Here in the Vicarage, occasionally, we receive letters from abroad. The envelopes that the letters come in usually have very beautiful stamps of their native flora, fauna and sometimes of their buildings and tourist spots. It made me wonder why here in the UK, our stamps are so unattractive. It never used to be like that. In the past, I used to look forward to letters in the post and would admire the stamps for a good few minutes before I opened the envelope. These days, I rarely receive a local envelope which has a beautiful stamp. It is always the plain blue (2nd class) or orange red (1st class) self adhesive stamp. I have tried buying stamps at the post office but I just get the same old plain ones. The only exception is at Christmas when we might get some Christmas themed stamps.
I am always writing to people and really want to use beautiful stamps to compliment the pretty envelopes that I use. I started trawling the Royal Mail website for beautiful stamps. For a start, they only offer free delivery for orders over £50 or more! Then I discovered that there are very few choices when it came to second class stamps. It was a choice between Coronation street and Roman Britain! I opted for the latter.
I have now received the stamps and am enjoying using them. I sincerely hope that the recipients will like these stamps as much as I do!
We are already in the New Year but I am still chasing after problems that should have been solved well before the New Year!
In early December 2020, I had applied for a new bank account with Smile, the online bank. About 10 days later, I got an email to say that the application has been approved and to make a minumum payment of £1.00 to my new bank account. Since then, I have been trying to access my new account but to no avail. I phoned customer service and was told that for some strange reason as it is always the case, the account has not been activated but not to worry as it will be activated within 5 working days. I am still waiting for the account to be activated.
Again in December, I had ordered some stamps and stationery directly from the Royal Mail website. Strangely the stamps arrived on separate days even though they came from the same office in Edinburgh! I am still waiting for the stationery!
However, bills have been arriving at our door promptly even during the Coronavirus pandemic when the excuse given for other things is that the pandemic is causing delays!!!!!
I am dismayed to read that good old Royal Mail is to increase the cost of postage stamps yet again!
This week a letter was published in the newspaper from a reader who had ordered some second class stamps online via the Royal Mail website. When he didn’t receive the stamps, he emailed Royal Mail and got the following response.
“As a result of a high demand for this product which has significantly exceeded our expectations we are currently out of stock”
I have always favoured 2nd class stamp to first. Why? I don’t usually require my post to reach the recipient the next day. I am fairly organised so I always post my letter a few days in advance so that it will arrive at the right time. I only use a first class stamp if I am needing to act upon something urgently.
After moving to England, one of my many observations was that almost everybody here only use First class stamp!
I began to feel self conscious and tried to change my habit. Old habits die hard! I went back to second class stamps after a few months! Years later I am still using second class stamps!
On Tuesday, I was expecting the delivery of a parcel. It was to be delivered by DPD and the scheduled time was between 16.33 and 17.33. Unfortunately the delivery did not happen. I checked my delivery status and saw that DPD was not able to delivery my parcel as they didn’t have my contact name/number. How absurd!
I spent the next half hour trying to reschedule the delivery. I got a slot for the next day which was Wednesday and the schedule time was again between 16:33 to 17:33.
This time, I diligently sat infront of my computer to monitor the status. My delivery was number 99! The delivery driver was only on this 3rd delivery. I was also able to find out a bit more about the delivery driver which I thought was totally unnecessary like the fact that he was Polish and what his hobbies were!!!!
At about 17:25, my mobile rang. The delivery driver couldn’t find the Vicarage! This is the 4th time this week that delivery drivers had trouble finding the Vicarage!
Anyway, I got the Mhinisteir to give directions and finally I had the parcel in my hand.
Why can’t more companies use Royal Mail for delivery? Big companies like John Lewis too have started using alternative courier companies like Hermes for delivery. I know that the Royal Mail is more expensive but courier companies like DPD provide mediocre service! On this occasion I paid £4.95 for delivery. Very often, on top of the delivery charges, we have to spend hours on the phone/computer trying to locate the “lost” parcel!
I am so fedup that I am tempted to avoid buying from online companies that use alternative courier companies like DPD or Hermes for delivery. Easier said than done as most companies now use alternative courier companies.
Scilly flowers are a flowers by post company based on the Scilly Isles. They are a family run business whose prices are reasonable. They also offer free postage within the UK. I was first introduced to them by Old Mrs Bear and have been using Scilly Flowers since then.
Life as a Vicar’s wife means I am often sending flowers to someone and yesterday was one such day. This time, it was to the wife of a reitred clergy who is poorly in hospital.
It is on days like this that I miss Old Mrs Bear.
However, I must remember that as the Evangelist Billy Graham once said, Old Mrs Bear just has a new address!
Disclaimer: I have not been paid by Scilly Flowers to promote them.