Tag Archives: car accidents

Ill-mannered letters and other people’s whiplash is grinding me down

Angry Bird - like wot I am

In fact, it’s not just the paperwork, it’s the tone of the paperwork.

Having recently become self employed, there is an astonishing amount of paperwork required of me on an almost continual basis, mostly because there are lots of things that I now have to pay for which I didn’t before.  I am also constantly asked to account for myself to various bodies and, whilst I understand that this needs to be done, I come close to getting upset by the hectoring tones of many of these letters.

One letter, asking me for details of the work I have been doing has the penultimate paragraph in large, bold type, some of which is underlined, threatening that if I don’t provide this information within 15 days the payment in question will stop.  This is the first letter of its kind from them and I would mind less if it hadn’t, in fact, been sent to the wrong address.

I have two other ill-mannered letters this week.  The first one regarding Council Tax which is threatening me with court action if I don’t pay £27 which is 7 days overdue.  They informed me that I was  constantly falling into arrears in this financial year and that it simply would not do.  I only received the letter confirming my Council Tax bill three weeks ago.

The second made me want to spit blood with rage at the hypocrisy of it all.  For the first time in a very long while, I was overdrawn at the bank.  Overdrawn by £8 for a grand total of 4 days.  This meant that a direct debit was not paid and for which I was charged £8.  Fair enough.

What was not fair enough was the letter that I subsequently received from my bank lecturing me on the evils of being in debt, that it was totally unacceptable to overdraw without authority and would I like to see an advisor and go on a debt management course.

Do you know what?  I would like the banks to go on a debt management course.  Added to that, I would like the writers of these letters to think twice before assuming that everyone is a work-shy, backsliding criminal.

I just get angry, but I wonder what an elderly or vulnerable person would feel like if they received letters like these.

And whilst I’m on the subject of getting angry, I would like to share with you my entire morning spent trying to get a quote on my car insurance.  My insurance has gone up by over £250 since last year and that was the cheapest quote I could get.  I was expecting it to go up a little bit because I took someone’s wing mirror off back in July and, apparently foolishly, owned up on the flimsy grounds that it was categorically my fault.

I asked each insurer (I rather quaintly get my quotes from humans on telephones) why premiums had gone up so much.  Each one told me that a large factor was the no win no fee companies urging people to claim for whiplash.  Apparently the new trick is to get your friend to bang into your car from behind, you both claim on your insurance, then get a whopping payout for whiplash – the going rate is currently £2k.

When some stupid tart ran into the side of me a year ago (still not gone to court, incidentally) I was bombarded with calls from claims companies for weeks afterwards asking whether I was getting headaches or back pain. Several of them suggested that I was foolish not to claim as whiplash was virtually impossible to gainsay.  Needless to say, I refused to play the game, again on the frail excuse that I was not actually injured.

Nonetheless, my premiums have gone up by £250.

I am very, very cross.  I probably blame Thatcher.

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Filed under Life in general, Transport

Horror and achievement in equal quantities

Yesterday was a funny old day.  Despite several urgent administrative matters which reared their heads in the morning, I managed to complete my entire list of things to do, except the shelves.  These were not done because I ran out of red rawl plugs and I was buggered if I was going to drive five miles just to get some more – the TP  round the corner only sells them in batches of 20,000.

After I had done my jobs in the hall, I got the vacuum out to clean the carpets.  Because we are still hauling boxes and moving furniture, I have left a piece of off-cut carpet in the hall so the real carpet doesn’t get dirty.  I vacuumed the top and then lifted it up to vacuum underneath.

To my horror, the underside was absolutely crawling with maggots.  After the shock had worn off,  I tried to work out where they’d come from.  The carpet off-cut was relatively new and I had vacuumed under it recently, so it couldn’t be the carpet.  I checked for any rogue food which the boys might have dropped but there was nothing.

Then it dawned on me.  Last week we had very heavy rain and something organic and dead had been washed out of the gutter and, as I went out of the front door that night, the whole of the front step was covered with maggots.  I had poured boiling water on them and swept them up the next morning, but  clearly, some of them had got inside and snuggled up under my carpet.  Yuk. I would even go so far as to say ‘Eeooow’ in that slightly affected way of the Californian teenage girl.

I cleared up and carried on with my tasks.  Hooks were hung, steps were scrubbed, windows cleaned, ‘phone calls made, Boy the Younger was collected from school. I then went out to pick up Boy the Elder from the bus stop.  It’s only a ten minute drive and the first part is along a narrow road where one has to drive slowly because of parked cars.  20-25mph is about as fast as you can go.

As I came round a wide bend, I saw a group of little girls standing at the side of the road.  I slowed down a bit more, just in case, but they saw me and stepped back from the kerb.  Then, just before I drew level with the girls, two of them suddenly made a dash for it and ran straight out in front of my car.

I slammed on the brakes and literally, and I mean literally, stopped short of  the girl at the back by about four inches.  I stopped the car and got out, shaking.  Both sets of girls were stock still at the side of the road, obviously terrified that I was going to give them a bollocking.

I didn’t shout.  I checked that they were ok and then gave them a very serious but gentle lecture about crossing the road and how important it is to look both ways, twice, before crossing the road, looking and listening all the time.  The girls who didn’t cross were very upset and full of apologies.  The girl who I nearly hit just kept saying “I didn’t see you, I didn’t see you”.  Absolutely horrible.

I had a dear friend once who accidentally killed someone in a car and he never got over it.  He was driving down a main road and he saw a car coming out of a gateway and he slowed down just in case it pulled out.  The other driver saw him and pulled back.  But then, inexplicably, just as my friend was about to drive past, the car pulled out at speed and my friend ploughed into the driver’s side killing him instantly.  Fortunately the little girl who was in the passenger seat was unharmed.  My friend developed a crippling stammer which never left him.

Drive safely all of you.  And clean out your guttering.

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Filed under Children, Cleaning, Family and Friends, General DIY, Life in general, Transport

Prang!!!!!

Well, it never rains but it bloody pours.

Tonight, Irish Alice (I.A) and her daughter, Yippee I.A., joined us for a trip to the pictures.  Boy the Elder and Yippee have been friends since they were four and we often join forces for cinema trips.  We went to Pizza Hut for a feed and then the three children went to see ‘Despicable Me’ in 3D while I.A. and I slipped into the pub next door for a glass of something white and chilled. Everybody happy.

As we left, I decided to pop into Tesco for some petrol to save time in the morning.  I was just driving off the forecourt when, completely unbidden, a black Vauxhall Astra ploughed, with some force, into my front wing.  I jumped out to inspect the damage and speak sternly to the other driver just in time to see my front bumper crash to the ground, lightly frosted with the remains of my headlight.

The other driver was a young girl who was sobbing hysterically at the wheel and it was her boyfriend who got out and talked to me.  They both admitted it was her fault, but he explained that her hysteria was entirely justified as she had hit another car only two weeks previously. 

The staff at the Tesco garage were absolutely brilliant.  They immediately came out, cleared up, coned off the area, took the girl inside while her boyfriend parked the car, gave my children a drink and kept everyone calm while we exchanged details.  I was actually completely calm as there is no point in being anything else; these things happen and will undoubtedly happen again.  I told the girl this would make her a better driver as she would be a lot more careful in future.  I’m sure that was a great comfort.

I called the AA, confident of a rescue; after all, I had upgraded at huge expense when my car broke down in Norfolk in the Spring.  But no.  Apparently the small print in my contact says they won’t rescue me if I’m in a car accident, but if I paid another £114 there and then, they would rescue me with pleasure.  When I’d stopped shouting at him in Anglo Saxon, I told him he could shove his policy up his useless arse.  There seems to be no end to the list of reasons why the AA don’t want to rescue me.

Now this is the amazing bit.  Tesco have an arrangement with the RAC that if anyone breaks down on their premises, an RAC vehicle will come out free of charge and sort you out, including taking you home within a 10 mile radius.  A rescue vehicle arrived within 15 minutes.  He assessed my car, which was driveable, taped it up to make it safe and recommended that I should take it, slowly,  to my garage immediately.  He was confident that my insurance company (broker?  The AA – hurrah) would consider it a write off.

I love my car.  It is an X-reg Ford Escort – the last of its kind before they switched to making the Focus instead and it has a wicked sound system.  My mechanic (in whom I am well pleased) also loves my car because it’s mechanical with real machinery that whirrs and chugs and, more importantly, he can mend it with ease.  More importantly still, I have no means with which to buy another car.  Mr RAC was quite reassuring though, because he assessed that the damage was all bodywork and that my insurance company is likely to give me the money and my car back which will mean that I can afford to repair it.  Fingers crossed.

Yet again, The Father of My Children came to my rescue and brought us home from the garage.  We now have a day off as I can’t take the children to school or do any of my own activities. Boy the Elder is delighted.

I will also have to cancel taking Jeremiah to the vet to be spayed.  As it happens, I suspect that she is already pregnant, as she started the day by wee-ing on my bed at seven o’clock this morning and she appears to be eating for ten cats. 

One day at a time…..

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Filed under Animals, Life in general, Transport