This being Sunday, I have not been able to verify any of these reports with my contacts at Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd. - I'll be trying to get the official story this week.
Cattle Post and Go
Brian P reported that he "visited Durham PO on the issue date, 28 September, only to find that they still didn't have them and had not been given a release date. The two machines are offering the Pigs issue from one and the Machin Head from the other and they didn't even have the packs in yet."
Well, as I was in Kent last week I decided to get the Cattle I needed there rather than making a special trip into Norwich. Surprised that Canterbury (located in WHSmith) had no PoGo machine, but I was told there that Whitstable and Faversham did have. A tortuous journey to the Whitstable (not signposted from Canterbury) revealed that that Crown office wasn't a Post and Go location. And so to Faversham on Saturday 6th October (ie a week after the Cattle were 'issued'), where I duly selected 10 Collector's Sets, only to find that they were dispensing Union Flags. My thanks to Faversham PO for the refund on the unwanted flags!
Various delays from Tallents House and at POs
Trevor J reports that "there was a problem with the printing of the PHQ cards (Stamp Cards) for the Olympic/Paralympic memories issue. They are currently at Tallents House awaiting packaging and probably won’t be available until mid/late October. Same applied to the Cattle blank FDCs.
Also, they weren’t surprised that the 6 x 1st booklet (Diamond Jubilee Machin definitive) has not appeared at philatelic outlets yet. They suggested that might well be linked to the Space Science issue date on 16th!"
A delay in production of the PHQ cards for the Memories issue is regretable though maybe not so surprising given the fast-track nature of the product.
On the other hand the Cattle designs and date was well-known and the FDC design is the same as all other Post and Go covers, only the insert card being different, so they should have been printed when the sheep were printed. I can only assume that the delay is either with the printers in north Wales who were printing Gold Medal and Memories FDCs, or with Tallents House not having the manpower to provide new issue materials while still working on the London 2012 issues. Not having collected our mail from the PO yet, I don't know whether any are waiting for me. But RM must have lost FDC sales at Stampex if the blank FDCs were not available there either? Reports anyone?
The 6 x 1st retail booklet was due for issue on 1 October, but we would expect them to appear at most POs on replenishment from Swindon, as and when needed. They should have been at Philatelic POs unless the actual philatelic availability date has changed. I suspect the 'link to the Space Science' issue refers to when they will be distributed by Tallents House to their standing order customers - but we have already reported that the despatch of the Space issue from Tallents House might be delayed as they are still catching up.
Meanwhile, on the blogpost linked in the previous paragraph, Ian N has commented:
"The guy I just spoke to at Tallents House (when phoning to find out where my Memories of London2012 standing order was) told me that the Memories issue will be despatched later in October and Space Science will be similarly delayed.
Handstamp deadlines appropriately extended. Be nice if they published this information somewhere! "
Paralympics MS shortage from Tallents House.
On this blogpost regular reader Erikbloodaxe reports: "I received four sets of Paralympic sets today. Unfortunately, one mini sheet missing from all four sets. It is stamp #6, TX006, PGMWC4 - Richard Whitehead - Track Athletics Men's 200m 42. I suggest you all check your sets, sooner than later."
Mistakes happen, but if you are missing any stamps you should contact Tallents House without delay.
Poppy Stamp 23 October
Finally, for now, Chris reports:
"Having spoken to the Philatelic Bureau today (05/10/2012), they confirm the issue of this stamp on 23/10/2012.
So apparently a stamp issued in counter sheets doesn't constitute a 'visible' change for Royal Mail's standing order customers. And they probably can't decide whether this is a special issue or definitive either. To my mind instances of stamps not being automatically supplied is happening far too often!