As Quoted

Overlooking the Irish Sea, from beyond the kitchen window, I grudgingly call out the final numbers from our bank card to the receiving ear down the line. Our conversation finishes; phones hang up, and I turn to my wife and say something along the lines of: "What a pack of thieving Blighters".


 Or it might have been: "Who in the name of Mike (whoever Mike is), do they think they are!" - depending on the whereabouts of our two boys at the time. 

In the absence of an E.U driver's licence, there's only one insurance option in the U.K. - Our car cost £1,250. The required third party insurance I'd just paid for, cost £1,050. 

But that was almost a year ago, the past was the past, and in the last 8 weeks we'd moved from travellers to workers. And, by way of convenience, a N.Z driver's licence had been relinquished for a British licence. 

There was an added spring in my step on the day my licence arrived. Innocent bystanders reared back apprehensively, as I passed by, whipping out my Brit D.L. in the same manner a young child might pull out his or her new Ipad in front of bespectacled grandparents over the festive season. 

"Look, look at this. Isn't it amazing. Go on, you may touch it if you like.. Feel it's hard plastic edges." 

But life isn't just for gloating over new presents. Sometimes sleeves need to be rolled up and business deals struck.. 

"Hello, I'm after a third party quote for a Daewoo Musso, 3 litre, turbo diesel.." I cheerily stated to the voice on the other end. 

"How long have you held a British licence for? he asked. 

"One day" I replied. "Well almost one day, it arrived at 10am this morning. But don't worry, I've got evidence of a full New Zealand licence, it's unblemished; had it for 18 years." 

"Okay Sir, and it's for a 3 litre turbo. Please hold the line --" 

In life, there are times when we sense the unusual, expect the unexpected; be it a sixth sense or fleeting Jedi ability to feel the force around us. 

I possess neither. 

By the time his voice returned, I was rubbing my hands together, speculating on how much money we'd save on last year's policy, and, how many extra cheese and onion pasties that would equate to over the 52 weeks ahead. 

"Sir," his cockney accent broke in, "we have a quote for you, but, can you tell me first how much you're currently paying on your pre-existing vehicle insurance?" 

Odd, I thought. After all I'm the one calling you for the quote, not to tell you about my previous year's policy price. 

"£1,051." I ventured, wondering why he needed this information? 

"Well," he said taking his time and offering a lengthy pause, "for 12 months third party, minus windscreen insurance and breakdown cover, we can offer you a policy for £3,100." 

At that moment, a car drove past and I was sure I'd misheard the numbers bouncing along the phone line.

"Sorry," I said, "a car just drove past and I missed that. What did you say again?" 

Of course it wasn't his fault. But he copped it. I launched into an involuntary, three lettered abbreviation assault: At first I hit him with an OMG, but soon escalated that to a WTF, before ramming home with an LOL - (the last was only because I'd run out of insults by that stage, and didn't have time to think up any new ones). 

But victory had evaded me. Besides, commerce was never my strong point. "Is that the best offer you can give me!" I yelled. 

"No Sir, I can offer 10 % off, if you make the full payment today.. That just makes a payment of 2,790 pounds." 

Click, went the phone as I hung up before gazing out the window.

 -Who needs cheese and onion pasties anyway.  

Originally from Blenheim, Dave Monk and his family now live outside the bubble, somewhere else in the world. They can be found on



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