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Posts posted by Patmobile

  1. Am I glad you posted that last message, Guyk. I have been struggling to get my wife's computer to work with any firewall. The problem was not just with Norton but also with Sygate and others. The computer became virtually unusable as it slowed down to a crawling speed.

    I removed all unnecessary software, cleaned up the hard drive, de-fragged, etc. but nothing really worked. Finally I found your message, searched for "looknstop", downloaded it, (it took about 5 seconds) and installed it (1 second).

    It works fine. The computer is back up to normal speed, and I have tested it with shields up! (results described as "cool")

    Thanks for that.

  2. Thanks to all of you for your comments and help. As a result of your combined wisdom and advice I have installed AVG7 and Sygate on my desktop, at no cost, and with only a minor reduction in speed.

    I'm now going to remove Norton Internet Security from my wife's machine and install the same combination on it. I will ask Norton for my money back - there was no warning that upgrading from an earlier version of Norton AV could render the computer unusable - and hope for the best.

    Perhaps that nice man on the front of the Norton box will call round with the dough.

  3. [quote]Finally, I now can see who is posting - yippee! We ditched Norton and now we have a decent security system. The system detects viruses/worms not even activated but lying their dormant - waiting! ...[/quote]

    Did Norton cause your machine to run very slowly? I have just downloaded and installed Norton Internet Security on my wife's machine and it has become glacially slow. Not just on the internet but slow in every area - so slow I find it almost impossible to use.

    I want to install personal firewalls on my office PC and laptop as well but I'm now very reluctant to use Norton in case it has the same effect.

    I found a download site with the Zone Labs and other products. Are you still happy with it?

    Has anyone else any comments or suggestions? I would be grateful


  4. Last week was pretty good, my son passed his Universite de Caen exam in ancient Norman law (required in Guernsey where he practises), the gite grant was finally paid into our account, aggreement finally reached with the UK taxman, and I gave my French employers notice of quitting my job. My second retirement in 4 years.

    And for 2005....? I'm hoping the best moment will be winning the French Amateur Golf Championship - yes, I'm only a beginner, but even a retired person needs a goal in life.

  5. I was surprised the other day when reading through my Champion supermarket junk mail (as you do when you're about to light the fire with it) to find a page of pictures of fruit and veg with no prices.

    An accompanying blurb explained that they were prohibited by law from publishing their prices for these commodities.

    Didn't know about this before - is it a rule designed to protect the traditional markets, or is there some other explanation? Perhaps farmers in the UK wouldn't have to grumble so much if the same law applied there.

    (No, silly, UK farmers always grumble about something - no rain, too much rain, poor harvest so low income, good harvest so low prices and low income, etc, etc, etc.... How on earth will they be able to buy the next deluxe 4x4 for themselves and the latest BMW for the wife?)

    Sorry - got distracted. Did anyone else know about this rule?


  6. Ah Yes, but what a pleasure it is, in spite of those small inconveniences, to go into your bank and be greeted by name. I can't remember the last time that happened to me in UK - more than 30 years ago, anyway.

  7. The hypermarkets around Calais and Boulogne are more expensive than our local supermarkets just one hour way in the Pas de Calais countryside.

    UK shoppers are certainly the reason.

    I am currently doing some work in a Wine & Spirits outlet in Calais where between 30 and 80 coachloads of Brits arrive every day to get their booze. The drink prices are given in Sterling and in Euros. It's the same at Cite Europe shopping centre and just over the border in Belgium where they go for tobacco.

    Prices for most drinks in the shop where I am working are approximately the normal supermarket price, but with a pound sign instead of euro. For instance Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Pays d'Oc from £1.99 to £2.49. The coach trippers think it's cheap, but there's an ordinary supermarket round the corner selling much the same stuff for 2 euros or even less.

    You can however buy some excellent New World Wines there at prices from £1.99 a bottle, and every time I do a comparison, I drift further towards the conclusion that the French producers are stuck in the past. Perhaps it's the Appellation rules that make them so inflexible and unable to bend to the wind of changing tastes?

  8. Yes, OK if you want to market to the French or francophone countries, but I reckon dotcom implies a greater degree of "internationality" and relieves any worries among non-French potential clients, which most of ours are, that you might only speak French.

    Personally I think, even though I speak French and live in France, I would respond to a .com more readily than to a .fr if the two came up together on a search.


  9. We send the Booking Form as a .rtf (rich text format) file, which can be opened by most WP software, even very old versions of Word or Works. The Booking Form page can also be printed out from our website.

    We don't consider it a problem that the form can be edited, as following the practice of the Exhibition industry in which I formerly worked, the form is simply an application to rent the cottage for a specified period, not a contract in itself. No contract is deemed to exist until the owner of the gite accepts the application, which of course you wouldn't if they had altered it, for example, to show a lower rate or a longer rental term.

    I believe this is known legally as an "Invitation to Treat", which sounds fun, but which simply means you have the option not to accept the application if you do not like anything about it, such as the fact they have altered the booking form. The nature of this process needs to be spelled out clearly in your Terms and Conditions, which, together with your written confirmation of acceptance, constitutes the contract.

    I hope this is of some help. No-one has ever tried anything on yet, anyway. And if they did, I think we would take the line I usually took in business with not-very-nice people - sue us then, if you really think you're tough enough. No-one ever did.

  10. We advertise in Chez Nous and have received a good proportion of our bookings from it.

    They've started to offer a Booking Service called Availability Plus where they take the booking direct and receive a deposit payment of 10% plus Vat, by credit card, from the customer. The gite owner then receives the balance in the normal way 6 weeks before the holiday.

    If the holiday is booked at short notice (less than 6 weeks) they take full payment and send the gite owner 88.25% immediately.

    Apparently the gite owner retains the right to book his own clients direct, i.e. not using this service, and, if necessary, or if he/she wishes, to refuse a booking made by the system.

    I'm not totally convinced I want to go in for this, although there may be some benefits in selling late availability and short breaks out of season.

    Has anyone tried Availability Plus already? Does it work? Any problems?

    If you haven't tried it, why not? Do you know something I don't, or are you just waiting, like me, to see what will happen?

    I look forward to reading your comments.

  11. Our son is restoring an old farmhouse in Guernsey where he lives. On a recent visit to us in France he admired our ancient and enormous cast-iron fireback and asked if we knew some place where something similar might be found.

    We know some cheminee specialists where they sell new ones, but they are mostly on the small side and don't come with the impressive heraldic arms and air of antiquity that he admired in ours.

    He's also after some old floorboards

    Does anyone know of a place where bits of old buildings get re-cycled? Preferably within 2 or 3 hours drive from St Malo

    Grateful for any suggestions or information leading to the acquisition of said item.


  12. [quote]DUTCH TRANSVESTITES last bottle of french wine for a week !!![/quote]

    Me too, I'm afraid - I only looked in out of fascinated curiosity!

    However, as it happens I know more about gites than I do about dutch blokes in womens' clothes. GdF have the metal bedstead rule in our area too so it is probably applied everywhere. The rule book is pretty long and needs a lot of perusal and careful study long before you even consider your amenagement. For instance, I had to extend a bedroom by overhanging 2 ft into the adjoining barn space to make sure it exceeded the minimum floor space for a double room (under sloping roofs only the part with 2m headroom counts).

    I tried to get on one of the Dutch websites for French holiday cottages but their rules required a Dutch speaking owner or member of staff! Surely everyone knows every Dutch person speaks English and no-one else anywhere in the world speaks Dutch? (apologies to any Afrikaaners)

  13. How disappointing! I thought this topic related to an exotic meat dish that I had not yet experienced.

    I'll ask my farmer neighbour down the road, who keeps donkeys for tourists to trek with, if he has heard of it. Hopefully the donkeys will all retain their ears and we'll be sampling pasta.

  14. Ever since Nigel and Nippy appeared in that dire show of ineptitude and incompetence - then ended up with a showpiece of a home at a cost massively over the declared starting budget, I've suspected all these people are promised payment by the programme makers provided the programme is sold to the network.

    Call me a cynic, but no wonder the job always seems to get finished remarkably well, by people with no experience, no skills, and no French.

    I'll make an honourable exception for Grand Designs where the people who tackle the projects are nearly always properly prepared and almost fully financed.

  15. You are quite right, Anton, I've got so used to the PC form "British", that I'd forgotten it's only the English, and really only the soft squeamish southerners, at that, who hate any food with a bit of flavour.

    Being mi-ecossais myself, and born (presumably by accident)in north-east England, I do, of course, adore haggis as well as civilised northern English dishes such as Black Pudding and tripe.

    What did the south of England ever give to the world in the form of culinary delicacy? Bland stuff like Bath buns, Bath Oliver biscuits, Bernard Matthews turkey burgers. Even "Oxford" marmalade is really a Scottish invention. I reckon anything that tastes of real food came from somewhere else.

    Bon appetit

  16. Let's face it, when it comes to food the British know nothing - a fact convincingly demonstrated by much of the correspondence in this section of the Forum.

    Obviously it's recognised all over the world that the French are the experts on anything to do with eating or drinking.

    The French eat andouillette, black pudding, frogs' legs, snails, etc.

    I rest my case.

  17. I totally agree with you Stew - andouillettes are fabulous food that only a wimpish Philistine would be squeamish about.

    Boudin Noir is just as good, and I can't wait to taste some of those horse willy sausages as soon as I can find them in the market.

    By the way I think the typo "arsitos" is a great new word, with very appropriate connotations, for labelling those toffee-nosed layabouts with fancy titles. I shall use it as often as possible in future.

    Does your heating really run on acetylene? Where do you get it? I thought it was only used for cutting metal and for old fashioned car lights.


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