Category Archives: travel

Just take my damn money…please!

Look I’m all in favour of Tim Berners-Lee’s idea that the World wide Web should be free for everybody but sadly there are too many people out there today who insist on screwing it up by riddling the useful content with shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating advertising!  It’s got so bad that I’m coming round to the idea that for some things I’d actually be prepared to pay a monthly fee to make these damn pieces of time-wasting crap disappear!

..and don’t think I’m not talking about you Spotify – you’ve got the nerve to take my money and then send me crap about new releases by those artists who are able to pay you enough to invade my privacy on their behalf!

There are a number of aspects to this…

  1. what am I prepared to pay for
  2. how much will I be prepared to pay
  3. why online advertising is so shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating.

Let’s start with the “What”:

The birthplace of the web was CERN – Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989. The web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.  See that…the sharing of information.  And the definition of sharing is?

To allow someone to use or enjoy something that one possesses. 

No mention of charging for it anywhere is there?  That came a lot later when less pure minds that Sir Tim’s decided that all these people provided an opportunity to make money – and lots of it, shed-loads of it in fact – big huge aircraft-hanger sized shed-loads of wonga!  And like me, Sir Tim’s not a happy man, although his beef is probably purer than mine which is just about advertising.  He’s more concerned with the rollback of net neutrality protections, the proliferation of fake news, propaganda and the web’s increasing polarisation!

“Gas is a utility, so is clean water, and connectivity should be too,” said Berners-Lee. “It’s part of life and shouldn’t have an attitude about what you use it for – just like water.”

So what am I prepared to pay for?

Stuff that I want to consume – stuff that entertains me like music, (that’s why I pay Spotify each month for a service I can’t stream to my hi-fi because the quality is designed for mobile phones and my GigaClear 50MB broadband is so flaky – and the router is a piece of poo! – that streaming hi-res is a non-starter!) and I’ll happily pay Amazon for the ability to read a book while I’m on holiday (Agios Stefanos NW Corfu since you’re asking!) or maybe to stream a movie as part of my Prime subscription – that’s cool, I’m happy to do that.

I’ll even pay for knowledge or software that helps me to consume and to create – such as specific training or apps from Adobe or even bloody Microsoft’s Office 365!

But I won’t pay for news!

That should be part of Sir Tim’s original idea about sharing information.  The WWW is meant to be a tool to enable us ALL to understand what’s going on in the world, to bring us closer together (yeah well done Boris you twat!) and generally make the world a better place.   However I WILL accept a limited amount of advertising to get this as I realise that information providers (except the BBC and I already pay my licence fee £150+) aren’t charities – they need to make money to pay their staff!  But I won’t pay them a subscription as it’s not worth it – not to me anyway!

And how much will I pay?

Well, this is more of a case of how much am I already paying!!  If you total up your household outgoings on things like your TV licence, SKY, broadband, mobile phone data, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc etc you’ll be amazed by the figure you get to.  I reckon I’m spending over £1,000 per year!  And I’ve cut back!  It’s easy to spend more than £1,500, maybe even £2k!!  OK, don’t be pedantic, I know that SKY tends to be delivered over satellite – it’s the overall cost of accessing content that’s important here!

As these things are pretty much standard across UK households today, and with the average take home pay of <£21k per annum, you’re likely to be spending over 7% of your annual income on this stuff – maybe as much as 10%.  Now 7% may not sound a lot but imagine if your salary was cut by 7% – how much harder would that make life?? Exactly!

The huge expansion of the digital world has made it particularly hard for some companies, notably newspapers, and apart from the rag that is the Daily Mail they aren’t really succeeding (The Mail was always full of small ads anyway so it was a natural development for them, and their readership).   And I’m not going to help them by paying to get past their firewalls while the likes of Twitter are around – it’s quicker, more opinions so you can read both sides of an argument and of course it’s free – except for the sneaky ads!!

In fact it’s Twitter, or rather another player in the arena of social media that provided the straw that has broken the camel’s back –  so to speak.

So I’m now at the stage where I would be happy to pay for access to certain social media applications (it begins with a “F”) in order to avoid bloody advertising – if nothing else I’m sure the saving in blood pressure medicine would offset it!! (Relax that’s just an analogy I’m not on beta-blockers or anything similar)

So, why is online advertising so shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating?

….to the extent that now I’ll even pay to avoid it!

Well let’s go back to a bit of online business 101.

First off, if you’ve got that great idea, you want everyone to know about it and the web is really helpful here, as it allows you to reach a lot of people.  Let’s say these people like your great idea and flock to it – hey presto you have what is called in the trade “an audience” or lots of “eyeballs”.  So whereas people used to have to stick posters up in the street, things developed as people could get newspapers to print stories about their great ideas which other people then thought, hey if they like that maybe they’ll like mine to so I’ll make sure information about my great idea is in there too.  Next came TV which offered an even bigger channel to the audience and even more people started to “advertise” their great ideas, although now there so many great ideas – they weren’t all great!

With the growth of the web a number of great ideas got really, really, popular – like billions of people popular!  And the people who owned these great ideas thought to themselves…hmm I can make money out of this – it’s called “monetization” by the way!  So they started to allow advertising on their great ideas.

Look at possibly the best great idea ever – Google!  Originally just lists of stuff that matched your search term. Then 3 “sponsored” results appeared at the top of the page.  Today?  Maybe on the first page you’ll be lucky enough to find 3 “natural results” amongst the 20+ “sponsored” ones – that’s what Google calls advertising btw!  And Google make a massively, gigantic shed-load of money from it – as do some other great ideas.

What they also do is get make of these ads pop up on other websites you might visit – and have you noticed the order in which websites load?  The site’s branding is followed by all the adverts and only then does the content you actually wanted in the first place appear – naughty, naughty!  In other words it’s highly intrusive and hugely irritating!

But what about extreme irrelevance?  Surely, you shout, they’ve got algorithms that make sure that the advertising you see is relevant to you!  It’s true that if you search for something via Google or Bing (does anybody actually use Bing? And what a stupid name!) you’ll be bombarded with ads for whatever that was for ages – EVEN AFTER YOU’VE BOUGHT IT!  How relevant is that?  And let’s not even go into the activities of travel sites that rack up the prices if you leave and then come back!!

OK time to get to the absolute nub of this rant!  Facebook, yes Marky boy this one’s on you, recently decided to make life difficult for their profile users.

“As of August 1, Facebook no longer allows third-party platforms to post to personal Facebook profiles. As a result, Hootsuite no longer supports scheduling and posting to personal Facebook profiles.”

They wanted to stop us using the likes of Hootsuite, WordPress et al to automate/schedule our posting to our personal profiles.  They still allow scheduling to “pages” just not “profiles”.  So what do I do?  I choose to create a page from my profile, and to be fair it didn’t take too long to achieve that but once I’d “published” it, the troubles started.

Clearly Facebook believes that if you’ve got a page you’ve got money to spend, so they put an “advert” on your news feed (which only you can see) prompting you to spend money promoting your page.  Now that’s fair enough, their business model is about making money so I let the first one go..and the second, and the third.

But when I realised that they were bloating my news feed with multiple – and here I mean it might be one of their ads every 3 real posts – adverts, on and on and on.  Different creative suggestions but loads and loads and loads.

Now in amongst the reams of “help” they allegedly provide there is absolutely NOTHING about how to stop this.  Basically I don’t think you can and frankly I’m, not prepared to hang around to see if they eventually give up, so I’m deleting my page – screw ’em!

I’m going to publish my content elsewhere, I’m going to prompt readers of my social media diatribes to read the content on other platforms and even though they won’t give a damn – I’ll feel a lot better – and that’s the important thing here 🙂

What would really help me, and I’m sure millions of other people, is if some philanthropist kinda person decided it would be really cool to provide an open source advertising free or a subscription based social media channel.  I’m pretty sure that it would have a rapid uptake.  If Camelot allows me to win the Euromillions lottery this Friday I promise I’ll have one built and if Sir Tim permits I’ll call it TimsWeb, or Tim’s Place or Worldies or something similar!

 

 

Not my kind of Summer Dream!!

More of a nightmare!! Poor service, slow service, food not as described, how’s that for starters?

OK finally got round to completing this one.  As regular readers of my various social media missives will now I love Agios Stefanos (NW Corfu)!  It’s my second home.  The mix of sun, sea, sand, scenery, food and friends – from home and from there, all work together to make a heady mix that soothes and stimulates the senses – at the same time.

But it isn’t perfect – and we all know that – even if on “some other places” you aren’t allowed to say so!!  It’s like the buildings – there are loads that they just haven’t got round to completing yet.  They have excellent, long term disputes about stuff – hey, the Avliotes by-pass has actually been totally completed – even down to 50kph speed limit that totally nobody respects!

The Greeks have a more relaxed attitude to life, although when they are speaking to each other you’d think the 3rd world war is about to break out – but relax, it won’t, it’s cool.

That said there are 4 things this year that aren’t perfect – there maybe more but hey; I didn’t experience them…anyway.

  1. The litter – guys you really, really need to sort this one out.  Even the temporary refuse stores you guys put in place to cope with things while the negotiations continue are overflowing – literally onto the road near to Kassiopi.
  2. The weed on the beach – not the lack of long haired dope sellers but the naturally occurring weed that just keeps on coming.  You need to be a bit quicker in rounding that up and disposing of it – the likes of Mistral and the Waves had their beach fronts blighted by build up of weed and then by the tyre tracks from the digger.
  3. Vehicles on the road – there are way more than just a couple of years ago.  Some of them, these new quad-bikes, are the size of small cars themselves and seemingly driven by complete novices with no regard for other road users. The parking coming into Afionas is now mental – one Sunday we simply turned around! And it’s not as if the restaurants up there are benefiting – the visitors weren’t in them!
  4. The service at Summer Dreams.

This last one was not good at all. It’s turned into a pizza place with a fancy new pizza oven clearly on display.  Unfortunately the service wasn’t as new and sparkling.  To start with when we ordered – one of our party likes chilli (a lot) and asked for extra chillies on his choice of pizza. It already had chillies in the list of ingredients.
When the waitress said “are you sure” he naturally replied Yes – this is man with a cast-iron stomach.  An hour later after we’d chased them for service and when the pizzas finally arrived the foreheads of 2 of the party showed signs of distress.

This was a surprise indeed.

On further investigation of the pizza we discovered that instead of extra chillies the tomato base appeared to have been replaced by lashing of hot chilli sauce! I mean of course the rest of us were howling with laughter but in all seriousness this was a reckless piece of work by the restaurant.  You either get your menu written up correctly informing the customer that this has chilli sauce on it and is already very hot or you start behaving responsibly.  This felt like someone trying to get their own back on customers.

Now ok it may have been a genuine mistake but it wasn’t the only one.  I ordered a pizza with Parmesan and rocket.  From my recollection Parmesan doesn’t melt in quite the same way that say Cheddar does and rocket isn’t invisible…

While we were waiting for our food to arrive I heard someone who had ordered a take-away asking where it was…and the poor girl behind the bar was not being helped by the other two waiting staff – they just stood around waiting for her to complete each individual order..

And with no expectations about service times being set by the waiting staff I’m sorry Summer Dreams but you do not get a recommendation this year.  Hopefully by next year you will have sorted things out – I’d like all my meals to be fantastic!

Duty free shopping – an exposé?

Good morning campers (something I’ll never do…camping that is!). This is just a tease for my next post 🙂

I’m heading off to sunny Corfu this afternoon, traveling with my partner AND only hand luggage (!) and this will mean that some shopping for essential items may be required at Gatwick airport. I fully expect to find some disparity between the prices charged on our friendly high streets and the supposedly duty free shops – so I thought I’d provide a few examples…

So watch this space 😉

Ok here’s a shot from Boots on the High Street in Weybridge. Let’s see what its like at Gatwick a little later 😉

Ok people it wasn’t as dramatic as I thought. I mean if felt like some really cheap unbranded stuff was very expensive but the little travel packs were the same price.

Now that in itself is a bit of a rip as its supposed to be duty free, so you’d expect things to be 20% cheaper!!!

And then deal at the airport is 4 for the price of 3. The offer on the high street is 3 for 2….. Hmmm that makes even more of a rip.

And here’s another thing, why can’t you buy P20 suntan lotion in 100ml bottles on the high street.

So the moral of this story is, don’t believe the duty free hype, it’s a bit of a con really..

Are you sure eSure?

You won’t believe this but this is on the eSure.com website:

esure has become one of the UK’s leading direct insurers through years of hard work and listening to our customers.

It’s the second bit that I find particularly humorous – actually it’s worse than that it’s a downright lie!

You may read my previous post on the subject of insurance – you lucky, lucky, people – well I’ve got an update for you, in fact a couple right from the horse’s mouth – although the quality of the content is closer to what comes out of the other end of the horse’s body!!

Regular readers will know that I specifically asked eSure for the details on how they had managed to calculate an increase of 20% on one of my car policies yet a decrease of 2.5% on the other.  Well as trailed they have replied.  Let’s start with Leigh’s response….

“We are writing with reference to the above numbered policy and further to your recent telephone conversation.

There are many reasons as to why a policy premium could go up after a change of vehicle. Some include the Brake Horse Power being higher than the original vehicle. The grouping of the vehicle also changes the price and could effect the premiums. Also if the new vehicle is no longer in manufacture, the parts could be harder to find and this would also effect the premiums. I hope this information helps you.

We trust this answers your query. If you have any further queries, please call our Customer Support Department on the number detailed above.”

I have responded to let Leigh know that as I hadn’t changed vehicle this explanation was irrelevant and inaccurate – I asked him again to explain the difference…

This time Liam responded, bless him, he must have been very very busy, or perhaps he couldn’t keep a straight face whilst typing, or perhaps he has ADHD…

“We take into consideration a variety of factors when calculating our insurance premiums, many of which you as a customer cannot directly influence.  As a result, insurance premiums can fluctuate when seemingly no details have changed and unfortunately due to underlying industry pressures insurance premiums have increased this year.

As a direct insurer we always offer the best possible premium from the outset and the premium offered this year is correct.

To help you understand, the cost and frequency of motor insurance claims being made, in particular personal injury claims, is driving premium increases.  We do appreciate you personally have not made a claim with us but insurance is a pool and as such these claims affect everyone.  However, those who have made claims would see significantly higher premium increases than”

As you can see he was unable to finish his sentence.  But Liam, dear chap, allow me to point out the failed logic in your response….If “these claims affect everyone” why hasn’t my other policy increased, after all you say in your very first paragraph “due to underlying industry pressures insurance premiums have increased this year” so I am at a loss to understand the logic you guys have used – can you explain?

The only factor I am see here that separates the two policies is the “no fault claim” – or rather as it actually was the “notification”.  I’m sure any “reasonable” person, such as the “man on the Clapham omnibus” would agree.  Is there a reason why you cannot see this?  The nice man at the AA was able to – so once again I ask you is it the impact of the “notification” that has increased my policy, and if so, how do you justify this when you already cover off the risk of being on the road by requesting the amount of miles I do and the reasons I might be on the road which have a time component (“drivetime”) that allows you to calculate an overall risk.

I challenge you eSure – I think you – and to fair the rest of the insurance industry – is ripping customers off by in effect “double-charging”.  How will you plead when this matter goes before the Financial Ombudsman, and how do you think he’ll react to your spurious attempts to fob me off which seem to be amateur in the extreme?

Insurance – it’s a rip-off, FACT!

Yep it’s true, your insurance company is a rip-off merchant – they all are – and if you speak to nice man at the AA he agrees with you!

Evidence?  Oh you want evidence do you?  Right then…

Just recently I received renewal letters (well actually I didn’t, I got a letter and some emails that said I would be sent them) for 2 car insurance policies I hold. Actuallyl I had to log in to my “account” and then download the pdfs of the renewal “invitations”, as they are called these days.  On that description – invitation is hardly the correct word, especially if you’re promised one via email or letter and they never arrive!!  I prefer the term “warning letter” as in if you do nothing we’ll just take your money!

I noticed that one of these policies showed an increase of 20% in the premium and further to that it showed the details of a “no fault” claim (there was no “claim” they were informed for information purposes only (a 3rd party company dealt with things) and it also stated in a box called “Recovery made” the word YES!  Now this was plainly wrong so I decided to call the insurer to try and understand things better…that was a mistake!

The very nice man on the other end of the phone simply couldn’t or wouldn’t give me a reason as to why my premium had increased by 20% – I have to say at this point that in a previous year I had been given reasons why the premium had changed so I wasn’t buying this lack of information.  Whilst this call was ongoing I also read the other policy renewal invitation and to my “surprise” it showed that the premium had actually fallen by 2.5%!  WTF!!! Naturally I enquired as to why this might be – all the while the nagging thought that the bastards had upped my premium because of this “no-fault claim”!   So I pressured for an answer, I want to have the details.

He said he would need to place me on hold, briefly, while he discussed the matter with his boss. Well it was a bit longer than “briefly” but eventually he came back and gave a list of factors that the underwriters had told him – inflation, the fact that my car was no longer made which made the parts more expensive, the rate of crime etc etc.  Given that the other policy had shown a decline it was a simple matter to rebutt the majority of these and the only obvious factor that might have had an impact would be the price of car parts – but since the car had stopped being made in 2008 this also seemed unlikely.

As it was clear, to me, that the increase was purely down to the incident in March of last year (interestingly this was before last year’s renewal which didn’t show a 20% increase – rather a significant decrease!) which presumably had finally filtered through their system and perhaps some form of “recovery” was indeed made – albeit not to my knowledge!!

I have asked them to supply me the details of why the think my premium should be increased by 20% and will in all likelihood pass the information to the insurance ombudsman for action.

So why am I taking this hard line and calling all insurance companies rip-off merchants?  Well that’s simple.

Well my next move was to tell eSure – yes it was them – to *** off and cancel both policies and then hit the search engines looking for a new deal.

Having entered all my details into multiple comparison sites ( I did try Direct Line but their premium was just a joke – how they can justify their advertising claims to Trading and Advertising Standards departments I do not know!) it seemed that the AA was the best deal.  I clicked to complete the deal on the AA site but I got a message saying that their system had thrown a wobbly so I’d need to call – so I called.

The very nice man from the AA took the quote number and got the details pdq.  He was able to tell me that the date I’d entered for the end of my existing policy was out by one day so he amended that and then said OK he had to things check against an industry database…..guess what…he informed me that the no-fault claim was there and then quoted me a price which was 20% more than the price I’d been quoted online!

I expressed my concern that the information on the database was causing the extra cost to em – and he agreed, said the same thing had happened to him last year and said he agreed with me that this was rather sharp practice.  So there we have it the reason my premium was increased.  I’m still going to see what bullshit eSure come out with to support their version of events and yes I’ll still send the information off to the ombudsman.

Why?  Well in a no-fault situation when you’re either happily driving along the road or as in my case stationary in a line of traffic you are not causing anyone any problems – it just happens that you are on the road.  Now when you request your policy you have to input how many miles you will be doing in a year and unsurprisingly the more you do the higher your premium – well that’s perfectly logical – there’s more chance of you being in an accident the more time/miles you spend/drive on the road.  So why isn’t this where the risk of a no-fault accident is covered off?

Well basically because they can get away with it – they are able to rip you off by effectively charging twice for the same risk – being on the highway and obeying all the laws!

Personally I think that stinks, I think it’s profiteering and it’s a total rip-off and I don’t believe that the insurance industry should be able to get away with it any longer – that’s why I shall be bringing this matter to the attention of the Financial Ombudsman – if you want to do the same here’s how!

 

 

Halfalogue is still too much!!

Have you noticed this? There’s a rash of people wandering around wearing earphones – not the big ol’ over the ear jobbies, but the little ones with the thin white cord – AND talking very loudly to someone who one assumes is on the other end of the phone. Now is it just me or do you think these people are behaving like dumb apes? Clearly if there’s no phone conversation happening then they’re just mad, M.A.D, mad!

I’m sure we can all remember the marvellous Dom Joly’s take on this – I’ll admit to copying it on the New York subway one January many years ago – much to the bemusement of the Americans who hadn’t seen Trigger Happy TV back then!!

Well it is still going on and in some ways it’s much worse. Worse you say? Even though the adoption of mobile phones is almost total? Yes definitely worse.

The advancement of technology is such that you no longer need to physically hold aphone to your ear to have the conversation and the adoption of mobile technology as the premier communication channel means that all sorts of inane conversations are happening – all around you…look!

And that’s partly why the situation has got worse. It used to be that telling someone, loudly, on your mobile phone was seen by the people did it as a symbol of success, of power and their own importance. Well not anymore! The routine day to day banality that you can overhear is mind-numbingly tedious- it’s verbal diarrhea of the worst kind!!

In a study published sometime in 2010 this phenomenon was termed a “halfalogue”  and that sums it up brilliantly – you have to listen, well whilst the individual is in earshot anyway, to one half of a dialogue and the study found that to be extremely distracting – no sh*t Sherlock!   And believe me since 2010 it’s got a lot worse – as Deloitte showed in their 2017 survey

So why do these people do it?

In 2013 Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. wrote the following:

“…people feel that talking on the cell phone somehow isolates them from the people in their immediate vicinity. The deeper they get into their conversations, the more removed they feel from those who are physically present and the more engaged they become in the conversation itself. Unfortunately for them, and for their unwilling listeners, they are anything but isolated.”

Too damn right Dr Whitbourne!!

Is there a solution?  Well clearly there are tactics to stop this…


…this video has been watched over 15million times!!

But humour aside thankfully we can turn to “The Gentleman’s Gazette” for a solution written back in December 2015.

Cell Phone Etiquette Guidelines

  • Employ the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. Expect that less self-aware companions may not reciprocate.
    Treat in-person interactions as sacrosanct.
  • Is something worth leaving the room for? You probably wouldn’t excuse yourself from a room just to peruse news updates, so save anything not requiring an immediate response for later.
  • That being said, excuse yourself when needed. If you get an urgent work call at dinner with friends, take it in another room or outside the restaurant to avoid holding up everyone else’s conversation.
  • In the office, mirror the behavior of an esteemed colleague if no cell phone policy has been created. However, keep your ringer off and your phone in your pocket during conversations and meetings.
  • Avoid talking on your phone in close quarters with strangers – elevators, planes, bathrooms, trains, etc., where other people will be forced to hear your every word.

#sorted!

Dreaming spires but traffic’s a nightmare

Why is Oxford such a pain to visit?

I mean it really is dreadful – it may those tourist friendly photogenic spires but unless you live in the centre of town it is certainly not people friendly!

Now I’m sure that the”liberal elite” that came up with the traffic management system have already started braying about air quality and reduced car crashes, well let me tell you if we take a wider range of quality of life measures then Oxford stinks!!

On Saturday for a bit of kulture innit, we went to the American Modernists exhibition at the Ashmolean. Top down through the country lanes to the Peartree park and ride where you have to pay to park AND then pay again for the bus to the city centre (!!!).

The exhibition was cool, as was a bit of post culture shopping (cafe frappe anyone?). Now those of you in the know will just have to patient for the next bit…on George St there are 3 bus stops for the out of town traffic…counting down from Debenhams end they are B3 and then in 10 yards B2. Unfortunately B1 is another 250 yards further down.  In the time it took us to walk from 2 to 1 three (3) number 300s passed us by. The last 2 were one behind the other.

I tried to flag down the final one but all I got was a desultry guesture pointing back down the road to the B1 bus stop….

Those of you who know me can imagine my reaction to this…and can you imagine my reaction when we had to wait 25 minutes for the next 300 to arrive…the timetable said it should have been 10 minutes.  I mean what is the fucking point of sending 3 together…are they afraid of getting mugged outside the Ashmolean or Browns??

And frankly if you ever try to drive into the centre the traffic lights are so badly phased and the car parks so limited your stress levels will be off the scale.

So my plan is simple. I’m going to buy the only vehicle that can fuck with both the buses and the minds of the wishy washy liberal planners – an Audi Q7, they can both go swivel!!

esure rip off merchants

I have 2 car insurance policies with e-sure – in the near future I may have none!

I have just received a renewal invitation for one of them and this is what is says:

Thank you for choosing esure to take care of your car insurance needs for the past year. It’s now time to renew your policy and I am delighted to provide your new Schedule and Certificate of Motor Insurance
Your premium for the next 12 months is £295.52 including any optional extras and excluding interest.

Blah, blah, blah small print stuff….

Your premium last year was £216.33, including optional extras and excluding interest. This takes into account any
changes you may have made since you took out your policy and shows what the full year’s premium would have
been had these changes been in place from your cover start date.


Wow that’s some increase!! So I called them.

Now I do have to point out that during this past year I was involved in a shunt in that the person behind me was pushed into me by the person behind her!! I contacted esure but was then contacted by the person at fault’s insurers who handled the whole thing and told me to tell esure this and that the previous call was just “for information only” – which I did.

So when the nice man with the Scottish accent takes my call and I tell him my premium has gone up by 40% he has a look at my policy and then says oh that’s partially to do with the increase in insurance tax from 6% to 12% (OK that’s 6% – so what about the other 34%) then he says I can see there was a claim on the account – er, NO THERE WASN’T I correct him – oh yes he says so then he says the reason si that there was a massive increase in the number of personal injury lawyers making personal injury claims last year – he says you probably read about in the press!!

At this point I ask if that rise was in excess of 30% and he says well no, and I go on to point out that these sort of claims are not a new thing and have been going on for ages and the industry has been saying that premiums have had to rise because of them for years….

So either esure ARE penalising me for informing that I was involved in a NO FAULT accident or they are using the opportunity to blame premium increases by huge amounts because of a situation they were already aware of.

Personally I think they’re profiteering. However in a couple of weeks I should be receiving the renewal invitation for my other car – let’s see if that premium has shot up – I wonder!!

October “Rant-Fest”

Ladies and gentlemen, many apologies for my absence but c’est la vie!  Now I’m back with a bumper multi-target rant for you all to enjoy.  So this October “Rant-Fest” contains a couple of pops at the government’s idiotic approach to big society, the A34 as it goes past Oxford and the Daily Mail’s online site!  Enough to keep you going for a while?  I think so!!


OK – Big Society – aka how can  the Tory government give you the impression that they’re spending less on public services when in fact it’s all going to their cronies in the private sector.

2 classic examples of bonkers budgeting in as many days.  Yesterday we had a press conference from Clive Grunshaw, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire and Steve Finnigan, Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary about  ‘CATASTROPHIC’ PROPOSED GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS

Lancashire Police will “not be viable” after 2020 because of cuts to funding, the chief constable has warned.

It’s happening elsewhere too – today we have an announcement that nn RAF air rescue team based at Chivenor in north Devon has handed over its role to a private firm.

Bristow took over from the military at RMB Chivenor at 13:00 BST and will fly out of St Athan in south Wales.

Astonishingly and extremely concerning is the fact that the handover was delayed by four days because Bristow said it needed extra time.  Needed extra time?  I’m sure those people in need of rescue from today onwards are delighted to hear that phrase.

Aberdeen-based Bristow has won a 10-year contract to take over the service, which is being privatised around the UK.  The £1.6bn search and rescue deal with Bristow ends 70 years of search and rescue from the RAF and Royal Navy.

£1.6bn!!

Yea gods the mind boggles at the potential waste of skills, resources and the decline in the quality of the service that will be provided!


The A34 to the west of Oxford – or specifically the cretins that are responsible for the planning and delivery of road improvements in this area.  Basic physics will tell you that if you have a circular pipe of diameter let’s say “2 lanes” and you also have a another pipe of  let’s say “2 lanes” again and you want the flow from both of them to go through a single pipe of say “2 lanes” you’re going to have problems at peak flow times.

So why do you not plan to increase capacity in the area where this is likely to happen?

Because you’re cretins that’s why!

So not only do thousands of motorists like me on their way to work in the morning end up spending too much time crawling from jam to jam we are all increasing our petrol consumption alarmingly and adding to the levels of pollution as well!  Now for a council that is so right on they want you park outside the city and pay for the privilege of getting on a bus to get in this seems counter-productive.

The issue is compounded by the apparent lethargy of the contractors to finish existing road improvements- I believe the end date for some work going on on the ring road to the north of Oxford is November 2016 – 2016!!!


Finally, and I apologise for having visited the site in the first place, I have to blame Google for this, let’s look at the Daily Mail’s website.  We all know it’s a right wing rag so the political bias of its owners and editors – neither are the sort of people you’d want your daughter to bring home are they? – aside it’s the prurient nature of its celeb reporting on the home page that is so revolting – specifically the section they headline as “Don’t Miss” it’s just trash!  It’s offensive, idiotic, rude, dumb- in fact everything you’d use to describe a daily mail reader!


Right I’m outta here!

The truth about the A34 Oxford southern bypass works

Here what the council says and what the reality is!

What is happening?
Improvements to the Hinksey Hill interchange and Kennington roundabout were identified as critical to reducing congestion on the ring road and A34.

We realise we ***ed up by not widening the A34 (a major trunk road!) when we decided to use it as the bypass for Oxford but we’re still going to ignore that issue!

Kennington
The Kennington Roundabout will be converted to a ‘hamburger’ style layout. A new carriageway for eastbound traffic will go through the central island providing a more direct route through the junction.

However we’ll still ensure that there plenty of queues as we’ll make sure there are loads of traffic lights to stop you!

For westbound traffic the roundabout will be widened to provide two segregated lanes for people travelling towards the A34. There will also be two lanes for traffic turning at the roundabout to travel into Oxford via the Abingdon Road.

Yeh, whatever

Hinksey
The improvements at the Hinksey Hill Interchange on the A34 that will include a new ‘free flow’ slip road from the Southern Bypass south onto the A34, by widening of the approach to the roundabout and removing the need for traffic to stop at the traffic lights.

Because we’re ignoring the fact that the problems are actually for traffic trying to get off the A34 both South and North at peak times – not getting onto it!

Traffic will be able to travel through the area during the work, and businesses will be open as usual. However drivers are advised to plan their journeys in advance to take account of anticipated severe delays, however, this improvement work will bring major benefits to the flow of traffic to this congested part of the city.

We’re going to make you suffer – and if you believe that this will improve your journey to work if you have to go past Hinksey Hill – you’re living in cloud cuckoo land!

The decision to allow the A34 to be used as a ring road for Oxford – without widening it in the first place – ranks along side the decision to allow Esso to build a garage in what was the obvious place to continue the ring road around Bicester. Both the product of deluded minds!