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Everything posted by napoleon

  1. Rewire for a house half the size of yours cost €3200 with surface mounted wiring. If the extra work to bury the cables in our stone walls was included, and extrapolating the total to cover your larger home, I would expect the total to come to about €10000. The work was completed to a high standard and it works!          Alistair
  2. Angela,

                Your information is just what I have been looking for. I visited the Sanef site before but my French is so bad I didn't appreciate that the €2 monthly fee is only payable for months that the badge is used. Could you please confirm that this part of the deal actually works? If it does, I will buy mine straight away.

                                     Thanks. Alistair

  3. Just to add to the LD data base, I have just had a quotation for a return trip  for £133 which covers:

    Two adults, car, dog(£30), club seats both ways (Portsmouth-Le Havre). Out on Thursday 9 Feb at 2330, back on Thur 16 Feb at 1700. This is by far the cheaper fare compared with BF (£185 with Property Owners discount).

    I have though booked with BF because LD were unable to offer a cabin on the way out. I paid BF £245 to include a four berth outside cabin with free breakfast.


  4. I have just received the latest advertising email from LD Lines and decided to check the prices of a return trip from Portsmouth to Le Havre at Easter. The cost was £372 including our dog and suitable accommodation (for us!).

    I then made the same (times and accomodation) selection for BF using the Portsmouth to Caen route and came up with £352. I could reduce the BF price by using our property owners card giving a final price around £300.

    The Le Havre route is more convenient but I will wait until LD start some frequent traveller/home owner offers.


  5. We have only had an account with La Poste. After five years they have never made an error, always been helpful and have a system that works for us.

    The only problem was when HSBC managed to send €2000 to the wrong account and we became overdrawn. La Poste were very polite, patient and accepted a fax of the transfer as evidence of where the error lay and just waited till the funds were restored. No penalties were imposed.

    It is also useful having so many branches even if the small ones are under threat.

    At the moment we have no reason to change.


  6. I am not an expert but could these be mBar rather than Bar? The regulator must be far lower than 28 Bar. Not sure what the gas bottle pressure refers to. What is specified for the heater unit?
  7. Jamie,

     I know you addressed your question to Opel Fruit, whose answers are always so helpful, but I thought I would give you information based on our experience with gas.

    I agreed a nine year rental plan with Antargas using an existing 1000kg tank. We installed a new, efficient boiler for conventional central heating and hot water. I have been astounded by the ever growing costs of running the system. When we are in occupation during cold periods ( Various weeks in October, November, February, March and April) we use the system to heat about 120sq m of living space and also run a huge wood burner in the salon (living room). The average cost is about €120 per week!

    During the warmer months it just supplies hot water and the cost falls it about €20 per week and I am happy with the convenience and general performance.

    If I had my time again I would not choose the gas tank.

                                    Regards, Alistair

  8. napoleon


    I was in the same position last year and experienced the woes of leaving the trees unpruned for the previous four years. I watched the behaviour of the contractors who were tending the many tree lined avenues in the local town. You should have a close look at the state of the pollarded trees in your area and copy what you see. Don't leave it too late as they will start sprouting in early spring. I am no expert but I decided to prune our trees in February (Central France) when it was still very cold. The resulting growth and appearance this summer was very rewarding.

    Be bold and cut it back very close to the old hard wood. Copy the experts. Do it every year.

                            Regards, Alistair

  9. I have just checked the site that Kimberley suggested. It is well worth a visit from anyone needing useful terms in French.

                               Thanks, Alistair

  10. Jean,

           I thought I had left a reply last week but it has gone missing! I buy logs from Andre Labesse who lives in Vauduan, near Pouligny St Martin. He delivers to our house in Pouligny Notre Dame using his tractor and trailer. We pay 72 euros for two steres, including delivery and stacking. His number is in the local annuaire. He may be prepared to deliver as far as you.


  11. Your analysis seems fairly well judged but where is your water meter in all this? Mine is close to the pressure reducer at the main stop cock. I don't have any other device like the "pressure gauge" you describe. I will be very interested in the answer from the experts.

             Regards, Alistair

  12. I bought an Epson C60 to take to France last year it refused to power-up and, although I tried to repair it, it is now awaiting a trip to the dechetterie. The solution was to buy an HP printer from PC World during a sale. The printer cost less than replacement ink cartridges for the Epson. All my HP printers have performed reliably.

                     Good hunting, Alistair


  13. Just to confirm the statements above, I recall that we were expected to pay the proportion of the Tax d'Habitation. It was calculated on the basis of days in ownership over the 365 day year. The Tax Foncier was paid by the previous owner who was in residence on 1st January. We were told this before signing and it was put into action during our first year


  14. Thanks everyone for your comments. Clearly I need to carry on with the research to cover all eventuallities for my circumstances.


  15. Hi all,

             I have been considering ways of bypassing the French inheritance laws. It led me to wondering if we could borrow a significant amount of money using the house as security.

     We have fully owned the house in France for five years and have no loans in France. Is it possible to take out a mortgage/secured loan on that property from a French bank?

    We are resident in the UK and use the house for holidays only.

     Has anyone had good or bad experiences in these matters or can you offer some guidance?

                           Thanks, Alistair

  16. Dave,

           We remember the scene very well from the days of watching TV films with our children. I only have a vague idea of the line she taught him but it included " ...the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true." The other vessel had a pestle connection! The film also had the magnetised helmet.

       Maybe I will get a DVD of it to go with "Jour de Fete".


  17. Agree with the comments above.

    I would be influenced by a house having mains gas connected when deciding whether to buy. The standing charge of 20 Euros per month seems a small price to pay for such an improvement to your comfort and flexibility for heating and cooking. I would jump at the chance to have it connected.

    The life of a 35kg bottle would be remarkably short if it was to provide heating for a typical house during the winter. Those of us who have cylinders may use 1000kg to 1500kg of gas per annum, equivalent to 30 to 45 large 35kg bottles. The cost is high even in bulk.

    It is very reasonable to use these bottles for cooking and short term heating but surely not as a significant heating source.

  18. 15th edition became 16th edition ..........

    The DIY Frenchman made up his own rules and then broke all of them. All his wiring is gone now!

    Strip it all out and be safe.

  19. Although I can't give full answers to your questions, here are a few comments based on my first four years owning a house in central France.

    • Electric showers of any use need 8kW each. Your house may be set up with EDF for 3, 6, 9 or 12kW. I expect it is possible to get higher ratings in towns but we live in a remote spot and survive with only 6kW maximum. I haven't seen any electric showers in local stores.
    • Wood burning stoves work really well and in your area logs are easily found (bought!). We have one which has two auxiliary ducts that can be fed into adjacent rooms to distribute the heat. They only work well with the help of an integral electric fan. The rest of the house would be too cold without the use of a traditional central heating boiler.
    • Don't rush your choice. Collect all the information and analyse it thoroughly before committing yourself to any system. Check all fuel prices and running costs. Live "rough" for a while to allow you to assess the situation.
    • The common method of hot water supply seems to be electrically heated (as with our UK immersion heater) tanks. These are available in a variety of capacities to suit your requirements and would be a relatively cheap starting point.

                   I know most of this is obvious but I wish I had told myself all these things when we started up.

                 Regards, Alistair

  20. Very worrying! Could I be fined for travelling in genuine M&S everything, Boots sunglasses, Clarke's shoes and Millett's backpack?

    Following on with the Blackbush connection, I also lived for twenty years within walking distance of the market, across the common. Dog walking on the common twice a day was great. I didn't see any stalls selling fake M&S. I suppose you can now buy it direct from the store at The Meadows.

  21. During the four years of ownership we have had several cards left in our post box stating EDF had visited and could we fill in the present reading. After two years the house was re-wired for three phase and the new meter was read.

     Two years later they sent a letter asking us to arrange a time when EDF could enter the house to make a true reading. I sent them the present reading and the new bill was adjusted to suit.

    The following bills were estimates, as usual, based on their best attempt to follow the pattern of use. I intend to send another "present reading" to allow them to make a more realistic estimation. They probably only owe us about 100 euros.

    My spoken French is not too good so I prefer to write it down.

    I wouldn't let them hold such a vast amount of your money. Get working on a refund asap and spend it or earn interest!

  22. Have sent you a PM.  Good luck in your venture.


  23. I can only confirm that it is normal to buy the sommier separately. When we bought our bed in France four years ago we were lucky to use a local furniture shop and the owner gave us very good advice and carefully selected all the parts. I had no idea what a "sommier" was (probably thought it was a wine waiter) and he had to explain how it was the base, below the mattress, that fits inside the main frame.

    Your prices seem high but your bed is probably of very high quality. My only complaint is that the mattress is too hard!

    The bed is luxurious, being longer and wider than our UK king-size. Make sure you select bed linen to match the size.


    Happy sleeping,   Alistair

  24. Nous avons un lurcher magnifique. Thats how a Frenchman described our dog. Most people ask what he is and accept our explanation of his origins (Greyhound/Border Collie/Deerhound). He looks like a cartoon character.

    I have read recently that the Kennel Club has now issued a strict definition of the breed.

    Lurcher does not appear in the dog breed poster at our French vets. Many of the dog breeds were listed exactly as in the English form. I expect "lurcher" is the same. An automatic translator did not provide another word.

                                      Lurcher owner.   Alistair

  25. Paul,

           Thanks for the advice. I will start looking for an easy opportunity to practice it before taking on a large opening.

    The other comments about your photos show how helpful they have been. It was very generous of you to pass on these tips.

    Good question Pierre ZFP! Great answer!!


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