Tag Archives: insurance

Tetchy Tuesday

Here goes, let’s see what happens as I embark on my new round of planned posts.

First, traffic. Yesterday there was just a light dusting of traffic on the ring road. Today there were even queues to get on the road. I didn’t immediately think anything of it as traffic can be slow sometimes and it’s not as if there was a choice of roads.The traffic system of Nottingham has never been particularly good and it seems to be getting worse every time they redesign it.

However, after twenty minutes we knew that there was a problem somewhere ahead. You can tell. I did see three accidents by the roadside but I think they were all caused by people queuing and running into each other. A lot of it is caused by impatience.

The hold up appeared to be a problem on one of the roundabouts. There was a large tailback onto the main carriageway and this was blocking one lane, at which point it all backed up for four miles. We’re not America so we only had two lanes to start with.

It took me over an hour to do a twenty minute journey. I then had to stop for fuel (the hire car was due back today) and make my way to work where I was due to swap cars. I was supposed to be there for 9.00 and finally arrived at 9.30. Not that it mattered – the recovery vehicle was stuck in traffic too and we eventually swapped cars at 10.00.

I like having my own car back. It may be unfashionable, boring, chugging, unpopular and battered but it suits me. I can’t see that a SEAT Ibiza would ever suit me. Apart from the size and build quality the name Ibiza just sets me on edge. And I couldn’t find Radio 4 Extra, Five Live or the World Service on the radio either. It did, to be fair, have Radio 4, but that can be a bit funereal at times and Women’s Hour on Saturday is so miserable it beggars belief.

I paid my £400 excess, muttering about car insurance and set to work.

Later, the owner got a letter. It was from the man who had popped by to give him a quote for a roller shutter last weekend. While he was doing the quote he did a bit of work to make the front more secure. He also left quite a bit of clutter, including screws and a broken drill bit on the front where we park our cars.

Despite coming out to give us a quote he has sent a bill for £120 call-out fee and £70 for an hour’s work. This proves beyond doubt my feeling that not every robbing bastard wears a mask or works at night.

Julia has just been watching the news – she says the cause of the traffic problems was a gas leak that caused a road closure. They still haven’t found the leak so it looks like my trip to hospital tomorrow will be fun and even Thursday could be a problem. On the other hand, forewarned, I may just pack a picnic and enjoy the delay.

Not sure about that header picture – a bear sniffing flowers in the sun is altogether too upbeat.

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Bear in a tree

Starting with Teeth…

The good news is that I have no more dental work for a while. Having spent the last two weeks with a temporary cap I’m now pleased to record that I’ve just had my new crowns fitted.

I have kept the old ones, because one is gold. I’m thinking, as with the previous one that I kept, that they will be useful if the world banking system collapses. I’m also wondering about the idea of melting them down and using them to make a piece of jewellery for Julia.

Dental gold, I’m told, is about 60% pure, which makes it close to 15 carat gold. This was a standard used by the Victorians and I’ve always liked it. This probably seems strange, but there are some nice items made in 15 carat. It went out of use in 1932. Unfortunately, it’s quite close to 14 carat gold, a tawdry American standard that has been popularised in the UK by TV shopping channels. They have also popularised chocolate diamonds. Brown jewellery, whatever next?

And here is another place where American and English diverge as languages. We have the word carat, which describes the weight of a diamond and the fineness of gold. In America they have carat for the weight of diamonds and karat for the fineness of gold. It is both an example of American logic and the capacity of the English language for absorbing ambiguity.

You only need to think of a metal cleaning solution made in Eastern Europe. That would be Polish polish, and I’m sure most of you instinctively read it as that.

Further to the story of the skip – Julia finally tracked the company down and on being told that they couldn’t do anything, informed them in steely tones that she was sure they could.

They could, she said, either provide us with a skip or refund us for the one they had taken away early.

They are sending us a new skip tomorrow.

Then I left the AA. That for American readers, is like the AAA, but not based in America. My breakdown cover was due to cost me £312. I looked at it and decided I can’t afford it. So I looked at reducing cover, and got it to £171.

At that point I turned to the internet. I could, if I was joining the AA for the first time, get the reduced cover for £25 less. I’ve had this argument with them before and, after 38 years of continuous membership, it finally annoyed me so much I decided to do something about it.

I now have breakdown cover with Green Flag. It has cost me £58 and offers, on paper, the all the important elements of the AA cover.

Of course, I’ll only know if I’ve done the right thing when I’m stranded on a dark road in the middle of a rainy winter night. That’s what always worries me when changing insurance, have I done the right thing or have I sacrificed security for a few quid?

Featured image is a Razorbill. I was just wondering about sticking some lipstick on it and calling it a Puffin.

 

Homespun Philosophy, or Hopeless Drivel

I started off with the intention of writing about police inefficiency, motorway roadworks, the cupidity of insurance companies and the general unfairness of life. Then I realised that life doesn’t care. Nor do the police, the Highways Agency or the insurance industry.

Commercially speaking, monopolies are bad, and the police, for instance, have no incentive to improve. Unlike the power industry I cannot opt to have Justice provided by Nottinghamshire Constabulary if I don’t find West Yorkshire Police to my liking. Having said that, it’s rather like having a choice between eczema and psoriasis, though without the spelling problems.

Same goes for the Highways Agency, if you don’t like the way they set out their roadworks you can’t use someone else who sets it up better. That’s why they are able to get away with shoddy signing and everlasting roadworks.

As for insurance companies, they have their uses, as do leeches, faecal coliforms and corporate accountants. It probably isn’t fair to criticise them too much, though anyone who can increase your insurance premium by  15% for no apparant reason then add another £50 because of a speeding offence probably deserves some stick. When they follow up by asking “are you happy with that?” they virtually guarantee that they are not going to do well in comparison to other unpleasant life forms.

That’s all for now.

After a cold day in the shop and a cold evening at home sorting insurance documents I am now going out for a cold drive through badly laid out roadworks to deliver Number Two Son to work.

You are very lucky this is only a minor rant with low-level negativity and minor misery. It could have been a lot worse, particularly as, six days after going to the dentist, I also have a raging toothache.

Time, I think, to grip life by something tender and give it a good twist. That will teach it not to mess with me.

The stamps are a homage to a well-known blogger – can you guess which one?