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Alan Zoff

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Everything posted by Alan Zoff

  1. I don't pretend to know the legal position on this. But I do know from painful experience that French estate agents are no more reliable than British ones. OK, I shouldn't tar them all with the same brush but I would certainly not automatically treat what an agent has said as Gospel. They want an easy transaction - and their commission.
  2. So is there more flexibility on the interpretation of "compelling reasons" than appears at first sight to be the case? Might there be, for example, a French equivalent of the Stanley Johnson "law" for Brit second home owners wishing to get the French house ready for sale? Or am I just confusing things, as often happens? Or maybe it's just pot luck?
  3. With foreign exchange there are always two elements to take into account. To achieve the best result, you should compare both any fees and the exchange rate offered.
  4. I don't think involving another Notaire will offer much benefit. Neither will get their hands dirty with day-to-day stuff in the property. You have equal rights with your brother in terms of the legal aspects which the Notaire will handle and account for. The problem as ever is possession - you need to be on the spot if you want to avoid brother taking advantage and it might already be too late for that in respect of moveable items in the house, especially if you do not have full details of what was there. Was an inventory made? (Apologies if that has already been covered.)
  5. The Notaire should be impartial. You would do well to try to establish a report with him/her as quickly as possible. If the Notaire is not fluent in English and you not in French then find a French speaker who can speak for you. In my experience, talking in a friendly manner to officials - preferably in their own language - goes a long way.
  6. When we first bought the French house, property taxes were a fraction of what we paid in UK. But French charges have gone through the roof (no pun intended) and are on a par now for a much less valuable property - including 18 months when we were unable to use it or any local services. When I spoke to the tax officer, he said that when the government introduced a waiver for older French residents, they had to recoup the shortfall from somewhere and he assumed foreign second-home owners were seen as an obvious target.
  7. Yes, if your French is up to it and your circumstances and requirements are straightforward, write the French will yourself. Keep it as simple as possible. I wrote mine a couple of years ago, emailed a copy of my draft to our local Notaire (Lurcy-Levis), she approved it immediately (no charge) and it was done. Be careful to avoid revoking ALL previous wills if you have an earlier one in the UK or elsewhere which is to remain in force for non-French assets.
  8. I can second the Boots Lateral Flow Test recommendation. Worked very well for me online. Same with Eurotunnel procedure. All sorted before I got to Calais and went straight through showing only my passport. Even managed to find my way round all the bollards which seemed to have been laid out by someone who had had more than their fair share of Pernod
  9. I am hoping that now that I have swapped my van for an estate car they will take less interest in me in future. Not that I have anything to hide but it's a damned nuisance when the Douane soldiers take everything apart at services below Paris. I hope other travellers enjoyed seeing my smalls spread out in the car park. I was made to stand like a criminal while the boss man shoved his hands in my pockets to grab my wallet and ordered me not to move or speak.

    In their fruitless search beneath the van, they even managed to damage the fuel pipe (using MY tools! - the cheeky sods) so I was leaking diesel from then on and lucky to complete my journey. They disappeared from the site before I discovered the damage but a French lorry driver who had been watching the commotion told me that was probably just as well as you can never win if you get angry with armed Douane bods. I couldn't interest the gendarmes either so had to pay for the repair myself. Not impressed.
  10. I watched both matches, in fact. Was just being silly. Great entertainment.

    Mbappe should have been substituted early on as it just wasn't his day. But, like others, I was half expecting him to do something brilliant at some point. Wasn't to be.

    Yes, there have been great performances by underdogs. Hungary impressed, too for a while. Wake-up call for the fancied teams but France dozed off when they thought they had already won it. The normally reliable Germans have been uncharacteristically erratic - let's hope they haven't got their act together this evening.
  11. I missed it. It was obvious France would win easily and that Mbappe would be a hero
  12. Double whammy for me. It's also my wedding anniversary.
  13. Makes sense. Thank you for the clear answers
  14. Not for the first time I will ask what is probably a daft question but let me down gently, please.

    The media are full of news of London bankers being asked to relocate to Europe if they want to keep their jobs in the Brexit era. Does that mean that bankers are exempted from the general rules and regulations about moving to Europe from the UK?
  15. Whether or not it came from China, they have some disgusting practices when it comes to wild animals
  16. Alan Zoff

    Hearing aid

    It was admittedly some years ago but I had an experience which illustrates Theiere's point.

    A large national hearing aid dispenser offered free trials of their aids at a Cheltenham hotel. After carrying out a routine hearing test and explaining the marvellous benefits of some very expensive aids, the demonstrator went through a test exercise to prove how good they were.

    He began by reading out (mumbling) some text with his mouth hidden by a card (so that I couldn't lip read). This was without the new aids which he had handed to me to hold, together with the batteries. Not surprisingly, I understood very little.

    He then repeated the exercise after fitting his super dooper aids. This time I heard every word.

    When I said he had spoken much louder and more clearly the second time, he assured me that both deliveries had been identical. The difference was due to the superior hearing aids.

    I said that was odd as I was still holding the batteries for the aids which weren't even turned on.
  17. Alan Zoff

    Hearing aid

    I am surprised that Bose have discontinued with it. The feedback was generally very positive.

    As mentioned, others have entered this market, including Alango BeHear hearphones which are competitively priced. The technology is very impressive, allowing you to carry out your own detailed assessment via their app and to program the device accordingly. Unfortunately, the BeHear is not suitable for my low frequency (reverse slope) loss as, despite the programming feature, it has a definite bias towards boosting high frequencies, the exact opposite of what I need. This no doubt helps people with the more common high frequency loss to pick up voices but for me it makes everything sound raspy/metallic. I am currently communicating with Alango to see if I can encourage them with updates to cater for people with my type of loss.

    Interestingly, when I spoke to my hearing aid consultant about the Bose hearphones, he told me in confidence that his (large national) company was quite worried about the impact these devices were going to have on hearing aid sales and they were looking to enter the market themselves.
  18. Alan Zoff

    Hearing aid

    I have been let down by the NHS and ripped off by private hearing aid sellers for 40 years. I now use Bose HeaRphones which work better (for my hearing loss) than any hearing aids I have tried. Cost a few hundred pounds rather than the thousands I have spent over the years on useless aids.

    But of course each individual is different. What works for me might not be good for others.

    I have mentioned Bose before on here but I promise I have no connection with the company!

    I also find translation apps very useful, both for English voices and French, although some of the results can be amusing. French friends looking over my shoulder at my phone find them hilarious.
  19. Similar arrangement in our household, Idun.

    He might like to try Bose HeaRphones. They work better for me than any of the several very expensive hearing aids I have tried over the years and at a fraction of the cost. Bit more obtrusive and when the rechargeable battery expires, you are supposed to throw the whole thing away (I will probably slice it open at that stage to see if I can find replaceable batteries for it before gluing it back together). But they have made a huge improvement in my life and, using Bluetooth, I can patch them directly to my mobile phone - although, as your husband finds, some voice tones are always going to be difficult.
  20. Dai was collecting an American tourist from the other side of the Severn Bridge. As they drove over towards Wales the Yank boasted that there were longer bridges everywhere in the States that took them half as long to build.

    Passing Cardiff Castle he told the cabbie his holiday cottage in California was bigger than that and put up in 2 months.

    Approaching the Millennium Stadium, the American asked Dai: “What’s that place?”

    “I’ve no idea”, replied Dai. “It wasn’t there this morning”.
  21. The problem with the word "diet" is that it immediately conjures up the idea of some rigid plan instead of just meaning what you eat.

    Dad for example didn't have any structured list to follow. His doctor - an old-fashioned, sensible type - simply told him which foods to avoid or cut down on and generally to avoid eating too much. The only things that were written down were a few simple daily exercises. And together, it worked remarkably well.

    When Dad died, I wrote to his (retired) doctor to thank him for giving us an extra 20 years with a healthy and happy father.
  22. Not exactly a scientific sample but here are two contrasting cases that have affected me:

    1. My gran. Had a hard, active life as a single Mum. When she finally retired, she said "That's it. I am going to sit back, eat what I want now and enjoy what's left of my life". She went from being a fit jovial woman to a very overweight lady. Her knees gave out - her doctor said her weight was too much for them - so she struggled to get out of her chair and needed a stick to get around. She might have enjoyed her food but she paid for it for hours, days, years after, always complaining about her aches and pains, feeling bloated, etc.

    2. My Dad. Pretty much the opposite. As a lorry driver he spent much of the working day seated behind a steering wheel. Meals were often taken quickly at transport cafes. So when he retired, he was overweight and not long after suffered a heart attack. His doctor said that unless he changed his lifestyle, he would be lucky to see 70. Unlike Gran, Dad followed the advice to the letter and within a year was at his ideal weight. He died aged 91, having continued to drive and enjoy all sorts of activities until only a few months earlier. He was a very sociable chap and 140 people attended his funeral, all commenting on how cheerful and active he had been to the end.

    Certainly made me think, albeit somewhat belatedly.
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