I’ve been living in Monmouthshire for two years now and it’s great. So lovely in fact that people have formed a (quite) orderly queue to come and stay with me and enjoy its charms (in the presence of me but you can’t have it all, remember!).

Mostly people drive and nowadays a postcode is usually sufficient. But in the countryside a postcode can cover quite a large area and phones can lose signal, or even charge (which happened last month). So some written directions can come in rather handy. And after two years I’ve nearly got them right!

As WealthBeing says, when you’re creating a business you need some procedure and getting them right is harder than it looks. Harder than writing down directions to a house. But the considerations are the same.

First I realised that you can approach Monmouth, the nearest town, from three directions – down the M55 from Ross on Wye; up the A449 from Newport and the M4; or along the A40 from Abergavenny. So I needed three sections.

Then I needed to clearly state what you see, which requires acute observation rather than general guidelines. After the signpost to Raglan Castle you need to bear left. That road leads first to Dingestow so I wrote “bear left towards Dingestow”. But when I drove along there yesterday and looked at the signpost it said “Mitchel Troy”, much further along the road.

I also needed to keep the directions up to date. Since I’ve moved here they’ve started building a housing estate. In order to improve the value of the estate the road leads into it rather than past it so now you have to turn left.

And the wording needs to be exact: “turn left at the housing estate” implies that you will be in the estate before you turn left. Turn left before the housing estate is more accurate, as a former audit partner pointed out to me.

Even when you think you’ve got it right it doesn’t always work out and being an hour late isn’t the record, nor even two! Two wrong turnings and the directions are irrelevant. But sometimes it really is operator error. I sent an invoice to a company of which I was a director and wrote on it “please don’t pay until I say so”. The managing director rang me up later that week and said “Do you want me to pay this invoice?” The English language is flexible and capable of different interpretations but it does have meaning and usually it’s not that hard to receive.

I hope you got that.