Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Everything posted by Autismuk

  1. [quote user="caroline"]Thanks for your reply. Did you get a towbar fitted in France? and was it costly?  Can you tell me what to look out for when buying one? Many thanks again [/quote] No, I don't live in France (working on it). To have a towbar fitted in the UK costs £250-£350 or thereabouts, depends on how many electric sockets you want. I can't see why getting it done in France should be any more expensive (especially as we have a Citroen Picasso ....) There are three basic types of trailer - caravans - in increasing order of cost - we have experience of (a) and (b) but not (c). There are quite significant price differences between the three groups. (Pricing new, very rough) (a) Trailer Tents - these fold open and usually provide basic accommodation - beds with a space in the middle - with a seperate kitchen, with a tent on the front if you want more living space. Up to about £4000 (b) Folding Caravans - these are larger and open up to provide a "proper" caravan but have a canvas upper body and roof - bedrooms usually at either end. From about £5000 to £10000 (c) Popup Caravans - these have a solid top and sides that fold down. About £15000 upwards. The best place to look is Caravan and Tent Guides. For the first two, you need the checks relating to the canvas (look for things like rot for example) , and a Caravan guide will give you checks for the caravan side of it for the last two - sound water and gas and heating systems, solid panelling etc. Also check any provided awnings for Folders or Popups. The main difference between all three and a normal caravan is the mechanics of the pop up, fold over, or pop out.  These are usually a combination of poles, clips and wires - and the designs can change quite frequently - it can be quite difficult to get spares if the poles get bent or broken, so look for a good clean working mechanism - don't just see it "up". Finally all three are on trailers (trailer tents aren't usually braked) so checks on rust, brakes, electrics and so on. Again any good caravan buyers guide will help you with this. Really, it depends how much you want to spend, and what you want it for.
  2. We've had a folding caravan for several years (solid bottom, canvas top) ; not quite the same. The only real potential weakness apart from obvious things like damage to the canvas etc. is the poles in the erection system. It can be difficult to get replacements.
  3.  If you wanted to go this way, why not go via Tours (A85/A28) ? Any mapper will send you via Paris (via Orleans) and up the A1 to Arras. This isn't too bad, providing you don't go at a busy time of day. You can also go via Versailles and the N184 up the West side of Paris, join the A16 to Amiens. Alternatives are all via Rouen - this means you have to go through Rouen which isn't too difficult :- The Chartres/Dreux Route (mostly N154) - patchy, but improving steadily. There are two rubbish bits ; from the A10 to Chartres and from Dreux to Nonancourt on the A12 ; the rest is dual carriageway. Go via Le Mans (either via Tours or Orleans) I did once avoid both by turning off the A10 just before the A11 junction, going up the N10 towards Versailles and heading towards the Meru area on the A16 ; it isn't difficult but not that speedy.
  4. Will only work if you establish French domicile. This means (simply) instead of living in France, you become French, break all ties with England or anywhere else and live there for an extended period of time. It is quite difficult to establish domicility compared to tax residence.
  5. Sounds wrong to me, unless the B&B was ridiculously expensive to start with ; £400k gains in 2 years is pretty spectacular. Are you sure about the valuation ? If you have renovated a wreck, have you included all the costs. TBH, if you *have* made £400k in 2 years you can't really complain that much ....
  6. I've stayed at Chateau Ribagnac, once. It was the end of the summer season, and was full. We turned up on spec and got in because of a late cancellation. It's nicer than it looks on the TV ; grounds are nice too. In decent weather (not like last summer) it'd be a terrific place to spend a few days, the children loved it. They're nowhere near as "chaotic" as they come over on the programme - or if they are they hide it well. Didn't see much of Mrs but Mr is sharp and clued in. What *is* true is that they come over as quite laid back and friendly - which he certainly is, but things happen when they should. We'd stay there again, TV programme or not. I didn't ask him about it. (largely because I suspect he's fed up with people asking him about it !) On the subject of TV docs, if you read Nigel Farrell's book about his Indian Restaurant (far better than the programme IMO) then there's quite a lot of stuff in there about how the program was put together.
  7. I did a quick model at http://www.robsons.org.uk/gitemodel.xls ; it is only really a one year thing but it'll give you *some* idea on numbers
  8. I can't see how the accessing the forum could cause you to contract a virus. It would be difficult to do it if Archant actually *wanted* it to happen. Java would not allow you to execute any Virus code (you can run programs but not actually hurt your system). About the only way of getting it in is via ActiveX ; and there doesn't actually appear to be any ActiveX downloads on the forum.  I'm running under Linux and it hasn't objected at all, or queried such. I suspect you have a virus that is triggered - somehow - by accessing the website. It is theoretically possible, albeit very unlikely, that the cached HTML produced for the website has the same signature as a virus.
  9. Princess Toni is the worst of all worlds. You get the mass spending, handouts and swathes of public spending and tax of old Labour combined with the extreme control freakery of the extreme right wing of the Conservatives. Unfortunately the git will get in again because (i) you get more seats/vote in Labour areas (ii) the handout club will vote for him (iii) the "public sector" skiver quango lot (of whom there are masses) will also vote for him.
  10. And it was I think seriously considered at one point. I remember reading about it. The idea (I think) was there was to be a short tunnel out to a stopoff point a mile or two out, then a sequence of bridges. Anyhow they've done it in Scandinavia, the Knudshoved/Halskov and Copenhagen/Malmo bridges must be fairly long.
  11. [quote]I'm looking for the lowest monthly fee possible. I need to be able to upload a Flash design to the site, I don't want a template. The cheapest seem to be in the US at around $8/month.[/quote] That seems rather a lot. You can get free hosting, but you get lots of associated junk. Also cheap hosting may have bandwidth limitations, which may or may not be important to you. There are quite a lot of hosting review sites, you could google for them.
  12. It's probably Javascript. OTOMH (as I use Linux) you can disable Javascript debugging (or completely) from Tools/Options or something like that. Might also be worth checking you don't have Spyware or similar ; run Adaware and/or Spybot. It's possible there might be a page bodged into your home page or similar. Incidentally, Cat, as an ex-Windows developer I can tell you that Microsoft messages are never of any use to IT Professionals, nor is tech support
  13. [quote]Annoyed, I can think of many other scenarios in which moving to France for this couple is a better idea than staying put in the UK. It makes my blood boil when other suppose they know how to run someo...[/quote] It's true that there may be scenarios where moving to France is better. There may be scenarios where it's better to move to Rockall as well. What I am suggesting is that people should try to avoid the obvious mistakes which are repeated endlessly, which include :- - no French language at all. - no other income beyond the "tourist" income or whatever. - underestimating costs and time of conversion/renovation - no idea what the area is really like in terms of life, tourism etc. - no plan 'B', contingency fund, fallback position etc. It is true that house prices in France have been boringly stable. However, the UK in France tends to focus on a small subset of this, the renovation/gites/b&b market which it is trying to drive in a similar way to the UK market. The French aren't interested in this market. Overall economically it is swamped by the mass of French housing, but to the UK market it is key. If you renovate an old house and sell it the French are unlikely to be that interested. There's a reason all these cheap old homes are about. The two housing markets are inextricably linked because people are funding the "dream" from the high resale housing market. If you can sell a cupboard for £500,000 and buy a Gite Complex for half that and invest the rest, yes, it might well work. But if the UK housing market goes badly the "dreamers" will drop away. They won't be able to sell their properties at all, let alone at a premium, and making ends meet will be the main focus. The OP has no young family or really no ties at all ; I think it is "just her". This is fine, with two corollaries. Firstly, operationally, she's on her own, Secondly, her costs are reduced accordingly. But the math still works, or doesn't. Estimate what your income is going to be in several scenarios ; good (say 18-20 weeks) average (13-14) poor (7-8), add in any UK or other income, deduct running costs, then ask yourself do you want to live on "that". (Knock up a little spreadsheet). That's the real unquantifiable. Some people have more and less expensive tastes. If you spend your lives walking in the woods you'll be better off than if you want to go boating on the Riviera.
  14. [quote]I still would like to know...how the Hell the British who came here years ago...managed to survive without sites like this and DIY books about living here. Easy, they were generally very, very diffe...[/quote] ... and, most importantly, they weren't one of umpteen people doing exactly the same thing. It's like mobile phone shops. In Norwich, near where I live, there was a time where you could stand near the market and there were NINE shops in sight. It is now something like three or four. Any market full of people doing the exact same thing will be swamped.
  15. I personally don't rate USB modems ; how about getting a router. I'm on Wanadoo/Freeserve in England, works perfectly.
  16. [quote]>A recipe for disaster ? Or not ?Only a fool would try to decide in advance without knowing the people. Here is just one scenario where in retrospect this would actually be a shrewd move, I can think ...[/quote] Well, yes it might work like that. It's a property ladder scenario though, where you are basically relying on economic movements to make it work. A more realistic option is that you sell now in a falling market, buy in France on an overheated market, spend much of the balance restoring the house, and find that you have a house which is worth much less than you think (the French don't value restorations that much) and the market in the UK has skewed further stopping you from getting back in. A "shrewd move" is not IMO defined solely by the outcome. It is possible to act incompetently and get away with it simply because of House Price moves (see TV), similarly it is possible to get caught. I still think the French tourism/gite/B&B/live the dream thing is in a boom caused by TV and House Prices in the UK and France. There are too many Gites etc. and not enough tourists, and individuals may be doing well but I doubt the industry as a unit is. IMO, those who are relying on their B&B/Gite income to live on (or even worse, pay a mortgage) are likely to get seriously screwed.
  17. I haven't lived in France (yet), but I did live and work in the Netherlands for about 8 months when I was younger. Having been there on holiday before, it was still the same place. *However*, once the initial shine wears off, much of the time you do what you do at home ; you go to work, you go shopping etc etc etc. It's not that different. It was more pleasant than living in England, but it's not the same as being there on an extended Holiday. If you are going to "get away from something" you have to be honest with yourself about what it is you are trying to get away from.
  18. [quote]Boiling Frog,(Everyone who has booked so far has asked if it is part of a gite complex because they do not want to be sharing a pool of 10mtrs by 5 mtrs with other families.) those comments are true...[/quote] I'd advise them to be very careful about location and hammer down a distressed seller. Not very nice I know, but I'm being realistic.
  19. IMO 16 weeks occupancy in 16&17 is pretty good going. This is what baffles me ; even in the best case scenario, high occupancy and zero costs (okay ) you're income is still only about £13k ; and yet people do it. Very sad about the people on the other thread. Maybe TV should talk to them. With the exception of the last show, the most recent one on Channel 5 showed what seemed to be a series of fairly clueless financially illiterate people (the guys cutting the tree down next to their house still makes me wince) who seem to "manage all right".
  20. Well, you've got 300k to spend, or thereabouts. First thing you have to reckon up is what do you want to live on - by which I mean how much to you want to earn a year. Second thing is to look at various Gite Complexes for sale (there are a stack at www.gitecomplexes.co.uk) and see their layouts, then figure out roughly what you can charge for them, and how often they will be occupied. For example :- 2 Gites, averaging £400 and £300 per week. 16 week season is 16 x (400+300) = £12,800 per annum. Then, of course, there are costs to be deducted from this. Of course, this may give you some cash left over which you can then invest as you deem appropriate. Which might get you a bit extra. It's not impossible, but IMO the reality is that there have been umpteen people looking to move abroad to buy/set up/renovate "Gite Complexes" - that haven't actually done this very simple calculation. We stayed in one last year, a family that simply hadn't done the maths and were basically living in a barn (I suspect they moved into the Gite when there weren't any customers !). They may well say "ah, mine will be different because of xxxx" and this may be true, but places are literally swamped ; have a look at the *size* of the French Country Cottages and Chez Nous brochures (both free over the net). This will give you some idea of occupancy as well ; and of coverage. The reality is if there are hundreds of Gites for rent then people will make the initial subselection on quick and dirty things - location, cost, size and not necessarily the "extras". It's a buyers market in Gite rentals. IMO this will lead to a buyers market in Gite Complexes, when people start to fail and sell up. Nobody pushes the failure line. I don't know if you've been watching George Clarke's C5 Series "A Dream Home Abroad", but it had what I recall as the first clear total failure - i.e. giving up and going home having wasted all your money. Poitou-Charente is IMO a bit of a boom area - in sales ; a while back there were a lot of cheap properties there and this has caused a bit of a boom in GCs. People selling out in the UK at the top of the property market and heading for sunnier lives. In the above website there are 8 pages of GCs (at 20 per page). 3 of these pages are Poitou-Charente, more even than in the Dordogne (notoriously flooded out with Gite Complexes to the extent that Chez Nous won't take any more, it is rumoured). I think Poitou-Charente is a bit caught between two stools ; it's not so far south as to be guaranteed good weather, but it's not so far north as to be convenient. (A bit like Burgundy down the other side). It's a nice place, doubtless - but floods of tourists ? Possibly near the coast and Futuroscope, but what else ? So, can you, on 300k, buy a Gite Complex and live off the income ? Yes, it is possible, but it's not a cakewalk, and you won't make a lot.
  21. Another alternative in the not too distant future is the A28 extension, which will allow you to head off in the direction of the Vendee and down the coast ? Not sure when this is due to open though.
  22. I agree. I think the duff point with the compression routines is that virtually everything that is hefty copying - music, video, pictures, programs - is usually compressed before you start, so compression won't get you much of an improvement. About the only thing that will effectively compress is raw text or HTML.
  23. Serial Modems are limited to 56 kbps ; give or take a bit. You can't get 300kb out of one.
  24. [quote]I write music for films and I am always receiving and sending big files (average 30 Mb) so Broadband is useful. I could camp out in the nearest Cybercafe in Chateau Chinon but the missus would leave m...[/quote] ISDN will only give you 128kps upstream max, so it'll still take the best part of an hour to send a 30Mb file. Could I suggest one possible solution ; stop sending 30Mb files - this depends *what* you are sending of course, but if you are sending music send them as MP3 format - 30Mb could be an hour or so. This might be a dim question, but you are zipping or bz2ing the files before transmitting them ?
  25. [quote]There is no difference between a like-for-like internal and external modem, in fact pretty much all modems on the market rely on a tiny number of internal chips that actually do the conversion. Though...[/quote] That's wrong. Internal Modems and USB ones are just bits of tone generating/decoding hardware driven by the computer itself ; that's why they are erratic, because Windows isn't up to it. Get an External RS232 Serial Modem ; that does all the work and simply sends a datastream to your PC. They are a little more expensive ( a few euros ) but vastly superior to the other types.
  • Create New...