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Everything posted by Catalpa

  1. The 'Fait Maison' decret was supposed to go some way to stopping Brake Frères appearing on too many menus. I don't know whether it has. I don't recollect ever seeing the symbol but otoh, I don't eat out so much nowadays.

    And re Chinese buffets, I know of 3 fairly locally that - as well as the pre-cooked buffet dishes - has a variety of chilled items from which you select your choice of ingredients and you take them up to the counter to be cooked as you wait / watch.

  2. 1.When you are a patient, how do you like to be addressed?

    I'm not French so informal use of my first name is fine. Having said that, in hospitals, M/Mme/Mlle is normal.

    2. Are you comfortable talking with healthcare providers?

    Yes - and they listen to me. They have to - with my accent.

    3. Are you comfortable with physical eye contact and touch from your healthcare providers?

    Yes. There's less regard for physical privacy in FR. In hospital rooms, for eg, if it's a shared room, there aren't curtains around the beds. So if your roomie is having an enema administered, you hope you're fit enough to leave the room while it's going on. Or you avert your eyes. And nose.

    4. What are some high-risk behaviors that are prevalent in French culture today? (Safety measures, substance use, ect.)

    All the usual drugs / alcohol / smoking problems prevalent in the west.

    Driving is worse here than in the UK (imo - but statistics would seem to back me up on that)

    Health & safety practices in the workplace seem more slapdash than one would see in the UK - particularly small companies and particularly artisans. Quality of scaffold (or lack) of being an example

    Every day hygiene: go into boulangerie, shake hands with half-a-dozen people, buy your baguette and carry it home clutched in the same hands that have just transferred germs from (by association) dozens of people. Ewww.

    5. What are some common, significant foods eaten by the French

    population today? Are there any mealtime rituals observed? Foods that

    are avoided?

    Common significant foods?

    All the usual food groups are eaten. A daily intake of bread still seems genuinely ingrained and of course the price of an ordinary baguette is (I believe) still state-controlled. While there may be a higher use of olive oil / Mediterranean diet further south - or duck fat as a major cooking ingredient in the south west - here in Normandy cream and butter are important because of the type of agriculture. Cheese too, but every region has its own cheeses. I would say that tripe and intestines generally (Andouille sausages) are an important part of French cuisine not necessarily reflected to the same extent in the average British diet. [6]

    I've noticed over the past 10 - 12 years far more processed frozen foods

    in supermarkets (not just the fresh, traiteur items from traiteurs and

    from the deli counters in supermarkets) so imo mass produced convenience

    foods are on the increase.

    Wine probably qualifies as a major food group.

    Mealtime rituals?

    Eating at the table not on laps; less snacking between meals - particularly less sweet snacking - and the main meal still at lunchtime though that's changing and depends somewhat on the type of work / working day. Lighter meals in the evening. Proper desserts / desserts are for high days and holidays - a dessert after a normal meal might be a piece of fruit or a fromage fraïs or similar. French people have said to us that it's vital to have protein at lunchtime to enable you to function for the rest of the day.

    Foods avoided?

    In rural France, anything not considered French or French influenced or by adoption (north African, Vietnamese, etc, are 'allowed' but there's colonial history at work there) But town / city France may be different and more cosmopolitan in its acceptances. I've noticed more Chinese restaurants - vast ones - springing up in this region.

    6. What is pregnancy like in the life of a French woman? What are

    some accepted/unaccepted practices relate to fertility and prevention of

    pregnancy? Beliefs related to pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and the

    post-birth period?

    Dunno. I'm not French and haven't had children and most of my friends have teenagers and upwards. One thing I've noticed is that French women seem to spend at least 7 days in hospital after a birth, even of a second child. It's what you do. A lot of help and support is given at that time.

    7. Tell me about French healthcare practices in general: common

    beliefs related to "why" illness occurs? Illness treatment and

    prevention? beliefs related to blood transfusions, organ donations,

    mental illness, self-medication practices, or any use of "things" other

    than traditional treatment options to treat health problems?

    Healthcare practices in general?

    You visit the doctor or at least the pharmacy for every small thing, even a cough or cold, and you expect to be given prescriptions (ordonnonces) to enable / speed recovery.


    At its simplest level, self-medication is more difficult than in the UK

    as supermarkets are not allowed to sell painkillers, flu / cold

    remedies, etc. These may only be bought in a pharmacy and often staff

    will quiz you and advise you on products you might want or need.

    Generalised statements / comments:

    France concentrates on catching problems early and dealing with them. I'd be interested to know the comparitive child mortality rates from meningitis because doctors and hospital Urgences send them home with a box of paracetamol. In my experience, unexplained high temperatures, for eg, are treated seriously here. Possibly too seriously. The UK is more wait and see. In the case of, for eg, hip replacements, the patient here is considered capable of stating when their life is being adversely affected by reduced mobility and pain and (after all the tests, x-rays, etc) an operation is done. UK: patient may be unable to work efficiently, cannot sleep through the night and is maxed out on strong pain killers but the NHS will still say that "you're not bad enough for an op yet".

    To do any meaningful comparison between UK and France, you need to look at the differences in funding (100% state vs (in FR) state + complementaire / mutuelle / top up insurance for what the state doesn't cover. Also the health infrastructure: laboratories in every town for blood tests, the home nurse system where you book your (self-employed) nurse to come in every day for dressing changes, to administer injections, etc. Prescriptions for car ambulances (taxis, really) to take you to medical appointments - particularly chemo / radiotherapy if these treatments are long-term and there is no friend or relative available to take you. Consider also that the FR health system is bankrupt and 12 billion euros overspent.

    Full private medical insurance for French residents who work is / was illegal. Until the inactifs (early retired immigrants not working in FR) were refused admission to the main state system, I don't think full private medical insurance was available in France. But I could be wrong about that.

    Polyclinics / hospitals - urgences (emergencies) - our local polyclinics operate a point garde at weekends and for when GPs are not available - in effect this is a GP who sees people away from the main emergency area. Unlike the UK, if you've a problem, you go straight to Urgences. OH has had a few odd things happen, always at the weekend, and his visits to Urgences for gout, shingles on the face, etc, has had him dealt with on all occasions in less than an hour or less and it is very efficient. Even the independent labs for blood tests have had an on-call member of staff who's been there within 5 minutes of a phone call.

    As others have observed, results of tests are either discussed at the time (eg, x-rays) or results of blood tests are mailed both to the patient as well as the GP or other doctor, usually within 24 hours. None of this "we'll write to you GP and he'll be in touch" and waiting for 2 weeks.

    The UK and FR systems are so different that without setting them in the national context, the answers to a lot of the questions you've asked aren't going to sit on a firm foundation.

  3. No way. While you cannot be shown saying something that you didn't say, the editing can - I'm told - be vicious and misrepresents situations and people. The production team are looking for good, rivetting, ideally controversial tele for the viewers and that's not three or four civilised, reasonable owners (+ partners) discussing and introducing their businesses.

    I did see yesterday's Three In A Bed - the woman from Berwick looked to have mental health issues. I don't want to watch that as lightweight entertainment.

  4. [quote user="aire"]..

    my work contract has recently ended in france and I didnt do much about obtaining cart vitale.. [/quote]

    Hi and welcome.

    Were you working for a French company? If so, as Hereford says (hi H!) get in touch with your local CPAM office or you can call the English-speaking helpline (even if you speak French!) from anywhere in France:

    From the link:

    You speak English and you live in France, and need information about

    your French Health Insurance rights, call our special Advice Line on :

    • 36 46


      France (local call price from fixed-phone line except additional cost

      imposed by certain operators of fixed or mobile telephony)

    • +33 811 70 36 46

      from foreign countries (call rates vary between operators).

  5. [quote user="Hoddy"]If the Archers counts as a soap, I confess a life-long addiction, although I've been losing interest lately.


    The new editor has been on a re-casting spree and half the younger cast all sound the same. It's often not possible to figure out if it's Charlie, Tom, or some other passing through character unless the context makes it clear. Same with the younger women - all drama school characterless voices. And somehow, a serious flood affecting only Ambridge when the rest of the country is comparitively dry just doesn't work on radio.

    But anyway...

    1. Sopranos - watched a few episodes of a few series... meh

    2. Mad Men - watched and enjoyed the first few series on BBC but then it switched to a pay-for channel.

    3. Broadchurch - saw some of both series... meh. Not as clever as the writer thought it was.

    4. The Wire - tried hard but couldn't warm to the first series

    5. The Walking dead - just another zombie show... watched a couple of episodes but... meh

    6. Sherlock - seen them all, first couple of series great but the last one... meh

    7. Game of Thrones - watched the first series on DVD, read first 4 books, will catch up with the rest of it one winter (and winter is coming...)

    8. Lost - saw the first series and liked but it's not been on fta since, probably will never watch

    9. Downton Abbey - a lovely period costume comedy with bits of drama, probably seen all episodes

    10. Luther - saw an episode, didn't appeal

    11. The West Wing - adored it, have watched it several times. Particularly good distraction if in hospital for long periods

    12. Peaky Blinder - didn't watch, didn't appeal

    13. The Missing - didn't watch, might do if it is repeated

    14. House - watched some episodes of several series. Good but got too soapy

    15. 24 - dvds, watched all series. Mindless amusement.

    16. The Fall - watched both but second series not a patch on the first

    17. Mr Selfridge - didn't watch, didn't appeal

    18. Breaking Bad - haven't seen it at all but would try it out

    19. Nordic dramas - love them, and Spiral (Engrenages) Not keen on Montalbano.

    Am currently very fond of Person of Interest (S3, TF1, not in VO which is annoying), am enjoying Indian Summer, not bothering with Banished. Loved Les Revenants but don't believe the new series (filming now) will be as good as the first. I love The Good Wife.

    I do like tv - it's popular culture and though I watch no soaps (can't stand manipulative melodrama with nasty people and bonkers plots). Few series stand the test of time but I think The West Wing is one of those - my desert island choice.

  6. [quote user="AnOther"]

    [quote user="Catalpa"]The photocard expires, but your entitlement to drive does not.[/quote]

    Perfectly true but IN UK ![/quote]

    Yes. [:D] This is key: first precisely define the circumstances when stating 'facts'.

    In the instance elsewhere that I alluded to here, the poster is a UK resident but has a property in France. So in the UK, expired photocard is fine; in France - or other EU country - if stopped by the police of that country... [Www]

    [quote user="Quillan"]I have reduced the length of the subject line to match the others I did before. [/quote]

    And it worked. Well done. [;-)]

  7. [quote user="Quillan"]Come again? In English please. [/quote]

    Navigation of multi-page topics is normally by clicking on the next page which is visible at the bottom right of each page of the topic - eg,

                                                                             Page 1 of 5 (34 items) > 1 2 3 4 5

    Navigation is by clicking on the page you want.

    Problem: the formatting on the first page of this thread is messed up (apols for technical jargon [:P]) and the page navigation box isn't visible or accessible by scrolling. Therefore, if you're on page 1 you can only move forward by editing the url or going back to the topic in the active list and clicking on page 2 (or 3, 4, etc)

    I'm guessing that if a mod edits and shortens the subject description in first two posts on page 1, the problem will be solved.

  8. [quote user="AnOther"]If the photocard expires then you do not have a valid licence and therefore cannot drive, that's all there is to it.[/quote]

    I thought that was the case... but I've just seen someone stating categorically on another (normally very reliable) forum* the exact opposite... ie, that << The photocard expires, but your entitlement to drive does not. >>

    (not AngloMisinfo [;-)])

  9. Poules prêtes à pondre, I think. Ready to lay.

  10. In my experience, the car decks are much noiser than conventional ferries and a nervous dog will have a more stressful crossing. Having said that, ours was absolutely fine within 10 minutes of disembarcation. On balance, I think the shorter crossing benefits outweigh noise which a dog will adapt to anyway.

  11. [quote user="NickP"]Who is going to see the interior? After all guys this is France we're

    talking about, which makes/alters rules constantly and the locals then

    completely ignore them? Apart from structural  decisions do you really

    need an architect to choose or dictate interior decoration, I don't think so.


    It is related to RT2012 as has already been said and if a full permis de c is applied for, then a study will be done to tell you how you must renovate and the renovations are checked and signed off. If no permis needed (or, at least, not applied for [6]) then you can do what you like. And I am sure that a lot of French buyers at this time won't be bothered about whether something is renovated to RT2012... though that might have changed 10 years hence.

    My view is that character stone walls are nice but high levels of insulation is better. [;-)]

  12. [quote user="Patf"]France seems to be more relaxed - many dog owners here don't bother at all with the anti-rabies vaccination.[/quote]

    Well, yes - but their level of relaxation also extends to ignoring obvious tumours and leaving dogs out in flimsy kennels with no bedding in all weathers.

    We don't vaccinate our animals against rabies any more because they aren't going to be travelling across borders and if they were going to, it's only a 21-day wait till they're legal again. We don't vaccinate the cats against rabies because in cats the vaccination is somewhat implicated in the (rare) vaccine related / associated fibrosarcomas which usually don't have a good outcome. [:(]

    If someone vaccinates their dog annually against all the other baddies (disemper, parvo, etc) then the additional cost of the rabies vaccination at the same time is small.

  13. OH is going back to the UK next week and yesterday ordered something from a new supplier to be delivered to a friend's house for him to collect. Our UK issued credit cards are registered to our French address.

    He placed the order online and 15 minutes later got an email saying that it would be delivered on 11 February - ie, yesterday. He phoned the supplier and said he thought there must be an error as he'd only just placed the order.

    "No error, the item was in stock, the van was in the warehouse so we got it on the van and it should be delivered in a couple of hours. Hang on, here's the van driver..." who wanted to know exactly where the rural address could be found. It was duly delivered a couple of hours later. So placing of online order to delivery at the house was a 2-3 hours. Can you imagine that happening in France? Excuse me while I pml.

    The company with the exceptional service levels is: TLC-Direct, an electrical goods supplier and the branch with the exceptional staff is Swindon. We recommend them. [:D]

  14. I think the banana and walnut combo always works well because there's a bitterness with the walnuts that cuts through the sweetness of over-ripe bananas. However, for the past few years, my favourite banana cake is via Nigel Slater's black banana and chocolate cake recipe.

    I'm not entirely sure whether the hazelnuts bring much to the party and having faffed around with the recipe as given (toasting and removing skins) I now just add already ground hazelnuts if I have them.

    If you like a less sweet cake, use dark chocolate chips (or I use a bar and roughly chop it) or to make it more unctuous, use milk chocolate. I have a sweet tooth so dark chocolate makes it a bit too bitter for me but others love it.

  15. [quote user="Chancer"]This is posted Under the gîtes owners forum, given the lack of response could it be that any owners on the forum rent mainly to UK clients? Do they realise that their customers wont have this insurance (it doesnt exist in the UK) that if one of them left a cigarrette burning in a waste bin your French insurers would wash their hands of the affair after demanding détails of the renters responsabilité civil cover?


    Lack of response from gîte owners is probably because you aren't asking for advice on renting out a gîte.

    Most gîte people are doing holiday lets of less than a month so the difficulties implicit in lets of more than a month - and the tenants' rights that come into play - aren't something on which most gîte owners are qualified to comment. Plus they would avoid letting to students and certainly to 15-year-olds. It's a different business.

    As far as insurance is concerned, if you insure with one of the AXAs, Avivas, CAs etc, they are quite used to providing building and contents insurance that doesn't depend on the guest having appropriate cover themselves.

  16. [quote user="You can call me Betty"]However, my attention WAS drawn to the interesting translation of the word "crapaud" as it was used to describe an organised bunch of jewellery thieves, mugging people for gold necklaces. Somehow, "muppets" seems to fall a bit wide of the mark.☺️[/quote]

    I too thought that was a weird translation, Bets, but heard or read somewhere that as the gang were called crapauds because of their quoi? quoi? quoi? when challenged, Gilou and Tintin (I think) were making Muppet faces so that's what the English translation ended up with. Apparently. It flew above my head because I'm too busy watching the sub-titles as some of the French is still too fast and / or colloquial for me.

  17. [quote user="Quillan"]Thats what, about 20 years worth of gas, oil or electricity for heating? I supose from a Co2 point of view thats pretty good bit if your retired at 60 and have a house built you may well be dead before you reap the benifits.[/quote]

    That's true but a house is around for more than the (say) 20 years of the person who has it built. The idea is to increase the amount of housing stock that is far more energy efficient than previously so it's a global benefit not just an individual's benefit. Plus, as Pommier said, while it may cost more to build it will retain that added value through subsequent sales. There are broader aspects to the regulations too - for eg, houses must be multi-fuel so an all electric (heating, cooking, hot water) build won't qualify but add a gas hob and a wood-burning stove and it will. The study done at the time of permission being granted states the materials and utilities that are to be used.

    Re your garage, Quillan, if you apply for full planning permission for it then yes, it will probably fall under RT-2012 regs but perhaps you can quietly renovate without an application? You must know a local builder so he'll be able to tell you.

    And re further toughening up of the regulations, yes, that is due to happen - I've seen a bar chart somewhere showing the increases in efficiency and I think the next step up is 2020.

  18. RT2012 regulations.

    Yes, if you buy an existing house (more than 2 years old) that is in reasonable nick and doesn't need the major work like a new roof, new electrics, new plumbing, etc, it is probably more cost-efficient than new build at the moment. Or wait another year or so for the regulations to be relaxed. They've already been eroded by various trade lobbying in the industry.

    However, if you want to renovate a barn or a garage, say, that wasn't previously habitation, RT2012 kicks in again.

  19. [quote user="Russethouse"]The thing that I am uncomfortable with is that the staff at Charlie Hebdo have published a cartoon yet they are now pretty much protected, it's someone else who will most likely pay the price, not them ....and for what, the joy of a quick laugh poking fun at someone else's religion ? They know the score, why add fuel to the flames right now?[/quote]

    Because if Mohammed had not been portrayed in some way after the executions, the terrorists would be perceived to have silenced Charlie Hebdo and the right to cartoon as they choose.

    This time, I don't think it was for quick laugh at all - I suspect it was a deadly serious decision. But I am very ambivalent about it and am with you and others in that: there was France, substantially united against terrorism last Sunday but by Wednesday, there are five million yah boo sucks copies of the new edition on the streets.

    I wish they hadn't done that but I can see why they would choose to do as they did and I won't condemn the editorial team for it. But I do hope that CH becomes less "just because I can, I will..." provocative in future... but quietly and without fuss. Temper their freedom with responsibility, I suppose. But perhaps in the editorial team's view they already do.

  20. [quote user="ebaynut"]Also, France offered these families, peace, freedom of speech, liberty, healthcare and education... this is how France is repaid.

    Don't worry that my previous recommendation is not dealing with these latest perpetrators, that is in my plan ’B’, but I can’t post that as it would be deleted due to lack of freedom of speech rules.

    BTW when you say they have a legal right to be in Europe, is that legal by the rules of the present leaders, because I suspect and hope changes will be taking place to rid us of both them, and their multicultural ideals.

    It is because Europe has been soft and let anyone enter it in the recent past, that we have these ‘people’ here today and people like you who actually think of them as ‘French’.

    It’s a bit like saying Mo Farah the runner, Lewis Hamilton the car racer and Jaguar/Rolls Royce cars are British. They ain’t!!!![/quote]

    When I read bigotry like this, I'm tempted to wish the NF or FN well with you and hope you'll all be happy together a long way away from me.

    And then I (reluctantly) think a little longer and wonder if that exact unpleasant mindset would, if the proponent was born in another country into another religion, lead him / her to actively approving of the sort of atrocities we've seen in France, Germany, the UK, the US and many other countries over the years. Does the above demonstrate at least the leanings towards a basic fundamentalism? The early stages, perhaps, but there's fertile ground there. I find it disturbing that someone here appears to be preaching generalised racial or ethnic hatred because as far as I can see, it makes them exactly the same as the people they hate, albeit on the opposite side of the fence.

  21. [quote

    user="mint"]No, I don't think I'd be killing the relatives

    myself.  [/quote]

    Yes, you would be. I don't understand how you cannot see that. You will

    be deliberately putting innocent (until proven guilty and sharing genes is

    insufficient evidence) people in a position that they might be killed. It's an

    utterly absurd proposition, Mint, and I am astonished that you are defending

    this notion.

    [quote user="mint"] Desperate times, as I have said, call for

    desperate measures.  You have to adopt their tactics in exceptional

    circumstances (and I don't know how much more exceptional the present

    circumstances can get) because the alternative is unbearable to contemplate. 


    No, desperate times

    call for measured responses. A civilised world should never adopt uncivilised

    tactics, no matter how great the provocation. Although, I'm sure provoking us

    to do that is exactly the intention behind these acts of terrorism. The more

    everyday minorities of any persuasion feel threatened and are threatened by the majority, the more they are likely to become radicalised.


    user="mint"] Moral high grounds are all very well. [/quote]

    The moral high ground and reasoned, logical responses are the best weapons we

    have - well, that and highly trained, well-funded security services. But

    responses like yours are likely to be exactly what terrorists are hoping for. Congratulations.

  22. [quote user="mint"]OH says it might be brutal and unethical and the State couldn't do it but he would line up all the families and relatives of the killers and stand them  in front of the police and move in. [/quote]

    [8-)] So he would be happy with assuming guilt by association and irrespective of the family's beliefs or even horror at what their relatives have done, your OH would be happy to walk them towards two proven psychopaths?

    Would your OH recommend an age cut off? For example, if there are siblings aged under 11, say, would they be excused being used as a human shield... would they be let off but risk becoming orphans if the gunmen think that killing their own family is for the greater good?

  23. And we didn't define a whole section of the British public after Hungerford or Dunblane... which, while the perpetrators weren't terrorists in the strict defintion of the term, certainly achieved whatever warped intention they had in mind.

    But that doesn't ignore the fact there are a lot of devastated families this afternoon whose days started perfectly normally but whose lives will never be the same...

  24. Both OH and I fall asleep as readily with Kindles as we do with books... the difference is, the Kindle hurts less when it falls on my nose. [:D]

    I really have my doubts about the alleged dangers of Kindles as outlined in the article - if I'm using my Paperwhite when OH is asleep, I don't have a light on and the screen isn't very bright. When I read a book, I have a bright lamp shining down on the white(ish) pages of the book. How is the effect of a Kindle's light worse than a book + bedside lamp?

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