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Everything posted by Andyphilpott

  1. I know what you mean about other Brit cars! Also funny to have French drivers gesticulating madly at you as they think you are in the wrong lane, only for you to go sailing through. Andy
  2. I have not had to send money to my CA account for a couple of years, but did so last week via Moneybookers - who I have used before. They have upgraded their web site and, it seems, their admin procedures as the transfer went very smoothly without a single hitch! In the past I have been faced with inexplicable delays but not this time so maybe they have got their act together. Andy
  3. When I bought my house it had upvc shutters already and although I would prefer wood really I am not going to pay out for that. The upvc is easy to clean and maintenance free so I will put up with the aesthetic downside. The shutters are a boon both in winter and summer as additional insulation and virtually all houses in my village have them. As far as insurance is concerned, my policy indicates that I must have lockable shutters on all windows less than 2 metres above ground level and that they should be closed whilst the house is unoccupied. The locks are just the simple latch which clips closed from the inside. Nothing specified for windows above that level. This must make sense as far as the insurers are concerned as it is certainly an improved level of security and assessment of risk is what they do! On the general issue of insurance I work on the basis that I should not trust insurers. They had requirements for locks as well as the shutters so I photographed everything and sent the pics to the brokers and obtained their written confirmation that what I had was acceptable to them. That should avoid any dispute later although naturally I hope that it will not come to that. I think my place is pretty secure by way of its location - it is 300 years old, in a narrow street - too narrow for cars - and with local neighbours all around they would soon hear the noise of anyone trying to break in! Andy
  4. I have a Mazda  MX5 sports car - my 3rd -  and although I had to use a beam deflector on the first one the Mazda people confirmed that it is not necessary on the latest models including the new one last week. It is only necessary to rotate a knob in the car which dips the beam to comply with regs. I did not entirely believe them so checked elsewhere and you cannot even buy the stick on kits for them as I used to so I guess they must be right. Certainly in the 4 or 5 years I have driven in France 'unconverted' I have never had any problems (so far!) Andy
  5. Dick - the button tip posted years ago certainly saved my bacon! Not at all obvious and with my gas cylinder in the back of a dark cupboard even harder to spot. Andy
  6. My DVD player is a cheap UK one and works fine with my French TV. If that works, I am sure the DVD recorder will without any problems. Andy
  7. I have a Tom Tom and asked just this question last year. Consensus was that gps units are ok (unlike radar detectors as covered above) but TomTom would not give any guarantees. The police can be (deliberately?) ignorant of the law. I will take a copy of the article posted above and keep it in the car just in case. I use the Tom Tom safety cameras updates for the UK and France. The UK ones seem fine and the unit has picked up French cameras on the autoroute when driving down through France as well as in Hyeres, but I cannot speak for elsewhere. Useful to have so that I know the danger areas - as chosen by the authorities - and drive accordingly. The proliferation of hand held radar units does mean that speeding is a high risk gamble so frankly not worth it. Am I alone in thinking that driving has improved substantially since the crack down on mad drivers over the last couple of years? Journeys seem quicker even though there are less drivers exceeding the limit to a substantial extent - probably due to less accidents creating jams! Andy
  8. Hi Brian - yes I agree with you re IGN v OS, but I don't think anyone comes up to the quality of OS maps - something we Brits can be proud of! I do much the same as you for walks although I often walk in the mountains alone so for safety reasons I always carry a mobile and I have a Garmin GPS so I always know exactly where I am - then there is the map and compass in case the Garmin packs up, spare batteries, first aid kit, water, camera etc and before you know where you are you seem to be lugging a bigger pack than you intended!! I plan routes on the mapping software in the UK and take them to France to download onto the GPS unit which I have found to be very useful. On my return I can compare the track walked with the planned route and make adjustments so each time it is that bit more accurate. I also try to write up guides to the walks so that others staying at my place can do the walks without the need for a GPS unit. I took my old PC down to my place when I got the new Dell so that is great both for loading the maps into the GPS and for amending routes and creating new ones on the spot. I figured out how to transfer the IGN Bayo routes into the MM software - just saved them as GPX files which are compatible with both systems. You can also download them to your GPS unit and then export them from there into the MM software with no trouble. Have you tried the Walking World website - www.walkingworld.co.uk - they have many good walks in the UK and a few now in France too and the subscription is not much. Regards Andy
  9. Hi Brian - I think that it was me being a bit dim!! Of course you can save the routes in the Overlay files and even set up categories so I can do much the same as I did with Bayo maps although maybe in a slightly more convoluted way. I prefer to hide all the routes on the maps to avoid cluttering them up but it is easy to restore them  and even do so in the various categories which you can set up. The only oddity (and this applies mainly to the UK maps) is that sometimes despite clicking 'hide all' I am left with a few routes whereonly the way points show - i.e. not the lines joining the points - and no matter what I do I cannot get rid of them. Minor irritation only though. This weekend I am off to get the Memory map DVD covering all of France at 1:100,000 and Provence at 1:25000 now I know for sure that the software works on my Dell. Andy
  10. I have just today had the misfortune to use my skinny for the first time! (Mazda 6). Punctured front drivers side in the fast lane (as far as any lane is fast) of the M25 during the morning rush and a wait in the rain for rescue as no way was I dealing with it on the hard shoulder with juggernauts thundering alongside!! The skinny wheel felt very weird to drive with and I do not think that I won any popularity stakes driving at a steady 50 the last 20 miles to the office. I would not want to drive far with these wheels - it felt amost unstable. Although it seemed like a simple nail puncture and thus repairable, the time it took for me to be able to stop meant that they tyre was well and truly defunct; when they took it off bits of disintegrated tyre fell from inside it! The 'experts'tell me that it does not take long at all for enough heat to build up in a flat tyre to kill it. Another substantial dent in the wallet. I take delivery of a new Mazda MX5 in a couple of weeks and that has no spare at all - just the gunk which others have mentioned. Once you use that stuff I understand that it cannot be washed out so you have to replace the tyre regardless of the severity of the puncture - no repair is possible according to my Maxda garage. To add insult to injury, I believe that replacement cans of gunk do not come cheap! I will get my tyres injected with Ultraseal which is supposed to prevent puncture - or at least if you get one the sealant seals it without dramatic loss of pressure. I have had good reports on this product via the MX5 Owners Club. To be fair this is only the second time in 20 years I have had a puncture - the last time was just as I drove into the tyre place to have 4 new tyres fitted (I got around 40,000 miles out of the old ones) so that caused no inconvenience! Incidentally, for those of you in the UK, try Black Circles on the internet - they source tyres and arrange fitting locally at very reasonable prices (and for the cynics - no I have no connection to them!) Andy
  11. This is the final instalment in this less than thrilling saga. Not an ideal outcome but I thought I should let you know... Just to complicate matters further my Dell died on me and had to go back to them for repairs - what a long drawn out process that was although once they finally got the PC they quickly fixed it. Last night I loaded the Memory Map version of Burgundy and it worked perfectly. Clearly the incompatibility in software relates to something in Bayo's system but as they are unwilling or unable to resolve that it is goodbye Bayo and hello Memory Map in future. The Memory Map software is actually better in a number of ways although I wish they also had the 'library' facility to store routes and tracks as in the Bayo version. There are work arounds for that though. Andy
  12. Lori that sounds great - they do not have it on CA PACA yet but I look forward to having it Andy
  13. I agree with Dick - I have done my by prelevement since 2000 and never a problem. Maybe others have had monumental .... ups with this and can post otherwise but I don't stay awake at night worrying about any bills. If they get it wrong I have no doubt that it can be corrected if I speak nicely to them. Andy
  14. Kathie - do you really believe that the extra revenue raised will be used by government to cut global warming? No chance. It is simply a means to squeeze more money out to be wasted elsewhere. Unless there is a dramatic drop off of air travel it will perhaps just mean flights not being as full as they were with people driving instead still creating pollution. A different example of this is the refusal of the government to drop the tolls at the Dartford tunnel following a peition. (The tolls should have been dropped at te end of the initial concession period - that was the original agreement. they argue that to drop the tolls would mean more traffic using it and more pollution because of the congestion. They do not seem to have grasped that the tolls cause the congestion. Actually that is not true, they know but they prefer to have the money regardless. (How do you know when a politician is lying --------------- they open their mouth!!) Andy
  15. When I bought in 2000 I sent enough for the purchase and an estimate of fees plus a bit more to cover immediate bills and used Currencies Direct who were fine. Just sent it to my account with CA and sent a cheque to te notaire well in advance and tey were happy with that. I had expected them to insist on a bank to bank transfer but they made no fuss at all. Andy
  16. Things have moved on so I thought I would keep you posted. Dell were useless! They could not track down why there was a problem, but a friend has tried the Bayo software on an older Dell and it worked so there is clearly something loaded by Dell on the new PC which interferes with the Bayo software. I am faced with a surging wave of indifference from them. Bayo are no better; they seem to have decided that fixing it is just too hard so the don't even have the courtesy to reply to my e mails at all now. And the e mails I sent were unfailingly polite! I am now looking into Memory Map. They also have a franchise from IGN to supply digital maps in the same way as Bayo but using their own software to see and use the maps. Memory Map supply Ordnance Survey Digital maps in the UK (vastly better than the IGN maps)  and their software is excellent. Waiting for the first IGN digital map now and hopefully that will work -  I will let you know. Downside is that I will need to buy new IGN maps to use on the system leaving the old Bayo maps on my PC in France. One word of warning though - Memory map say that their latest software (v5) is compatible with Microsoft Vista but they do not yet know about compatibility of older versions of their software. I believe that I Pods also have some compatibility problems with Vista according to the Times today. I have been advised by my techie friends to dealy loading Vista for a year until all the bugs are sorted out. You might think that it should be easy to upgrade from old versions of Memory Map to v5. Wrong! It appears that under the licensing agreement with Ordnance Survey the old version maps will not work on v5 so new maps are required. There is a special offer to existing users but still an expensive exercise. Andy
  17. Sounds like a project for one of our members! It does not need to be a bound book - just a PDF document maybe and I am sure that there will be demand for a few at least. Not by me though - my knowledge of French electrics is mainly that it hurts when you get it wrong. Andy
  18. You can do either! It depends on your relationship/track record with your bank manager as far as raising funds in the UK goes. It is probably easier to prove your means/income to a UK bank if you are (as I assume) UK based at present. On the other hand, interest rates in the UK are higher than those in France. Whether you borrow in the UK or France just make sure that you are allowed to repay early - some mortgages impose penalties for that. There will also be the cost of arranging the mortgage including the security required by the bank. Borrowing in the UK in stages will mean that you run an exchange risk against the Euro on each drawdown so you need to have a view on how exchange rates are likely to move and consider the potential cost (or benefit) of that against the extra cost of interest if you draw the loan in full at the outset and buy Euro's with it ready for your payments. At the moment it would appear to be beneficial to delay the purchase of Euro's but that can quickly change. Finally you need to consider repayments. A UK bank might well do it interest only for a period so you do not have to make any capital payments. Not sure if a French bank would do likewise, particularly as you will be a new customer to them. Then you get into the realms of proving ongoing income to them - but you will need to do that to an extent to show you can cover interest. You mention that in selling UK property now you lose out on any capital appreciation but it would protect you against any fall in property values in the UK, however unlikely you feel that to be. But you would have the rent costs so perhaps interest on a loan is a cheaper and easier option anyway. Andy
  19. My question also. The word 'turbo' is short for 'Turbocharger' vis "noun a supercharger driven by a turbine powered by the engine‚Äôs exhaust gases." Exactly why and when did a simple "fan" become a "turbocharger" ?  Steve Sharjah + 50 (in France) Answer: When the marketing people got hold of it! Andy
  20. When the marketing people got hold of it! Andy
  21. I am not far south of you (Collobrieres, Var) and I just shut off at the stop cock next to the water meter and open the taps downstairs. Even that is overkill as although we get hard frosts they have never been bad enough to freeze pipes (so far!!) Hope you enjoy Cotignac - a very nice village I have visited often. Andy
  22. So does the service station under City Europ at Sangatte (or is that the one you mean cooperlola?) Very handy just before you go to Eurotunnel Andy
  23. I agree with Gluestick re the effect on UK plc if we had gone into te Euro. Whilst it might not be good for those of us with Euro income there is little doubt that the majority of people in the UK are still better off with the pound. On the funds transfer issue, I get a small charge from CA if I send money with a bank or most money brokers, but none when I use Moneybookers.com. I believe they use some regulation which precludes a receiving bank in Europe from charging. Beats me why the banks etc cannot use the same process. Andy
  24. Similar to me I think! I used to scuba dive and amongst my trips once spent a week on the Barrier reef sharing a cabin with 4 women!! I also took a 12 week sabbatical from work to travel round the world diving in different places and she was only able to join me for 3 weeks over Christmas which is as good a test as a relationship gets! At least she hadn't moved house whilst I was away! All very proper of course. My wife works away for most of the week, but we have got used to that over the years. On a few occasions we have met up during the week when I happened to be away on business in a similar area for an illicit night! We had the surreal experience once of her driving home to Kent from Bristol and me driving home from Newcastle only to have her pull alongside me in a jam on the M25. We have both now cut back to 4 days a week so it is great enjoying long weekends together. One thing we never do is share our holidays with friends and rellies - we see too little of each other during the rest of the year to do that! Andy
  25. Thanks Mike - I will have a look at that if I get nowhere with the Carto3 maps. Having it available only on 1 PC is a disadvantage to me as i use it in the UK to plan routes and on my PC in France to upload and download from my Garmin GPS as the GPS can only hold a limited number of routes at a time. I will also have to check to see if my existing routes are compatible with Georando software but I am ever hopeful! Andy
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