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Everything posted by napoleon

  1. Could you please let me know what "briques aveolaire" and "torchis" look like? Thanks,
  2. Your first step is to make sure the present fosse operates correctly and does not need any immediate maintenance. If this is satisfactory, don't rush into anything new (and expensive) until the local authorities force the issue. Have you been given any details of inspection or notification of a requirement to improve the water treatment?

    Unless you want to upgrade the fosse, for your own peace of mind, you could just wait until the mairie contacts you. If you propose to carry out other work on your house it is probable that this would trigger the official action to check your fosse.


  3. If the aerial worked for the previous owners it should be fine for your new TV. (Or maybe they sold the house because the TV didn't work).

    Have you checked the complete run of the downlead from the aerial to the TV for any clear breaks or damage? One possibility is that it was fed to an amplifier in the loft and then down to the living area - and they took the amplifier with them. Also the amplifier could simply be switched off.

    I assume that you have run the automatic tuning set-up for the new TV.

    Good luck, Alistair.

  4. You could try   http://www.hotel-lorangerie.fr/index_gb.htm    in Bonnat.

    We had a very good meal there and will go again this summer.



  5. If you are only using the gas heater to supplement oil fired CH, the answer is clear. Use individual gas bottles and keep one in reserve. Don't bother with any fancy automatic switch over system, it is easy enough just to change a bottle in a few minutes. The idea of a one tonne citern is way over the top for your set up.

    When I read your first posting I thought the gas fire was the main source of heating.


  6. So I'm not alone in continually missing the deadline to change! Every year I investigate new (and cheaper) house insurance but have failed to make the change.

    I know we all have different requirements and conditions but could anyone comment on the best company to deal with?

    Thanks, Alistair

  7. George,

                We have had a holiday home in that area for five years. There seems to be a lot of renovation going on and our own experience is that it is difficult to find local craftsmen to do jobs without long delays. We deliberately use locals and our friendly neighbours appreciate it. Although we have to wait, the end product is very good and reasonably priced.

        I think that the likely problem is that the French would be unwilling to use UK labour unless you speak excellent French. Other than that, they would be swayed by your speed of action and subsequent word-of-mouth reports of your skills. It will take some time to become established so do you need this work for essential living costs?

        Is your barn near to the golf course?

                                  Good luck, Alistair

  8. Dogs stay in your car, without any mid-journey access, so the short Dover/Calais ferry route may suit your dogs rather than any of the long routes. Can they cope alone for seven or eight hours (Portsmouth/Caen)? The long crossing would give you the chance to sleep overnight, fresh for an early start the next day.

    A major advantage of the tunnel is that you can sit with your animals throughout the journey.

    Also check the possibility of Folkstone/Boulogne which CF members rate highly in terms of price, but do they handle dogs?

    The journey described earlier (Alcazar) is well tried and tested and improves every year with the addition of more dual-carriageway sections. There is now a possible alternative, more suited to the trip towing the trailer, using the A28 starting just south of Rouen. We haven't tried it yet because it prevents us visiting Chartres, our regular dog stop, but other members think it is a big improvement.


  9. French or UK, check the small print very carefully. We took out our insurance with  a local agent and have used them for the last five years. The cost has risen steadily and is higher than the UK estimates that I keep collecting.

    The problem for me is the number of restrictions imposed concerning the periods of unoccupancy (is that a real word?), such as; the state of the water system during absences, temperature settings during the winter etc, the cost of re-building and excess payments on assorted claims.

    Fortunately we have not made any claim.

    Saga came up with a high quotation with many conditions that we could not meet. I keep checking the market.


  10. You could try "Argentomagus" just outside Argenton. It depends on the interests of your guests and when in the day you can take a break from work. Perhaps you could dedicate one whole afternoon to the site (archaeological not buiding!) followed by dinner in one of the great restaurants in Argenton.

        The web address is:   http://www.argentomagus.com/


  11. Lesley, Paul,

                       How long have you had the house? We have noticed that the number of UK owners in this area has increased considerably over the last few years and you won't have any trouble meeting enough to keep you happy. They may not be on this forum but you will find them in the bread queues, supermarkets, restaurants and DIY outlets. We haven't been to Issoudun but have visited Bourges on daytrips.


  12. Please pay strict attention to all the advice about the 24/48 hour rule. As others have stated, it is not negotiable!

    In addition check the entries in your Pet Passport carefully before you leave the Vet. They are capable of making errors like the rest of us.

    While taking our dog through the check in at Caen I listened to a couple trying to persuade the BF receptionist that the dossier of old paperwork proved that their dog was elligible to travel. The Pet passport had two essential pages still blank. The vet should have alerted them and they should have checked.

    Has anyone had a failure with the microchip?



  13. [quote user="Butchx5"]

    BUT we still have a bit of a query about the three 'tails' which were our tri-phase which in theory now should only be one as we are mono- phase - We tested them and ALL 3 are in fact live. Any bright spark able to offer some suggestions about how to deal with them now we know this? My idea is to bring all three into a 'block'  (which I shall hide in a mini coffret) and then bring one tail out to my tableau - does this seem acceptable/safe?



     The supply in our house had all three phases brought into the EDF switch unit but only one was connected to the meter via internal "jumpers". It is normal for all three phases to be live even if a consumer uses just one. EDF expect to find three tails to connect to their unit and give you a single phase ouput to the meter (The other two simply stop on the input side and are not connected in any way to the output). A three phase wired house requires a special three phase meter. They will not provide three phases after the meter if you have opted for single phase.

                                                               Regards, Alistair

  14. I can only report on using a "Cuprinol" sprayer. This cost about £25 from B&Q and is a manual pump-up type. It certainly looks like my garden spray but the construction and performance is far superior. The fluid I used is called Xylophene, available in most DIY stores. To preserve my sanity I paid the extra for a variant labelled "without odour" and even so it was an uncomfortable experience.

    I used it to treat all the grenier timbers and spent an uncomfortable week dressed in makeshift safety wear. I should have invested in proper overalls,mask, gloves and headgear. The spray was easy to control but rather tedious when it needed pumping while on the top of a ladder. I like the idea of an electric spray but would wait to see one in action before buying anything expensive. Remember to keep the spray nozzle clean using white spirit.

    The main downside of DIY is the lack of any guarantee for future sale. I was more interested in preventing any damage during our occupation.


  15. We used Kendall Van Hire. They seemed very happy about taking it to France for the week (We paid a small amount for the priviledge). A large Ford Transit holds quite a lot of furniture. Being a diesel, it was the cheapest journey of our many trips. The Autoroutes appear to well populated with UK hire vans so it must be a reasonable thing to do.


  16. Complete load  is when the lorry is filled to its capacity and obviously depends on the size of the lorry. The largest delivery vehicles usually carry 20 tonnes which works out at about 12 cubic meters of gravel. There are many smaller trucks in operation and you can often get "complete" load of only eight tonnes.


  17. Not good news about LD so far. I have been testing the prices against any BF tickets that I have booked. Although the basic price is lower there appears to be a problem with cabin accomodation. No matter when I try, all the Portsmouth to Le Havre trips have no cabins available. After reading the last post I am not tempted to try "Club Seats". Back to Caen again!


  18. I can't give you any help with the permission procedures but it is usual (and expected) for you to present yourself at the mairie and meet the maire. There is a sense of community in rural areas and they consider it polite to make yourself known. You should visit the officials as soon as possible. In the long run you will benefit from a friendly relationship with those who make decisions and hand out advice. The office staff will spread the word that you are in occupation, your names, type of car, number of dogs/children and probable financial situation. All good fun!

    I keep avoiding the planned conversions and modifications to the house and have not needed to apply for any permissions.


  19. Brian,

              I can only help with the top surface. The drive was already established but looked rather tatty and so we decided to buy gravel. The gravel in France is not the same as that found in the South of England which we use on our Surrey home drive. Brico-Marche stocks bulk quantities of various aggregates including "gravillon" which appears to be stone chippings, corresponding to 15mm gravel. My wife thinks the mix of greys and pinks looks good!

    The cost of the gravillon was in the region of €30 per cubic metre and with the delivery charge we paid about €150 for four cubic metres.

    Hope this helps a little.                        Alistair

  20. Cathy,

               Your figure of £165 per animal is about correct.

    Later questions:

               The treatment prior to return to UK is about €30 for one dog but only €45 for two dogs at our Vet in St Severe-sur-Indre. The reason for the odd pricing is that the Vet charges the same for "le visit" whether we take one or two dogs. There is a fixed fee for each treatment. If they are not too busy and want to chat (in English) they also give the animals a thorough check and include that in the back of the Pet Passport.


  21. I use trains (and planes) from London to Chateauroux via Paris fairly often. I prefer Eurostar for the London-Paris section simply because it eliminates the inconvenient journey from CDG.

    Use RER (RER B to Gare du Nord) or AirFrance bus  from CDG to central Paris (Opera). Metro to Gare d'Austerlitz and then SNCF to Chateauroux or Argenton. Make certain that your train stops at your destination station. Book your SNCF ticket on their web site and have the tickets delivered to your home in UK.


  22. You could also use the SNCF site (not everyone likes this one, but I do). I tried Toulous to Barcelona and was rejected at the last stage after finding trains and times so failed to get a price. The journey would take about five hours.

    I then tried Perpignan to Barcelona and it came up with a price of €64 (return) and journey time of about three hours.

    I am sure you will find a suitable site and book your tickets.


  23. "Hastobe and Hubby"

    Advice for Hubby: Don't take wifey anywhere near a French furniture store unless you have full control of the funds. There are plenty of large furniture stores in the retail parks but prices match the exceptional quality of the goods.

    For second hand furniture you should search locally for shops under the umbrella of "Depot Vente". We have several near us that stock good quality furniture at moderate prices. Avoid any shop that appears to offer "antique" furniture that is probably set up to catch unsuspecting tourists. It is often junk that looks smart.

    We were very selective about which items were to be bought new and which could be acceptable in a second hand form. The bedroom suite was new, expensive and looks superb. The mattress is too hard!

    Don't rush! Enjoy searching the brocants in summer for real bargains.

                                            Good luck, Alistair

  24. We have used a water softener for 25 years and my next job at Easter is to install the old one in our house in France. We agree completely with Suze's comments about the reason for having one. It is there for our comfort.

    When we first (25 years ago) made enquiries about the health aspect it was very uncertain as to the possible benefits or hazards associated with drinking softened water. We decided to follow what we considered to be the most sensible route and made sure all drinking and cooking water was direct from the mains, bypassing the softener. I doubt if there is sufficient evidence available even now to make health judgements with any certainty. We will continue to play it safe.


  25. Agree with Alcazar about starting from scratch and making the whole floor level and well constructed. I assumed that the low 2.05m was only at the entrance and the remainder of the stable had better headroom.

    If you hire a decent breaker for just one day you will be amazed at how easy it is to destroy the original floor. Some or all of the debris could be used as hardcore but your main chore would be to remove sufficient material to maintain adequate headroom after the job is completed. Apart from levelling the floor, it will be much easier to damp proof the floor and maybe insulate it. Don't waste time and effort making a half-hearted attempt to renovate the original - you won't be happy with the result!


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