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The Riff-Raff Element

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Everything posted by The Riff-Raff Element

  1. [quote user="Gardian"]All this lark about 'stocking up' with dope in the UK reminds me that we're going to go through this over the next couple of weeks. [/quote] It's not just the drugs either. I have this tendency to bulk buy things that I either see only rarely in the Vendée or which are just expensive. On the same visit a fewyears ago I bought a box of 12 x 1kg jars of molasses which I use in some of the breads I make. I've still got 10 left, occupying valuable cupboard space. At least it doesn't go off. And the wind of change may be a-blowing: I was in Poitiers for a DELF exam on Thursday and got 20 ibuprofen for single euro in a city centre chemist. They appear to work OK.
  2. RTL were talking about the Ile de France being bad too, but I suppose that's not a great shock. I was reading somewhere recently that about 84% of the cars on French roads are diesels and that if this were reduced to 50% then deaths from repository illness would fall by around 20,000 per year. I have no idea whether this is true, but given the smoke belching out of elderly Peugeots I see around here, I can almost believe it.
  3. [quote user="Chancer"]Do you look or act suicidal?[/quote] Don't think so. I am generally of a cheery disposition in a grumpy, middle-aged, sort of way. I was a bit put out at being treated like a nine year old by a couple of interfering harridans with the intellectual capacity of a root vegetable, but I don't think I expressed this in so many words.
  4. The last time I was in the UK a couple of years back I hit upon the money-saving notion of buying several hundred paracetamol / ibuprofen tablets and bringing them back to France. In a branch of Tesco, unaware of there being any regulation (I know, I know: should have Googled it be afore I went there, but I'm just slapdash), I pitched up to the till with about ten boxes only to be told that I couldn't buy more than a single packet of 16 of either one or the other. Never mind, thought I, because there was a Superdrug across the road, so I bought just the one packet (they didn't ask me to put the rest back myself, which was quite nice) and wandered across to buy a couple of boxes there. Staggeringly, the jobsworth supervisor from Tesco followed me and instructed the assistant not to sell me anything. Even more staggeringly, she went along with it and the pair of them glowered at me as I slunk out, crushed but slightly wiser. In the end, a friend with the right kind of card got me a catering pack of each from a wholesaler.
  5. [quote user="sweet 17"]You mean moles get out of their skins every now and again and take them down to the dry-cleaners? I somehow don't think that could be right?[8-)] [/quote] Who knows what strange things may go in  the darkest France. Quite literally in the case of moles.
  6. [quote user="Araucaria"][quote user="The Riff-Raff Element"][quote user="Quillan"]Moles have really nice soft fine fur by the way.[/quote] When I was, oh, about seven years old I was presented with a pair of moleskin trousers and I recall thinking "how ever many moles did they have to skin to make these?" [/quote] Moleskin trousers should be made out of cotton....... not moles' skins. [/quote] Indeed. I realised this (without resort to Wikipedia) a little later when I noted that the care label recommended laundering at 40°C cottons / colours. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Real mole skin would obviously have required dry cleaning.
  7. Christine - Someone contacted me via Facebook, of all things, and mentioned the forum and I thought it would be nice to see how things were.
  8. [quote user="Chancer"]I do hope that you are joking and that British teenagers proficiency with Twatter is despite their education and not because of it.[/quote] No idea. All I know is that the ones I know (some of whom are meant to be "gifted" and go to some very expensive schools) seem to spend a great deal of time on it. Must be worthwhile: didn't Twitter just float for many billions? Of course access to mobile phones is much cheaper in the UK, which must help. Perhaps the French government should consider subsidising them for kiddies in the interest of furthering their progress in the ever more competitive modern world.
  9. [quote user="Quillan"]Moles have really nice soft fine fur by the way.[/quote] When I was, oh, about seven years old I was presented with a pair of moleskin trousers and I recall thinking "how ever many moles did they have to skin to make these?"
  10. Do cats eat moles? I seem to recall reading somewhere that they (moles - and probably cats too) taste bad. If cats do then I suppose it would be one very small point in their favour.
  11. The whole PISA thing is terribly limited and takes little account of the modern realities of education. Take social media, for example: British teenagers are way ahead of their French counterparts when it comes to proficiency with Twitter. French teens are so 2011 - they still think Facebook is pretty neat.
  12. Have you tried adding copper sulphate? Copper is a potent algeacide / bactericide. Some galet multifonction include it, albeit as a small percentage of the weight. I use about 1g for every 1000l of pool water as a opening / closing treatment. This is not a concentration that could in any way be harmful to bathers. The copper sulphate should be disolved in a bucket of warm water before addition to the pool. The advantage of using a copper based treatment is that is does not add to the CyA load in the pool. Do not, under any circumstances be tempted to add Bordeaux mixture: that is not the same thing at all. If you can't find copper sulphate locally, you can get it from here: Mondroguiste
  13. [quote user="pachapapa"] ...and rarely use the Expat Shield as it is only installed on the netbook for reasons of security; if a Brit offers me something for free there must be a catch. [/quote] There is much in what you say. I believe the idea is that one's IP address is hidden behind a proxy server, the sort of thing much favoured by trolls, spammers and naughty people who want to steal one's personal details. These things aren't free to the person who sets them up, so how do they turn a crust? Advertising?
  14. [quote user="Daft Doctor"] I can see that I will have to reign in my tongue-in-cheek sense of humour when I am over in France, some of it at least will be completely lost and probably adversely miscontrued.   [/quote] Yep. Not least when dealing with the expat mob.
  15. [quote user="Rose"]penofmyaunt... Nice name by the way... I did read the full report, there is a link in the Guardian article; I also went onto the website and read quite a lot there too.  I actually felt that overall between France and the UK very few differences where found.  And yes, some results were better, some weaker and I'm sure different areas of both countries will imapct on the results. Do you  know what... generally I think I've been misunderstood a fair bit through this thread.  I am not saying France is better but I'm also not saying the UK is better.  If I could choose, I would pull the best from the UK system and the best from the French system and I think we'd be closer to an ideal.  What I have been saying is that there are good and bad in both countries.  For us it's been fine... I would have reservations about an older child.   I'm struggling to see what there is to disagree with... unless we're saying that France is universally poor and the UK is universally good... which I dont think anyone is saying? [/quote] Rose - you're quite right: the differences are really too small to be important. As for statistical anomolies... Wales dragging down the results? Cut it off! I suppose then you'd have to cut out Scotland for dragging them up, which would leave you with England (plus NI where the population is too small to make a statistically significant difference) whose results fall pretty much slap bang on the UK averages. And what should we make of the observation that while there has been a marked fall in the UK rankings over the past two or three surveys, France stays practically immobile, firmly mired in mid-table mediocrity? Is that significant? Is a sample size of only 470,000 children (an average of about 7000 per nation surveyed) ever going to give truly useful, properly representative, data? Probably not. I suppose conducting, compiling & analysing surveys like this must keep quite a few people in gin, tonic & peanuts, but beyond that they seem to serve little useful purpose. Idun - please don't think me rude, but I can't really believe that anything I can tell you about how our particular school conducts itself will really convince you or anyone else whose child didn't thrive within the French system to look upon it any differently than they already do, so I don't see much point in giving a full and frank response to your post. If you think I am being unjust, and you really do want to know, PM me and I will be happy to give you answers to anything you wish to ask.
  16. [quote user="Jay"][quote user="Will"]I think Charly was talking in general terms about a particular attitude that is all-too-rife in the so-called 'expat' community and is well to the fore in programmes like this, rather than giving a personal viewpoint. [/quote] That is exactly how I read it! Perhaps Charly would like to comment? I also agree with the second part of your post, nothing is black & white. We love Cornwall where we lived for 24 years, we just felt like a change and a bit of adventure. [/quote] Me too. I thought Charly was just parodying an attitude I'm sure we've all come across rather than presenting a personally held view point. Bloody program has an effect tho' - fish & chips for tea.  [;-)] I found the wedding couple irritating in a vague and non-specific way, but everyone else presented seemed perfectly sane and unobjectionable.
  17. [quote user="sweet 17"]ER....Riff-Raff, would that be a good dog or a bad one?[:P][/quote] Sort of brownish-coloured mongrel with only three good legs and a squint, I'd say. The debt owed by the communes definately has a subprime whiff about it. An awful lot of loans have been taken out to pay off other loans (you know - "consolidating all your debts into one, easily-managed, monthly payment, leaving YOU with cash to spare!") because there was no real prospect of paying them off otherwise. Almost dafaulting, but not quite, in other words. Also, many communes (ours included) took out loans with repayments calculated based on some weird and wonderful things: the price of gold, £/€ rate, CHF/€ rate, the price of oil, etc, etc rather than on base plus x or similar. This sounds as though someone has been writing exotic derivatives, and we know where that can lead  [8-|]. There are small towns out there paying 18% on several million because some snake-oil salesman convinced them that linking to the CHF/€ was a bright idea. Happily a lot of this is being kept out of the wider market because the information is all in French. [:)] But, hey, as long as the Germans stay the course, the Euro will hold value.
  18. [quote user="breizh"]Good to see Mr Peston keeping up at the back. Only about 2 weeks out of date. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14896685   [/quote] Not a bad summary, though. And there's so many points in there that deserve repeating... ... though he doesn't seem to mention the considerable exposure that these banks have to potential bad debt from communes within France itself. I believe €40 billion has been mentioned. And with the UK cheerfully inflating its way out of debt, the Eurozone looks even more of a dog.
  19. I thought some of the cinematography (is that the right word? Is it even a word?) was nice. Lots of castles and things. And everyone seemed quite cheerful, eating their fish & chips in the sun, so good luck to them. Running a business here isn't all beer and skittles, I'll admit, but there are upsides: running it here, for a start.
  20. 12 episodes?! They really are running short of material to put on the box! Success makes for very poor TV, so I imagine they'll also be making something of the oafish side of the expat mob ("France would be mavellous if it weren't for the French", shouting loudly in English because "they can understand it really") to up the entertainment value. Still, I'll probably have a look at the first episode  [:$]
  21. [quote user="just john "]Don't ignore the effect Stark seems to have had already, €1.162 since resignation  bbc. news business  [blink] [/quote] It seems that there were rumours afoot yesterday that Stark's resignation was in response to increasing political pressure for a touch of quantative easing, something he is firmly against. Basically printing Euros to use to buy up debt so inflating the Eurozone out of trouble. His going shifts the balance of power in the ECB more in favour of doing this, hence the fall relative to Sterling. I expect someone will announce on Monday that this not going to happen and we'll be back up to 1,18 again.
  22. [quote user="idun"]I know how it all works. I know how different it is to the UK. I know that good and bad schools doesn't quite work like that in France. Do I know that some kids do well, yes I do. Do I know that no one gives a xxxx about those that fall through the cracks, yes I know that too. [/quote] Since you "know" all these things, why bother asking me how children with difficulties are handled in our school? You've clearly no real interest in hearing the answer.
  23. [quote user="Mr Ice-ni"][quote user="The Riff-Raff Element"] So far this hasn't killed me, though I'm not offering any guarantees, and the results taste good. [/quote] Thank you RRE for making me laugh. I think I know what you mean but I prefer that which you have written. John [/quote] Ah. Oh. Yes. Must read before posting. But you get my drift.
  24. We bought a ruin last year for conversion into a gite. It came complete with a garage under which there is a cave with rather steep steps. A few months later I was working in the garden when one of the neighbours (widely reckoned to be a bit barmy, but to my mind as sharp as they come, given her advanced age) told me she recalled that during the war the then owner was found dead at the bottom of those stairs one morning. "Being too friendly with the Germans could make the steps slippery, you see," she explained, with a rather nasty leer.
  25. Onglet is an excellent cut - very tender and flavoursome. I believe it comes from the inside of the diaphram whereas skirt comes from the outside? I've no idea whether there is a British equivalent cut.
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