|Don't keep logs in one of these|
We recently had a bad experience with our logs-and-kindling box – we had a lovely old wooden blanket box, and suddenly we noticed it was looking decidedly wormy. I took it outside on a dry day and, with loving care, I squirted some anti-worm fluid into a flight hole, and was promply hit by a jet from another hole some 7 or 8 inches distant. This is never a good sign. Our blanket box had turned into something resembling the inside of a Crunchie bar, and we decided it should leave home at once, before this condition spread to other, more structural pieces of timber.
To replace it, we managed to obtain a fine big, open basket to take the logs – it’s even canvas lined, which is a big plus. We still need a lidded box or basket of some sort to take the kindling and the various lighters and cleaning materials which the stove requires, and the challenge has been to find something big enough to do the job.
This week the Contesse found an excellent one online – just the thing – a handsome basket with a hinged lid and carrying handles, just big enough to take one of our usual plastic kindling tubs. It was not cheap, but the seller (based in the West Midlands of England) offers “free shipping to Mainland UK” on orders of this size. Never slow to save the odd baubie, we were won over.
|The very thing...|
Not so fast. When we attempted to checkout with our lovely basket, the transaction included a sum of £15 for shipping because – that’s right, you guessed – our postcode is in Scotland. On reading the small print on the website, we find that Mainland UK to this firm means “England and Wales”. We’ve sent them a polite email, querying their policy. We live 40 miles north of the English border, and there is an awful lot of Mainland UK beyond us – I could, of course, arrange to have it shipped for free to a friend in Berwick upon Tweed, and collect it from there, but the Contesse is not sure she wishes to deal with this supplier any further. It’s less to do with our being indignant about being discriminated against (which would be a classic Scottish paradox – we like to be different but not to be left out!) than it has to do with an objection to being stiffed – especially by a bunch of ignorant bastards (as it were).
We are all hoping fervently that talk of Scottish independence will quietly go the way of the Loch Ness Monster and the Darien Scheme, but maybe Royal Mail’s postcode software already knows something we don’t.