Spalding area's John Ward on the surprises brought in the post
The post arrived early recently and being of the wooden variety as opposed to the sort with a stamp in the top right-hand corner, it was slightly different.
Indeed the courier said he did not often deliver much in the way of posts but I was to cause him a bit of grief as I had not ordered it and pointed out that, according to the address label, it was meant for somebody in another area entirely.
On looking at the label and then at me, he uttered those startling words that I am now getting used to in assorted situations: ‘Are you sure? You no-a-kida me?’ he asked.
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I assured him I was ‘no-a-kid-a-him’ plus if he was to look around the place he would find no holes in the ground awaiting such an item or even a space marked out to receive same.
So back in the van went the six foot long wooden post as off he went to another, similar addressed area to, hopefully, meet with somebody who had ordered the post!
Receiving items via the postman or courier these days can be quite daunting as while we are used to our regular postman, and relief stand-ins, I never quite get to grips with couriers as no sooner do I get used to one on, say, a couple of occasions, then they vanish never to be seen again.
I often wonder if this is because of unreported cases of mass kidnappings, specialising in delivery drivers as just where do they disappear to? I spend the time training some how to ring the door bell and they are never seen again.
It’s at times like this I miss the Crimewatch as when the photos appeared I could yellout: ‘That’s him! He brought the wrong parcel to me!’
From another perspective it’s the items that come in the post that can either make your day or make one wonder was this the size or item I ordered?
One example of real miscalculation happened to a friend some years ago on quite a large scale in every sense of the word.
At the time the ‘ex-government surplus’ stock of assorted items from possibly battleships to rocket launchers to tents was all the rage, with a lot offered at ridiculous prices, so many folk were tempted by the stuff on offer.
Looking back it’s amazing to think that so much stock – in theory – had been ordered by assorted HMG departments, at no doubt eye-watering prices.
Friend Alec whom I worked with was a keen racing fan – the horse and driven by a jockey variety – who had spotted a pair of ex-government Barr and Stroud binoculars on offer for a silly price, although the ‘postage’ he thought was quite high. But as Barr and Stroud had a world famous reputation in the optical world, he thought this was because of their perceived value.
He got his postal order sorted (in those day it was the thing as he did not have a bank account to merit a cheque book, etc) and so a pair of binoculars were ordered.
The first clue that things were possibly not as he was expecting was his wife telephoning him at work to explain that a BRS (British Road Services, who were then the ‘big boys’ of the delivery world) driver had delivered ‘something large’ and had left it on the grass outside their house as his sack barrow ‘was sinking in due to the weight of the said item’.
As lunch was approaching, he drove off towards home to see just what had arrived.
Getting back to work slightly late, he told us that he had found his Barr and Stroud binoculars in a wooden crate as they were part and parcel of a deck mount pedestal as found on battleships or destroyers.
Worse was to come though – after removing the protective wrapping he was shocked to find the latitude and longitude markings in degrees etched on the internal glass elements.
So a plain or normal unobstructed view was basically impossible although, true, they did the job.
Quite how he was going to transport or hang them around his neck on his next visit to Newmarket races was not explained.
Every time I have seen the naval battle war films on telly such as ‘Sink the Bismarck’ or ‘Battle of the River Plate’ with sailors peering through their deck-mounted binoculars, I think of Alec, at Newmarket, in his own enclosure perhaps, shouting out: ‘Loppy Lugs is on the rail, a furlong from home, 45 degrees to starboard’.
Before you wonder, they languished in his shed for ages before eventually being given away to somebody who was a ‘keen collector’ and hopefully had strong arms.
So if you thought ordering a pen costing a few pounds plus about £99.99 postage and packing from an online shopping channel was exorbitant, this beat that hands down for sheer value for money.
One mind numbing letter or invitation I received a while ago in the mail, as in post, not the wooden breed, was from a university to give a talk. This was not unusual, to quote a title of Tom Jones’s songs, looking at the actual invitation in my grasp.
The letter/invite was from somebody with so many letters after his name it read like a sat-nav reference or the ‘E’ numbers of ingredients in a tin of soup, but in the first paragraph I noted three spelling errors – and you thought my stuff was bad?
I was quite taken by it all and, once the laughter or general tittering subsided, I marked it seven out of ten with a note of ‘could do better’ and sent it back for revision.
Oddly I never heard back from him – perhaps he was now retired and moved this way and ordered a post maybe?
Not so long ago a friend ordered a set of cushions for his caravan and was surprised, nay shocked, to find the edges were sealed up with metal staples as opposed to being sewn up with thread as per the norm.
As he showed me the offending cushions, plus the catalogue or brochure he saw them in with accompanying photo, I mentioned that perhaps everything was ‘not as it seamed’ then.