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Posts posted by Patmobile

  1. Surely there's a difference between reporting one person's illegal activity and speaking up against the immoral behaviour of a gang or political group?

    There's a huge difference, too, between speaking up against racial or political persecution, and contributing to it by shopping jews or communists to the Nazis.

    Everyone likes to think he would have spoken up - but most had the welfare of wives and families to consider. It's not a choice many of us would like to be faced with, so it's reasonable to feel some sympathy for those who felt they had to remain silent. None whatever, of course for the despicable informers.

    I still don't understand why Dick would inform on people who spell badly or wear unpolished shoes

  2. I'm sure someone will be able to correct me if I'm wrong on this. I remember reading somewhere (can't remember where) that, if there are no protected heirs, and you want to leave your estate to someone not closely related without them becoming liable to punitive rates of inheritance tax, you can legally adopt your chosen heir or heirs.

    This makes them your protected heirs, and the rate of taxation (if any) on the estate is reduced.
  3. I can recommend L'Huîtrière in rue des Chats Bossus. It's central and you enter it through a beautiful Art Deco fish shop. For people who like fish, of course.

    There was another great restaurant in the rather arty quarter nearby, run by a chef called M. Bardot. I've forgotten the name of the restaurant but could never forget the name of the "patron". That was a long time ago though, and he may have moved on.

  4. Don't know anything about fake cats but I was given a fake dog last year and it was no trouble, unlike most dogs and cats, but pretty useless, just like the real thing.

    I sold it at the village brocante and have not yet been investigated for taking part in any illegal trade. If I'd had some more I could have sold them too. Seems there is a market for these things.

    I hope the guests who gave it to me don't come back expecting to see it though. What can I say - it ran away?

  5. [quote]I think you are a little misinformed about the slave trade.[/quote]


    I don't think I am. It's well documented that the Royal family and most of Britain's titled and landowning families were investors and/or more active participants in slave trading and slave owning businesses. Very few of these families have come clean about it, but the Lascelles family (Lord Harewood, Harewood House) have, and recently cooperated in a BBC TV series about the slave trade and the enormous wealth created in Britain by it.

    Barclays Bank and Barings Bank were both founded on slave money, incidentally.

  6. I'm still getting as many as ever. The English seems to be getting worse, though. Perhaps all the more educated perpetrators have already retired from the business, or been caught.

    As for the Vatican letter, if I read it right, to qualify you need to be totally honest, yet willing to break the law, an aristocratic millionaire, yet desperate enough for money to fall victim to a transparent fraud, and influential yet a complete dumbo.

    The writer should find plenty of such mugs among the British aristocracy and any redistribution of their inherited wealth would be a good thing, especially if it benefits Africa where many of the great aristocratic fortunes were made or enhanced by involvement in the slave business.

    By the way, Dick, I liked you better in your DJ.


  7. Well, I know there are cheaper alternatives, but having been an amateur boat builder and sailor, I still prefer to use marine ply for shower walls.

    I like working in wood anyway, and hate any sort of plasterboard. Plywood is easy and clean to cut and shape accurately. Marine ply will last for years even if exposed directly to water. It won't warp, expand, contract or move in other ways. It's very strong and takes screw fixings without plugs, so you can fasten shower fittings, towel rails and even heavy duty grab handles direct into it.

    You can apply a couple of coats of unibond sealer before tiling and relax in the knowledge the wall will outlast its builder, with all tiles and fittings as firmly fixed as they ever were.

    When the job's done you can use the offcuts in the fire or even the boiler heating the water for the shower. Neat, I think.

    Anyway, if you have any doubts, imagine going to sea in a boat made of plasterboard........

  8. I want to transfer my music collection, on CD and minidisc, to Mp3 files on CD. I plan to use my Hitachi combination CD/MD player playing through the line-in socket on my PC.

    Can anyone recommend some simple software to achieve this. I was going to get some in PC World on a trip to London the other day, but the software on offer was far more complicated than I needed (and costly), and the small print on the box revealed that you could only encode 30 music tracks before having to fork out more money to upgrade.

    Any suggestions?

  9. Because big petrol engined automatics are rare in France, I bought my second-hand Mercedes in Belgium and imported it without problems.

    You can do your research on-line as there are lots of dealers in Belgium with their own websites, and some advertisement websites for private sales.

    The dealers all seem used to selling for export, and they will provide Belgian export licence plates, which are valid for at least a month from the date of purchase. You may be able to negotiate the price of these plates in with the price for the car. The price of the plates includes insurance for the same period, so you can drive off and do all the immatriculation once you get home, then get yourself insured by a French insurer, once you have the carte grise.

    The steps you need to take once in France are

    1) Get an attestation of TVA paid from your local Hotel des Impots. This is easy if you have the sales invoice, and costs nothing.

    2) Fill in the immatriculation request form which you can get from your local prefecture, and take it with any other documents specified on the form, including the TVA attestation and a cheque for the fees, to the local DRIRE. Leave the dossier there with a self addressed envelope.

    3) Take the stuff that arrives from DRIRE to the prefecture and pay some more. Leave 20 minutes later with your carte grise.

    Well, that's how I did it anyway!

    I also imported one of our cars from UK by the same process, and I'm about to import another LHD car that I bought on ebay from a seller in Kent.

    Best of luck

  10. I believe it's true that quite a lot of spiders, dead flies and other insects get crushed when the grapes are pressed.

    Perhaps some wines are made with insect repellent grapes to avoid this problem. Are insects considered to be meat?


  11. We were a bit surprised when Johnny Wilkinson booked, because there was press speculation at the time that he was about to come back from injury and be selected to tour with the Lions, just when he would be staying in our house.

    Turned out to be another Johnny Wilkinson

  12. "Are your renters mainly Brits ?"

    Yes, almost all of them.

    "Could it be that we Brits don't alllow 'seaside' into our thinking until it gets warmer and that lets May / June slip us by ?"

    Our very popular seaside house is let almost solid from end April to late October. The country cottages are less busy before July.

    "Are you getting family bookings. Are school half terms changing ?"

    Yes, mostly families. Half terms seem to come in late Feb and late Oct.

  13. Like most other operators of holiday cottages we charge variable rates for our units depending on the season. The point of this seasonal scale of charges is certainly not to make as much as possible from families at school holiday time, but to extend the letting season so as to smooth out the flow of revenue from the business, and to try to make the assets produce some sort of return throughout the year, even at times when few people take holidays.

    Presumably, perfection in this endeavour could be considered to have been achieved when all our cottages are priced in so attractive a way as to be full all year round. Of course it will never happen.

    Nevertheless, I am wondering whether it's our pricing policy or a more fundamental shift in peoples' holiday customs that is causing the rather surprising effect I am noticing this year. I thought our Booking Planner was looking a bit "bottom heavy", that is rather more busy in autumn than expected, so I did a bit of very simple maths.

    We charge the same rate in June as in September, but the occupancy rate for September will be 75% higher this year than June. (Bookings taken to date)

    July and August are treated as the peak period on our scale of charges, but September is already 24% more booked up than July was. (We'll soon be bulging at the seams)

    Here's the big surprise – June is charged at a mid-season rate and October at low season rate. Yet October is already, on bookings taken to date, 8% busier than June was.

    If bookings continue to flow in for autumn in the way they are at the moment, these figures are going to become even more striking, and the graph of revenue flow will change from a bell curve to something longer, flatter, and closer to the ideal.

    The question we now ask is, have we distorted the pattern with a pricing policy that works well in autumn? Or, are people taking holidays later than they used to?

    If it's the former, it's the early season prices we need to fiddle with, but, if the latter, it's late season periods we'll have to rethink. And, if we do make changes, are we just going to produce more confusing distortions?

    Anyone got any ideas?


  14. This sounds very tempting, but, after much consideration, I've decided not to accept your generous invitation to be gay for a month.

    Frankly, it's not getting stuffed with a haggis that worries me....

    'Fraid I'll just have to stay straight and miss all the fun.

  15. When some locataires (guests) leave they may give a clue as to what you will find when you go inside. This is normally in "gitespeak" - a form of code used by British holiday renters.

    "We've left it clean" (We've left it filthy)

    "We've been cleaning all /day/night/morning" (We've left it appallingly filthy)

    "We've cleaned up as best we can" (We haven't lifted a finger, let alone a duster or sponge)

    "Super kitchen" (We've been cooking fry-ups all week and there's fat spattered up the wall to ceiling height)

    "Even the children helped clean their rooms" (There are bits of cake under the beds, broken biscuits in the bedside drawers, sticky marks on every surface, and melted chocolate on the carpet)

    Doubtless you will be able to provide many other decoded examples of gitespeak.

    I think I prefer it when they just say goodbye. That's usually code for a decent clean gite.

    (As you may have guessed today was a particularly difficult changeover!)


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