16 December 2012

Good morning from a soggy, soggy Byfield. We had freezing cold temperatures early in the week which were then followed by milder weather accompanied by lashings and lashings of rain. I suppose that’s what we should expect at this time of year. I had my hair cut on Friday (what little there is left) and the hairdresser asked me which I preferred – the freezing cold or the lashing rain? No contest, from my perspective – since I have to walk a dog twice a day, I greatly prefer the freezing cold. You can always bundle up for the cold temperatures and, at least with freezing temperatures, you and the dog don’t get caked in mud.

The Life of PiMs Playchute and I had a great outing on Tuesday evening – we trekked down to Oxford to take advantage of free tickets to see The Life of Pi a week or so before its UK debut, in 3D no less. It’s a film I have been looking forward to seeing ever since I first read or heard that they were making it and am I glad we went, and even more delighted that it was one of our sometimes occasional free ticket showings. It is a stunning, stunning film adaptation of a terrific story.

If you’ve not read the novel, do that first. I think it was Adam who recommended it to us all those years ago (it was published in 2001 – if it wasn’t Adam who suggested it to us I apologise) and I remember thoroughly enjoying it at the time. However, it was one of those novels that you think could never be made into a film – it’s just too fantastical. But make it they did and it’s not only fantastical but utterly spectacular. And seeing it in 3D was a real treat (but I’m sure it would still be every bit as good without the 3D aspect). The trailer below will give you a feel but there’s nothing like seeing it on the big screen.


I know I rant about insurance companies from time to time. Our latest dealings confirms what I’ve always said – their only interest is in denying your claim by whatever means they have at their disposal (with the obvious exception of our good friend Chip of Boynton Insurance, of course).Our latest efforts to extract some recompense out of an insurance claim stems from the loss of a parcel sent by Ms Playchute to a customer in Australia.

This was a very complicated and demanding order – five playchutes each with a very elaborate logo – which Penelope completed and sent off at the beginning of November. This particular client had ordered previously and Pen had never had any issues with the delivery service before. This (and the previous orders) were sent via Parcelforce Global which is the Post Office’s international courier service. Pen paid the postage and then paid an additional sum to insure the contents of the parcel for £1000.

Penny confirmed with the client that the parcel had been posted and his payment was received and deposited (absent the fees both the Australian bank and the British bank charge for pressing a few buttons, of course). A few weeks later Pen had an e-mail saying that the parcel had not yet arrived. Upon enquiring with Parcelforce Pen was told that she could not report it missing until 30 days had passed.

On the passing of 30 days Pen reported it missing and, after another couple of weeks, the Parcelforce agents in Australia confirmed that it had indeed gone missing. (It had been tracked to Sydney so at least it got that far but it then suddenly vanished without trace). So, Pen had to make a claim and submit proof of postage and proof of the value, which she did. And this is where the “discussion” started.

The proof of value she submitted was a copy of the invoice sent to the client. The response from the agents was a request for a cost invoice. We replied to say that all Penny’s playchutes are bespoke and made to order and that this order had included five playchutes with very elaborate logos – we couldn’t simply take another playchute and logo off the shelf and pop it in the post. The order also represented about three weeks’ full time labour. They then wanted to know the cost of the materials and the profit margin included in the invoice sent to the customer. Again, we replied that value of the lost parcel was in excess of the amount for which it had been insured (they knew this already as the invoice sent to the customer was for more than £1000) and that we had now suffered additional losses in having to refund the client his payment with another two sets of bank charges. I pointed out that asking for the material cost and profit margin for this claim was somewhat akin to valuing a painting based on the cost of the canvas and the paint – if they had been sending the Mona Lisa somewhere and lost it they would reckon its value at about £100. We’re waiting for their next reply.

CorrectionI’m grateful to Donna for sharing on Facebook an article from the Atlantic Wire – The Best/Worst Typos, Mistakes and Corrections of 2012. We included some similar examples from the Guardian back in October but this also has some great “corrections.” I was particularly impressed with the correction printed by the Toronto Sun in which they spelled “correction” incorrectly but my personal favourite is still the advice given to older adults during cold spells:

If you feel cold, put on a sweater, crap yourself in a blanket and turn up the heat.

I can understand transposing letters which are right next to each other on the keyboard but how do you switch a “w” for a “c”?

Love to you all,