595 clarification

I take it all you Gruts Gangers have been watching Happy Valley out of morbid curiosity as to what life is really like in Upper Calderdale. Good, isn't it? The show I mean. As, indeed, is living in Upper Calderdale.

But you shouldn't believe everything you see on telly. Five episodes in, and how many hippies, lesbians, or fat blokes with beards have they shown prowling the streets of Hebden Bridge? Zilch, that's how many. How realistic isn't that? Meanwhile, if Happy Valley is to be believed, we can't move for drug addicts, psychopaths, kidnappers, rapists, cop-killers, and (I'm not making this up) ghosts.

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

Sarah Lancashire searching for kidnapping murderers round the back of Jen's sister's house the other week.

I didn't realise, until I saw the scene where Sarah Lancashire and her grandson come out of Oasis, having bought a bag of sweets, that I actually saw them filming the series. (For the record, Oasis doesn't sell bags of sweets.)

But the real howler came right at the end of episode 5. The seriously injured psychopathic triple murderer and kidnapper climbs on the 595 bus at Tuel Lane and heads off to Hebden Bridge for, we all presume, a final showdown with an unsuspecting Sarah Lancashire.

But here's the catch… The 595 bus doesn't go anywhere near Tuel Lane in Sowerby Bridge. It runs from Hebden Bridge station, down Commercial Street, up Birchcliffe, around Dodd Naze, up Wadsworth Lane, past our house, then takes a sharp left down Nook Lane through Old Town and Pecket Well to the Crimsworth turning circle, then all the way back along the same route in reverse to Hebden Bridge station.

I do wish the BBC would check their facts before airing misleading nonsense about local bus routes.

Only second?

BBC (Evan Davis): The case for making Hebden Bridge the UK's second city
Birmingham and Manchester are usually mentioned when the subject of Britain's second city comes up. But is Hebden Bridge—population 4,200—the rightful owner of the title?

I'm tempted to say it should be first, but I have divided loyalties. As we all know, Liverpool is currently the UK's first city.

Personal correspondence

For reasons that need not detain us, I needed to post a DVD to Greece on Friday. The man at Hebden Bridge Post Office weighed the slim envelope, consulted his computer, and told me that the postage would be £1.28. Bargain!

Then the man flexed the corner of the envelope suspiciously. “Have you enclosed a letter in here?” he asked.

Ha! Not catching me out with that one! “Oh, no,” I replied, quite truthfully, “it's just a DVD, nothing else!”

The man then re-consulted his computer, and told me that the postage would actually be £5.xx. I didn't catch the exact amount, as I went into shock after the words five pounds.

The man explained that, had the envelope contained a letter as well as a DVD, it would count as personal correspondence. Without such a letter, it was classified as a small package. Small packages cost more to send than personal correspondence. Considerably more, apparently.

What?” I whatted. “It costs £4 more to send exactly the same envelope without a letter than it does with a letter?!”

The man nodded.

I looked him straight in the eyes. “That's BONKERS!” I observed.

The look on the man's face told me two things: 1) I was by no means the first customer to make this observation, and 2) he agreed.

I then has a brain-wave and disclosed, once again quite truthfully, that I had, in fact, written in pen on front of the DVD. I asked if this didn't make the DVD itself into personal correspondence. The man confirmed my suspicion that it didn't.

So, I took my envelope back, went home, opened it, took out the DVD, addressed a brand new envelope, inserted the DVD and a note to the recipient saying words to the effect of “By enclosing this note, I am saving ⅔ of the postage. I trust you are well.”, sealed the envelope, wrote the words PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE! on the bottom, returned to the Post Office, and announced, “I'd like to send some personal correspondence to Greece, please.”

It cost me £1.28.