handwoven tablecloth spent the intervening five months doing, Tokoroa resident Zena Munden doesn't know.

She said she earlier paid NZ Post $27 to send the parcel to Loanhead in Scotland ahead of her cousin's birthday on January 28.

It appeared to arrive at the correct Scottish address on the outskirts of Edinburgh at one point, but no-one was home to pay the approximately £18 (NZ$34) in import tax.


So the Scottish posties simply took the parcel away with them again.

The parcel appeared to also make it to London at one point, according to a postage stamp, before it was eventually sent back to Tokoroa.

"Five months and one week later it came back," Munden said.

"I mean it is incredible, isn't it."

She said she wanted to share her tale after reading the Sideswipe section in today's Herald where reader Heather Lennox also complained about delays with the post.

Lennox joked a parcel of crayons being sent to her had been held "hostage" by postal companies for 21 days after she made a purchase from an online shop.

"I see somebody else in the paper has got problems" like me, Munden, whose father was born in Scotland, said.

She said she was now considering repaying the postage fee and sending the tablecloth out on another journey.


If she is lucky, it may just arrive before her cousin's next birthday.

A spokeswoman for NZ Post said it was sympathetic to Munden, but the 18 pound import tax is a UK charge, not a New Zealand one.

"NZ Post does not control how much the UK charges for this. If no-one agrees to pay an import charge, the item is returned back to the sender, as appears to have happened in this case."