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Everything posted by 0Helen

  1. 0Helen


    Bats hate being disturbed and will soon move on to another roost.  Our bats [ and our resident owl] move from building to building as we go about our renovating.  I always put a hat on if I have to pass under as, like mice, they have no bladders.  Caves with large bat colonies can have quite a toxic atmosphere as there is a fine, high ammonia mist in the atmosphere all the time.  It can be lethal to other animals and humans.  Bats can also carry rabies.  In spite of all the drawbacks I would hate to not have bats around. On the positive side they do eat a lot of evening flying insects such as gnats and moths.  Eating moths is a negative - but you can't win them all.
  2. We have been costing sit on lawnmowers.   I think that the price in France is cheaper.  A mid quality with a Briggs and Stratton engine is Euros for Pounds - by that I mean cost of 1000 euros as against 1000 pounds.  This is comparing horsepower, gearing etc.                      
  3. Thank you for the prompt replies.  I will try the url again.
  4. Try looking in the larger Bricos.  It is generally wrapped in plastic in up to 50 metre coils.  If it is not near other telephone bits and bobs try the electrical wire section.
  5. I have been trying to access this site for the last couple of days.  Has the url changed?  Can anyone help please?
  6. We love being in the north of dept 24! Yes there is a lot of rain in winter but the blue sky and mild temperatures during the day make up for it.  Very little wind is what my husband likes. Spectacular lightening storms in summer and clear sky to watch shooting stars at night in autumn.  Lots of forests and wildlife.  Morning dews which mean that you do not need to water the garden very often.  The scenery reminds me of Scotland, particularly the Borders and around Perth.  I could go on and on and on.  This suits us but would it suit you?
  7. 0Helen

    pet travel in France

    We always use the pull up baggage net when we have our dogs with us.  I hate to think of the head damage caused by a 35kg dog hurtling through the car in an accident!!!!!!
  8. Open fires are very inefficient.   Some wood can throw out huge sparks and burning flakes.  A woodburning stove is safer and warmer.  
  9. Buy some fine holed ventilator covers and make holes in the plasterboard at top and bottom so ther is a free movement of air circulating in the space between.  If the supporting battons are vertical you need to ventilate each inter batton space.  If your walls undulate like ours, you will probably find in easier to batton horizontally to true up the wall [or if you are using lambris ] In the latter case leave gaps in the horizontal battons of a few centimetres, to allow the circulation of air. Glue the covers in place with no-nail or similar.  If you do not want to leave gaps you could drill holes in the battons instead.
  10. If you look at this site, www.frenchentree.com you will find some up to date information about the changes in the double taxation treaty, which should mean that by the time you get round to selling up you will not need to pay capital gains tax in  either country.  There are several articles which you may find of interest about tax and retiring to France.
  11. Thank you for the information Penny29.  I shall certainly look into joining these classes next year as I cannot guarantee my attendance this year.  I think that conversational French with a real French teacher is just what I need to become properly fluent. 
  12. My husband and I have also found the Michel Thomas cds very good.  We have just purchased the advanced course.   I can say anything I want to say and can translate written French quite well, but when French people speak to me I get lost as soon as they go off subject!!!! It gets a bit uncomfortable when I have to ask them to speak more slowly and to repeat everything.  On bad days I hide from the neighbours, on good days we have very interesting conversations.  Are other people as variable or is it just me???
  13. 'Jugged Hare' is made by thickening the gravy by using the hare's blood.  I suppose it is possible with rabbit but is not usual.   To obtain the blood, the freshly killed hare is bled into a jug to which a little red wine or port is added to prevent the blood congealing.  This mixture is added to the dish at the end of cooking - it is important not to boil after the blood is added as it goes lumpy - the same principal as overcooking egg custard.
  14. As a matter of common courtesy I would never try to persuade my vegetarian friends to eat any other way.  Why do some vegetarians feel that they have the moral high ground and try to persuade those who are not vegetarian that they are wrong?  I suppose it is a bit like racism - it is fine to have a black Police Federation but not a white one.  Both are racist.  Religion also seems to open the door to strife and argument.  Live and let live is my motto. Learn from the diversity of human nature and try to be a good person. 
  15. LOL we have come close to all of those scenarios.  Renovating is our raison d'etre[no circumflex available]  Now that we are retired there is nowhere we would rather be but in our old french farmhouse.  I expect that we will never finish - and I really do not care!!!
  16. I do not know where you are so this might not help, try Castorama in Limoges, we needed to use a reduction piece for our system last year and we found that they had a good selection.
  17. I use these ramonage logs regularly.  The chemicals in them degrade the sticky tars in the soot and make it easier to clean out.  The certificate contained in the pack is of no account as far as insurance goes.  If you clean the chimney yourself, keep a log of dates etc.   After burning the ramonage log there is usually a very small amount of soot fall.  Some of the soot will be carried up and out of the chimney by hot air as well.  Ramonage logs work better if you have a long straight chimney.  You must clean the chimney by brush at least once a year - depending on how much wood you burn and the type of wood, eg. pine has a lot of resin and makes more tar.
  18. This was raw gammon and had to be cooked, but not by boiling.  I have never seen the boiling kind anywhere in France.  I miss it too. My favourite is Danish, well smoked and not cured by brine injection. Sadly it is hard to find nowadays. [dry cured I mean]  I think I probably confused you by telling you to look in the cooked prepacked meat section, but that was where I found it!!!!
  19. I use well-chilled grated butter for my dumplings because I prefer the flavour.  If you do not want to add fat to your own homemade sausage meat try adding grated apple, cooked mashed aubergine, grated carrot, mashed peaches etc. [not all together of course].  The fibre in the fruit/veg holds moisture and helps the meat to be less dry.  Combined with a little starch such as oatmeal or breadcrumbs the sausages should not weep too much when cooking.  It is better to brush with oil and bake rather than fry, as the juices make a real mess of everything within spitting distance.  In fact I have given up frying except for eggs. 
  20. I found smoked, sliced gammon which had very little salt in it, suitable for baking or grilling.  This was in the large Intermarche at Perigueux [the one with the Brico across the road].  Look in the cooked, prepacked meat section. There are 5 slices in a pack.  I have forgotten what it was called but it was pretty obvious that it was gammon. Hope this helps.  
  21. I found that warm air and cooking smells were attracting the little blighters to run in under the kitchen door in the winter.  The solution was a good hard oak threshfoot fitted by my husband on both outside doors.  We still found the odd dead mouse on each visit. I had to throw away my best walking shoes as one was suppurating inside and I could not bear to ever wear them again!!!!  After finding that the pump on my dishwasher had been destroyed by the same beastie that stripped the sorbo rubber from the bike rack, chewed through a tent and ate a whole black plastic bin liner, which caused it to expire on the kitchen floor, we stppered up every hole we could find and keep poison in every room.  We have not seen one for a while [or the droppings] The thing that I hate the most is that they do not have bladders [like rats] and so trail a stream of urine everywhere they go. Disgusting!!!!!!
  22. Is this violet flavoured syrup/liqueur a regional thing ? I have never seen it in the north of 24.  
  23.                                  On the plus side, my elderly [83] French neighbour lives an independant life, has lots of friends and visitors.  Around here there is the bread van which arrives every day, grocery van twice a week, the nurse twice a week, the post person calls every day, neighbours call regularly - I know that when we are old we will not have all this unless we make a big effort.  Even the Mayor called to wish her a happy Spring - then he popped in to see us for the same reason when she told him we were here.  I expect it all depends where you live.  In the UK I expect we could be dead for a fortnight before someone noticed!!!
  24. When we first bought our old house it was very damp and some of the plaster in one corner of a downstairs room was very wet.   We did simple things to  rectify the problem.   We removed soil and plants from near the outside walls.   We killed the moss using dilute ammonia and pressure washed.  We lit the fire and aired the house out every chance we got.  The cellar had a pool of water in it so we cut holes in the door and fitted ventilation grids and a concrete threshfoot so heavy rain did not enter.   It does take some time for old thick walls to dry out and we no longer arrive to find a thick fur of mould on anything that holds moisture.  In the future we intend to fit a ventilation system. Hope this helps.
  25. This is a very little used line.  There are not many trains in a day.  As it is a branch line and not a main line I would not expect it to change to being busier, as some small stations have closed in the past few years as the general population declines.
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