Adam Edwards: The mystery of the missing cheese
PUBLISHED: 10:46 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:46 27 February 2018
'Why send a driver without a torch into the pitch black of a winter night to a Cotswold village that has no lights, no named roads and very few named houses? Have they never heard of daylight hours?'
It may be February but only now am I able to spoon a Christmas portion of Colston Bassett Stilton onto a swanky cracker. The delayed spread is because my festive hamper of Neal’s Yard cheeses – an annual present from my sister –didn’t turn up until several days after the arrival of baby Jesus. It was left in a soggy cardboard box, without comment, outside my front door yesterday. It had been due to arrive on December 20.
That day a text on my mobile from the delivery company, DPD, told me the carton of cheese had successfully travelled from London to Birmingham overnight on the 19th and thence to the Gloucester depot where it was put on a van at 10.09. It would, said the company, be with me between 17.30 and 18.30 that evening.
And then it vanished. I had, I thought, tracked it successfully at 18.30, when the website assured me it was just 15 minutes away, and then again at 18.55 when it was reportedly only five minutes from my door. Shortly after 19.00 I stood outside my front gate with a torch to help the driver find my house. At 19.08 my mobile pinged. The text stated that my parcel had been successfully delivered and signed for by ‘KINEDT’.
Who the hell was KINEDT?
I contacted DPD and explained that while the van driver may have successfully delivered my parcel he hadn’t successfully delivered it to me. Tom, at DPD Customer Services, replied by email that he was sorry to hear what had happened and suggested that “on this occasion I contact the sending company and ask them to raise a signature dispute investigation with ourselves”. In other words to try and get a fancy London food company to find out, four days before Christmas, who, somewhere in the Cotswolds on the darkest night of the year, had scribbled an illegible fingernail signature on the screen of a mobile DPD electronic machine.
It was a Christmas mystery fit for Hercule Poirot and it proved insoluble. My door-to-door investigations in the village drew a blank. Nobody had heard of KINEDT and nobody had an unnoticed box of Neal Yard’s cheese sitting inside the front door. It was not until yesterday, six days after Christmas, that the sad, damp case appeared outside my house without a word of explanation.
Who was KINEDT? I wondered. Why had he or she been hiding my cheese for 10 days? And why had it been delivered in such a surreptitious manner? These are questions which, like the disappearances of Lord Lucan, Shergar and Agatha Christie, must I fear forever remain a mystery.
However, like all good mysteries it throws up a couple other questions. Firstly why do DPD send a driver without a torch into the pitch black of a winter night to a Cotswold village that has no lights, no named roads and very few named houses? Has DPD never heard of daylight hours? And secondly, if we can send a man to the moon (or invent artificial intelligence for that matter) isn’t there a better way of verifying receipt of a parcel than with a fingernail on a screen the size of a microchip?
Meanwhile I’d like to mention one other mysterious festive question from the last days of 2017 – why did our Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton Brown get a knighthood while our Cotswold queen Jilly Copper got a miserly CBE rather than a damehood? Old Etonian Geoffrey Clifton Brown, while I’m sure he’s a good egg, has risen through the political ranks without a trace, only blowing the very teeny-weeniest of Westminster bubbles unless, of course, you count his days as shadow spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs between 2009 and 2010.
A quarter of a century ago he was parachuted into one if the safest Tory seats in the country (a guaranteed majority of 25,000) after which his most notable achievement was to be exposed for flipping his second home in the MPs expenses scandal of 2009. Jilly Cooper on the other hand has sold more than eleven million books in the UK alone, done extraordinary work for animal charities and is a national treasure. Mind you if Britain’s barmy honours system can whistle up a knighthood for a pop group’s second choice drummer, an ex-Beatle who lives and pays his taxes in Los Angeles and last hit the bongos with any international success fifty years ago, there’s hope for us all.
For more from Adam, follow him on Twitter! @cotswoldhack