Never Ever Yodel. Ever.

I’m not talking about the calls of Alpine herders, I’m talking about the delivery company ‘Yodel.’ This may not apply to those of you across the seas, but for anyone in the UK, I implore you to avoid using companies who deliver through Yodel. Their service has been appalling this year, and I invite you to visit this website – http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/yodel.co.uk – and read through some of the reviews on there. For the record, there are green reviews, though 75% (ish) are not.

Now, let me tell you exactly why you should steer clear of this company. When I say ‘steer clear,’ I don’t mind walking around a puddle, or skipping over a pile of winter-soaked mulch on the street, I mean give them a good, healthy berth, as if you were skirting Chernobyl. 

We ordered a PS4 before Christmas, not expecting it to arrive until around December 31st. On 24th, we received an e-mail from Yodel, telling us that our parcel had been delivered at some time after 9am that day. Needless to say, we had not received anything. We decided to check Zavvi the next day, intending to see if/when our PS4 might be shipped and learn, much to our dismay, that it was the PS4 that Yodel had delivered the day before. We expected the worst, thinking the driver, drunk with Christmas spirit, had stolen it. We immediately began looking for some way, any way, to contact Zavvi or Yodel but could not. Yodel, it seems, have no phone number whatsoever, whilst Zavvi was dead for Christmas. We wait, restless, for some kind of response. Come Boxing day, we decide we need to go out for some bits and pieces and find, to our unending shock and horror, that a box is sat in the middle of the walkway.

Inside this box there is PS4.

Beneath this box, there is a puddle.

Beyond the walkway, there is rain. Not light drizzle, not a light misting, but a thick gout of heavy rain. Swirling around this rain are temperatures of below freezing and gusting winds.

It would appear that our dear delivery driver did the hard part in finding our house in what is a relatively out of the way place, carried the package up four flights of steps and then decided he couldn’t be bothered knocking. Not only is this an egregious failing of their responsibility, their mandate and their promise to a customer, but it’s disgustingly neglectful. And that’s before we consider the fact that, not for the first time, apparently, a Yodel driver has signed for the package himself before leaving.

The box was sat in the cold, the wind, the rain, for 2 days, because let’s face it, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s windy, and it’s Christmas, what reason did we have to go outside and check to see if our delivery driver had decided to fucking abandon his responsibility at the door to our home? I wanted to rage. But instead, a friend of mine posted a link to trustpilot where I learn that this is not the first time this has happened, or even the worst thing they are guilty of. I’m inclined to think their green reviews are from people paid to say nice things about them. 

In summary, if you are in any way able to determine if the company you’re buying from uses Yodel, I beg you to turn away and pay a little extra somewhere else. Maybe Yodel do their job for you, but the majority of the time, they don’t. I’m talking more than 70% of the time. Pay a little extra with another company, pay for the security of knowing that company cares about its customers and its mandate.

Pay a little extra. Save yourself the hassle.

Sometimes I Feel Like Girls Moult More Than Cats & Dogs

 

I’m sure we, as men, have all suffered through unclogging drains in the shower after the girl has washed her hair, but seriously, I have to draw the line at randomly finding strands inexplicably tangled in my beard! Honestly. And yes, I know, it’s a cliche. A fantasy writer with a beard! Le gasp. On an otherwise unrelated note, today I dabbled with arts and crafts for the first time in twenty or so years. I made a card for my lesser half, and it was totally shoddy, yet badass too. I had very little to work with. In the end, I butchered an Empire magazine and put to use a picture of a bearded chap with a lion over his shoulders. Both looking confused. It felt appropriate. It was also appropriate that when finished, I had a card that looked like it could have been made by a 7 year old.

Honestly, next year, I’m just buying a card. And I’m buying stocks in Hallmark. Those guys really make life easier. I never appreciated it until this day. I have one of those nightmare arrangements, in which my girlfriend has her birthday 4 days before Christmas. But wait, there’s more! She’s a twin, so naturally, that means buying for two of them. And of course they’re opposed to being lumped into one big Christmas haul. Can’t blame them on that front, mind you. 

All in all, a productive day of card-making and gift-wrapping. And watching The Spectacular Now, which is a rather wonderfully crafted story, about rather wonderfully crafted characters, starring the wonderfully wonderful Shailene Woodley. It was quite enjoyable, despite the Freudian edge that manifests towards the end presenting the dear MC with tried and tested daddy issues. Regarding Miss Woodley, I was a little crestfallen to hear they’d cut all her scenes from The Amazing Spiderman, but having then learned the reasons, I’d have to agree it was for the best. She gets 3 & 4, though, which isn’t all that bad.

On the topic of young adult heroines, this is a good read: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tommywes/times-in-2013-jennifer-lawrence-proved-she-was-master-of You will have to google the videos if you want to see the actual footage, but it’s totally worth it. There’s something refreshing about seeing the chick fan-girling over Jeff Bridges.

The Aftermath. *Dramatic pause… and collapse*

 

NaNoWriMo’s aftermath. I had hoped to maintain a pace of 1600 words a day, which didn’t work out too well over December’s first week, and since that week climaxed, I’ve managed 1k a day, three or four times. I’m not overly worried, since I’m still maintaining an interest in writing this story, as well as the motivation and the desire to keep writing. I refuse to worry about plot though. I’m going to let the characters worry about that. 

There are some good deals lurking along this path, for the winners of WriMo, which are most endearing indeed. 2 free books from LuLu, a manuscript review from one company or another, 50% off Scrivener, which was nice to get for PC as well as Mac. That’s all irrelevant though. This post is mostly just to regain a hold on my blog posting. 

I picked up Doctor Sleep and Raising Steam yesterday, too, which I’m looking forward to diving into. I’ve never read much of the Discworld stuff, but don’t judge me, it merely means I have 30odd years to catch up on. My plan all along, honest. What can you say about those two fellers? If there are any authors more prolific, I’m yet to find them. I’ve heard every one of King’s releases are worldwide bestsellers, too. Who doesn’t aspire to that? The guy is everything we, as writers, should aspire towards. And if I can conjure from my imagination even half the utterly bizarre and wonderfully colourful stuff that Pratchett has, I’m in a good place.

I’m 60k words into my second novel though. I’m not yet published, and perhaps I never will be. But there’s self-publishing too, if need be, and we should all endeavour to remember that, should we not? In this day and age, self-publishing is more viable than ever before. Yes, the industry is competitive, it’s as hard to get in to as it is to remain within it, as is the case with any relationship worth holding on to. 

NaNoWriMo; a Legacy.

So yeah, I finished NaNo 5 days early, with 50,002 words, reaching a total of around 56k by the month’s close. All in all, a hugely successful month. Now, with the story underway, I can afford to take a day or two to plan out where it’s going, which ought to ease the strain somewhat. I have to say, I’ve seen some people come in with more than 60 and 70k words, no doubt there are others with still more, but those who haven’t completed the word count need not consider the month a failure. If you have written anything with any degree of regularity, developed characters or ideas and concepts, perhaps even just developing your own writing voice, then the month was a success, and kudos to you. With NaNo done, there’s not much more for me to say on the matter, so I’ll close with a little message to any budding authors who stumble across this post today, tomorrow, or five years from now. Writing’s hard, but we’ve all failed before, it’s nothing to be afraid of. Be afraid of never trying again, it’s worked for me.