Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Posts posted by Patmobile

  1. As S8J and I are both in the Pas de Calais and we seem to be the only ones to have received this letter, maybe it's just the local branch getting a bit carried away.

    We belong to GdF but we've never to my knowledge had a booking as a result of our listing with them. We reckon this is because we're far to expensive for the average French family who usually seem to want to pack 12 people into a 2 bedroom house. Or maybe it's just because we're Brits?.

    Why are we members, then? For the grant of 12,000€ mostly, for the 3 epis rating, and also so that we can be included in official local tourism literature and websites.


  2. Don't you find it strange that politicians in UK (and probably elsewhere) spend so much time slagging off their opponents and their opponents' supporters in the most insulting way possible, instead of expounding clearly and rationally their own views and aims, and the full details of their proposed policies?

    Don't they know that every time they open their mouths like this they insult 60% of the nation? The same people they claim to represent after they win.

    No wonder the percentage of voters is declining. Who would want such insulting, bullying, closed-minded, jumped-up, self-important, strutting, egomaniacal prats to represent them?

    And they have the nerve to call themselves "leaders".

    Roll on the revolution!

  3. My builder advised me not to fit any lighting fittings before the consuel in case there were objections to any of them.

    I seem to remember we put in cheap pendant bayonet fittings that are used by electricians for temporary installations only, until the inspection had taken place.

    Earth testing was the prime focus of the inspection.

  4. Miki, we're in 62

    Buns, here is the (almost) full text. Draw your own conclusions.

    "Depuis quelques temps, nous constatons que les hébergements labellisés Gîtes de France ainsi que d'autres labels ont tendance à être les "vaches à Lait" des services publics et privés, redevance TV, Sacem, taxe des enlèvements d'ordures ménagères, taxe sur la publicité, etc…

    Force d'admettre qu'un certain nombre d'hébergements ouverts par des propriétaires qui ne souhaitent ni classement, ni label, échappent à toutes ces contraintes financières, la Fédération Nationale de Gîtes de France souhaite démontrer la bonne foi des propriétaires appartenant à un réseau en regard de ceux qui ne payent qu'un minimum pour un rentabilité maximum.

    Ayant besoin de votre aide pour faire remonter l'information auprès des Instances Nationales, vous avez peut-être connaissance du fonctionnement d'hébergements touristiques, dans votre secteur ne possédant ni label, ni classement. A cette fin, nous vous serons reconnaissants de bien vouloir nous retourner le questionnaire ci-joint, après l'avoir complété.

    Nous tenons à vous faire savoir que le résultat de cette enquête ne peut être qu'anonyme et qu'en aucun cas elle ne servira pour dénoncer telle ou telle personne, elle sera d'ailleurs globalisée pour en dresser un tableau departmental.

    Nous comptons vivement sur votre collaboration et sur un retour fructueux.

    Avec nos remerciements, etc., etc……"


  5. Just received today a letter from Gites de France headed Tres Urgent, Tres Important!

    The gist of the letter is that, as members of GdF we naturally have to pay appropriate taxes, local charges, local tourism publicity etc, that increase our costs, while other owners, who operate unclassified holiday accommodation and don't belong to any recognised network such as GdF, may not be operating under the same financial constraints.

    We are then asked to fill in a questionnaire notifying GdF how many such unregistered establishments we know of in our area.

    We are not asked to give names and addresses, but I can't help feeling that might be the next step, or, anyway, that some proprietaires might take this as an invitation to "denounce" a few of their competitors .

    It certainly seems that GdF, together with other organisations they refer to but don't name, may be preparing a case to lobby for compulsory registration of holiday cottages, CdH's, and any other tourist accommodation.

    If you're all above board this won't bother you, but if you're not.......


  6. For Sale: Mr. Bricolage "Rally" tractor-style lawn mower. One careful owner, some minor modifications including bare metal bodywork at rear, plastic nose cone and cutting cowl skirts. Tecumseh 12 hp overhead valve high performance engine, lightly used. Front tyres well "scrubbed-in" by expert user. Some minor dents and bodywork damage, could easily be removed with a hammer.

    N.B. Not suitable for cutting grass. If you want to do this, buy a green one called "Lawnmaster", "Garden Chief", or some other such name.

    To be sold with flameproof racing overalls in Mr. Bricolage colours, backless driving gloves, helmet and goggles.

    Reason for sale: Neighbour has bought a quad bike and blown us off the track with vastly superior performance.

    Once again the big budgets rule the race track!

  7. I am glad I saw a great football match. I don't understand how "fans" can boo their team's opponents, particularly if they are giving such a show of brilliant football.

    But I've been around long enough to have been watching at Roker Park when home spectators would applaud the skills of great visiting players such as Best, Greaves, and the like.

    By the way, though their skills would have been up to it, I don't reckon Greaves, Best or any other player of that generation would have lasted more than 15 minutes at the pace Chelsea and Liverpool played last night. Great players - but the game was slower then.

  8. Testing is still impossible because of wet track conditions.

    We don't have the budget for the steering wheel I'm afraid. Moreover, there is no tyre sponsor, so no access to compounds of varying hard/softness.

    We've looked again at the assymetric configuration proposed by weedon, but we're doubtful as to whether we could actually turn right at the 3 right-handers on the course, at Woodpile, Tree-stump and Bonfire.

    Track conditions are not expected to be acceptable for high speed testing this week, so there will be no further bulletins for a while.

    However, if you have any better ideas than have already been suggested here, please post them.

  9. Inland Revenue have in the past allowed up to two years to sell a property that was previously your principal residence before it becomes subject to CGT. I don't know if this is still the case.

    You, and your wife or partner, if the house is jointly owned, can set off your capital gains allowances for the year against any taxable gain made on the house, if it's outside the 2 year(?) period allowed for selling.

    Gains on property in UK are index linked, (or used to be) so only that part of the capital gain that exceeds the rise in the appropriate index during your years of ownership can be deemed taxable.

    You should ask an accountant, but this is my recollection of the rules.

    Sorry, I've just realised you were talking about French CGT, about which I know next to nothing.


  10. Would these "berms" be something like the banking at Brooklands or Indianapolis?

    I like the sound of it, but I fear understeer can be an even more serious problem on a banked circuit, as it can cause vehicle and driver to be launched off the top at high speed.

    With the run-off area at the dreaded "Potager" corner now bristling with spiral steel tomato plant supports, it would take a brave man to take the high line on the banking at full "hare" throttle setting.

    Anyway, I think the Clerk of the Course might send out the heavy roller to eliminate any berms as soon as they appear.

    On a less pessimistic note, the team is considering a variation on the "Rudi Uhlenhaut" weight reduction technique. He it was who stripped the white paint of the pre-war racing Mercedes cars to lighten them, thus creating the legend of the "Silver Arrows". The thought is that stripping the paint of the rear of the bright red Mr. Bric Rally machine might help encourage some controllable oversteer. Of course, we would lose the aft end of a couple of go-fast stripes.

    What to do for the best? Decisions, decisions.....


  11. Dave, it was understeer I was trying to correct, not oversteer. Put simply, the driver turns the wheel, but the front end of the machine tends to continue in a straight line. This can result in high speed "offs". Turning the wheel further can eventually result in turn-in, but the effect is unpredictable, and to spectators, it looks as if the driver is a complete wally. Driver confidence is shattered and lap times naturally suffer.

    By the way, I don't understand your last comment. What on earth would I need a lawnmower for?

    Today I tried the new systems. Driving gloves and wooden knob on the gear change, skirting added to the bottom edge of the cutter cowling. I practised engaging and disengaging the cutter clutch so that I could swiftly bring the suction into action on corners.

    For a couple of laps response seemed to be improved, but soon the weight of the grass sucked up into the collecting bin on the back of the machine, began to affect the fore and aft weight distribution, bringing back the understeer problem.

    The session was abandoned to enable further consultation on possible solutions to the problem.

    I'm thinking of leaving off the collecting box and letting the grass be blown straight up into the air behind the machine. There might be some downforce to be gained from the reaction to this blasting of waste material upwards. (Newton's law I think) But would the downforce on the rear alone further exacerbate the front-end grip problem?

    More thought and research seems indicated.


  12. I'm going to try the driving gloves and wooden gear knob later today. They won't add any significant weight.

    There's no mirror to hang the furry dice from, so I won't go that route.

    I'm afraid the big speakers, too, must be ruled out on weight and moment of inertia grounds, even though they could well be the solution to the serious mole problem.

    Dick, I'm going to switch from mulching blades to the grass collection variety, and engage the cutter on the approach to bends - it would soak up too much power on the straights - in the hope that the low pressure zone provided by the collection system will "suck" the machine down onto the track, thus improving front end grip. This is the nearest I can reasonably get to the Chapparal "hoover".

    I may even try adding skirts to the cutter cowling to help maintain the negative pressure under it. This could benefit both handling and grass collection performance.

  13. Looked in his parents orchard and found it full of apple trees, pear trees, plum trees, etc. Probably not the right gift.

    Thought about a good knife, Swiss army type, but decided it might be a bad idea if he took it to school or did something silly. Then we thought about a pen (mightier than the sword or Swiss Army knife) but, frankly, no-one uses a decent pen these days, especially not the young who have keyboard and IT skills surpassing those of most of us older people.

    Finally got him a pair of binoculars. He might be interested in nature, or shooting, or sport - cricket, motor racing, yachting, or astronomy. They'll even be useful if all he wants to do is spy on the girls!

    I'm sure you all ahd better ideas than this, but there seemed to be possible objections to everything alse we came up with

    Thanks for your help

  14. Well, weedon, the steering wheel is in the centre, but the gear change on the right gives the game away, so I'm afraid your cunningly simple modification won't work.

    What a shame, I was looking forward to a bit of tinkering with the Ackerman angle.

    Dick, I've considered your brilliant suggestion of weight increase over the front of the vehicle, but rejected it on the grounds that the addition of any weight on such a lightly built chassis would have serious consequences to the power/weight ratio, and hence loss of acceleration.

    Moreover, braking distances might be seriously increased, thus lessening the chances of overtaking at bends. Anyway, ultimately, increased mass means more inertia, which implies poorer adhesion to the track at higher cornering speeds. At best it's just a stopgap solution.

    In the end I have to heed the words of Colin Chapman who said that weight is useless in a performance vehicle (he said "racing car", actually, but I'm sure he was including lawn mowers).

    I forgot to mention there is no wing on the back or front. Perhaps the formula rules don't allow aerodynamic modifications? Does anyone know?


  15. Can anyone advise me on how to cure the appalling understeer I experience when cornering my sit-on tractor lawnmower?

    I can't make any adjustments to suspension settings, since there is no suspension. Recommended tyre pressure is already very low and efforts to cure the problem by running almost flat tyres have been unsuccessful.

    I considered subtle alterations to the steering geometry and found that by bashing the track rods with a club hammer I could shorten or lengthen them with ease. Unfortunately it didn't cure the problem and I have reverted to factory settings (straight-ish track rods).

    Weight distribution could be a factor, but I can't move the seat any further forward and anyway if I sit on the bonnet, I lose traction at the rear (wheels, that is).

    The mower is a "Rally" purchased at Mr. Bricolage. With such a sporty name you'ld think they would have got the handling sorted. Frankly, I wouldn't dream of entering a rally on this machine - the steering is just too unpredictable, and a high speed crash on a forestry special stage or, worse, an alpine hairpin, are just too dangerous to risk.

    Even if I was prepared to put myself at risk, I really couldn't ask my co-driver/navigator to join me in doing so.

    Has anyone got any thoughts on this?

  16. Good News! We've been invited to the neighbours' son's First Communion ceremony and reception.

    Bad news! We have no idea what gift would be appropriate for a boy of 13 or so, on this occasion. We live in a farming village in farming country, so no-one goes round in designer trainers or Armani jackets (except me when I drag out my old clothes). He doesn't appear to be mad about foorball. He has always been very friendly and polite ever since we first came here about 5 years ago.

    Many of you, I'm sure, have children or grandchildren of this age. Can we benefit from your experience and wisdom? Please help with your list of suggestions. Not too expensive please - maybe up to or around 30€.

  17. To get back to the original question.....

    If it's true that history repeats itself then clearly it is most likely to end when the Germans come marching in again. We're overdue for an invasion now, as it happens.

    This time I don't think there'll be much fighting. The tanks will cross the border at one minute after midday and be in Paris before the government, civil servants, and senior military staff get back from lunch.

    I expect all the British owned gites will be immediately commandeered for troop accommodation and we'll all have to move into our barns or garages. Or even go back to the Dis-united Kingdom.

    A French "Non" vote to the EU constitution may be just the excuse the Krauts are looking for.

    I'm brushing up on my German and learning how to cook sauerkraut and sausage. It pays to be prepared.


  18. I've heard that travellers should not drink water from the tap in France, and that the toilets are usually a hole in the floor with raised pads to stand on so your feet don't get wet when the flush goes off, flooding the room. Also there is never any paper, so I believe.

    Are these rumours true? And does it take a lot of practice to use the loo with success and dry feet?


  19. I forgot to add that it helps to have a pension - however small. And/or income from any other source, like UK rent, share dividends, gambling winnings, etc. Or a job in France, full or part time, most likely the latter as full time is hard to come by unless you are completely bi-lingual and with suitable qualifications.

    With any of these and your gite earnings combined you might live happily and comfortably - or it might still all go belly up.

    In conclusion, do it for the adventure, the hell of it, the pleasure and the excitement, and the occasional misery, but don't do it to get rich.

  20. To purchase & renovate our house, now very comfortable, convert farm buildings into 1 large, 2 medium & 1 small gite, and to purchase and fit out a seaside house as another medium size unit cost us alittle over two-thirds of your budget.

    It is not particularly hard work but you can forget social engagements on Saturdays, and washing and ironing take up another whole day each week.

    The net income, after all costs, is 3 to 4 times better than building society or bank interest and the property value is probably worth somewhat more than the original investment and growing (though don't count on it - the market in France is not yet as driven as in UK).

    We both find it a lot of fun, much more so than our previous careers, even if we do have to spend a certain amount of time with our heads down loos, etc.

    Whether or not it pays enough in the long term to live reasonably comfortably - the jury's still out.

    One way of hedging your bet would be to retain a property in UK that you can let out. If the pound goes up - good. If the euro does - equally good. It also spreads your portfolio so that poor growth or a static market in UK may be compensated for by more dynamic growth in France - or vice versa.

    Best of luck whatever you decide
  21. Labour? maybe - they're probably no worse than anyone else.

    Blair? certainly not! A PM who tells so many lies - some of them so blatant you can't believe you've just heard the man say what he just has - should be shown the door by the nation he's misled.

    I've heard him tell so many, I believe he's actually mentally damaged or disturbed and incapable of telling the truth.

    Just the other day in PM questions he said that Britain went to war to oust Saddam & change the regime in Iraq. But that wasn't what he said at the time. The only way he could get the vote in the commons for war was to say Saddam had WMD and that Brits were in imminent danger of attack by him. So that's what he told us.

    Now the WMD story is an embarrassment so he tells us something else. At least the Tories just said we should help the US and get Saddam out. No fiction or pretence from them, whether or not you agree with them ..

    I hope the Scots Nats and Plaid Cymru take all the Labour seats in Scotland and Wales. Without them Labour would have no majority, or precious little in the real parliament of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Blair started the breakup of the UK with his vote-catching (at the time) devolution nonsense - now he should pay the price of his own folly.

    ....and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.....

    Patrick, aka Indignant of Tunbridge Wells

  22. Western Union sounds interesting. Do you collect the payment at this end in cash?

    There could be lots of reasons why customers, American or otherwise, might not want to pay on line, or even to keep much money in their bank account. Presumably they can pay cash at their end and we collect cash at this end. Sounds good to me. Or am I missing something?

    If people use a payment method that involves them in payment of some charges, I usually recompense them with a bottle of Champagne. It always goes down well and costs less than people imagine, especially as we would have given them a bottle of red wine even if they hadn't had to pay charges.

  • Create New...