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Celine

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  1. They have a whole area for fish feet nibbling at Stansted airport. Great for 10 minutes relaxation before battling to get on Ryanair!
  2. What puzzles me, is that when I lived en France there were so few, if any, opportunities for work (teaching/translating) despite my degrees and experience.

    In the UK this month alone e mails have been flying for me to do paternity leave, adult education etc and these are jobs paying over 1k a week. (All I need is a qualification and far more importantly a CRB check.)

    However, none of these jobs has yet been advertised, it's all word of mouth from colleagues, which got me thinking - there must also have been many jobs for me in France, but it comes down to WHO you know, not WHAT you know.
  3. Personally I prefer Danny Alexander. Wasn't sure at first, but he seems to take it all very seriously and is improving fast at TV interviews, even though he's a ginger.
  4. Princes William and Harry were invited to attend the wedding, but preferred to go to the football.
  5. Is that a private school, Frederick? If it weren't for the independent sector my French teaching would soon dry up. Most of these establishments do at least insist on pupils taking either French or German to GCSE.

    Learning a modern foreign language shows self discipline and a creative flair, though I am not sure it really matters which language the pupil chooses.

    Interestingly I have just marked several French degree papers from Bristol University and the subject was "La Mondialisation." There were paragraphs after paragraphs on the demise of the French language. Some traditionalists may not like it, but anyone under the age of 25 would probably agree with the "useless" label given to French.
  6. We did 3 flights with the cat. Air France was brilliant and we were allowed the cat on our laps throughout (in his little box, but the door was open to feed titbits). At the airport they were waiting for us and whisked (!) us through early, no fuss. Fantastic!
  7. We often see foxes hanging round the entrance to the tube station early in the morning. They take no notice of humans, just skulk off into the bushes.

    My cat had a big fight with an urban fox. At first the vet thought he had been hit by a car and had internal injuries. The next day's consultation found fox hair in his claws which were ground down to nothing. The vet said the fox would definitely have come off worse, even been killed, which made me think they can't be that strong and harmful after all.
  8. You are so right in your last paragraph Catalpa. It seems you British are very good at commiserating over disasters, but find it difficult to pat on the back and offer praise! So maybe a few good customer stories would redress the balance.

    It seems to me that gites owned by nice caring owners as you say are plentiful, so yes, I will be discerning in my choice, it's just that one or two horror comments from owners can be off putting.

    The shower episode I just read sounds none too pleasant for the poor owner I must admit.
  9. Catalpa, I would certainly never dream of doing any damage to a property and my standards of personal hygiene are very high, thank you. Unfortunately, I guess some guests are not so careful.

    What concerns me is more the other way round. What if I arrive at a gite to find the hot water not switched on or an essential item missing or broken. From the discussions I read, I am starting to worry that the owner might not see this as any big deal and might not be willing to offer compensation or a refund.

    I understand the owner has a business to run and that money plays a big part, but I too have worked very hard to pay for my stay, so are his woes my problem?
  10. Thank you Théirère.

    So I am encouraged to check first with the owner to avoid misunderstanding. Trouble is, owners might think you are a pain if you keep asking questions. ie. a difficult customer before you even get there?
  11. I am a holidaymaker in France and yes, from time to time I look in the various forums about gites. I am becoming more and more disillusioned with owners who complain about their guests for various reasons. I guess a lot of it revolves round the money aspect, but all the suggestions of blacklisting, withholding refunds and such, is really putting us customers off.

    I'm sure there are some very demanding, even difficult guests, but it seems every little thing is getting picked on. It makes me wary what I as the renter might find.
  12. One for the girls, I read the other day:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Monsieur-Right-Muriel-Zagha/dp/0091933358

    A clever mix of young life/love on both sides of the channel.
  13. Thank you for that recommendation Russethouse. I have just read that book and loved it too. All those wonderful recipes and Raymond's memories of his childhood.

    Did you notice he said he considered himself a better Frenchman for living in England? So proud of his roots and nationality, it taught me a lesson.
  14. I agree that the GCSE exams have not been dumbed down. The amount and depth of content is enormous and challenging. It is the marking system - which "gives away" high grades to too many pupils instead of reserving top marks for the very best - which needs addressing.

    I found teaching in France lacked creativity and rarely engaged the children.

    The UK system would be even more superior and successful if they could get class sizes on a par with those in France.

  15. Very true RH and partly because so many now receive a university education (sometimes laughable) and consider themselves knowledgeable in all areas. But that's another story.

    I guess some of the greatest minds aren't interested in becoming politicians these days. I wonder what the brightest children at school will aspire to be in the next decade?
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