Tag Archives: blackwater

Cycling the A30

I live in Ealing and just down the road from me is the start of the A30, skirting around the south side of Heathrow airport. I know the A30 road pretty well as I grew up on the border of Surrey and Hampshire in Blackwater – a small town with no real claim to fame other than Surrey, Hampshire, and Berkshire all meet there so you can be in three counties in minutes.

What’s interesting though is that this road beginning close to my present home, and running past the town I grew up in, stretches on for about 500km to Land’s End in Cornwall.

Why not cycle the whole length just for fun?

So that’s what I’m going to do in late July. Hopefully the weather will be nice. I’ll take it easy and just do it over 5 days so I can enjoy some of the pit stops along the way. Two years ago I was bored one day and jumped on my bike and headed for Manchester… I stayed in Northampton the first night and Derby the second then got there the following day.

This will be a bit more planned and at a more leisurely pace, but it’s quite exciting to just head off on my cycle with a long journey ahead taking several days and only the kit I can pack into one backpack for the entire trip… As I plan some more I’ll blog it here.

Bike being repaired

Why is City Link so bad?

The other day, I bought a box-set of 30 DVDs from eBay. The seller arranged to send me the package using a courier service, City Link.

I sat and waited for them to arrive. Eventually the seller sent me an email with the tracking code, so I could check on the delivery. When I went to the City Link website I found that they had already delivered the package. It had even been signed for. And yet, at the time that the parcel had supposedly been delivered I was at home working. Nobody had bothered knocking on my door.

After I double-checked the address with the guy who mailed the parcel, I called up City Link today to find out what was going on.

They said “it may be with a neighbour”… and paused, as if the onus would then be on me to go and check with all my neighbours. I asked them to check what the driver had actually done.

So, they called the driver directly. He had “forgotten” where he has delivered my package to “but it is fairly close” came the reassurance.

So now, I do have to go up and down my road dropping leaflets in the doors (because I am hardly likely to find everyone is at home when I knock) just to find my own package – when the seller had used a courier company specifically to ensure it got to me safely.

What I’d really like to understand is:

  1. Why did City Link not try delivering to the correct address in the first place? They had the correct address and anyone with a GPS can find me. I am in London, not some remote corner of the Amazon.
  2. Why they seem to have a policy of dropping parcels with neighbours, rather than retaining and arranging another delivery time (saving money by not bothering to try again?)
  3. Why the driver never kept any record of who he left my parcel with or even where he delivered it?
  4. Why City Link is not doing anything to help me locate this parcel, beyond telling me to go and talk to my neighbours

I’ve never heard of such a shoddy muppet-like courier service. I know I won’t ever be using them. And that’s a shame as I grew up in the town where they are headquartered – Blackwater, in Hampshire.