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Everything posted by Thibault

  1. Didn't like either of the M***e books.  Read three "Olive" books and thought they were better.
  2. I finished full time work early and was informed that I had a shortfall of 2 years on my NI record.  I registered as self-employed as I had a small periodic job.  I didn't earn enough to pay self employed contributions and could have applied for an exemption certificate.  However, I opted to pay voluntary SE contributions (£2.10 per week) and was able to make up the shortfall to enable me to obtain 100% of my state pension. This was a much cheaper option than buying back years.
  3. Having a small wind turbine on one's roof seems to be the new "must have" product for some in the UK.  B & Q have sold oodles over the past few weeks @ £1500 approximately each.  There was a report in the paper a few days ago about a chap who now has one on his roof.  It will take 15 years to pay back the cost of purchase and installation. Currently it generates sufficient electricity to power a hair-dryer. 
  4. It seems to me that in the end, it all boils down to the fact of whether or not one trusts the UK Government and its agencies with all this surveillance data and DNA records and whatever else they may collect in the name of protecting us from crime and terrorism. Call me cynical, but I do not.   Dodgy dossiers spring to mind here. A previous poster was correct - once civil liberties have been given away or let go by default, it is extremely unlikely that we'll get them back. Another point to consider.  Once we have biometric ID cards, we will be required to use them......everywhere.  Organisations will find it convenient to ask for them for a whole manner of things.  Using things like ID cards will leave a trail and "someone" will be able to track exactly where we have been and what we have been doing.  The same goes for road pricing - that will give data on all our journeys.  We already have something similar with mobile phone records.  These existing records are at present "bitty" and in different places.  However technology will enable all of these bits of data to be put together and stored. Soon there will be no such thing as privacy.  Some/many will say it doesn't matter -" I've nothing to hide."  However, to me, it is the principle which is important.  Do I want the UK Government and its agencies to be able to track all my day-to-day activities etc and potentially provide this information to as yet unknown other organisations here or abroad? No I do not.
  5. Unfortunately, what has happened in Iraq was only too predictable.  In fact, many commentators said as much just before the invasion.  It seems that there was a foolish belief that the troops would be greeted with flowers and smiling people joyful at being liberated.  But think about the early days - all the looting (except the oil ministry which was guarded - what does that tell us?),  the destruction of the infrastructure etc. What happened to all the money for reconstruction?  Remember all those US firms who got the lucrative contracts (mainly linked to the neo-cons like Cheney) and the fact that UK firms could only be sub-contractors.  Why are there so many people without a proper water, sewage and electricty supply still? There may have been a plan for the invasion, but it doesen't seem there was a plan for afterwards.  Now all of a sudden there is a move to withdraw.  Is there a plan for that?  Based on past decisions/actions, it would seem not.  Now we have the wonderful spectacle of  Bush, Blair and the rest of the gung-ho brigade desperately searching for a form of words to disguise the fact that the whole policy has failed. And for those who say well, at least we got rid of Saddam - remember he had been contained by the UN policy - which seemed to have been working.  Perhaps we should look at the number of Iraquis killed by Saddam between the end of the first gulf war and the start of the second gulf war and compare that figure with the number of Iraquis killed since the invasion.  Oh, I forgot, the US doesn't keep count of the Iraqui dead [:@] There are scores of murderous tyrants in power all over the world.  If regime change and the bringing of democracy was a legitimate reason to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, then we would all be at war non-stop.  Or does it only apply where there are natural resources that we need?
  6. In any discussion about cheap air fares, whether it is in relation to "green" issues or what you get on a Ryanair etc flight, defenders always state that the advent of cheap air carriers has allowed "ordinary" people to travel abroad. Interestingly yesterday there was a newspaper article about some research commissioned by BAA which seems to counter this myth.  The research shows that the majority of people using cheap flights tended to have incomes of around £50k and they took a lot of cheap flights during the year.  People on these sorts of income were able to afford the other things associated with frequent trips abroad - hotel costs, spending money and presumably second homes abroad. Before all the flack hits me, I am merely paraphrasing the research - not making a judgement!  [:D]
  7. Could be his lost yooof, I 'spose [I][8-|]
  8. Depends if you "trust" the agencies who gather the data to take care with it.  I understand that the DVLA sells lists of names and addresses of registered keepers of vehicles to groups such as wheel clampers etc.  What would happen if hackers get into the identity card database? I don't think Government agencies have a very good record when it comes to IT.  Only recently a couple of teenagers hacked into the Pentagon web site and if that's not a secure area, then I don't hold out much hope for UK Government agencies. In UK, we used to be so proud that unlike a large part of Europe, we didn't have to carry "papers" to prove who we are.  Nowadays the "excuse" of "fighting terrorism" or "dealing with benefit cheats" is being used to "persuade" us that we need identity cards etc. I don't agree with the view that "I've done nothing wrong therefore it doesn't matter if "they" have my DNA; a biometric record/identity card; or track me via my mobile/car/goods; ...etc" I feel that it is the thin edge of the wedge - no-one knows where it will all end. For example, why should victims of crime, people who are witnesses to crime or who voluntarily give a DNA sample have that on official records forever?  Even children's DNA is kept by the police.      
  9. Hey Will - ever been to the Springfield Folk Club in Brighton?  Used to go a lot  umpteen years ago [:D]  Especially liked Downs and Beer........
  10. Have just installed the new upgrade.  So far, it seems faster and more efficient.[:)]
  11. Gosh, Dick, I had barely got used to the monkey pictures and now this.........an action shot.  I shall never read your posts in the same light again  [:D]
  12. I read this too, and couldn't believe it!  It seems the king's hosts arranged for the bear to be taken from a holiday park where it lived and presumably interacted with the residents (it was described in the newspaper as "a kind-hearted bear"), gave it lots of vodka and let it loose where it could be "hunted" and shot.    
  13. Thanks for the info on where to get smelly mothballs - our local ATAC only seems to have the slightly scented ones [:D] We, too, have no wish to hurt the fouines who, as our Pest Man said, are graceful creatures and fascinating to watch, so anything which deters them will be useful to try.  
  14. I don't know what is in the spray - it is provided and applied by the "Pest Man".  We were given his name by our insurance agent as we originally enquired if the damage done by the fouines was covered - of course, it wasn't!! The Pest Man inspects the loft before the spraying and that is how we know that there have been no fouines since the original clearance and spraying.  He comes in early May and again at the end of September - that timing is dictated by our visit times, rather than a natural cycle. We have been fouine free since May 2005. Because we have "up and over" tiles (the sort like half a tube), the Pest Man said it would be impossible to block entry to the fouines, as they can get through very small spaces, without spending a lot of money and perhaps endangering the ability of the loft/roof space to "breathe". So we are very happy to have the loft sprayed twice a year. I have heard that mothballs can be useful..  However, when I tried to find really strong smelling moth balls, I didn't have much luck as the modern varieties don't seem to smell much!  I tried in both England and France but with no success.    
  15. We bought our house in December a couple of years ago.  Unbeknown to us there was a fouine family overwintering in the loft.  The following spring, we had the loft cleared of several years' worth of droppings etc and sprayed with something which deters fouines from returning.  We have had this spray done each spring and autumn since then and (so far) the fouines have not returned. The cost of spraying is not very expensive (What was expensive was the initial clearing and disposing of the mess, including the insulation which was obviously a cosy bed!).  We find this a price worth paying to deter the fouines without damaging them.  It also got rid of the loir which was living in a different part of the loft!  
  16. Having struggled to the end of it, I lent it to a French friend.  She is now 200 plus pages into it and finding it very heavy going.  She summarised the action so far in about three sentences.  The main thing I liked about it was the descriptions of the area around Carcassonne.  The story line was rather predictable.
  17. Isn't there a legend that Harold was buried on the cliffs to guard England  forever? Wasn't he in fact buried at Waltham Abbey? I thought the Church authorities had refused to allow investigation of the body buried in Bosham Church and therefore there is no proof it is Harold.  However, susposedly, there is a daughter of Canute buried there.
  18. Five weeks away in LBF, first visit to site since return and very glad to see the usual standards are still apparent [kiss] We're all sardines, here.......      
  19. I am friends with a French couple who live in England and have a two and a half year old daughter whom they wished to be bilingual.  Their "rule" is that they speak to her in French at all times - her mother tongue -  but she interacts in English with the staff and children at the nursery she attends. As a result the child is completely comfortable with knowing two different words for "shoes" and can easily pick the "correct" one depending on the language the rest of the sentence is in.  She plays at home with her toys and her mother has heard her using correct English with the dolls etc, using words/sentences picked up at nursery.  She speaks to me in either French or English, depending whether or not her parents are present. This has been the approach followed from birth and seems to be very successful. 
  20. What's a delisteur?  The word doesn't appear in my dictionary!
  21. Thanks, Poppy.  TOH is paranoid about tripping the electrics [;-)]
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