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Clarkkent's Achievements


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  1. I have only just come to this thread - and it brings back the memory of such a letter about 20 years ago when I bought my French house. I received a letter from the Inland Revenue (as it was then) which said something to the effect of "we know that you have just done something which may have implications for us". The letter did not say what but the house purchase had been the only action which could possibly qualify. I wrote back pointing out that the house purchase - if that had been the reason for the letter - was for personal use only. I heard no more. The only thing which could have triggered the letter would have been the conversion of a large sterling sum into French francs and subsequent transmission to a bank account in France, since I purchased the house with a second mortgage on my UK property. I suspect that the bank concerned was obliged to inform HM Inland Revenue of any action that might involve sums large enough to look like money laundering.
  2. [quote user="idun"] There is one thing that I do not understand and that is I have recently heard the people on the news say 'in Ukraine', whereas, I would have said, ' in the' Ukraine. I've heard it with a few other things too where the noun has a vowel as the first letter. [/quote] From Wikipedia: The form "the Ukraine" was once usual in English. In 1993 the Ukrainian government requested that the article be dropped, and it has become rarer.
  3. [quote user="woolybanana"]You mean like ' Hoddy gifted woolybanana her French mansion'? It is American, isn't it?[/quote] An American disease - turning nouns into verbs.   Another thing that annoys me is the inability of broadcasters (and others) to use "less than" and "fewer than" correctly.    
  4. [quote user="sweet 17"] Oh well, since you are all now at it, I might as well split hairs: Did you know that M., short for Monsieur, takes a fullstop but Mme, short for Madame, doesn't?[:P] [/quote] I remember something about this from school  (the war had ended and the Kaiser had gone into exile). A "rule" which went something like if the abbreviation ends with the same letter as the abbreviated word then there is no full stop, otherwise there should be a full stop. It sounds like those other silly rules about never splitting infinitives and never ending sentences with prepositions.  
  5. Can we all join in then? Q, in his tag line, wrongly imputes Peter O'Toole with rather more wit and wisdom than is his due. The line quoted should be attributed to Peter Barnes, whose play "The Ruling Class", when it was filmed, had Mr O'Toole reciting it.
  6. '' I appreciate that the different electrical set-up in France (two-pin as opposed to three-pin) '' I would like to make a few general points which may help Adrian. The first is that many electrical products are made for a generic European market, and that sometimes the only feature that signifies a product for a specific territory is the plug at the end of the cable. Should there be variations in the supply voltage, these are automatically transformed to the voltage used by the appliance. Nominally, the domestic power supply in France is identical to that in the UK - 220v-240v 50Hz ac. The distinction between "live" and "neutral" is usually of no significance because the appliance contains a switch which disconnects both sides of the supply. Indeed, it is impossible to be certain, when using a two-pin plug, that it is inserted into the socket in the same way every time. Many appliances do not require an earth. Even if a three-pin UK plug is fitted, the cable may only contain two wires. If you check the information panel (usually on the back of the appliance) you may see a symbol consisting of two concentric squares: appliances bearing this symbol are double insulated and do not require an earth. In my French home I have some double three pin sockets with one socket above the other and upside down. When I removed the cover on one of them I found that the internal connectors just ran straight up, one connecting the terminals on the left-hand side, the other those on the right. It was therefore immaterial which was live and which was neutral. As others have said, just put new plugs onto your UK appliancs.
  7. If that is so then it speaks volumes about the nature of journalism and the values of journalists. His death was not the most important event in Britain on that day.
  8. Which begs the question: why was his death the lead item on BBC radio and tv news reports? For such publicity being given to this worthless wretch is beyond comprehension!
  9. [quote user="sweet 17"]I'd really be interested to know how children from South Africa rank on those league tables. [/quote] South Africa did not take part in the survey.
  10. [quote user="Rabbie"]I welcome this change but why is GO waiting till April before bringing it in in stead of introducing it now[/quote] I suspect that it is a change which will require primary legislation to bring it into effect. The easiest way to do that will be to include it in the 2014 Finance Bill.
  11. No Q. This not about the superiority of one educational system over another. If anything, it is a testament to the laziness of journalists and the intellectual limitations of politicians. The PISA test measures things which are easy to measure, which, for the main part are skills. Education is more than just skill training, it is - or should be - equally concerned with developing creativity. A few weeks ago I heard a discussion in which an academic was asked about the UK's comparatively poor performance in tests such as PISA. His response was that the Asian countries, with which we are apparently inferior, are in awe of our ability to win Nobel prizes. He cited the very large number of patents lodged from British sources compared with those from the Asian countries. The Asian countries wish that they could develop educational systems which develop creativity. Their children spend so much time in class and then at the crammer that we would consider it to be child cruelty. I think that PISA should be examined in context. It is an interesting, but not hugely important, comparative excercise which provides inadequate (and ill-educated) politicians with a further set of ammunition with which to denigrate each other. PISA does little more than reinforce the managerialism attitudes (concerned with structures and targets and control) which infect the brains of politicians
  12. [quote user="dwmcn"]Norman, Bring back Maigret with Gambon. Although I'm not sure it was filmed in France. David PS I see where there are plans to bring it back. And it was filmed in Budapest. [/quote] Bring back Maigret with Rupert Davies (if only that were possible!) The best Maigret of all.
  13. Am I the only person who thought that The Returned was beautifully produced, vacuous, plotless rubbish? But then, what would I know? I think that post-modernism is cod philosophy!
  14. Is there any World Heritage funding, or is there an undertaking by the recipient country that - in return for the privilege - the site will be maintained? Surely, it is the accreditation that will be lost. It is believed that the pathogen, Ceratocystus platani, arrived in France on 6 June 1944. It was, apparently, carried by wooden ammunition boxes accompanying US troops liberating Europe.  If I recall correctly, the particular variety of plane came from Spain, where it was known to thrive in high temperatures. I did hear that they may be replaced by London planes, but I don't know whether they would be any more resistant to the fungus. The main reason Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years in France was because he had been asked by Francois I to build a canal between the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The task, however, was beyond Leonardo who couldn't find a way of filling it with water. The problem was eventually solved by Pierre Paul Riquet, a tax farmer, who virtually bankrupted himself constructing the canal.  
  15. Well, I am mild mannered and bespectacled.
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