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Everything posted by Catalpa

  1. I have an Orange (well, Wanadoo) address which I've not used for about 5 years. I look at it occasionally in case anyone from 5+ years ago uses it. It is does not appear in plain sight anywhere on tinterweb. It still gets more French language spam - in fact, I'd say it is increasing - than any other of my email addresses some of which are in plain sight on tinterweb. There's no point in opting out of unwanted emails because that merely confirms to the mailing lists that they've got a live and responsive account. If it is a consistent email address or subject heading and you can be bothered, block them. I'm sure data is sold on by Orange.
  2. This is very silly, but it made me chortle out loud : Froom re-booted after crash... The link is to The Daily Mash so that gives you a clue. [:D]
  3. That plant won't flourish... all the earth will be washed away or the roots waterlogged... [:P]
  4. [quote user="Araucaria"]I think a few more British ex-pat builders, etc, competing on absolutely equal terms (I mean, in case it isn't obvious, not on the black and with properly comparable skills) with local artisans are exactly what is needed. [/quote] The Cantal is very different to Normandy. I doubt you've many British builders in that (very beautiful) area but here in Normandy we have (or had) lots. Some have done well, some have a very poor reputation, some have been bankrupted and lost everything they came over with or closed because they've concluded the financial return isn't enough for the effort expended. Lots have returned to the UK where it is easier to be self-employed, especially honestly. Here, you will still wait for a good workman, sometimes months. But if their list of customers is that long, they're good. If an artisan wants a tax regime where all business-related  expenses are taken into account before a profit is declared, the 'simplest' tax regime to register under is micro réel. Autoentrepreneur won't cut it because your contributions (cotisations sociales) are based on turnover. So if you buy plasterboard, plaster and other materials for clients, you'll be assessed to pay contributions on those materials. Bonkers? To a British person, yes. There is a way round it: you have to ask your customer to pay for the materials direct - or to give you the money separately so it doesn't go through your books. This is not professional or efficient. My rule of thumb has always been that if materials and expenses account for more than about 20-25% max of your turnover, autoentrepreneur is not the regime for you. If you are doing an IT type of job which is internet-based and your expenses are a ream of paper twice a year and a new pc occasionally, AE may be perfect. If you go micro réel, you can declare expenses and materials against turnover to give profit on which your contributions and tax is based. However, under micro réel, you must employ an accountant for this. Most accountants' fees for this task start at 800 euros per year. Add into that the décennal and personal liability insurance and setting up as an artisan will cost you the best part of 3000 euros before you've earned a cent. Okay, you may be able to spread these costs in stage payments over your year but this is the base cost. There are cheaper décennals but the newbie artisan won't be able to access those for at least 3 years because s/he has no track record in France. But that's not all. I don't think (but I may be wrong) that as micro réel, you can pay your cotisations on actual income in the first year. It used to be assumed that your first year cotisations would be 3000 euros (adjusted up or down in following years) so worst case, you would have 6000 euros costs to out pay regardless of actual income in the first year. Then you need to earn enough to live on. And doesn't take into account setting up costs such as vehicle, tools and equipment. Then, as Betty says, comes the challenge of finding customers. The newbie artisan probably won't get French customers. Established artisans won't always get French customers - especially if their French is poor. French customers are ideal because they understand the cost of working in France and, more to the point, there are a lot of them! [:D]. Many British people don't value work they think they can do themselves. They may not want to do it themselves but as you, Araucaria, said yourself, plasterboarding a ceiling isn't rocket science. You're right... but doing it quickly, with a minimum of wastage and to a high and lasting standard comes from experience. This is hijacking Motard's thread so (finally) I'll stop but I do get impatient with the "but can't you just..." approach to working within the system in France. No, you can't is too often the answer.
  5. No, the three of us were all hammering our keyboards and posting within the same 5 minutes. [:D] It may have taken me less time because I wasn't trying to be tactful.  [;-)]
  6. [quote user="Araucaria"]After all, insulating a roof internally and putting up plasterboard on a ceiling isn't exactly rocket science - I've even done it myself recently, despite having worked in an office job for thirty-five years. Isn't it the kind of thing that a newly arrived foreigner could do as easily as someone from France? [/quote] Erm... a newly arrived foreigner with no previous experience in building work? Or someone who is already doing that work in their own country? I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here by juxtaposing those two extracts from different posts (I suspect I'm missing some encounter you've had with ET elsewhere) but while you've no doubt done a good job on your own ceiling, if that is the only experience you have doing that work, would you now consider yourself sufficiently experienced to register yourself as an work(wo)man doing interior finishings, buy yourself a décennal and start and maintain a successful business? Unemployment in France is very high - most especially in rural areas - with short term contracts and SMIC the norm in many businesses, big and small. Often, companies will give work to a French person even if a non-French national is better qualified - their experience isn't French and (imo) there's an element of looking after French people first. Even if someone does get an interview, their French needs to be good to excellent - many non-French people lack the language capability to even understand health and safety (yes, really!) instruction so they can't be employed even if their skills fit. Self-employment isn't necessarily the answer (unless your outgoings are low or you have a second income) and many small businesses simply aren't viable, clobbered by the cost of doing business here. You do have to wait for good, reliable artisans to do your work but they can't afford to employ extra people because it costs them too much. But I'm sure you've lived in France for a long time, Araucaria, so you know all this. [8-)] Motard, rather than wait another 2? 3? months, I'd shamelessly use your embarassed builder (you did recommend him to us <sigh>...) to start putting pressure on now... needs must and he may get a better result than you can. Then, if it hasn't been sorted by September, go and see your tardy builder, get him to agree to a finish date (start dates are pointless - one day on site and then he doesn't have to turn up for another 6 months) and then put it in writing and send it to him - recommandée avec avis. Then keep communicating, all by registered mail, reminding him of his commitment. Or ask him to return your deposit... with interest. [6] By September he'll have had your money for 15 months? That's long enough.
  7. Perhaps try Chats du Quercy - who, even if you are too far from them, may know of a similar charity near you. Hope things work out well for you and cat / kittens.
  8. They may have forgotten they ever posted here. Or just don't bother to thank people for answering questions. It's not just about the OP, though - other people may find the information useful if they're searching tinterweb. Or even current members may find the information of interest and of later use. So I think it's still worth responding to questions... though probably not worth putting in hours of research! [:D]
  9. [quote user="Gardian"]Now expats are being blamed as the root cause of the problem.[/quote] Exactly. [:D] Because we changed the renewal process (didn't we?) [:-))] and, of course, all 'expats' renew their passports en bloc in exactly the same time period. Don't we...? [8-)]
  10. [quote user="powerdesal"]Catalpa, I did post on Anglo info but so far have had zero response.[/quote] That confirms my opinion that it is a useless irrelevance in the greater scheme of things, then... Idun's idea is a nice one... but of course, bear in mind that if you think there might be a problem with the answer, it's always best to consider not posing the question: "will you marry me all over again, dear...?" [Www]
  11. Email him - he's really friendly and pleasant and very proud of his beer so I am sure he'll be happy to let you know if there's a way you can get hold of some. ps: sorry to have thread creeped from Jonny Wilkinson. [:-))] Gosh, it's ages since I had a good woot...
  12. Have you asked on AngloMisInfo? It's useless for most things but you might well find someone with a metal detector on there.
  13. Sweets, this guy is fairly local to us and his beer is excellent. His Normandy-brewed beer wins prizes when pitted against local ciders and some of the local supermarkets even stock it. Maybe it's available down your way...
  14. [quote user="You can call me Betty"]...by virtue of our (perceived) age, location and ability to boil a kettle. Or whatever. [/quote] I don't think he's exactly a spring chicken himself... he always seemed quite middle-aged and that was years ago... However, I suppose this may be a faux Chris Head intent on mischief... though I can't see why anyone, real or fake, should think it's mischievous or witty to prattle on about blue rinses...
  15. [quote user="Mattyj198"]Thank you everyone for hijacking my question. I live in Canada. I speak french. What is the big deal. I had a serous question and I needed an answer to plan my trip this summer. If no one had a good answer just don't post. I will find a more informative place to go as it appears everyone is more into arguing about who speaks french rather then helping a guy out. Thanks. Oh wait. I am from Canada. Thanks , Merci.[/quote] What is the big deal? Less than an hour after you asked your serious question, it was fully and accurately answered from an official source in a language you understand. But feel free to flounce off to a more informative place. [:P]
  16. [quote user="You can call me Betty"]...and if it wasn't in Edinburgh, I'd have to have it, as it's so apt! [/quote] Snigger. [:D]
  17. I missed this earlier, Sweets, otherwise I would have recommended: http://lamaisondesvignes.free.fr/ Guests stayed there last year before coming to us and they were really impressed and told us if ever we were to be in Bordeaux... etc. But too late for your friends... [:D]
  18. [quote user="Pierre ZFP"]The trouble about mouthing the words is that you end up like that (insert perjoritive word here) Mandelson who made an abysmal effort one time when the Welsh National Anthem was being played/sung.  I don't know the words to it but I would have found out or shut up. Insulting to the Welsh the way he acted.[/quote] Oooooh... I'm so torn here... in the interests of accuracy, I think it was John The Vulcan Redwood who had a tussle with the Welsh National Anthem and lost. But I want it to be Mandy... but I think it was Redwood. Yep... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIwBvjoLyZc It's still as good as the first time it aired. Is La Marseillaise racist? No, I don't think so... I think it's a product of its time and it wouldn't be written that way now that... sensitivities... are different. But I don't think it should be re-written.
  19. I too am most intrigued and look forward to hearing "what has happened in the UK" and why this enables French b&bs to "cash in". [8-)] But to the broader point, the reason some b&bs - or, let's go native, chambres d'hôtes - are charging as much as a small hotel is because frequently, their standards are higher and they are more comfortable with better facilities than... a small hotel. In any event, it seems simple to me, if you think that small hotels are better value than owner-run chambres d'hôtes, stay in a small hotel.
  20. [quote user="AnOther"]Why there some particular reason that warranted a response in French Betty ? [/quote] Isn't it just a direct quote from the relevant Arrêté...? In which case, why translate?
  21. It appears that the UK has decided when it will stop issuing S1 (E106-variety) to early retirees in France (and other EU countries) - 1 July, 2014. From the parliament.uk website... HERE Excerpt from the document: (formatting may be odd) Residual S1 forms are currently issued to early retirees moving to another EEA country and not taking up employment, providing a temporary period of healthcare cover for maximum period of 30 months, dependent upon the individual’s recent national insurance contribution record in the UK. Applications for residual S1 forms will no longer be accepted after 1 July 2014. This change does not affect current holders of residual S1s or the right of UK state pensioners to access healthcare when they retire to another EEA country These payments are not required under EU law, so the UK is currently going over and above its European obligations. These proposals were outlined in the consultation in July 2013 on migrant access to the NHS and then in the subsequent government response, published in December  2013.
  22. [quote user="Patf"]If Linda is 60 surely she will qualify for an OAP soon...[/quote] Depends on your definition of "soon", Pat. I know a 60-year old who whose state retirement age is now a few months short of her 66th birthday. I'm with everyone else on this: housing may be cheaper in France but everything else is the same or more expensive. With the challenges you and your wife have in your lives, think carefully before adding a country move to the list - which, in itself, is not a cheap thing to do anyway. It is a different culture with quite different ways of doing things and different mindsets. Taking your wife out of the NHS and the support network you may have of family, friends, care workers and moving to a system you don't understand and which is in a foreign language (even if you both speak French very well) could be quite demoralising for you both, I think. All the traipsing around various state offices with bits of paper that they've seen before and lost is just about tolerable and even a bit amusing if you're in good health and can maintain a sense of humour; to be taking that on single-handedly while caring for someone wouldn't be an enhancement of anyone's life -  in my opinion but of course I don't know you or your wife or your home life. If there's any way you can downsize in the UK to release your equity, I think that would be better; I don't believe France (or probably any country) is a direct 'solution' to a problem. We usually take ourselves and our troubles with us.
  23. As a rule of thumb, in France shotguns* are not licenced but the owner must be if s/he wishes to kill things. You can happily own a .410 without contravening any regulations... you just can't fire it at live things unless you've passed your chasse exam. The ONCFS site will give additional info. * Though this may be different if they're 11-cartridge pump action monsters or similar
  24. I agree with Betty (no surprise there [:D]) - speak to or email DEFRA. When we moved over, we continued to use our UK-issued passports and when they were full, our French vet wrote out a new one - no charge - it was done during a normal annual booster / MOT appointment. But we were French resident by then so our situation is not directly comparable to yours, WMW. The people who have to be content with what is done (whether that be a new, France-issued passport or extra pages) are the ferry / tunnel companies who decide whether to let your pet back into the UK and they are precise in their interpretation of DEFRA's current rules whereas a vet's (nationality irrelevant) interpretation of the rules may not be up-to-date or even accurate. E2a: And here's the link to the page on the DEFRA website which gives the contact details for the Pet Travel Scheme helpline.
  25. [quote user="NormanH"]Le gouvernement a revu sa copie. [/quote] What a surprise! [:D] [quote user="NormanH"]Un nouveau décret, paru au Journal officiel de ce jeudi 20 mars, indique que présenter son titre d’identité ne sera pas nécessaire dans les communes de moins de 1 000 habitants. [/quote] That was a bit of a last minute amendment - and also would explain why, like Hereford, we had our voting cards taken, stamped and we also signed the 'register'. Betty, I've noticed before that polling day is a bit of a festival atmosphere in our village and in the local towns - as you describe. It shows how little happens in rural France, I suppose. At 10am most Sundays (unless it's a Mass in our church Sunday) the village is usually deserted but yesterday, there were a fair few cars, the little café in the salle run by the comité des fêtes was open (normally only in use a few times a year) and plenty of people were already on the Ricard and (separately) cider. First vote then drink. Works for me. [8-|]
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