Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Insurance Update: Another dull post

I telephoned my insurance company about my motorcycle the day after the fire. I made it clear I hadn't done this before and wanted them not to assume anything, ask me everything and lead me through the proceedure.

The insurance company gave me another number who deal with it. I told them the story and they gave me another number who deal with the wreckage (who I also told the story to) and it was another number that arranged for the motorcycle to be picked up (who thought it was a car, and then felt it was alright to wheel the bike to the truck).

Having sent a 20+tonne lorry the size of a double decker bus to go over our little bridge to pick up my pile of ash they rearranged for a smaller lorry to do the job the next day.

I waited a couple of days and then the insurance took a statement and then asked for various documents which I sent. This Thursday they made me an offer which is the price the motorcycle is insured for. I asked this company whether I could have more in order to cover the costs of everything I lost. They told me the first number I phoned would deal with that. However, if I found a selection of the same bike (2007 Suzuki VStrom) with similar mileage (16K) that were more than the insured value then I should send them in and they will consider that. Otherwise I just accept the offer. I will have a hunt around and see whether it is a fair price.

I telephoned the first number again over the weekend and it was a great surprise to them that there was a possibility of claiming off another vehicle (my bike was the second to catch fire). Apparently the first person who spoke to me didn't log it all properly and thus it wasn't sent on to the relevant department. Now I need to collect all the information regarding the cost of replaceing the equipment lost and post it in. That shouldn't be too hard. The delay, as the chap on the phone told me, is infuriating.

The thing I find most stagering about all this is that my insurance company contracts out all the work!!

so, the saga continues.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


My computer has a virus so updates are not occurring. Nor are many thing other than a strange liberation from being computer less. I do still have my phone which in itself is a mini computer but not a patch on the real thing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

House Dwelling

This morning I am at the family seat.  As I went through my suitcase I noticed that I have trousers to change into for evening dining, but I had utterly forgotten to pack trousers for the day. Fortunately there is a washing machine here so I announced that I was going to have to wash what I was standing up in. ‘ooh’ said my father ‘are you going to use the washing machine’. ‘yes’ said I. ‘Wonderful’ said my mother and before I knew what had happened they had both change their outfits and the washing machine was full with smiles all around.

There was me thinking it was only boaters that got excited about washing machines.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I stopped on the way in a lovely village to look around the church yard.  I thought it was beautiful.  There was a lovely wasps hole:


A beautiful Angel


And what has to be the most colourful grave I have ever seen:


I stopped for a while to enjoy the peace:


Then I went onto Winchester Cathedral. It wasn’t my favourite cathedral, it felt pompous, soulless and “superior”.  Not nearly so homely and welcoming as the nearby Salisbury Cathedral. Jane Austin is buried in Winchester Cathedral.  The cathedral, despite what I said, is stunning:

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but I will remember it for its Angels – they were stunning:

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While I was there I lit a candle for Ian. He was on life support over the weekend, improved a bit but has a long way to go if he recovers.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Greeks

Yesterday I met up with Maffi at lunchtime and we went for a stroll around the Ashmolean Museum Exhibition: Heracles to Alexander the Great. It was wonderful. There were many exhibits distributed over the three rooms and there were two that were my favourite. One a selection of gorgeous banqueting silver and the other the funeral pyre of Queen Eurydice.  I had hoped the postcard collection would have an example of both these exhibits but no; Once again the postcards were lacking personality and character and missed out the greatest of all scenes.

Fortunately Maffi took a photograph before I pointed out the big sign saying ‘no photography’. Here it is:


Isn’t it magnificent!

There is a super little cafe in the basement at the Ashmolean and we rested there for tea afterwards. The tea cups are almost the same size as the tea pots and it seemed incomprehensible that we had three cups each from our little pots. The tea bags are also the largest I have ever seen. Enchanting. Utterly enchanting.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Insurance

This is long winded and boring – but then so are insurance claims!

I have found the process for claiming after the motorcycle fire quite ‘interesting’. Interesting in a patiently infuriating fashion. Firstly everything seems to be contracted out.  After I had given endless details (they only seemed interested in my name and address at first) I discovered that several different companies would be contacting me to do different bits. I was on the telephone for 2hours on the morning after registering the fire.

Firstly the wreckage needed to be cleared.

I was telephoned and told it would be ‘tomorrow’ after I had convinced them where the vehicle was (they were sure it was somewhere I simply didn’t recognise!) the conversation went like this:

Me:Can you tell me what time they will come?

Them: No, but there is no need for you to be there, just leave the vehicle unlocked and the keys in the glove box

Me: It is a motorcycle.

Them: OK it wasn’t made clear.

Me: If you arrive before 8am and after 6pm you will need to let me know so I can unlock the gate to give access.

Them: We will give you an hours notice.

Me: Perfect

So, “tomorrow” came and I was telephoned by the owner of the vehicle coming to pick up the bike.

Them: Could you just give me a bit more detail about where to find the vehicle.

Me: Up the lane over the bridge, round the back of the tea rooms and there it is

Them: er… that sounds a bit small

Me: Yes…oh and there is a bridge… how heavy are you

Them: over 20tonnes. I am the size of a double decker bus

Me: OOOPS. The lift bridge limit is 7tonnes

Them: OK we had better re-think.

An apologetic telephone conversation followed which was one of those apologies that really says it was my fault. Apparently there weren’t any details about access…I pointed out that this was mostly because they didn’t ask. It never occurred to me that they would be sending a huge vehicle down a country road when a dustpan and brush would have done the job…

The following day arrived and a new person came – in a 7.5tonne lorry (the lift bridge limit is 7tonnes)– but they told me it was alright because there were two of them so they could wheel the bike over the bridge. I telephoned Maffi as I thought he would be interested in seeing a pile of ash being wheeled around. As it happens the lorry was 3tonnes and could carry up to 7.5tonnes, so that was alright then.  They picked up most of the bike.

The insurance company wanted to telephone me to ask me about the incident and we booked an appointment for 2pm. Unfortunately it was raining in Thrupp and for once there was no signal on my phone. By the time I had found signal and telephoned them I had missed the opportunity for an interview. More irritation.  My bad. I re-booked for the next available appointment which was 5 days later. Today. I am now waiting for a recorded delivery letter which should arrive in the next couple of days with the insurance companies offer. Either way my helmet, top box and lock are not covered. If I can claim off the other car (which is still parked there and we don’t know whether the owner has been found) I will get my excess (300pounds) and my no claims bonus back. Otherwise I don’t. The premium will go up regardless.

The whole thing is a tremendous irritation. Anyone who knows me knows how much having the bike means to my general day to day life. I did have a look in the local bike shop to see what was available but it seems that sporty bikes are in at the moment and I won’t be able to buy another bike like I had as I have to fork out the excess, a new helmet, top box and lock which adds pounds to the cost.  I was very pleased to have had the VStrom, but it was clearly only to be an 11month wonder. A great 11 months.

This is an irritation, not the end of the world… and hopefully not the end of Claudius’ world.  I am told by WB Pippin that spiders are heat sensitive and Claudius will have felt the heat, packed a bad and spun off into the distance before turning to a crisp. I fear Claudius may have been a loyal and faithful sailor (you should have seen the clinging going on when we were travelling along the road!) and may have gone down with the ship. I will never know.. but I like to think that were I to get another bike Claudius would come home.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Blenheim Palace

On Sunday evening Simon and I took Boots for a walk in Blenheim Palace grounds. It is years since I have been to this part of the park and it was wonderful. Peaceful, tranquil and so very very quiet. The light was beautiful as it rested over the lake on the bridge and the Palace itself.  My camera phone didn’t do it justice but here are the pictures I took.






Before heading home we stopped off in the Star in Woodstock. Lovely

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

R.I.P. Claudius: Thrupp Fire

For some time I have been driving to work on my Suzuki 650 Motorcycle (vstrom). Recently I noticed that I have a new friend that travels with me faithfully. Claudius the spider. Claudius has hung on for dear life as we have battled through all sorts of weathers and finally found a calm quiet spot below my left handlebar embedded in the fender.  I would check to see whether Claudius was there before I set off and would be delighted to see him when I returned.  Sadly Claudius has passed away.

I was asleep (for a change) and was suddenly awoken by something which was followed by several bangs, nothing like gun shot, a lot like explosions.  I got up, put on a jacket and opened my front doors to see a fire. A car in the lower car park in Thrupp was alight.

The fire brigade were called and I went over to the lift bridge with Dave and Ian where Lillian joined us.

The fire was raging:


The lights of two fire engines were flashing


The car was next to my bike which was next to another car. All three are burnt out wrecks.  IMAG2200 On the other side of the fire-starting car was a 4x4 which is badly burnt down one side.

I will never know if Claudius made it out in time, but I suspect that buried deep in the ghost of place called home (the corner below my handlebar) will lie the ghost of Claudius. I hope it was quick.


I didn’t find waking up suddenly to explosions and seeing the car park on fire, not far from the boats, that pleasant an experience, nor being cut off from my boat. I am so pleased my neighbour Ian was there and also Dave (who is the retired warden of the area). As we stood on the lift bridge watching the fire rage unable to return to our boats I was reminded how quickly fire takes hold of even the most tranquil places and how stunningly amazing the fire service are. The things the fire service do are amazing.

It is suspected that this is not arson by an electrical fault.

Irritatingly I have 300pounds excess but also my top box was on the bike with my helmet, electric heated gloves and my lock. All of which mount up.

Mark Paris will tell you that I am very good at what he calls Bonesisms.  Apparently I always come out with something. So, let me share with you last nights:

The fire engine is 8tonnes. The lift bridge limit is 7tonnnes so they had to stop short of it.  As they unravelled their hoses I turned to Lillian and said ‘is there a fire hydrant here then?’ to which her reply was ‘ no… there is an entire canal’…

Monday, August 01, 2011

Banbury to A Good place

So, farewell to Banbury and Hello to travelling home.  I have really enjoyed my stay in Banbury and I know Boots has too.

Chris Wren met me at the lift bridge and saw me through that and the lock (has anyone else ever got stuck under the concrete ledge on the lock waiting area on the starboard side going down? – I had to get two passers by to stand on the back of the boat to free me up), entertained me while I filled with water and then I dropped him off on the way past Wrens Nest.

I carried on through two locks before mooring up for the night. It was still early but I still had a bit of work I wanted to do and after the first lock with the journey under way I had an urgent need to potter about and enjoy the boat. I moored just above Nell Bridge Lock.DSC09969


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I love this spot: