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Nicky France

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  1. Can anyone offer advice... I would like to buy a laptop computer to enable me to work away from home.  I need to be able to connect to the internet about twice a day for about 5-10 minutes at a time to check e-mail and download text documents (Word etc).  I will be working in remote locations in France and will not have access to a Wi-Fi point or phone line so will have to connect to the internet using a mobile phone.  I have asked in various shops but the general consensus is that either it just isn't possible or that it will be prohibitively expensive.  I was advised in one mobile phone shop that I would have to first buy a "card" to plug into the computer at a cost of about 75 euros and then sign-up for an expensive contract and, on top of that, pay for the connection on a per-minute basis. Is this an accurate reflection of reality or is there an easier and/or cheaper way to access the internet from a laptop? Thanks, Nicky.
  2. Hello there.  I have quite a complicated question but would greatly appreciate some advice from anyone with a little knowledge on the subject.  I am British and went to live in the Netherlands in 2000.  I then moved to France in 2005 and am planning to stay here.  I currently work for a British company on seasonal contracts (Feb/March to Oct) and am paid from the UK.  For 2005 and this year I have an NT tax code which means I do not pay UK tax however, I am still paying NI contributions.  Is there any point to this as I have been away from the UK for so long I am not sure I would be entitled to anything there anymore.  The NI helpline was not terribly helpful and just advised me to contact someone in France for some advice about getting into the French system.  I am totally confused and have no idea what my best course of action is.  Any advice would be a great help. Thanks.
  3. Hello Ty, My husband has recently been to all the agencies in our local town and they were not very helpful at all.  He goes back regularly to ask for work (and will do anything to earn a bit of cash) but they keep saying that there isn't anything!  Could you tell me which agency you used or maybe you have some handy advice about approaching them? Thanks, Nicky.
  4. Hello, Can anybody tell me whether babies that are born in France are entitled to any child benefits?  Planning on having one soon (hopefully) and just wondered whether we would be entitled to any financial help.  I work during the summer for a uk company but would have to stop if a baby came along and my husband doesn't work at the moment. Any useful info would be gratefully received. Nicky.
  5. Hello there! I am confused!  I have had to go to the doctor and hospital several times in the last couple of months for appointments.  I have had to pay various amounts in charges and have, subsequently collected a nice bundle of invoices (all paid).  I have sent all of them to the CPAM because I was under the impression that if they don't pay them they will let you know.  However, they didn't let us know and we had to chase them up only to be told that all of the invoices need to go to our supplementary health insurer (Axa).  In the meantime, though, I have sent another invoice straight to Axa only for it to be returned with a note saying that it needs to go to the CPAM!!  Aaaagh!  How do I know who gets what when it comes to medical invoices?  Is there a golden rule?  None of my payments have been reimbursed yet and it is starting to get a bit annoying. Please help, Nicky.
  6. Hello Wen, Just out of interest, why "never again"? Nicky
  7. We were under the impression that the social security number comes with the carte vitale??  We went to the CPAM on Friday and he said he would ring us on Monday. I said that if he doesn't I will visit him every day until it is sorted out! Do they also issue the social security number then?  We currently have no health insurance that we are aware of so I am not sure if the CPAM would re-imburse any charges.  Also, while we are on the subject, the job-agencies told my husband (oops, called him "partner" in original message!) that he has to have a carte vitale before he can register with them...did they mean social security number?  Also...what is the "attestation" mentioned previously? The man at CPAM mentioned it several times and, whilst my french is reasonable, I was a bit baffled!! Thanks, Nicky.
  8. Please can somebody help us... My partner and I have been resident in France since the beginning of the year.  I have been working for a UK company until now (basic health insurance included) and my partner is Dutch and has had health insurance cover from there until recently.  Our problem is that, although we applied for a Carte Vitale several months ago, the French authorities keep saying that it is being processed but we have still not yet received it.  This means that neither of us have any health insurance cover now and we are pretty worried about it.  I know that french bureaucracy is legendary but is there a way to get through to these people that we need the Carte Vitale NOW so that we can sort out our insurance!  Any hints, tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Nicky.
  9. We have just purchased a house in Brittany to convert into a holiday home (and to live next door) and, although it may sound obvious, the best thing to do is go and see the mayor.  We went and spoke to our mayor in very rusty french before we had even bought our property and roughly explained our plans.  He seemed very friendly and I get the impression that anything that may, potentially, bring more money into his area has his blessing.  My husband has now been back to see him again just to let him know that the sale went through and we will be moving down to the house soon.  He was very friendly and, hopefully, when it comes to the subject of planning permissions etc he will be more inclined to agree. Nicky.
  10. We recently bought an electric shower in the UK to use in our new house in Brittany.  We immediately wired it up but every time we try to get even lukewarm water out of it it trips the electrics in the house.  The shower uses 8.5 kw.  The house has not been inhabited for ages (if at all) so the electicity supply is probably the lowest possible (3KVA?).  My question is really whether it is possible to up the electic supply tothe house be able to use this shower or should we just use a water boiler to heat the water for the shower/bathroom.  I have seen electric showers in France so I know it is a possibility but would welcome anyone else's experience with this issue. Nicky.
  11. I have to confess to being totally confused about this subject.  We requested an Etude du Sol as part of our house-purchase contract, which we have now recieved.  I had, however, expected an assessment of the existing set-up (i.e. a tank no older than 5 years but without a soak-away).  Unfortunately, all I have in the document is a plan for a totally new system, which would involve digging up the road in front of our house, and I have no idea what this would cost.  The existing tank seems to work although it will need regular emptying so do I have to install a brand new system or not?????  Our estate agent also informed us that checking in our area (56) would probably not start until at least 2006 but that once it had started the fosse manufacturers would probably increase prices so we would be better off installing a new system sooner rather than later!!!  I did, by the way, still manage to get a cert. d'urbanisme for the adjoining barn of the property despite having an "old" fosse. Does anyone really know what is going on?  I just cannot believe that everybody with a fosse will just install a new (expensive) system - not everyone has the money or the space on their land!! I remain in the dark... Nicky.
  12. Thanks for all the info. Andrew...we were thinking of installing a wood-burner in the fireplace itself which will (presumably) involve putting a flue up the existing stone chimney.  We figured this will be more "controllable" than just a regular "open hearth".  This house is to become our primary residence and when we stayed there recently we noticed that there was a horrendous draught flying up the chimney and I imagine this would need solving even after you had installed the burner?  The room we are trying to heat is about 20m2 and the fireplace itself 1.7m high, 1.7m wide and about a metre deep. Any ideas gratefully received. Nicky
  13. wood burner/register plate We have also looked (briefly) at wood burners but can you explain what a "register plate" is.  Sorry to be a bit ignorant about this but we only bought our house a few days ago and we are on a steep learning curve at the mo! Nicky.
  14. Thanks for the info.  We are moving down to the house in Brittany (56) in March/April so (hopefully) the weather will already be tropical and we won't need to think about heating for a while. Here's hoping!!
  15. Whilst driving through France you often see houses with big, white gas tanks outside.  Does anyone have any idea how much these cost (initially and to refill)?  Any information about gas-usage in general in France would be gratefully received. Nicky.
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