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Everything posted by Catalpa

  1. Indeed.

    Some people take forms far too seriously.

    Or did I mean forums..? [:D]

  2. Agreed, Norman. That's the tick box I used when I went to the boulangerie (4 kms away) this morning. And the bit about establishments that are authorised to be open covers post offices - in my way of (lateral) thinking.

    Re versions of documents:
    As time passed, I think the previous attestations were... refined... to take account of ambiguous or missed points. I expect it will be the same this time and as long as the document comes from an official, government source, minor variations in wording shouldn't matter.

    Most people continue to use the version they first download and print - they won't be regularly checking back for updates unless they happen automatically on the digital version.

  3. [quote user="NormanH"]though sometime I have the impression that I am the only person who has downloaded it. [/quote]
    Doesn't work on my phone - it's a Windows phone and a model fine for my level / type of usage but it does limit what apps will work.

  4. No more than he deserves, I'm sure. [:D]

    But on a more interesting note (to me) Tancrède, is that a Maine Coon cat in your profile pic?

  5. If people had wanted to avoid further upset they should have behaved like adults after the last lockdown and not re-embraced and continued behaviours that were known to spread the virus. Though that's not an attitude confined to France, of course.

    If a proportion of the population continues to believe it can behave in a way it perceives it is 'entitled' to do, this lockdown might once again slow the transmission of the disease but as soon as people relax back into social irresponsibility, it will spread again.

    And yes, as someone who has been mask-wearing (in the right places!) since mid-March and has been carefully managing our risks of exposure through that time (while still managing to go places and see people) I'm really very irritated that we're back to where we were 7 sodding months ago.

    And breathe. ( In an open air, socially distanced manner... [;-)] )

  6. [quote user="EuroTrash"] All I can come up with is that it is probably a fantastic place to live

    and work for young professionals.
    There must be plenty of good jobs and

    all the business centres and offices I have visited have been modern

    attractive places, there is a real buzz to it. [/quote]
    ^ This. We're definitely not young professionals. [:D]

    We don't go to Caen often and when we do, it's either to pick something up from ElectroDépôt or to the Sunday morning market along the port de plaisance. I like that whole area with plenty of cafés, restaurants... nice feel to it. But generally, Caen is a bit soul-less - as are any of the towns in that region which were devastated by the bombing and fighting around D-Day. The rebuilding wasn't the most sympathetic. But people needed places to work and live and speed was more important than careful town planning, I suppose.

    If I didn't have to count the pennies, I too like the coast along from Cabourg to Honfleur but would probably choose to live west of Caen, on the coast, in or around Port-en-Bessin which - considering its size - is a buzzy little town in and out of the summer season. Because of the fishing industry, even on a winter weekday there's something going on. However, it's at least 30 minutes from Caen. Slightly south of P-en-B-H there's Bayeux which is interesting, characterful and isn't totally dead in winter.

    Ouistreham and adjacent communes have changed a bit in the past few years because there are a visible number of refugees / asylum seekers hanging around the ferry port day and night in the hope of an opportunity to stowaway. It has changed the feel of that little town - the fish market at the port is always worth a visit though and it's only about 20 minutes from the centre of Caen.

    If I wanted to be in that area, I'd probably consider Cherbourg over Caen. The coastline is plentiful, varied, and the only place to avoid is Flamanville. And downwind. [6]

  7. I hadn't seen it (so thanks for that, Mint [:)])

    I like it - it's clever but a bit too self-aware. It's a bit like a cheap joke?

    For 2020, it's also missing a few discarded masks floating lily-like on the water.

  8. [quote user="Lori"]
    I'm very interested Norman.  It is just that I find it hard to post about such horrible things.  What can I say?[/quote]
    That's how I feel, Lori. Such a terrible, wanton thing - an action carried out based on misinformation and lies (from what I've read) but I can find nothing to say about it which is worth someone's time reading. As I've proved.

    e2a: however, I do not feel that France is becoming more dangerous - at least, not in isolation. The world is becoming more randomly dangerous (iyswIm) and France has its problems but so does the UK, Germany, the Netherlands...

  9. [quote user="nomoss"]...I don't think we have any more chance of catching seasonal 'flu than Covid, so we're not too bothered if they do run out of vaccine.[/quote]
    It will be interesting to see what the wearing of masks (and in my experience most people do wear them) increased handwashing along with considerably less bise-ing does to the circulation of cold and flu viruses this winter. Presumably there will be fewer cases of both - although I'm sure families with school-age children won't avoid colds even if children are less likely (allegedly) to contract / pass on CV.

    e2a: thanks for the vaccination chart Pomme and Norman. Cheers.

  10. Not all pharmacists offer the service. Our pharmacist is a one person business with fairly small premises and has decided not to do it. She's very active in the community and goes the extra kilometre for her customers liaising with MTs and even hospitals if something needs sorting out so she's worth supporting. We'll get our (favourite) infirmière to do the deed with the needle.
  11. The pharmacy we most regularly use is taking 'bookings' from those who've had their ordonnonce / Ameli notification but is not expecting to have supplies delivered / available for another 10-12 days. I've no idea whether that's typical, though.

  12. [quote user="CJ"]Hi

    I was just saying be kinder don't shatter people's Impression of their dreams... [/quote]
    If dreams shatter on the basis of a few perfectly civil comments on a forum, their dreams aren't exactly robust.

    [quote user="CJ"] ...live it your way don't rubbish people's ideas be kinder and offer genuine helpful comments...   [/quote]
    I think you've been getting some genuine and even helpful comments. They just aren't what you want to hear. That doesn't make them unhelpful. No one has been rude or unpleasant and that being so, you may not demand responses are presented in a certain way. Particularly as...

    ...you asked posters to make the effort to provide help and advice on your large project without you providing basic information. You've told us that the replies you've received aren't the sort you want but you still haven't answered entirely relevant and quite basic questions re area of building / renovation, what permissions are already in place, etc.

    You do not have to provide more information if you don't want to - especially if you don't know the answers - it's your decision. But you can't criticise the responses you've had when you have not made the effort to provide the supplementary information needed in order to give you informed and good quality advice pertinent to your situation.

    In the current world of a still undefined and increasingly fractious Brexit and the global pandemic which shows no sign of abating yet, the last thing I'd do is move from the UK to France to do a major renovation. Even in more certain times, I've seen far too many dreams becoming tarnished, sometimes to the level of bankruptcy, banks repossessing 'dreams' and moves into council housing equivalents. While you may call that rubbishing your ideas, it's coming from 20 years of seeing how dreams can go very wrong and may adversely affect the rest of your life. I call it, in your words,

    comparing scenarios encountered.

    This forum is quiet nowadays. Most participants are well settled here, many are retired and France is just where we live. I suspect there are now active Facebook pages dedicated to renovating / restoring in France and you'll find people at a similar stage to you, in the region you've bought in, with the same level of excitement and

    scattergun questions. You might find participating somewhere like that more fun and gives you the buzz you're looking for.

    For the business side, there's a well-respected English-language website run by a French woman in Normandy - though she covers queries from France generally. She may be able to assist with some of your planning / building queries too. She charges an annual fee but when you look at the overall budgets you're allocating for your life change, it's a small investment in succeeding. I'm not associated with the business in any way and have never used it but I know people who have and they were satisfied with the advice and support they received.

  13. [quote user="CJ"]We won't be using an architect as we have the plans sorted...[/quote]
    Define 'sorted'. [:)] If you have already submitted them to the planning office and they've been approved then yes, you're (probably) sorted but as Weegie said early on and le Haut has just said now, it all depends on the area you are renovating / converting.

    If that area is over 150²m, an architect who is registered in France (doesn't have to be a French national) needs to submit the plans on your behalf. This isn't optional. And before converting a barn, if (as said above) it's over a certain percentage of the total area, you may need energy studies done which will tell you what you need to do to bring it up to regulations. You can't bung in any old fosse either (at least you can't in Normandy and I doubt Normandy is much different to elsewhere in France but it is France so you never know). Your mairie may have a contracted company who go out to homes to assess what's in place, do soil studies and will recommend type and capacity of fosse to be installed. They'll work with the installer and sign off the work

    Bluntly (!) it comes down to this: you know your exact circumstances and plans. From what you've said, it will be a large (and therefore expensive) project. You've given us about 1% of the information - for eg, do you even have a CU for the barn conversion? You said all utilities need to be installed - even water? If you don't already have a CU for the barn you may not get it until water is laid on. This happened to an acquaintance.

    In your shoes and with the raft of questions you raised in your first post, I would book an appointment with the mairie - maire or suitable deputy... perhaps even the secretary - who deals with planning issues.

    Present your plans, with all the measurements and confirm that all the permissions are in place for your project. Then ask what the recommended (or required) next steps are. Do you submit all plans only to the mairie? Do you need meetings with (iIrc) the officials at the DDE? (local departmental planning office - but I think the name has changed). Who do you need to consult re specifying a fosse installation, etc etc.

    Discussions and advice from officialdom is free. Depending on size of project, you may need to engage an architect which is not. Your French may not be good in which case, rather than misunderstand what you're being told, get a translator to go with you. Yes, that's a cost, there, but you've described a large project that will be expensive. Paying fees to get it right now is an investment in the project just as much as a hi-spec double-glazed window is.

  14. We really like Alsace - particularly the Colmar area. More prosperous and culturally varied than most of central / northern rural France because of its proximity to Germany and Switzerland. I like the wine too. [:D] It is supposed to be one of the sunniest parts of France though higher altitudes usually have plenty of snow in winter.

    Downside if you like seaside visits is its location so far from all coasts. Other possible negative is it's a prosperous area so property is not cheap. But cheap property isn't everyone's nr 1 priority.

    Clermont-Ferrand - I'd probably look at Vichy rather than C-F, though Vichy is much smaller. When choosing a location to live, you'll want to look at the things you might be interested in doing. Living anywhere is part location, environment, etc, but also availability of things that interest you and enrich your life, particularly if retired.

    Many remoter areas in the middle of France are losing people, particularly 'the youth' to places where there is better employment and career possibilities. I love Le Puy-en-Velay and for years intended to retire just south of Le Puy but we've now decided it is too remote and certainly, the population is gradually declining.

  15. No, Hoddy. You're not.

    I remember encountering her music and looks in a magazine in my early teens and she was one of my early encounters (along with Françoise Sagan) of French culture and an enduring fascination with France.

    Pierre Troisgros died this week too.

  16. I was absurdly delighted to see him again on his return following his cancer treatment. Le Journal was one of our first tv 'news' programmes. But he is 70 so I suppose he's entitled... [:(]

  17. Another vote here for putting the money aside each month, Lori - maybe choose one of the Livret options to earn a little interest but still have it accessible. Reassess each year.

    Having said that, two things I'd say:
    1) While understanding you're not coming from the NHS, we have found that France hospitalises for tests for the same symptoms that the NHS would send you home with - advising a couple of paracetamol and bed and to come back in a week if you haven't recovered. The stays are longer too. Also, one may have a history of very good health but that doesn't stop you being in a car accident or having a bad fall.

    2) The single occupancy room upgrade is worthwhile in my OH's experience. He's had a couple of hospital stays where he's had 'roomies'. The roomies were not always congenial - a bit deaf and want tv on games shows all day or refuse to have a window opened. Unlike the UK, there are no curtains between beds - which does probably make hygiene sense. OH shared a room with one guy who had dementia, flailed around a lot and on one occasion, knocked OH's drip stand to the floor until he (the room mate) was restrained and then he shouted and cried. A hospital stay is stressful enough without...

    Another occasion: while a curtain provides no buffer against sounds it does stop your eyes being inexorably drawn to the guy a few feet away who is having an enema administered. On that occasion, I wondered why I found OH lurking in the corridor looking paler than usual - until he explained. We spent that visit in the family room. [;-)]

    << I was told in writing there would be no délai de carence.

    I was told the policy would become effective the day after Groupama

    receives the signed devis and Attestation de Droits a L'Assurance


    This is exactly how it panned out for a friend a couple of years ago. Their CPAM attestation arrived, they took it into... Aviva I think... and their cover was effective immediately. They were claiming within a week with no quibbles at all.

  18. << Among other things I remember a rumour going round that the moderators were able to read private emails. >>

    Hello Hoddy [:D]
    I think the "mods reading PMs" thing may have come about because (I later heard) it was possible and worse, did happen (due to a loophole in the software) on another forum popular at the time. That quirk vanished with a software upgrade. I suppose someone assumed if it was possible on the other forum it must be so here too (or, as you say, they started a rumour for malicious reasons) but the CF (LF?) forum software was different.

    I suppose I gradually stopped using this forum because after some years living here, I had fewer questions (and those I had I could sort out for myself) and while I could contribute my experiences and knowledge, the longer one is here, the more out-of-date some of that knowledge is, particularly in relation to building regs, say. Even in France, things change.

    I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that nowadays, this (Normandy) is just home, I know what I'm doing and have less need to talk about it on a forum... having said that, this year forums and messageboards are showing their value again.

  19. [quote user="Lori"]I'll try to search forum also.  I've never actually done that, so presume it is self explanatory - the search option (top right corner). [/quote]
    There are two search options - the one you've spotted top right searches the whole of Complete France (I think) but if you want to confine your search to previous forum topics, you need the search box on the left, underneath Join the Forum and FAQ Code of Conduct.

    As far as choosing a mutuelle is concerned, I have no current advice to offer as our cover is via the company (French) OH works for and it is some years since we needed to get comparitive quotes for ourselves.
  20. During the 2007 (was it?) health care rights debacle, I heard her interviewed on R2... Jeremy Vine, I think.

    She was excellent, knowlegeable, succinct, clear. Vine... not so much. Lovely photo. Who was the hairy person at the back? [:D]

  21. I thought @auxadrets was saying that s/he disliked conflict on forums or messageboards and avoided it. In which case I sympathise (though it's not something that worries me). Nastiness via screen arriving without tone or facial expression from people you don't know is quite different to heated debates around a kitchen table with people you do know and who you can see.

    I'm still here. [:D]

    Probably only look in every month or so and as I'd lost my login details / password I haven't posted for... years. But as I saw this thread - and the Coops RIP - thread, I thought I'd make the effort to get a new password, remember the long defunct email addy I originally registered with... and pop in and say hi.

    We bought a house here in 2000 and I'm pretty sure I started posting then - though the forum has gone through a few changes during the last 20 years.

    It's nice to see familiar names today but I remember with great affection the days of Tresco, 5-Element, Twinkle, Saligo Bay, Russethouse, YCCMBetty, Val-2, Sunday Driver, the ever-reliable and trustworthy Parsnips... even (I'll type it quietly in case it evokes the presence) Miki.

    While this forum has its... idiosyncracies... it has outlived many apparently more successful enterprises <coughAngloInfocough> and it's rather nice to see it still tootling along. And it's infinitely preferable to a visit to Fessebook.

    Best wishes to anyone that may remember me... even if I was too blunt and upset you. I probably wasn't being malicious. Probably. [:-))]

    Gods, I haven't had a good woot for years... [:-))]

  22. [quote user="idun"]And not a mention of it being an english helpline...[/quote]

    There's been an 'English-speaking helpline' for at least 10 years... I don't suppose it costs much if anything to maintain - CPAM probably has a list of advisors who already speak English and if an English-speaking person calls (because, of course, English is widely spoken by more than just British people) the call can be passed to one of them. They will answer emails in English too.

    There are many things which irritate - in any country - but a health service providing limited admin assistance in more than the native language wouldn't be high on my list.

  23. It's great to see such an active thread... of course, it's a shame that it will probably be the last active thread ever.

    What a shambles. There've been some poorly executed upgrades on CF over the years but this beats them all.

  24. More likely example would be 12345 or 12567, the 12 being the consistent use of the department number.

    Aren't the numbers just the INSEE code vs canton post code?

    Taking a local village, Tirepied, if you look at the bottom of the info box on the right of the screen, you get the INSEE code which precisely identifies a commune vs the postal code which identifies the canton.



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