If there is one thing that every writer, and blogger, needs it is focus. For the past six weeks that is something that has evaded me. There are extenuating circumstances, but as anyone who knows me, in real life, will tell you I don’t really accept excuses, least of all from my self. That said, I managed to maintain focus and continue to write and blog following the flooding of my house. I even managed to keep going, albeit in a limited manner, when the flooded house was burgled. The loss was small in monetary terms but psychologically it was massive. The flood was an uncaring universe crapping on me. But the universe is even-handed and craps on the just and unjust alike. So, no problem there. The burglars, however, saw that my house and those of my neighbours had been flooded to the point where they were uninhabitable and, with that predators’ trait – preying on the weak – smashed their way through my back doors (damage 14K, they’re huge doors) with a pickaxe and still failed to get the doors to open so they broke the lock and then crawled through the hole in the glass to steal my wife’s Apple Mac, walking past a flat screen TV worth far more to do so. We can rule out them being brain surgeons on sabbatical for certain.

Following this – being shat upon by predatory morons – I felt worse than after the flood because it was my fellow humans that decided to stick the boot into me when I was down on the floor and plainly struggling for survival. Low ebb I hear you say. Not nearly. Enter the insurance company. Three week afte promising me an interim payment: cash to bail you out and help defer expenses – for instance fglood victims often need somewhere to live because their house is uninhabitable. You need short-term accommodation, Sir. Great. That will be an extra twenty to thirty percent onto the rent. Have a nice life now. And of course that means the deposit is that much bigger. And that means an outlay of at least a month in advance and a months rent. I was asked by one landlord for 3000 a month – sensibly the insurance company turned that one down. But I still had to fork over a LOT, unexpectedly, out of my own pocket. And when I asked politely about my interim payment the loss adjustor (new spelling for bastard) tells me the insurer is contemplating not paying. So no interim cheque and possibly no payment at all. Kick in the guts number two.

For three weeks I phoned my insurance broker twice a day. The poor sod is my nephew. But it had to be done. This is my home we’re talking about. The insurance claim will be at least 120K. Without it I cannot get my house inhabitable again. So I consulted various legal experts and engineers and my own loss adjustor, all of whom were of the opinion that if it went to court we would kill the insurers – to death.

Fortunately they agreed to pay. After three more weeks of living hell. There’s no compensation for the stress that we have been put through but I guess we should simply be pleased we’re getting paid out.

But it gets worse. I tuned  to watch the Heineken Cup – that’s the big European club rugby competition, the best club competition in the world accorind to the pundits. And at every break in the broadcast my insurers crowed about how they were helping businesses – BY REFUSING TO PAY LITTLE GUYS LIKE ME, IT APPEARS. Well, thank you so much for ruining my viewing pleasure with your ubiquitous lies.

I will say that I believe everyone should be insured to the maximum. Just not with my insurer. Check out the sponsors of Sky’s rugby coverage for further information. I refuse to use their name (it translates in English into a word not used in polite society that begins with c) on my blog.


About Bob Neilson

Bob Neilson lives in Dublin with his wife, two daughters, son, two dogs, one cat and a growing feeling of claustrophobia. In partnership with his wife he runs a successful retail business in Dublin city. His short fiction has appeared extensively in professional and small press markets and he has had two plays performed on RTE and one on Anna Livia FM. He also presented a radio show on Anna Livia for a year. He has had two short story collections published, Without Honour (1997, Aeon Press) and That’s Entertainment (2007, Elastic Press) as well as several comics and a graphic novel. His non-fiction book on the properties of crystals is a best-seller in the UK and Ireland.
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