Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Changing leaves

I am struck by the contrast of brown dying leaves and green live leaves as the seasons change… It seems to me that two seasons exist together, with Winter not quite gone and Spring not quite here…

Photo Credit: Yekemi Otaru

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

Photo Courtesy of Jude McBean

Photo Courtesy of Jude McBean

 

It could mean autumn turning to winter or day turning to night. For me, it means getting older and life getting a little harder. At times, I dread the change that will inevitably come. Other times, I look forward to change, depending on it to make necessary (often difficult) progress…

Runaway Christmas

Last winter was the first winter where I felt like I wanted to move out of colder climates to warmer, sunnier pastures. There was too much snow and I was constantly getting stuck miles away from my house, with my kids onboard.

But at least there was snow last Christmas. I never thought I’d say this but I missed snow this year. The white hills, the children sledding, snowman building and frosty mornings were all sorely missing this year. It was 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit) on Christmas morning – more than a few degrees above zero.

20111227-143339.jpg

I did not feel very Christmassy this year. I moved house a week to Christmas and had a lot on my mind in the weeks leading to the move. Presents were bought mainly online and I was disorganised as far as sending cards out to friends and family. But it was not all haphazard. The move went more smoothly than I expected (actually, the lack of snow helped). I spent much of my unpacking time reflecting on the year that had gone by. Some things went well while other things could have been better. Ending the year with a house move is a blessing. We love our new house and feel privilege to have custody of it.

The view outside my kitchen window on Christmas day was not one of a white blanket. I could see the grass and the hills. The trees in a distance swayed slightly as light winds passed through as if to greet us into a new era of our lives. Though christmas seems to have run away this year, the things I need to be grateful for have never been more apparent.

What was Christmas day like where you are?

Snow tyres insurance fiasco

There was a 4-hour wait at the only shop in Aberdeen that had snow tyres yesterday. Even though I got to the shop an hour before opening, I still wasn’t first on the queue. Well, I have them now and it’s great because I’ve been having very close encounters as my car dances and swinging left and right when I get into my street. People have been asking me whether the new tyres make a difference and my answer is unequivocally YES! I feel safer and most importantly, my brakes seem to work on the highway.

Snow tyres are safer! (www.fotosa.ru, 2010)

There was one thing that bothered me though. Just before I got my snow tyres, there were emails going back and forth at work that insurance companies were saying that changing to snow tyres was a change to the “standard product” and hence it would cause your premium to go up! In fact, a colleague said his friend’s wife had got into an accident with snow tyres and her insurance wouldn’t pay because she had snow tyres on during the crash! I thought it was bizarre. Needless to say, I called my insurance company to inform them that I was buying snow tyres and (thankfully), they said it was fine. So far I know two insurance companies that don’t mind:

1. Allianz Insurance
2. The guys you get through Lloyds TSB

Please feel free to add to my list.

Another colleague even forwarded this link to confirm that it is indeed a real problem for car owners who want to get snow tyres in the UK. Snow tyres make your car SAFER in the winter, no? You are less likely to have a snow/ice related accident or have I missed something? How strange because the way I see it, these companies have an opportunity to REDUCE insurance  premiums when you get snow tyres. Even charging for “admin” like some insurers are doing, I still think is ridiculous. Ok, it may not part if their business model (Insurance is very transactional) but think about what one insurance company could achieve:

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility brownie points. Promoting safe driving because people will be more inclined to get snow tyres therefore reducing accidents in winter months.
  2. Potential sales volume increase. This is possible because although you are cutting prices, the NUMBER of people switching to insurance companies that reduce premium for snow tyres will INCREASE. Multiply volume by price, you could have REVENUE increase. Premiums can of course go back to normal in the summer.
  3. Steal market share. The insurance business is big business. It is largely an oligopolistic market i.e. few sellers, millions of buyers. So being the first on the scene is everything! It’s a fabulous opportunity to steal market share even just initially, before everyone copies you :-). But there’s a crown for being first. Customers are likely to come to you unless of course, the competitor’s counter-move is better e.g. even lower prices, cash back and whatever they think it takes to push back.

I’m sure there are more benefits of this approach but I have other things to do today. So if you know any insurance people, could you please ask them why they are increasing premiums for changing to snow tyres or refusing to pay out when an accident occurs (an accident that would have been fatal without snow tyres)? I’m intrigued.

No time to lose the snow!

I have been taking refuge in my home. There is sooo much snow. Over 7,000 schools are closed!!! Thankfully, my son’s was closed only for 1 day. My tiny (precious) car keeps swinging back and forth with just a touch of snow. Though I am not feeling fantastic about being snowed in, I think snow is great if:

1. You have never seen snow before.

2. Those annoying meetings get cancelled.

3. You were planning to go snowboarding/skiing anyway.

4. You’d rather shiver than sweat.

5. You are from around here.

6. You are in-the-know on coping with winter

7. You need an excuse to make a baby…..

No time to lose the snow (www.zamaanonline.com, 2010)

Snow can be very irritating if you are one of those mothers e.g. moi who dash around the house like a headless chicken in the morning, getting the kids up and dressed warmly (thermal clothing included), sorting out packed lunches and making sure that I look in the mirror at least once before I leave home. Basically, I throw everyone out the back door (hopefully they land in their car seats!) and then I’m off! So having to scrape snow off my windscreen is really a bump in the road. In my mind, the logic is clear: THERE IS NO TIME FOR ALL THAT! Can’t you see that I’m in a hurry with a million things to do before 8am? Apparently, the logic is not that clear because a couple of my friends got stopped and fined for having snow on their cars and number plates. Sigh! The police say it’ s dangerous for other road users…. I guess I see where they ‘re coming from.

%d bloggers like this: