Category Archives: Britain

Curry good service

It’s too easy to write about bad service but good service – real good service – needs to be shouted about, so people know who’s doing it well and how.

Saturday nights in the UK are perfect nights – every so often – for a good takeaway curry. And we’re luckily enough in Twickenham to have a good number of local Indian restaurants (a bonus living near to the home of rugby – The Twickenham Rugby Stadium – yes that’s where England beat the All Blacks this weekend).

Currys

A few weekends ago, with the kids in bed, it was time for a curry. Order placed with our favourite restaurant and greeted on the phone as normal with a pleasant “How are you?”. 40 ish minutes later and the food arrived, delivered in style by a gent in a nice suit and again very pleasant and friendly. Order complete with the usual free large bottle of Cobra beer. We dished up and Mrs. Noble discovered the naan bread that should have accompanied her order was missing. Shock, horror! What do we do?

Naan bread

A quick call back to the restaurant and apologies from them and driver on his way back. 5 minutes later and the missing naan arrived plus another free bottle of beer and a few more free poppadoms. Nice! Very happy customers.

The morals of the story?

1. Good service always counts – whatever business you’re in, however big you are and whatever size order your customer has with you.

2. Exceed customer expectations. Do more than others will at the same price. Your customers will remember you and they will come back.

3. When you make mistakes – and you will – fix them quickly and pleasantly and do more than your customers expect.

It’s all about curry good service…

And in case you wondered, our very friendly Indian restaurant is called The Green Spice. Pop in and see them or call them up for a take away, you won’t be disappointed.

The Green Spice (Twickenham)

Great quotes from Olympic athletes

The ultimate quotes – inspirational, motivational and more – from Olympic athletes…

  1. “Falling in life is inevitable, staying down is optional” ~ Carrie Johnson
  2. “Never put an age limit on your dreams” ~ Dara Torres
  3. “When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore” ~ Florence Griffith Joyner
  4. “The only way to overcome is to hang in” ~ Dan O’Brien
  5. “If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do” ~ Michael Phelps
  6. “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” ~ Missy Franklin
  7. “Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work” ~ Andre Agassi
  8. “Everything that I’ve ever been able to accomplish in skating and in life has come out of adversity and perseverance” ~ Scott Hamilton
  9. “The potential for greatness lives within each of us” ~ Wilma Rudolph
  10. “Have fun, because that’s what life is all about” ~ Ryan Lochte

And a link to another blog (“parents desk”) with some more great quotes.

Truly inspirational.  The motto for the London 2012 Olympics was “Inspire a generation” – I think they’ve gone way beyond this and inspired generations.

London does it best.  I can’t wait for the Paralympics and we’ve got tickets.  Super humans and even more inspiration.

Why testing is important…

Another Olympic post – this time on the genius (not) that is the London 2012 Olympic ticketing system.  This will be a vent of sorts, as I’ve spent too much time messing about trying to buy tickets as have millions of others.

The games themselves have been nothing short of amazing and what all the athletes have accomplished is incredible, but sport is also about people watching it.  And for an event of this scale you need a good mechanism in place to get people to see the sports they want to see.

Before we get started on the main theme of the post, Royal Mail have done it again.  We managed to get tickets for the Paralympics that start in a couple of weeks time.  An e-mail from LOCOG confirming we’d got them arrived (and we’d paid £6 for super delivery rather than picking them up at the event).  But no details on when they’d arrive, even roughly – so a black hole and left hoping they would arrive in time.  Then an e-mail from Royal Mail telling me the tickets were ready to be delivered…

Followed by another to tell me the tickets would be with me the next day.  And then one to confirm they’d been received by me, literally within seconds of me electronically signing for them with the local postie.  Now that is real service and great to see the Royal Mail – that great British institution – as a shining beacon in the whole Olympic ticketing fiasco.

The actual ticketing system went live around April 2011 – so over 16 months ago – and in that time it hasn’t changed one bit (as in problems fixed, updates done etc).  That’s a year with no new development.  How can that be right?  Was it perfect when first released?  Had all the testing that was done shown it to be perfect?  No and that’s one big no.

Rather than go into all the issues myself there is a great post on BuzzFeed Sports by Alex Rees that very nicely gives you all the juicy details – see below (it’s worth a read)…

It is very apparent from this that virtually no real testing on how the site or service works can possibly have been done.  User acceptance testing?  No – why do we need to do that, it’ll work.  Load testing?  Will many people be wanting to use the site at the same time?  Surely not.  Performance testing?  It’s just a web site.  Problems identified by the public (the users or customers), should we fix them within 16 months?  No, what’s fixing all about?

Any of these are part of computing for beginners 101, and to get onto building a web-site 101 you have to have got the first certificate already.

So why has this happened?  Good old outsourcing.  LOCOG clearly aren’t a software house and don’t build ticketing or e-commerce sites.  So they put together an RFI and get it out with all the big boys in the market place, including ticketmaster (who won it and built the site).  And it will have come down to money – ticketmaster will have bid and bid at a price they could win at and LOCOG will have picked the cheapest so they keep costs down.  Now I may be making some assumptions here, but I’ll bet they’re right!

The site will have been designed to some brief specs (or even an Agile type user story) – we need to sell tickets for the Olympic events for the public – it couldn’t be simpler.  They will have been paid to build it and maybe run it for a little bit but future development, fixes, upgrades etc?  Never – why would we need them, it’s only the Olympics and it’s only on for a short known period.  It’s not an Amazon type service that will keep running.

That’s the key here.  This has never been built to improve or do the job well, it’s been built to just (almost) do the job and no-one’s re-visited it (the design) since and has no intention to.

Testing before we go-live?  Why would we possibly need to do that?  Testing with our actual end users and listening to what they say?  Surely not, you only get…

  • Empty seats
  • Bad press
  • Frustrated British public

But like I said at the start it has been an absolutely awesome Olympic games, the best I’ve seen – and we did get some tickets (for the rowing) and saw some of the free events (road cycling) and today we’re off to see the men’s marathon in London.  And my favourite bits –  the men’s 100m, 200m, 4x100m and the men’s 10,000m and 5,000m.  Mo Farah – a local Teddington man who went to St. Mary’s University in Twickenham (where we do our karate now) and a Bushy Park Parkrun runner – is my hero of the games!  What an athlete.

The little Nobles doing the Mobot after his 5,000m win last night and the man himself with Mr. Bolt…

London does it best…!

Yes we’re there.  London 2012 is here now and we’ve got another amazing week to go.  The last 7 years of planning, moaning about costs, getting the transport infrastructure sorted out, training for all the athletes, buying (or in most cases trying to buy) tickets and everything else Olympic related has finished and we’re now celebrating in great British style.

The opening ceremony was something else.  A great show, showcasing the amazingness that is this great island country and less of the spectacle that Beijing 2008 was.  Some parts maybe missed if you’re not British but they were genius!  The Mr. Bean bit had us in complete stitches.  Classic.

We had our own Olympic party to watch the ceremony and all got into the spirit of it in true British style…

And then the games began.  Unbelievable achievements everywhere for all countries.  Some stunning events – including gymnastics (what these guys can do with their bodies defies belief), weightlifting (how much can they lift?), athletics (my favourite) and much much more.  The training, focus and everything all the athletes put into it, is a real inspiration to us all.

We had tickets to see the rowing early in the week which was amazing.  Standing seats (?) only but a great atmosphere.  Seeing the boats going past along the 2km course is very cool, with the crowd cheering for them.  Living in Twickenham we were lucky enough to see the cycling time trials come through here – over and done with in 8 seconds (going past you) but again great to see.

      

Paralympic athletic and judo tickets also for us, so more amazingness to see in a few weeks time.

Mrs. Noble managed to see the Olympic torch coming through Richmond – exactly where I was working until the end of last year (typical) and then again going up the Thames to the Olympic Park for the opening ceremony.  Daddy was working so didn’t get to see them!

   

We headed up to Heathrow Airport the week before the Olympics to spot athletes coming in and we did.  We got to see the teams for Australia (rowing), Japan, India (table tennis), UAE, Mongolia, Estonia and a few others.  Very cool to see them arriving.

On the opening weekend we had to venture up into London – without event tickets (on the off chance that we could have bought some – fat chance, the whole ticketing system and process has been a complete and utter shambles; you couldn’t do it worse and whoever built – ha! – the actual online system needs a severe talking to; but that’s for a different post – to be titled something about why testing and planning is important).  And complete with friends up from the South coast.  Great fun, getting the buzz everywhere.  No tickets, not even close but good to be up in the middle of it all.  And seeing our great British armed forces on patrol – filling in brilliantly where G4S abysmally messed up – was the ultimate in re-assurance.

   

Our London 2012 mascots are everywhere in London and all very nicely themed.  Now I’m working in the city (near Bank) I’ve done some great great runs around the city at lunchtime and even better to Vauxhall – part of the way home – in the evenings.  The run across Tower Bridge, along the South Bank, across the Millennium Bridge (what was the wobbly bridge), past London Bridge, past Waterloo and the great London Eye is unbelievable.  What a run past some of the greatest sites in the world.

Amazingly the London transport system is doing very well under the immense pressure that this many more people brings.  There are signs at all the train stations pointing you in the right direction to the different Olympic venues, tube train maps have been updated showing you the right stops to get off at, Olympic volunteers are everywhere to help and daily updates are sent out (by e-mail) to let you know busiest stations that day.  It’s all working and well…

Go Team GB.  An awesome achievement so far and more to come.  14 gold medals (as of now) and 3rd in the medal tables behind the USA and China (both much much bigger countries in terms of land sizes and populations).

A great stat below from a friend on Facebook today…

London doesn’t get much better than this.

Don’t charge for digital when printed is free…

You’ll remember from my recent posts (“It’s official – the 6 year old’s verdict is that digital magazines are better!“) that I’m now a convert to digital newspapers, when done well – like the good old London Metro (which is free for both the printed paper and the digital iPad version).  So this week, starting the London commute again and picking up the free London Evening Standard each night on the way home (at the London tube stations), I was excited to read about their new iPad version.

All looks good, so where do I get it and how?  But then reading the smaller print, what’s this, you can get a free trial?  And then what?  Oh then it’s £4.99 per month.  But the printed one, the one everyone picks up at the tube and train stations is still free – yes with ads (lots) but it’s free.  The iPad is pretty much the same version, with ads, but I have to pay for it?  That’s all wrong!  Ok, the printed one used to be paid for but it’s not now, and hasn’t been for some time.

I’m now one customer the Evening Standard won’t get with their new digital version.  With this new planned business model, I’m not even going to go for the trial.  Why should I?  It’s too easy for me to get the printed one every evening and hey I could get a few if I wanted, and all for free.

Digital is not about a new way of making money from subscribers.  It’s about a different, and yes new, channel for how we as the customer want to be able to access the same content.  That’s it.  Why should it cost me more to consume?  It cost you more to build it?  Ok, but that’s all about investment for the future – digital is the way it’s going so get on-board quick and get some earlier adopters with you to iron out problems etc, then maybe look at new pricing.  Like a monthly charge for premium content, not the normal free content.  But not a short term return, that won’t work.

Some reviews of the Evening Standard iPad app from the Apple Appstore…

… it’s not just me!

The Metro are still – by a long way – the only newspaper publisher (in the UK at least) who are doing this well.  Their printed and digital versions are free, and their digital version offers more than the printed version, and hey yes I may now be willing to pay extra for the digital one because it offers more.  I said may – still not 100% convinced.

Should we put up with poor service?

No!  It’s that simple.  There’s too much of it about and it’s got to stop.  Whether I pay for the service directly or through some strange indirect route, it shouldn’t be rubbish.

As consumers – where there’s no contract or service agreement in place – we often think we have to put up with poor service, because it doesn’t appear there is any other option.  Add outsourcing to this where suddenly the English (in my case) the other person is using can be a challenge, and this can get even worse.

There are many reasons why the service might be poor – even though for me (a true believer in nothing but great service – at home and at work) it goes against everything I’m about – and they include:

  1. Misunderstanding – for either or both parties
  2. Communication problems – related to above
  3. Someone’s had a bad day – it happens to us all but it has wide impacts
  4. Lack of accountability and responsibility – just reading from scripts
  5. Unable to think for themselves – those providing the service (unable = not allowed)

These all happen and we can understand how they can impact service.  And they can be changed and services improved.  But when there’s lack of thinking or planning into how the service will work, or even what service is all about and not having the people with the right attitude in place that’s not right.

Some examples this week of poor service – both from the same company but different people at different times – that I’ve experienced in preparation for starting a new working life up in London and on the lovely London commute are below…

South West Trains – who provide the train services for my commute into London – scored badly twice this week.  And it’s not just me who’s had bad service from them recently.

Having spotted a Twitter handle for South West Trains recently and seen them use it very well, I was impressed and their service looked to be headed in the right direction but no!

On Monday I needed to get a monthly ticket for my journey.  Easy or so I thought.  I headed to the local station at about 11:20am but hit my first hurdle there and was told you can’t put it on your Oyster pass there because they’re not Transport For London (TFL) – who run the London Underground.  Now for non-Londoners this gets complicated now.  Oyster cards are PAYG or stored value tickets for the tube within London but also London travel zones 1-6, which can include trains, if that train company takes part.  Oh the joys of privatisation of the national railways!

But you can use the Oyster card at the local station.  Ok so someone’s not really thought this through.  TFL tickets and South West Train tickets can be used there and provide the same service.  I’m just a customer and just want to travel into London.  I don’t care who owns the route.  That should be transparent to me when it comes to simply buying tickets.  Maybe it’s down to system integration at the back-end.  Poor service example number 1.

Ok – so we now need to go to a local TFL (tube) station.  The image below shows the complexity of London train and tube travel if you didn’t know already…

It’s a big map, there’s lots of stations and some of it is over 100 years old!  But the ticketing should work – the trains do, on the whole.

We now get to the tube station and Mrs. Noble pulls up in the car outside.  In I go now confident that this will work.  Monthly ticket please on my Oyster – “No you can’t get a new one until after 12pm” – Say what?  Why not? – “ATOC rules!” – Huh?  A tweet to South West Trains to see if they can help but no it’s the rules, that’s it.  No reason why.  No understanding, point blank no and no other help.  Example number 2.

Both examples of 4, 5 and 6 in my points above.  They could have dealt with either request very differently and provided the same end result but the customer happier.

  • Example 1 – sorry sir, we’re not able to sell that here and I’m afraid you can’t buy a new one of ours until after 12pm, as it’s new.
  • Example 2 – sorry sir, for new ones you need to wait until after 12pm.  Oh I see it’s nearly 12pm now, let me check and we’ll sort that out for you.

Now I’ve got started I’ve got more examples of bad service to come.  Do take a look at the @My6Percent site – it’s a bit harsh but fair and you can see how bad the service can be!  As a London commuter, I just accept most of it but then that goes back to my first point – I shouldn’t.

Do you put up with bad service?

A 10k PB the day after the race

Having run a very frustrating 10k last Sunday in the British 10k, and spent pretty much all of the race not running as well as I knew I could and weaving in and out of lots of walkers, I decided to go for broke and do another 10k – on my local route – and go for it, the very next day.

No this wouldn’t normally be do-able after running a good race and pushing yourself but no normal post race DOMS or anything even close this time.  After all my other races – 1/2 and full marathons – I’ve not been able to walk or do stairs for a good few days, never mind run!  10k is shorter sure but you should still feel something, if not at least very very tired and in need of a rest.

My local route is out 5km and back 5km with only a couple of roads to cross so no big issues being forced to drop pace.  And avoiding the gate into Bushy Park – which saves a good 10 seconds in and out.

I set off with a great pace – sub-7 minutes per mile and managed to maintain it until the dreaded turn around.  It then dropped back to around 7:08 and hovered there until the last mile or so.  Then I picked up a bit more and finished with a pace of 7 minutes per mile and time of 43 minutes and 30 seconds.  A whole minute better than my recent PB on the same route and 3 minutes better than the British 10k the day before.  Nice!

It just shows how bad the race had been for me.  This one felt good and sub-40 minutes by the end of the year is a possibility – with the right speed work!

Some 5k Parkruns to be done next and at a new one at our local Crane Park – less than one mile away from us, so nice and easy to get to on a Saturday morning.

The British 10k race report – or how not to organise a race

From what first looked like a great race, past all the great sites in this great city – London – the reality was a little different!

An early start yesterday and a train journey up to London with the Noble gang.  As normal for any London races on Sundays, the trains and tubes were full of runners, which is always a nice sight!  And a painless journey up to London.

We arrived in plenty of time so managed a little walk around to see some sites – flags up all down Regent St. ready for the Olympics and our own Noble Bolt (me).

Lots of people around Picadilly Circus all heading to the race, so we wandered along in the general direction that everyone was going.  The heavens opened briefly – as forecast – but it didn’t last long and didn’t seem to worry anyone.  It’s only a little rain!

Then a very convoluted route to walk towards the start, over a mile away and lots and lots of people.  Nic and the kids left me in the queue and headed back – for a coffee and to find a good point to cheer me on (which they did but didn’t get to see me as it took me a lot longer than planned to get there and by that time they’d headed back to where we were going to meet after – see below).

I must have been 2/3 of the way back in the pack and the start was a long long way away with a huge crowd of runners queuing up.  The photo below shows what it was like…

An amazing monument – the Bomber Command Memorial – and great to see to it.  The start for the race is actually opposite on the other side of the road, so you have to loop round very slowly.

Once across the road you can start running and then cross the start already going.  Then you realise that it’s not going to be fast.  Despite entering your predicated finish times on the entry forms, it served no purpose and everyone starts wherever they want with no time pens.  Surely this is a school boy error – every other race I’ve done sets you up in order of predicted finish times so you can at least give it your best shot and go for a PB.  But not here.  Even those crossing the start line only a minute after the gun went off, complained of the same problem.  It took me about 25 minutes to cross the start line after the official start.

The whole race is then weaving in and out of people, a lot walking, only 1km in.  What’s that all about?  Not just a few, but a lot.

Still a nice route, though you don’t notice much as you’re watching out so you don’t trip over other runners.  A bit more rain on the route just crossing Westminster Bridge but the finish wasn’t too far away so time to pick up the speed – if I can…

Managed a nice last 1/4 mile finish really picking up the speed but didn’t feel I’d put everything in when I crossed the line.  Frustrating way to finish as I’d high hopes to get a PB for the distance.  But the sheer volume of runners at all speeds, meant this was never going to happen.

My official finish time was 46 minutes 34 seconds.  So 2 minutes over my recent PB.  My Garmin time was 43 minutes 39 seconds.  How that can be 3 minutes different I’ve no idea.  The Garmin also said I’d still got 0.17 miles to run.  That I can understand as it loses the signal in the tunnels (x3) but the time should still be correct.  So around 45-46 minutes I think.  Which given the much slower pace is ok.  Placing was 1195 out of 25,000 ish – maybe even near 30,000 – so not bad…

A couple of other photos from the race…

A few shots of the elite guys – 29 minutes to finish.  Awesome stuff…

 

And me after meeting my support crew, at Trafalgar Square, complete with my finishers medal…

Now the bad bits and looking at race reviews and reports from previous years, this happens every year.  That’s a bit shocking and how they’ve not listened and sorted these problems out is anyone’s guess.  Sponsored by a big name like Nike, surely it’s in their interest to get it right?  Just do it?  No?

To kick things off some reviews – from Runners World readers – of the 2010 and 2011 races…

Hmm, I didn’t find these before, but they’ve got it spot it.  And there’s more…

  • Charging 50p for toilets along the route is a joke.  They need to be free.  See how the London Marathon or Royal Parks 1/2 do it.  The £50 or £32 race fee should fund hiring toilets.  You don’t need many for 10k.
  • Medals not given as you finish but a mile later when collecting your bags is daft.  With my family there to support me, I didn’t have bags to collect but had to walk to where the bags were to collect the medal.  When you finish, you’re in a good mood, you should get a “Well done” and a medal around your neck.  Not thrown in a bag by some steward 20 minutes later who’s grumpy.
  • The £50 gold place I paid was for 2 t-shirts which I got but it seems plenty of others didn’t and there was other issues with t-shirts.  Not a big problem for me, for me the £50 was to race which I thought was ok.  But if you’re promising certain goodies as well then you need to stick to it.
  • Better signage from about 7km.  Mentioned by others as well.  Not brilliant and difficult to know how much further to go (unless you’ve got a watch / GPS tracker).  And there’s only 10 markers needed, it’s not asking for much.
  • Start pens by predicted finish times or make it clear it’s a fun run and people shouldn’t be going for PBs.  Again everyone else does this and it’s not new!  Or even different starting locations.
  • A more direct walk to the start – getting everyone to walk over a mile isn’t the way to do it.
  • This may just be me, but if you’re going to have Her Majesty’s Life Guard Band playing 3 verses of the National Anthem, encourage people to sing along at least to the first one.  No-one was singing, apart from me – at least where I was in the queue.
  • Plan for enough medals.  Yes they ran out.  Luckily I got one.  How they can run out is beyond me.  Do they not know how many people were expected to finish?  Kind of equals the number who started plus lets add a few extra, doesn’t it?  To finish and not get a medal sucks big time.

Most of these are basic issues and to say this run has been going a fair few years, it’s a disgrace really that the organisation of it is getting stick like this, year after year!  And it’s not just me – I promise.  Sure I’m quick to highlight when service (yes this is a service) is rubbish but only when it’s that bad it needs to be pointed out.

See Runners World reviews for the race this year…

And on the British 10k Facebook page for this year…

Yes it is the first 10k race I’ve done, I’m more used to 1/2 marathons and full marathons, but should the organisation be any different?  No.  Would I run this one again?  I don’t know.  The route is amazing and I get real goosebumps when running through London past all the great sites but the lack of good organisation is very disappointing.  Another 10k definitely and one in London – maybe the Bupa one has a lot of good reviews and feedback.

60 of the best photos from the Jubilee weekend

Some very cool photos from the long weekend we’ve just had in the UK celebrating 60 years of The Queen on the throne, thanks to LBC 97.3.  Not just one of the great radio stations out there – with some pretty amazing presenters and talk shows (and no music), and great great conversations, sometimes controversial, sometimes very funny and sometimes way out there.

And it wouldn’t be complete without some photos from the BBC as well would it – click on the Union Jack below (or the Union Flag to use it’s correct technical name – as Mrs. Noble keeps telling me).

In true UK style it rained for the Thames Pageant but millions were out in support, lining the banks of the Thames.  Some pretty amazing shots showing the number of people and all in very very patriotic moods with flags flying!  Sadly we weren’t in the crowds – we were in the Royal Albert Hall doing our bit with a Jubilee sing-along concert and had a amazing afternoon.  A very very feel good weekend for Britain.  No-one does ceremony like we do!

Royal Mail show us how it should be done – London Olympic tickets

Despite the fiasco about booking tickets for the London 2012 Olympics and the lack of thought that seems to have gone into the whole way the tickets are sold to UK residents (and how user friendly the systems aren’t and how the system couldn’t handle the demand for tickets, I could go on but that’s not what this blog post is about), the tickets we did get have arrived.

A very nice package, with tickets and a bit of information about the event.  It’s for rowing, which is over in Windsor, so not London, but they’ve very kindly included 4 travelcards for us to use on the day to get to the event in London.  Hmmmmm.

And they’re standing area only but the cheapest “seats” or tickets so not too unexpected.

Don’t get me wrong, I may sound not too positive about all this but I am.  It’s going to be an awesome summer in London and as I’ve said in previous posts, this is London’s year.  Plus with the Jubilee celebrations this weekend, it really doesn’t get much better.

I was at a conference in London this week about the online Olympics and the technology behind the scenes is incredible.  Never have there been games before where the demand for online media has been so great.  Back in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics, social media services like YouTube, Twitter and even Facebook were still growing up.  In 2012 it’s a completely different story, social media is pretty much everywhere and being used in all sorts of different ways, by consumers (of all ages), brands and everyone else.  The demand on the back-end infrastructure for storage, distribution and more is going to be unprecedented.  The task of forecasting what to expect will have been no small feat, and no doubt is still changing and being fine tuned.  The plans around redundancy and how to fix problems – with the technology – will be something else.  What the BBC have planned is fantastic – their Sports page on their web-site is the centre piece and the experience you’ll get on all devices – personal computers, tablets, mobiles, smart TVs and anything else, is going to be so good that it will almost (maybe not quite) be a better more immersive experience than actually being there!  That annual license fee we pay in the UK for the BBC doesn’t look too bad.  The planned 24 live better than HD (as we know it) simultaneous video streams is impressive to say the least.  This really is the first global online digital Olympics.  Right up my street – in both ways!

The BBC have got it right, lots they’ve learnt from that amazing service that is the BBC iPlayer and other global British broadcasts they’ve done – the Royal Wedding last year for example.

But the ticket system and booking events, we’ve not got it quite right.  One shining light here though – and the subject of this post – is Royal Mail.  That amazing British institution that just works so well.  Where else in the world can you post a letter or anything for that matter and know it will arrive anywhere else in the country pretty much the next day.  Yes the prices have just gone up, but it’s still worth it.  Interestingly as well, a postman I was speaking to only this week, said it’s one of the few services you still pay for before they deliver and actual give you the service.

Having had a few e-mails from the Olympic organisers about when roughly to expect the tickets to arrive, you kind of sit back just waiting and hoping.  This morning, I got an SMS message and e-mail from Royal Mail telling me the tickets would arrive today.  They then arrived care of our very friendly local postman Mick, with a big smile on his face.  Signed for with the mobile pad he had and then literally less than one minute later another SMS message and e-mail confirming they’d been received.  Now that’s proper service and a very very good use of the latest technology.  Keep it up Royal Mail, another reason Britain is brilliant.