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Everything posted by spj

  1. Hello Noisette. Thank you. As there are so many I did wonder if they might thin themselves!
  2. One of our apricot trees this year has set a ton of fruit. I've clusters of 3 / 4 fruit on the same spur. At the moment they are still tiny. Would you thin them? If so when?
  3. Would normally call this a "serrure 3 points". At last! Thanks EricD. This is what I needed to know. Found what I want on ManoMano site ... "Poignée de porte sans ressort de rappel compatible pour portes d'entrée avec serrure à relevage 3 ou 5 points." Much appreciated.
  4. Thank you everyone for your replies. I can assure you that not all door handles have the capability to turn UP as well as down. The reason I know this is that the existing door handle does NOT. That did not prevent one of our gite guests this summer doing his absolute best to FORCE it to turn upwards! So we now have a wonky door handle and I want to replace it with one that does. I may have to go into our brico and ask them. I was just trying to save myself a journey since I already know they don't have any handles that I like.
  5. I'm looking for a front door handle on line and I need one that has an upwards action as well as down for the extra locking of the bolts into the frame. Please could someone tell me what is the French technical term for door handles with this action. At the moment I can't tell from the descriptions which can and can't do this. Thanks
  6. Apologies Eurotrash, but my post was taken from another forum as I thought it might help people here who run gites who may be facing issues with what happens to their taxe de sejour next year. The first post on that original thread was querying whether their TdS for their guests would go up to 300€. It may be peanuts for you on campsites, but certainly my guests pay enough to fly, hire a car and to stay with me and a further 50+ euros is a considerable additional sum. Not dissimilar to the petrol tax hike it is the sudden, significant increase that is a challenge - to go from 11 euros to 50 from one year to the next.
  7. Thank you for your observation Eurotrash. This has nothing to do with what I do or do not ask my guests to do, but what I have to declare to the tourist office at the end of every month re number of guests, number of nights etc and this from now onwards will also be a calculation based on my rental prices which are in sterling and therefore have to be converted to euros. I think if you are camping next year during high season you may discover you are no longer paying peanuts, especially if your campsite is not classified!
  8. Apologies if this topic has already been covered, but I couldn't see any mention elsewhere so I'm copying wholesale a posting I put on another forum for gite owners, in case anyone has missed this and the implications for us and our guests: Finally been to the tourist office and had a very useful meeting. I'm fortunate in that I already have all my bookings for next year and so can do real calculations on the impact for our business. At the moment we are not classified and we do not charge our (GB) guests an additional amount for their TdS. This year we have paid 56.80 euros for 142 tourist nights (0.40 € tax) Next year, our tourist nights will be 161. If we remain unclassified we will have to use the complex formula (3% of daily rate x number of nights x number of adults) and our TdS will increase to 192.78 €. If we go for classification we would not aim for a high star rating and would not advertise it to our guests (no point, we have 5 star reviews on Homeaway). If we go for a 2 star classification the flat rate would increase to 0.70€ so we would pay 112.70 € However, to be classified for five years we would have to pay 200 euros up front. Worth it if we are certain we will still be doing at least this level of business over the next 5 years, but we may not be (both in our 70s already). So we've decided. We will continue to be unclassified. We already have all our guests for next year booked. We cannot now ask them to pay an additional amount for TdS, so we will continue to do as we've done up to now and pay it. From 2020 onwards however we will add it to our terms and conditions and our booking forms and have it displayed on our website and we will expect our guests to pay it. We will also warn our guests coming in 2019 what the implications are with the change. For example, we have one set of high season returners whose TdS will be 53.09 euros for this coming year. Up until now their TdS would have been 11.20 € (which is why we've always been happy to pay it). If we were to have a 2 star classification they would only be paying 19.60 €. I think this shows pretty clearly that anyone who is younger / building their business and expecting to be around for the long term, it clearly makes sense to go for classification (but maybe not too high a one!) and remain with a flat rate TdS. It's much cheaper for your high season guests and it is much easier for you to calculate. Some additional info that came out of our discussion: As I quote my prices in £ for the UK market and the TdS is paid in euros, I asked her what exchange rate to apply. It had never occured to her. So I suggested I would take the rate our accountant uses for our tax returns and she was happy with that. I think this is a level of detail they are not that interested in. There is no concern at all (at least in our region) WHO pays the TdS. She was completely relaxed about the fact that I've paid it in the past and not my guests and will continue to do so this coming year. She says I'm not alone in this. She tells me HomeAway will also probably be implementing collecting TdS at source, but they have not yet confirmed and it may be January 1st (!) or more likely July 1st. Our tourist office have yet to see any money from ABnB because it's been such a shambles. It is likely that the large groups will hold on to the TdS money for as long as possible (surprise, surprise) and whilst eventually it will be to the benefit of the tourist offices there's going to be a large gap in their finances short term. Excuse the long posting, but for those of you looking at the implications of the change I thought it might be helpful, especially as I'm dealing with real future bookings rather than just the theory.
  9. Thanks Patf. Looks interesting. And good practice for my French!
  10. I've started including the "black" leafed morning glory (grown for its leaf rather than its flowers) in my summer pots because it makes such a glorious background to other flowering plants. Ours have just died back and I've been digging them out of the pots. Each root ball comes with a load of big fat tubers and I wondered whether anyone has had any luck overwintering the tubers and getting them to sprout into plants the following year? Seems such a waste just to throw them away.
  11. Hello Gavin, all of this sounds horribly harsh, but better to enter into such an initiative with your eyes open. The young people around us who have made a go of it are those who have building skills and who largely target the English community. I do know a woman who came here as a teenager, went to school and college here, is bilingual, likely to marry her French boyfriend and is gradually building up a clientele as beautician, with all the necessary French qualifications. So this has taken her years. In our local town (population about 10,000) there are something like 15 beauticians and hairdressers, so competition is fierce. It will be a real challenge to persuade French people to become your clients. You may like the Pyrenees - so visit them on weekends and put your business bang slap in the middle of somewhere like Eymet in the Dordogne where there are a lot of English. Such an area may also be somewhere where you can use your property development skills and make an attractive gite for additional marginal income (again these days competition is fierce). I now go to a French hairdresser (a salon attached to a Leclerc). When I first came here and only spoke a little French, I used to go to English hairdressers, working from home (probably on the black) earning pin money while their husbands worked as builders. I now pay more than double what they were able to charge. A reconnasissance trip is essential if you seriously want to take this forward.
  12. spj

    Fluffy potatoes???

    Thanks for the latest suggestions. I'll try the Mona Lisa then, but I'll also see if I can get some King Ted's from one of the online companies. Who knows, might work, if the summer's not too hot and dry.
  13. spj

    Fluffy potatoes???

    Thanks for the extra thoughts guys. No it's not the cooking, it's the raw material. Waxy yellow potatoes are too dense and don't break up enough or get dry enough for either mashing or roasting properly. Yes, you can mash waxy potatoes but they stay heavy, nothing like the milky white light fluffy texture of a good masher. Just needs beating with a fork and him indoors doesn't like milk, makes them too wet. Creme fraiche is better. And for roasting, parboil king teds or roosters til their flesh breaks slightly, toss them in fat, salt, pepper and rosemary in the saucepan and tip the whole lot into a hot pan. Delicious!
  14. spj

    Fluffy potatoes???

    Thanks for the thought Pat but I've not found anything here to match the lovely way that Roosters and King Teds get that broken up beautifully crispy surface.
  15. spj

    Fluffy potatoes???

    Wildhorses I agree! We've been here 11 years and have yet to find a really good roasting potato. Thanks for the offer, but I'll hope someone comes up with an idea here.
  16. spj

    Fluffy potatoes???

    Not sure they are Betty - they look suspiciously yellow fleshed to me!
  17. Yest again I have failed miserably to buy potatoes in the supermarket that will make decent roast or mashed potatoes. As usual they are solid waxy lumps! So I'm wondering about growing a few next year if I can get anything locally that is the equivalent of King Teds or Roosters. NB: we're in Lot et Garonne - maybe only waxy potatoes grow well here. I would love to be told otherwise. Anyone any suggestions please?
  18. Thanks Eurotrash and Theiere. It's a merc and we've got a merc that we brought over from the UK 11 years ago when we came here, so we've some idea what to expect. I was just wondering whether there are any extra hoops to jump through these days or issues because it's a second hand diesel. So far as the UK is concerned of course, large fuel-guzzling second hand diesel cars are not the flavour of the month (hence its good price) and I wondered if the same might be true here?
  19. Just wondered if, before he commits to buying a second-hand diesel from the UK and bringing it over to France, is there anything my husband needs to be aware of eg issues around certificate of conformity, etc. We live in rural France and he believes that diesel will continue to be the fuel of choice for some years to come. He's not fussed about future banning of diesel cars in large city centres as we have a petrol car as well and anyway we would probably use the TGV and local public transport. I just wonder if he's being too cavalier about this car and whether he could encounter problems here and whether there is anything he should be taking into consideration. I'd be grateful for any thoughts / suggestions. Thanks Sue
  20. Thanks Noisette. Don't know about you but I'm getting really fed up with this weather! Grass and weeds unbelievably long and lush and almost impossible to mow / strim. A few dry warm days would be good.
  21. I'd be grateful for some help / advice please about how to get that tight ball look with the foliage of two youngish olives trees, each about 5 foot high, which at the moment just have a normal spreading canopy. I want them as feature plants, not as trees that will be fruiting and most of the advice on the internet is about pruning with a view to getting them to fruit. Can anyone point me in the direction of a video or article please. Or alternatively describe here what I need to do. Thank you Sue
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