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Posts posted by Autismuk

  1. [quote]We are moving to 24 in early March and wish to use AOL (yes, we've heard all the amusing commants, ta vary much!) as there is a considerable number of things we use linked with aol, personal email add...[/quote]

    I'm not taking the mickey ; why don't you ask AOL ?

    Why not just abandon AOL ? Most of the perceived *advantages* are nothing special. The only real difficulty is the email address
  2. 50 is Manche, 53 is Mayenne, presumably this lady lives somewhere South of Mortain.

    Either via the N175/A13 or via the A81/A11.

    If you are going to CdG then maybe the former because it is easier to cut across on the A14/A86 (North of Paris) onto the A1 to the Airport, whereas if you go via Le Mans/Chartres you've got to go round or across Paris.

    OTOH if you go A81/A11 you can use the Versailles road (N10?) which gets you in the same area (St Germain) - or you can go round the Peripherique

    Is the Northern Francilienne complete ?
  3. [quote]As a user of B&B's I would endorse that thought. When we were property hunting and using B&B's we got more help from B&B's recommending competitors than we did from web directories. Good ...[/quote]

    These directories are rather dubious. Quite often they are marketed as independent views when they are just advertising. You know, for example, the Independent School Guides you can buy ; it's a fib. You pay for advertising.

    Can't see a basic website being a problem.
  4. Becoming a craze ? It's been a craze for ages. Hence the vast number of Gites/B&B opening up. (Mostly by people who haven't done their sums).

    I've predicted this before (so I suppose *eventually* I'll be right) but I think the market will collapse, partially. Not in the retirement or second homers but in the "coming over to set up a Gite complex" market.

    There's just too many of them.

    People jump on bandwagons. I remember when VCRs became common, five video places opened up in the town I lived in simultaneously - in the high street. Now there aren't.

    Similarly, Mobile Phones. In Norwich a year ago, you could stand near the market and see about 8-10 Mobile shops within a stone's throw - literally. There are now about 3 or 4.

    So everyone watches the Nigel show or whatever and thinks "I can do that"....
  5. Formule 1 : Cheapest, no ensuite but a sink in the room. Standard double with bed over top arrangement.

    Premiere Classe : Next up ; fewer but they are ensuite. Same layout.

    B&B Hotel : Something resembling a proper bathroom, same layout, also have some double + 2 single rooms.

    Very similar ; concrete block hotels. They are cheap and cheerful and fairly clean. Free brochures with maps & directions available from any branch. The websites list hotels as well ; just drop into one when you pass and pick up a book.

    The most common ones are F1, comfortably. Depends how much you want to spend. Sadly the old Cafe/Bar/Restaurant/Hotel that were anywhere in France when I first went 20+ years ago aren't very common.

    They are on the outskirts of most major towns ; usually in commercial estates. Large towns can have 4 or 5 of them.




    You could of course get a small tent or similar And take your own pillows ; they do have some, but they're not very nice

    There are other cheap'n'cheerful chains as well but I think they are smaller.

  6. [quote]Hello I have often wondered why incoming brits always head for things like opening a B&B or a "GITE" or doing menial tasks for someone. Why don't people open a foundry or plant for canning veget...[/quote]

    >I have often wondered why incoming brits always head for things like opening a B&B or a "GITE" or doing

    >menial tasks for someone. Why don't people open a foundry or plant for canning vegetables or go into the

    >retailing business. You know real business....

    Because they can't speak good enough French. So you are stuck with things you can do with English ; tourism and manual labour.
  7. I don't think they did have the money. They had some money but not that much ; they were borrowing it - or so they show said. It may have been inaccurate. But I rather got the impression that the money was all borrowed, so they have a really nice house, which is owned by the bank.

    It was an incredible piece of family dynamics. The woman spent the money, and basically said to the bloke "I can't do the finance.... " (you sort it out).

    I was hugely impressed by the bloke ; how he managed NOT to murder his wife I don't know.

    The Psychic and the Feng Shui drivel, oh I've just spent another £2,500 on a packet of Opal Fruits and so on. I'm fairly easy going, but after about 10 minutes DW said to me "you'd go through the roof if I did that" - and it got worse.

  8. [quote]This might have been asked many times before but I would like to know where all the Brits are moving to in France & have the French accepted you!! Where are all the Brits ?

    Well, all over the place

    Seriously, there are British everywhere (Franche-Comte maybe ?)

    One would think historically, Brittany & Normandy and the Dordogne. Growth areas would seem to be the Languedoc & Charente. (this is purely OTOMH), and coming up, the Limousin/Correze bits of Central France.

    The French will generally accept you if you don't whinge endlessly about the food, the frogs ..... you get the message. The French will accept you if you behave acceptably :-)

    If you have no idea, then it's a bit of a daft question.

    Do you like the city or the country ? Do you like the sea or the mountains ? Do you like lots of people or privacy and quiet ? Do you want to work or retire ? Do you want easy access to the UK - by plane or by car ? Do you like outdoor activities, walking, climbing, or are you a bit of a home bird ?

    It is as daft as "where's the best place to live in the UK ?". Some people like Kensington, some like the Isle of Skye.

    At the risk of sounding silly, read some books.

    There are umpteen which will give you some idea of what the various bits of France are like - browing round a big bookstore should give you plenty of first examples. Then maybe do a bit of a "grand tour" of the areas you like the sound of, ideally off season so you know what it's like at its worst.

    As a wild guess, you talk about wanting to return to the UK, but presumably don't want to fly (umpteen UK-Spain flights), so you may want to look at the Northern "strip", Brittany, Normandy and Picardy ?

    If you want nice weather what about Morbihan or the Loire - or Charente if you think that's not too far to drive - Sarthe maybe will offer good access to the Channel when they finish the A28 ?

  9. An off the wall idea coming up !

    At the moment, they don't run the business, they are in Spain doing something else, it's run by their aged P's, right ?

    If you are keen to try it, you could consider (and this is off the top of my head so there might be massive reasons this is a lousy idea) you running it on their behalf and them taking a cut of the profit (or whatever), or even all of it, or pay them a flat amount. The latter might appeal to them as it's guaranteed income, whereas at the moment they don't have any.

    Effectively they lease you the B&B & business for the 2005 season. A bit odd, but I suspect they are in "just ticking over" mode waiting for a sale.

    That way you could rent out your current home to provide some income, try out the business and hopefully have enough to live on from the rental (if you squeeze your lifestyle a bit).

    You could do one season ; then it would give you a much better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the place, how much work is involved, what the income is now, and how (possibly) you could increase it, and so on.

    You'd also find out if you actually want to live in France.

    Then if it all falls apart, or it is a hopeless non-starter, you can return to your own home slightly poorer maybe but wiser If you then want to try it somewhere else, you'll have learnt masses.

    If they are keen/desperate to sell, or the aged P's are keen to go home they might agree to it. Difficult to judge without being on the ground there.

    Have to think some more about this idea :-)

  10. [quote].......and the rooms don't look to be en-suite, would this be a major draw back in a B&B? I think this reflects the price charged per night but I would have preferred en-suite rooms. Rooms wi...[/quote]

    By the books, I mean not just the accounts but the booking diaries, letters, bills, receipts and anything else you can get your hands on that shows how much money is flowing about - in both directions, in and out.

    There's probably too much competition to go for non-en-suite. But I don't know if losing a room is practical within the designs of the house ; you might be better off starting from scratch !

    A few years back you could let almost anything as a Gite Rurale ; these days the competition drives quality up and prices down. It is a buyers market.

    If someone locally offers a B&B with ensuite at not too much more money, they'll get much of the custom - also anyone cutting finances down to the minimum probably won't eat meals at the B&B either.

    It's noticeable as well on the website that there appear to be umpteen pictures of the outside, but none of the interior - at all.

    There's photos of the village and so on, but none of the bedrooms. It looks much like any Normandy village to me. There are umpteen pictures of the house from the outside and the local village, but nothing of the interior. Wierd.

    Question is, for me, why don't they show what the bedrooms look like ? Especially as it claims to have been newly decorated ; why wouldn't you show people a picture of this ?

    Another issue is if you want to work on it, can you do it yourselves ?

    Sure, if you are interested, go see. Think to yourself, would I want to stay here ?

    Just don't sign *anything* !

    There's one advantage to all these negatives. The owners are probably well aware of it and are pretty keen to sell. There's probably a fair amount of money gone into it. You may be able to screw them down (sorry, but that's business !) on price.

    In that case there may *possibly* be a scenario whereby the rental on your own home (depends where you are, only you know the answer to this one) could pay the loan on this house and provide some left over, which you could supplement by some income earned elsewhere as the owners do.

  11. I wasn't suggesting they'd get 330 nights ; that was an absolute maximum ; though a 10 week season is a bit pessimistic ; OTOH it's probably a good idea to be pessimistic.

    Baupte is just west of Carentan, so it's not too badly located. It really depends on you guys ; you mightn't make a living out of it itself, but you might survive on that + others. Depends how cheaply you are prepared to live ;-)

    If you want to do it, good luck. At Eur 200,000 it's not extreme for the house by any means - a bit up maybe..... depends if it is "all in". Nice area, nice looking house. Might be a market in ferry overnighters from Cherbourg as well.

    Just don't expect to live like royalty

    Read the books carefully.

    Could be a bit of expansion, the website is a bit basic for example, the photos look a bit grim as well.
  12. I think it will not work. Sorry. It is not an "investment" unless it makes money.

    You have 5 bedrooms, not ensuite (which will not help your take up) - unless it is high tourist area in Normandy, what sort of income are you expecting ? 5 beds at £ 40/nt x 330 days per year (one month off).

    Thus with absolute maximum occupancy you will make £ 66,000 - before costs are taken into account and you will not get anything like maximum occupancy - unless it's actually on Mont St Michel or similar. Where in Normandy *matters* a lot - there are many really nice areas of Normandy which simply aren't that touristy - most of Eure and Orne for example.

    The fact that they do "gardening and caretaking work" suggests they aren't run off their feet (and everyone coming to France looking for extra income is after the same sort of work....)

    Out of interest, is this the Brionne one that's been on the market for a while ?

    It'll be worse than their books because of the mass of people moving to France "to open a B&B or Gite complex". The number of tourists will not increase to match !

    You absolutely *must* get a look at their books. And get someone who knows what they are talking about to look at them (assuming you are not).


    Rent your old property if you can, but you are going to have to buy the house (what value is on the business ?) and I'd be surprised if someone loans you the money for that. I wouldn't. Sorry, but I wouldn't. It's nothing personal.

    Why are they selling up ? If it is such a good deal - why sell it ?

    It may be possible to make it work. But be *very* careful.

  13. [quote]I think that you will find the same rules apply in the UK - they did when I taught at a college, if we were talking about an adult I was told I could still be 50% at fault even if they threw themselve...[/quote]

    ********, Iceni.

    The rules state you cannot build a prison type environment - bars on the windows stuff - unless the child really needs them. You have this balance between the desired "homely environment" and "safety".

    Some rational judgement has to be made about the "child's" behaviour. People use the word "child" and everyone thinks "little four year olds" - yes, there *should* be extra safeguards.

    Problem is morons like CSCI and H&S then try and apply the same rules to 15 year old "children" who are well aware of what they are doing, do what they want, and then blame everyone else if it goes wrong.

    If you are a teacher you *cannot* (except in a few very SEN cases) stop a 15 year old leaving the school. But you are still lumped with the responsibility.
  14. Ah, we're ahead of them. Or behind them.

    This is a true story - not apocraphal, not told to me by someone. It happened to a colleague of mine, who I was working with at the time.

    Boy tried to climb out of a first floor window (drop onto concrete). Window had fasteners etc. to stop it opening more than about 6" or so, but was forced open, breaking the catch (the boy had the option of leaving by the front door ....)

    Boy was about 2/3 of the way out. Was pulled back in by my colleague (child didn't resist, wasn't hurt in any way, just stopped from climbing out).

    Boy complained. Social Services went after him. No question regarding the raw facts. The criticism was, and I quote, "you didn't know he was going to jump out" .......

    Of course, if he'd let him jump, you'd be done for negligence .....

    Simple rules here. Negligence is genuine negligence. Anything else is personal responsibility.

    If I take a group of children horse riding (which I've done) and I don't bother to provide them with hats, stirrups and qualified support, that's negligent.

    However, if I do that, and they unstrap their hats, jump off the horse and hurt themselves, then that is their fault.

  15. [quote]Anyone driven from around 20 kms west of Dol de Bretagne to the ferry port at Le Havre. P&O are still doing the Visit Britain (with conditions that tell you, they may not be operating !) at a ver...[/quote]

    That is tanking it a bit.

    It'll take about 30 minutes to Avranches

    A further hour to Caen

    15 minutes round the Peripherique

    30 minutes to Pont L'Eveque intersection

    20 minutes over the bridges.

    Which is 2hrs 35 mins and whatever it takes to get into LeHavre port from the A29 (never done it)

    I don't think you need to leave the Autoroute(s) to cross the bridges ; you can take the Honfleur road route (D579), or just go onto the A13/A29 junction. The first time I went across it it seemed to dump us in some housing estate, but it's been upgraded since then.

    Apart from Le Havre itself there aren't any real pressure points ; I suppose the Caen Peripherique could get stuffed up. I think even the N175 (6?) , the Dol->Avranches road has been improved a bit.

  16. It will "work" but only just. The difference between SECAM and PAL is the Colour burst stuff - it should work on PAL but in black and white. To be honest I can't see the conversion of the colour burst being good enough to be useful.

    However, all you actually need is a French tuner with a SCART output. I would think you could pick up a cheapish VCR which will tune into SECAM transmissions and play SECAM video tapes. Then just feed it into the SCART input on your Home Cinema system.

  17. [quote]I am sure that Clark is right. The last 2 sackings I can recall were Enoch Powell being shown the door by Ted Heath and Boris Johnson being given the boot by Michael Howard - but they were both 'shad...[/quote]

    Aitken and Hamilton lost in 1997 ; Aitken in Thanet South to Steven Ladyman (?), Hamilton famously in Tatton to Martin Bell ; both had huge majorities overturned.
  18. [quote]"The UK is well rid of this vindictive, two-faced creep. One of the nastiest ever to darken the Commons." That may be the view of one outsider looking in, but it certainly isn't the majority view in...[/quote]

    Man of integrity and decency ? He was a lazy, simple-thinking right wing thug.

    Bl**dy good riddance.

  19. [quote]Today I bought a 2005 Road Atlas for France because I am planning the route for our holiday next year. I see that on the AA map there is a road under construction between Rouen and Alencon. Does any...[/quote]

    It's going to be a motorway, an extension of the A28. It runs from the South side of Rouen, down past Brionne/Bernay to Sees, where it will join the new A85 from Caen, and joins on the Alencon bypass.

    There's a website giving you more detail than you could possibly want.
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