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Maggiemortimer

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  1. We get our best results from Visit France, and have recently begun advertising on Pour les Vacances, as recommended by Coco. We've had a great many enquiries through that site, but all for times we're booked! However, we're hoping that will provide a few more out of season bookings.
    We've not been at all impressed with French Connections this year, it took them nearly 2 weeks to respond to a simple e-mail query, so we won't be using them again, but I know that others here are very pleased with them.
    The very worst site that we were stupid enough to pay for is Preferred Places. Queries and e-mails just disappear into a huge black hole, and aren't acknowledged or given a reply. However, if you visit their website, you hear all about their children, and how busy they all are (do I care??).
    Hope this is of some help,
    Maggie
  2. Having mulled over this posting for a while my thoughts are still the same as my initial reaction - you are providing a service to your guests, so you should ensure that they can use the appliances when they wish. Of course, it makes both economic and ecological sense to reduce power consumption as much as possible, but why supply appliances if your power supply isn't up to the job?
    It doesn't seem unreasonable that on, say, a rainy morning a family should want to get washing, drying etc. done in one huge session so that they will be able to take advantage of the hoped-for better weather. Even the most appealing aspects of French quirkiness can pall eventually, and I can't imagine that continually losing power will be amusing for very long.
    Could you not, in the short term, leave a note in your gite explaining the problem whilst outlining the steps you are taking to improve matters i.e. having your power supply upgraded?
    Maggie
  3. Could it have been Speedferries, which many of us are trying this summer. 58 for a car and 2 people, crossing Dover-Boulogne, at that price who needs frills?
    Maggie
  4. It's just a thought, prompted by the discussion on checking dogs during a crossing but....if BF staff can take the time to go and check dogs, why can't they also put a hammer through the windscreen of the car with the b***** car alarm that has gone off? This invariably happens at night, and underneath our cabin!If BF staff are checking dogs, then surely they could take the number of the car, and escort the (brainless) owner to their car, so that they can turn it off?
    Maggie
  5. Can anyone recommend a hotel/chambre d'hote within easy reach of Saussignac, please? We would like something with more character than a Campanile or Ibis, but preferably not too expensive as our son and daughter will be paying for it (belated Christmas pressie)! Failing that, suggestions for a good hotel would also be welcome, and we'll just bite the bullet and pay for ourselves.
    Maggie
  6. Does anyone else advertise on this website and, if so, have they heard anything from it recently? I've now sent 4 e-mails, none of which have been acknowledged. As there doesn't seem to be a phone number for contacting them (I wonder why??), I seem to be stuck. Is it possible that they could have gone out of business?
    I suppose it's no great loss if they have, as we certainly wouldn't use them again, it's just rather annoying.
    If anyone does know how to get in touch with them, I'd be grateful.
    Maggie
  7. I don't think that they have any legal powers at all, but I imagine that, acting as agents for the stores in question, they would have every right to refuse you entry if you fail to comply with the store's requirements.
    In different circumstances, I would find such searches intrusive but, given the real concerns over terrorism today is it really asking too much that you let them look in your bag, and lock your backpack away whilst in the store? It's not really likely that you'll want to change a baby's nappy whilst walking around the supermarket aisles, is it?
    Maggie
  8. A friend here in the UK took over a residential home and, as part of the refurbishments, bought a massive commercial washing machine and tumble dryer. She also took out the maintenance contracts, which were as expensive as a cheap washing machine. The machines were pretty much in action all day, every day - many of the residents were incontinent - so the need for repairs was inevitable, However, she then found that there were many exclusions in the contracts, and that the wait for parts was weeks, not days. As you would expect, the local laundrette was not happy for her to take washing there, so she had to use a specialist laundry service for 6 weeks, which was phenomenally expensive. Her eventual solution was to buy 2 each of the cheap domestic washing machines, and tumble dryers. They still chug away for most of the day, but if one breaks down, she still has one that works, so can just about cope with the laundry. It is also a much cheaper solution, and she wouldn't consider the commercial appliances again.
    Of course, you need to have sufficient space to accommodate 4 machines, but having seen my friend's struggles, it would certainly be my preferred option.
    Maggie
  9. We advertise with French Connections, but their service this year has been appalling. We've e-mailed tham to change our prices and they didn't even acknowledge the e-mail, my husband had to get quite stroppy, then they apologised, but it just wasn't good enough. By the time they'd altered our prices we were booked up anyway! We much prefer Visitfrance.co.uk - it was free for the first 3 months last year, you can edit and update your own site, and we've had far more enquiries from, and bookings through, them - approximately 5 for every one from French Connections. A lower cost option could be Preferred Places, far fewer enquiries, but we seem to get bookings from them.
    At the moment, we have no intention of renewing with French Connections. Perhaps the site has just got too big to manage?
    Maggie
  10. We saw 'Etre et Avoir' last Monday, it was excellent, well worth seeing.
    I knew that the Auvergne could be cold in winter, but it seemed to be cold, rainy and windy for most of the year. The film gave a fascinating insight into the running of a small French village school, it even had its very own little thug!
    Maggie
  11. Just think about how much washing up 4 adults can generate over a day (loads!), and why people go on holiday (R&R). As Gay says, many of us regard dishwashers as indispensable at home, so why would we feel the need to wash up on holiday? I can happily live without satellite TV, but wouldn't consider anywhere without a dishwasher. The slimline ones take a full days dishes, but don't occupy too much space, so could be a solution if space is limited.
    Maggie
  12. For several years we've taken a few days off when at our house in the Mayenne, and visited different areas, often staying in B&Bs. It is difficult to generalise but our impression is that those owned by British proprietors are far superior to the others. We've recently stayed with Coco, will_the_conqueror, and Marushka, not as B&Bers, but as friends, and the accommodation was superb in each case. If this is the standard that is offered, I would have thought that the French owners will be the ones who have to look to their laurels. We used to find some of the French accommodation fun, because it was so quirky. Now, perhaps because of advancing age(!), we like to have a comfortable bed, and an en-suite bathroom, our days of candlewick bedspreads and swing-out bidets are well past.
    I do get the impression that the gite market is nearing saturation, and perhaps the B&B situation will go the same way, but I still feel that if the accommodation is of a sufficiently high quality it will attract bookings and repeat trade.
    Maggie
  13. I'm sure this must have been covered before, so apologise for raising the matter again. I've tried searching the archives but, possibly because I don't really understand satellite TV, can't find the answer. I've even printed an article from another site written by Mazan, but I'm not sure that provides the answer, either!
    Some friends who live in France have always paid their subscription for their satellite TV using her sisters UK address. Recently, they had to pay 23.50 for a new card(?), which they did, again, through the UK address. They began using it with no problems, then her sister received a letter from Sky saying that the card wasn't being used at the registered address, and asking for an explanation. They haven't used it since, and don't know what to do, so any advice, or links where I can just print responses, would be most gratefully received.
    Maggie
  14. We've been giving the non-iron sheets from M&S a test run at home, to see if they'd be suitable for our apartment. We have no complaints over the quality, but they recommend tumble drying - a waste of energy in Provence, and say that, to achieve pristine condition, they should then be lightly ironed!!
    Back to the drawing board, then.
    Maggie
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