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Jill<br><br>Jill (99)

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Everything posted by Jill<br><br>Jill (99)

  1. [quote user="cooperlola"]L'Histoire de France pour les Nuls is great!  And you can practice your French in nice, bitesized chunks at the same time.[/quote]   I'm reading that too - I like the way it has the little flags like "un evenement important", "une date a retenir", "le saviez-vous" and "une anecdote".  This style makes it an easy read and brings things to your attention in an entertaining way.  I'm reading it chronologically, but have dipped in to bits I particularly wanted to look up.  But for an easy way to French History, why not pick up a subject that interests you and google it.  I did that for the Cathares recently, because we are going Cathare visiting in the summer. Another thought is that if you are visiting specific regions, the Dorling Kindersley guide books have a history of the region, with a time line.  I received a French History Book for Christmas the other year, and it was an Oxford or Cambridge one, but it was grouped into subjects, so just huge chapters lumping everything together with no chronology to it, so I just couldn't be bothered with it.  When visiting places of historic interest in France, there may be interesting history books in English.  Whereas in England it may be better to wait and see if you can get English books cheaper on the internet or British bookshops, I don't think that the French are allowed to discount books, so if you see something you like, you may as well buy it.
  2. My 17 year old son saw it a few weeks ago while on an exchange trip to France with college.  He thoroughly enjoyed it, even though he didn't understand all of it.  He says he'll buy it for me for Christmas as I'd like to see it and he says he would like to see it again.  He's just working on his AS level French, so if he can get enough from it to be amused, probably you should be OK with it.  There was an article about it in the Tele mag a couple of weeks ago and there were a few examples of Chti' in there.  Dany Boon was also on a show on French television late last week and he seems to do a stand up act using some of the jokes which are in the film.  There were a few clips from it too, and yes it was quite hard to understand in random bits, but in context I expect it would be easier.  Unfortunately I dozed off and didn't see all of it.  It wasn't boredom, and it wasn't through drinking the very excellent Cht'i Ambree, as we couldn't get any in the Saumur region!  Perhaps it's a good idea to buy it when it comes out on DVD and use the French subtitles if you don't want to read English ones - I'm not sure it is the sort of film which would get English subtitles, anyway.
  3. My car is a Skoda Octavia and it is possible to tilt the lights by twiddling something on the dashboard - but only for when you have a full boot so that it doesn't glare at people when you are driving in England.  This seems bizarre to me.  You would have thought that if the headlight can just be twiddled, it would be possible to make all headlights twiddleable so that you can tilt them for use in England or in Europe- especially given that surely there are more of most types of car on mainland Europe than Britain.  Why don't manufacturers think of such obvious things?  Oh, of course, it would mean that sales of deflectors would go down!
  4. [quote user="Red Dwarf"] Follow the A28 all the way, around Rouen and on to Abbeville, where it “becomes” the A16.    [/quote] But the A28 doesn't go all round Rouen - if only it did!  We went that way in the Easter holidays. Mappy sends you through the middle of Rouen and on the A13 for a few miles.  On the way south it was OK - Sunday afternoon, roads fairly quiet, but on Saturday (4 days ago) on the way back, the road signs just didn't tally with Mappy's route and we ended up guessing our way through Rouen and joining the A28 a bit further north.  If ever a city needed a ring road!  There must be a better way from the A28 to the A28 without going through the middle of Rouen - any ideas?  Next time I think we will do a wider circle on smaller roads.
  5. Back in August, I got hooked on Pont l'Eveque, but the problem is, French cheese only ever tastes good to me at the end of a meal in France.  For me, it just doesn't really work in England unless you can get a decent pain de campagne, and even then it would only work for me as a cheese course with a glass of red wine.  On the whole, I don't really like traditional French cheese - especially not when it is runny.  Even in France, I couldn't just eat a Pont l'Eveque sandwich, for example.  If I was to have bread and cheese in France as part of a picnic, then I'd go for Beaufort, Comte or Emmental - sometimes Cantal/Entre deux - but then, those are similar to English cheese.  I have started to like chevre now and I do like to have a salad of chevre on baguette toast with lardons - even in England!  I can't bear Brie or any of the blue cheeses, but wouldn't eat English blue cheese either.  I probably wouldn't eat raclette cheese or reblochon uncooked either, but we do eat Raclette and Tartiflette fairly regularly.
  6. I personally would be looking for a menu which was offering dishes which were typical of the region itself.  For example, when I was last in Provence, I bought a book on Provencal cooking and one of the recipes from it I cook when camping in France is rabbit cooked with whole, unpeeled garlic which you then spread on toast.  Another dish is with chicken, olives, tomatoes - not forgetting the herbes de provence etc.  Once we had lunch in the restaurant which is just by the exit to the castle at Les Baux de Provence and I had a salad which had marinated courgettes and aubergines plus pepper which I think were roasted.  I'd love to have that again, but I can't find a recipe for it (the marinade, that is).  If I was looking for a restaurant and I had a choice of a few restaurants, I'd go for the one serving dishes I hadn't had before which were typical of the area over something that was a well known dish of the region that I had eaten before or cooked myself.  
  7. Can't the university provide advice about this?  Have other students done this in previous years, for example.  If so, perhaps it could be arranged for your son to take over their accommodation.  My daughter will also be doing a year abroad, but hopes to go as an Assistante in a French school.  We don't yet know where she is going, but she was told that if she was replacing another student, she might be able to acquire their accommodation.  Sorry I can't offer any actual advice - I'll be watching this spot, as information provided to you, may be useful to me too.
  8. Thanks - I had a look on se loger tonight, and you are right - there are quite a few houses there which interest me.  Drome Provencal looks quite promising.  It was one of the areas I'd been considering following a holiday in Malaucene a couple of years ago.  I now need to work out if we can pull in a few days in that area towards the end of our summer holiday.
  9. We've been to weddings of a few French friends, but there has always been a huge variation in what people have worn.  It depends on the family really.  The women all seem to dress up, but I've seen men very casually dressed.  I would think it may also depend on what sort of reception.  Three of the weddings I attended were in one family - 25 years apart.  All were in rented halls.  The first was catered by the groom and his friend who were both chefs in the French Navy and we all mucked in to help.  I can remember being out in the garden late the night before cutting fruit for the biggest fruit salad I have ever seen - in a barrel.  The second wedding they had caterers in and the third - the groom from the first wedding did the catering for his daughters wedding with his work colleagues.  These were all casual family affairs with a huge number of guests.  The other wedding was more formal with a restaurant meal with close family and special friends.  Everyone was smarter. That couple had also been living together and the wedding list was at a travel agents - we could buy air miles, pay for a night in the hotel, a restaurant meal, flowers, limo from the airport etc for their honeymoon.  We paid for them to go to a restaurant.  When we went to the two more recent weddings in the other family, we were told that money would be preferred. I asked a few French friends for advice and one said that she considered the norm to be to think how much the meal was going to cost and multiply by how many were going from our family.  She suggested 20 euros each, and as there were four of us, I gave 100 euros.  But now, I wonder if it was enough.  I hadn't been to a wedding in England for about 20 years.  Times have changed since I got married nearly 30 years ago when people would give a utensil rack, an ironingboard, a couple of towels.  It probably depends too on which bit of the wedding you are invited too.  At the wedding where we went to a restaurant, some people only went to a hall for the Vin d'honneur, so they were lesser friends - perhaps they gave less?  Anyway, as it was a French friend who gave me guidance on the money present, it's one possible guide. 
  10. [quote user="woody234"]you sound like someone in your 30's looking for a perfect house in france, you say you get your 50%  inheritence from the sale of your moms house when it sells but if the market doesnt improve it may never happen, surley the housing market in france and the uk is relative so if your house in the uk goes down 10% then the house you like in france goes down 10%, you say your mum panicked and found somthing out of the county where i could continue to study french, did you mean she found another college course for you or she quickly sold her house and brought another one someone where you could study french, surley you could have  studied french in any county in england  in the 1980's or 1990's, your maybe a teacher thats in her 30's with young kids thats not sure where to settle in france or italy, why dont you give it a few years untill you know what you really want, niort has a fantastic market maybe on fridays or saturdays and also lots of shops and a geant[/quote] No, sorry, it was the the mid-70's and I went to a secondary school which went comprehensive when I was 14, the careers advice I had only led me to do a secretarial course and I couldn't do one with French in my own county.  We had to make a special application for me to go on a secretarial course with French over the border - 3 miles away and had to pay for exams and claim them back because I was out of county.  If I had had suitable advice at the time, I would have studied for O levels at college and then perhaps gone on to study French at university, but we were not aware that I could have done that.  I did A level French at an evening class when I was 19.  I do know exactly what I want and roughly where I want it.  I'm not really looking for the perfect house, but something very simple.  Just a terraced house really.  You see lots of them around, but perhaps they aren't the sort of houses that go onto the market very often.  I do know what I really want.  I've spent a lot of time in France in many different regions, either visiting friends, camping or renting gites.  We did once stay in a gite in Normandy which was just the sort of thing I would like, but I've not seen that sort of thing for sale.  I'll try some of the other websites suggested some time, but haven't got the time I need to do that at the moment.
  11. Thanks for that information Cendrillon.  I'll take the list to France with me next week.  Hopefully a few will turn up on market stalls for 2nd hand books.    
  12. I was really surprised to read that Henri Troyat isn't French.  I studied La Neige en Deuil for A level and it was never mentioned.  However, I've googled him and he was only 9 when he moved from Russia to France, so surely his French must be pretty good, although it is true that he was considered an easy read.  I expect if any of you moved to France when your children were around the age of 9, they must speak and write French like a native by now. Irene Nemirovsky is also a Russian who went to France around the same time.  I was given Suite Francaise, and would recommend that.  I was actually given it in English, but would like to read it in French.  The book itself was never actually finished.  She died in a concentration camp, but her young daughters escaped and had taken the manuscript and notes with them.  I think it was about 50 years later that it was actually published.  Reading the notes she had made for the completion of the book along with some of her own thoughts, only days before she was arrested, is very poignant.  Prompted by this book, I bought David Golder, also by her.  It is OK, not thrilling but readable and may appeal to some of you. Christian Signol and Pagnol are my favourite French Authors, although I keep saying I must read more Moliere and Voltaire.  Especially having recently seen the film Moliere. Sac de Billes by Joseph Joffo is really good - true story about Joseph and his brother escaping out of occupied to the demiltiarised part of France and their movements to hide from the Germans. 
  13. I really enjoyed Kate Mosse's books and also enjoy Joanne Harris.  As French author's go, I really enjoy reading Christian Signol.  I suppose he is rather like Pagnol, but writing now, about the past.  The books give a lot of feel for old ways of life in France and an insight into various things, such as the way vineyards were run as well as various historical facts touched upon from 1870 through the wars, in Les Vignes de St Colombe and in other books, a feel for rural communities.  In Les Bonheurs d'Enfance, it is about when the old trades were dying out and I felt I could smell the places he was describing. I wonder - has anyone read Les Rois Maudits?  Only I went to an Alliance Francaise lecture where this was discussed - not the book or the television series, but the proper history.  Or, have you seen the series?  I believe there are two available on DVD.  I had hoped to receive one at Christmas, as I thought the book might be a bit heavy going, but my husband said the DVD hadn't got very good reviews.  I'm going to France next week, and thought I might buy the DVD or book while I'm there unless anyone tells me it really is rubbish!
  14. Looking on the education forum, someone had made a comment about policing as a job possibility.  I was wondering, those of you who live in France - how do the French people around you look on policing as a job.  25 years ago, we were visiting French friends and we went with them to visit a friend of theirs who was in the police and no one passed any derogatory comments about that.  However, another of my French friends, well she herself is German but married into a French family and living in France, well she was appalled when her son decided to join the police.  It was as though she was ashamed of it.  Now, his younger brother is talking of joining the police having been studying for a business/accounts orientated bac.  She doesn't seem happy about it.  In England, I think people have always looked on policing as a respectable job, but it just doesn't seem that way for my friend's family.  So, have you found this to be the case too?
  15. [quote user="breizh"] Properties that the real French buy? Answer the standard modern beige boxes, or flats. The price depends pretty much on the employment prospects in the area. My wife has 10 sisters and a brother, so it's a pretty good sample. But, I doubt it's what you want to hear. You really need to sort out a budget, then see what you can get for your money, and also on what you will have to compromise. Ideally rent long-term in the area before buying, so you are totally sure. Stick to the French websites and Notaires if your french is up to it.   [/quote] Yes, I see what you mean about the standard modern beige boxes.  Our French friends mostly bought their houses round about 1980 when even estates were being built to more individual designs.  They could choose their plot, then choose a design of house to go on it.  The house was built as a shell - just the ground floor and no stair case, just a stair well.  They lived in the house as a 2 bedroomed bungalow for a few years, then put up partition walls upstairs and added a staircase later.  So the houses were more individual.  I do have another friend though, who lives in Lorraine in a basically two-up, two-down terraced house and they have converted the loft.  That is pretty much like the first house we bought in England and would be just the right sort of thing for a maison secondaire, except I haven't seen houses like that on the internet.  But anyway, I'll start looking when I have enough time for a long session on the internet. Sorry to have done so many postings, but it seems the easiest way to reply to comments which I felt needed a reply, and I missed this one yesterday.
  16. I'm not sure whether it is me you recognise,  as I don't remember there being a Cendrillon when I used to use the forum.  It could be that it is longer than 2 years.  I wasn't looking for a house back then - I don't think I discussed buying a house - although I suppose I could have done. There are very few people on the forum who I recognise from previously - Only about 4 names I recognise.  I've always wanted to live in France, but financially, it hasn't been possible.  However, I am hopeful that we might be able to get something in the next couple of years as I've inherited half of my mother's house, which is on the market.  But if the market doesn't improve, it may still never happen.  I was all for going to France when I was 16 as an au pair, because I wasn't happy with the college courses on offer to me, but then my Mum panicked and found something out of the county where I could continue to study French.  Due to marriage and work commitments, we've not been able to actually move to France, but we have always hoped to be able to spend a lot of time there.  At the moment, we just have to be content with 10 days at Easter and 3 weeks in the summer and last year we did our three weeks in Italy instead, and I've fallen in love with Italy too, which is why we want to be en route for going there.  Next week we are going to Niort and Saumur, which are totally out of the regions where we would be looking for a place, but it was a question of finding an area where there would be places open this early in the year.  Hopefully, I can arrange for part of our summer holiday to be in a house hunting area!
  17. I bought some potato starch, but can't think what it is called in France.  I find it better for things like wine/meat sauces.  It seems to blend in more naturally - less noticeable.
  18. [quote user="Rob Roy"] Jill wrote: But please also bear in mind that it needs to be an area where there are a good amount of castles, medieval towns, archeological sites.  I know there are places where there are cheap properties, but some of those places, such as Limousin, for example, we couldn't find anything to even fill 7 days during a holiday the other year.  It's fine if you are heavily into walking, but a walk is something we would do only occasionally.  We are essentially history and archeological people.  Er.....am I missing something here? We are in the southern part of the Limousin, and within 1-2 hour drive we could visit more pre-history sites than you could shake a stick at. Ever heard of Lascaux caves, then there's the troglydite (?spelling) villages, castles, fortified towns,many centres of significance involving the Resistance in WWII ? I could go on..... By the way we have just sold our house to 'real' French people, a young couple with a 2 year old who have been looking for months for an old stone property, they bought within 2 weeks of us putting it on the market. He's a teacher and she works for a Government department. [/quote] Yes, we have visited the Dordogne a couple of times.  I love that area - beautiful scenery, so much to see - we've been to Lascaux and we've been to Le Roc St Christophe twice, as well as to lots of other castles and other sites, such as other sorts of caves.  We've canoed on the Dordogne and the Vezere.  It's certainly an area we intend to return to as I'm sure there is still a lot we haven't seen.  In fact, I'm thinking of going more over to the Perigeux/Bergerac area this year, on our way to Carcassonne (for Cathare stuff mainly) and south of Millau on the way back up (for Templier stuff).  I'd happily buy somewhere in the Dordogne if it was more to the east for better access to other parts of Europe and also if there were not so many English people living there.  I'd prefer to be somewhere where we can really integrate with the French - which is why I'd prefer a small town or large village. 
  19. [quote user="Tressy"][quote user="Jill"]...We are essentially history and archeological people....[/quote] Jill, sorry if I missed it,  but given what you have said about Limousin, wouldn't you go through everything in any area within a few days/weeks?  Why do you want to buy somewhere in France?  You sound like the kind of people who are best suited to moving around, as far as holidays go, if it's your current 'interests' that are driving you. No criticism intended. Yours was a lengthy post and I may have missed something. [/quote] First - sorry if this quote thing goes wrong, it's the first time I've used this forum for about 2 years and the format has changed. Second - I'm going to have to do more than one post to answer individual's questions.  Sorry. Limousin - We always pick a base and travel out from there, but when we went to Limousin, we found that a lot of the castles I had information about were not open or not visitable.  We ended up going back into the Dordogne where we had just spent a week, because there is just SO much to see in the Dordogne.  I love that area, but it's not practical for us if we want to have a place as a stepping stone to places further afield. The reason I want to buy somewhere in France is because I have almost always wanted to live there, but for work reasons it hasn't been possible.  I'm self employed, working a 9 day week if you add the hours up (more sometimes). At home, I can't escape work.  I need somewhere to go during school holidays, so that I can just cut myself off from the work and pursue activities I don't have time for at home.  Yes, we do love to travel and go sightseeing, but would do that for part of the 6 weeks summer holidays.  Eventually, on retirement, we would like to live 3 months in each country.  My husband loves France almost as much as I do.  We have visited many regions of France and have French friends in quite a few regions, but unfortunately, not in the areas where we would be interested in living.  I hope that answers your question.    
  20. When we visited French friends a few months ago, we went for an Apero Dinatoire.  I must say, I wasn't very impressed although I'm sure other French people would serve very good ones.  It was mainly things like cubes of Edam (not even Emmenthal - but there are other better French hard cheeses), surimi (the French seem crazy about that awful stuff), gherkins - you know, it made so little impression on me that I can't even remember what else there was!  There wasn't even any decent French bread.  We had been told that although it was an apero, we wouldn't need to eat when we got back to where we were staying, and this was true.  It was a bit of a surprise though, because she has always served very good meals in the past.  To be fair, she has recently adopted two children, and this was her reason for not having time.  However, as she was on "maternity leave" but was leaving the children at a Centre Aeree all day, I fail to see how she couldn't have at least sliced up a baguette and spread it with a bit of pate, rillettes or tapenade.  Having had two children of my own, I've still always found time to prepare food.  As you mentioned, pizza's and quiche would be good finger foods.  Also, what about vol-au-vonts?  I've seen the big bouche's in France, but I've never actually seen vol-au-vonts.  Do they actually have them?  At Christmas, I buy frozen vol-au-vont cases and in the time it takes for them to bake, it is easy to make a white sauce and saute a few mushrooms to go in them, or thaw out some prawns or chop some smoked ham.  I used to do the pastry myself, but they kept turning into slinkies!  Also, what about good old English sausage rolls?  French people might like to be introduced to them.  Cheese scones are also an idea - they could be made small.  Mini quiches could be easier as finger food.  At a wedding I went to in France in August, the father of the bride and his colleagues did the catering (used to have his own restaurant and traiteur business) and he made some sort of pinwheels for the apero (not a dinatoire, a proper meal came afterwards).  These seemed to me to be pastry which had been spread with something - but I'm not sure what (varied)  and then rolled up so that when they were sliced and the slices were flattened before baking, they were like small palmier biscuits.  I'd guess that they had had grated cheese in some and others - perhaps tomato puree, herbs?  Also, what about borek?  These are a Greek pasty - either shaped like samosas or rolled up.  The filling is either mashed feta, mint and egg, or feta, spinach and egg.  You need filo pastry and paint it with melted butter before rolling up.  We always do those at Christmas too.  Gougeres - these are a sort of choux pastry which has cheese in it.   Depending on where you live and how much you want to spend, what about a few prawns?  Also, taramasalata, houmous, other dips and some veg to dip into them.  Sorry, a bit apt to get carried away when thinking about buffet food!  I realise the event has gone by but it might just help for another time.  It just goes to show though, that French people's expectations are not always as high as we think they are!  Another point on that - my penfriend, who is married to the afore mentioned chef, once served a fondue Bourgignonne to us - the vegetable accompaniment to it being a giant packet of crisps!  No wonder she married a chef!
  21. I'd just like to add that I also received this recipe from Teamed up a few years ago and would like to recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it.  It is much easier to handle than shortcrust and works better in a food processor than shortcrust.  I never use a food processor for shortcrust, but I do for this one.  It has a much smoother texture and remains cool, whereas shortcrust warms more easily.  Perhaps this is because marscapone is more dense or it may be that butter/margarine/lard have more water content these days as they never used to go as mushy as quickly. I made a couple of flans a few weeks ago using this recipe and the fillings were also from Teamed Up - one was pear and frangipane and the other was chocolate ganache.  The ganache was an afterthought as I'd made too much pastry.  As there wasn't enough for a second flan, I mixed in a some ground almonds and sugar.  Also, as I hadn't any cream, I used the other half of the marscapone for the ganache, which I'm sure was much better for me, as I've always found that fresh cream makes my stomach gurgle.  Creme fraiche doesn't have that effect either. I've not tried this recipe for mince pies as I use my late-aunts shortcake pastry - that has ground almonds, icing sugar and lemon essence.  Anyway, if you haven't tried the marscapone pastry, I'd recommend it.  
  22. I've been looking for French properties on the internet and it seems to me that those advertised there are only those aimed at non-French buyers who are either prepared to buy a shell and do it up, or who are well off and want a villa with a pool.  If you look at British properties on the internet, you find properties of all types.  Before I ask my next question, I think I need to make it clear that I do know France very well and that I do have friends in many regions of France, but unfortunately, not in areas where I would be thinking of buying a property.  Although there are many areas of France where I would like to own a property, my first choice of area would be somewhere between Montelimar and Salon-de-Provence, i.e. so that what I regard as the most interesting places in France would be within a couple of hours drive.    I don't mean that I want a place bordering the Rhone, I'd prefer somewhere up-hill from there.  I like the Vaison la Romaine/Malaucene area and other hilly areas round there, but I'm sure they would be too expensive.  I just think that there must be places just outside the expensive areas which might be suitable.  Although I'm not normally a town dweller, my ideal would be to live in a large village or small town with at least one boulangerie artisinale and at least a small shop of the typical French general store type which would sell fresh meat, cheese, charcuterie and other general items. Presence of a butcher would be even better.  I'd like to be able to go into a shop and discuss food with the shop keepers and get to know local food better.   A town with a supermarket and possibly a market within 10-20 km would also be good.   I'd go for a house or flat, as long as we could park nearby.  I would be looking for either 2 bedrooms plus dining kitchen plus a reception room which could double up as a bedroom with a bed-settee, or 2 bedrooms with a kitchen and a living room big enough for bed-settee and dining, or 3 bedrooms and a kitchen/living room.  I don't like modern, open plan living.  I feel that people should be able to put a wall between themselves and others without having to go to a bedroom.  1 shower room and toilet would be quite sufficient.  We would only want something simple.  A small terrace or balcony would be quite sufficient - just somewhere for eating outside. A garage or space for storing our trailer tent would be a bonus, as then we could use it as a base for going further afield for summer holidays.  This place would be somewhere to go during school holidays and to use as a stepping stone in the summer holidays.  We would be prepared for something that needed completly re-decorating and would probably be prepared to fit a new kitchen or bathroom, but we wouldn't be looking for something requiring extensive works and certainly nothing structural nor damp proof nor rewiring.  A terraced house would be fine.  I want to be in a place where I can easily integrate with the French locals.  Probably a place suitable for first time buyers would be OK, although young couples these days seem to have far higher standards than we had when we bought a 2-up/2-down at the age of 20.  I'm not sure about heating - I really can't bear the smell of wood burning fires - not to mention the work involved.  I prefer a more controllable form of heating, although it's probably more expensive. I am prepared to consider a totally different area, just as long as it is somewhere not too far off the main route from Calais towards Provence and Italy.  Picardy could work - as long as there were hills, trees and bushes.  I do find many areas along the side of the motorways too flat and un-attractive.  At least in England we tend to have hedges and trees in most countryside areas. So, my question is, please could you tell me how much houses similar to the description I have given above would be in your area?  But please also bear in mind that it needs to be an area where there are a good amount of castles, medieval towns, archeological sites.  I know there are places where there are cheap properties, but some of those places, such as Limousin, for example, we couldn't find anything to even fill 7 days during a holiday the other year.  It's fine if you are heavily into walking, but a walk is something we would do only occasionally.  We are essentially history and archeological people.  If I can get together a list of prices for ORDINARY houses in different areas, it will give me some idea of where to start on an actual tour of Estate Agents.  I just can't find ordinary Estate Agents on the internet - or if I can, they don't give information about ordinary properties.  I'm not sure whether we would want to rent it out, but of course, it would need to be within easy reach of places of interest if we were to rent it out. Thanks in hope that you can give me some idea of prices.          
  23. Reply to Miki and Dick. No, Miki, I hadn't seen any reference to Saddam and Galloway, but I don't have time to read newspapers - I just see some television news when having breakfast and occasionally see Newsnight or Question time if I'm not still working when they are on. Or I hear radio news depending on what time I'm travelling. Also, Dick - I wasn't suggesting we should come out of Iraq because of the attack, but that we should never have gone in in the first place.
  24. I have French friends in various parts of France and in the case of one particular family I've seen the 7 to 17 year olds of 1976 become the parents of the same age group in 2005. Alcohol was never encouraged, although, being Norman, watered down cider was allowed. These particular friends regard us as the boozers! But at a recent get together when we were the hosts at a Gite in France, they were critical of their 14/15 year old smoking, but said they couldn't stop him - they themselves having recently given up smoking. I think there is a variation both in France and England. My children have been allowed a liqueur glass of sherry on Christmas Day since they were about 5 and a drop of wine on special occasions. We have occasionally allowed them to have a taste of beer or wine if we were drinking it. Based on the French mentality we were aware of from friends who had visited us and acting as hosts for sejour linguistiques, we felt it was best for our children to taste alcohol occasionally and develop a healthy attitude to drink, as none of the French children we have accommodated or who I have been responsible for (as the British end of the linguistic association) have drunk alcohol. However, it didn't work particularly well as my 14 and 17 year olds have a particular taste for red wine and in my daughter's case - real ale. However, they are not going out and getting drunk. At parties, my daughter has had red wine and - let's say - not let herself down. Whereas others have become out of control on alcopops. So at least some sort of control has been kept up. I think there is more danger in alcopops as people don't realise how much they are getting through. As for smoking - it is a worry - being married to a smoker and realising just what that has cost us over the years. My children proclaim that they detest smoke and I hope they will stick with that. I definately believe that the French generally discourage alcohol more than the English do though.
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