Saturday 27 November 2010

Cornish Floods and Northumbrian Snow!!!

[A photo taken of part of our back garden forty minutes ago.]

This morning we have awoken to massive snow scenes. We are due to go to a Winter Wonderland Day at Kielder. It will be interesting to see whether we get there! Everyone in Northumberland/North East has been advised to stay at home today!!

I was thinking that we are either afflicted by floods and/or snow these days. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been caught up in the very recent flooding in Cornwall. We have many friends down in the West Country and it’s an area we have visited many times as a family. Before we decided to stay up in here in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country we made several trips to Devon and Cornwall to look at properties to buy with an eye to setting up in business. Mr. H. (Nigel) used to be a scuba diving instructor down in Newquay before the place became ultra fashionable. We also considered buying a self catering and B&B business in the delightful town of Camelford but, in the end, this area kept drawing us back again and again.

Everyone dreads something awful happening to their homes and I freely admit that I am much more conservative (with a small “c”) than Nigel. Given the chance I would have an insurance policy for just about everything. Luckily we do have home insurance for our two properties (and blessedly) they are both situated up on hills.

I was quite taken aback to read an article in which up to a fifth of folk in this country have decided to cut back and not have any home insurance. I can completely understand that money is extremely tight these days and that food and warmth come high on our agendas. I would, however, strongly urge everyone to consider having some home insurance. It is possible these days to shop around and get a good deal.

All sorts of things can happen which surge up out of the blue.

I met a wonderful family locally, a few months ago, who’d had the misfortune of having their boiler serviced only for something to go wrong. Their entire house ended up being covered with oil and its residue. When I talked to them they seemed to be handling the whole situation magnificently. They were being extremely pragmatic and, luckily, they were covered 100% for everything. They were still forced to look for alternative accommodation (potentially for months) and knew that they would have to replace everything in their home.

And it’s not just the big things we have to worry about. Lots of little things can go wrong too…cameras, laptops, games consoles lost or broken and anything electrical malfunctioning. Touch wood - nothing serious has happened to us yet. (Although if I could get my/our lost photos and data back by claiming on my home insurance policy believe me I would!!!)

In ancient Roman times a sophisticated financial system also existed which I am only just beginning to understand. I can imagine that valuable objects, such as works of art and jewellery would be used as “home insurance”. All these ideas brilliantly come together in one of my favourite books – in Dickens’ novel “Great Expectations” particularly when the bill collector John Wemmick, acting as clerk to Pip’s lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, turns out to be very keen on “portable property”.

[Chapter 45 – Dickens – Great Expectations (Conversation between Pip and Wemmick in the latter’s “castle” where they are toasting sausauges for the Aged. P’s breakfast.)]

In fact, Wemmick, advises Pip to get hold of Magwitch’s portable property to ensure that Pip is properly set up for life:

He laid his hands upon my shoulders, and added in

a solemn whisper: "Avail yourself of this evening to lay hold of

his portable property. You don't know what may happen to him. Don't

let anything happen to the portable property."

Ooh! The suspense! I just love it!!! (And I'll let you know if we ever get to Kielder today to see Wintry Scenes, Santa and the Elves!).....


Nota Bene said...

Can't help but live the just one of life's necessities I guess, although I went for years without it.

Lakeland Jo said...

I haven't always been careful with money ( I am now- old age and all that) but I have always been obsessed with two things: pensions ( since I was eighteen!) and insurance. Some people see insurance as a gamble. You maybe paying for something you never need. I have always liked the comfort of it- we invested in income protection, critical illness and life insurance and have needed two of them. Income protection has saved our house and our lifestyle. We have top of the range car insurance and home insurance. Have needed the former but luckily never the latter (except for lost jewellery/ I'd rather have insurance than savings in fact reflecting on it.....

the fly in the web said...

French insurance really put me off...get out clauses for everything.

A chimney stack went down in high winds....insurers would not pay because their meteo station of reference...some 50 kilometres away...had no record of high winds!

Clippy Mat said...

Insurance is a necessary evil I suppose.
I'm hearing all about the white, wintery weather in the N.E. We haven't had any here yet in my part of Canada but it's coming.... ugh.
Stay Warm, Hadriana.

Maggie May said...

Would never go uninsured. No, that is essential, I think.

The snow looks lovely but everything comes to a grinding halt in this country, doesn't it? Snow & ice are difficult for older folk to walk on.Thats why I hate it.
Hope you get where you were going and back safely.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Unknown said...

Hubby insures us up to the hilt but draws a line at the extra insurance thrust at you when you buy a new telly etc.

Hope you got to Kielder. We went a few years ago on a really cold frosty day it was magical. With proper snow I'd imagine it even better.

Even on the coast we have a good few inches now - goodness know what we will

Unknown said...

cont from previous comment - I have no idea what I did to delete the end if it!

....wake up to tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

No snow here in west Kent yet, but there is really heavy frost out there even now (7pm). I, too, would never go uninsured - I just know that if I ever let the insurance lapse, even for one day, that is the day my house would be hit by lightning.

Expat mum said...

Funny - I live with (no, am married to) an accountant who deals with insurance as his business. We have very little insurance because he works on probabilities. Apart from health insurance, which we pretty much have to have over here, everything else is insured as "catastrophic". He calculates the years we probably won't have much problems with (dog, house) and then works out what we could afford without disruption, then makes a decision. Usually (and he's usually right) we can save more than the insurance premiums before something goes wrong.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

NB: Yes - I love the snow too. I'm looking out of all of our windows (which have amazing views over the countryside) and am bewitched by it all. With luck I can take some more photos when we are out walking the dog this morning.

I too believe in insurance. We were a little "light" on it recently and I am now wringing my hands about it. It's a great comfort blanket.

Hi Jo,

Wonderful to see you back here and glad you are feeling much better. That is marvellous! :)

I so, so agree with you. You never know what is going to blow up (so to speak) and I back what you are saying 100%. I would rather go without other things but be safe in the knowledge that the backup is there when it is really needed. I'm glad that you have had financial help when you really needed that. We (as a human nation) can be so complacent when we all feel as right as rain.

Hubbie is not as conservative (small c) as I am. You are right - it really does count! :) Hugs Hadriana xx

Fly - Hubbie would agree with you there...not on French insurance but on English insurance. He was married twice before I came along. He told me that his first wife lost a valuable ring and they couldn't claim on their insurance as the firm wriggled out of it somehow.

I don't know the answer to that one. I don't know if British companies are more lenient than French ones. I'd have to go and do some research! I suppose I'd get the insurance anyway and then try to argue it out with them if I had to.

Are you following the Ashes' cricket? Am intrigued to know Oz time difference with Costa Rica!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Clippy,

Thanks for that. We are trying to stay warm. Our day in Kielder was brilliant! I'll blog about it soon and put some photos up. Driving back in the dark on the Military Road was most unwise (my suggestion!) - I thought they would have gritted it but they hadn't. Thank God hubbie has nerves of steel. We have a 2x2 not a 4x4 and on the way up to Kielder we "lost" it a couple of times. Hubbie knew that he couldn't rely on the brakes and had to steer the car. Absolutely utterly amazing that we got there in one piece!!!

The snow scenes are fabby doo all over the place! ;)

Maggie - I agree with you about insurance. I also understand that snow and ice are a pain for lots of people. It can be severely restrictive, dangerous and the heating bills....all a worry. We try and help whenever and wherever we can. Out here in the country - everyone mucks in!

We managed the journey OK and the children adored all the Winter/Christmas activities up at Kielder. It's well worth it and I heartily recommend it. The only slight downside is that Kielder (Northumbrian Water who own it) could have put more information out about the state of the roads.

We rang up the day before and were advised to take the Acomb road up to Kielder. We tried that and it was completely blocked so we had to try another route A69 and then A68 and across on minor roads. It was a tad scary at points! :) Hxx

Hi IO,

My OH, Nigel, takes a prgamatic view of insurance and tries to weigh it all up. I'd go for blanket coverage every single time. I'd draw the line at some of the insurances throw at you - say with appliances but maybe I'd think twice about it regarding a bigger (more costly) appliance!

I think the snow is bad everywhere. It's just such a shock to get it now...this early and before Christmas. Vindolanda and the local school will be grinding their teeth as they both have major building works taking place over the Winter.

Stay warm where you are IO!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hello Alienne,

Yep. I agree with you 100%!

On the subject of the snow - I also think that gritting the roads and the pavements is an insurance policy. They are trying to make cutbacks but if someone falls over and then sues the council for millions...that's not going to help either is it?

I'm reckoning that you'll have the snow by now. As we went up to Kielder we saw some children sledging on some fantastically tall hills. That looked like fun!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi expatmum,

I think Nigel and your husband would get on well! Nigel tends to think in similar terms whereas I want to cover everything that moves (just about). I can see that I probably go to extremes (possibly). It is getting the right balance of insurance and what one can afford.

Ultimately it is up to every family to carry what insurance feels right for them. On a personal basis I've learned a fair amount about myself over the last couple of years and I have to recognise that deep down I am quite conservative about risk. Probably why I ended up in banking!

I'm fascinated by this whole question about risk as we all take risks every second we live. Just how much and how we do it...are interesting ones. I've taken a big risk leaving my banking job ten years ago. I knew it then and I know it now. However it has brought me a lot of happiness strking out for myself (ourselves). Maybe I feel another post is coming on about levels of risk! ;)

The bike shed said...

I saw the TV coverage of the Northumbrian snow and it brought back such memories. I remember Kielder and the snow before the reservoir was built! My relatives had once owed the Black Bull at Wark, and our family still had connections in all the North Tyne villages.

As for insurance, it depends - disasters yes - but some people insure everything (their bolilers for example) when it is much cheaper to put the same cash aside and self insure.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Mark..that is fascinating to know about some of your family history. I'm pretty sure we passed The Black Bull at Wark when we came through there on Saturday.

Our day at Kielder was very special although I felt for the actors as they must have been frozen solid!

I'm probably over cautious when it comes to insurance but I would really recommend having adequate health insurance - come what may.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

...and home insurance too. If the worst does happen then it is some measure of relief at least...:)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

School is closed for today (Monday 29th Nov) it is off out to the snow for us. With sledges! ;)

Dumdad said...

We've had snow here but nothing compared to your load. Snow in the city is nowhere near as lovely as neige in the countryside.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you, DD! Sorry I haven't replied for a couple of has snowed non stop here and the sun is breaking through today. Can't make up my mind whether to blog or take some more snow photos. (Can never have enough!) This Twittering habit is also getting very addictive!!!