December 29th, 2017


Interesting Links for 29-12-2017


Travel woes for your entertainment

We ordered a sofa last week - replacing the 12-ish year old cheap sofas I bought with Ed with a lovely corner sofa that's long enough for Jane to lie on.

Because it was the shop display model we got it cheap - but we also couldn't have it until it was ready to leave the shop floor. And it had to be delivered ner instantly, because this is their busy season and the warehouse is full. _And_ we were off on holiday. All of which, together, meant that the only time it could be delivered was on morning of the 22nd, between 7 and 11am. Thankfully we weren't catching a flight until 17:00, so there was plenty of time in-between.

Except that we were supposed to get a text the night before, narrowing down our delivery window.
And phoning the next day I was told that, because of our scheduling difficulties, the system hadn't texted us, but we would receive our delivery soon. Definitely by 2pm. And with a text long before that to let us know when they'd arrive.
And then I phoned at 1pm and told them that I had a plane to catch, and they phoned the delivery drivers and called me back, and told me that our delivery couldn't be guaranteed before 3pm, and so we cancelled the delivery - setting up a new one on the 28th, when we'd be back from my parents in Devon.

And _then_ they cancelled our flights. Well, not immediately. First they cancelled the flights beforehand, and delayed ours. My parents live in Devon, and their nearest airport is Exeter. But Exeter is hideously expensive, and we can get flights for about 1/3 the cost into Bristol and then get a taxi for the last 90 minutes of the trip. When there's five of us this is totally worthwhile.

But someone managed to drive their plane off the end of the runway at Bristol, and so things were delayed while they towed it out of the mud. And then delayed more. And then they cancelled the flights entirely. And there were no seats from Edinburgh to Bristol for the following 48 hours. And it's only because my youngest brother (Hugh) is amazingly competent and got onto it instantly that we ended up with...seats direct to Exeter instead. But not until 8pm, which meant I could have had the sofa delivered anyway, which was a bit frustrating. But we decided not to mess about with sofa deliveries any more, and just head to the airport _really_ early so that nothing else bad could happen on the trip down.

And nothing did - we arrived down safely in one piece shortly after 10pm.

The way back, on the other hand...

We were supposed to be checked in by 3:15. It takes an hour and a half to drive from my parent's home to the airport, so we had a taxi ordered for 1pm. And then, five minutes before it arrived to pick us up, Hugh checked the route on Google Maps. Which told us that the M5 was a mass of Red, and we were going to be at least fifteen minutes late to check our bags.

Which shouldn't actually have been a problem, because our plane was delayed by over an hour (due to ice first thing). But it turns out that the bag drop systems at the airports can't cope with that kind of thing, and so we had to drop our bags off in time - or not at all.

Hugh and I sat in the back of the taxi, stressing about what we were going to do. There were no more flights that day directly. There were seats via KLM, but that would cost £175 and send us via Amsterdam. Likewise, trains would cost £175 each and take 7 hours. Hugh tracked down coach fares, and they were cheaper, and could get us there overnight - we'd put Noah, Meredith, and Jane onto the plane and take the suitcases up between the two of us.

The taxi-driver did his best - taking us off the motorway twice to skip bits of the traffic jams - and we arrived at the drop-off point at 15:13 - exactly two minutes before check-in closed. We dashed towards Departures and as we arrived I grabbed a staff member and asked if we were too late. She told me to join the queue and went to check, and then came back and let me through the rope - with Hugh rapidly telling her behind me that we were all a group. We went to the front of the queue and were _incredibly_ relieved to have our bags taken off of us.

And then got fast-tracked through security (no idea why) and ended up in the departure lounge with nearly an hour to spare. The rest of the trip back was then pretty uneventful. Hugh even got back in time for his Tesco delivery. And Jim was delighted to see us when we made it home, and didn't stop purring for about half an hour.

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