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Montcigoux's Achievements


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  1. Hi all. Any suggestions for the best way to do this. I am converting a very old first floor grain loft to a sitting room and eventually the space between the joists will be insulated. Ideally although it is more fiddly work and cost I want to leave the old wooden roof joists exposed rather than covering them with plaster board. But there is a big gap where the end of the joists meet the top of the thick stone wall of several inches to be closed off first and from experience it needs to be animal proof. Even fixing insulating board to the underside of the joists thus hiding them would leave a big gap. I was thinking of using those thin red large tile size bricks bedded into mortar on top of the wall and the top of the brick would then meet the underside of the roof tiles. Any thoughts or suggestions or previous experience please? Bear in mind that I am female and not as strong as the average man. Thanks
  2. It can definitely go direct to a foreign currency firm if you give the full account details in writing to the notaire ( check and double check the details). I decided against this in the end and had it transferred directly to a foreign currency account with my bank First Direct / HSBC. I have never been sure what protection you would have if the foreign currency firm goes bust when your house money is with them. Or you can send it to a french bank but don't have it transferred into a La Poste account especially if you are closing it at the same time as it can take weeks to be transferred. The main thing is to make sure your notaire knows clearly in advance that you want the money transferred on the day of the Acte otherwise they wait days sometimes to send it. Don't agree to an Acte on a Friday either or you wont get your money until the Monday - tense weekend!
  3. Think for a moment about your use of language and what it implies. Would you describe either Mick Jagger or Donald Trump as "bed hopping Mick", or say "Donald's been round the block a few times"? In this day and age the number of relationships that a woman has had over decades should not single her out for perjorative comment any more than it would for a man. However, I quite agree with you about her taste in men and still can't see either what women see in Francois Hollande. As for Mick Jagger his taste in women is definitely dodgy!
  4. I know Firbeix well. Houses do seem to stay on the market there for years. I went to look at one with my Mum a few years back and it was still for sale several years later. The only thing wrong I know of which puts people off is the 24/7 heavy traffic noise from the N21 especially as there are two long hills at either end of the village so you get the big lorries grinding up the hill. From about now the road also gets very busy during the summer season. The road noise carries quite a long way too into the countryside around the N21. On the plus side compared to ten years ago the village has really improved. Many derelict old buildings have been renovated and the fishing lake has now been made the most of as a tourist spot and there is now a friterie! Nearest small supermarket in La Coquille my daughter went to school there. For access to services, Firbeix is right at the limit of the Dordogne the Limousin is literally on the village boundary, so you have about an hours journey to get to Limoges and Perigeux which makes buying things from the "grandes surfaces" and dealing with the Dordogne administration a bit of a mission too..
  5. I am finding the fact that I have to scroll down quite a . distance to read the text of the post very tiring and irritating. The picture is too bright and distracting. The main thing that was wrong with the forum before was that you couldn't hover over the post and find out what it was about which you still can't - pity.
  6. My partner is about to buy a house in France for us to live in as our main home. It will be bought in his name only as the purchase money is his and is his only house. We are not married and he has two lovely adult daughters from a previous marriage. I don't want to disinherit his daughters and I want the house to go to them as it would under French law anyway I think. But if my partner were to die first is there any way he can leave the house for me to occupy even for a period before it passed to his daughters? Also without making their tax position any worse than it would have been had they inherited immediately? We could marry before the house purchase if that would help. The promis has not been drawn up yet. Any ideas would be gratefully received.
  7. I have owned a house in France since 2000 but had to go back to England in 2003 but I am coming back to live in France soonish and can't wait. Just to say that over the many years I have been reading the forum how much I appreciate the regular posters and their expertise and miss them when they disappear. In the early days I always enjoyed Teamedup posts which were a sometimes scary counterbalance to the rose tinted spectacles of most of the rest of us. So glad she is still here even under a different name. Wish I knew what it was! I also wish we still had the archive from the pre 2004 posts what a different time that was.
  8. Just a point pension credit is not payable in France only the basic state pension or any work pension that you have
  9. If you need the funds on the day of the acte make absolutely sure in writing that the notaire understands this and how you want to receive the money. Otherwise they do tend to faff about and you may have to wait days or even weeks for the money. For payment on the day of the sale your notaire will keep a small amount back for any unpaid taxes. If you are present at the sale he can either give you a cheque in euros or arrange for the euros to be transferred to a bank account. He will need the full bank details for this. However don't have the funds put in your french bank account open a euro account in the UK with either a currency broker or if you have one your UK bank and have the funds transferred directly to that account. You can then instruct either the broker or your bank to transfer the funds into GBP and a UK bank account or a UK solicitors bank account on the day that suits you when you think the exchange rate is most advantageous to you or with a broker you can fix the rate in advance. Above all if you do have the funds transferred into your french bank account do not close the account or tell them that you are closing it until well after they have sent the euros on from your sale as it could delay the transfer while they wait for all the final transactions to come through before closing the account.
  10. If you haven't already read it Rose en Marche by Jamie Ivey is a fascinating account of one young couples year trying to establish a business selling rose wine in the south of france. It gives a really good insight into the workings of french markets. His other books are good too.
  11. Just wondered  after the report published in England today recommending a high pay commission. for the UK  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8204530.stm   There is a quote in the report from the french finance minister is this a problem in France too? Do the top french bankers get paid enormously more than the lowest paid in the banks like in Egland or is this uniquely a City problem? I thought that even at the top end of the french property market the main buyers were foreigners because the french hadn't got any money.
  12. Don't worry  too much about this. You will be able to relate to his friends and their parents and help with his homework. It is fantastic for your french and you can buy the guides to the curriculum in local bookshops which will keep you one step ahead.  I have been a parent in both countries and although from what you say you will be starting with a higher level of french than I had I was perfectly able to relate to my daughter's friends in France.  You start off in exactly the same way in both countries at the school gate admiring baby siblings arranging play dates, helping at the school.  I have moved a lot more than average in England too and it is always a challenge to move to a new area even in England where you have a common language.  One tip make sure your son stays to lunch at school as soon as possible as this is the opportunity for him to make friends. Also don't be too sympathetic it's not that tough in french schools and there are other challenges at schools in england they are just different challenges. French schools are unsurprisingly not like english schools and french teachers are very different especially at infant / junior school level. Being in France won't change your relationship with your son in fact it will probably bring you closer together. The point about rural schools and their potential disadvantages for getting into lycee as opposed to college is well made by other posters. Certainly I was much more laid back than many of the french parents who had their sights set on the lycee and not college at secondary school stage A couple of french parents moved their children from our local rural junior school beacuse they thought it wasn't good enough when I thought it was so much better than the english  state system that at the time I couldn't  understand this. I always recommend  the book "sixty million frenchmen can't be wrong" as a good explanation of the very competitive french system. You will have to accept that your son will be like the children of immigrants to England he will always have one foot in both camps his home / parents country and  his own french country and culture . So long as you keep your Britishness but integrate as much as you can this won't matter. You will find that at six his english will be firmly established and he won't lose it. My daughter was 9 when we moved to France and was fluent  in french within six months. Much younger children aged two or three when they move do tend to lose their english and strangely can't always read in english although they can read in french. Re  recreational opportunities in France these are all done outside school. Even in rural areas there are opportunities if you seek them out but you will have a lot of driving to do.  Thinking ahead a decade (and I thought I was a worrier!) to when he is a teenager he will be at college or lycee with all his mates so will feel exactly the same as them and they will accept the status quo and have a lot of loyalty to the area you live in.. Good luck.
  13. Thanks Rose  and to all the people who have posted such interesting comments.  Rose's experience pretty much mirrors my own and I have stayed in both english owned and french owned gites. I have stayed in some smashing gites  well done to the people at Lassales with the pool  in the Haute Pyrennees - you know who you are. Others have left a lot to be desired. Booking ahead doesn't always get you a better gite in my experience. Although I have never run a gite or a b& b  I find both these forum topics very interesting and feel I can almost put myself in your shoes. Sorry also I don't post very often a very demanding working week of 60+ hours every week including travel means I am usually too shattered to do anyhing more than  read the posts. I envy you all living in France and wish I could join you again. Perhaps one day!
  14. As a regular gite user often taking two or more holidays a year in France who has also owned properties in France I thought I would get my most common gripes off my chest. I think you are all quite heroes to put up with guests but there are some things some of you could improve on. My first gripe is the lack of photos on the website especially on general booking websites rather than your own dedicated website. When you are choosing a gite you can be researching hundreds especially if you are looking in a region or if you don't want an exclusive pool. The photos are crtical they can tell you so much about the gite.  Please post lots of  clear photos of both the interior and exterior including the main sitting and dining rooms,  and especially the kitchen with details of the sink and cooker - you can tell a lot from that and the bedroom pics as well, why not use the maximum number of photos allowed by the website? Try and avoid the photo of the ubiquitous green or white plastic chairs in the garden they just look so depressing and cheapskate even though they are practical. Please include details upfront on whether the gite is detached and the degree of privacy  and what facilities are shared with the owner and or other guests.  Don't use up limited space telling me about the region and local attractions I can find that out  for myself tell me about the gite in detail. Make it absolutely clear which bedrooms are completely private and which are walk through to other bedrooms or the only bathroon and if you are offering a bed in a reception room tell me if the room has doors that can be closed and whether or not you have to walk through it to get to other reception rooms. Always tell me how quiet or noisy the gite is from road or railway noise etc. and whether and where there is parking.  Include a photo of any put-u-up type beds or sofa beds made up and dimensions if you are expecting a couple to sleep on them. Is there somewhere nice and private to sit and enjoy the sun? The next thing I need to know is immediate availability I don't want to have to send off an email or a booking form only to find the gite isn't available so a web site that clearly states availability up front is critical especially as I often book quite late. As discussed in other posts include details of any extras and their charges and what is included in the basic price. You don't need to be overly generous we don't need a welcome pack. In advance send very good directions on how to find the place written from the perspective of a complete stranger to the area arriving from different directions who may be looking for the place in the dark as we were in Normandy a couple of years ago. By this stage of the journey everybody is tired and it is not a good start to be unable to find the gite. Please include landmarks at point where you turn off, a physical description of the gite and its location and the type of road. Don't use the sort of directions that include "turn at the fourth roundabout" by this time we have lost count of how many roundabouts or we are not even sure if we are on the road  that you are referring to, instead use the road numbers, the directional signs we will see and landmarks. The google earth link is useful but if your gite is in a town the google earth map doesn't give all the street names so it isn't a lot of help when you are lost.  A really useful service would be to offer to provide a set of free street plans  for the locality or nearest town or village or at least an indication of where the nearest tourist office is and its contact details. On holiday you don't always have sat nav (its an extra on hire cars) and so few gites have internet access. It helps to know where to find things for the first couple of days. If somebody is going to be there to greet us please let us have their full name and mobile number. Other useful information to give before arrival is the opening and closing times of local shops or supermarkets especially ones that sell  bread and fresh milk and what if any basic provisions there are in the gite as often I call in at the shop or supermarket before I get to the gite. Please clear out rancid and already opened provisions left by previous owners and don't leave used tablets of soap and dish sponges and scourers of uncertain origin in the sinks. If you feel you must leave soap leave either use wrapped guest tablets or  leave liquid hand wash instead. Cleanliness  - gite owners you pay cleaners who in my experince are often frankly not worth it, all they seem to do is change the bedding and do a quick wipe round.  The standard of cleanliness is often very low -  do you ever check their work?  I have cleared out green mould from breadbins, last week I found myself cleaning three loos as they had dark ingrained dirt in the bowl and that gite was on mains drains. Make sure your cleaner cleans with the shutters open so they can see what they are doing. When we arrived at our very expensive gite this week all the shutters were closed and the key wasn't where we had been told it would be. Eventually we realised that the cleaner was still inside with the key it was 1.30pm and she was virtually cleaning in the dark as the lighting in the main rooms was so dim. I do sympathise with you when guests trash the place again please be clear about what standard you expect I had no communication on that from this weeks gite. Having met the french cleaner I could have assumed that she would do everything of course from my regular reading of your complaints on this website I knew better and even mopped the kitchen floor! You need to be realsitic about the amount your guests can do on the last day especially if they are setting off for an early flight find out how your guests are travelling so that you knowwhat to expect when they have left.  Consider a deep clean during the season there is a lot to get through in a changeover peiod just changing the bedding etc so try to allow one day for a thorough clean of ovens, tile grouting, loos, skirting boards and ledges, under the beds, high shelves in the kitchen, storage containers, on top of the fridge freezer and grotty kitchen cupboards. Dim lighting  makes it hard to read in the main reception rooms especially if you tend towards short sight as I do and having time to do lots of reading is one of the main pleasures of the holiday.  Beds -this last week all our beds were uncomfortable and we were glad to get home for a good night's sleep. Please use good quality mattresses.  I am used to gites where the crockery and cutlery is all oddments so I can put up with that but they still need to be checked by your changeover person and any chippedor stained crockery or glassware thrown away. If you supply a TV or DVD or satellite  dish or an oven or grill please make sure that they work properly and leave simplified quick start guides on a laminated sheet next to the appliance to try and prevent people from breaking them. The only thing I have found that always seem to work in a gite is the microwave even if it is at least 20 years old. I understand about financial pressures so I am tolerant of  the mismatched second hand furniture and the pine self assembly stuff in most gites that frankly would all be better in a skip. Could you try and keep the grot factor of the sofas to a minimum though and also make sure that the chests of drawers and wardrobes are not broken in some way. Please  make it clear what you expect us to replace before we leave we are not psychic and custom and practice varies widely so if you want the barbecue charcoal or the loo rolls replacing tell us. I note  that nearly every gite I have stayed in does not have clear basic information pinned up on how to contact a local doctor or the ambulance. Many British guests may not realise especially if they are in a panic that you don't dial 999. I also think you should out of courtesy send an email to your guests after their holiday asking them for specific feedback on things like the directions, the furnishings and fixtures and fittings etc. Many guests won't rebook just because they like to travel widely not because they don't like your gite and most of us are not serial complainers so if you don't ask you will never hear from us.            
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