Like many estates, access to where I live is controlled by an intercom system.
I cannot recall Hackney Council asking me if I wanted an intercom system installed, and since it has been installed I have never been asked if I want it to stay - I just came home from work one day and there it was. Installed.
Presumeably some well meaning person, somewhere on Mare Street, took the view that such a system would improve my quality of life. It does not - in fact it does the exact opposite. Firstly every crackhead and junkie who wants to get into the block, still can. They merely have to wait 30 seconds for someone to come out of the block, and in they go. Same same for those looking to distribute pizza flyers or invitations to spend your Sundays surrounded by religious maniacs.
Delivery drivers and tradesmen however, are not made of the sort of stern stuff that makes up the average Hackney junkie. To the staff of Parcelforce, Parcelnet and similar companies, my block is protected by a ring of steel. As the intercom is mounted on the right hand door rather than the left, some simply approach the left hand door, see it is locked and piss off. A minority try the Intercom, and if you are not in, piss off. An even smaller minority still, will leave a card - pinned to the front door of the block. There it is either nicked by junkies, blows away in the wind, or if you are very lucky, is spotted by the person it is intended for. Me.
The humiliation of being defeated by an Intercom system is however too much for some delivery men. "I put a card through your door, but you never rang me" is one refrain. Others insist there is no Intercom system at all - or in one case - invent the lie that I rejected the goods that they tried to deliver.
I have now given up ordering books via Amazon, because I am fed up with things I have paid for not reaching me. I wonder how many people in supposedly "secure" estates are in similar positions?