Author Archives: Steve Morley

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Bizarro Insurance Renewal Time

Due to surgery and general life taking over, getting another car has been put on hold sadly, I’m still shopping but taking my time, if the right deal comes, I’m ready. However as I mentioned on my blog previously, I was added on to my mums insurance policy when I was learning to drive. I documented this process here for extra practice on the week or two before my test, but now her insurance is up for renewal, I said I’d find a deal. What I have found is nothing short of bizarro.
MR57 EVE Number Plate

When my mother said she would add me after my car turned into a lemon, as a provisional driver it added around £40 to my mums insurance policy for 8-ish months of cover. When I passed my test I notified the insurance to reflect I had passed and it cost nothing extra for 7-ish months cover as a new driver. Seemed like a good deal from Aviva.

Aviva Renewal

Aviva have increased the policy renewal quote with me as a named driver by £120 over last years policy. This is technically in-line with the average reported 18% raise for this year. However unlike most insurance companies Aviva maintain their quotes for 60 days. I did quotes at various times on the run up to renewal, these are approx £80, £59, £30 cheaper. The price appears to slowly increase the closer you get to your renewal date, the quotes at 80 days are a good £170 cheaper than renewal, at circa-60 days around £100 cheaper, now with a few days all the quotes are significantly over the renewal quote which was generated at 28 days before renewal.

An interesting quirk is, in the 80 and 59 days quotes, it was cheaper for my mothers insurance if I was a named driver than if she was on the policy alone. This quirk was all but gone by 30 days before renewal and the complete opposite by 20 days before. The quote from 59 days before, with me added is approx £90 cheaper than her current renewal, and the quote is still valid.

Aviva Drive App 

When I started to do lessons, I found out about the Aviva Drive App, its essentially blackbox / telematics via your mobile phone. I completed the first time as a learner driver and actually past the 200 mile marker on my driving test with a score of 9.6/10.  My mum completed the 200 miles score and achieved 9.4/10, I also completed the 200 miles after I passed with a score of 9.3/10 which all 3 scores would offer a significant discount from Aviva, in this case its 28% for policies over £400.

Quirks of Insurance

There are now some strange quirks which have presented themselves while getting quotes off everyone. The most unusual is when it comes to Black Box insurance, which my mum shouldn’t be eligible for. Least most companies who offer box policies exclude her due to age and time driving. This is slowly changing and blackbox policies will be available for everyone.

I called Aviva about this and got them to add the scores to the database for the renewal. I had to email them the proof of the scores. This resulted in the premium dropping like a rock, but more on that later. 

o2 Drive Insurance

o2 Drive Insurance Madness

o2 Drive Insurance Madness

This is a stand out example, as an o2 customer I thought I’d try o2 Drive Insurance given the Tesco Clubcard Insurance Discount is quite good and o2 says they offer excellent deals to o2 Customers, which does indeed offer her a black box policy so the discount should be outstanding.

The o2 Drive Black Box policy is almost a MASSIVE £500 more expensive than a standard policy, as you can see in the image to the right. I tweeted to o2 to point out their inflated pricing and the madness that their Black Box offering is of the top of my head about 40% more expensive than their standard policy. 

Initially I was told different insurers offer different quotes, I queried if o2 Drive was a comparison service and not an actual provider, which I was told to contact Customer Service they are an insurer and both policies are with o2 Drive.

I’m always cautious when companies don’t want to discus things in public as it usually means the rug is about have something swept under it. As it happened their quotes both monthly and annually was no where near the other quotes I had received. I also have no interest in a blackbox policy, so I have not bothered to follow this up with o2. However one would hope they fix this anomaly. 

Aviva It Is

Aviva’s taking the Aviva Drive App score into account reduced the cost of the insurance renewal quote so half of their 7 day before renewal quote an a full 28% less than their 28 days renewal quote (on the letter).

The final price is actually less than the insurance for my mother alone in back in 2010, so its well worth doing the Aviva Drive App. Asda could learn a thing or two about roll backs.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Bugly The Bulldog Has Passed

I’m not going to be posting much for a while and will be limited to urgent messages, my Bulldog, Bugly or “Menace” to the Vets or “Just Bumble” to Kennel Club has died. I hope you can appreciate this difficult time, means I’ll be slower than usual.

The above picture was taken Saturday 2nd at the seaside one his favourite places, he was in good spirits and playing with logs (oversized sticks) but at 9 and half years old, for a bulldog he was older than Methuselah. 

I hope your resting well Buggers, and having a blast up there. I’ve never known such a smart, devious, maniacal borderline evil genius dog before. I will miss your playful nature but not the chemical warfare grade farts 😉

R.I.P. Bugly / Menace / Just Bumble

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Tesla Users Are Penalised Left and Right

Tesla is really wringing its customers wallets dry, recently a change from a FREE Unlimited Supercharge to a Pay Per Use Model, and as some point soon they will charging a camping fee for blocking a supercharger port once your car is fully charged.

Tesla Supercharger Stations

Tesla Supercharger Stations

Tesla supercharging stations charge with up to 145 kW of power which is distributed between two adjacent cars. Each individual vehicle can take a maximum of 120 kW per hour. This is up to 16 times as fast as most public charging stations. Superchargers are able to take a near empty vehicle up to 50% in about 20 minutes, and up to nearly 80% in just 40 minutes, and just over 75 minutes to get to full charged (100%). 

Tesla will be introducing a idle charge of approx £0.30 pence per minute (£18 per hour) for overstaying their welcome at the supercharge stations. This is to stop people leaving their cars blocking the Supercharger Stations for hours beyond their charge time, as many appear to use them to park their car for free. 

A Growing UK Concern

This doesn’t appear to be a UK Problem at this point, certainly not for Tesla owners but I believe it is a growing concern as the number of electric cars on Britain’s streets grows. In Manchester are a few public access charging points, these usually come with a free parking while you charge.

On a recent visit to Manchester, the street near the drop off point charges approx £3 per hour to park. I arrived at 10am-ish and there was an advertising wrapped BMW i3 I think, parking the only Electric Charge point. When I left at approx 5pm this same BMW was still parked and still plugged in.

Manchester Council as far as I know are in the partnership which offers free parking to charging electric vehicles, so hogging already occurs, and I can only see it getting worse. 

Image from Wikipedia.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Carling Lager is Weaker Than Advertised

The Taxman (HMRC) have taken Carling Lager’s US based owners Molson Coors to a tribunal over it not paying its proper taxes. Apparently its about £50 million quid short, because its beer is actually 3.7% ABV not the advertised 4% which the can says. This has been happening since 2012, so not a recent thing. 

Ice Cold Lagar

Ice Cold Lagar

Lager of that strength is allowed a natural variance of -/+ 0.5%, which in the case of Carling Larger should be 0.02% ABV. Carling claim their variance is actually 0.23% across the board. However if you work out the difference between 4.0% and 3.7% it is actually closer to whopping 8% which is a massive amount. Its like paying for a 12 pack of beer and being given 11 and told “close enough” move along now. The reason for lowering he ABV percentage is the higher the alcohol content a drink has, the more tax it pays, and Molson Coors decided in its own world that lying to its customers about the strength is perfectly acceptable.

Even worse the TaxMan (HMRC) doesn’t even suggest this is illegal and makes clear there is no broken laws here. Exsqueeze me, the rules say 0.5%, not EIGHT PERCENT, where the hell are advertising standards when you need them. Furthermore the tribunal found in favour of Molson Coors and decided it was perfectly acceptable and didn’t owe £50,000,000 in taxes.

Its understood the primary “driver” behind lying to their customers is because they didn’t want to share the tax reduction with supermarket or pub chains, or more importantly pass the saving on to the mugs drinking their weakened lager. By mugs I mean you and me, I know what I won’t be drinking again now. 

You can read more at the BBC or all other news outlets.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Rich Piana Has Died

Its a sad day for body building fans and the fitness industry as a whole. Its been reported and confirmed that Rich Piana of 5% Nutrition has died after a recent medical emergency. There are rumours of drug overdose and taking his own life but all are rumours and nothing is confirmed. 

Rich Piana at Body Power 2017

Rich Piana at Body Power 2017

In my previous post about Rich in a Chemically Induced Coma, I detailed how the man was absolutely dedicated to his fans. I witnessed this all first hand. Rich shone a light on the fitness industry be it good or bad. If you are not familiar with Rich Piana from 5% Nutrition, he’s the man who basically “enhanced” his already well built physique using Synthol, PMMA and various other local enhancing oils which are injected to the muscles to inflate them like a water balloon and produce his massive size.

There has long been questions of safety surrounding the vast majority of these oils being injected into the body. Others have accused users of these enhancing oils as being cheats and not real body builders so Rich has always been somewhat controversial.

This is why I’m not a big fan of Rich Piana’s methods and process, but that aside its a sad day for the health industry and his millions or 5%’ers around the globe.

I will certainly miss him at future events and hope his legacy is a good one, rest well Rich. 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Reimagined Alt Disney Characters

Sometimes these cartoons are more a social commentary or contemporary reflection of the current state of affairs, I’m not sure what the correct term would be. While they are fun and laughter inducing they show the sorry state of the world today and how reality contrasts to the fantasy world children inhabit. I’m almost jealous!. 

Ariel Iradiated By Tom Ward

Ariel Iradiated By Tom Ward

It would seem British based graphic designer Tom Ward from Woking intended exactly that reaction from people. Tom Ward said he wanted “to bring to life the times we in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way.”, which is a far more elegant way of saying what I attempted. He continued to say “some have a darker message while others are more light-hearted”, which is pretty accurate I certainly smiled a few while others made me consider the stark reality they portrayed.  

I saw some of these a while ago, but I was unable to locate the source and felt the artist should be credited. They now popped up in my news feed via the BBC who have accredited the original author Tom Ward (Insta) / Tom Ward Studio (Website) so I figured I would now post them. 

Pinnochio Selfie or Selfiochio

I happen to detest selfie sticks, but I can’t deny the are effectively MySpace Angles for the current generation. This one made me giggle. Most people will have missed this, but rather than use Bluetooth technology to trigger the device, there is an old school cable plugged into what appears to be a Dell Streak Mobile phone. Pinnochio is clearly analogue and not joined the digital revolution yet. 

Alt Disney 12/12 #AltDisney

A post shared by Tom Ward Studio (@tomwardstudio) on

Disney Pride

The recent Beauty and the Beast live action movie with Emma Watson introduced us to Disney’s first openly gay character Lefou and its about time too. Loving the symbolic message that the traditionally handsome prince charming is elevating gay rights, not sure about Lefao’s appearance and I haven’t seen the movie yet to comment. 

Alt Disney 11/12 #AltDisney

A post shared by Tom Ward Studio (@tomwardstudio) on

Robocop Speed Enforcer

One of the ones I saw a while ago (Around Christmas) was this one of Robocop with a Gatso Speed Camera, busted from Detroits numero uno to menial traffic enforcement. I’m not 100% sure what the intended message is here, but I’m taking it to be the wastefulness of the government spending billions on tasks which cost thousands or maybe its the replacing of the human element which is at Robocops Core in both movies. 

Totally Fuoxed

This has to be my favourite of the images, from the look of surprise in horses faces, while the riders seem undeterred or even bothered by the fact the fox is fighting back. 

Alt Disney 3/12 #AltDisney

A post shared by Tom Ward Studio (@tomwardstudio) on

If you look back over Tom’s work on his Instagram, he does these little series for fun, so its well worth following him and considering him for work. When I come to need a new graphic, I’ll certain consider speaking to Tom and of course I’ll report back with any info which may help. 

 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.
1 2 3 22