Tag Archives: Royal Mail

Butlins Veleta Competition Medallion 1954

Saturday Stretches Ahead

I fell asleep after Julia went to bed last night and woke at half past midnight. That is quite early for me, but I decided I need to become more regular in my habits so I went to bed. As usual, I had only a moderate night, but have woken feeling quite  good so am starting as I mean to go on.

After blogging I will make breakfast, make sandwiches and go to work, where I will endeavour to be hard-working, cheerful and polite. It can be a bit of a struggle at times but I will make the effort.

We have a problem with a customer . . .

How many times have you heard that? He wrote claiming he hasn’t had his coins delivered. This isn’t unusual, as Royal mail is, according to rumour, two months behind with deliveries. The difference in this case is that w have no record of his order. We wrote and told him this – it is not the first time people have become confused. He wrote back, being borderline impolite, repeating that he had ordered from us. In the wait for the reply we had actually7 found out what had happened – he had ordered using a different name. It seems that we don’t just sell coins, we have to be mind readers too. Time is money, as they say, and even if the package turns up today it’s hard to make a profit on a £7 coin sale when you have just spent £5 worth of time sorting out the stupidity of a customer.

Sorry if this falls short of “the customer is always right” but that doesn’t apply where the customer changes eBay names in the middle of a sale.

This may be the first of several posts today, as I will be working on my medallion presentation after work and will need something to help me waste even more time. Sixty hours to go, if my mental arithmetic is correct.

Cold Hands and Royal Mail – a Disappointing Day

Sorry, I have become erratic in my posting again.

However, it’s a case of swings and roundabouts and, in the matter of napping, I have become much more consistent. I suppose it all depends on whether I want to be known for my ability to write, or my ability to sleep through the boring bits on TV. The amazing thing is that I can sleep for a couple of hours in a chair, get up and start doing something. In a bed, which is supposedly designed for sleep, I can still only sleep for a couple of hours at a time, and wake up feeling like I’ve been tied in a knot.

It is, I suppose, part of the process of growing old, and I am now starting to realise the significance of my father’s words on the subject as he grew older.

I worked today, despite it being Wednesday, as the owner was due back from holiday and we wanted to ensure a seamless transition. I can have time off, or the money. If I have the time off I will end up sitting in a cold house waiting for Julia to come home, so I may as well go to work.

As I cleared the frost from the car this morning, my hands became so cold that I couldn’t get the seat belt on when I got in the car. That’s the trouble with being in a country that doesn’t have enough winter to prepare for it properly.

We have had another parcel go missing, this time a significant one. The Track and Trace system can’t tell us anymore than the fact that it’s in the hands of the Royal Mail, which is pretty useless. To be honest, the Royal Mail has been poor for a significant time now, due to the strikes. Julia posted a parcel to Canada in early November and it didn’t leave the UK until after Christmas. Since the attempted ransomware attack last week, nothing has left the country and we haven’t been able to send new parcels. We have only had two overseas parcels to post recently, so it isn’t a big deal for us. It seems they will be starting limited overseas deliveries tomorrow, but they will be very limited – letters not requiring customs stickers. That’s no use to us.

Straw Bale Bowie Bear

Colds, Customers and Time for Bed

I fell asleep in the chair again. So I’m writing in the early hours again, and having rambled on for about 600 words, have parked two unsuccessful attempts at posting. It’s late now and I have to take the decision on whether to write a post or go to bed. As I’m writing this, you can probably guess what I decided. The desire to write about my days is like a sickness. I just can’t shake it off.

I’m currently sneezing on a regular basis and my nose is running. I could expand on this, but it’s probably best that you imagine it rather than I describe it. Let’s just say that of all the drugs I need, decongestants aren’t one. I also have a sore throat and a thick head. The throat could be a sign of the new form of Covid, but I did a test yesterday before the dentist, and it was clear. This isn’t, as I found out last time, conclusive, but it’s the best I can do.

We had an email this morning from a Chinese customer demanding to know why his order had gone to japan and what we were going to do about it. Unfortunately, when communicating in a language which isn’t your first language it can appear that you are being rude, when you don’t intend it. In fact, this can be the case even when writing in your first language. First I had to waste ten minutes checking where we had sent it (we had sent it to the right address in China) and where the tracking showed it had gone (it had, as he said, gone to Japan).

Then I had to spend twenty minutes explaining simply and politely that I don’t know why his order has gone to Japan and that there is nothing I can do about it.

Customers always seem to think we have a hotline to Royal Mail to sort these things out. We don’t. Having paid the money to have it delivered we just have to sit tight and hope it makes its way to the customer before they run out of patience. At that point they can ask for their money back and eBay will give it to them and take it off us. That is my cue to write a complete post on the evils of customers, so I’d better go to bed now before I start.


Writing on Borrowed Time

It’s been a productive morning already. It’s only 9.40am as I write and I have already packed the two orders and done various jobs using the shop computer. I have bought my lottery tickets online, done most of the weekly shopping and checked how Nottingham Outlaws are doing. They could be doing better from the results point of view but the club looks to be doing OK. Unfortunately I am not able to watch them these days as I work Saturdays. It’s strange how something that was once so important can slide away into obscurity.

We saw a Jay this morning on the way to work. It dropped from a tree at the edge of the park as we drove past, and stopped to drink from a puddle. Sadly it was just a fleeting glimpse, as they are pretty birds and always a pleasure to see.I’d be shy too, if my main contact with man was murderous gamekeepers and Victorian milliners looking for ghoulish hat decorations.

In the shop the saga of the missing gold coin still dominates, though I haven’t mentioned it in the blog so far. Someone with low feedback bought a gold coin for £500 on eBay last week then decided to return it. This is always annoying, as it’s often a case of buyer’s remorse rather than an actual fault with the coin. He has actually given three reasons for the return of the coin, all of which are demonstrably false. However, we allow returns to encourage buyer confidence. and as a result we get messed about. Sometimes it’s fair enough, as we aren’t always perfect, but mostly it isn’t.

At best, we will be out of pocket for the postage cost and the bit that always seems to be missing by the time eBay sorts out the refund. It’s something to do with VAT, though I can’t tell you what as tax isn’t one of my specialist subjects.

This, however, is insignificant compared to the loss of the coin. The Royal mail claim it was delivered at 10.20 am on Saturday. It wasn’t. We were in the shop at 10.20am and we had no post. The Post office don’t know where it is, eBay says we must issue the refund now, despite not having the coin. I used to be a great fan of the Royal Mail, but recently they have been offering a very poor service, whilst maintaining high prices and regular increases in the cost of their service. They are far from being the worst postal service in the world, but they are definitely in decline. However, they are not as bad as the various courier services which form the main competition.

Happy Christmas Everyone

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, have a good day tomorrow. I’ve just been speaking to Number Two Son in Toronto. He has a couple of days of employment left until his job finishes, at which point the Canadian Government will start paying him enough for food and accommodation. He’s already on the trail of another job, so the unemployment may well be short lived.

If you judge the quality of a nation from the way it treats its lower level citizens (and let’s face it a tourist with a Geography degree and job experience at the lower end of the hospitality trade isn’t a high class immigrant) then Canada is looking pretty good. I am, of course, biased, as they are looking after him well. If he looked a touch more indigenous he might not be so lucky.

Despite my use of a stamp with traditional Christmas imagery, there has been no snow here, though there was some further north, and there were no carol singers either. However, we can still have goodwill to all mankind. Even IO can manage that for one day out of 365.

In the shop we had five parcels to do, which were, fortunately, all for UK addresses. The Royal mail has suspended a number of foreign services because they have so much mail accumulated, and so many closed borders. I’m sure that a few late parcels won’t spoil Christmas, but it’s a sign of the times when the world grinds to a halt.

A dealer came to call, and told us he’d been stopped on the way by police wanting to know the purpose of his journey. Clearly, murder, rape and robbery are all on the back-burner while they chase the real criminals. Rob the shop and they won’t even knock on your door in case they infringe your civil rights. Sneak in a quick visit to your grandma and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, unless you are one of the well-known exceptions.

First Official Air Mail Postcards

I was able to spend the rest of the morning researching the first scheduled air mail service in the world (September 1911 – London to Windsor) and Epps’s Cocoa, which was at one time the best selling brand in the UK. I would add links, but I don’t want to spoil you.

Epps’s Cocoa Nature Cards

Julia sends her regards too – though she’s rushing about worrying about Christmas being a “success”. We have each other, we have family, we have food, warmth and (somewhat dull) TV. We don’t really need anything more, but she always worries. I hope you all have a comfortable and unexciting day (we’ve already had too much excitement this year) and that next years shows a distinct upturn.


An eBay story

We had someone write to us this morning asking if we knew where his coins were.

Ordered 1st April, enquired on 14th, so he was patient.

It took me fifteen minutes to cross-reference and check his order. According to the Royal Mail site we posted the package on the 2nd April and it was delivered on 3rd – signed for by someone called Cooper, which was not the customer’s name.

I told him that, provided him with the tracking code and twenty minutes later he was back on apologising – seems the parcel was taken in by the post room (he had it sent to work) and they hadn’t told him.

Job done, fifteen minutes wasted.

After that I did parcels, then put up some postcards for sale.

Not very exciting, but demanding enough to prevent me to thinking about more interesting things.

Picturegoer Postcards

Picturegoer Postcards

Lots of Errands and a Traffic Jam

Big day today. Off to the letter office where five parcels were waiting for me. There was no queue today and I parked in a disabled space as my knee was killing me. I know it’s not a good thing to do, but there were three others left empty and I was having to use my stick.

It turned out there were six parcels, which was a bonus. While I’ve been at work the postmen have been taking them back to the letter office. The trouble is that everyone wants them to be signed for. There’s no trust in the world anymore and everyone wants proof. I posted over 2,000 parcels when I was dealing by mail order and I only ever lost one.

In general I like to believe that people are honest, and the proliferation of distrust on ebay tells you a lot about the way modern society is going. I also have my suspicions that ebay and Royal Mail are in league to take as much money as possible from us. Remember that ebay also charges commission on postage costs. I was happy with my purchases, but you’ll have to take my word for it as I haven’t photographed them yet.

After that we had breakfast and set off for Newark market where, noting the lack of customers, I did the old show business joke. It basically hinges round the phrase “there’s no business (pause for effect) like show business”. It tends to amuse us, though we don’t have high standards.

Then things took a turn for the worse. We stopped at Grantham for a toilet break and a drink. Julia’s coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.75. We’re going to have to start taking a flask.

Forestry land in Brazil costs as little as $50 an acre – about eighteen cups of coffee. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

After that we joined a queue on the A1. The traffic spent ten minutes travelling fitfully then ground to a halt. In the next two hours we listened to a Terry Pratchett talking book, chatted, watched red kites and fell asleep. Well, one of us did. The other one recorded me snoring and sent an audio file to my sister.

It seems that a trailer had become unhitched from a car and emptied itself on the road. Nobody was hurt, which is good.

Finally we arrived in Peterborough just in time to miss a low key but photogenic sunset, visited my father for a couple of hours, wished him a happy 89th birthday for later in the week and returned home without incident.

All in all, quite a worthwhile day, with the bonus of a relaxing snooze in the afternoon. I know it’s generally frowned on to sleep on major roads, but I think it’s OK if everyone has stopped.