Those spoil sports at John Hopkins University School of Medicine ruined my day today.
They have been running research over a 9 year period in Tuscany monitoring 783 Italian men and women 65 years or older to see if their drinking red wine increased their life expectancy. Red wine has long been thought to help prolong life as it contains resveratrol.
Well they say there is no link at all according to their findings . People died off at average ages despite consuming the red stuff in fair old quantities .
This was especially disappointing today as last night with friends I possibly overdid it a little ( ho ho ) on the red wine stakes but took solace in the fact that despite the headache this morning I must have added at least 10 years to my life ( yes it was that much red wine !) Now instead I have an hangover and no real gain at all.
We chatted last night about the high cost of labour in Italy and especially down here in Puglia. I queried why a digger driver should charge between €60 – €90 an hour and the consensus around the table from our Italian guests was the high cost of insurance. Clearly the driver needs to have insurance just in case he wacks a wall down or breaks a water pipe etc plus he has insurance it seems in case he does himself an in jury when working meaning he is unable to work and insurance in case he instead hurts a fellow worker.
Insurance costs in Italy are astronomical. Car insurance rates are at dizzy making levels and no one can afford fully comp. Everyone in Italy drives on third party normally without fire and theft either. Even then a small Fiat will come in at about €1,300 a year.
If you drive a UK car over here many Brits use insurance companies in the UK many of whom offer ” unlimited” driving in EU countries. I had such a deal until earlier this year when a simple question about leaving the car at Bari airport while I popped back to the UK made me think again.
My insurance company said that over 2 days stay it would be considered ” abandonment” and the insurance was null and void. Okay said I I’ll leave it in my garage. Same answer was the underwriters reply. You must stay in close proximity to your vehicle when abroad.
This forced a rethink and I went instead to a company called Italsure that specialise in insuring foreigner cars in Italy or so it says in the blurb. They in turn are now owned by a company called Clements Worldwide in Washington D.C. so all their quotes are in US dollars just to confuse you. You go online to get a quote as you can’t phone in and ask for one even though they have an office in London. It does however say if you run into difficulties phone to ask questions. Question 1 flummoxed me so I phoned and they were charmingly helpful and judging by the noise in the call centre I wasn’t alone in falling at the first hurdle. Three more questions didn’t make sense and so 3 more calls later I had my “online” quote.
It was double the UK company quote and seemingly for third party only but there are no restrictions on using the car or leaving it parked for a couple of days. However a couple of days later I got an e mail from their Washington D.C. office attaching a medical questionnaire. Now this was odd because in 10 years working in the States my car insurance was always about insuring the car not the driver. U.S. insurance is pretty laid back about who drives the vehicle.
The form asked for a Doctor to perform an hearing test, an eyesight test and a full medical exam including an heart stress test. Of course being American it was all in English and used feet, inches and pounds instead of the other stuff. The doctor had to, after each question, write his results and confirm that I was healthy to be in charge of a motor car.
It seemed excessive so I e mailed back asking why and insisting that they have it translated into Italian and have it countersigned by a notary in D.C. as my Doctor wouldn’t go along with the idea that I translated it if he couldn’t read the original ( which he couldn’t). I also asked if they understood the EU stance on Age Discrimination and further how as this type of medical wasn’t part of the free health deal in Italy they intended to reimburse me.
It went quiet in Washington for a week and then I got an e-mail asking me to disregard their earlier e-mail and that the documents were winging there way to me to cover the car for a year and they arrived the next day.
So I now have insurance and an headache today, better go to the bar and see how my guests from last night are and tell them the red wine no longer does us any good.