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Everything posted by Cerise

  1. Well done, your courage and cheerfulness are an inspiration to us all.  Hope you get there for the race and perhaps have a little drive round yourself!  Glad that the insurance is sorted out as that must be a load off your mind.    
  2. Margaret - a practical note.  One of the things you mentioned was not being able to move away from your husband as he needed to be able to see you to feel safe.  A friend whose wife was seriously ill last year bought a 'walkie talkie' from a supermarket with a reasonable range so that she could call him anywhere in the house or garden.  Such a gadget might enable you to get on with your gardening etc, with husband able to buzz and speak to you if he needs reassurance.   Just knowing that because you are out of sight doesn't mean he can't get help might make him feel better.
  3. Dear Margaret Hope the sun will come out for you tomorrow and life will seem a little better.  In the absence of any decent Total yoghurt you might like to know that Leader Price's own brand Greek stuff is a cut above the other so called "Greek" yoghurts and if you have a local farm doing its own brebis yoghurt that is better still.  Still not Total, but hey better than nothing.  Get some nice honey, tip it into the yoghurt and pretend you are on a sunny beach. Look after yourself - very important if you have someone depressed.  Please do  make sure you are getting all the help you can - a lot of help is available people often just don't know where to look.  Do you have a friend or neighbour who could translate for you, if so make an appointment to see the Assistante Sociale (through your Mairie) and ask if they can help.  If your husband needs nursing at home or any medical aids you can get help with that.  Even simple things might make your life better. Hang on in there summer is just round the corner.  
  4. PatF - if it will take the weight off your mind, repatriation of bodies is fairly easy to arrange by funeral directors.  It is not that it is difficult, simply expensive - and you do need to tell someone as soon as the death occurs.  However, as you are very much alive now you can take out a funeral contract if you want which would pay for it.  It may sound morbid but knowing things would be done as you want can sometimes be a relief.  In case you are wondering, I don't have anything to do with funeral directors but I worked for many years in the Wills and Trust department of a large bank and spent a lot of professional time helping bereaved folk.  There are many thing people could do to make it easier for themselves, but death is such a taboo that many don't like to think about it.
  5. There are English counsellors in France - maybe your doctor could refer your husband, or evn you if your husband is unwillling to talk.  I will try to find out if their is anything in the way of a support network in your area, similar to Cancercare in France but for diabetics.  Someone to talk to might help. It is horrid to be stuck where you are unhappy.  Chat to your doctor and make sure you are getting all the help you can have, being tired will make you feel more depressed.  Sometimes it is possible to get help around the house etc with your mutuelle so it is worth asking.  Keep posting your questions etc here.  There is always someone to listen and sympathise. Hope you feel a little better soon.
  6. I am sorry that things are not good for you.  One thing you need to be prepared for in the event of a death is the speed with which things have to be done.  All burials and cremations must be within 5 days and the norm is 48 hours after the death.  Ths is so much quicker than we are used to in the Uk and doesn't make it that easy if you have to arrange for people to come from abroad etc.  From that point of view it may be helpful to decide who you need to  notify and if you wish them to attend any ceremony etc.  There is very little time to make preparations and when you are already in a state of shock it is not easy, so writing down both of your wishes may help. Moving the body in France (if the person doesn't die in hospital) is also a little complicated - and indeed many French people keep the person at home until the funeral.  You may find it useful to locate the nearest undertakers (pompes funèbres) and chat through the procedure with them.  They won't find it odd, many people in fact pay for their funeral in advance.  If you prefer cremation it is as well to know where the crematorium is and if you want a burial you can rent the plot at any time - you don't have to wait until you need it.    
  7. It may be worth checking with the Chambre de Metiers whether you can operate without 'décennale' for that temporary period.  My understanding is that because of the prohibitive price of this insurance many registered French artisans no longer have it.  I am not convinced it is a LEGAL requirement - although one gets the impression that it is - just the norm.  Providing the customer is aware that you don't have it - you should still have public liability insurance - then it may be legal.  English customers, for example, are not used to using artisans with such insurance and may not care.  My experience is that in practice 5 or 6 years down the line it isn't worth the bit of paper it is written on, particularly if the artisan has ceased trading or simply disappeared.  Although theoretically one can claim in practice it is extremely difficult.  You may need to push to find out whether it is a legal requirement, as in France one is often told things are 'legal requirements' which are nothing of the sort.
  8. Thanks very much - 55cents a minute is the answer to my question.  I think I can live with that.  NOW the big problem is how to get rid of Orange - think I need to have several stiff drinks before I even contemplate writing that letter.
  9. If anyone has a Leclerc phone do you know the tariff to call England FROM England, or indeed Germany from Greece or any other European country.  Leclerc don't seem to know and seemed astounded I wished to use my mobile anywhere other than  La Belle France.  Their leaflet makes no mention of international tariffs. 
  10. Flew out of Carcassonne last week.  Yes, lots of people queuing, but as I'd checked in on line I just went straight through security without any hassle.  Must admit it didn't TELL you anywhere to do this, but as I've checked in on line for other airports I simply assumed and the assumption was correct.
  11. Stan - my OH (aged 42 on arrival) had no French at all when we got here.  He has learned the language, learned a new trade and is about to go for a validation of experience to get qualification in the trade - all this in last 7 years.  He is by no means a natural linguist and it was an uphill struggle, but he took advantage of cheap lessons offered locally (5 hours a week for the first couple of years) and did all his homework.  We didn't have UK TV for the first 3 years - that was a bit of a sacrifice for me as I understand perfectly but still dislike French TV.  We didn't have UK papers either and I was even horrid enough to make him have French classic car magazines instead of Practical Classics[6].  He found Michel Thomas useful in that it was good for structure and he could listen to it whilst renovating etc. The most important thing was getting out there and doing it!  I picked up several pocket dictionaries in somewhere cheap (The Works I think) and he kept one in the car, one by the phone etc and I made him do things by himself.  He used to head off for garage etc armed with a bit of paper with the words on and our phone number so that if he really got in a mess he could get them to ring.  The most important thing was that I didn't go with him, so he couldn't get me to do it for him.  It may sound unkind, but it is easy to let someone else do the work if you aren't sure - if you have to do it yourself you'll find you can.  It also helped him enormmously becoming a member of a classic car club - his real passion - so he needed to communicate with fellow enthusiasts.  Talking about things which interest you is a sure fire way of moving forward. Most people are never going to be 100% fluent or have perfect accents, but if they really want to they can get to a reasonble standard.  the reason that most don't is that they stay in their comfort zone, never try to read the local paper, watch French TV, go to the cinema in French etc.  
  12. No-one has said they won't help, and it is not helpful to say don't help if you don't like it.  It would take a harder heart than mine to turn away the folk with sick children, run over cats, husband on life support machine (yes really!), those with severe financial problems, etc etc.   Equally it is much harder for me to say no when the person asking for help is the French doctor, dentist, vet etc when they are faced with an English client who can't understand them.  Unfortunately I have am not retired and have an already full life.  When someone gets me out of bed at 1.00 am because they don't know where the doctors is and they can't follow instructions, or when someone leaves me a message saying can I call urgently only for me to find that they want me to call the TV repair man as husband can't watch the rugby (happened only the other week) then I'm not impressed. There may well be generous people who want to help full time, well good for them.  I have a B& B, 2 part time jobs and my husband works full time.  I'm a councillor and I volunteer at the library - that's enough for me without the phone ringing every 5 minutes for help for someone who doesn't even possess a dictionary!  Furthermore many of these people never say thank you.  I'll help anyone in a real emergency, but I really believe they should at least try to do things themselves first.
  13. [quote user="Dinks"]If we are honest, the ability to speak French if you are living in France is not a major problem these days as there are just so many English living in France these days (more's the pity). If the OP moves to France without the ability to communicate, I can bet that there will be an English-speaker in his immediate vicinity on whom he will be able to call in times of need. Even here, in one of the supposedly more 'remote' areas of the Ariege, there are countless English. Dutch, Belgians, Australians within a 10km radius of our cottage. And then of course there are always internet forums on which people can call in times of need ....?! [/quote] I for one am not thrilled to read the above.  I am that poor sap of an English speaker who also speaks French and to be honest I am sick and tired of helping out people who have moved here with no language skills.   I am a councillor in our commune, so everybody locally knows me and tends to point lost English souls in my direction, but I did not actually move to France to be an unpaid translator.  I have spent the whole of this afternoon with the Assistante Sociale and some sorry English folk who are almost destitute and need help, but have no French and have been thus far unable to get assistance.  Of course I am sorry for their plight, but I do have a life of my own.  When people phone, if it is not an emergency, I now give them the name and number of an official PAID translator.  It is not fair to expect the rest of the world to dig you out because you decided you'd like to move abroad without considering how you were going to communicate.
  14. Keni - trust me you would not rather be poor here.  I am a conseillère and a member of the CCAS (social action committee) I deal on a regular basis with people who are poor beyond most of our imaginings.  Some of the most recent cases have been English.  It is not nice, and I would never for one minute want to be one of those people.  I think there is a level of unhappiness and poverty for both English and French people here that most people can't even imagine.  Someone today told us his wife's pension is only 1200€ a year and if you see the hoops people have to jump through to get help.  The Restos du Coeur are full to overflowing, I promise you any residual rosiness has long since been removed from my specs.
  15. Glacier1 - if you are doing guided tours etc, you need to be insured for it and any vehicle you use to transport guests needs to be insured too.   Your insurance company may tell you this is not possible unless you have a taxi permit (this is what happened to me) but this is not true and you can get insurance for 'usage professionelle occasionelle'  which is not too expensive.  What is important is that any trips you take the guests on are included in the price of their stay and prebooked and that you are not paid extra like a taxi.  A subtle difference but worth knowing about!  If you want to advertise your services then be careful that you are actually allowed to do the things you propose, as tourist offices can and do check up.  There are all kind of weird and wonderful regulations and it is as well to at least be aware of them. Quillan is right - if you find the get rich quick scheme I'll stand behind him in the queue to get the instructions.[:D]
  16. Go to www.pagesjaunes.fr and put in ELAGAGE ET ABATTAGE and he department you are interested in.  That'll find you a few. The French are less likely to have websites than their English equivalents, but you'lll find phone and fax numbers and locations.   Good Luck
  17. Hi Coops I am sorry to hear you have lost your friend.  Doubly hard for you perhaps as you haven't been so well yourself. Normally I think you talk a great deal of sense, but here I think you are just suffering from hurt because you have lost your friend.  My close (and only young) friend died in September last and I was with her every day until the end.  When she finally died her husband simply couldn't ring everyone and asked me to deal with the friends whilst he did the family.  I was already awash with grief and e-mailed a lot of people rather than phoning.  It was immediate (so they didn't feel hurt or left out) and it prevented me having to repeat the same thing over and over.  Sometimes people can't get to the phone at a convenient time, letters take too long.  Go for it and call the son, I'm sure he'll be grateful love  Cerise
  18. My husband is a committee member for AVAG which is the classic car club in Gaillac in the Tarn.  At the AGM several members wanted to start up a motorboike section and to this end the club has decided to recruit members with an interest in old bikes.  The message from the AGM below - if anyone is interested please contact M. Penne direct.  They are quite keen to have English members and asked if I would diffuse this information, if you have language difficulties send your e-mailor pm me too and I'll translate it for André. (Note for mods the e-mail and phone nos below are public information and published in local papers)                       Amicale des vehicules anciens de gaillac       Comuniqué AVAG : Projet d'ouverture d'une section Motos .           Suite a l'assemblée générale du début d'année,l'amicale des véhicules anciens de Gaillac projete de créer une section Motos anciennes.       Pour ce faire , il faudrait dénombrer un groupe de dix motards minimum .       Le but étant d'organiser des sorties moto qui correspondent a la capacité spécifique de ces véhicules . En conséquence ,nous demandons aux proprietaires de motos ou de scooters désireux de participer de bien vouloir contacter:                       Mr   PENNE André 8 chemin des Clergous 81600 Gaillac.                       TEL                       e.mail : [email protected]  
  19. In this area (I'm vice president of local tourist office and on commission for tourism) smaller gites seem to be doing better than larger ones with pools etc.  Have spoken to a number of anxious owners who would normally have full summer by now who only have 4-5 weeks booked.  the smaller places, for couples, without swimming pools and cheaper (200 -400€ week) seem to be doing the best.  I think those with families are hedging their bets and waiting to do last minute bookings.  People I know for whom it is a second income are cutting prices on the basis that some income is better than none.  Those for whom it is a primary income seem to be biting their nails.  However there are exceptions and a couple of people are doing very nicely.  There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason.  Quite a few second homes which were also rented out for several weeks a year seem to be up for sale.
  20. glacier1 - not to discourage you, but please take lots and lots of advice before you 'employ' your mother.  You can't just lay people off in France and you can't keep giving them short term or casual contracts.  If you give her a CDI you may find yourself paying for her plus loads of cotisations (plan on giving the government almost as much as you give her) even if you are earning no money.  Do not go into such a scheme lightly. I'd also advise people to ask at their local tourism department how things are near them.  Different parts of France are very, well, different.  Quillan is in a part of France which has an excellent all year round clientèle, but many places have a season as short as 8 weeks.  We are in a poorer region and although we've managed to keep going personally OK it is tricky as the little tourist support that there is (restaurants, attractions) keeps closing down and when we get people here there is little for them to do.  We had folk in last week and though they had a pleasant time their comment was that France was terminally 'shut'.  They loved the area and are coming back in April but not everybody would see it that way. Not being doom and gloom, but your success doesn't always just depend on you.
  21. Actually, you can let someone who is on holiday at your house give you a hand.  You can even get insurance for it on your household insurance (assistance/aide benevole) in case they break a leg or something.  I checked this out when renovating our house and found there to be no obstacle providing they were not doing large jobs (i.e. re-wiring the house), were not paid,  and they had insurance for illness.  I think this would work just fine if someone came for just a couple of weeks and helped out so long as they were not doing anything dangerous.  In practice you have every right to have your friends/family staying at your house and helping you and unless you or they shouted it all round the village I don't see how anyone would even know who they were.  Many, many French people build their own houses only with help from their friends and neighbours.
  22. Definitely a perception thing.  I speak pretty good French, not completely accentless but nevertheless good enough and even French people assume that I am Belgian/Canadian/Swiss or something else that speaks French but not from France.  When I am out in French company no-one ever has any trouble understanding me and at the council meetings (I am conseillère) I can keep up and shout up with the best of them.  However, if I am out with English family/friends I notice that people, waiters for example, assume that they won't be able to understand me before I even open my mouth.  I never have any trouble on the telephone so it must simply be a question of someone looking at me, deciding that I'm English and they won't be able to understand.  I also think there is the occasional person who does it on purpose because they simply want to show us up.
  23. Are you all middle class and white?   I'm white myself but my husband is not and you know, middle class white people get far more upset at the use of the word 'Paki' than he ever does!  Most people, of any ethnic origin, know the difference between a word used thoughtlessly and one used unkindly.  Racism and prejudice can be inherent in any words.  I am reminded of a quote from the book 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-time" where the main character, a boy with Asperger's syndrome says "They are not allowed to call us retards so now they just shout out 'Special needs'"   If a speech is not meant to be hurtful, prejudiced or unkind then the words used often depend on the age and upbringing of the person making the speech - I don't for a minute believe that most people spend their life considering whether their words are 'correct' or not.  Political correctness will never mask real prejudice.  The words 'What do his sort eat for dinner?' offend me far more than an outspoken 'Your husband's a Paki, isn't he?'.
  24. French death certificates have no cause of death on them.  The mairie of the place of death may be able to furnish a little more information, but the death certificate states only the name and date, time and place of death so she is unlikely to obtain further information from that.
  25. For repatriation check house and or car insurance.  In France it is often included so you don't need to pay for it twice.
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