Category Archives: Ramblings

A Da Vinci Painting Once Sold for £52 Now Expected to Clear $100 Million

How would you like to turn to £52 / $60 into around £100,000,000 (One Hundred Million) ? Int he late 1950s someone purchased a piece called the “Salvator Mundi” which means roughly “Savior of the World” for around £52 at auction. At the time it was suspected or rather hoped it was a Leonardo Da Vinci but had been classified as being by one of his students or assistants rather than the old master himself. 

Leonardo Da Vinci - Salvator Mundi

Leonardo Da Vinci – Salvator Mundi

Originally thought to be by Giovanni_Antonio_Boltraffio, but over a decade of intensive research by experts in the field, they have now declared it a genuine Da Vinci, and transformed it from the £52 (approx £450 in todays money) into £100,000,000 dollars. There are reports of a few times its changed hands, but the prices seem to have varied wildly with no fixed points. Given it changed hands as a Boltraffio rather than a Da Vinci  it doesn’t much matter. You can read some of the prices in this article

It does seem the current owner has held it since the mid-2000s and has spent the last decade having it verified by the experts in the old masters. I tried to get an estimate on how much money has been spent on trying to authenticate the paintings origins, but I came to a dead end multiple times. I can’t imagine it was cheap and hell of a risk too. 

What is interesting is, this could well be the ONLY Da Vinci painting held by a private owner, the other 19 paintings are all in museums, this fact alone means this truly a unicorn in the painting world and may drive the premium by as much as £50,000,000 extra.

One website claims there maybe a conglomerate of 1,000s of people some with deep pockets, some not so deep who will club together and buy shares using blockchain technology, which could cause a major upset if it succeed. 

You read about how Blockchain technology is affecting the art world in this Forbes Article

 

Image of the Salvator Mundi courtesy of Wikipedia

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

Aggregation of Marginal Gains

I was talking to someone today about saving money, and building a cash reserve. A cash reserve is what I call a slush fund, which is an old habit. Its a back up fund, which sits between contingency, and savings. I have day to day money, contingency for when potentially expected but unwelcome things go wrong, then slush fund, then savings and finally investments. 

Growing Money

Growing Money

The slush fund is sort of a side step, in thats its not designated for disaster, its almost like free money which can be used when in a jam, or when I want something, any use I want.

In this particular conversation I was explaining my rather simplistic take on the Aggregation of Marginal Gains, this is the theory that if you improve / reduce / increase / save just 1% on everything you do, the sum total will end up being impressively large.

The first change I made on this journey was to pay my household bills and fuel on a cashback card, originally it was the Santander 123 Cashback Card, now I use an American Express Card which offfers a flat 1.5% (the new AmEx offers 1.25%). Looking at just my basic (off the top of my head) bills. 

Quick Break Down

Nominet Bill – £80 per year
Council Tax – £15
Petrol – £30
Car Tax – £2
Car Insurance – £20
MOT + Basics – £1
Car Service – £3
Car Maintenance – £3
Water Bill – £7
Weekly Shopping £30
Meals / Nights Out / Etc £30

Already £200 for basically doing nothing I wasn’t already going to do. If you use Cashback Sites and Loyalty Schemes you can probably add another £50 on there, Shell Card, Sainsburys Card, Waitrose Card, Etc. Then there are shop based cards such as the Sainsburys Credit Card, Asda Credit Card and others. Someone (who works for one such company) told me about a trick where you close the card after 18 months, and reapply after 2 months so you get the new user deals and bonuses. 

Amazon Crunch

Amazon is a big spending point for me, as a prime member, I make a point of choosing No Rush Delivery which gives me a £1 credit towards music and movies. I currently have about £40 of Credits which I use to buy any music or books I want to read. On top of this I use a cashback card for purchases which adds another £50-60 a year on to my total. 

This spend covers new phones, bits and pieces for both personal and work, christmas and birthday presents, every day items, you name it I buy it from Amazon. 

Looking at my credit card cash back totals for this year, and we’re 9-10 months in and I’m approx £430 up just on cards, if I account for cashback sites with car insurance, credit card applications, mobile phone contracts, broadband, gas and electric swaps, I must be at least £1,000 up in the slush fund. 

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.

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.
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