Monday, 6 PM. Doorbell rings.
Van driver: Amazon delivery for you.
Jon Stamford: I’m not expecting one. What is it?
Van driver: I don’t know, I just deliver. It says live bird and plant specimen. Some sort of shrub I guess.
Jon Stamford: I think there’s been a mistake,
Van driver: Don’t think so. The address is correct.
Jon Stamford: Can you show me the document… And tell your man to stop unloading it. That’s hardly a shrub, is it? It’s taken two of you just to get the thing out of the van. Now don’t bring it up the drive. Just hold on there until we get this sorted out.
Van driver: Look I’m just doing my job. It says here “leave with customer. No signature required”
Jon Stamford: Yes but what if the customer isn’t expecting it or doesn’t want it? I mean who sent it for a start?
Van driver: Doesn’t say. The ink has run on the docket. Look mate, we’re just delivery men. If you’ve got a problem, take it up with Amazon.
Jon Stamford: I will, but incidentally for future reference, something 15 feet tall is not a shrub. That’s a tree by any standard. Now please take it away to wherever you take unwanted trees. And the bird. Whatever it is.
Van driver: Sorry. Can’t do that. We are already running late so we can’t get back to the depot tonight. And were not allowed to carry live animals.
Jon Stamford: Well you appear to have carried a live animal here…
Van driver: Yes but that’s different you see. That’s a delivery not a return. We are not allowed to take returns.
Jon Stamford: So what am I meant to do with a partridge in a pear tree that I didn’t order and don’t want?
Van driver: Phone Amazon?
Jon Stamford: Why– do they have a Department for unwanted plants and animals delivered without warning and unrequested?
Van driver: I don’t know mate. We are just deliveries.
Jon Stamford: Well thank you.
Van driver: Enjoy your evening.
Jon Stamford: Well thank you so much. I can’t wait to see what you bring me tomorrow that I haven’t requested.
Tuesday, 6 PM. Doorbell rings.
Van driver: Delivery for Mr Stamford.
Jon Stamford: That’s me. I’m not expecting one. And incidentally aren’t you the driver I spoke to yesterday?
Van driver: Don’t know. We see a lot of people.
Jon Stamford: You delivered a tree and a bird. Unrequested. Does that ring a bell?
Van driver: Ah yes sir. I remember. You got a bit shirty about it.
Jon Stamford: A bit shirty? I had to hire a forklift to remove the tree to the local garden centre. And I’ve no idea where the bird has got to. Hitchhiking to Morocco for all I know. I shall be demanding compensation from Amazon for this.
Van driver: Well, like I said sir, we just do deliveries. If people don’t want deliveries, that’s their problem.
Jon Stamford: And what is today’s unsolicited parcel then?
Van driver: I don’t know. I’ll just get it down from the van. Sign here please.
Jon Stamford: And what am I signing for?
Van driver: Err, turtledove times two. Matched pair
Jon Stamford: Hold on a minute. I haven’t ordered any turtle doves.
Van driver: Delivery address is correct and you are Jon Stamford.
Jon Stamford: Yes but I didn’t order them. Who sent them?
Van driver: Let me check It’s a Mister Non. A Non.
Jon Stamford:Anon. In other words anonymous.
Van driver: Oh I get it. Now where do you want these?
Jon Stamford: That’s just the point. I don’t want these.
Van driver: I don’t get it why is somebody sending these birds.
Jon Stamford: I don’t know. Is there any point in me asking you to take them away?
Van driver: No sir. We…
Jon Stamford:… Only do deliveries not returns”. Yes I know. Look, I’ll tell you what. I will give you my phone number so that the next time you have an unusual delivery to make to my house you can phone me first and find out whether or not I need them.
Van driver: Okay, you’re the boss.
Jon Stamford: Thank you. Oh and release the birds.
Wednesday 2 PM car pulls into driveway narrowly missing a chicken. JS exits car.
Jon Stamford: What the…!
Neighbour: Oh I’m glad you are back. Amazon came this morning while you were out.
Jon Stamford: and… No, wait. Let me guess.
Neighbour (laughing nervously): You’ll never guess
Jon Stamford: I think I will. They delivered three hens. Please tell me I’m wrong.
Jon Stamford: You mean they didn’t deliver birds?
Neighbour: No, I mean no I can’t tell you you’re wrong.
Jon Stamford: So they did in fact deliver hens today?
Neighbour: two buff Orpingtons and a Rhode Island Red.
Jon Stamford: Orpington and Rhode Island are hardly French are they?
Neighbour: So I gave them French names. Do you want to hear them?
Jon Stamford: Not right now. Let’s save that treat. And where are the other two that I didn’t nearly slaughter on the driveway?
Neighbour: Yes, I meant to say. A bit of a story there. You remember that fox we saw snooping around? Well I don’t know quite how to tell you this…
Thursday 4 PM. Doorbell rings
Van driver: Hello. Me again.
Jon Stamford: Hello. What new avian apocalypse are you planning to rain down upon me today?
Van driver: There’s no need to be like that. Somebody obviously likes you or they wouldn’t send you these birds.
Jon Stamford:… Or hates me. Whatever. Do your worst.
Van driver: It says here “four colly birds”
Jon Stamford: And what is a Colly bird when it’s at home – which incidentally is not going to be here?
Van driver: Let me see
Jon Stamford: No, let me guess. What would be the most inconvenient and unattractive bird to receive here. What would be my avian nemesis? Four tiny little songbirds twittering in the dawn. No, that would be too easy. I’m guessing that these “Colly birds” are in actual fact South American vultures, reeking of carrion, riding the thermals above my house and waiting for me to die. That would be much more in keeping, don’t you think.
Van driver: I just deliver parcels. But they are not very big.
Jon Stamford: Probably juvenile vultures. Don’t be fooled. They will grow to be enormous birds that will sink their claws into my neck, peck out my eyes and leave me for dead and their remaining siblings to dine on my choicer morsels.
Van driver: I think you need to lie down
Jon Stamford: Never mind. Show me the birds.
Van driver: Oi, Sid, fetch Mr Stamford’s parcel
Sid: Right you are.
To be continued…