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Posts posted by Patmobile

  1. Yesterday was Brigitte Bardot's 75th birthday.  I would like to wish her a very happy day and many more of them. 

    Throughout my teenage years she gave me a lot of pleasure.  Her picture was always pinned up somewhere in my room, my study or my locker.  You can keep your Jean Shrimptons and Susannah Yorks, even Raquel Welch never had the exotic impact of BB for me (though she did deserve her own place in my gallery (for her furry animal skin bikini pose)  

    Happy Birthday Brigitte.  I wish we weren't both so old.  I suppose I can give up hoping for a position as your toyboy now?


  2. Have you read about Giscard d'Estaing's novel due out on October 1?  In it a charming and elegant President of France has an adventurous affair with a British Princess (HRH Princess Patricia of Cardiff) who is adored by her people and the world's press, but is not liked by the Royal Family.  Her husband, of course, neglects her and has a mistress.

    Who could these people be?

    No doubt in Giscard's next novel the ex-President captains the French footbal team to World Cup victory before donning his underpants outside his trousers and putting everything right in the world.



  3. Before everything went electronic things were a lot simpler.  On my boat and dumper diesels I used to reckon on having only 3 things to check in the event of minor starting difficulties - fuel, compression, air.

    You haven't mentioned if you've cleaned the air filter, or tried starting with it removed.  If it is something really simple,that's the 3rd thing you probably need to check.



  4. Exceptionally good value 100% cashmere sweaters for men £47.  I bought one in M&S in Guernsey the other day. Buy 2!

    I have been very impressed by the way the major British retailers have swiftly adapted to the recession and turned it into an opportunity.  If Britain comes our of recession earlier than expected it will be thanks to well-managed, strong and adaptable businesses like these rather than anything the government has done.


  5. [quote user="Owens88"]

    And she didn't even when a PM came close to civil war by setting police on their own communities in vicious ways (the miners strike).  However I do recall that there were a few 'briefing sessions' requested by HM at the time.

    I doubt whether anybody is confident that they know the route through the current world malaise. 

    Anybody here prepared to replace Gordon? I doubt there are candidates in the palace of Westminster who are better on the world economy (OK Vince Cable perhaps). 


    No, the Queen had no constitutional cause to order the dissolution of parliament at that time, since her PM of the time had the backing of cabinet, the commons, and the majority of the voters.  The violent demonstrations were the result of would-be "King Arthur" Scargill's cruel misleading of the miners. 

    The phrase "close to civil war" implies a split in the nation of such breadth and depth that it could cause violent action by one substantial section of the civilian population against another substantial section.  A few hundred miners bashing blacklegs and themselves being bashed by policemen is not such a schism - especially since not even all the miners were involved.

    The only current politician who has been tested and proved incapable of running Britain's economy is Gordon Brown.  He is the man who had 10 years to see the problems looming and did nothing, because, of course, to take the proper action would have been politically unpopular and might have lost him his chance to become PM.  There were plenty of decent, intelligent members of his own party who, with a bit of political courage, might have done better, but they never got the chance.  

    Certainly no-one on the Labour side of the commons would want the job now.  It would be very short-term at best, and probably career suicide.  That's why Britain needs a new government fast. That's why, in view of Brown's unwillingness to do the decent thing, the Queen should make her Prime Minister go. 

    As far as I can see, the Green Party is the only viable party that has the abolition of the monarchy on its agenda.  On present form it has proved to be a totally useless institution, so I repeat - vote Green.



  6. [quote user="DancingFairy"]

    And how will this help the environment?    Why don't they remove the right to vote from expats?    They use more air fuel and produce more hot air than the royal family, after all!


    re the environment question - I have no idea.  Ask the Greens.  But if all their ideas are this good they deserve the full support of all thinking voters.

    re the expat vote - I couldn't agree more. Vote either with your feet or your ballot paper.  Not both. 

    The United Kingdom will soon cease to be united, mostly thanks to Blair and Brown, so why not cease to be a kingdom, too?


  7. No argument about the right to one's own opinion.

    But from where I stand the UK appears to be in a shambolic state of political, administrative, social and financial chaos.  The Queen has the constitutional power to dissolve a Parliament when it becomes incapable of governing properly.  This power was used in her name by her Governor General in Australia a few years back, in circumstances that appeared to be far less urgent than those pertaining to the truly incompetent government of Britain today.

    If the monarchy has any purpose surely it is to ensure proper government? 

    As for all the princes, princesses, royal dukes and duchesses and other hangers-on with their stupid and creepy "highness" titles, the Greens or anyone else could have my vote for getting shot of them any day.

    Palaces and the goods and riches they are stuffed with rightly belong to the nation, anyway.  That much should be perfectly clear, since the people of Britain have twice before kicked out monarchs and then chosen new monarchs to reign, only with the consent of the people.  Buckingham Palace could therefore be turned into a superb public facility with a museum, restaurants, cinemas, a car park, bus station, theatre, concert rooms, etc.

    The next government, whatever its political colour, would do well to open a full public debate on monarchy and titles.  Perhaps a date could be fixed, say in 50 years time, beyond which no new monarch would be installed.  That would give plenty of time to decide on how to replace the whole grossly overprivileged and pampered lot of them.


  8. I've just found out the Green Party want to get rid of the monarchy.  If I lived and voted in GB I would vote for them for that one reason alone.

    I saw an interesting piece in the Times today as I flew back to France from abroad.  On a recent visit to Britain, Queen Sofia of Spain flew to Stansted on a £13 Ryanair flight.  My guess is the Spanish monarchy, with this level of understanding of the lives of the people who work to pay for it, has a better chance of survival than does the House of Windsor.


  9. Surely there's not a law against a politician or anyone else spending his own money on promoting his political beliefs.  If Brussels chooses to give this money to MEPs with no strings attached then they can use it any way they like.

    I'm not saying it's right they get it, just that once it's their's they can do what they please with it.


  10. We used to have 3 gites in an area where taxe de sejour was levied, like yours, as a once a year thing based on an assessment of your likely occupancy.  We just paid it and called it a necessary expense.

    Now we have 3 gites in an area where it's levied at a fixed rate per person per night, and the documentation that they've provided makes it quite clear we're supposed to collect it from our guests.  We're even supposed to give receipts! 

    It's 30 cents per person over the age of 13 per night.  I really can't be bothered to ask our guests to pay such a petty tax, so, like lots of Brits I imagine, I just fill out my 3 or 4 page declaration every few months and pay up, but I'm sure most of the French gite owners in the same area collect the Taxe assiduously from their tenants.  A fixed annual levy really would save us and everyone else a lot of time.

    As for Brit-owned gite websites, I'm surprised there hasn't been a big investigation yet into how many of them declare anything.  What an easy job for any employee at the Hotel des Impots with a computer, internet, and the nous to google "gites". 



  11. Yes, that's more or less what I thought.  Previously I've been bunging it in with my own earnings - it made little difference, but at least I felt honest in having declared it somewhere.

    This time I have no salary or other professional earnings to declare, only pension income, so I don't have a handy place to put it, unless I add it in with the pension income, which doesn't seem right somehow.


  12. [quote user="ErnieY"][quote user="Patmobile"]Did you know that the MP's tax free mileage allowance for using a private car on parliamentary business is greatly in excess of the amount the taxman will allow an ordinary taxpayer for business mileage?[/quote]Actually that isn't so, at least not according to the House of Commons Fact Sheet


    Well, what do you know? They changed it!  I was wrong.


  13. [quote user="Quillan"]

    This then made me think about something Tony Benn (not my most favorite of men) said about 15 years ago which was basically that politicians have forgotten that they are there to represent the people (hence my 'serve' comment) and in doing so have created a state of apathy amongst those eligible to vote.


    Blair was an accomplished, probably compulsive liar even before power corrupted him further.  His own example must have encouraged less venal MP's to use the expenses system to their own profit.

    While living at 10 Downing Street, Blair re-mortgaged his Sedgefield constituency family home for far more than it was worth at the time (did a friendly banker get a knighthood?) and claimed all the hugely increased interest payments on his parliamentary expenses.  The capital raised was used (it is alleged) to finance the purchase of other properties which he or his wife could subsequently let out or sell to his considerable profit. 

    No wonder he didn't want to give up No. 10 to Gordon.  He had found the taxpayer funded fringe benefits easy and immensely profitable to exploit and not easy to let go.

    By the way, there's nothing new in these revelations - Private Eye was reporting the abuse of trust at least 5 years ago

    Even if they clean up some of the abuses, there will almost certainly still be different treatment for MP's than for ordinary, wealth creating British taxpayers and business people.  Did you know that the MP's tax free mileage allowance for using a private car on parliamentary business is greatly in excess of the amount the taxman will allow an ordinary taxpayer for business mileage?  I bet that won't be changed.




  14. [quote user="Gluestick"]

    Personally, I would find some old rotted hulk of the approximate size: and use part of the keel: and thereafter claim I had "Restored" it.



    ...or maybe just collect a builder's name plate from an old boat in the breakers yard and "restore" a new boat around it.  Especially useful if the builder closed down 30 or 40 years ago so that no records remain.

    Excellent scheme!  There could be money in those old wrecks rotting away in fields and mud berths


  15. Thanks Albert, your link wouldn't open a page for me, but no matter because I've found a number of other boatbuilding forums.

    I like the Ian Oughtred Caledonia Yawl, but it's a bit bigger than the space I've managed to clear in the garage, so I'm starting with a Selway Fisher Greenshank which is the same size as, bur more robust and adaptable than the Peter Milne Scamp I built all those years ago.  Then I plan to build myself a Selway Fisher Islay Skiff.  Same sort of style as the Oughtred boat but shorter, lighter and with a simpler rig. 

    I've also got an old Jack Holt Miracle which I bought cheap for the trailer that came with it.  It needs a fair bit of restoration work including totally redecking, and I'm not sure I'll do it.  I may just strip it of all the useful bits then chop up the hull and burn it.

    I've heard that the RYA may be able to certify amateur built boats  If so, and if the cost is not prohibitive, I may have to take it over to England to get it done.  That's the maiden voyage already planned, then.


  16. This is exactly the sort of overdone legislation that gets up my nose!  Unfortunately, even after the revisions kindly pointed out by clarksinfrance (thanks for that) the rules are pretty much as I thought. 

    Thanks, too Albert for pointing out that boats under 2.5 metres do not have to be CE marked.  This means that an Optimist dinghy, the first boat that most people put their children in to learn to sail, does not have to be CE marked while any boat just a couple of inches longer does.

    Happily, the first one I plan to build is just 2.4 metres overall.  I'm building one that size so that I can recycle the rig and sail that I still have from my son's boat that I built 30 years ago.  No problem with that one then.

    Unfortunately I was planning to move on to a 5 metre double-ended dayboat next.  I chose this larger design partly because it's a capable seaboat from a reputable and experienced designer, and partly because I could use the rig and sails I have from another old dinghy.   No problem if I keep the boat for my own use for 5 years before selling it, but not fine if I were to decide after one or two years to sell it to make space for a bigger boat.  It would be illegal to sell it without certification and lots of paperwork.

    I haven't decided how to tackle the problem of the larger boat, but I imagine that some amateur builders might simply backdate the year of build. 

    So don't expect me to snooker myself by publishing a daily blog showing the construction in progress.


  17. I'm planning to build a couple of sailing dinghies this year.  Last time I built one for my then 7 year-old son, was 30 years ago, but it looks as if not much has changed in simple boatbuilding techniques, so I expect the skills will all come back to me.

    I've read that, under an EU directive, all pleasure boats (with certain exceptions not relevant in this case) must be CE marked.  You don't have to get this mark if you're building the boat for yourself as long as you don't sell it within 5 years, but I do plan to sell one of the boats in order to finance the other, so it looks as if I'll have to comply.

    Does anyone know where one would have to apply in France for CE certification on a home-built boat?



  18. My mother, age 90, just rang me, very excited, to tell me she had seen a photo of her favourite uncle, Jack Goode, on TV.  He was one of the young officers of the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, in a picture shown on Breakfast News relating to the WW1 mass grave at Fromelles.

    My Great Uncle Jack a charming and generous man, survived the war and was one of my 2 favourite uncles.  I once made a trip through northern France with him as he pointed out some of the places where he had been in the trenches. 

    I now live not much more than an hour's drive from Froyelles where many of his friends and colleagues in that photo must have died.


  19. [quote user="Scooby"]As I already said above, I don't wish to participate in this discussion as it is becoming increasingly circular and pointless.  Nevertheless, this is an interesting review of webplus, which I think independently backs up what I said: http://webdesign.about.com/od/htmleditorreviews/gr/aaprwebplus10.htm.  Quote...'this is not a Web designer's tool. You won't have any access to the code it generates and it can create very bloated sites that download slowly.'  As Ali's site was built with webplus (and failed vaildation) it also produces non compliant html / css as well.


    Most interesting.  I followed the link in the post above and found the page - created by a professional, one supposes - was riddled with html & css errors according to your validator.  And the professional Web Designer's own blog page, linked to from the review page, contains even more.

    Seems like you have just as good a chance of getting a well made site if you buy the software and sack the professional.

    What needs to be remembered is that a website is a marketing publication.  People form their impression of a business on the internet not by the quality of the web developer's coding, which they can't see, but by whether they like a) what's on the page b) how it looks c) the access it provides to the information they want.  (Not necessarily in that order).  Many, perhaps most, website developers know little or nothing about marketing, which is why they create so many bad, albeit possibly technically correct, websites.

    If you want a website that works for your business, either do it yourself with some software like Serif WebPlus, or go to a marketing professional who can create a website, rather than to a web technician who knows all about code but nothing about marketing your business.

    By the way, would any gite owner agree that an instant online booking  facility is a good idea?  I currently have 4 gites and I would certainly not install such an impersonal booking system.


  20. As usual I expect a British player will do well for one or two days then Woods, Mickelson or another American will win. 

    Harrington seems way too modest and normal to go on winning majors.  Maybe that's his secret.  He is certainly the most likely European contender. 

    McIlroy surely needs some time to get used to really big events, and European players always seem to need to spend a lot of time competing on American courses before they can be consistently in the prize money - the great Ballesteros being the outstanding exception. 

    I wonder if young McIlroy will turn out to be another Seve - wouldn't that be exciting? 


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