Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Everything posted by tonyinfrance

  1. Hi - Sue and I are looking for a quiet 2 bed gite around La Fleche 72 (no kids/pets, non-smokers etc) June 12 for a week.  Any recommendations appreciated Thanks Tony
  2. Time for our annual gardening endeavours at a friend's house in Carpentras (about an hour north of Marseille).  We'll be travelling Saturday May 22 from Dieppe on the normal Paris/Lyon/Marseille route and we normally get as far as Beaune:  I'm getting a bit tired by then so a little bit north of Beaune would be also good for us. Any recommendations for a reasonable hotel on this part of the autoroute?  Any thoughts most welcome. Thanks
  3. Mick and Paddy are looking around a churchyard.  "Over here by the wall Mick, there's a bloke who's died aged 152" says Paddy.   "What's his name?" asks Mick.   "Miles from London" says Paddy..............
  4. I was a frequent driver of RHD cars in France and Belgium in the 1990s - my biggest problem was getting out of hotel car parks!  At my regular place in Antwerp I ended up reversing out of the car park so I could exit before the barrier came down again.  Péage booths presented a similar problem since my car was too wide to reach across to grab a ticket or make payment.  My wife was found to be a good solution to this issue.......though expensive in other departments!
  5. Just a follow-on from the above post - money laundering and policyholder verification routines are now much more stringent than they were 23 years ago (and even 5 years ago).  The FSA has applied some huge fines (£1M+) to insurance companies who've been a bit too relaxed about protecting customer interests and a result companies tend to go strictly by the book.  You can rest assured they are not just trying to delay payment to you. Fraudsters have worked out that bonds and endowments (and pensions too) have been a soft touch so now things have tightened up and really it's to protect policyholders' funds.......
  6. Ref the John Lewis note above, I work for a large insurance company - our phones and fax machines cannot access international numbers (since our customers are almost exclusively based in UK) and this might explain why some companies find it difficult to cope with non-UK addresses etc. if their systems are not set up to handle them.  If we want to send mail to an overseas address we have to carry it to the post room in an adjoining building...........
  7. We looked at houses in Mayenne / Gorron last week - up to Euro150k seems to be moving quite well (several we'd planned to look at had just gone) but the real bargains lie in the Euro 200k+ segment.  Nothing moving at all and some amazing bargains to be had. Good news for buyers but we saw several would-be vendors in a pretty bad way.... 
  8. We took out Credit Agricole cards with Britline for precisely this purpose: still miffed at the cost (about Euros 50 a year for 2 cards) but it beats being stuck.  Last year I came across a Dutch couple at my local Intermarche in Carpentras who had international cards galore (which the pumps wouldn't take) but no cash........
  9. Honeysuckle Weeks - my favourite!  And it's also my favourite programme - quality remniscent of the old days of TV....
  10. Hi Cooperlola..... We're looking at houses in Gorron and Mayenne before going to Le Lude so I need to be on the SW side of Le Mans ideally.  Next time we're in the vicinity of Le Mans I'll touch base with you and see what happens..... Thanks
  11. Not sure if I'm in the right place here but hope you can help.  We're in France April 21 - 24 to look at houses firstly in the Mayenne / Gorron areas then in the area between La Fleche and Baugé (about 45 mins south of Le Mans).  Does anyone have a recommendation for a nice place to stay for the nights of April 21-23 inc? I guess from memory somwehere like Durtal or perhaps Sablé will be handily placed for both areas - any and all ideas welcomed! Salut. PS: we'll be back for a week in June for a proper scout around!
  12. We used to live in Maresfield Park! Moved around a bit since then (that was the 80s) and have ended up here in sunny Brighton by the sea.  I've being trying to persuade my wife to move to France for more than 20 years and have thus far failed, but she has now graciously agreed to a house here and one in France.  Success!
  13. Motorway grub is a pale shadow of its former self, and damned expensive too!  On the péage to Carpentras I paid Euro15 for a pretty poor baguette and fries with a soft drink for two and felt hard done by. Our McDonalds here in Brighton have been painted green for over a year, and when I was working in La Défense years ago I remember McDonalds HQ trying to buy back the Parisien franchise but the guy was making so much money he wouldn't give it up!
  14. It's a conundrum.  The UK economy in the health/education/welfare sectors has taken a beating for many years from people who've found the system easy to abuse - people not only from within UK but all over the world (hence Sangatte).  A lot of us find this intensely annoying so it's hard not to admire the French for protecting their economy from people they see as spongers.  Obviously these spongers are not the people you'll find on a forum like this but we get caught up in the net........ It's a regrettable fact that locals feeling the pinch will resent outsiders if they are perceived to be non-contributors - I hope this is not a widespread feeling in France, and as others have said the English do have a habit of restoring derelict properties the French themselves don't want, thus improving the local environment.
  15. By coincidence Matthew Parris wrote about this exact subject in the Times today with reference to a B&B in Cookham (Berkshire) who declined a homosexual couple.  Although gay himself  he could not raise the energy to get excited about it .......... I recall a similar event in Scotland a year or two ago - it seems people with strongly-held religious views find this a difficult area. I live in Brighton so hardly an issue locally........
  16. Not sure if it helps but in UK the booster you need is provided by the network operator - it's called a femtocell (effectively a miniature base station in your own house).  It's a fairly new technology and not all operators have it yet but it might be worth checking with SFR........ Cheers
  17. Hi Joshua Frexpt has it exactly right.  Stakeholder pensions were intended to be simpler and lower cost compared to previous styles of personal pension plans: typically they can be invested in the internally managed funds of the provider and/or in a limited range of funds managed by outside providers (at a higher cost but with the chance of better returns). If your pension is invested in the Managed Fund of one of the larger UK providers it will have taken a beating in late 2007 and through 2008.  2009 has proved to be a better year so you will see some recovery in your plan's value this year but here's the rub:   Lifestyle options (which typically move away from equities and more towards cash and index linked gilt funds in order to reduce risk) forgo exposure to market recovery.  In short, if you are close to taking your pension benefits you might well be better off by not being in a Lifestyle plan at this moment as the market has recovered from a 2-3 year low of something like 3300 to today's high around 5700. Generally you can make fund switch changes to your plan without any cost, and in some cases as frequently as you wish.  I'm not an IFA but my view would be we've probably seen as much growth as we're likely to get so I'd be looking to lock in any growth the plan has made over the last six months.  A good IFA will easily be able to advise you on how to optimise your pension plan. All the best Tony
  18. Sadly not, and I never got around to visiting Southfork either!  I liked Dallas more than most USA places (my wife is in love with NYC and still visits every year but it's not for me) probably because I spent a lot of time there.  In the 1970s I discovered the joys of hotel valet parking (couldn't understand where the valley was!) and found out that ordering toast in the morning could be a long affair if you didn't know what sort of bread you wanted - I had no idea how many varieties there were.  England seemed very drab by comparison.....
  19. Hi Ruth - I used to work in Plano (Xerox and DSC/Alcatel/Lucent) and my favourrite memory is checking into my regular hotel (known then as The Registry) and wondering why everyone was in full evening dress at 3:00pm.  I soon realised the hotel was being used as a set for a Dallas shoot..... Happy days!
  20. A salutory tale for those of us just about to begin the French adventure.............
  21. Guys - many thanks for your advice! Salut.
  22. Hi - my tyres are still in good shape but prior to spending a month in Provence (as an unpaid gardner!) I thought I'd check if the French regulations are a bit stiffer than UK.  Anyone know what the minimum tread requirement is? Cheers Tony
  23. Hi Pierre - I guess people do move but they seem to be in place longer in France than people in England.  Sue and I used to drive over to Hanover frequently on business in the 1980s and got in the habit of stopping for lunch in a tiny place called Rozoy at a no-star hotel and restaurant.  This was in the days of a good 2 course meal with a pichet of local wine for a fiver!  Oh happy days!  Anyway, after several years the owners disappeared and the place was never the same again....C'est la vie.
  24. Guys - many thanks for the advice.  I have looked at Leboncoin and The Notaire sites and found them very helpful.  Also interested in your thoughts that the area north of Le Mans is just as attractive as the area to the south........we found a typical village restaurant in Les Clefs between La Fleche and Baugé some years ago and we've got to know the family so that's had some bearing on our first ideas about location. We're due in Mayenne / Gorron towards the end of next month to start the search in earnest...... Thanks again
  25. Hi - after 20 years I've finally managed to persuade my wife we should have a house in France.  Our budget is in the region of Euros110k but there seems to be very little in this price range in our favourite area south of La Fleche.  Any thoughts? Meantime we've started a search about 45 minutes north in the Mayenne / Gorron region which looks much more active in our price range.  If anyone has suggestions re good agencies to talk with we'd be glad to hear. Thanks
  • Create New...