Saturday, 14 September 2013

Arrivederci Aviva!

A busy week at Hedges Towers. First edits of the Victorian novel, due to be published by Crooked Cat later this year, have arrived. It has been many years since I did an edit and Things Have Moved On Considerably. Farewell days of correcting a manuscript online from a paper copy covered in illegible red editorial pen. Hullo ''Track changes''. For those who are not in the writing game, ''Track changes'' is where your editor marks up the changes he/she thinks need to be looked at in one colour (red), and you click on accept. If you don't agree, you can refuse or add your own changes or comments in blue. All clear? Think I got the hang of it after the first 20 pages and once I'd stopped accepting my own changes. Anyway, it has gone back to my Crooked Cat editor. And there is now a title. Hopefully. Of which more anon.

Meanwhile the window has been fixed (see blog post: Bang Out Of Order). However Aviva, having informed us we'd have to pay the first £150 of any bill AND that they would up our premium on top of that, has now upped our premium by £130 to over £600. Even though we didn't claim on our insurance in the end. Unsatisfied customers? Tell me about it. BH was so furious that he actually went online and has come up with three quotes from other companies that would save us over £400.

We've been loyal Aviva customers for over thirty years. In fact, if you cut BH in half, you would find the word 'loyal' written right through him, like a stick of rock. Not any more. As he said: the quotes may be only introductory offers, but he's quite happy to introduce himself to someone else in a year's time. I've also sent a report of the Aviva fiasco to Paul Lewis at the BBC's excellent 'Money Box' programme. A couple of months ago, he did a feature on exactly this rip-off behaviour. Seems nothing has changed.

On top of all this, the time has rolled around again for the 2CV to fail its MOT. This is an annual event - I have never known any 2CV I've ever owned to pass first time, because every year, the DVLA ups the ante and raises the bar, and old cars like mine stand no chance. Two years ago it failed because the windscreen wipers ''didn't park flat''. They don't ''park flat'' on 2CVs, they never have, it's how they're made, but the test centre wouldn't believe me. Even after I provided them with a picture of a 2CV meeting with a long line up of cars, each with the wipers parked at an angle. I was told that they must have just stopped like that. All 50 of them?

In the end, Big Dave, who looks after the car, did something fiddly just to get it through. Goodness knows what the reason will be this time. Wheels not round enough. Engine needs stronger elastic band. Hamster needs replacing. Every year, we have the 'is it worth holding on to the car given the small local mileage that I do' debate. But I always end up keeping it, because even though it is probably the unsafest car on the road and owes much of its current existence to the miracle that is gaffer tape, nothing compares with bowling along the Lower Luton Road, roof rolled down, and Diana Ross blaring out of one speaker, then hitting a bump and for a brief while listening to Diana Ross in stereo. Magic. Vorsprung durch technik? Nein danke.


24 comments:

  1. Sounds like things are all in order at Hedges Tower! Well done! :D

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  2. Haha, Carol, SO glad you are keeping ze leetle duck! I was afraid you were going to part with it. You are keeping it aren't you?? I don't have a car half as appealing or classic as yours (an old 1992 Opel Astra estate), but I go through the same argument every year too. In the end, the devil you know tends to win! By the way, I had a VW Beetle that hooted every time I went round a corner. Loved it!! Oh and another by the way, congrats with the first edits! Those track changes and their colour coding…pfff

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    1. hahah.. can't drive anything else now..... too scary!

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  3. I didn't see the programme of which you speak re insurance companies, but my lovely OH spends time every year seeking lower insurance costs on everything, we rarely stay with anyone for more than 12 months. These days, it seems, loyalty counts for b*gger all!
    Good luck with your MOT, I have a big box of lacky bands if you need one.
    Joy xx

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    1. Excellent...dropping car off to Big Dave this morning. Dire news will be delivered next week.

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  4. I change house insurance companies every couple of years - and it does keep the costs down, though it's a bit of a faff. Glad the car survives!

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  5. Despite my suggesting otherwise...I actually like your car...it's a YOU car...( I'm not suggesting that you owe 'current existence to the miracle that is gaffer tape'...btw...*snigger* )...Your car fits the loveable eccentricity of all that is you...infact, were you not to have your pink pal...the only other mode of transport to suitably demonstrate your quirky character would be a unicycle...a determined...unique...autonomous apparatus unaffected by the confines and restrictions of the accepted norm...and more than capable of overtaking all in its way to reach a well deserved winning position!....( somehow I see you on this machine with a parrot as a companion...no idea why...just go with it )
    Great post once again...you never cease to amuse me...do pass my regards on to BH.....*smiles*

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    1. when you fly south, following the sun, or the pigeons, you can go for a drive in it.

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  6. I hate track changes. I had 'em done with a proofread and ended up just saying, look, just make 'em right, okay? The rest I can't comment on as I know nothing of Aviva or cars :)

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    1. Didn't worry me -- as part of the edit was to change all the ' ' round conversations to '' '' (House style) I appreciated just being able to click and change. Would have meant a lot of hard work under the 'paper system'.

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  7. Hi Carol, Good, glad, and happy. [Albeit under misfortune]You've changed insurers AND named and shamed them. This ever present thing of loyalty to one 'provider' has always been an area of '...money for nothing', invariably it is... Your money, they'll do nothing. The bite being NOW your risk has gone up thus does your premium [they rub hands whilst you clench yours proclaiming lunacy]. All no doubt all off a 'block policy' which excludes vandalism and so on etc.. Something loyalty does not compute. Welcome to the world of No More Excuses (my other hat).

    There is the now added attraction of me somehow interlinking this 'escapade' into the well-being and welfare to our mutual friends in a field not so distant from you. So who does their insurance?

    Oh yes...the 'carriage of passion' have you tried getting the MOT done at a Local Authority run MOT centre [see Money Saving Expert]. They could be gaffer tape friendly *smiles*!!.

    All the best, David (@DAVIDJONES_dpaj):-))

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    1. Thanks David......it is a local MOT centre...sadly.

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  8. been there, got the t-shirt Carol, but the way you tell it is absolutely glorious...

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    1. Thanks, Anita. I tell it how it happens, and this is how it happens!

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  9. Want to know about your book!

    As for insurance, you should live in France...they insure everything. Every family has private third party liability insurance so that if little Jean falls over and breaks his glasses, or if his mum Marie rips her silk dress on our scaffolding, they can sue us.

    Happy days.

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  10. He probably tightened the rubber band and gave it a friendly pat. Most cars respond well after that!
    Good luck with the 2nd round of edits!

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    1. We shall see...due to be MOT'd on Mon.

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  11. I also have trouble with 'Track Changes" style editing but it's still exciting re your book. As for Insurance Companies we now go on line every year to negotiate the best deals. Gone are the days of faithful loyalties. I can remember when the man from the Pru dressed in regulation mac used to knock on our back door once a week. Good old days! Fingers crossed for your lovely car. Hope it made it through again :-)

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    1. Hahaha..I doubt it, but hopefully it can be fixed for another year..

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  12. Haha. Brilliant post, Carol. Thanks. I hate insurance companies, and I love idiosyncratic cars. Seems we have a lot in common :)

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    1. Indeed. Except that my idiosyncratic are can be fixed with a no.8 or a no.10 spanner or a good wheel kicking!

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  13. First, congrats on finishing your edits. Track changes are pretty easy once you get the hang of them, but every so often they give me trouble because they don't accept changes right away. I find closing and reopening helps when that happens.

    Insurance companies...ugh. Do I really need to say more?

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  14. It's good to have a Dave to do the mechanical bodging - all cars fail their MOTs. You have to expect it. Track changes is useful. Though some of the comments generated on the MS may not be...

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