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Everything posted by jxedwards

  1. Just got this e-mail from a Canadian friend. Any comments? John   Guide to France   ** General Overview France is a medium-sized foreign country situated in the continent of Europe. It is an important member of the world community, though not nearly as important as it thinks. It is bounded by Germany, Spain, Switzerland and some smaller nations of no particular importance and with no decent shops. France is a very old country with many treasures, such as the Louvre and Euro Disney. Among its contributions to western civilization are champagne, Camembert cheese and the guillotine. Although France likes to think of itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little used and it is next to impossible for Americans to get decent Mexican food. A continuing exasperation for American visitors is that local people insist on speaking in French, though many WILL speak English, if shouted at. ** People France has a population of 56 million people. 52 million of these drink and smoke (the other 4 million are small children). All French people drive like lunatics, are dangerously oversexed, and have no concept of standing patiently in a queue, or line. The French people are in general, gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof and undisciplined; and those are their good points. Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would hardly guess it from their behaviour. Many people are communists. Men sometimes have girls' names like Marie or Michel, and they kiss each other when they meet. American travellers are advised to travel in groups and wear baseball caps or Stetson hats, big belt buckles, cowboy boots and colourful trousers for easier recognition. ** Safety In general, France is a safe destination, although travellers must be aware that from time to time it is invaded by Germany. Traditionally, the French surrender immediately and, apart from a temporary shortage of Scotch whisky and the increased difficulty in getting baseball scores and stock market prices, life for the American visitor generally goes on much as before. A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English channel has been opened in recent years to make it easier for the French government to flee to London during future German invasions. ** History France 's historical figures are Louis XIV, the Huguenots, Joan of Arc, Jacques Cousteau and Charles de Gaulle, who was President for many years and is now an airport. ** Government The French form of government is democratic but noisy. Elections are held more or less continuously and always result in a draw. The French love administration so for governmental purposes, the country is divided into regions, departments, districts, municipalities, towns, communes, villages, cafes, and telephone kiosks. Each of these has its own government and elections. Parliament consists of two chambers, the Upper and Lower (though confusingly they are both on the ground floor), and whose members are either Gaullists or Communists, neither of whom should be trusted by the traveller. Parliament's principal occupation is setting off atomic bombs in the South Pacific and acting indignant and surprised when other countries complain. According to the most current American State Department intelligence, the President is now someone named Jacques. Further information is not available at this time. ** Culture The French pride themselves on their culture, though it is not easy to see why. All their music sounds the same and they have never made a movie that you would want to watch for anything but the nude scenes. ** Cuisine Let's face it, no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants on the other hand, are excellent, although it is impossible for most Americans to pronounce this. ** Economy France has a large and diversified economy, second only to Germany's in Europe, which is surprising because the French hardly work at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on strike and blocking the roads with their trucks and tractors. France's principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, guns, grenade launchers, land mines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese. ** Public Holidays France has more holidays than any other nation in the world. Among its 361 national holidays are: 197 Saints' days, 37 National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days, 54 Return-of-Charles-de-Gaulle-in-triumph-as-if-he-won-the-war-single-handed Days, 18 Napoleon-sent-into-Exile Days, 17 Napoleon-called-back-from-Exile Days and 2 France-is-Great-and-the-Rest-of-the-World-is-Trash Days. ** Conclusion France enjoys a rich history, a picturesque and varied landscape, and a temperate climate. In short, it would be a very nice country if French people did not inhabit it. The best thing that can be said for France is that it is not Germany.
  2. I can recomend the following person. Excellent work reasonable price however be prepared to wait the usual 8 months. He is based near Figeac so it depends which side of Cahors your friend lives. He has carried out work for us and will put a roof on our atelier rthis autumn. He is just finishing installation of the roof on the new museum in Figeac. Michéa (SARL) Ceint d'Eau 46100 Figeac   05 65 50 16 83   Regards   John  
  3. We are near Figeac (46) exactly 161 KMS north of Blagnac. We also use Rodez (Ryanair) on occassions. It takes us 45/50 mins to Rodez and 2 hours from Toulouse/Blagnac. Try mapquest/michelin websites they might help. Blagnac from the opposite side of Touluse could be as much as an hour or as little as 20 mins would be my gues depending on the time of day. John
  4. Alcohol free wine/beer, totally pointless just like kissing your sister (unless of course you are from Tasmania!!!!). Let them drink water!!!!   Hope the advice helps!!   John
  5. About 15 years ago I tried to raise money to buy a yacht via what is known as a marine mortgage. Initially had no luckdespite having a well paid job and money in the bank. Transpires I had a CCJ against me for a debt I had already paid. It appears even in hose days banks/credit companies look no further than the check boxes on their PC's!!!! It cost me 200 pounds in lawyers fees to get the debt removed before I could obtain a marine mortgage. If you do have a CCJ against you then it is possible to get this removed if the CCJ has been cleared. This may or may not be your case. Alas the yacht has gone replaced by a property in the Lot. Wife always suffered seasickness in the Bristol channel, good enough reason for divorce I thought. Anyway when we opened our French bank account with CA (and the resulting mortgage) all we had to produce was passport, utility bills, and bank statements and proof of income from the UK. I do not think they ran a credit check but will stand corrected if there are any persons wiser out there. Hope this info helps you and good luck.   John
  6. Is the car RHD or LHD? If it is RHD drive then why not just buy a similar vehicle in France? Based on experiences elsewhere you are far better with a LHD for all sorts of reasons, overtaking, tolls, car parks etc. Citroen Berlingo's in abundance in France. Spoke with several friends in the past who have 'imported' their Brit cars to Sapin and they have all regretted doing it. John
  7. I am not in France at the moment however reading on the Beeb website that today the 'partial'' smoking ban takes effect in France. Are the French 'obeying' this new law or not? John
  8. As posted on other posts on this subject:- Nationwide Flex account we can withdraw up to 400 euros per day from this account whilst in France at no charge. They also give an excellent exchange rate. Last time in Nov we were getting the 1.48 as was being quoted on the Beeb/CNN etc.We now withdraw almost on a daily basis whilst in France then make a cash deposit into our account. So over 7/14 days we can deposit several thousand euros at no charge and excellent rate. We have now opened 2 account 1 for me 1 for wife. Obviously this is not ideal for everyone but so far it works for us.
  9. Just had 10 steirs deliverd all for 400 euros. Figeac (46)   Looks like I got a good deal.   John
  10. Ian, I have just finished railwork and plasterplate in my loft only the decorating left. Looks like Bob has you on the right track so I will not interfere or meddle in words. I can send you some pictures which may help explain Bob's excellent narrative Send me a PM if you want some pics   Regards   John
  11. Myself & my good wife are late 40's and have embarked on a health kick. We both attend a gym and swim whilst in sunny South Wales but on our frequent trips to our home in Frontenac we have not been able to find any gyms or indoor pools. Any ideas you Lot? Help on finding these appreciated, advice on ageing bodies in lycra not!!   Regards   J&J Edwards Le Presbytere Frontenac.
  12. I played rugby for 24 years and finally retired 4 years ago at 42 after starting a league game in the same side as my son. The point being if I lost the plot every time someone called me nasty names or doubted my sexuality or parentage I would have done a Zidane 10 times a game. The 'wind up' is all part of the game if you cannot take it don't play it. Zidane is happy to take all the millions of euros thrown his way like all the other highly paid stars take the name calling as well sunshine. As for the Italian whathisface, well what a day gives away a penalty, scores a goal, gets the worlds nos#1 sent off, scores another penalty and lifts the world cup. Doesn't get better than that retire sunshine and continue opening supermarket into your 60's just like Geoff Hurst!. As for the argument that Zidane is innocent because he was provoked looks like even Hannibal Lector could have got away with it, give me a break. He nutted him no excuses face the consequences.   John
  13. Rodez is a small airport with just a small snack bar and I believe a restaurant hidden upstairs. Air France fly there from Orly 2/3 times a day. We use it regularly and will continue to do so and it is fine. Advantage for some people is that there is free parking at the airport albeit you can only find room in the adjacent field which gets very muddy in winter. Toulouse is also an option for us as the airport is to the north of the city which is ideal for us being in the Lot.   Hope this helps.   John
  14. FYI, Bought the tickets at Le Clerc in Figeac. Just browsing the 'whats on' board and there it was concert advertised. Not sure if it is a sell out, if you are trying for tickets good luck.   John  
  15. Looks like my post has been hijacked! Twinkle will send you e-mail soon.   John
  16. I have booked suprise tickets for myself and the wife for James Blunt who is performing at the Zenith in Toulouse. As we stay 2 hours away intend to get a hotel in the centre of Toulouse that evening. Does anybody out there in Midi Pyreneesland have any  idea how easy/difficult public transport is to the Zenith particularly after the concert has finished later on. Any thoughts advice welcome.   Merci   John
  17. In Oct 2004 we saw a property and made an offer without any finance arranged in France. We then got reffered to CA by the immobillier. We then opened 2 bank accounts, arranged 1 mortgage, life & house insurance with CA all in 2 hours. The lady was english speaking due to an english husband. All we had to do on our return to the UK was supply them with utility bills, proof of income and marriage cert. To be honest they were brilliant. This was at the Figeac (lot) branch. Unfortunately our english speaker advisor no longer works there. However since then with our poor french equalled by their poor english we have managed to obtain a french credit card and arrange various payments. So hopefully your local branch will be as accomodating.   John
  18. Is this any help?   John   http://www.deals4homes.co.uk/heating/heatforroom.htm
  19. Condorman the name is now explained huigh on prozac!!! As others have said 'chill out man'. I am probably within 30 mins of you so I guess this makes us both stupid/clever. As for me being a knob you are dead right just ask my wife. Keeping up with the jones's no way Jose. Why would I intend to move to France if that were the case? I'd stay at home in sunny south wales and by all the best pit ponies in the village and show off there. At the moment when in France we live in 1 room bed/cooker loo et al. So no offence meant just forum banter. Sitting on an offshore oil platform in West Africa at the moent natives restless so I have to take my frustration out on somebody When you have cooled down maybe I'll drive over to give you the benefit of my inexperience.   sincere salutations mon ami John 'the knob' Edwards
  20. Condorman:- not sure if you are clever or stupid. overlooking the lot valley, Well wouldn't it have been better to move into the Lot the prettiest region by far in the whole of France. Well at least you can see us priviliged souls who are there.   John & Julie de Le Presbytere Frontenac
  21. Just seen this post. What a great idea if it is adopted as normal practice. I frequently travel with my work and nearly always hand baggage only cuts down on time on check-in and when arriving at your destination no 30 minute wait for your luggage Lets hope all airlines adopt this policy.   John
  22. There is an excellent cheminee store on the way into Mauntabaun from the north. Not sure of the name but the lady was helpful and spoke a little english. It is on the left hand side just before the bridge with parking outside. Hope this help.   John
  23. Bad news I'm afraid caravans are illegal in France. Looks like you'll have to leave it at home and leave the French roads clear of these annoying slow moving white boxes. Sorry about that   Big J
  24. I have purchased a car with French plates. My question is how easy/difficult is it to insure the car as a non resident? As we all know in the UK you can walk into a broker give car details and recieve a cover note immediately. Is this possible in France and if so any suggestions on a company? We intend to visit in 2 weeks and will only have 2 weeks in France and would like to insure the car immediately to enable us to use it. (At present it is garaged wuith an obliging neighbour). The car will be left at our home for use whenever required by us on our frequent visits. Any advice/guidance appreciated.   Regards   John  
  25. We have just had Velux windows installed in our roof ready to convert the attic space. We had to apply for 'declaration de trauvaux'. The mairi was helpful but 3 weeks later told us that the tier of admin (not sure of the correct name) above him had noted that we may increase our habitable meterage on the house therefore local taxes. He told us to tell him that we were not going to inhabit the loft (he knows we are) and when the windows are installed apply for permission to convert the loft. This permission can take 3 months or more to be granted but the DDT took 4 weeks. Windows now installed and on our next visit in August we will apply for the next level. Your builder is partially correct if the windows open/look out onto a neighbour they can object and therefore DDT will not be permitted. My windows do open onto my neighbours gite but he had no objections as he works for the builder sometimes.   Hope this helps   John
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