Monday, 26 November 2012

I might as well have shoved it down a rabbit hole ...

I posted a parcel the week before last. The packaging, if I say so myself, was a work of art. Bubble wrap, wrapped in newspaper (Daily Mail but surely that can't tell against me!), in a cardboard box, in brown paper. The address was written on it in letters so clear, large and black they would have won any calligraphy competition in town. My own address was written, smaller and on the reverse, so that it could come back to me if things went wrong.

Well, things went wrong. The recipient (if I can call him the recipient, as he received sweet fanny adams) got in touch, not crossly, more disappointed really, to say that he had not got his parcel. The post office at our end no longer has the parcel.


Okay, I didn't insure it. I didn't pay a king's ransom to have the dratted thing carried on the backs of Circassian maidens to the destination, or whatever the Post Office claim to do when you book special delivery. I merely put a parcel, wrapped as above, addressed as above, into the post office system and stupidly expected it to get to where it was meant to be. So now the post office are making me feel like some kind of certifiable idiot. I am a certifiable idiot because I expected a system to work, am I? Why should that be? When I get in my car and drive off, I expect the wheels to stay on, the engine to keep doing whatever it is engines do and take me to where I am heading. Sometime things go wrong, then I call a man who comes and puts it right. What doesn't happen, but would if the Post Office were in charge, would be that I would get in my car, one wheel would drop off, the engine would explode. I would call the man, who wouldn't come, because ... well, why should he? It's only his job, when all is said and done.

For a bit of fun, apply Post Office ethos to anything you do today. Toaster making toast? I don't think so. Bus taking you to work? Why not enjoy a day in Glasgow instead? That is, unless you work in Glasgow, in which case obviously, just enter another place name to taste. And so on. There are not huge numbers of options for simple pieces of post, sadly, but the Post Office will soon have seen the last of me. Though it is far more complicated I will be using a courier in future because if they say they will deliver it, they will. Some companies even give you the actual hour it will be delivered. The hour! Not the week or whether it will be delivered at all. The actual hour. And, when it gets to the other end, they bring it in if it is heavy. They are charming and friendly and that is because they see their job as a service, not some kind of mad lottery.

I actually do feel a lot better for that. But the question still remains -

WHERE IS OUR &*^%^$^&&*( PARCEL??

Sorry, I just have to add this - I posted this and then checked my inbox and there, proudly announcing itself as being from 'express parcelforce', was an email telling me when I need to post parcels for Christmas! What? With the service they give, I'm guessing that would have been last week!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

This hasn't been a good week, reading-wise!

I've been a bit grumpy this week. I have finally read every single Dorothy L Sayers book there is to read, including the later ones by Jill Paton Walsh, where she 'writes as' - and very well she does it too. So I was whiffling around in the Kindle list on Amazon trying to find something to read at bedtime (whinge about Kindle disadvantages to follow - keep reading) when for some stupid reason, I decided to buy an Agatha Christie. Yes, I know, I know, I don't know why I did it; it was getting late and I was weak. Anyway, I chose Elephants can remember or some such stupid title and started to read. It was an unusual experience - I know all the words were English, but they seemed to be in the wrong order. Poor old Agatha, she was clearly losing it at this point, but wasn't there an editor? Someone who should have told her that enough was enough, you are only a writer if what you write makes sense, dear. Go and have a nice lie down with a cup of tea and your medication. I gave up. I jumped to the end to find who dunnit but it was no surprise; I had the denouement sorted from about the third page.

So, nothing daunted, I went back to Kindle pages to choose something else. A Ruth Rendell this time, Tigerlily's Orchids. I won't go into details, because I am still annoyed with myself for spending money on it, but this book is also a bit of a disgrace, an example of what happens when the writer is so famous that the editor doesn't do what's needed in the way of making sure that it makes sense, is interesting and has a plot. Also, Kindle - typos! My wordIdon'tthinkIhaveeverseensomanywordsruntogetherinonebookbefore.

So, yes, downside of Kindles. You can't read them in the bath. Forget the advert where the woman is floating in the pool reading her Kindle - the instructions are clear that you mustn't get them wet (or is that Mogwai?) or even near water. So I have to have a second book on the go, for bathtime reading.

So, later today I am hitting the bookshops, both new and second hand. I will have a riffle through and then buy or not as the case may be. And if I come across a sentence like this '"Elephant, chocolate, pencil," Ariadne Oliver expostulated grimly, "Whatever floats your anvil, Monsieur Poirot, and mind the weasel, it tends to roll up in August.",' I won't buy it.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ways to annoy me

There are loads of ways to annoy me, as my family will attest, but one of the best ways of all is to lead me to your lovely website or blog and then let me see, often in the first sentence, a great big, no nonsense, typo!

It doesn't have to be anything more than a misplaced apostrophe - my favourite so far this week is 'guarantee's' as in 'we offer a range of guarantee's'. They spelled 'guarantee' right, for Heaven's sake! What went wrong with the apostrophe?

But after the apostrophe, it all went downhill from there. Or should I say, 'their'? Because they went on to assure us all that they are famous for 'there customer service'. Did I stay on their website? Did I Hell? I just went elsewhere with my custom - I picked up the phone as a matter of fact, because the written word was really bugging me by then and I thought it was probably time I just used the spoken word instead.

I may have a slightly vested interest in this because I do earn a living creating high quality web content, so I guess I may be just ever so slightly biased. And, worse, when I am not writing web content, I proof read. So even the lightest literature presents me with a challenge; not only does it have to grab my attention, it also has to be totally perfect. I have yet to read any book, even in these days of digital copies, spell checked to the umpteenth degree, that is totally without errors. But I think as long as the publisher appears to have taken reasonable steps, that is enough. The occasional spelling error is okay, a long as it is clearly simply a matter of the typist's fingers having got a little muxed ip; it is ignorance such as 'there' and their', 'were' and 'where' and, my personal favourite and one I saw only the other day, 'throne' and 'thrown' (linked to 'reign' and 'rain' of course) that really gets my dander up.

Well, what a way to start a new blog - having a rant. But ranting is what it is all about when the grammar police are on the march. I shall be tweeting as well - look out for short rantettes on an address to be disclosed shortly.