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Everything posted by Andyphilpott

  1. Sorry but that really is such a sweeping comment that I cannot let it pass. The implication is that 1. No-one should be allowed to retire early no matter how hard they have worked. 2. People who have EARNED a professional qualification are protected (from what?) and privileged. Well they have had the privilege of working hard to qualify and then competing against other professionals in their chosen field. If you think that the workers in your local bank are protected ask them about the low pay and never ending redundancies. They work in a profession. 3. There is a defined 'fair share' of years of work. Who defines that? 4. Only work which 'produces' (what does that mean?) for the rest of society should count. 5. That people who have not trained for a profession for whatever reason are somehow better than professionals!!! 6. Presumably layabouts on the dole are OK as they are not professionals - or maybe they are work avoidance professionals. Yes there are people out there who have made a lot of money quickly (and honestly) and not just from the professions I might add. I admire them and occasionally have been inspired by them.  The fact that others did not take or make their own opportunities to do so, maybe preferring a better 'work/life balance' in the current vernacular, is mainly within their own control. I applaud those who are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams (so long as it is legal) and have no time for those who are jealous of that but not prepared to put themselves out to get it. I am not rich in financial terms but I work hard to have enough to do what I want to do. If I want to do more then I have to work harder or smarter. My wife, who flogs up from Kent to the West Midlands each week for work, often has the locals tell her that she must be rich as she lives in the South East. If it was that easy they could move down and be rich! They also think she is lucky as she earns a good salary - funny but the harder she works the luckier she gets. Sorry for the moan and to those who are offended by my predeliction towards meritocracy, but there is no point in people complaining about others achievements - time is better spent for them to figure out how to achieve for themselves. The only ones I have any sympathy for are those who physically cannot work to support themselves. The harder I work the more I earn and the more tax I pay so the Govenment can, in theory, provide that necessary support. For the record I am NOT an early retiree yet but would like to be and hence I will be as soon as I have the resources to do so. I will have earnt every penny my pension. Rant over Andy  
  2. I agree absolutely with Ron on this. Never any problem with the politeness of Ryanair staff but often with some of their more chavvy passengers. No idea how much fuel is 'wasted' on baggage or the cost of baggage handlers - I guess not much but every little helps Ryanair to make a profit and it is only that which keeps them going. Andy
  3. Can anyone confirm that the clocks in France go forward an hour on the 30th March as in the UK. I am 90% certain that this was harmonised across Europe some years ago but as I fly back to the UK on the 30th best to be sure! Andy  
  4. Ron - do you really think that, if they do decide to restrict the heating allowance, that the  Government (of whatever persuasion)  will work out who lives in a cold climate during the winter? Not on your nelly!!!! If they did it would take yet another army of civil servants to work it out I am sure. I agree with Anna. Having said that such a paltry sum is not going to change my life when (if) I ever get it. Andy
  5. Benjamin wrote Presumably at 1p each flight so the taxes are less than £ 10 per leg?  I've never been able to get these sort of tax totals as they always seem a minimum of £ 20 and rising when I look. I thought the low cost carriers had been warned about manipulating the taxes but does it still go on? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Benjamin - yes that is right 1p plus taxes and charges each way. But although I understand how Ryanair can cut or cancel their own charges I fail to see how if the airport taxes are a fixed figure - usually around £20 as you say - they can be arbitrarily amended. At least the manipulation is in my favour for once. I did  get a return flight Stansted to Toulon last November for £12.39 all in including the card fee. How do they account for the supposed airport taxes - payable to the government - in those circumstances? There is no way what I paid covered what they say they have to pay to the government on a 'normal' flight. I wonder if it is made up by 'contributions' from passengers paying higher prices for the flight? I also recently learnt that Ryanair fee for amending a ticket over the internet is over £30. How can that be justified? Given that The Bank's are in Court at present for unjustified charges maybe Ryanair will be next on te hit list!! Andy
  6. Although I am almost always able to travel with hand baggage only (as all I need is left at my house in France) I do agree with Jon here. It is really just another way for Ryanair to boost profits, but you do have a choice. If you do not want to pay these charges book with another airline. But then the fare is often higher. I guess you just need to weigh up all the costs of the competition in this industry but if, like me, no-one else serves the airport I want to go to there is not much choice other than to drive down. Then you can take as much luggage as you like! Incidentally, I never book cars etc through the Ryanair site, partly as a point of principle - anyone linked to Ryanair is likely to adopt their "add ons" tactics - and partly as I can almost always get the service elsewhere cheaper. Incidentally I have recently found that Expedia are doing some great deals on car hire - substantially less than my usual provider Holiday Autos - and cheaper than going direct to the car hire firm direct because of their buying power. Just booked a return flight with Ryanair Stansted to Toulon at the end of March for £20 return - happy with that despite the hoops to jump through. Andy
  7. Some months ago I posted in 'The Lighter Side of France' about a daft driver trying to drive past my house where the gap between my house and my neighbours was some 6 inches less than the cars width. Well I thought that I would let you know that 3 months on the insurance claim for the damage to my house has been sorted out.  The way it all worked out might be useful to others who have a claim so here goes. Obviously, I obtained the insurance details of the guy driving the car but instead of having to deal with his insurers direct I reported it to my house insurers. I use a lady called Lena Eaton of Continent Assurances (who are agents for Generali) and she was immensely helpful and handled all the claim against the drivers insurers without me needing to be involved at all other than to sign papers. She kept me in touch with what was happening, translated the parts of the other insurers forms that I did not understand and even arranged a joint inspection of the damage with the other insurers. The cheque to pay for the damage is now on its way to me from Continent who will then recover the amount from the drivers insurers. Like many people I have a healthy degree of scepticism regarding insurers but I have to say that this episode has been nothing but straightforward thanks to Lena. Although she is nowhere near me - she is based in Arradon - and I have never met her in person the distance proved to be no problem. Incidentally, although the policy is with Generali, Continent provide an English translation of the documents for the insurance and Lena explains, in excellent English, any points that I have been uncertain on. If anyone wants to contact her her e mail is [email protected]  Hope this helps Andy  
  8. Thanks Glyn that is very helpful and gives me a basis to take this forward. Andy
  9. Try [email protected] who I have used for some years. Everything explianed in English and she has just sorted out a claim for me very effeciently. Andy
  10. The final instalment in the saga! The drivers insurers have finally agreed to pay - and it is even enough to get the repairs done! Next challenge is to get one of our local builders to spare the time to actually do it. Not holding my breath!! Andy
  11. I have searched the forum to see if there is a definite answer to my question and although there are some references to this I cannot see anything exact! I have cabling for a phone and a phone socket (just one I think) to my house but have never bothered to get a phone or have the line 'switched on' as I am not there as often as I would like and just use my mobile when I am there. However I would like to use the internet there now so need to think this through. I imagine it is straightforward enough to get the line connected through France Telecom. Can anyone advise me on the standing charges for the line? I understand that I then need to have a wireless router and a receiver on the PC so that I can connect my PC from the phone socket in the lounge to the room on the first floor where it is kept. (it is not practical to run cables all over the house). If my understanding is wrong please let me know - I am very far from being an expert in this! My house has concrete beams and tiled floors throughout. Has anyone experience of installing a wireless router and if so does the signal pass through all types of floors/walls? Any recommendations as to the best hardware to use? Once (If??) I have got as far as setting this up, are there any views on the 'best' ISP to use. (I use Tiscali in the UK but am not overly impressed). There is a section at the head of this category which advises about using my UK ISP and I will go through that when I have at least made progress with the hardware. Many Thanks Andy  
  12. I have usually put my UK location when writing cheques here to send to France but I doubt it matters - who would know where you were when you wrote it!! Andy
  13. Ernie - I get a statement at the end of each month I use my Sanef Telepeage badge. I wonder if there is an 'opt out' on the application which you inadvertently ticked. Many businesses now have this, leaving you to check details on the internet. Just a thought! Andy
  14. Thanks briwy that is helpful. However I would NOT advise that you e mail card details to them. If you pay for goods on the internet it would (should) be via a secure server so you have some protection. A simple e mail gives no protection at all. Andy
  15. See the post below - Transfer money by SWIFT and I think that will answer your questions. Andy
  16. To bring this back to to the original subject, briwy - have you had any reply from Sanef yet? I would be interested to learn the answer. Andy
  17. Other threads expand on this, but I use Moneybookers.com for small amounts - up to £5k and their charge is less than £3 with Credit Ag making no charges at all. Exchange rates are pretty good too. You upload to them in sterling and they remit in Euros. Can only be used to send money between your own UK bank and your own French bank. For large amounts I would use a currency broker like Currencies Direct. No fee for transactions over a certain level although CA will charge for receiving Andy
  18. Hi Anton - the idea of reusing using clear silicone had occurred to me and I was going to try that at some stage. Good to hear that someone else has trialled it successfully! Andy
  19. Hi M - I used to use these on my Mazda MX5 and they were great. Unfortunately the ones they make for the latest model of the car are not so good - certainly not so secure as I lost one on the autoroute home a while ago. Andy
  20. Just making arrangements to take my car down to the Var in December and have been enquiring about beam convertors, particularly as I have heard the the gendarmes are now stopping cars without any obvious adjustment - possibly apocryphal. I always used to use the black stick on patches available from Halfords and the AA (or black masking tape!) but understand from my local Mazda dealer that these are no longer recommended on modern headlamps for various reasons. Not sure about Halfords but the AA now only seem to stock the more sophisticated convertors which are a sort of plastic prism affair. More expensive and I believe they are designed for single use since the adhesive only works once according to the suppliers - I will test that out sometime. They came out at around £7 a time but I contacted the people who supply the AA (travel-spot.co.uk)  mainly to make sure that the convertors would fit my car - they did; and they offered me a good discount if I bought 10 sets which, as they fit many models of car including my other 2 , seemed like a good idea. They were very helpful indeed. They also sell diverters for French cars coming to the  UK but to be honest I have never seen any non UK vehicles using such a thing - ever. I don't suppose they will until the police start taking an interest. Maybe they all have a switch under the bonnet to divert the beam? And pigs can fly. They mentioned a tip for fitting and removing these convertors which I thought worth passing on. Before fitting, warm up the headlamp by switching on for a few minutes. When you return the convertors should be removed (otherwise I think it will contravene UK traffic regulations as the beam will be diverted the wrong way) and again warm them up first by leaving the headlamps on for a while. Then peel off and remove any residue of glue with meths or neat screen wash. If you leave them on long term they will be much harder to remove. Don't use solvents if the headlamp is plastic rather than glass. Andy
  21. Hi mmaddock Just for the record, Moneybookers will transfer small amounts but it takes longer than your experience with Paypal as it usually takes 4 working days to upload funds to Moneybookers and about the same to then transfer it to France. So if you leave bills until the last minute it makes sense to use PayPal regardless of the benefits of using alternatives. Missing payment of a bill is likely to cost you more than you save! Personally I prefer to minimise stress so just keep my CA account well topped up to meet the bills. Andy
  22. We ordered a suite from Ikea Toulon whilst we were down there in the Christmas of 2005 and arranged for delivery when we returned in the following April. No real problems at all apart from a little confusion as to dates which was quickly resolved. Free delivery too. Andy
  23. Frederick - this sounds like a good idea. Just a thought (and I have not checked yet) but it might be cheaper to buy water softener salt which comes by the sack load. Andy
  24. Pierre ZFP wrote the following post at 24/10/2007 14:21: Are you sure he hadn't nicked the car? I don't mean to scare you but surely no-one treats there own car like that? Pierre - As far as I can tell many French drivers do treat their cars like that - you should see some of the wrecks driving round the village! Yes it was his car - the police checked up on him (eventually!) but I had already done that by checking his papers myself and contacting the insurers before I released the hostage wheel nuts. And nobody who has stolen a car is going to be as embarrassed as that guy! Andy
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