Friday, 27 February 2009

This Week at VS Music Supplies

My daily walk to the post office no longer requires me to muffle up in scarf, gloves and hat, so spring seems to be on the way now.

At this time of year I tend to sell more specimen sight-reading tests as students prepare for exams.  These books are really useful, providing practice tests before the real ting in the exam.  They cover all instruments and for most (but not all), they cover more than one grade - usually 1-5 in one book and 6-8 in another book, so you don't have to buy new ones each time.   Just put "Specimen Sight-Reading Tests" into the search engine.

It's also been a big week for Music Theory in Practice, the best theory workbook on the market.  Recently revised and reprinted, it is now very user-friendly.

And finally, Regency Oboe Reeds have been a big seller this week.

As an internet retailer, I am dependent on Royal Mail for my parcels to get to their destination. In October, I had one disappear because, according to Royal Mail, "the address does not exist".  The people who lived in the house disagreed with this for obvious reasons.  If the address is not on the Royal Mail database, it does not officially exist and if you are unfortunate enough to have a postie who is new to the area, chances are your post will not get there.  This does happen regularly with new houses, as there can be a considerable timelag in getting the address registered.  I sent a second parcel, it got there and in January the first parcel was returned.

This week I had another parcel returned, with a note saying it didn't exist.  I checked the postcode and found that everything about the address was right - name, house number, postcode and first part of the street name.  Unfortunately the second part of the street name said "road" instead of "fold" and so the jobsworth postman did not deliver it.  I was livid.

My own postman asked about it next day, wondering why it had been sent back and when I told him he expressed a pithy view about the postman in question, not really suitable for this blog!  He said that he delivers worse-addressed post every day than that one.  I can believe it.

One of the advantages of living in a semi-rural area is that the postmen are really conscientious and seem to use their brains (and compassion) rather more than their urban colleagues.  Our postman never sends parcels back to the sorting office but always finds somewhere to leave them to save us the trip, a badly addressed letter is more than likely to find the right person even if the house number/street is wrong and they are always pleasant.

So I have now sent the returned parcel again, and paid for it twice.  Let's hope it gets there this time.

One of the problems here is that if the regular postman or courier is off on holiday, the replacement doesn't know where the address is, where to leave deliveries if the person isn't in or who is who.  I had a parcel delayed this week due to a public holiday in Germany, checked it was on its way this morning only to see the courier (substitute driver) sail past in his van without stopping.  Aargh!

Let's hope I have fewer postal frustrations next week...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Life back to normal

All the snow is now gone, and everything is back to normal now.  

Last week the county council repaired the path I use to get to the post office every day - it's much easier and safer, it's just a pity they did it after I spent several days slipping and sliding on the icy mud!

Popular items over the last week or so: clarinet ligatures, clarinet mouthpiece caps and batons.  I am pretty much out of all of them and awaiting new stock now.

Some books sell in large numbers all at the same time - Easy Winners is one of these, and it is going through just such a phase this week.  It is listed on the brass exam syllabus but is also available for other instruments.  It's a collection of 75 famous tunes from many different types of music: TV, folk songs, pop songs, film themes and tunes from classical music.  There is also a new collection, called Great Winners, which has 48 new theme tunes, including Wallace and Gromit, the Maple Leaf Rag and the Great Escape March.  This is available only for brass at present.  

Both of these books are great value, and for most instruments a CD containing backing tracks is also available, so you can play along!  Just put "Great Winners" or "Easy Winners" in the search engine on the website (see left for link).

Monday, 2 February 2009

There are some days....

... when I'm even more glad than normal that I work from home.  I sat with my cup of coffee this morning watching the flakes falling and thinking how pretty it looks.  I can think that because I no longer have to defrost my car, skid slowly along the road out of the village and spend a few hours sitting in traffic before getting to the office and finding lots of people didn't bother getting out of bed.

If you have seen my Being Green policy you will know that I take my parcels to the post largely on foot.  On days like today it is in fact the safest way, avoiding the compacted snow on the roads and the speed kings who seem to think that driving along a snow/ice covered roads at 40 mph is a good thing.  

So this is the view on my way to the post office this morning.  It was quite dark with looming clouds and occasional snow flurries.

On the way back I took this picture 
of a snow covered East Lancashire.  We are set for heavy snow tonight, so more to come.