There's just a bit of fine tuning to be done on the programme betwixt pick up in Chirbury at 8.00am and the coo's of delight and amazement at Josiah W's wonderful artefacts to be had at the end of the journey.....
I consult the web site - and it's a very pretty web site. Its headline, over a picture of snowy trees, reads 'Worth the journey whatever the weather' which somehow plants the idea that it might not be. There's something about that phrase 'worth it' which implies hard work, worthy endeavour and grudging enjoyment. Maybe it's just me.
We've also heard rumours that it might be closed, or closure imminent - although the web site doesn't indicate this. A phone call should sort that out. The bookings lady eventually calls me back and I learn that while the factory tour - I guess this is the 'site experience' - is not open at present the Museum most certainly is and is well worth a visit. She'll send me a booking form for my group.
Going on for a month later the booking form arrives along with 2 other sheets of paper explaining the nuances of booking one's group in. It may be me again but nothing quite adds up... it's time to talk on the phone again....which is where my goat gets got, so to speak.....
The Bookings Office (if indeed there is one) has two lines, both open on weekdays between 10.00am and 4.00pm. I check my watch and key in the first number. A recorded message tells me the line is busy. Never mind I'll call back in a few moments. I repeat the exercise. Again. And again. I hold and press * to hold longer. I press * to hold again. The answering machine clicks in. I do not want the answering machine and inadvertently say 'bugger' and put the phone down. Whoops. This happens on both lines. Nearly ad infinitum. Hmm. They must be busy - which is v.good - but also v.odd. Can't believe they're that rushed off their feet this early on a Monday morning in early March. Can't believe nobody can be answering the phones - do they not want our business? No wonder this little corner of British industry is beleaguered.
10 minutes turns into half an hour, which in turn ticks its way towards the hour as I try in vain to speak to someone. What finally, well and truly gets my goat, is the recorded 'please hold, your call is important to us'.
What??? If it's so bloody important why don't you answer the @$!*ing! phone? Seethe, hiss and boo!
I calm down, call the the main reception number and ask to be put through to the Bookings Office. The very nice receptionist (who sounds like somebody's Nan) gave a shout out to somebody down the corridor - the same somebody who should have been answering their phones - and we're talking at last. Not that it was very helpful. It turns out I have last year's prices - which they will honour and no, she still didn't know if the factory would be open or not in May.
But why does the phrase 'it gets my goat' trip off my tongue at such ineptness, such lack of customer service? It essentially means to become extremely irritated. I do like this explanation:
'One of the most likely explanations behind “gets my goat” is also one of the more interesting - something which rarely happens when exploring the roots of common idioms. As early as the 1700s, goats were used as companion animals to help settle race horses, keeping the notoriously skittish animals relaxed. Taking a horse's pet goat away would have agitated and upset the animal, potentially influencing the outcome of a race.'Seems plausible? Guess I'd get pretty stroppy if somebody took my favourite goat away.
Anyway, for goat fans, here's another picture: