This is a golden age of information and communication. It has never been easier to find an address or talk to its occupants.
Thanks to the internet, you can find a farm, check out its entrance from the road, inspect its cropping over the past few decades, and even see aerial photos taken by the Luftwaffe 80 years ago.
If you seek a 3x3m square on that farm, there’s the wonderful What3words thingy to guide you in.
There are websites which have carefully preserved old maps so you can track changes and developments over the years – and the melancholy swamping of farms by urban sprawl.
See also: More Flindt on Friday columns
And as for ways to get in touch with the farms’ occupants – you can take a choice from email, landline, or mobile telephone. And I feel slightly old-fashioned keeping my list to only those choices.
So, imagine my surprise (as they say), when I was doing my early rounds one recent Saturday morning, and there was a large pile of full spray boxes outside the chemical store.
Four-figures’ worth of stuff had spent the night in the open. I delved into one of the open boxes and found the ticket. Yup, it was all there, farm address, postcode, the crucial “3words”.
And there, too, was the list of contact details: our landline, my mobile number, and an email address.
But for some reason, he (or it could have been she – I never saw the van) drove into our yard late one Friday evening, found the store safely locked up, and simply dropped off his load, tucking it away out of sight from the farmhouse, but still visible to any curious eyes making the most of the long evenings.
And he didn’t even have to ring; a short walk across the yard over to the open farmhouse window would have been good enough.
Mind you, in actually getting here, he did one better than the driver for a big-name courier, supposedly delivering my new parasol base.
(Don’t worry, I haven’t taken up reclining on the immaculate lawn sipping Pimm’s under a floral sunshade, like a Laura Ashley advert gone horribly wrong – it’s to give support to the slats on my aged bed which is struggling with my extra 19 Covid pounds.)
I got the text with an anticipated delivery time, so I hung around for it – nothing. I had another time slot allocated the next day – but, once again, nothing. I checked the website to “track” my parcel.
Apparently, it had been “safely delivered”, and there was photographic proof: my parcel carefully placed in a modern-looking porch, with a house name on the wall: West End Farm. They got the “Farm” bit right, I suppose.
After 45 minutes on hold, I got through to their customer support line, and explained the problem.
The exasperated girl at the other end said she’d get straight on to the driver and sort it out. Sure enough, just as we were finishing off another monster Flindt tea, a white van came flying into the yard.
The worried driver hardly had a word of English, bless her, but was doing her best to apologise for the cock-up.
I tried to find out where she’d left my parcel the first time, but the language barrier was just too much. I was just grateful I could get stuck into another plate of flapjacks, now that my bed reinforcement had arrived.
I did try to track down the mystery West End Farm out of curiosity, but just those three words weren’t enough. The internet is good, but it’s not that good.