The first one took place a few weeks ago. The Chuppies was busy in the kitchen making up a giant Victoria Sponge for a family BBQ. A pair of marked down trainers (courtesy of M and M Direct) were due to be delivered and it was likely (although not a definite) that they might be delivered on that day. As patience is not one of the Chuppies' strongest virtues the sponge cooking was being interrupted by the almost constant twitching of his kitchen window blind (to see down in to the street below).
"You know it's not a 100% cert they'll come today!" I yelled through from the living-room whilst turning up the volume on the TV to try and drown out all the panicking and impatient noises emanating from the kitchen.
"Yebbut it did say 3-5 working days when I placed the order - and it would be the fifth day today." the Chuppies responded curtly from the kitchen.
"Dont forget I had issues with Hermes before though?" I reminded him. "The pesky scamps kept on sending `failed delivery' reports without turning up at my address. I had to wait three days before they actually delivered the stuff."
"Nooo - they're on their wayyy - they have to beee" the Chuppies whined before wandering in to the toilet to do a panicked pooh.
And, although I really didnt think the footwear was coming, since the Chuppies had spent the last hour or so on window duty, I suddenly felt obligated to step in whilst he was busy on the pot. So I walked in to the kitchen and pulled up the blind ... and, lo and behold, a courier company was just parking up outside.
"Chuppies!" I called, whilst watching the driver leave the van with a large black box under his arm.
"Ye-e-es?" came the Chuppies' strangled reply.
"A courier's just parked up and has a package. O, but hang on he's got a piece of paper with `Yodel' printed on it in the window. Dont think it's for you."
"It might still be. Can you buzz him in if he rings our buzzer?" the Chuppies called back, before the frantic sounds of toilet roll rolling and toilet flush flushing were heard.
"Sure!" I said, but our security intercom was not buzzed, and the van driver was already returning to his van (without the package) and starting up his engine.
"It's OK - false alarm!" I called out, as the bathroom door opened.
"What? What happened?" the Chuppies cried, still tugging up his trousers.
"He's going and our buzzer didnt go," I replied, "as I said it did say `Yodel' in the window. Obviously someone else in the block of flats were also getting a delivery today."
"He was quick though!" the Chuppies replied, watching the van drive off. "Did you see him go in?"
"Well I cant see all the way down as we're on the top floor ... but he was rather fast." I mused. "Here - you dont think he's just left someone's parcel outside the block?"
"Hang on - I'll just go downstairs" the Chuppies called whilst racing out of his flat.
As the Chuppies hurtled down his stairs I let go of the blind and chose then to ignore the absolute mess the kitchen had become. `Whoever creates a mess in the kitchen always clears it up' is our rule, so it didnt make any sense to dwell on the fact that the scales were (once again) flour encrusted, that the sink contained water that looked like a turd couple had set up home with all of their turd children and the kitchen tiles were so sticky in parts you had to walk carefully for fear of losing part of one of your soles on the floor.
Therefore I sensibly ignored the cookery wreckage and headed back in to the living-room to await the Chuppies' return. Which wasnt long and, as he burst through the flat entrance door a few seconds later, I noted that the black package which had just been delivered was under his arm.
"So it was your trainers? And that Yodel driver just left them outside??" I queried.
"No - yes - well no, it's not my trainers - yes, the driver did just leave it outside - and, er, the package was for this flat anyway."
"Really?" I asked wondering what further gadget the Chuppies had ordered (but then subsequently forgotten) this time.
"Yes, although not for me - for a `Franco De Rosata' at this address - and I think they're `In Sympathy' flowers".
"Eh?" I spat out, whilst watching the Chuppies fiddle with the Interflora box a bit and tap at the message card on top.
"I guess we should open this up and try and find out what's going on," the Chuppies commented, obviously meaning for me to do all of that but, for some reason, not quite getting round to saying so.
So I carefully lopped the message card off the top, to find that the flowers inside the box were twelve white lilies. After locating the order number I contacted Interflora and, after spending a few minutes on the phone, ascertained that they'd been ordered by a group of staff from a local company who I guess had not kept up-to-date with Mr Rosata's personal details - hence the delivery mistake.
Whilst on the phone I also let Interflora know that their courier company was crap. If we hadnt been in and spotted the delivery driver's arrival, the package would have just been left outside the flats - that's not delivering items, that's just abandoning them. The Interflora dude thanked me for my feedback and said it would be passed on to Yodel.
After chatting on a bit further, the Interflora dude eventually advised that a second order would be created. The bloke (whom the flowers were meant for) lived quite a distance away from the Chuppies' flat so it would be quicker to send out a brand new order than arrange for a collection and a further delivery. So as the flowers we'd received were now surplus to requirements the Interflora dude advised that we were welcome to keep the flowers - although only if we wanted to of course given that they were .. you know .. connected with DEATH and that.
- o0O0o -
The second weird thing took place about a week ago. I was travelling over to the folks courtesy of c2c. The journey takes just over an hour from London and, although it was right in peak rush hour, the carriage was (as is generally the way on this line) relatively quiet. There were a few people on the platform as my train taxied in to a platform at Fenchurch Street but as we entered the train and fanned out there were plenty of seats for everyone. I'd squeezed down a row of three seats to take the seat nearest the window and the space right next to me remained unoccupied for the next 3-4 stops (this sort of thing is unheard of on the Central Line).
And so it was, whilst looking out of the window and listening to my tunes on my iPod, that I was only half aware of someone finally setting down next to me just as we were leaving Upminster. Whilst I didnt look round at my next door neighbour, as the air had taken on a noticable `male taint' (not `man musk' - i.e. the whiff of someone who's unwashed - just, you know, that unmistakable scent of a man that some men carry) I assumed the passenger next door to me was packing charlies (and not breasts).
A few stops further down the line my next door neighbour left (taking his male taint and charlies with him) and my journey continued on for another half an hour to the end of the line.
And, it was at this point, that I noticed something strange.
As my train pulled into the final stop I got up to squeeze past the other seats in the row in order to exit the train, and spotted something laying on the seat next to me.
Not a newspaper.
Or a food item.
Or, even, a mislaid ticket.
Somehow, the bloke that had been sitting next to me had managed to leave behind
Now I'm sure that if this had been a film, the moment I caught sight of these dolls would have been accompanied by a taut blast of music. But, I tell you, even without a spooky violin screech, they still put the wind up me and, although I should have probably picked them up and handed them in at the ticket office, I just couldnt bring myself to touch them.
So I left them there.
And hurried off the train.