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Everything posted by Clarkkent

  1. [quote user="idun"]OK, I've got to say it. I was rather disturbed the first time a french friend tried to say the english word, 'happiness', to me with their french accent. I didn't think that they were saying 'happiness'. That is not what I heard. As I have said before, I have a bad ear for languages[:-))] [/quote] There is a story about de Gaulle during the War. He and his wife were interviewed, in English (which he actually spoke well), on the BBC. At the end of the interview Mme de Gaulle was asked if there was anything that she would like to bring about. Her reply was "I would like everybody to have a penis." Her husband said "My dear, you mean happiness."   I read the original post and concluded that the comments appeared to be rather pompous and that the writer would probably be trying to get back to Britain in about five years time. I have met several people in France who have espoused similar sentiments, only to return to Britain a couple of years later. I bought my French house intending to move to France on retirement. This plan was scuppered by my wife becoming seriously ill and eventually dying a few years later. After she died, I was making plans to move to France but was prevailed upon delay my decision. I have no idea how my life would have developed had I moved, but I now have a life in England which is rich in friendship and which is rich and varied in culture, too. I have opportunities for experiences which would be impossible (or at least difficult) in France. I still have my French house and I try to spend much of summer and periods at other times of the year in it. But twenty years of French house ownership have proved to me that, whatever my original thoughts, permanent residence may not have given me the satisfactions that my current arrangements provide.  
  2. A couple of points: First, it was not Prince Philip who publicly used the term "Bongo Bongo Land" but Alan Clark in about 1985. Mr Clark (the son of Lord Clark of "Civilisation" fame) was a junior minister at the time. It did not seem to harm his political career. Mr Bloom appears to delight in being ... err ... controversial. Among his utterances have been that since the country cannot afford to keep them, all disabled children should be aborted; that women fail to clean behind fridges, and of a student visiting him in Brussels, something like "Delightfully bimbette, absolutely thick but great tits." (I suspect the forum software will censor me here - but think of small birds with "blue" or "coal" in their names.) UKIP has nothing to offer the British electorate but fond (possible inaccurate) dreams of times past. I hope that the party goes out and recruits a whole regiment of Godfrey Blooms because then the electorate might begin to see how empty UKIP's political philosophy really is.  
  3. Well, I am here in France having crossed using the Shuttle. I travelled from Folkestone to Calais in the early afternoon on a Monday in July and shall return in late morning on a Monday in September. My travel costs were £140 return reduced by £90 by using £30 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers.
  4. [quote user="woolybanana"] There has been some polemic over the choice of leading ladies to appear on UK banknotes, culminating, I gather in the choice of that fine exponent of Mills and Boon, Jane Austin. What a stoopid choice. Anyway, who would you like to see depicted - and, no, Norman, you can't have Miss September 1996 as she was in fact not English but Hungarian, even if she did make a lot of British gentlemen happy? [/quote]   Rosalind Franklin.
  5. [quote user="PaulT"] Clarkkent I presume you contacted Holiday Autos on your return - what did they have to say about the matter. Generally Think Goldcars have featured in other postings on this forum. [/quote] To my shame, I did not. I arrived home to find that Consumers' Association had reported the practices of Goldcar and Holiday Autos in Motoring Which? and my partner confided that she would sooner put the business behind us and learn from our mistake.
  6. 1 Goldcar My advice would be to avoid like the plague. I hired a car from Goldcar in Portugal. This had been arranged through Holiday Autos. First of all, Goldcar refused to accept that the contract included CDW and told me that I would not be allowed to take the car if I did not buy their insurance - and that this was the law in Portugal. The contract was also "pick up empty - return empty" except, of course, the car was provided with a full tank of fuel which had to be paid for. The car itself, when I eventually found it, was in poor condition. The Algarve is not a very large place and it is very difficult to use up a whole tank in a week. When I took the car back the tank was still half full. I received no rebate - the contract was "empty - empty"! Of course, Goldcar would just top up the tank and charge their next victim for a full tank. Holiday Autos, whom I had used many times in the past, will never get my custom again, and I have since found a smaller firm in Portugal, Zitauto, who treated me very fairly. 2 Hertz And this really applies to all the well known car hire companies. A general point - all the local operators are franchises and this means that there may be wide variations in the quality of service they provide.    
  7. I, too, am a member of The Wine Society, I bought a share for £10 about 40 years ago, when I was naïve enough to believe that wine appreciation was the front door to social respectability and that a van, bearing the Society's logo, delivering a box to my home would impress my neighbours. As the years passed I realised that neither of my beliefs was justified and that, although I do not dislike wine, it is no great importance to me and something which I do not miss if I do not consume it. I have long realised that The International Exhibition Co-operative Wine Society (to give it its full name) is just another mail order retailer.
  8. How can a postage stamp be environmentally friendly? A second-class delivery system uses just as much energy as a first-class system, it just uses it more slowly. In fact, storing mail for an extra 24 hours may itself be more wasteful!
  9. Wine is wine is wine to me. It is not an important element in my life nor in my relationship with France. I tend to use Vieux Ceps in cooking, though.
  10. [quote user="Quillan"] Having now seen the actual survey I think the way the answers are presented in the newspaper is a little cantankerous to be honest. See what you think. http://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/ipsos-mori-rss-kings-perils-of-perception-topline.pdf [/quote] I note that the analyst(s) who prepared the survey summary, like many of the contributors to this forum, cannot spell "licence" correctly. [6]
  11. Betty is right, it all is getting rather silly. But then, that's the world we live in. It seems that success in sport is used - almost universally - as a yardstick against which a nation's self-worth is judged. Only a year ago, the UK was crowing about its medal totals in the Olympic Games. Some commentators have suggested that Australia is ridden with self doubt simply because its sporting achievements are rather less than it thinks they should be. In the case of tennis, well, lawn tennis was a game invented in England (am I right in thinking Birmingham?) and yet England continually finds it difficult to produce any players capable of standing up to the best in the world, whereas "insignificant" countries like the Czech Republic or Croatia or Serbia seem to produce top players at the drop of a hat. My own opinion is that as long as tennis is perceived as a safe middle class activity, in the same social category as vicarage tea parties, it will be difficult to find large numbers of top players. It will only be when working class boys perceive tennis as an alternative to football as a route to wealth and fame that these will emerge. It is instructive to compare the provision of public courts in England and France. My French commune has a population of about 250, but it has three tennis courts, and many of the neighbouring villages also have tennis courts. In my English midlands town, population 25,000, there are no public courts. The only ones available are attached to schools or private clubs. Mr Murray now appears to have become an honorary Englishman and there are loud mutterings in high places about a knighthood. But it's only a game.
  12. [quote user="Rabbie"][quote user="Clarkkent"] Congratulations to Andy Murray. And who was the last British citizen to have been a Wimbledon men's champion? [/quote] I believe that Fred Perry did not take out USA citizenship until after he won Wimbledon. Your point is??? [/quote] The question doesn't ask who was the last British citizen to win the title. The last such person was Jaroslav Drobny, in 1954, who was also the oldest man to win the men's title. He had settled in England and had an English wife. However, he was not granted British citizenship until five years later. At the time of his victory he held an Egyptian passport. He also played ice hockey and won an Olympic silver medal as a member of the Czech team at the London games in 1948.
  13. [quote user="JeanS"] Thanks all - seems most of the dentists around here are on holiday. Found one - so off now to see what he can do. [/quote] I was in this predicament a few years ago. I found a dentist without any problem, but I had to wait three weeks because the local laboratories were all on holiday.
  14. Congratulations to Andy Murray. And who was the last British citizen to have been a Wimbledon men's champion?
  15. [quote user="Catalpa"][quote user="Zero Cool"]What the heck does cultivating yourself mean?[/quote] Sitting in the dark under a blanket of nice warm manure  ....  [/quote]   Like I said, bovine effluent.    
  16. [quote user="Russethouse"]What I admire is that two new members have apparently joined just so they can comment on this book......[Www][/quote]   So are you suggesting that it is part of a Cunning Plan by the publishers to market the book to a complacent audience?
  17. [quote user="Kay"]I recently read the book "What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind" by Debra Ollivier. In the book, the author said something that struck me. She said that Americans are obsessed with developing themselves, while the French are more interested in cultivating themselves. What do you think is meant by cultivating oneself? [/quote] I suppose that it could mean that:  Americans are concerned with learning new skills and abilities so that they are capable of performing a wider range of tasks, jobs and duties. French are more interested in honing the skills and abilities that they already have so that they can better perform their current range of tasks, jobs and duties. I can't help thinking, though, that it is just a piece of pseudo-intellectual bovine effluent that sounds impressive but actually means nothing. Its purpose is not to give you any greater understanding of the human condition but to make you admire the author's linguistic capabilities.
  18. He is being coached by Gerard Depardieu in the finer points of Russian life.
  19. Salmonesca was insistent.  She and Bazzer should have accommodation which would not only be physically separate from the gîte but have separate access so that they would not have anything other than occasional contact with tenants. Her part of the complex would be private so that she could sunbathe and swim in complete seclusion. Baz could deny her nothing.   Baz spent the first afternoon exploring the DIY sheds and builders' merchants. Despite his almost total lack of French he managed to source most of Kev's materials and to agree delivery before the boys' arrival. Kev had told him not to worry about any electrical supplies, Steve could get them cheap and, anyway, had a whole load of twin and earth left over from that factory rewiring job in Gateshead.
  20. [quote user="suein56"][quote user="Clarkkent"] I came across this in a magazine a few days ago.[/quote] Is this the one; pay or you cannot use it ? And it seems to leave all kinds of stuff behind when you uninstall it ? Scroll down to read the one review. Sue [/quote] I don't think so, although the name is very similar. This one is called SafeIP and its URL is freesafeip.com. I have not explored it but it does make a great play of being "free".
  21. [quote user="You can call me Betty"] And without the landlord, who did buy the property - or the local council - what would people like your parents have done? Someone had to buy the house they lived in. [/quote] Exactly. Landlords were then considered to be members of a respectable trade. Mass home ownership is a very recent development. L S Lowry's day job was collecting rent. I seem to recall hearing that Sir Edward Elgar never owned his home. Before WW2 home ownership was very unusual. It was the post-war insistence (I won't blame Margaret Thatcher - but I won't exonerate her either) that a home owning democracy was a healthy democracy that is responsible for a large part of our present economic state.  
  22. [quote user="suein56"].  Many French people just cannot afford to buy them. [/quote] And for some, reading and the possession of books is not seen as important. I know of many people, some being teachers, in both England and France for whom reading offers little attraction.
  23. I think that there is some shortsighted thinking (what a metaphor) going on here. Here is Woolly going on about house ownership and the property ladder when he lives in France where (according Wiki) only a little more than half the housing stock is owner occupied. Wikipedia shows the following owner occupier statistics: UK            69%    (2002) France       55%   (2000) Germany   42%   (2002) Ireland       83%   (2002) My parents never owned their own house and never wanted to. As far as they were concerned home ownership was about problems. They were quite happy for the landlord to do repairs and maintenance, all they had to do was pay the rent. I have never been certain of the advantages of a property-owning democracy. I'm sure that home ownership reduces labour mobility, ties up capital and gives people unrealistic perceptions of their own wealth. If people want to buy property and then let it to others they should not be categorised as scum but as enablers of flexibility for others.   Edit - I note that Woolly has withdrawn the objectionable word. Perhaps we would be better to follow the German model of house purchase where it seems mainly to take place at a late stage in life.
  24. I came across this in a magazine a few days ago. It is a privacy tool for use with Windows XP/Vista/7 and 8. It disguises your IP address to make it look as though you are in another country. It would seem that it can avoid geographic restrictions for, say, television streaming, by allowing you to use the IP of a country other than the one you are in. I don't know whether or not it would allow people in France to pick up iPlayer and the like, but it can be found at here.
  25. I suffer from the same problem. Is it anything to do with one system being POP3 and the other IMAP? I think that POP3 delivers emails to a file which is physically in the hard drive of your computer and IMAP keeps them on-file at the server until such time as you "send" for them. Perhaps someone can provide reliable information.  [8-)]  
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