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Everything posted by Alane

  1. Frenchie   Thank you for your help. I'm very grateful for the suggestions which I will use. I'll get the letter written and sent tonight.
  2. Thanks Sid for the update. Unfortunately there's no doubt that he hasn't cut the grass since the end of June. I probably should have chased him up earlier but was too busy. I would still very much appreciate any help anyone can give on the wording of the letter though.
  3. I need to write a letter to the man who cuts our grass. He's told my neighbour that he can no longer cut my grass due to ill health and he appears to have a whole raft of problems. The property is a second home and we live in the UK and I've just returned from a short visit where we picked up the news. He's also returned the keys to the gates so obviously doesn't intend to return. I want to write him a letter confirming the contract is cancelled by him but the bit I'm struggling with is how to say in French "I am sorry to hear of your ill health and hope that you make a speedy recovery". The difficulty is that I don't know if the illness is chronic or acute and if, for example, it's a terminal untreatable illness I don't want to cause distress. If anyone has any suggestions as to how this would be handled in French I'd be very grateful. The twist is that he's invoiced us for cutting the grass in July when no cutting has taken place so I'm also going to have to point out that he's made an error in his billing. He's a pleasant easy going chap so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming it is a mistake but it's more money than I'd could/want to pay for work not done so I'm going to have to politely say that I won't be paying it. (I should point out that there's absolutely no doubt that the work hasn't been done and that hs has been paid for all work carried out up to and including June - ie what he is due) Any advice on the letter wording would be gratefully received,
  4. Has anyone purchased electrical white goods from Pixmania? Their prices for dishwashers seem cheaper than Darty so I'm weighing up the price benefit against the convenience of having a Darty shop 20 minutes away. Best Regards
  5. I did this last month using the English speaking hotline. No problems at all added Internet at the same time certainly no need for passports or any other docs.
  6. Suday Driver - thanks very mcuh for the link. I can't understand why it didn't come up when I searched but now I have the info. It's reassuring to see how low the cost of selling on can be. Best Regards
  7. I'm sure this must have been covered before but I couldn't find the info. Can anyone please summarise or point me to info on the costs of selling a property? I understand the CGT implications but can't find any summary of other costs involved nor determine what is paid by the buyer and what is paid by the seller. Thanks in advance
  8. Thanks for all the replies. So, it looks like I really was just unlucky. Fingers crossed for the next crossing weekend after next.
  9. I may have misunderstood but you say the supply pipe drops then rises before the final drop to the house. If the spring has run dry the water in the pipe may have drained out and you now have an airlock. Is it possible to pump water into the outlet of the cistern to force it through the pipe? The 2000l may, as has been suggested have drained back into the dry spring, and no water is coming through the pipe due to the airlock. Just a thought.
  10. "budget tunnels"? For a cheapskate like me maybe but a number of the punters in the queue with me last night would have been Flexi Plus passengers at £398 return. I've since heard that there was a major power failure in the tunnel on Saturday and it took all weekend to clear the backlog so perhaps I really was just unlucky, or even, in this case lucky that I wasn't planning to return on Saturday evening.
  11. On both my last two return trips from Calais I have been delayed for some time. The first time was due to the fact that they couldn't cope with the volume of traffic returning after the August Bank holiday and the second time last night I queued for an hour before reaching the check in booth. August Bank Holiday I can, just about, understand. They were very busy, but on the other hand they must have known how many bookings they had taken and failed to ensure sufficient capacity to deal with them. Last night's delays seemed to be due to problems with the check in systems as only a limited number of manned booths were open with none of the auto check in lanes available. Even the Flexi Plus dedicated lane was shut. Once through check in it was plain sailing. I had thought their reliablity to be improving since they sorted out their financial problems. Have I just been unlucky on these two trips or has anyone else noticed a general deterioriation?
  12. Yes, it would be a bit obvious to try to come back on the return leg of a day return when the outward leg hadn't been used. These folk were a bit cannier and had worked that one out for themselves. They may of course just have been lucky. I'm not condoning what they did but just give it as evidence that these companies aren't all knowing. Personally the thought that my return trip might be in jeapoardy and I'd have to wait hours just to save a few pounds doesn't appeal much.
  13. They really won't make you lick the tunnel clean with your tongue. A colleague of my wife's went across in the summer and proudly told her how they had worked out that it was much cheaper to buy two day returns, one for going out and one for coming back and only use outward half of each ticket (return leg was a day return from France). My wife warned them of the tales of dire consequences posted on here but they went ahead and we were waited for the tales of woe on their return. Nothing happened - all went smoothly for them and they wern't surcharged later either. I wouldn't try it myself, particularly as the Frequent Traveller tickets are cheaper anyway but it clearly isn't the case that everyone trying this stunt will be taken to task.
  14. Ted Benson's book "Building the Timber Frame House" contains tables and formulae for calculating beam sizes. I think I've left the book in France but have set up a spreadsheet with the formulae for calculating beam deflexion. Plugging in your figures indicates a deflexion of around 1/200 of the beam length for a 150x150 oak beam supporting 600kg - I'm assuming total load of 200kg/sq m. This indicates your beams are not up to the job as Benson suggests maximum deflexion of 1/360 which would require beams 180 (vertical) x150 (horiz). I'm not a structural engineer so can only reflect information from the book but I've used the tables and formulae for beams and posts I'm installing and seem to get the right result in terms of rigidity. There was a thread on here a while ago in which someone was asking about the floor stiffness required to lay ceramic tiles on a wood floor - that included a link to a site with a set of tables - if you can find that you will get more info. In the meantime I'll have another go at tracking down the book
  15. A few years ago they went through a phase of insisting that anyone other than Flexiplus passengers (very expensive) had to wait for their booked crossing, even if it was obvious that there were spaces on earlier crossings. We complained long and loud even to the extent of being told that dealing with our complaints was taking up too much time. For the last year or two they've been much more flexible and we've been allocated space on the next crossing after our arrival. A big improvement and I can no longer fault the service. For a quick, seasick free crossing I don't think they can be beaten and with frequent traveller prices are very good value as well.
  16. So you were self-employed and made provision for a private pension. You were made aware of the risks when you did so and you lost - if it had gone the other way would you now be offering to share the surplus with others? No, of course not. You made the wrong choice - live with it rather than becoming bitter and twisted because others made a better choice than you. And before you ask - I had a pension with Equitable Life.
  17. Our local merchant charges for the volume of sand in the bag at standard rates (.75 cu m) but adds a charge for the bag and filling which works out at about 8€ in total so they are not such good value but the old bags can be useful. It's also more difficult to shovel the sand out of the bag into a mixer than it is to shovel from a heap.
  18. OK - I'll give you a rough price based on my roof. In 2005 I had a slate roof - 300 sq m replaced. Including removal of old slates and battens (removed from site), repair and replacement of some rotten roof timbers, removal of an old dormer which was rotten, felt, new battens, replacement of all guttering with zinc gutters and downpipes, stainless crochets, creation of 5 new dormer windows framed in substantial oak timbers the total cost was about £23k at the then rate of exchange which I recall was about 1.4/1.5 to the £ so around 30-32k Euros. I'm afraid I don't have the devis to hand so this is an estimate but won't be far out. Against all good advice I only got 1 quote because this guy was praised to the heavens by all the neighbours and the Maire, I'd seen other work he'd done and it was around the price I expected. This was by a registered French artisan in Normandy. The job was superb with patterned work and intricate zinc work on the dormers. With hingsight I would have specified breathable felt and black painted crochets
  19. The T&Cs haven't changed (on this point at least) since the scheme was introduced. Like you we travel every other week or so in the summer and up until last year had never had a problem with lack of space even for late bookings. I suspect that the number of spaces for FTs on each Shuttle hasn't changed but as the scheme has become more popular the spaces are filled more often. With the limited crossings available at the moment the same number of Frequent Traveller ticket holders have fewer spaces to go round so it is likely that they will fill up quicker. I avoid the problem as far as I can by booking well in advance at times I might possibly travel. If I then can't do so I simply change the date and time - the tickets are fully flexible. As has been mentioned, to compensate for the incomvenience Eurotunnel aren't charging a surcharge for peak travel at the moment so I don't think it's fair to say that they are making no effort to please the Frequent Travellers. If you are looking for cheap travel for the weekend you can book to travel out on the first train after midnight on the Friday night/Saturday morning and book to return on the Sunday evening using a day trip ticket which allows for one overnight stay. You can then check in from 11pm on the Friday evening and usually travel on the 11:30pm crossing as it's rarely busy at that time of night. Personally, I have found the service they offer to have improved in the last couple of years and their general attitude to customers much improved from the "take it or leave it" approach they adopted previously. Others may of course have had a different experience...
  20. Big Mac You had me worried there. I think you must have encountered a glitch in their system. I've just tried several options for next week with no surcharges shown. What I did find is that they still haven't cancelled/refunded the trip I had booked on the 12th of September (the day after the fire).
  21. Thanks for the replies. We went out Thursday evening - Shuttle departed bang on the time booked. I did call earlier in the day to check on any delays and the chap on the other end seemed surprised that I felt the need to call - he just confirmed that the Shuttle would leave at the advertised time. Same coming back this evening. We took the precaution of arriving earlier than our usual 30 minutes and 2 seconds before departure time at check-in. We were glad that we had as both crossings were obviously completely full. For those in a hurry it's worth noting that the crossing time is currently 45 minutes rather than the usual 35 minutes. Not surprising really as the train has to slow down to use the crossover between the two tunnels.
  22. Has anyone travelled on the tunnel in the last few days? We are booked to travel on Thursday evening, back Sunday night - so far I've had no communication from Eurotunnel advising of revised travel times. Are they back to schedule (even if it is a reduced one)?
  23. I've found this link, to a page in the Corporate section of the Eurotunnel website, to be more informative than the news page on the Passenger Travel section. http://www.eurotunnel.com/ukcP3Main/ukcCorporate/ukcTheGroup/ukcFocusOn/ukpFocusOn  
  24. I got my trailer in the UK for £100 by responding to an ad in the local paper and making an offer for cash. It has saved us £s on delivery charges and skip costs. All rubble etc goes to the dechetterie in the trailer. e-bay seems expensive for cars and trailers, in fact a friend who was looking for a car was told by a garage that they advertise all their cars on e-bay because they get more for them on there. Suggest you look in the local paper.
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