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More "custard"!

Amazon duly delivered two more tubs of "custard" on Monday. These were perfectly fine, undamaged, and in a first, even padded in the box with some crushed up brown paper.

I noted that the two packs were, like, a year later in their use by dates (July 2023, versus October 2022 in the first ones sent), and that the infamous metal base has been replaced by a flimsy-looking metallised card base.

Custard tin bases
Custard tin bases: new vs old.


Alternative tea preparation

Yesterday I woke up, read the news on my phone (the world is still a mess) then got up to go make tea.
The kitchen light wouldn't go on. I checked the fuse, still no go.

So I dumped water into the kettle, plugged it in, then went to get food for my furry little murder machine.
That's the point when I noticed the reassuring glowing LED on the battery pack running the Livebox was a less reassuring red.
I prodded the Linky. It was completely dead.

I picked up the phone to call Enedis, who no longer have a useful short number (like "1234") but instead have a long regular number. I think with an 09 code? I wonder what tariff that counts as?

The phone said "BASE". It was a regular DECT phone, so it needed a base station. And, yes, we can laugh at the "digital (VoIP) to analogue (phone line) to digital (DECT) to analogue (speaker)" translations going on.

So I went and got one of the Livephones. These special HD phones (that predate the Cat-Iq type of DECT, I think) are directly paired with the Livebox, and are digital right up to the speaker.

Called them. Twiddled my thumbs for a lot of waffle and blather. Finally I was asked to enter my postal code, and then speak the name of the town. Which is really hard to say correctly, but the machine got it...perhaps because what I said didn't sound like any of the other options.

I'll take a moment here to talk about the differences in postal codes between the UK and France. In the UK, a postal code is in the form AB12 3CD (which may be a real place up near Aberdeen!). Typically a postal code will identify a property (whether it be a house or a block of flats). However in housing developments (like a lotissiment, only bigger) you may find a postal code being used to mean "all the even numbered houses on this road".
A functional address, in the UK, could be "Murray, AB12 3CD". But this sort of thing tends to annoy the posties, who like to be able to read the addresses.

France, by contrast, uses postal codes as a sort of a vague direction in which to send the letter. Châteaubriant, all of it, has the postal code 44110. But, no, it's not just that. It's also Erbray, Soudan, and some other towns around Châteaubriant totalling seven distinct communities, 20,749 inhabitants, and a surface area of about 240 square kilometres.
44000 is central Nantes, with a much smaller sixty six square kilometres but a much larger (nearly a) third of a million inhabitants.

Anyway, the machine - after all the yacking - told me that there was a known problem and that they estimated that the repairs will be completed by twenty past ten.

Well, at least it wasn't just me.

Actually, it was quite a large breakdown. It took out work too, for about half an hour. So they sent everybody on break (after working for only two hours) with no functioning coffee dispenser.
That's possibly why, in dribs and drabs, they let everybody take an additional fifteen minute break. Time to get out of uniform, throw some coffee in the hatch, then go back to work.

Me? I had my zombie apocalypse preparedness plan to fall back on.

Making tea the hard way
Making tea the hard way.

Fire up the gas lamp, then put water into the pan and bring it to the boil.

Later on, getting ready for work, I didn't trust myself to get it from the pan into the narrow top of the thermos without incident, so I cheated. Tipped it into the kettle and used that to fill the thermos.

At which point, as I was there keys in my hand and ready to go, the power came back on. Well, at least I knew to turn the kitchen light off. ☺


A chat with the Big Boss

Following the advice of my commentors, I went and had a little chat with Big Boss. All morning I rehearsed what I was going to say, and without any notes managed to remember most of it. In the right order too. ☺

That's a thing with... I don't know whether it's more introversion or autism, or a bit of both. Suffice to say that I hate telephone calls and being asked things that I've not planned or had time to think about. So, yes, I spent a good three hours going over and over and working out what sort of responses he might have and how best to present the story.


He made time for me. It probably helps that I'm not one of those people who runs to somebody in charge to moan about the slightest thing. In fact, I don't think I've complained about somebody else in the entire time I've been there.

I talked about what happened in March 2021, and about what happened a couple of weeks ago. It was actually good that I waited a bit, as last week I saw the exact same thing happening. So it wasn't due to a lack of time, but rather just a simple lack of effort to do things properly.

What I hadn't prepared for was pretty much the lack of response to my tale. No, it wasn't that he didn't care or wasn't paying attention, it was more "this doesn't surprise me at all".
My god, who else's job is she meddling in?

Sadly, he doesn't think he can do much as he is leaving soon. Moving on. I say sadly as I've worked with some really shitty bosses, and he is definitely one of the good guys. It'll be our loss, I'm sure.

However, he will communicate this to his replacement and will let HR up in head office know about things. And he also told me that if she pulls any of that sort of thing again (the "because you have a Y chromosome" nonsense), I'm to go directly to HR. Not the on-site people, get in touch with the head office.


My takeaway from this is that this person is "known". Hopefully she'll have the sense, or lack of interest, not to make good on her threats to fault-find all of my work. Or, as she tried last year, to get people to say they don't like me hanging around cleaning the (female) changing rooms when they are present. Though that one mostly fizzled out because I'm not the sort of person that stares at a woman's chest and says "hubba hubba" while making squeezing motions. I can well understand that being offputting.

But, should she decide to agitate... well, I think it would be better to not see how the chips fall. I prefer things to be uncomplicated.
But, at least, I have laid the foundation for if things should be pushed into a state of complication.

So thanks, guys, for giving me a push. ☺



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VinceH, 1st June 2022, 01:11
AB12 3CD isn't a valid postcode. AB12 3** is valid, but there isn't a CD there AFAICS. 
You're almost but not quite right where you say postcodes in the UK identify a property. It's only in fairly rare cases where that's so. In most cases they identify a number of properties - maybe a couple of dozen, but I'm not sure the number. 
And for blocks of flats this will vary according to the size, but in some cases it takes more than one postcode to cover the whole block. (Mine is like this; my postcode covers a chunk of flats in the middle, so it must be at least three, possibly four for the whole block.) 
So your fictional 'Murray, AB12 3CD' example would only work if your postman happened to know which of the houses covered by that postcode Murray lived in. The correct functional (but PITA) form is house no. (or house name) followed by the code. 
Unless you're saying Murray is the house name in that example. 😉
Rick, 1st June 2022, 08:56
It's certainly a LOT more localised than entire communities and thousands of people. 😉
Zerosquare, 1st June 2022, 21:27
If you think the French postal system is inaccurate, you've not seen Japan's! Even in Tokyo, many streets simply don't have names, and the numbers only go down to the "group of buildings" level. You need to know the name of the building if you want something delivered (and good luck not getting lost if you don't have a GPS).
Mick , 2nd June 2022, 03:44
My Dad's postcode is shared with 33 adjacent properties. My code has 22. So agree with Zerosquare. You can skip the road name on sender address eg. Flat 13,SW2 3XX.
David Pilling, 2nd June 2022, 14:04
Yes to postcodes usually being many properties, when I did the PO bar code applet for Ovation Pro, it came out that there is a "delivery point" an extra piece of data that locates the exact letter box. You could take a piece of mail and extract the delivery point from the bar code. 
Let me Google it for you: 
The Delivery Point Suffix (DPS) is used with a postcode to generate a machine-readable barcode (RM4SCC), which then serves as a unique reference to an active property or delivery point. It is made up of one number (1-9) and one character (A-T), and is assigned by Royal Mail. 
David Pilling, 2nd June 2022, 15:17
ISTR the Ovation Pro applet has a decode mode, type in bar code, get full postcode back. 
Probably by now there are phone apps, take photo get result.
Rob, 3rd June 2022, 00:58
At one point I used to rent a PO Box from the Royal Mail. That got me, along with the box number, my own unique post code! Thus it identified not merely a single building, but a single pigeonhole, behind the counter at the sorting office!  
(This was fun when it received a TV Licence reminder - I wrote back saying it was a PO Box, and the TV wouldn't fit in it, never mind the Royal Mail not allowing me behind the counter to watch it..) 
I seem to recall reading once that when postcodes were first introduced, they were based on the individual "walks", i.e. the routes cared for by by each postman, and the seemingly random letters were often their initials! These days, posties seem to have much longer routes, and letters are presumably allocated reasonably randomly. 
What I don't understand is why, very occasionally, the RM seem to get it into their head to change people's post codes - Turn of the century I used to live in M21 1** and they decided we were all moving to M21 0** ... it confused the heck out of the (early!) satnavs, and it was a LONG time before everything online would accept it as valid.
J.G.Harston, 3rd June 2022, 02:15
Even worse in Japan, the building plots are numbered in the order they were built in, and the buildings within the plot in the order they were built. 
Near to where my friend lives in Meguro the plots go: 15, 14, 19, 27, 28, and the block where she lives goes something like 5, 1, 2, 7, 6, 3. Almost all properties usually have a standard plaque on the wall showing the address like 35-15-2 which would be like having S6-3TR-70 stuck on your property wall.
VinceH, 3rd June 2022, 22:53
Ron's comment reminds me of the old freepost address I had for Soft Rock Software for some years. IIRC I always used the full form in adverts etc, but I've a vague recollection (so CBW) that as well as the 'freepost number' the postcode for that may have been unique as well, and they were used if you wanted to shortform the address.
VinceH, 3rd June 2022, 22:54
Rob, sorry

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