Friday, July 1, 2016

Insurance Woes

I've been trying to sort out an insurance problem nicely. Via email. I'm not getting anywhere, so it's time that a little social media is used to speed the process along. This is a story of three companies in New Zealand. IAG insurance (NZI), Noel Leeming, and Electrolux New Zealand. IAG have always seen me through properly, and I recommend them as an insurer, but I'm not happy with the current status, which may not be their fault. However they do hold the key to solve this. Noel Leeming is a New Zealand owned department store - They also hold the key to resolve this. Electrolux also have the power to right things by explaining to insurance company that a mistake has been made and I have the wrong vacuum cleaner. 

I'll backtrack a little. It started back in January 2016 when my solar hot water pump decided to fail. It spurted water all over the carpet and flooded my hot water cupboard, the hallways, and one bedroom. That was all sorted quite quickly. However, sitting in the hot water cupboard was my Electrolux Ultraflex vacuum cleaner. Only about a year old, I had paid $900 for it and I had chosen it carefully to suit me. Note that it is Orange and grey, has a turbo nozzle, and it also has a handle - one of the reasons I bought it as vacuum cleaners can give me a sore back where I broke it may years ago.

The vacuum cleaner was found totally wet, after having water spurted on it several hours at least, and we all know that electronics and water don't really mix. I pulled it out and put it out to dry on my deck in the warm Marlborough sun for three days. The amount of water that came out of it was probably enough to fill a small ocean! Three days later I turned it on and surprise surprise it worked. However it never sucked that well after that. It used to be very sucky, and once it picked up hair and cat fur, but after it's 'swim' it no longer did. The insurance company sent an electrician around and he confirmed that while it worked, it would probably get worse over time. But that's okay - I have replacement insurance and it's all part the claim, so I went ahead and made a claim for a new replacement. Replacement insurance means having things replaced like for like.

Noel Leeming duly rang me a few days later to say there was one that I could pick up from Dunedin - a nine hour drive away, and after a little persuasion I got them to send it to the Blenheim store. It was picked up and the day I got it, I put it together and tested it out. Okay - it was a different colour- perhaps the model had changed a bit. But it didn't have a handle either which was annoying. So as soon as I could, I took the box back into Noel Leeming to say there was a part missing. On investigation they told me I had been given the WRONG model. Had I used it? Yes - once to test it out. They couldn't take it back because it had been used,  so contact your insurance company. It has been confirmed by Noel Leeming I have the wrong model

Back to the insurance company. They are being told by Electrolux that I have the correct model but until Electrolux admits their mistake, they can't do anything about it.  I've researched it carefully using the Electrolux website and I can see clearly that I definitely have the wrong model, it's cheaper by at least $200, it's smaller, has NO handle and is uncomfortable to use, and no turbo nozzle. Hardly like to like replacement. This is the model I have been given instead. And this is what it looks like...

I choose my appliances very carefully and I insure them for a reason.

So what do I want? 

I want this sorted out. I want someone with the balls to stand up and say - yes - a mistake has been made and we will rectify it. 

It's THAT simple.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Berlin - Day 1 - November 2014

Time I got the blog going again.  Finally updating my travel photos again from November 2014. Slack I know but I've been busy. I never did keep a diary of my travels on this trip, so my memories are just going to be from the photos.

After Amersfoort in the Netherlands and saying bye to Jay and Gordon, I flew out the next morning to Berlin. I got a front seat in the plane (first class on a budget airline), and after landing, walked to the train station to catch the train. After much hemming and hawing I finally managed to get the ticket machine to work and get a ticket, but had no idea if I had the right one.  Fortunately a nice young man helped me, and then helped me find my station as we had to change once or twice, and had great difficulty trying to find the right platforms. Really laughable at the end. The young man was from Slick Steve and the Gangsters - which I found his poster plastered right outside my backpackers!

I booked into Wombats, Berlin, in a six bed dorm, but the only bed available was a top bunk, which wasn't really suitable for me with my balance. No one was prepared to change, so I had to upgrade to a private room, which ended up being really nice.  Dumped my luggage and then headed across the road to eat at a thai place for lunch as I was starving.

Once sated, I headed out to explore, caught the train down to Alexanderplatz, then down another two stations to look around.  The architecture was amazing...

Remnants of the Berlin Wall were around, many decorated with art...

I enjoyed looking at the German Treats, but I didn't try as I was full of Thai food!

I'm always a sucker for merry go rounds - especially with the lights on.  I wished I had had my tripod!

This was the weekend of the 30th anniversary of the wall coming down, so there was a lot of history on show...

More wall art...

Okay this is a red elephant, but I have no idea what it meant.  But took a photo anyway!

Found a garden of gold statues...

Then made my way to the Memorial of Murdered Jews of Europe..

This memorial is for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 m2 (4.7-acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 m (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.8 m (7.9 in to 15 ft 9.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli Museum Yad Vashem.
Building began on April 1, 2003, and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of  WWII, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Friedrichstadt neighborhood. The cost of construction was approximately 25 million

It was starting to get pretty dark so as I was still jetlagged decided to head back to the Hostel.  Caught the train back to Alexanderplatz, and then walked back through the shopping areas.  Wanted to buy a few things, but couldn't because lack of space in luggage!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fire at Northbank - Onamalutu.

I awoke this morning to the smell of smoke. I picked up my iPad to find messages to ask if I were okay and wondered what the fuss was. The fuss was bigger than I thought. Just 2km away from a fire was raging out of control at Northbank. Clouds of smoke billowed into the sky, some white, some black, and some pink.

We've had no rain for weeks, the driest summer in 40 years in this region.

I decided to stay at home and monitor the situation, but then RW from the Camera Club wanted to take photos, so I picked him up from the Renwick Takeaways and down to Northbank we went. These are some of the photos I got from the day.

Using my Sigma 120-400mm I took this from the road. A short while later one of the vineyard tractors towing a water truck dampened down this flare up.
Helicopters carring monsoon buckets were flying right over us, and the big zoom lens meant I couldn't get everthing in!

Another one of the flare up getting out of control.

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

This little patch of fire quickly got out of control and raced up the hill. Everything is tinder dry as we've had no rain for weeks.

We were taking photos at the section where the road was closed, but further up the road the fire was much worse and raging out of control.

We were wearing hi-vis vests, so when some officials came up talked to the road block people, we cheekily asked if we could get a ride up to the action. I didn't expect the answer to be yes, but it was!

This is where all the helicopters were starting up from, getting their monsoon buckets, and swapping around crew.

And off he goes to join the others.

We were only allowed to stay in that area for a very short while, and then we were taken back to the road block. This was taken out the window while we were heading back, which is the reason it's not quite as in focus as the others.

However, the driver stopped to let us take this one.

After that, we headed back into my car and drove to the otherside of the river we hoped to get images of the helicopters picking up the water from the river.

Monsoon bucket dropping into the water. I should have had my wide angle lens on. In fact I changed it in the hope another one would come in close, but they started filling up from another water hole rather than this one. Probably because there were simply too many people on the bank, and there had already been one helicopter crash this morning filling up the monsoon buckets. Apparently a gust of wind got the helicopter and it lost control.

I did put my wide angle lens on for a short while, and here you can see the extent of the fire and the smoke filled sky.

We bumped into two other Camera Club members, and they told us of a place further down the stopbank, so we headed down there and walked down to the river. This was with my 400mm Lens, so we were not close to the whirly birds at all, and we didn't venture closer as we didn't want to interfere with their work.

The last image I took - two helicopters flying off with full monsoon bucket, and a third one in the distance on it's way back.

As of the time writing this, the fire is still raging out of control although the wind has died down so hopefuly we'll see the last of it soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Amersfoort, Netherlands

Despite crashing straight away the night before, I was still wide awake at 5am. I rested a few more hours then got up and showered, then moved my stuff back up into Anne’s apartment.  Anne cooked another fabulous breakfast – tomatoes, herbs and eggs – it was a great start to the day!

Gordon and Anne then went and pick up a new sofa for Anne’s apartment, then we all jumped into the rental car and took it back to Hertz - the rental car that is, not the sofa!  It took some time finding a petrol station due to road works, but we eventually found the way.  We then caught the bus back to Utrecht central station, then a train down to Amersfoort.

Amersfoort is a municipality and the second largest city of the province of Utrecht in central Netherlands. The city is growing quickly but has a well-preserved and protected medieval centre. Amersfoort is one of the largest railway junctions in the country, because of its location on two of the Netherlands' main east-west and north-south rail lines. The city celebrated its 750th birthday in 2009.

We wandered around stopping for apple cake and coffee, taking photos, and enjoying the atmosphere.  Beautiful town, and old, gorgeous buidings.

The old cathedral door was amazing...

Lovely outdoor cafes....

I asked the three musketeers to line up against the wall for a shoot.  This is what they did!  I shot them! 

The houses along the canals were interesting - some looked like they had little studios. Many had little boats...

The wildlife was fenced in to stop them attacking the tourists...

 The old castle walls still had medieval doors and shutters...

 Remains of settlements in the Amersfoort area from around 1000 BC have been found, but the name Amersfoort, after a ford in the Amer River, today called the Eem, did not appear until the 11th century. The city grew around what is now known as the central square, the Hof, where the Bishops of Utrecht established a court in order to control the "Gelderse Vallei (nl)" area. It was granted city rights in 1259 by the bishop of Utrecht, Henry I van Vianden. A first defensive wall, made out of brick, was finished around 1300. Soon after, the need for enlargement of the city became apparent and around 1380 the construction of a new wall was begun and completed around 1450. The famous Koppelpoort, a combined land and water gate, is part of this second wall.

we wandered into the main centre as well which was very modern in comparison...

On the way back to the station we went under a bridge that had a very interesting chandelier in the niddle!

The main entrance to the old town.

We stumbled upon a a craft beer brewery and decided we were up for a tasting!

When we came out we saw the weather was changing and the clouds were really interesting...

To me this image sums up the Netherlands.  Old buildings, and bikes, cobblestone roads and pathways, and simply gorgeous landscapes!