Tag: <span>AA</span>

Dragged the suitcases down from the loft last night and started compiling lists of things to be taken on holiday. Clothes, towels, toiletries, books, shoes, camera, various electrical chargers, and… well that’s the thing. I keep thinking we’ve forgotten something, I’ve got travel directions, booking confirmation codes, AA membership (which I thought had lapsed but doesn’t expire until 1st August, bonus!), sunglasses, hat, suntan lotion (ever hopeful), travel sweeties (the ones in the tin all coated in white magic dust)… what the hell are we forgetting about?

Friends are going to pop in and water our plants, my Dad has offered to cut the grass, there is nothing I need to get done at work, nor any other “projects”… yet still there is a nagging voice, picking away at my brain.

I wonder if it’s things like plug adaptors, passports and whatnot, as this is the first time we’ve taken a UK-based holiday (other than the odd weekend here or there), maybe my “holiday mode brain” hasn’t yet realised we’re stopping when we hit the south coast of England, or rather the English Riviera (chortle).

Anyway, further planning of the days ahead are now crucial. Firstly I have to consider what clothes I’m going to be wearing, not because I’m a fashion icon or anything (come on people, you’ve seen the pictures) but by and large because my wardrobe doesn’t have a work/play split. The clothes I wear to work are similar to what I’d wear at the weekend, and barring the addition of shorts and flip-flops, what I wear on holiday. So tonight the careful selection of t-shirts begins, bearing in mind that I’m out for dinner tomorrow night, what will I take, what will I leave behind, what will I be wearing tomorrow and Thursday (I’m off on Friday).

Then there is the small matter of a couple of movies that we want to see – Batman Begins and War of the Worlds – but I don’t think we’ll be able to fit them both in to our schedule. Louise is out tonight, I’m out tomorrow night and Thursday is “last pack” night, but I’m hoping we can sneak one of them in on Thursday. The alternative is to go when we are down there, and given the vagaries of the British weather system that might well be an option.

Nope, this hasn’t helped. I had hoped that posting about this might jog the old brain cells into action, what the hell am I forgetting?

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Right, that’s the car insurance sorted out. DirectLine were the best of the … ohh 8, 9 places I tried online? The AA were the worst by a good £200. No rhyme nor reason to it, but I gave up trying to figure it out ages ago.

Of the places I tried only two asked for any other quote values, well when I say two it’s really one as is more than evident when you move from the Admiral to Elephant and find the form is EXACTLY the same just a different colour. Weirdly enough they gave me different quotes.

The voluntary excess with DirectLine is higher than I’d want, but they offer a free hire car should I need it, and the windscreen excess is lower and more flexible than most others. They also try and sell you on their home insurance as well, handily pulling your details through into another form if you want. Our isn’t due until August but I thought I’d give it a whirl and, lo and behold, it’s very competitive.

Of course I’m now fully expecting several comments telling me just how bad DirectLine are, and what a terrible mistake I’ve made. However as, price wise, it was between them and esure (it’s just a mouse, dear), I’ll take the little red phone over Michael Winner/Bronx mouse any day.

Now if I can just get the DVLA website to process my car tax application we’ll be sorted.


I should mention, for the record and all that, that we were all allowed home early today. Which was nice.

Did a little gardening when we got home, but neither of us were in the mood, so I ended up sitting in (bit of a chill breeze where we live) with the window open, reading and doing a little work on a website for a friend. Across the street one of the neighbours started their saxophone practise lending a very Simpson-esque feel to the afternoon.

Unfortunately there were no doughnuts to be found.

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AA Gill
Another day, another wonderful quote at hydragenic. This is the power of ‘blogs’. On the strength of Stuarts references I have ordered AA Gill’s book “AA Gill is Away”, and I have registered at The Times website (where AA Gill writes a column).
The main point here is not a simple recommendation of a book, which in fact Stuart never did, but the fact that, having read hydragenic for some months now, day in day out, and absorbed the things Stuart has posted about (whether I’ve agreed or not) I am much more likely to value his judgement over, say, the people who post reviews at the Amazon website.

Maybe this is something Amazon should be looking at, especially as they have recently extended their API. Possibly a way to find reviews or commentary about books by people you ‘know’. Obviously there are flaws with this idea, but there are better people than me who can probably polish it up (in fact I’m not entirely sure that Mr.Kottke hasn’t already suggested this? Or was it Meg, damn can’t remember…)

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Our car insurance is due and I’ve been checking out some online quotes. There are loads of sites that “will find you the cheapest quote” and I’ve tried most in the last couple of hours. Be it a one-stop site, or the majority of the better known insurers, they all share one thing (seemingly). Badly designed forms.

Point 1: A common feature is the ‘let’s be clever and help the user fill out the form’. So, you enter the make of car (Renault) and suddenly the screen pauses, the mouse cursor changes to ‘busy’ as they dive to a database to pull up a list of cars for you. Now granted this is helpful. But not on a 56k modem where it takes so long you begin to wonder if your PC has died.

Point 2: If I specify the second driver as my spouse, why are you prompting me for her marital status?

Point 3: Well kinda the same as Point 1 really. I am an organised kinda guy. I have all the details I will need already in front of me, I know the date we bought the car, the renewal premium, the average mileage for the last two years, etc etc. So why can’t I just zip through the form and then let it go off and process the details for me? Why do I have to wait 30 secs between each of 3 or 4 screens whilst the information is processed.

I’ve yet to receive a decent quote so I’m still looking. In the midst of all this I remembered that I hadn’t reviewed our AA breakdown coverage (and as we are off to the Lake District next weekend we might need it). So I fired up a second browser window (yes I know it will slow my connection even more), and hit the AA website. First thing I saw was their online insurance quote service. What the hell, I thought. I’ll try this one as well.

Delight! (No, not a cheaper quote) A well designed form! Fast, responsive, smart pre-selections made for you (presumably the most common answers to questions like – have you ever been convicted of a driving offense), and split into two logical sections.

Well done The AA.

Now if only you’d found me a cheaper quote… *sigh*

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