My new Azrael doll from Souldoll, ordered via Dandy Highwayman Dolls in the UK, arrived about a week ago (I can't make my Tumblr blog spit up the actual date he arrived, which is a pain in the arse). I normally have a character planned out when I order a doll -- that character is, in fact, usually the reason I order the doll -- but in Caeso's case I fell so heavily in love with his design... and when a new UK doll dealer opened up I concluded it was fate and promptly ordered him.
(I was their first customer; they are such a lovely company that to say thank you they gave me free shipping from them to me!)
After I ordered him I had a small panic. I mean, I've never ordered a doll without a character before, and at that point I had four, all of which were ordered with characters in mind! Chatting it through with a friend helped, and when she said he had a certain classical Roman or Greek look to him he suddenly gave me his character: a young Roman who fell in love with a fellow soldier while he was on campaign, a soldier who, after they returned to Rome, was killed in the street. Caeso, grief-stricken, swore to the gods that he would never forgive them, little expecting a smiling Mars to appear before him in the street, cursing him with eternal life so he could have forever to literally never forgive them.
Honestly, with that simple comment she's caused me so many plotlines...!
His journey to me, however, was not without its... well, several hiccups, absolutely none of which were the fault of Dandy Highwayman Dolls. First Souldoll told them that they were about to ship out Caeso, which they relayed to me with great excitement... and then Souldoll didn't actually ship him out when they said. (For a moment I had visions of April Story's "next week" excuse: some people were waiting for "next week" for months.) Then they shipped him out and he spent time in Customs, which honestly is always the worst part of any doll's journey. Every doll I've had spent time at Coventry, although time is variable -- Tay was there for all of five minutes, which was horrifying, while I've had dolls spend over a week there and been waiting on the edge of my seat for tracking to update.
And then... Virgin Media decided to be Virgin Media. This... probably doesn't make sense if you're not a VM customer, but they're not exactly known for their reliability. They used to be great, but over the last six weeks or so I've had so many ridiculous internet problems, including my connection dropping out up to ten, fifteen times a day. This was mostly considered to be issues with my house, resulting in a new hub and a fantastic two-hour conversation with a really nice engineer, but ultimately, after maybe a month or so, they decided it was an area fault. And the minute it was fixed, it went wrong again, and then as soon as it was fixed? My emails decided they didn't really want to arrive.
So even though Dandy Highwayman Dolls had emailed me to let me know they'd received him and were waiting for me to confirm the address I wanted him shipped to?
Virgin didn't bother to send that email along until several days later. And I know when they sent it because the correct date was still on it. It was a pretty long way up my email list.
Soooooo we moved communication to Gmail instead, and this is where they really came into their own. I don't like using my birth name, but as it's the name my bank account is in (since I set it up when I was 16) and the name my PayPal is in (as it's tied to my bank account), I use an email address with that name to avoid confusion, particularly as some companies go peculiar if you have one name on your email and another on your payment details. Once they found out I don't use my name, they changed both the shipping label and how they addressed me to the way I prefer as well, which honestly is fantastic.
And then Hermes happened. Hermes are a UK courier and my experience of them is our aged, aged delivery driver who, despite the doorknocker on the front door right in front of his face, insists on feebly flapping the letterbox to announce his presence. And he does this even though -- or in spite of -- my mother showing him exactly where the knocker is and how to use it. (She does not like his letterbox-flapping.) So... given that that's just one of their couriers... it's perhaps more understandable that despite Dandy Highwayman Dolls arranging for them to pick up Caeso for delivery twice, they failed to turn up both times. (And I know this is the case: they were kind enough to share the collection requests with me.) In the end they actually took the box to the Hermes depot themselves rather than rely on them, and he arrived here very promptly afterwards.
And he is gorgeous.
Okay, perhaps 'gorgeous' is subjective, but given that I usually dislike things with half a skull for a head, he really is absolutely beautiful.
So I guess... that's my unboxing of my lovely l'il immortal psychopomp Caeso and a review of the very awesome Dandy Highwayman Dolls, who I'll have no hesitation in ordering from again. And from the way I keep scouring Souldoll's site for a Lucius to go with Caeso, it may not be too long before I do...
A noodler with a doll obsession.