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Cornwall - Werzat!

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by ColinJ, 29 May 2008.

  1. ColinJ

    ColinJ Slow Hill Climber/Station lift avoider!

    On Saturday I'm off to Penzance for a week's holiday and of course I want to cycle while I'm there. Unfortunately, the bike compartment on the train was already booked up a month ago when I bought my ticket, so I decided to send the bike ahead by courier. I nipped down to my friendly LBS yesterday and they were kind enough to donate a carboard bike box (thanks Blazing Saddles of Hebden Bridge :thumbsdown:!). I had to strip the bike down a bit more than I'd hoped, but eventually I got 90% of it in. The back wheel was too much of a squeeze so I'm going to carry that down on the train. It's cost me £30 extra because I left it until the last minute, but it will still be cheaper than hiring a bike while I'm down there. Amazingly, if I'd booked the courier a few days ago, I could have got the bike there and back for about £20.

    I rang the Parcel company this morning to arrange for the bike to be picked up, having checked the details last night on their website. The conversation that followed didn't leave me with a great impression of the current UK educational system...

    Young woman (mumbling): dshjhdsjh...

    Me: Pardon?

    Young woman (mumbling): dshjhdsjh...

    Me: Er, sorry, I can't hear you - you're mumbling!

    Young woman (stops mumbling for a second, but now sounds as though she is chewing gum): Yeah, right!

    Me: I want to post a bicycle...

    Young woman (mumbling): dshjhdsjh...

    Me: You're mumbling again!

    Young woman (trying hard): You can't!

    Me: Oh yes I can!

    Young woman: Sez oo?

    Me: 'Natalie', last night - I checked using the website's 'live chat' service.

    Young woman: Oh.


    Me: So, can we book it then?

    Young woman grunts. I assume that means 'yes'.

    Me: I've put it in a proper cardboard bike box...

    Young woman starts laughing: Oh, it's a parcel not a bike then!

    Me: Yes, it's a parcel containing a bicycle!

    I'll skip the long-winded debate about the dimensions of the parcel. I'd already worked out that it was oversize and that would be a surcharge, but we still had to caclulate the volume. The weight was okay. Finally the transaction seemed to be progressing. I gave my details, then the address of my friend in Penzance.

    Young woman: Werzat?

    Me: Pardon?

    Young woman: Werzat?

    Me: Werzat?

    Young woman: Yeah, werzat!

    Me: (Werzat...Werz at... Wer zat...) Oh, where's that!

    Young woman: Yeah!

    Me: Penzance, er (blimey!!!), it's a town in Cornwall.

    Young woman: Werzat?

    Me: Where's Cornwall?

    Young woman: Yeah, is Cornwall a place in the United Kingdom or is this an overseas delivery?

    Flipping Heck, I know that Geography isn't a compulsory subject any more but surely someone working for a parcel company in England should at least have heard of Cornwall :biggrin::ohmy::ohmy:!

    At least the rest of the system seems to be working. DHL picked the bike up 2 hours later and it should be in Penzance before 10 am tomorrow. Hopefully undamaged! I checked with M&S and their much-vaunted Home/contents insurance covers the bike in this situation too. The guy on the help desk wasn't sure so he phoned the underwriter to confirm that it did. I assume that the same would apply when taking the bike by plane?

    There's a really nice loop I did years ago when I last took a bike down - Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole, Land's End, Sennen Cove (might nip down to the beach for a while if it's sunny!), St Just, Zennor, St Ives, Nancledra, and back to Penzance. I found it really hard work back then, but I reckon it will seem a lot easier now. I hope to do that a couple of times, and that I get the chance to explore bits of West Cornwall that I haven't been to yet.

    The forecast is for reasonable weather next week - hoorah!
  2. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I think someone was nibbling your noodley mate! :biggrin:
  3. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
    I love Cornwall, I might see if I can fit in a trip before I leave
  4. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Was it Jade Goody? :biggrin:
  5. ColinJ

    ColinJ Slow Hill Climber/Station lift avoider!

    East Angular? Hmm, wrong accent, but it was definitely a game of 'Spot the Braincell'!
  6. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
    I sent a bike Via DHL once, they lost it and it was never found, Don't hold your breath that it will arrive either
  7. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Behind a desk
    SWMBO and I were buying fabric once. 2 metres, at 9.99 per metre. The counter girl went off to look for a calculator.

    When I saw she had a calculator in her hand, I said "19.98" She checked it with the calculator, and then said sniffily "You could have said that earlier!"

    She's not stupid, she's just been failed by a disempowering education system.
  8. ColinJ

    ColinJ Slow Hill Climber/Station lift avoider!

    Why did I get the feeling that somebody was going to say that :thumbsdown:!

    If it happened, I'd hire a bike while I was down there. I'd spend the insurance money on a nice new bike when I got home :biggrin:. I put my cycling shoes, tools, spares and walking boots in the parcel as well and it would be a nuisance to lose them.
  9. ColinJ

    ColinJ Slow Hill Climber/Station lift avoider!

    I worked in a factory for five years, and from time to time we'd have to do stocktaking. On one such occasion, I was helping a guy in the metal-working area work out how much steel tubing was left. He found that he had 10 lengths of 3.6 metres. I watched for a while as he struggled with the calculation. Finally I offered to help. I looked at his piece of paper and saw that he had written 3.6 ten times and was trying to add the numbers up. I asked why he didn't use multiplication but he didn't understand, so I explained that adding ten of the numbers was the same thing as multiplying by ten. He just looked back blankly and asked exactly how was that supposed to make things easier because nobody learned the 3.6 times table! I shifted the decimal point for him and told him that his answer was 36 metres. After that he kept going on about me being a 'brainbox'! I hadn't realised until that day just how little some people get out of their time at school.

    I wouldn't say that the welder I mentioned above was stupid. (I'm not being sarcastic here!) He used to do the Sun Coffee-time crossword in his tea-breaks and he'd usually get at least 75% of the way through them. From time to time he would get stuck on something really obvious (Pet, 3 letters? Dog - no. Cat - yes!) but he managed well enough that I could tell that it was an educational problem rather than a mental one. Perhaps it was the same for the girl on the phone? I just don't think that she was equipped to do her job. Even if she didn't have a clue where Cornwall was, she should at least have been able to sound alert, friendly and interested in doing her job.
  10. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    What else did Natalie tell you? :biggrin:
  11. ColinJ

    ColinJ Slow Hill Climber/Station lift avoider!

    Bit of a misnomer - 'Live chat'. It was actually a little application that let us send typed messages back and forth. Presumably this is so that 'Natalie' can deal with several people at once. I'd already typed out my questions in advance (to save time - I'm not a touch typist) and after I copied my questions over, there were long delays in receiving the replies. Quite annoying actually, but I don't like having to call 0870 numbers so I didn't want to phone in (I always seem to end up in a long queue and I resent having to pay a pound or two to listen to muzak).

    It's funny though - in my imagination, 'Natalie' was an attractive woman about 30 years old, but in reality 'she' could have been an ugly 60 year old man!
  12. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    I go a cake shop most Fridays with my daughter and buy 5 cakes. The same woman serves us. Each cake costs about 40-80p, depending on what cake it is. The woman writes it all down and does a sum. She always gets it wrong. I always tell her the right price (and sums aren't my forte, but my basic mental arithmetic is OK!). She tries again, and sort of gives up, saying "yeah, that's right" and I pay the correct price.! :biggrin:
    The cakes are nice though :tongue:
  13. ColinJ

    ColinJ Slow Hill Climber/Station lift avoider!

    Why don't people who can't add up either learn how to, or just use a till or a calculator? There's someone at my local market who is like that. I'm very good at mental arithmetic but I wouldn't try and add up £20 worth of fruit and veg purchases.