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.