Friday, 30 August 2013

New sponsor for the PMICast podcast ... maybe !

Pleased to announce that from either episode 4 or 5 the PMICast will be sponsored by Audible - the worlds leading provider of audio books with 10,000's of titles available.

You'll be able to use a link to get one or two free books (depending on which level of membership you go for) then if you like the service you pay a small monthly fee to continue receiving monthly credits.

This is a sponsor that I'm particularly excited about as I have been a member of audible myself for around five years and I listen constantly on my iPhone - at the moment I have (according to the Audible App, invested 18 days, 4 hours amd 56 minutes to date listening to their content). I'm currently reading the first part of Game of Thrones on Audible and have just finished 'Excession' by the late Iain M Banks - once I get the relevant link sorted out to include in the 'cast I will introduce a segment and perhaps add in some Audible reviews and recommendations too.

Keep downloading the podcast and reading here for more information.

Quikc update on the above - slight snag, need to have at least one US iTunes rating (and an average of 4*) to become part of this affiliate program - if you're a US listener of the podcast would you mind doing this for us - thanks !!!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

An incompetent public sector

Without going into any details my family is having serious contact with social services and the NHS/care system as we struggle to look after an ageing relative.

Our experience is that the social services and local mental health teams are largely unhelpful and disinterested. Constantly putting barriers in the way of making decisions and essentially making life as difficult as possible - not surprising of course when trying to care for people who paid full tax and NI for their lives and are struggling for dignity during old age.

The impression one gets is that a patient or person requiring care is actually a burden rather than client to be helped - I think they (the various publicly funded bodies involved) are hoping that the family will get sick of the constant fight to get anywhere and simply pay for everything ourselves.

It is no wonder that scandals involving aged care in homes and hospitals and child abuse under the nose of social services goes on - no one will take ownership, no one talks to each other and the so called 'Teams' involved (no named contacts of course to speak to regularly) are either lazy - collecting their public salary for doing as little as possible or else they're totally incompetent.

Rant Over - For Now !

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Place holder blog post today

So insanely busy today that I haven't had time to put together a cogent or informative blog post for my readers today - if you're interested in something relevant you should probably skip this one to be honest.

So far today :

  • 2 dogs walked
  • 1 40 minute telephone meeting
  • 1 forgotten (nearly) cat vaccination - that was a bit of a blind panic and the cat was none too pleased
  • over 70 e-mails assessed or replied to
  • three new business applications processed
  • 1 new client report sent and acknowledged
  • 2 new clients called and information found for quote reports - 2 reports to diary for later in the week
  • 27 to do items on phone reduced to 5 pending
  • 1 sandwich purchsed
  • 2 children (nicely) palmed off on relatives
  • 1 visit from 'technician' to review a problem with new suite in the living room
  • 1 dog quieted when he took against the above technician
  • two thirds of MacBreak Weekly listened to while working (not as funny as usual)

Still to come :

  • early meal prior to karate
  • Karate Class at 6.00pm (still 2 Gi's to iron... gulp)
  • another couple of hours of prep for tomorrow work
  • seven or eight Premier Choice new business/renewal spreadsheets to complete (might do that tomorrow)
  • 4 call backs

Really have no more time to waste on this post !

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The business of pricing tourist attractions

As you'll see from yesterday I visited Skipton Castle and had a fun day out with the family.

Although the castle is nice and the visit good I was a little puzzled as to why the castle was so quiet (maybe 2 or 3 dozen people came though in the two and a half hours we were there) when the rest of Skipton was literally heaving to the point where we actually queued on the pavement several times to travel up and down the high street.

Unless there was some kind of unspoken boycott we were unaware of I suspect their problem was the pricing of admission to the castle itself. We paid £ 22.50 plus £ 2.90 (for a booklet) for a family ticket and as per the above comments took a leisurely stroll around the castle (as it was out first time) for a couple of hours and grabbed a quick cuppa in the on-site cafe - which cost another £ 14.

Although we enjoyed the visit I certainly wouldn't go back if I was required to pay another £ 22 as there simply isn't enough to do inside the castle and I suspect that many people that visit Skipton frequently go once and never come back - hence the low numbers.

There is a Friends of Skipton Castle repeat visitor ticket that I found on their website (no mention of it in the ticket office on site that I could see). However, this costs £ 18 per adult (up to three kids can visit free on this ticket) - however we'd still need two for Mr and Mrs Localventure. So total cost is still £ 36 which you'd only buy having visited once, paying full price to see if you liked it. This means for my family a total cost of £ 58 for more than one visit - and the requirement to visit 3 times in the first year to recoup the costs of visiting without the 'Friends' ticket.

Clearly people in Skipton have done the maths and decided that for the sake of visiting two or three times per annum it's clearly not worth it and I would tend to agree. If I was their business manager I would offer a much lower priced annual ticket and give a family version of it too - maybe a tenner for a single and then £ 15 for couple + kids  - after all, there is no actual 'cost' to the castle for having visitors in through the front door (sorry Portculis!) and more people surely means more revenue from the on-site cafe and shop.

There is a massive opportunity being squandered at a lovely local attraction - I'd also improve the range of cakes in their cafe too but that's another story.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Lovely day in Skipton

Visited Skipton in North Yorkshire for the Bank holiday and centred the visit around the Castle - one of the best preserved medieval castles in England - especially interesting in that the Lords Clifford were Lancastrian supporters in the War of the Roses and we've recently been watching the Phillipa Gregory series on the BBC - The White Queen (especially enjoyed by my 13 year old daughter who bizarrely liked King Richard best ?).

Great little castle (although I think they have a business problem that I will outline tomorrow on my blog).

Sunny day, quite quiet in the castle (maybe 2 dozen people in total) although Skipton itself was heaving with shoppers.

Heres are couple of snaps :

Main Entrance - leads to central hall

Ramparts - South side
Both pics taken with my handy Iphone 5 - with no editing.

It's one of the very few fully roofed bulidings of its nature and this makes the castle rooms although bare, still in good condition - it's not an enormous building but the dungeons, great hall and particularly the central courtyard with its full grown tree was quite impressive - reminded me of how I imagined the castle at Cair Paravel in Narnia would have looked (fictional I know).

Definitely worth a trip I would say although at £ 22 for a family of four, given the time it takes possibly overpriced.

Back to business blogging tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

New post in Talk Health Partnership website

I have just uploaded a new post over at this is one of my longer form pieces on health related subjects.

Health Warning - This piece discusses both serious and also lighter sides of death and causes of death so it is one of those posts that has a the capability of offending and or upsetting - please remember when reading that the article is designed to inform, comment and also be irreverent.

Writers block

Spent most of today on and off attempting to come up with a concept for a blog post today and I have failed miserably. Must be the oppressive humidity !

Instead here's a republication of an article I wrote a couple of months ago on my Talk Health blog (you should be able to see the link to the right of this post to visit Talk Health and read my other articles) the piece discussed issues around why people elect to use private medicine as opposed to the NHS and why in fact the two sectors compliment rather than work against one another :

Do people buy ‘go private’ because the NHS is bad ?

In the United Kingdom the historic premise behind the National Health Service (NHS) has always been medical care free to the user at the point of delivery. It should of course never be forgotten that the NHS is anything but ‘free’ being funded in its entirety as a public sector organization paid for by central government.
However, since the formation the NHS in 1948 it has become increasingly apparent that all care cannot be ‘free’ and indeed in the 21st century we live in an era of both austerity in the economy generally but in particular one of a ‘post code lottery’ for NHS treatment, one only has to consider biological and hormonal therapies for cancer or infertility treatment (a topic I discussed obliquely in a previous post) to see that where you live can materially affect what treatment you receive and for how long. The issue of the cost and funding of the NHS is further exacerbated by the rising age of the population and advances in medical science that enable people to live longer but of course : older means by definition in most instances ‘sicker’ and older people are and will continue to be a big call on NHS funds.
The capability of the NHS to both cope with and provide for an adequate ongoing service to its user base – the UK population, us. It is an enormous debate that is played out both politically and in the media on a regular basis, again a topic covered in other posts. From some of these previous blog posts on Talk Health you’ll know that I have worked in both the National Health Service and the private medical sector in the last 25 years and it is not for me (or indeed a suitable discussion for this forum) to sell my readers private medical insurance. Indeed, medical insurance is not necessarily the ‘answer’ to the problems that may be perceived to exist within the NHS. In fact it would be true to say that in my experience it (medical insurance) is a complimentary rather than a competing effect.
My view is that that purchasers of medical insurance may be exhibiting a reaction to the above issues within the NHS and the very existence of a medical insurance is a symptom of the state of the healthcare market in the UK rather than the cause or the need for a competing private service.
Those people that take the decision to buy insurance of this kind are doing so for a number of reasons :
Some want peace of mind that they have extra cover in place. That might be due to personal experience (often a negative one) of the NHS. For some medical insurance is a lifestyle choice – to plan for elective, acute treatment, buying choice and freedom away from the limitations inherent in the NHS and of course, although waiting lists are less of a problem now than historically but there is still an issue in some specialties and geographic areas. Medical insurance is often at its best when solving this kind of postcode and waiting list lottery. Of course many people receive medical insurance cover as an employee benefit as a ‘perk’ of their jobs so for them medical insurance is not a choice particularly influenced by the NHS just an acknowledgement by their employer that an alternative to the NHS is useful for their business or demanded by employees.
In the context of the discussion above I wanted to end this article with a simple question. Is it worthwhile financially to buy medical insurance, regardless of the motivating factor for the purchase ? In the end I think it really depends on personal experience but it isn’t right for everyone and one has to bear in mind all the factors above and of course that for all its shortcomings, each and everyone of us that is a UK tax payer is already paying for NHS treatment anyway.
One needs to bear in mind that medical insurance does not replace the NHS – chronic (uncurable) and pre-existing conditions are not covered, nor is primary care (GP and other community based medical services) nor is accident and emergency treatment typically. Whilst medical insurance cover does not replicate the NHS it does provide input into the NHS system. Many insurers offer access to their policy holders to NHS pay facilities and although it is difficult to estimate the direct financial benefits (probably hundreds of thousands of pounds or more) it is certain that indirectly the private sector saves the NHS tens of millions of pounds in providing elective treatment for policyholders and self paying private clients who otherwise would be forced to use the NHS. It is also worth considering that to fulfil waiting list targets the NHS regularly takes spare capacity in the private sector (especially for common procedures like hip or knee replacements or cataract replacement where lower set procedure costs can be negotiated in advance in return for bulk contracting).
Regardless of ones political persuasion or view on the fairness of private medical insurance it is true to say that the private and public sectors are inextricably linked. The decision therefore to elect to purchase medical insurance isn’t then as simple as opting out of the NHS, rather it is case of weighing the factors discussed above whilst bearing in mind that one still funds the costs for the UK national health system via your tax and taking the decision to pay twice can be worthwhile if your personal requirements are to be fulfilled.
If you are interested in looking at my business blog or my websites please feel free to visit :
My blog at and business websites :

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Web Design - the value of learning as you go

It would be somewhat churlish to describe myself as a web designer, however over the years I have put together a variety of websites both with other people and myself and they have generally been pretty well laid out and done the job. I enjoy this work and would like to do more both recreationally and for money (!).

In this vein I have been doing some web design for a medico legal client over the last couple of weeks and although I use a template system to create the basic layout and design the client needed some bespoke html elements building into the site.

I am, as they say completely 'self taught' and this has been an enormous challenge for me but quite rewarding - things are going well and this morning I managed to overcome a problem with inserting a coloured text button and then a link into the button itself to another part of the site I am designing- only took me 20 minutes to figure out how to input the text and then target it towards the right bit of the site - very satisfying although granted this is really simple html programming.

Essentially with a bit of patience and access to You Tube tutorials I suspect you can pretty much do anything.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

New sponsor for this blog and the PMICast podcast

Above this post at the top of the Localventure site (just under the title) you will find a banner advertising the Sonos wireless hifi system.

This is not random ad placed by google but rather our new affiliate sponsor - the blog and podcast receive a small commission on each sale made via our link and this is a good way for us to cover the costs of the free content.

If you are interested in creating a really cool and effective wireless music playing network at home fro ma state of the art, cutting edge tech company then Sonos is the answer.

Their system works from your smart phone and enables you to seamlessly play music, radio and even audio books around your home with total control - their base systems start from $ 349 and the quality and control is excellent.

Please click on the link to see more, make sure you do some research on the system that suits you and then if you do decide to make a purchase make sure you do so via our link - it would be of immense help.

Thanks !

Monday, 19 August 2013

Petrol Vouchers

Whilst I was away on holiday I spent £60 at Sainsburys and received a voucher for 6p discount off each litre of fuel at their petrol station. I claimed this saving easily with no problems at my next visit to buy fuel. 

Today I received the same voucher deal from Morrisons so took the voucher to the forecourt this evening. Unfortunately they required the actual shopping receipt to offer the discount. Obviously I don't carry all my shopping receipts with me and therefore couldn't use the discount voucher.

The attendant was also a bit of a prick about it I'm sorry to say.

Now that's customer service - it also begs the question, why not just use the receipt as a voucher instead of procuring an, effectively useless, second bit of voucher paper.

I'd say I will never use Morrisons Petrol station again but the two local petrol stations are both of the Morrisons variety and they effectively have a local monopoly.

Last two weeks of the School Holidays - Yay or Nay ?

Today marks the beginning of the penultimate week of the long summer holidays.

As a home worker I have obviously been in charge of childcare for my 7 and 13 year olds during this period and the racket coming from my daughters bedroom this morning (also called the pit or as it is at the moment the X-Box/really loud home cinema room) got me thinking about how having kids here affects my work.

Obviously it's harder to organise appointments as childcare needs to be arranged - I have a back up plan (Grandma usually) but of course this makes planning essential.

There's also the aforementioned noise - although now they're older this is less of a problem. More of an issue is the constant need for stimulation required by a 7 year old - if he comes into my office once a day stating he's bored then he does it a dozen times - that's a distraction for me as I am a 'focused' worker not a 'stop and do something else whilst I entertain my child' kind of worker.

However I am going to miss them when they go back - having them around changes the vibe at home and in my office making it more like a real workplace - there's more of a hum and obviously more going on. Also it is nice occasionally to be able to bounce an idea off a real live person even if they don't necessarily 'get' what I'm discussing with them.

Lastly, as I don't have to drop any one at school at the moment I have more time in a morning to prep for the day and to be honest that hour first thing in the morning is actually one of the most precious times of the day to get into the right frame of mind for the day to come.

So kids at home - Yay on balance. That might change if their ratio of arguing to playing nicely increases markedly as it can towards the end of the holidays !

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Golf ... aaarrgghhhhh !!!

I have not played actual golf in around 15 years and cannot claim to have ever been anything more than a totally ungifted hacker.

As the old joke goes, my handicap was my golf sticks !

Mrs Localventure and I wanted to come up with a physical activity the whole family could do together so we've decided to take the kids to a driving range and get us all competent enough to manage a family round of golf together.

So this morning I took the kids to scope out our local driving range near Esholt (legendary former home of Emmerdale village) and have a quick go.

Kids both took to it fairly well, Ryan is 7 so the clubs are a bit big and it's hard for him but he had good go and can hit the ball (not far) but consistently. Meg (13) actually has quite a nice stance and swing - can't hit the ball straight for toffee but this is literally the first time she's played anything other than crazy golf.

But I hear you asking, what about me ?

See picture below :

Frankly, I'm still crap ....

Friday, 16 August 2013

You Tube Channel

Some weeks ago I launched my You Tube channel and the videos there cover a range of tech and medical insurance issues.

One of the main things I might suggest you look at there is the video version of my audio podcast ( and on iTunes) at the moment there are three PMICast episodes on the channel - here's the first one embedded for you to look over :

If you're interested click here to visit the channel and have a look at what's on offer.

Private Medical Insurance website

I wanted to use my blog post today to highlight my business website. It's something that I don't mention particularly often on the blog as I assume (probably wrongly) that interested parties will just find their way there is they are interested.

I'm an independent healthcare consultant and I work with a range of clients across the UK both individual and corporate clients. As you can see the site is succinct, gives an overview of key areas of benefits I can offer you advice on, some information on me (although you'll find much more here and on Linkedin plus there's the option to contact me directly at the bottom of the page.

If you do need help with any aspect of new or existing medical insurance please visit the site and get in touch. Click here to visit the site


If you're interested in a free review of your medical insurance cover (family or company paid) please get in touch :
Tel - 07792 075748 or 0113 3474395

& my articles for Premier Choice at :

Twitter - localventure1 and philknightpch
Video Podcast - You Tube Channel : pkn439
Audio Podcast - & - both available on iTunes

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

I'm a totally independent healthcare intermediary with 20 years market experience, not tied to any insurer, fully FCA regulated and part of the Premier Choice Healthcare Group. FCA Number 312878.

My You Tube Channel :

Thursday, 15 August 2013

iCloud Beta

The beta website for iCloud is now up and running at and as you can see below it now shares the graphic stylings of soon to be launched IOS 7 probably September 10th of 11th in line with the launch of the new iPhone 5S and (maybe) 5C.

Of course, this is an on-line web based service so it isn't going to be remotely connected to IOS and in fact at the moment you cannot access the iCloud website on an IOS device (probably because most of the functions : Pages, mail, notifications etc are in-built into the iPhone and iPad). The rebranding to IOS style then seems a little pointless. The interesting thing however is that this sees the launch (admittedly in beta) of the Apple iWorks apps : Keynote, Pages and 123 on line. Essentially I suppose they are competing with google drive (docs as was) and having had a quick play it seems to work OK - it is a direct replication of how the iWorks suite works on Mac (you have the option when pressing CMD and 'O' to open up on-line cloud docs or search from Finder or just open docs on the tool bar - pretty efficient and useful (although as the service is now totally web based the on-line doc access isn't massively fast as it accesses the cloud servers at Apple). It now enables users to work on their documents from any work station - although I'm not a PC user currently (PC Lap top died yesterday!) I assume the on-line elements will work on any PC browser. Lastly and importantly, according to tutorials that appear when you first log in it is possible to drag and drop word, pages, excel, 123 etc docs from your desktop into the cloud browser - this facility kind of makes iCloud a much more useful multi machine resource to me and will assist in work flow and accessibility which sits at the core of what I do massively.

It's worth noting that although the iWorks apps are also now in the main 'old' iCloud site as beta's I couldn't make them work on this version so I've now moved across to the iCloud Beta site permanently - remember this is still a beta though and it's likely that as more people locate it and switch it will slow down and crash.

Plus as an aside, make sure you check out the latest episode of my medical insurance podcast. PMICast Season 2 Episode 1 is now on iTunes and streamable from

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

I'm on Instagram please check me out and like my stuff

I've recently begun to post some pictures on Instagram and am now having some success driving business using a daily video blog in the I'Gram 15 second format.

You can find me at - please visit, see my stuff and if you like what you see, like the content.



PMICast - Season 2 now available

We're now back in our podcasting upload schedule. The first full episode of season 2 of PMICast (search under the name on iTunes or stream from - we're also on most podcatching services like Stitcher and others - if we're not on your preferred one just drop me a line and we will join up to help out).

Please download the 'cast and enjoy - lots of new features including a masterclass on the moratorium method of underwriting.

I'm looking for interview subjects for a new segment for the 'cast too.If you're an industry professional, interested party and have anything to say about medical insurance or healthcare please get in touch at

Season Two will run to Christmas 2013 so please subscribe and tell your friends and colleagues. Also, if you get chance leave us an iTunes review - full info on how to do this are on this weeks podcast.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Progress to date

Been back at work formally for two days now and beginning to get back into the stride of things. Not really running at full tilt as the usual array of social media/podcasting in addition to my marketing efforts are still being superceded by my efforts to catch back up with e-mail and all those little tasks that get left whilst you're away on holidays.

However, travelled to see a new client in the South East yesterday and that meeting went well and spent today in the office and on the phone organising and as I say, catching up with e-mail and out-standing apps from clients and so forth.

Managed to record a new intro to the podcast which I will be prepping this evening and planning to record sometime tomorrow morning - should be live tomorrow afternoon but I will of course keep you all posted. Excitingly I do have a slight format change to the 'cast (in addition to spanky new intro) to keep things fresh so make a note to cstch up with season 2. Our first sponsor has now finished and thanks to them for their input for the last four episodes of the podcast (17-20). We have one confirmed new sponsor for the 'cast tomorrow and I'm currently in negotiation with 7 others believe it or not so hopefully one or two will agree to come on board.

You can find the podcast on iTunes - search for PMICast or at where you will find the first 20 episodes plus my Where's Wilson science fiction podcast as well for now.

Contact me to sponsor the cast - we have over 6,000 monthly listeners ! at

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Back to work with vengeance !

Arrived back home on Friday afternoon following two weeks in Devon.

Done some small tasks here and there over the weekend but will be back to full steam from tomorrow morning.

During my holidays I tried to come up with some planning or strategic ideas for the future but as is often the way, struggling to get important work tasks sorted without interrupting the holiday too much became more of a priority than planning. So the on-gong planning will be done on the fly along with more hard work in coming weeks and months - hopefully exciting developments !

As I'm back, so two is season two of the only medical insurance podcast in the UK : PMICast. We're back with season two later this week so make sure you check out iTunes and also - you can also check out our back catalogue of the first 20 episodes from season one of the podcast available as above.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

New podcast up on feed - sort of !

Just posted an episode 0 intro to the new season of PMICast beginning next week - probably Wednesday or Thursday and then resuming the normal schedule from the following week of uploading on Tuesdays.

New season will run to X-Mas.

Please download and enjoy plus tell your friends and colleagues - still looking for sponsors to join the cast and excellent deals and free offers are available for the right companies.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Biblical Flooding

About halfway through my two week holiday now and so far have had some good weather although as the title of this blog post implies the next 48 hours are scheduled for torrential downpours over most of the UK, including the South West.

Whilst I'm away I am working at pretty much full strength, looking after any client queries and still chasing various pieces of new business in the pipeline. If you need me please call on : 07792 075748 or e-mail

To keep up with me keep an eye on this blog (although this is only my second post since being away) and Instagram - I'm user pkn4395, plus my personal Twitter account : localventure1 where I've put up a few extra thoughts.