Another problem with living in the sticks is the difficulty of getting or sending things. Local delivery firms are not that local and for anyone coming from Embra or Newcastle (Tyne not Norn Iron) the Borders is a vast Terra Incognita -'Here there be dragons'. Several times consignments addressed to us have been dumped elsewhere-outside the village hall post office which opens twice a week or at a house in the village in the expectation (presumably) that Hutton being a small place everyone knows everyone else and the parcel will eventually get to us; eventually being the key word if the family in whose greenhouse the perishable goods have been dumped are away on two weeks holiday.
Take Parcel Force. Please. The senior daughter organised a pick up of a large purple suitcase weighing 30kgs (try carrying that on a state pension) to be consigned, lovingly, to France the next stop for the OZ Family. The Royal Mail driver found us-good start-and apologised for lack of 'paperwork' , said it was a last minute instruction (we had booked the collection three days before) and (with difficulty) carried the suitcase away in the direction of France. Trying to track progress on the Internet-Parcel Farce's super duper super cool tracking system proved impossible as the reference number we had been given when booking the collection was a collection number and not a delivery number.This info we gleaned after 4 unanswered (but courteously acknowledged in a standard non committal pro formal-'do not dare to reply' form) The delivery number should have been on the receipt given to the senior diaughter but 'No Paper work-no receipt- and presumably no hope of tracking it on the www. More e-mails (the Phone help line doesn't) and we now know that the driver came from the Embra Dee-po -despite having a Geordie accent and the Dee -Po will create a tracking number and let us have it so as we can track the purple suitcase as it careers towards St Germain en-laye where the Oz Family are in temporary asylum. Nothing from the Dee-po and the contact phone number rings in an echoing void, possibly in Pakistan controlled Kashmir. I have tried to explain (by e-mail) that our concern is not tracking for the hell of it but the safe arrival of the PS with its contents of desperately needed Oz kid clothes, smart Paris ready haute couture, the contents of a smaller Berwick charity shop and Class D drugs.
The saga will continue and it all gives work for the internet to do. In the meanwhile the wife's latest order of bird seed cakes with extra insects from replaceable insect stock is 5 days late.....