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  1. I wanted to add a few words of tribute as someone who worked with Deb in the French Health Issues group. I recognise that not every one shares the same view of this affair, but I can say that for those of us who were in France and caught up in the negative impact of the introduction of the changes, Deb was a shining light. She led the group in taking on the French, British and European authorities, using social and conventional media, blogs, telephone, letters, email. She worked tirelessly, with absolute focus and sheer bloody-mindedness. It was impossible not to love her and admire her energy, her commitment and her very real successes. Deb and FHI got things changed and we, along with many others owe her a huge debt of gratitude. I hope it is of some comfort to you Ian, to know how important she was and how much she made a difference. She will be sorely missed.
  2. Still here - and yes bicycle hire does work. Basically, you have to offer a service alongside gite rental to register as a micro-entreprise and I am sure meals count, along with extra cleaning etc. L'assurance maladie vaut bien une bicyclette as Henri IV didn't say.... L  
  3. Just to clarify the position about non-French citizens at elections. Our secretary at the Mairie rang the Prefecture and was told the following: Volunteers can only help at elections where they have the right to vote. Once you have been elected to the Municipal Council then you can officiate at any election in the commune. I hope this helps. regards L
  4. No question of any volunteers Norman, just the council members. regards L
  5. Didn't seem to be a problem in our commune either. As a council we split up into three teams of three and I did the middle shift as I am English and don't eat at lunchtime... regards L
  6. I have read this thread with interest as we are suffering the same symptoms as the OP. Our weather station tells us that humidity in the house is only 32% (it is very well insulated and has central heating as well as the woodburner.) We have tried a bowl of water on the stove today, but are thinking that we might have to buy a small humidifier. We are keeping the house very well sealed at the moment as the temperature outside is very cold.  regards L
  7. Just about to renew ours - have I understood correctly that I send it off via La Poste with an avis de reception and the embassy send it back via TNT? regards L
  8. I pay cotisations to RSI. I have delayed my French pension in order to keep the business going a bit longer, but my UK state pension will come via RSI and I will not get an E121. I will keep my health cover from RSI for ever. The forms from Newcastle are very clear and I phoned for clarification. Once you have paid social security contributions in France, then your record is here and you cannot claim your pension directly from the UK, you fill in the forms and RSI or whoever you are with, claim it for you. (I realise your question is just about health cover, but the two seem to be tied together). regards L
  9. About 12 cm and snowing on and off here in south Calvados. No traffic in or out of the hamlet yesterday morning or today, so no postie. As we never see a snow plough  here we could be stuck for quite a few days judging by the forecast. Have just done the rounds to check on the older folk in the hamlet and looks as if we shall have to light the bread oven and get into serious bread making mode for them as the bread van hasn't got through either! Good job we stocked up on flour.... regards L
  10. Julie, you need to check what documentation you have from your original business registration. When we set up our micro-entreprise we did it at the Chamber of Commerce and they informed RSI. We then had to go to RSI with loads of documentation and eventually we got a social security number and an attestation for our health "caisse". We are still waiting for our Cartes Vitales two years later, but you are covered from the date of your registration, even if it takes a while to get the forms through so you can claim money back for health expenses. Of course you also have to pay the contributions (cotisations) for your health cover, pension, maternity etc. Also be aware that once you are in the French system, you do not get an E121. You have to get RSI to claim your state pension for you from Newcastle and your health cover comes from the French social security system ever after.We have found that we can only get things done if we go to RSI in person. Good luck! regards L
  11. Thought this was interesting - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/holiday_type/travel_and_literature/article4287902.ece Many of our favourites are here, including Freya Stark, Eric Newby, Robert Byron, Patrick Leigh Fermor etc. Has anyone got any more to add? regards L
  12. Yes I read it. I enjoyed it, but found the style a bit overblown. I read it in translation which may not have helped. I thought the central characters were beautifully drawn and I liked the basic idea of the story, but got irritated by the philosophical digressions. What did you think RH? regards L
  13. I still buy man-sized tissues and Barkeeper's Friend in the UK. Not really interested in a company that doesn't list Waitrose in its supermarkets. regards L[:)]
  14. There is another thread running, where some of us are discussing the possibility of buying a second -hand car in Germany and importing it. It seems to me that the problem here  (for those of us who want to buy a car!) is that the second-hand car market is much smaller than in the UK, people keep their cars much longer and there aren't as many ex-company cars. regards L
  15. Thanks Norman, that looks useful. Perhaps there are some German speakers who could find us a few more garages near the border? I had a go with the Google translation, but didn't get very far! regards L
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