Something I worked out very quickly when I started couriering is that most of the larger buildings have two entrances: the swish one at the front, for employees and honoured guests, and the loading bay at the back, for the likes of me. Trouble is, you never know where the loading bay is, or how to get there, until you’ve locked up your bike, taken the package out of your bag, and waiting patiently to speak to the receptionist, who will have smiled sweetly whilst watching you do all this and who will now inform you that the loading bay is “out the door, turn right, turn right again, cross the road, turn left, down the ramp, and then follow the signs” or some such. Occasionally, you will end up in a goods lift that takes you back to the very same reception, just from a different side. I have never been able to work out the point of this.
But the very very worst loading bay odyssey in London is that which leads you – circuitously and frustratingly – to the loading bay of 2 Lambeth Hill, EC4. The front door is fairly accessible and easy to find, so you lock your bike up (they even have bike racks for you) and trudge in to find the receptionist…
…only to discover that the loading bay is actually on High Timber Street (why they can’t just save everyone’s time by accepting the envelope at reception, I’ll never know). So you check your A-Z. Turns out High Timber Street isn’t just round the corner – it’s right on the other side of Upper Thames Street – which consists of multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic, with railings down the middle. It would be easier to cross the Thames. It looks like this:
And, just to emphasize the ridiculousness of it, here’s Google Maps’ suggested route between the front door and the back door of the same building (they grey one you see straddling the road in the picture above):
God only knows how many courier hours have been spent trekking between the two.