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Hells Bells

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Everything posted by Hells Bells

  1. Thanks for all the advice... Just removed another one from under the baby's bath. Thought it was dead until I had scooped it up in a cup whereupon it began to flap around. Not that I'm particularly squeamish or anything but they are getting a bit much. I'm also quite concerned that our one year old may find one before we do and begin 'playing' with it. We are in the Haute Garonne (31) and whilst I am fully grateful for the job they do with the flies (we have a lot of sheep around here and more flies than Australia) they are becoming a real nuisance in the house. Perhaps the bird netting is the way to go, we just need to find a ladder that will reach the four stories from cellar to attic. Anyway, if there is a local conservation group which can tell us what to do with them would be interested to hear. Thanks again Helen
  2. We have bats in our attic and peaceful co-existance is becoming more challenging by the year as the size of the colony is seemingly getting larger (if amounts of guano are anything to go by) together with the number of them that my husband is having to escort out of the rest of the house of an evening. Are there companies 'licenced' to get rid of bats, or is this an environmental health issue to take up with our local council? Any other advice on encouraging them to live elsewhere gratefully received... Thanks Hells Bells
  3. I know this comes up a lot but.... Our chimney can only take a 125 mm flue which means a small stove. However, we live up in the mountains (at 1200 metres) and need a big stove to heat our large open plan living room/kitchen. Spoken to a local installer who insists that it's dangerous to reduce a 150 mm flue outlet to 125 mm, and also tells us that oval tubing is not flexible enough for our chimney which has a bit of a bend in it. Looking at some of the postings on the site I see people mentioning flattening tubes, using reducers etc. Anybody know of (a) stoves with a power output above 8 kW with a 125 mm flue? (b) advice on 'reducing' a larger flue to fit our chimney? (c) expanding our chimney - only the top 90cm is 125mm wide, the other 10 metres is larger? Any ideas gratefully recevied. Regards Helen
  4. Hi there We have a beautiful open fireplace which completely fails to heat our living room and so have been exploring options for heating this space. We really like the idea of an insert but have been told both by the chimney sweep and a local cheminee supplier and fitter that our chimney is too narrow and the best we can do is a poele as apparently they have smaller flues. Unfortunately, we don't really like the look of the poeles we have seen (especially for our cheminee). Anybody got any ideas about: (a) makers of inserts with small flues; or (b) why can't the flue vary in size from where it exits the insert to where it exits the chimney?; Anything else on the above topic would be handy.... Cheers Hells Bells    
  5. Thanks for all that. Can only agree that prices are crazy! Argus is like Parkers in the UK, basically a kind of 'official' 2ndhand price guide. We've seen on small ads several times cars advertised at 'Argus + 2000 Euros'. Which may make sense to the seller but not to us...of course we'd like to give you 2,000 Euros more than this guide says it's worth. We had thought of UK and Belgium but as we live in the Pyrenees we'd have to be pretty certain we'd found the perfect car before making the journey, and at our budget (given that 5,000 is tops) I'm not sure the cost of a trip to the UK/Belgium is worth it. Spain is obviously an option but the prices we've found on the web would seem to be about the same as France. And then we'd have to pay for certificate of conformity etc. etc. Guess we just go and get some dealers to laugh at us when we try them with offers of half what they're asking. Thanks again
  6. We're currently searching for a secondhand car to replace our 15 year old UK registered VW. Our budget is around  Euro 5,000 tops but we've found in garages (main dealers and independent) and in the small ads that cars are always advertised at around double (at least) the Argus price. Anyone had any experience of getting prices down to the Argus price? Any other tips down the cheaper end of the market? Thanks Hells Bells
  7. We moved to France in September and I found out I was pregnant in early October. My husband is now fully registered with URSSAF and the other approproate French authorities and we received our Cartes Vitale a few weeks ago. I had also enquired of Newcastle whether I would be entitled to an E106 (back in October) and they had indicated that I was unlikely to qualify. Obviously, last week I received my E106 which is valid until the end of this year. Can anyone tell me what I should do? That is, do I tell Newcastle I don't require the E106 or tell the French authorities that I have the E106, or is this all likely to result in everyone cancelling everything and leaving me back at square one without any cover at all! Any advice gratefully received Helen
  8. Hi there Is anyone able to recommend a nice hotel or chambre d'hote in Chartres for our wedding anniversary? We'd prefer to be able to either eat in or be within walking distance of a good restaurant.  Hope this question doesn't infringe any anti-advertising rules on the forum... Thanks and regards Helen
  9. Thanks again to all for advice. We've now reached a satisfactory compromise and found a local obstetrician who we will be seeing for the first six months (and who we will be paying directly for the forseeable future...). We couldn't find a PMI in the Haute-Garonne, but tried the CAS and the local hospital. The former only deal with babies, not pregnancies but did direct us to a local citizens advice bureau type organisation. The latter made an appointment for me with an obstetrician for mid-November. The appointment card tells you to bring along your Carte Vitale, soc sec number and medical notes. I think I have little hope of having any of these by mid-November but we shall see. We have been to the Chamber of Commerce (and the Centre de Formations des Enterprises) who were helpful but left us feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information they wanted. Part of this was to decide which 'regime fiscal' my husband will be registering under, so he duly trotted off to see an accountant who has told him that he shouldn't be registering with the Chamber of Commerce but with the URSSAF as he undertakes a "profession liberale". We are now waiting for the forms to come from URSSAF and are undecided as to whether to cancel the next meeting we have with the Chamber of Commerce! We also passed by the CPAM who told us that actually we need to speak to the CMR if registered with URSSAF. Is it my imagination or is this a seriously over-complicated system? I am beginning to feel like a dog chasing my tail and the only bright point is that the obstetrician did a very early ultrasound yesterday and we got to see the baby which was much more exciting than I was anticipating.... Apologies if this has turned into a bit of a whinge...having one of those days/weeks! Helen
  10. Hi Thanks to all for the replies. Very much appreciated. Husband now has a mountian of soft cheese to get through.... I've now spoken to Newcastle and it seems that I'm probably not eligible for the E106 (too much time travelling - not enough time working). We're onto the Chambre de Commerce so fingers crossed that they're friendly bureaucrats and we can get that sorted pretty quickly. Will start researching the rest immediately. Thanks again Helen
  11. Hi I wonder if anyone can shed any light on the above for me. My husband and I moved to France 5 weeks ago (permanently) and I found out last week that I am pregnant (six weeks or so according to the various calculators to be found on the web). We are not yet registered with CPAM, and don't have any forms E111 or E106 etc, largely as a result of never being ill and thinking it could wait. My husband is self-employed and as yet unregistered with the Chambre de Commerce. The estate agent through whom we bought the house, recommended a doctor to us and we went to see him yesterday. Whilst extremely polite he basically told us to come back in 6 weeks or so (if I had not miscarried in the meantime) with our Carte Vitale. Having had various friends who have been pregnant in the UK recently, this struck me as somewhat unhelpful. Shouldn't he have given me lists of things I am not supposed to eat, booked me in for blood tests and ultrasounds etc? This is our frist pregnancy ever and I'm somewhat concerned! Any advice as to what we should be doing gratefully received. Helen
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