Does this map look familiar?

June 27, 2014

All those malicious slurs about the weather being a bit pants in the UK will soon be put to rest as we look forward to a glorious weekend of sports next weekend (not this weekend, next weekend) when such things as the Wimbledon Finals, the British Grand Prix and Monkey Bike warm-up event the Tour de Yorkshire all take place.

Provided health and safety officials can clear away all that unofficial bunting in time, the so-called “Polution” of lycra clad riders will set off on the morning of Saturday 5 July on the first stage of this year TdF travelling the 190km from Leeds to Harrogate (scenic route) tracing a course that is, quite frankly, suspiciously similar to that followed each summer by Bankstone and Friends in their tireless quest to raise funds for lifesaving airborne charity YAA.

Not once, but twice, the “Platoon” of bicyclists will pass through Addlinghamton, home town of Bankstone bigwig Dictaphone Tysoe and, not altogether coincidentally, site of some of the most dangerous and threatening buntage in the entire county, which hopefully will have removed and safely destroyed before the riders pass through. Whether Mrs Typo will be at the roadside with tea, coffee and some of her famously adhesive flapjacks remains unclear at the time of going to press.

What we can tell you, is that once all the fuss about these puny engineless freaks of the two wheel world has died down, there’s the summer’s main event Monkey Whatever it’s called this Year to look forward to in early September. And the best news of all is that it is still not too late for you to get involved.

This year Bankstone has negotiated a special rate of just £595.00 plus VAT etc for a genuine bona fide 125cc monkey bike – with the option of something a bit meatier for just a few additional readies. What’s more you can have it kitted out in your corporate design scheme of choice at virtually no extra charge.

To guarantee your place today for the ride of your life, contact Dickton Tysley and quote the simple phrase: “Don’t delay and don’t deny me, I demand to ride the monkey!

Tour

June 27, 2014

A curious thing occurred last week. There may have been more than one actually, but the curious occurrence Bankstone News has in mind occurred when a press release announcing the elevation of Graham “Dickie” Dickinson of DWF, the law firm with a reputation for service excellence and effective operational management, to the mysterious and secretive role of Master within the Worshipful Company of Insurers was issued and then almost immediately retracted by top City PR firm FKD.

How had this come about, what could it mean, and was Dickie or wasn’t he the secretive organisation’s new Master? Such were the questions preoccupying confused journalists (the perfect example being Andrew Numan of Insurance People). Some said he was. Others that he wasn’t. You’ll probably know by now, Dear Reader, assuming you care, but one thing seemed abundantly clear as journos fielded telephone requests to remove early coverage of the story from their online editions: something queer was afoot.

A spokesbeing from the mysterious and enigmatic Worshipful Company hinted darkly that Mr Dickinson’s nomination to the role of Master stood a good chance of acceptance, but had yet to be fully sat upon by various councils, courts, committees, enclaves and conclaves, and hence was, as yet, unfit to be bruited about the land. Was there some kind of hitch?, doubters wondered. Might someone have discovered that Dickie is actually a lawyer not an insurer? Might he have been found in some way wanting in worshipfulness? Nobody was letting on.

Not for the first time, the wilfully obscure machinations of this mysterious and enigmatic order appear to have thoroughly baffled the uninitiated herd. The origins of the “Company” are shrouded in the mists of ancient historical mystery, but it is thought to date back to the dark days of the late 1970s, the heyday of the City of London’s Guilds, when a cadre of insurance industry insiders banded together to create a secretive and enigmatic organisation dedicated to charity, booze-ups, and certain other aims its members are forbidden, on pain of death, to reveal to outsiders.

Such guilds or livery companies (so called on account of the reddish brown tabards commonly worn by City artisans back in those days – a drab form of garb that soon gave way to multicoloured breeches, elaborately slashed and beribboned doublets, and lush velour over-jerkins – each in the distinctive colour scheme of the “company” in question: scarlet for Mercers, green for Grocers, claret and blue for Painter-Stainers and, of course, grey for Insurers.

Exactly what goes on within the hallowed halls of the Worshipful Company of Insurers lodge remains almost as much of a mystery today as in those far off days of yore. The only externally visible sign of their presence is a plaque on the wall outside the mysterious “Insurance Hall” (the premises it shares with the completely-above-board CII) bearing the unmistakable heraldic coat of arms accorded to the company by the Garter Principal King of Arse back in 1980.

These, of course, consist of a cross agent bent sinisterly atop a pair of scales the same athwart a drag anchor enfilled with a coq d’argent this last enflamed with diverse pomlets chevronwise supported by a brace of lions bandant topped with a blackcurrant jus and served on a bed of the moto “Omnium Defensor” (deny everything).

What does any of that mean? Better you don’t ask! Better still you don’t refer to a French dictionary. You might be disturbed at what you find.

Perhaps it’s better that the next Master’s true identity – and, for that matter, those of all its wardens, freemen, adepts, and livery men, should never be known.

Rather like that of the present incumbent, Bronek Masojada (is that how you say it?)

roger_delgado

June 27, 2014

There are new fears that thrill-seeking British drivers are tanking themselves up on over-the-counter medicines for conditions such as hay fever and playing a lethal game of bingo with the lives of other road users, as the tear up and down the country in their anonymous jelly-mould executive saloons, stoned right out of their tiny brains.

Anti-driving campaign group Brakes and insurance firm Direct Lie lay the blame for this epidemic of senseless narcoticism on “an alarming level of ignorance and complacency.” One in six Brits, they reveal, admits ignoring warnings on mind-bending non-prescription drugs like Sneezeeze and Feverkill before hopping behind the wheel to spread terror and fear around this nation’s highways.

With pollen counts soaring at this time of year, these reckless hooligans believe they have all the excuse they need to set out on a veritable spree of drug-crazed racing up and down the land. But this, Brakes warn, is just the tip of a particularly active and aggressive iceberg. Drugs like painkillers, antibiotics and even cough and cold medicines can prove equally brain addling, with many motorists driving half-crazed on their pernicious effects.

Brakes deputy chief executive Julie Towelsend comments: ’It’s not just illegal drugs that make you a danger to yourself and others. All drivers have a responsibility to ensure they are fit to drive when getting behind the wheel, including not drinking alcohol, ensuring their eyesight is up to scratch, and making sure their medication is safe to drive on.”

This, combined with a growing awareness that tiredness, stress, emotions, and even just being ‘a bit of chump’ can all fatally impair your ability to conduct a giant hurting piece of metal around town and country without taking out people or objects alongside your intended route, could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, resulting in an outright ban on driving, an option which all the major political parties are said to be willing to consider – if there’s some money or votes in it.

Nocarsign

June 27, 2014

In one of the most worrying press announcements of recent years, insurance comparison site confusing.com has revealed that learner drivers are an absolute blo*dy menace.

No fewer than 54,000 UK motorists have penalty points on their provisional licenses, confusing.com’s research analysts guess following a recent survey, with more than one in five of the 33% of British drivers with points on their licence having picked these up whilst still learning to drive.

Jemima Cranberry head of motorcar insurance at confusing.com comments: “We are aware that people might make mistakes along the way as they learn to drive, however picking up bad habits such as speeding or jumping lights before officially passing your driving test is never a good way to start.”

Nor, for the avoidance of confusion, is speeding or jumping the lights after officially (or unofficially) passing your test a good way to continue or indeed to end.

“There no way we can carry on like this,” adds Barry Aardvark of Motorpiphany, Cardiff. “It’s not as if we haven’t got enough drivers already. The time has surely come to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’. Young people need to learn some respect. Keeping them off our roads would be a step in the right direction.”

One factor potentially compounding the seeming recklessness of learner drivers may be a mistaken belief that it is not possible to pick up points on a licence you have yet to earn – and thus that learners may misbehave with impunity.

“It’s concerning that a considerable number of motorists (29%) were unaware that they could get penalty points on their licence before officially” (or presumably unofficially) “passing their test,” says Jemima.

Any new drivers who do have points on their licence may find it harder to find an affordable motor insurance premium, she warns. The best thing for them to do in such circumstances – or any other circumstances, for that matter – would be to shop around.

And a really great way to do that would be to visit a price comparison website such as…

See what she did there?!

495176D1F2C93D644A99142E2C2EB

June 23, 2014

There was great news last week for people who like to nip down the local shops in their motor, with HMG announcing tough new plans to undermine the enforcement of high street parking regulations.

A whole raft of new ‘measures’ – the most eye-catching of which is a ban on parking spy cars – will send a clear message to motorists that if you flout high street parking restrictions you might get away with it, and even if you don’t HMG is basically on your side.

Government Community Liaison Officer Eric “Mr Pickles” Pickles slammed “greedy councils” whose CCTV spy cars can be seen “lurking” on every street “raking in” the hard earned cash of recent ordinary people who just want to run in and grab some fags, a pint of milk and a lottery ticket.

Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McGoohan waded boldly into the legislative lake to launch an exciting new raft of ideas designed to help “hard working people and local shops” and rein in the cash-crazed councils who “force people to shop in out-of-town centres or online.”

The key plank in Pickles’ raft is a ban on issuing tickets based on spy cam evidence alone.*

Other planks include: 25% OFF the price of a parking ticket for anyone who appeals and has their case rejected at tribunal, a ban on fines for people parking alongside ‘out of order’ parking meters if there’s no other way to pay, new powers of appeal against parking restrictions for local people and businesses, and a total ban on over-zealousness, heavy-handedness, non-transparency and parking enforcement for profit.

Bankstone News Local Shopping Correspondent (Southern England) Tristan de Curthoise comments “Blo*dy excellent news. Shred of common sense at last. I pay my taxes. Some of them. So I don’t bl*ody see why I shouldn’t leave the Aston wherever I damn well like without some jumped up council jockey jumping all over my arse. Now what about those motorway speed limits?”

 

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* Except near schools, bus lanes, bus stops, red routes, or in places where it seems important that traffic does not grind to a complete standstill.

June 20, 2014

For some strange reason, motor insurance premiums in the charming West Yorks cathedral town of Bradford are a bit on the high side.

Luckily, local MP Dave Ward (Little Democrat, Bradford East) is backing tough new measures that will put an end to runaway motor premiums – even in places like Bradford.

At a special top level meeting last night at Bradford City Hall, Dave presented the findings of his hard-hitting new report “Unaffordable insurance – applying the brakes.”

One local man, Dave revealed, had complained of being quoted £26,000* to insure his vehicle. How was he supposed to afford that? On his wages? Were they having a laugh or something?

Acutely sensitive to his constituents’ motor premium pain, Dave vowed to get to the bottom of why “premiums in Bradford are some of the highest in the country.”

At last night’s summit, he invited Bradfordians young and old to help him get to grips with this puzzling anomaly, along with a top-level panel comprising a policeman, someone from Cooperative Insurance, and of course Dave himself.

“Thanks to all at our car insurance summit tnite,” tweeted Dave last night, “huge issue for my #Bradford constituents – premiums are coming down but more to come”

Reassuring news indeed for all those in Bradford considering walking or buying a bike.

SONY DSC

* The popular indignation sparked by quotes like this, rather suggests to Bankstone News that – to avoid being misunderstood – insurers need to make their ‘F-Off’ quotes either much more or much less ridiculous.

June 20, 2014

June 18th started out like any other day at Bankstone Towers. I was at my desk hard at work on the latest edition of Bankstone News, when something woke me with a start. What was that noise?

A violent mechanical churning sound burst the bubble of a beautiful dream in which I’d just teamed up with Angelina Jolie to fight the scourge of motor fraud.

There was no way I’d be getting any more work done with that cacophony going on. So, in the true spirit of investigative journalism, I set out to find the source of that terrible sound. The churning grew louder and louder as I crossed a quaintly cobbled courtyard to the quayside of the Brighouse canal basin.

An old guy in flip flops and a teeshirt revealed all. I suggested he make himself decent. Once he’d pulled some old shorts on, I asked him what was going on. “They’re pumping the basin,” he told me.

Pumping the basin may mean something slightly different where Bankstone News comes from, but I’ve never heard it make a sound like that.

“Pumping the basin, huh?” I asked.

“Boat sank last night,” explained the old guy, whose name I later learned was Beau Toner.

“Sunk, huh?” I quizzed remorselessly.

“Someone round here had a leaky stern gland,” Beau told me cryptically, with just a hint of a sinister smile.

And that was all he’d tell me.

Who was this someone with a leaking stern gland? Was this something to do with Winnie Walmart and Derek Tait? Winnie had been Beau’s girl, but lately she’d jumped ship to berth with Derek. Derek’s boat, everyone agreed, was bigger and better than Beau’s in almost every way. Foul play seemed strongly indicated. Had Beau scuttled his rival’s boat? With the lovers still inside?

Actually, no: Derek’s boat was not at the bottom of the basin but calmly chugging along somewhere in the vicinity of Hebden Bridge by now, with Derek and his new friend Alison Appleforth aboard.

The actual owner of the stricken vessel ruefully revealed that water had got in around the propellor shaft, through a poorly packed stern gland. An alarm had been set off, but too late, alas, to stop the waters rushing in through the engine air vents, dragging the unfortunately vessel down. 

The Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) had helpfully dropped the canal water level by nearly 18 inches. But this proved insufficient. Hence the arrival of the nap-disturbing pump, brought in to pump the vessel out.

All in all: far more excitement than we get round here too often – and a delightfully entertaining spectacle for Bankstone staff who laughed and jeered companionably whist picnicking canalside through their lunch break.

basin

June 20, 2014

Those who maintain that there is no justice in this world will find it just a tiny bit harder to support this contention after definitive new research from law firm Dill Dickinson revealed that White Van Man (WVM) is among those drivers most likely to be targeted by so-called crashin’ for a cash-in (C4C) scam gangs.

The law firm crunched the data on a possibly-quite-large number of motor accident claims and found that almost a third of deliberate collisions involved largish vehicles of a white, semi-white, or formerly-white hue.

It seems WVMs are being targeted – not simply because they deserve to suffer more than other drivers – but because they tend to be fully insured and are usually driving like lunatics because they were supposed to be somewhere 10 minutes ago. This makes them ideal targets for the enterprising young C4Cer.

Speeding WVMs have minimal opportunity to apply their brakes when you slam yours on in their path, and don’t have time to stand around arguing about whose fault an accident was when they can simply swap insurance details and leave it for their employers/insurers to sort out.

Between them, the evocatively named Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Vauxhall Vivaro, Citroen Berlingo, Volkswagen Transporter and Ditto Tipper account for 31% of induced claims, the survey found.

“It’s cynical, but it works,” confirms Thomas Neil of Dill Dickinson helpfully.“

white-van-man

June 13, 2014

Eating and drinking while driving can be dangerous. That was the shock finding of new research from unspeakable driver safety devices provider Lytx (formerly speakable driver safety devices provider DriveCam).

Eating and drinking behind the wheel is dangerous because it can be distracting, Lytx (pronounced Litch) claims – and, also presumably, because, with food in one hand and drink in the other, drivers may find it harder to carry out essential driving tasks such as turning the steering wheel, changing gear, fiddling with buttons and touch screens on the in-car entertainment centre console, smoking, and exchanging abusive hand gestures with other road users.

Eating and drinking whilst driving is almost as dangerous as using a mobile device “whether handheld or hands-free” Lytx (pron. Lyetex) warns. Hands-free food and drink presumably requires administration by a passenger, which certainly does sound like it could be distracting, depending on the passenger, so this timely warning from Lytx (pron. Lightish) makes obvious good sense, when you come to think about.

An insight into the nature of the research undertaken emerged with the following statement from Lytx (pron. Laeteughz) vice president of safety services Del Lisk (pron. Lytx) “I see people eating while driving almost every day. What we’ve learned is that this type of distraction is nearly as dangerous as talking or texting on your phone.”

Applying “predictive analytics” to its findings enabled Lytx (pron. DriveCam) to establish that eating and drinking at the wheel attracts a dangerousness multiplier of 3.6, compared with not eating and drinking at the wheel. This dangerousness multiplier is just 1.0 point less the dangerousness differential created by using smartphones or tablets while driving compared with not using smartphones or tablets while driving, where, as you would expect, given what we have just been saying, the former outstrips the latter by a factor of 4.6 on the scale of dangerousness.

“Everyone should consider that the next time they think about eating behind the wheel,” concludes Dee Lish gravely.

And you know he’s right!

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June 13, 2014

Just when you probably thought the bar for classiness in the field of corporate hospitality type entertainment had been set about as far as it could possibly go height-wise, Bankstone’s good friends at Adrian Flux have only gone and nudged it up another notch.

O. M. G.

There simply is no other three-letter initialised abbreviation half-way adequate to express the merest inkling of the absolute awe and wonder experienced by Bankstone director Dixon Typo on a Norfolk lawn last Friday night.

Make no mistake: Typo has seen his fair share of corporate events down the years (and a generous helping of co-director AJ Jones’ share on the quiet too), but even he was struck quite literally dumb by the unprecedented ambience of classiness, swank, and all round corporate entertainment excellence in evidence at the Adrian Flux 2014 Summer Ball.

The proceedings had more class than Claridges, more class than CMS Lucknow, more than nineteenth century railway carriages, more, even, than the British social system. If the event were a girl, it would have to be called Myleene, or Alisha, or Santa, or something.

Typo, Jones, and fellow Bankstone bigwig Mark “The Woodsman” Woods were all honoured and elated at the chance to attend this “marquee event” of the corporate entertainment season, an occasion which, all Three Amigos fervently averred, outstripped even the myriad splendours of the 2013 ball.

A flawless summer evening sky bathed in radiant light the elegant exterior of three-storey pile Flux Towers, casting gently creeping shadows across nailscissor-perfect lawn swards, caressing the canvas flanks of a very large tent indeed, suffusing its interior with a slowly subsiding golden glow.

A four-piece guitar ensemble filled the fragrant air with jingly-thrumming loveliness, while, Typo insists (though surely this must be poetical hyperbole), magicians “floated around” performing conjuring feats no mortal intelligence could begin to comprehend.

From a gastronomic POV, Typo recalls crab cakes, the highlight for him of a menu combining uniform deliciositude with quite unprecedented optionousness – with three or four different dishes on offer at each of three or four courses, all served beneath a canopy hung with decorative spherical objects in profusion (in place of last year’s pastel bunting).

At the end of an utterly fabulous evening, the same coaches that had swept guests from their hotels to Flux Towers earlier, reappeared to scoop them up and drop them off from whence they came, happily replete one and all with fine food, booze and festive cheerfulness.

If any bold challenger flatters themselves to imagine that they could possibly match an event like this, please invite us.

Pictures of this year’s event were not available at the time of going to press – so here’s some from last year instead.

Safari - ADRIAN FLUX INSURANCE ANNUAL SUMMER BALL – NORFOLK EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER » Andy Davison Photography copy

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