Saturday, 24 January 2009

Is it safe ?

"Guess the film ? Clue: dentist. Too late, The Marathon Man."

For some weeks now, I have been awaiting my deluxe trainer's pack from Microsoft for the next readiness event that I am due to deliver: Windows Presentation Foundation - WPF.

For a long time now I have been delivering Visual Studio 2008 and .Net 3.5 Framework readiness to Microsoft partners in the UK and Europe along with Silverlight to partners as far away as

Although WPF has been on the margins all that time, it hasn't been given the attention that it deserved. Well starting next month, I will begin delivering WPF to Microsoft partners. Starting with the United Kingdom.

As you can imagine, in order to prepare for a high profile event like this, I like to be well prepared. That means that I know every demo and lab backwards and can deliver a Powerpoint deck without the good old glance over the shoulder.

So it will be no surprise that I was getting concerned that my trainer's pack hadn't arrived. Despite assurances from Microsoft that it had been posted in December, the couriers (Interlink "in association with DHL") hadn't delivered.

Now I realise that by living on a farm and having an unmade road lead to my door might cause the more anal driver to be concerned about the mud, however I do have an address and postcode (zip) so where is the problem ?

Anyhow, my contact at Microsoft (hello Mary !) kindly looked into it for me and sent me a tracking form from DHL. It said that the package had been "Left as instructed" on December 6th. i.e. last week.

Whoa ! Left where exactly and by whom ?

So after checking every outbuilding adjacent to the house I then popped next door (that would be the next farm along rather than the door next to mine !).

"No. Not been given a parcel for you. Sorry."

Microsoft kindly offer to send a replacement to a local(ish) training centre. I decide that this is a good plan because it is a building with a postcode(zip) and a tarmaced (asphalt)road. And most important: a receptionist !. Never mind the two hour round trip to collect the parcel when it arrives, should I actually have a free day to do so.

All this is finalised by last night and so I go to bed pretty relaxed.

This morning I returned from the school run to find a card through the door.

"We tried to deliver a parcel today. It's safe. We left it next door".

That would be the next farm along rather than the door next to mine !.

So I pop up the lane to collect a parcel that I know cannot be the deluxe trainer pack from Microsoft. I was correct. It wasn't. But then my neigbour said:

"You'll never guess ...".

The courier who delivered the parcel this morning said to my neighbour:

"Did you find the parcel that I left for you last week ?".


"No, what parcel ?"


"The one I left in your woodshed. You did get the note didn't you ?"


"Er. No."

What a Muppet !

Now I grant you. A wood shed is "sort of" safe. In that it kept my parcel out of the rain. However, those in the UK will know that we in Lancashire (and that includes Burnley !) hit -7 degrees in the last few days.

I am pleased to report that those files that I have had a quick look at appear intact. Probably helped by the fact that the all important DVD was nested within the snazzy branded polo shirt that trainers are asked to wear when delivering the material.

The brand by the way is Metro. This is the name given to Microsoft's readiness program.

So all's well that ends well.

Lesson. I shall not send anything to myself with Interlink because the guy who has my route is obviously a Muppet !

Aside. If you were a Muppet. What Muppet would you be ?

So there I was, taking a walk at lunch time. I had been staring at the screen for 4 hours straight and needed some air. My wife wanted to walk the dogs and so the world was in harmony.

We took a regular route around the bridle way which at one point runs adjecent to the cross Pennine rail line from Burnley to Leeds. Actually, it runs from Blackpool to York but Burnley and Leeds are the only two stops that count. It's a route I take whenever I am working in the
Leeds office.

I looked across the cutting to see a guy with a chainsaw starting to cut into the base of a tree that he had already de-limbed. Is that pollarding ?. So he has removed every branch of this tree and has only the trunk left. This is a 40 foot or more trunk. It stands at the top of the cutting on the far side of his garden fence. Most importantly, it sits, directly above both lines.

Now I know it's the house holder because he isn't wearing any special "I'm an official Network Rail contractor" clothing. In fact he is simply wearing a woolen hat. i.e. no equipment at all ! The other give away was where he had removed a fence panel from the end of his garden to step through onto private land to cut down a tree that doesn't belong to him.

Most startling was that now that he was on his final stage. He hadn't secured the tree in any way. So when he made his final cut, the tree was either going to fall northwards and land in his garden taking out his fence and shed as it fell. Or It would fall North North East (NNE) and do the same to his neighbours fence and shed. Or any other direction and fall/slide down the embankment onto (at least) the west bound (Leeds) line.

Luckily there was a signal box half a mile away so that we were able to run ahead and warn the signalman that there was a muppet with a bobble hat and chainsaw loose further up the line. I look forward to reading the
Burnley Express to see if there is any mention of the incident.

Is the Trans Pennine line safe ? Not with that muppet with a chainsaw !

So two Muppets in one week. What muppets would they be ?

Ernie !


Should you require any training in WPF, QA offer the following course:

Developing Windows Presentation Foundation applications with Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 4

See you soon

Phil Stirpé
"I don't do average!"

No comments:

Post a Comment