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The Royal Mail is issuing a commemorative stamp to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Anthony Trollope, who introduced free-standing postboxes to the UK in 1852 when working for the Post Office.

Born on April 24th 1815, the industrious author of the Chronicles of Barsetshire drew up lined charts divided into weeks on which he entered, day by day, the number of pages he wrote. The number varied between 20 and 112 pages a week: ‘And as a page is an ambiguous term, my page has been made to contain 250 words; and as words, if not watched, have a tendency to straggle, I have had very word counted as I went.’

A demanding job. A wife and family. Much work-related travel. Sometimes indifferent health. On top of which Trollope produced between 5,000 and 26,000 words a week. And some of us congratulate ourselves on clocking up 1,000 words a day…