Monday 12th January 2015 Week 186. Spain
Something practical today (About time. Ed) But first. Good weekend? Mine was fine. I survived it. After Friday's diary entry there was a slim chance I wouldn't, I could have been 'erased' by some Christian fundamentalist group. It seems today, expressing any opinion which isn't mainstream, is likely to label you either an idiot, a do gooder, a lefty subversive, a loon, a mealy mouthed liberal or worse, a vegetarian.
Trying to make an argument as to why I think mankind would be better off not having to drag around the anchor of religion in 600 words ain't easy. I left a lot out. I never touched on the huge wealth and power of religion. It's the biggest money spinning business in the world. It's a cash cow........ sacred or not.
Any ways that's not what today's entry is about. I had a nice email from a chap who asked me about, amongst other things, Insurance. Not the most exciting of topics, but one I do get asked about. Now there's no way I can make insurance sound even vaguely amusing, so bear with me here, it's a public service I'm doing.
Ring your car insurance company, tell them you're spending your two week vacation touring Europe and many will flog you European insurance cover.
I'm half a mile form the beach what did you expect?
Now one of the benefits of being in the EU, and let's face it there aren't that many, especially if you exclude the standardisation of condom length and the overall straightness of bananas, is the EU motor Insurance directive 2009/103/EC. Fascinating document. I should Know, I read it the other day. It basically states that all motor insurance policies issued within the EU must cover the driver when he's driving anywhere within the EU, so we're all automatically covered by EU law. This answers the perennial question: why is it you can get year long European insurance cover for a motor-home but not for a caravan? Legally you don't have to insure a caravan. If you take out some wizened up old lady dressed in black, on a mountain pass, in pitch darkness with the rear end of your Caravan, don't worry, your car insurance takes care of it.
Now with British insurance companies, if you want your FULL normal cover you may have to take out extra insurance. And this is where the 30 day, or anything up to 180 day, time limits stems from, as under EU law your insurance only extends to third party cover. Let me explain something about the above time limits imposed by British insurers. As it was explained to me.
Take breakdown Insurance. When I enquired about full European breakdown cover and told them I was intending to bum around Europe for a couple of years they all pretty much hung up on me. Fed up with rejection, when I rang the next company I didn't tell them of my plans. I just said I wanted to enjoy extended European travel. They offered me multi trip European breakdown assistance, each trip couldn't be longer than 90 days. I pretended, because it's not that hard to do, to be a total idiot.
I asked, “So, if I break down on the 89th day, do I have to keep my ferry tickets to prove I've not been in Europe any longer?”
“It doesn't work like that.” he said stiflingly a giggle at my expense. “If you breakdown within 90 days we will assist you. But if you then breakdown again within the next 90 days you're not covered.” After 180 days you'd be covered again.
“So I don't have to prove how long I've been in Europe then”
“No, how could you?”
It's the same with caravan insurance. My advice to anyone is get a Multi trip policy with the longest maximum stay. Mine's 180 days. But as I've explained... clearly enough I hope, If I break down on the 181st day and then the 222nd day for example, I'm covered.
Has that helped? or have I just muddied the waters?
Tuesday 13th January 2015 week 186
I'm still a tad under the weather. My nasopharyngitis hasn't cleared. (He's got a cold. Ed). True. But need I remind you that in 1918 the Spanish flu pandemic wiped out 5% of the worlds population!. I think it fair to say Spanish viruses have something of a tradition to uphold.
There's little you can do when you're poorly but put your feet up and find ways to amuse yourself. I moped around, which really isn't easy when you're in something the size of a bathroom, it takes practice.
I played with my smart phone. I had a HUAWEI. I sold it. Gave up trying to pronounce the name when I was asked what it was. I brought myself a Motorola. I think it's a brave company that manufactures a product which no one can ask for by name.
“Morning I'd like to purchase a Hu-a-wee-eye. Sorry, I mean a huey-eye. No that's not it either. I'd like a Hah-wow-ee-i............... Fuck it give me a Motorola.”
One of the white town is the area
The one feature I enjoy is the torch app. It turns the camera flash into a jolly good torch. Of course, for what I paid for the phone I could have brought a warehouse full of torches but us blokes never think like that. Any-ways it's academic now as the touch function, along with the camera flash, packed up a few days ago. I faffed about with it from my sick bed/couch. Deleted the old app, installed a new one, rebooted, reset and patched all to no avail. All that faffing around convinced me we only buy smart phones for the apps. The trick is finding one that’s remotely interesting. For example, I downloaded an app which gave me the periodic table. Why? I've no idea. I can't envisage a situation when I'll need it. But you never know, it might come handy. I discovered apps that makes 'fart' noises. I noted, with some sadness, one had been downloaded five million times. Mankind has certainly come a long way since climbing out of the evolutionary soup. Little did he know, as he dragged himself from it, that far into distant future his progeny would one day invent a handheld device that could replicate a fart noise. I think had he known that, there was every chance he'd have turned around and crawled back in.
I fancy the type of chap that has such an app, in all probability, has very little difficulty in summoning up the real thing.
However not all apps are pointless, some apps are dead handy. I've one that helps me level up the motor-home. It's called Camper leveller. A must have app for the discerning camper. It has a picture of a wibbly wobbly caravan which rights itself as you get your vehicle level.
But like so many people, I very rarely use my cell phone to actually call anyone. I text. This saves me a massive amount of time and avoids the need to make small talk, at which I'm hopeless. It also gives me more time to look for apps. In fact they could take out the phone function altogether and stop calling it a mobile phone. I'd buy one. I've never liked being contactable 24/7. I mean, it's not like I'm a flying doctor or a reservist in the fire brigade, nothing I do is that urgent. Besides I can never hear the person on the other end anyway, not unless I shove a finger in my vacant ear and walk into a clearing. I tried, when I brought this phone, to turn turn the volume to maximum. It optimistically warned me that I could damage my hearing by having it too loud. Personally I couldn't see that. Not unless I hammered it into my lug hole.
Anyways, in all my tinkering looking for a fix for the torch I discovered my phone probably had a programme fault. The only way to fix it was to reload my Ice Cream Sandwich, or wait till Project Butter comes out. Either one, apparently, runs better than Jelly Bean.
So, didn't waste the whole day then.
Thursday 14th January 2014. week 186 Spain.
Someone asked, do you ever get stuck for a topic? Well the answer is, yes, occasionally. Some days I have zip. On such days I tend to write lists.
So here is a list of twelve interesting and I would hope slightly thought provoking facts about Spain. Armed with these -each one a conversation starter- you'll be able to enthral your dinner guests into the wee small hours.
1, The maximum state pension in Spain is three times higher than that of the UK. The UK is behind Spain, Germany, Holland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Ireland, USA, Australia, Canada and Brazil and several others. So next time you hear a UK politicians say, we've all got to work longer because we can't afford pensions, tell him, or her, to go fxxx themselves.
2, The minimum unemployment benefit, for a single person in Spain, is £397 a month, that's £193 higher than what you'd get in the UK.
3, And yet, Spain, according to nominal GDP which is a measurement of a nations wealth, ranks 13th in the world. Britain ranks sixth.
4, Catholicism is the biggest religion in Spain but their attitude toward the church is mixed. This is due to the church, rather than take the side of 'the people', took Franco's when he seized power. Apart from murdering almost a quarter of a million of his own countrymen, he also banned women from having bank accounts, abolished women's right to vote and banned dancing. Consequently the Spanish, quite rightly, haven't forgiven the church for making that biblical sized PR cock up.
5, The Spaniards have a greater life expectancy than us Brits.
6 In 2010, recorded crimes in Spain ran at less than a million. To put that in perspective, over the same period, we had over 6 million.
7 Spain, was one of the first countries to allow gay marriages.
8. Prostitution is legal here and brothels pay tax. One paid 30,000 Euros. Here, you're considered a prude, and narrow minded, if you object to pornography.
9. It's common for Spanish children to live with their parents well into their late twenties. This is because it's illegal to throw them out. The extended family is a very important part of Spanish society.
10, One for the kids. The tooth fairy doesn’t exists in Spain. Instead, they have a tooth mouse named Ratoncito Pérez.
11, The Spaniards aren’t known for very many inventions, but they did invent the mop and beret.
12, Almost twice as many people smoke in Spain than in the UK, and yet they have fewer deaths from Lung cancer. According to The World heath organisation, the UK is 18th while Spain is 34rd in deaths per 100.000.
Sources: Crime stats:Which Magazine:The IMF:WHO:The book,The Ghosts of Spain
Friday 15th January 2015. Week 186 Spain
What's on my mind today?
Do you have a few minutes? Do you like fairy stories? Good. I'd like to tell you one. Relax, sit comfortably and I'll begin.
Once upon a time there was a chap. His name was Gideon, not that we'll hold that against him. His father, a fabric and wallpaper designer, had great hopes for Gideon and to that end worked hard to give his boy a good education. When Gideon left college, he did so clutching a degree in History.
The young Gideon dreamt of becoming a journalist. He applied to join the Times Newspaper as a trainee reporter, but they wouldn't have him. That was a sad day. He then took on a few dead end job, he couldn't find his niche. He worked in Selfridge's bedding department, folding duvets. He didn't like it. He then got a job with the NHS as a data input clerk. He didn't much like that either.
Then one day a old school chum told him of a vacancy at the Conservative Central Office. They were looking for researchers. This was right up his street what with him having a degree in history and all. So he brushed his teeth, washed behind his ears, donned his best bib and tucker and went for the interview. To his surprise he got the job.
His mother, was perhaps a little less joyful at hearing the news as she voted labour, but you have to support your offspring even though, occasionally, they can be lured over to the Dark Side.
He worked diligently and was liked by those he worked with. Pretty soon he was doing all manner of political work. So much so, that in a very short time he'd risen to the lofty heights of parliament. However, it wasn't all plain sailing for Gideon, oh no! He dropped a couple of clangers on route and embarrassed himself and his party.
The first was when he "flipped" his second home. He changed which property he designated as his second home. This saved him having to pay capital gains tax of £55,000. While this attracted criticism he shrugged it off. He was then told to pay back over a thousand pounds in expenses when a mischievous newspaper highlighted he'd 'over-claimed'. Gideon blamed the oversight on “What someone had told him”. Later he claimed £47 on his expenses for two DVDs. The DVDs were political speeches entitled, 'Giving tax payers value for money'. He particularly liked these, mainly because they were of him giving the speech. Some lefty trouble maker complained, so it was looked into. A commission found he had breached the rules, but since the offence was relatively minor, just £47, nothing more was said.
Then, rather oddly, a powerful and rich friend of his, accused him of attempting to solicit a large donation from a Russian business tycoon. This would have landed Gideon in deep deep doo-doo. It was investigated. Another Commission rejected the accusation and said Gideon hadn't done anything naughty that they could see.
But all this demonstrated that Gideon had a way with the old spondoolicks. The head of the GBH came to him and said “How would like to run the sixth biggest economy in the world?” Gideon got so excited that a little bit of wee came out...... accidentally. Gideon accepted the job of Chancellor of the exchequer for Britain. He now, under his new name of George Osborne, (He decided he didn't like Gideon) makes life altering decisions for millions of Britons, some of whom he once folded sheets for.
You have a good weekend.