Listening to: Walking Wounded (Everything But The Girl)
Weather: Bright, but cloudy - still no rain
Piglets are: perky, but only a little pinky
Malc's tip for today - don't believe websites and their promises, particularly when it comes to the delivery of goods.
On Monday the pump that brought water from the well in the bottom field up to the house and farm buildings gave its last rattle and expired.
Having put the toys carefully back into the pram, I checked the internet, found the pump we needed and, attracted by the promise of next-day delivery, got on the phone.
Now, I know we live in a remote corner of the British Isles and it takes family and friends from England as long to get here as it does to get to Johannesburg, so I wasn't going to hold them strictly to the next-day thing (you'd need a helicopter and we're some way behind the Royal Family in the queue for those), but I hoped that by paying the extra, we'd get it maybe the day after.
Sure enough: "We can't guarantee next-day delivery for that postcode, sir. It'll take a couple of days to reach you. . . err perhaps three," he said, hastily hedging his bets.
"Fair enough, we're used to that here," said a reasonable and easy-going trainee pig farmer. "But hurry it along if you can, we're having to lift buckets out of the well and I'm starting to feel like we're in an episode from The Waltons."
"No problem, Jim-Bob. I mean, sir."
This was on Monday morning. On Thursday morning I headed down to the village to pick up our gleaming new Clarke 120. It was conspicuous by its absence.
I decided to be calm(ish) and wait for the lunchtime ferry to get in - maybe the pump would be on that. No dice.
When the evening boat proved to be pumpless, I called the, as yet, unnamed company - it's Machine Mart.
"Where's my pump? Who's got my pump? What have you done with my pump?" I inquired.
"I don't know, sir. For that postcode we hand it over to a local carrier."
"Who would that be?" I asked.
"I don't know, sir," said voice on the phone, trying not too successfully to show an interest.
"Any chance you could find out and let me know when I can expect it? I'm trying to run a farm here and the only thing between me and total social exclusion is the bottle of Lynx my 17-year-old son left here last month."
Ten minutes later (quite quick, I thought). . .
"Hello sir. We believe the Post Office have the pump. It left Inverness this morning."
We had a brief discussion about website promises, exactly how many days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday constitute and I gave up, realising that this customer was never going to be right.
What's irritating is that, if the Post Office are going to deliver it, why didn't they put it in the post in the first place?
A first class letter takes two days to get from my mother's house in Devon to mine at the opposite end of the country. So far, the pump has taken four-and-a-half days to get from Nottingham to somewhere between Inverness and Westray. You could have flown it to Tokyo and back in that time. I can only assume Dick Turpin held it up on the way.
"Stand and deliver! Your money or your life!"
"Don't shoot, we've only got this Clarke 120 self-priming pump for domestic, farm and light industrial use."
"Let's have a look, then. Nah, it's the wrong fittings. On your way then."
Despite having a store in Dundee, Machine Mart cannot guarantee next-day delivery even to Aberdeen or Inverness, so what hope do we have in this far corner of the realm?