Tag Archives: post office

Another Day, Another Story, and a Razor

A few days ago we had an email from a customer telling us that his parcel had not arrived. He had ordered on 5th December and, after being patient, had decided to write. There was just one problem – the Royal Mail rack and Trace service showed that his parcel had been delivered, and paid for, on 7th December. I wrote and told him this, politely but firmly, and suggested he asked other people in the house, or his neighbours, if they had accepted it on his behalf. We have several of these every month. They take up time, they sometimes involve argument, but eBay finds in our favour because if there is a signature they consider we have done our duty. I didn’t cover this in my moaning as I considered it settled.

We heard nothing for a couple of days, and today had a reply. He now concedes that he has had the parcel but claims one of the items is missing.

This is not very credible. Even without the first email it would seem unlikely, but allied to the first one, it’s looking like a definite attempt at fraud.

We know the weights of the three items and we know the weight of the package, because the Pot Office, thoughtfully, prints the weight on the receipt. A bit of simple maths leads to the conclusion that all three items were in the parcel when it was posted, and as there was no complaint at the time, it would seem likely that three arrived. Then there is the postage method – we used Guaranteed because of the value of the three items. If there had just been two we would have used Signed For postage. All of this points to one conclusion – he got the parcel, he got the three items and he is not being completely truthful.

There may be another explanation, a confused elderly gent, a larcenous neighbour or a rogue postman, but the simplest solution is usually the best. This is what has come down to us as “Occam’s Razor“, even though it seems to have little to do with Occam.

Looking forward to Spring

Day 129

During the day I think of interesting things to talk about. During the evening, as I sit and watch TV, all my enthusiasm and knowledge seems to leak away. It happened tonight. I watched a programme about antiques, another which featured a fish & chip competition, one about auctions, one about gold-mining in Australia (it was cold and snowy in Victoria, which looked more like Canada), and a news quiz.

Next thing I knew, it was 1.30am and I had just woken up in my chair. I now have a headache and no desire to sleep. This is an unwanted state of affairs.

And I have clean forgotten what I intended to write.

Tomorrow I will blog as soon as I get home and try to make it more interesting.

We had a note from the man who was faced with a £1.50 penalty from the Post Office. The letter is properly stamped, with £3.05 of stamps. We know it is in the correct weight range, because we have other similar items and have check weighed them. It’s a mystery.

I have now dead-headed 57 Spanish poppy blooms and two Welsh poppies. This impressive, considering they are neglected ands growing from cracks between paving slabs.

I counted my poetry submissions last night. I have had about 80 poems published ( have mislaid an old list so am relying on memory for a few of these). It was just idle curiosity, bit now I know, I keep thinking about the magic 100. It’s not an important figure, just a convenient round figure, and it’s stuck in my head. I should be able to reach it by the end of the year, even though I know quantity and quality are two different things.

Cold Day at Work

We don’t have heating at work. Well, we do, but we don’t have any in the room I use. The front has a so-called air-conditioning system, which blows warm air in summer and then in winter blows out warm air. I suspect that the air is the same temperature when it emerges, but feels either slightly cold or slightly warm according to the room temperature.

In the back room we have an oil-filled radiator, but that is set to stop the back room becoming damp rather than make life more bearable for the downtrodden staff.

Fortunately, I had enough sense to dress in four layers this morning, which became five layers when I added a fleece to the ensemble. I also had a coat with me, but didn’t need that. There is, as they say, no such thing as bad weather (even inside!), just inappropriate clothing.

You can tell we’ve been having a cold snap because there is ice in some of the nooks and crannies of the car that has been there since the beginning of the week. When I started the car this evening at 5.00 it was already below freezing, and I’m not sure if it had been much above that all day.

The day wasn’t too bad, but as usual on Friday, a couple of people decided to order just as I was going to the Post Office. The PO shuts at 4.30 and doesn’t open again until Monday, so I always try to get last-minute orders in the post. This does not stop me cursing the people who order late. I post them because I am professional and because I’m being paid to do it.  I swear while I’m rushing to pack the parcels because I’m a miserable old git and am not a nice person.

After wiping down my work station (as I call the cluttered piece of board where I work, somebody rang me about “rare coins”. So I had to clean the phone again. Typical of my day.

At least the heated seats offered some comfort on the way home.

A Man Broken by the Threat of Salad

MY ankle is still a bit tender. I am having to walk slowly and carefully and concentrate on driving in order to reduce the need for use of the clutch. It’s strange how a single joint can make such a difference to your life. As I re-read that sentence, I realise what a complex language English is. It sounds like I’m confessing to cannabis use. Or I might just be talking about a piece of roasted meat, a place where electrical wires meet, ditto for water or gas pipes. I may even, if I were Raymond Chandler, use the word in relation to an establishment offering hospitality. I think that’s about it.

Why, I have to ask, do we make one word do so much when we appear to have other words, like “engative” that seem perfectly good words in search of a meaning.

Anyway, back to ankles. I went to work this morning with the intention of asking the owner to walk to the Post Office this afternoon because my ankle didn’t feel up to it. Unfortunately , he called in sick shortly after I got there as he has a cold and wants to try not to spread it. Seemed like a good idea, as I have enough problems without a cold.

I still can’t, for instance, get into my Open Learn Account, and I’m still waiting for Julia’s Christmas presents to arrive. It’s not serious, but it is irritating. IT’s also irritating when you limp across to the Post Office and find a note on the door saying “Back in Five Minutes”. They weren’t. We all, when running shops on our own, have to do things like use the toilet, so we stick signs on the door. I appreciate that. I do however think that a proper note should say when you will be back. We waited in the rain for longer than five minutes (I had no choice – we need to get the parcels off as the Post Office no longer opens on Saturdays). As soon as the door was opened I charged in, making sure nobody could get past me. It’s a good thing I did, because having handed over my three parcels I noted there were eight people in the queue behind me. Eight!

I slowed down as I walked back as knee and ankle started to protest and on the second part of the crossing – the bit with the slope and adverse camber – I was so slow that the lights changed while I was still crossing. I really am going to have to address the weight question and relieve some pressure on my joints. I suppose a future full of salad beckons…

Compared to getting run over, I suppose salad isn’t too bad.

The tranquil pond is meant to calm my panic at the thought of a lifetime of salad. Tranquil stained glass – ditto.

Stained Glass from Ely


Just a short post as I need to get to bed early – it’s flu vaccination day tomorrow, one of the biggest days in my social calendar. If it goes as well as my visit to the pharmacy today – a forty minute queue outside in a cold wind – it will probably cause more flu than it cures.

When I went to the Post office this afternoon I wasn’t able to send any post out because the computer system was down. There is, it seems, no manual system for sending post. There was a reasonably well-developed postal system in the seventeenth century, which they managed without computers and still found time to persecute witches and cultivate religious bigotry.

If I had time I would have a really good rant, particularly on the subject of pharmacy staff who don’t wear masks, but time, as I said, is short.

I seem to have been asleep most of the evening.

We had a couple of frustrating orders today – one where we’d got the postage wrong and faced a loss of £18 on the transaction and one where we seem to have sold the item through the shop and forgotten to remove it from eBay.

We bought a few lots in – mixed coins and a pair of First World War medals – sold a few bits, saw one regular customer and had to ask several people to put masks on.

I just need eighteen words and some photos and I will have done enough to meet the 250 word target – oh, I just did.

See you tomorrow with more ranting…

Sorry – Not the Post I Promised

I haven’t quite written the post about the Gibraltar £20 coin I promised yesterday as it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated. Instead, I’m going to ramble on a bit and, having fulfilled my self-imposed requirement to post every day, I’m going to slink away.

The morning was quite bright and pleasant, and we had quite a few parcels to do. The proprietor had been in on Sunday to pack some, which made life easier, though we still  had nine parcels to pack, including several with multiple contents.

One of the orders came with a set of packing instructions. I hate it when people do that. Do they really think we aren’t going to pack things properly? I often think of writing back to point out that I’m grateful for their note as the idea of proper packing had never occurred to me…

At the Post Office someone drew up in his Mercedes and parked so close to the shop that he nearly blocked the door. I deduced a number of things from this, including that he probably had parcels to post. So I put a spurt on, got to the door before him and ensured he couldn’t get past me before I got to the counter.

A queue quickly built up and he muttered to the next man in the line. By the time I’d finished there was a queue of seven, all muttering. Tough, I thought.  I’d rather be the one at the front being hated by everyone behind me, than the one at the back waiting. Post Offices, when you have bags of parcels, encourage a certain hardness of outlook.

We had sweet potato and peanut curry tonight, cooked by Number One Son. It was very good and I may add it to my repertoire.

Julia has bought some sprouts in batter, with Camembert dip, for our traditional Christmas Eve buffet. She said they sounded so bad she couldn’t resist trying them. I can understand that. Apparently not many other people felt the same way as there were still stacks of them left in the shop.

I’ll let you know how things go.



A Very Relaxing Day

I had my lie-in this morning and lay in bed reflecting on a pleasant evening with family the night before. Then I reflected on how much better my stomach was feeling since I’d had a couple of bottles of kefir and filled myself with several billion gut-friendly bacteria.

It seems cheap and simple to make your own. I may have a go, as it’s not cheap to buy ready made.

Then, as usual on a Saturday, I realised I was going to be late. Julia made me a jam sandwich for breakfast, which is nutritionally poor, but very pleasant despite that. I felt the need for strawberry jam  two weeks ago, and have been feeling much happier as a result.

I managed to get to the shop (several minutes late) but despite this was still the first to get his computer into action.

We had customers most of the day and plenty of parcels to send. Unfortunately, though we did our bit, the Post Office was unable to do theirs.  The closest one was closed for the day and the next one was staffed by a woman who claimed she didn’t know how to process pre-stamped parcels. She said she “didn’t unserstand all these stamps”.

I’d like to be in charge of staff training for the Post Office.

I’d also like a cattle prod. According to Google it’s legal to own a cattle prod in the UK.

We had supermarket pizza with extra vegetables, coleslaw, cous cous and Aspall’s cider for tea. Cheap, easy, lazy and very pleasant.

It’s not the sort of food that you’d want to admit to, but it was very enjoyable.

If this was a food blog I’d tell you it was artisan pizza with mixed salads and craft cider. And I’d have remembered to take a photo.




I recently had a message to congratulate me on four years with Word Press. I’ve written 1,304 posts in that time. That’s, conveniently, 326 a year. If I’d written one more, or one less, it wouldn’t have worked out so well.

The fact that I find this important probably means that I need to relax more.

As a child I used to avoid the cracks in pavements and, coming from an unpoetic family, I didn’t even know about the bears; I just didn’t step on cracks.

Anyway, any milestone is welcome as it gives me a chance to reflect and write a lazy post.

At this point I intended to start using photographs from the last few years, but the curse of WP struck my media library, again, and everything ground to a halt. They need some more details from me, including what happens when I try a different browser.

I get confused, that’s what happens.

And I can’t get into the blog because I’ve forgotten how to do it and what the password is. I have it set up on the only browser I use and I can get straight in. Changing this is an uncomfortable experience. I will have another try tomorrow.

I’m beginning to see a pattern here, and that’s not the end of it.

I’ve been trying to address letters in the manner specified by the post office. They say:

  • The name and address go on the bottom left corner of the front of the envelope or parcel.
  • Use a clear and easy to read hand writing (or font if you are printing the address).
  • Use a pen or ink that is clear against the colour of the envelope or parcel.
  • Left align the text (no centred or ‘stepped’ lines).
  • No commas or full stops.
  • Leave a generous margin around the address.
  • Place the correct postage on the top right.

Obviously we make a few changes, as you may have noticed from my photos. We tend to stick the address to the right and the “generous margin” can be a bit tight at times. I posted 70 florins overseas today. It cost £16. You try getting 30 stamps on a envelope and leaving a “generous margin”. Not going to happen.

The thing that really causes grief is the fifth one – “No commas or full stops”. I did a couple, but the need to punctuate properly made it a very uncomfortable experiment. I’m back to proper punctuation, as beaten into me fifty years ago, and it feels much better.

I’m seriously beginning to think I have to relax a bit more, step outside my comfort zone and let go of my comma fixation…