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Everything posted by Eslier

  1. Cassis, I am sure some will appreciate the humour of your suggestion but for the benefit of any newer members who are not quite familiar with the humour of some our longer standing members, no that is not the case. For full details of what is and is not allowed to be posted within the forum please refer to the Code of Conduct which can be found at: http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/465569/ShowPost.aspx If anyone requires further clarification  of any points in the Code of Conduct then please contact either one of the moderators, or forum admin, PRIVATELY. We are all happy to answer PMs on this subject. Please do not discuss it within the forum. In the interest of preventing this thread developing into a discussion regarding the administartion of the forum (which would be contrary to the Code of Conduct and result in its removal) I have now locked the thread.
  2. How about Jade or Pau shell jewelery for the female members of the family ?   Maybe some Tui Balm ?  NZ calendars are also a great idea - we get a couple each year from our family there.  For the males, what about some All Blacks items (keyrings etc.) as its Rugby World Cup in France next year. Oh yes, and one of those squashed possum keyrings !
  3. Can't be done directly. You would need to buy a scan converter box to make it work. Should be between about 50 & 100€.
  4. [quote user="Will "]I would never personally buy lenses from the USA, or any other foreign country, having had no end of trouble (when in Britain admittedly) with extra duty charges, non-delivery of paid-for items etc. Particularly when I found that I could get the same product, at a price within a few pence for a 3-month supply, from a high-street optician in France. I have also read stories of inferior pirated goods being offered by cheap suppliers, and my eyes are too precious to me to take that risk. So now I use Specsavers, get the check ups done (no charge and quick service) and pick up the lenses when in Britain. I suppose those who travel fewer times than I do might not be able to do that, but it works for me. [/quote] Yes Will, I had the same problem when I had lenses delivered to the UK. Had to go to the post office to pick up and pay a huge amount of duty. Here in France, however, they just arrive with postie and I've never had to pay anything.  I buy monthly lenses for me and Focus Dailies for our son, both of which are the  genuine article and a fraction of the cost  at Vision Express in the UK. Delivery time is usually about 10-14 days after the order is placed. Focus Dailies are currently $36.95 for a 90 pack from visiondirect.com. I usualy buy six months supply at a time to keep postage costs to a  minimum.  Even after postage it works out to around 25€ (or£17) per month.  From memory, the UK opticians charge something like £30-£35 for the same thing.
  5. I use http://www.visiondirect.com/ who are very efficient and very cheap. Even after paying postage from the US they are still about 60% cheaper than I used to pay in the UK. I have never been charged duty in France.
  6. They make some very good wines in Australia but they make some pretty awful over sweet over oaked wines too. What the aussies have been good at is marketting their wines, to the extent that many of the rubbish wines have become the new "Blue Nunn" type wines that so many people want to drink now but, in time, it may lose favour. The important thing is that if you enjoy drinking some of these wines then that's great, because it should be about what you enjoy. Be adventurous however and try some of the lesser known, perhaps more expensive Aussie wines and you may well discover some gems. There are so many excellent wines from around the world, some (like the famous New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs) are already well known but there are many others from places like South Africa which are yet to receive the widespread general public aclaim that is overdue. The influence that the southern hemisphere wine growers have had upon the wine industry in France is beginning to show. We are now seeing more single grape varieties - simply labelled and sold as such - and producers who are starting to worry a little less about that old fashioned and often meaningless Appelation Controllée label. You may have to visit  the independant wine merchants to see the greatest indication of this trend  however as the supermarkets are less inclined towards setting trends than simply meeting demand.  France is the "daddy" of world wines and let us not forget that the greatest wines are still recognised as coming from France. On the other hand, within the huge quantity of wine which is produced each year there is of course a lot of very ordinary, and sometimes poor wine. That's not to say that the ordinary wines aren't often very good value - they are, and that's what most French families will drink on a daily basis. To start to understand why French is the worlds greatest wine producer however, you need to be trying some of the better wines every now and then. You don't have to spend a lot, there are lots of first class wines available in supermarkets and wine merchants at between 8€ and 20€ a bottle. If you aren't sure what to buy then think about which grape varieties you like best. If you like Pinot Noir then try a good Burgandy; if you like merlot then try a Pomerol; if you like sauvignon blanc, try a Pouilly Fumé; if you like chardonnay, try a Chablis. These are just a few examples but it's not a bad principle to start you off. Beware buying the cheapest of these labels however as they often dissapoint. The important thing is to drink what you like. Not everything will appeal to everyone and we will all have our own personal likes and dislikes.  On a personal note, I think my current favourite is probably good red burgandy (which I got hooked on after I discovered how much I enjoyed New Zealand Pinot Noir) A Cotes de Beaune premier cru at about 20€ from our local wine cave is amazing value. For whites, maybe a New Zealand chardonnay (look out for the Serresin label - just as good as Cloudy Bay if not better).  My personal dislike has to be anything from Spain - yes I know they make some excellent widely acknowledged wines, but depsite trying loads from cheap to expensive, I haven't found anything I like. It might amuse some to learn that the world famous Cloudy Bay winery in Marlborough, New Zealand is actually owned by Veuve Cliquot the French champagne house ! What a great subject !
  7. As a Cd'H must hold a drinks license even for serving coffee etc. then presumably this makes, by definition, the areas where breakfasts etc. served classed as public ?
  8. There are several reasons why Sky may have blocked the card. The two most likely are: They have discovered that you are using the card in France - have you telephoned them for any reason ? The original person to whom the card was issued has asked Sky for a replacement - possibly so he can sell it to another unsuspecting person (a common scam) and so the original card has been cancelled. Sky viewing cards are only valid when used at the address to which they are originally registered and when used by the person to whom they are registered. You therefore have no comeback if a card stops working because the person who sold it to you had no legal right to sell it to you. Technically, buying a second hand card could be construed as receiving stolen goods - however no one, including Sky, really  cares too much about that and I'm not aware of anyone ever being prosecuted for using a card in France. The only thing you can do is try to obtain another card one way or another.
  9. We asked our French vet about the difference in the time required between boosters and his answer was interesting. Three or four years ago there was a dog somewhere in the south of France which contracted rabies (from a fox it was deduced). This dog had been given the rabies vaccine three years before, so we know for certain that the vaccine is not effective after three years. The vet's opinion was that two years was too close to three years for comfort and that vaccinating each year provided a more effective safety buffer.
  10. This has come up before on a number of occassions. If you search through the B&B and Gite Owners section you should be able to find some useful information posted by Miki, Gastines and others. You have entered into a very grey area and the advice given from one department to another seems to vary greatly. If you already have another main source of income then it would seem that it becomes a whole lot simpler as you shouldn't need to register and you just declare the extra income on your tax return. The problem comes where the B&B income will be your sole or main source of earned income. The system wasn't really set up to cope with this and so many officials will interpret it as being that you have to register. With only two rooms I assume you aren't expecting to make much more than a few thousand Euros so the income will be fairly insignificant and you may well find that you can get away without registering but this might mean that you have to do things the French way - i.e. just act first, don't ask for professional advice and wait to see if someone tells you otherwise. If you want to do things properly and go through the correct channels then you should probably visit your local Chamber of Commerce but they will almost certainly tell you that you need to register and then you will have little option but to comply. Don't forget that you will also need a Class I or Class II license from the customs too.
  11. Ian is absolutely correct. Up until a couple of years ago it waspossible to bring your pet to France on an Export  Certificate which didn't necessitate   a rabies jab. Since the introduction of the new style  EU Pet Passport this facility  has been withdrawn  and the passport (issued 21 days after the rabies jab) is the only way you can bring a dog to France. I read recently, that if you are caught by French customs bringing a dog into France without the necessary passport then not only are you subject to a huge fine, the dog is taken away and destroyed. I would urge your mother, therefore, to visit her vet in the UK without delay and organise the microchipping, rabies jab and issue of the EU Passport as soon as the puppy is old enough.
  12. I suspect, from your exlanation, that the dealer will register the lhd car in the UK so you will have a GB number plate, UK insurance and road tax. You should ensure that the dealer provides you with a "certificate of conformity" as you will need this when you re-regiater it after moving to France. Presumably the car will be supplied with lhd headlamp dipping but you would be wise to check this (and the legality of this on a UK reg. car). If they are xenon headlamps then they can probably be easily swithched between left and right hand dipping. You cannot register a car in France without a French address. There is a cost - which depending on the car - can be fairly substantial. A car which is registered in France can be insured in France and will not need a Controle Technique until it is four years old. French insurance usually provides full cover throughout the EU. If you drive the car in the UK as a visitor, then as long as the car is road legal in France then it is legal to drive there. If you become resident in the UK then the car will need to be re-registered there.
  13. [quote user="Jazzer"]Do  the French operate budget accounts for fuel purchases?[/quote] Yes - Point Vert do. We usually buy our fioul from them and each year they send us details of their monthly payment budget account scheme. I don't personally use it and I couldn't tell you if it costs any more that way.
  14. Take a look at the oven spec.   A lot of single fan ovens are only rated at about 10A.
  15. Try http://www.britserv.com/ The offer a friendly professional service and cover all areas of France and the UK.
  16. Passwords are case sensitive - has she tried entering it in both lower and upper case ?
  17. It is impossible for anyone to advise you on the value of this property without knowing the house and the commune it is situated in. You will need to compare it with similar properties in the same area to get an idea of what the true value is. Four months is not long for a property to be on the market in France, so this is no reason alone why the vendor should be expected to accept a low offer. It is quite customary for some properties to remain on the market for years. Having decided upon a rough valuation of the house in this area, you need to think very carefuly about what it is worth to you. It is important that you agree on a price that you are comfortable with, which may have little to do with trying to get a bargain. Don't be swayed by tales of bargains that can be had, the reality is that the majority of properties exchange hands at a fair market value. A little bit of woodworm is not usually anything to get worried about and is quite common in France. If you are worried about it then get an experienced French carpenter builder to view the house with you and ask him to advise you if he thinks you need to investigate it further. My advice would be to make the vendor a fair offer - which may be well below the asking price or on the other hand may be only just below the asking price. Be prepared to negotiate but keep in mind what it is worth to you. Remember also that if you go ahead with the purchase, it will be far better to be on friendly terms with the vendor if at all possible.
  18. If you go to the newsagent and buy a copy of the "Argus" newspaper (published weekly) it will have a list of second hand car values which should be a help. You will also find lots of cars advertised for sale. Average km is around 20000km per year. A petrol car should cover about 150000km before needing any major works whilst a diesel should manage  200000km.  You will find that petrol models are significantly cheaper to buy second hand. Although the cost of  gasoil is less, if you drive around 20000km a year it will probably still take you up to four years to recoup the money you will pay extra for a diesel in the first place (based upon the fact that a three year old diesel will probably cost about 1000€ more than its nearest petrol equivalent). Second hand cars are more expensive here than in the UK but it's best not to think about that assuming you want a LHD car. This is due mainly to the fact that French people don't change their cars nearly as often as Brits so there are fewer on the market. When you buy a car, ask if the cost of reregistering is included in the price and confirm that the garage will sort this out for you. It will be much easier for your if they do it before you pick the car up but it may take them a few days. If you are buying a French car then I would say the warranty offered by the garage (might be six or twelve months depending on the number of km on the clock) should be sufficient providing the car is around average km, but it is always a chance ! The offer of 1300€ for your car sounds very fair.
  19. We don't usually offer towels Susan.  If clients are flying then we give them the option of renting at 10€ per set (hand towel, bath towel and swimming towel) but otherwise we don't offer unless asked. This year I think we've only provided towels twice - once we offered as they were flying and once we were asked. We were only asked on one other occassion and in the end they decided to bring their own (obviously not a problem as they've booked to come back next year).  To be honest, when, like you, we are laundering bed linen for up to 26 people per week (not including cots), the towels on top can be the straw that breaks the laundry maid's back !   We do provide bath mats, tea towels and oven gloves as standard  however.
  20. If you are eligible to use the student edition of MS Office, it now gives you a license to load it onto three computers without any additional cost. It is worth noting that MS have changed the way they deal with the student edition of Office. You no longer have to obtain an activation code, after having a card signed and stamped by your school / college. The CD supplied with the box provides you with a full working version. They just take your word for the fact that you are eligible to use it !
  21. Thanks guys, but I was hoping someone was going to tell me there's one which doesn't require reagents. I have seen one advertised, made in China, where you just drop two electrodes into the water but it looks a bit cheap and cheerful.
  22. Is it possible to buy such a thing as a meter which will give a digital readout of chlorine, ph and cynauric acid etc. ?   If so, does anyone know how much they cost and where I can buy one (online possibly) ?.
  23. Mobile phone companies now offer "gprs" as a means to gain high speed web access via a mobile phone. If you get yourself a Motorola phone with gprs capability - something like the Razor V3i it comes with a lead to connect to your laptop and a cd with the necessary software to configure windows to connect to the internet via your mobile phone.  I've not got as far a checking out the charges made by the French mobile operators but, in the UK, charging is according to the kb of data downloaded. I've just been looking into this myself in advance of a trip back to England at Christmas when it is essential I have regular access to my email. I would be very interested to hear from anyone, who has actually used this setup, if it is a good as it sounds.
  24. I have been following this with interest. The gite rental business is no different from any others and has and will continue to develop. It is a good thing when suggestions such as those made by Pun encourage us to think "outside the box". It is interesting to note that many gite owners are getting closer to the "all inclusive" holiday with things like electricity and bed linen etc. now included witin most summer pricing. My own thoughts are that  the idea of all cleaning being inclusive should be an attraction to potential clients but, surprisingly, my own experience tells me otherwise.  Our gites are at the top end of the pricing scale and for most of our clients money isn't really a problem. Ours are the sort of clients who will quite happily pay for a Friday night / Saturday Brittany Ferries crossing in the peak season at anything up to £800 return. You might think, therefore, think that paying a few extra Euros (anything between 35 and 75 depending on the size of the property) for the optional cleaning service would be a popular option. Not so !  We are currently on booking number 48 of the year (some one week and some two week bookings) and of those, just three have opted to pay for cleaning. We have an arrangement with a local gite maintenance company wherby our guests can call them in on the Friday prior to the Saturday of their departure. The money is paid direct to them so it is made clear that we are not trying to profit from the arrangement. I would say we've probably had about another three groups who clearly haven't made much effort whatsoever to clean up after them, about another three who have done a fantastic job of cleaning up and the majority just make a bit of effort and do an ok job. In any case, the properties are thoroughly cleaned to a high standard prior to the arrival of the next guests. One thing that confuses me Pun, why do you think you need eight hours for cleaning one gite ?  Will you be the only one doing the cleaning ?  If there are two of you, then 10am to 4pm gives you 12 man hours which should be enough to give even a fairly large property a pretty good clean.  If you are on your own then perhaps it would be worth employing someone to come in and give you a hand. I must say that I agree with the sentiments of others that I don't think 9am departures and 5pm arrivals will be popular with your guests.
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