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Everything posted by Penny29

  1. I'm (sort of) with Hardhat on this one (although can glady say I am now an ex-smoker of almost 10 months - by the way, please feel free to send "congratulations" and "well-done's"), but about 6/7 years ago we booked a luxury villa with pool in Florida & the total cost of the holiday came to thousands of £'s. Absolutely no mention in any of the literature - adverts, website, brochures, small print, booking forms etc etc etc to say the house was No Smoking - we did check - so we felt very misled when we arrived as we would NOT have booked that villa had we known it was non smoking. I do think it's all about being honest in the rental terms and conditions - so many people think to mention pets/no pets, linen/towels, 6001 facilities and other rules but smoking is so often forgotten in a holiday home description (maybe simply because so many people DON'T smoke any more). Likewise, if a gite (or even one's own private house) politely requests "No Smoking Indoors" & some people are thick and ignorant enough to ignore that rule then they should (IMHO) have to pay excess cleaning charges - it's no fun scrubbing yellow nicotine stains off of walls and ceilings, emptying and cleaning stinking ashtrays etc. That was all bad enough when it's was "fug" of your own creating but becomes particularly unbearable when it's someone else's filth. I don't think it makes a vast difference to gite bookings these days - so many people have given up or have (at least(accepted) it's an outdoor-only "hobby".  
  2. Thanks for the advice Ian,   How plain daft - hope someone with influence has read this thread! Like many others I am keeping my email address completely private, but it would help many of the regular contributors if searches could be carried out using a username. I'll be honest, that sort of search also helped me figure out someone's credibility in the past & enabled me to make an educated guess as to whether a PM from someone I didn't know was bona fide or not. Mods - PLEASE change this aspect of the search facility and soon!
  3. I told someone to search for an old post under my Username - tried it myself, stunningly the seach facilities claim that nothing is to be found under the name of Penny29, now I know this isn't true even though I seem to lose hundreds of posts everytime LF has changed it's format (But I ain't bitter!)!!!! What am I doing wrong or is it a fault in the system?
  4. Hi Donna, If you want to PM me privately I'll do all I can to help. I never worked for the DWP myself (I'm just ex Jobcentre,  ex-Contributions Agency and ex-Inland Revenue!!!!!) but I DO have friends who did & still do work for the DWP. I can't promise anything but I can at least ask for more details about the whole points thing, the new questionaires and how the "getting fit for work" proof fits into the new scheme of things. I'm sure I'll be able to find someone who will be willing to help as most of the staff especially Jobcentreplus officers are up in arms about the whole Pathways Scheme. 
  5. Penny29


    Ron, Thank you for saying it all more clearly than I did ! Yes, the main thing is to write and ask for a pensions forecast but make sure you mention in your letter that you are not resident in the UK - that way, later, there can be no "misunderstandings" about auto-credits. In fact, get everything in writing from Newcastle, never ever do it by phone! Ron, I'm not as confident as you that Retirement Pension will ALWAYS be paid to people who are no longer resident in the UK, this current government (whom I voted for not just once but twice!) have a very bad track record of passing new legislation but then applying various terms and conditions retrospectively. For instance, your point about Disability Allowance (INCAP) is very true but claims are already being radically reduced by the new rules being applied NOW rather than in 2008 under the guise of "pilot schemes", hence many of the "fitter" recipients are already finding themselves obliged to make regular visits to the Jobcentre (or having their benefit reduced if they do not). One of my ex-colleagues said recently that, to qualify for sickness benefit in the future, you'd have to be a comatose quadruple amputee & even then some civil servant would say you were fit enough to get a job licking stamps, she said it'll be like that Monty Python sketch ("Come back - I'll bite your legs off!"). Incidently, to the other poster - auto credits (paid 60 - 65) are not the same as the "4 years off rule for NI" - auto credits were bought in for a completely different reason - namely when Mrs T wanted to reduce the unemployed statistics after 1979, so 60-65's weren't counted as u/e any more!!!!  
  6. Yes it was me! Can't find the long, explanatory posting I wrote as it was at least 12 - 18 months ago but here are the sites I used to find out about qualifications and regulations etc. There are strict regs about how near to another house you should be etc. However, like most things in France I know a fair few people who have set up, advertise, charge & basically ignore all the rules so I guess you can take your chances & risk paying the price afterwards!!!!!! http://perso.club-internet.fr/denac/Denac/CertificatCapacite-01.htm http://www.cyno.org/ http://www.sfcyno.org/faq-sfc-6-La.html+loi+les+chiens+et+vous#62 If you do a serch under  my name you may come up with the long detailed posting which I MAY have popped on the "pets"  forum at the time.  
  7. Penny29


    Hi, I wrote some time on here (also think it was put on the FAQs) about the best times to apply to Newcastle for E forms etc. I think I also mentioned retirement pensions and the fact that most people get "4 years off" of paying NI contributions yet can still qualify for 100% UK Old Age Pension.  This may not be true so people who are not working, not paying voluntary NI, and who are living in France but hoping to get 100% retirement pension should write to Newcastle and ask for written confirmation on the subject. A friend of mine who works for the DWP (but sadly in the medical bit NOT in the pensions bit!) reckons that if someone is no longer resident in the UK then the "4 year rule" will no longer apply & 100% will only be paid out if NI has been paid throughout a full working life (i.e. 16 - 65). I'm not convinced this is wholly true as the 4 year rule was originally bought in to safeguard RP for those who went to university and therefore did not start paying NI until they were 20 or so................................ I've asked a few other CS friends but no-one seems to know the answer so I feel another letter coming on to Newcastle (sigh). Why does it have to be so complicated On the same lines has anyone read the various proposals for future Retirement Pensions in the UK (including raising working age to 68 etc) and if so, have you noticed the words, "pensions only paid to residents" keep being used????? Somewhat worrying, if true!  
  8. Hi, Have done a search - nowt, but will have more time to do a proper one (plus visit CPAM) after Xmas but just thought I'd ask here in case anyone has a quick answer or a link to the info I need. We are covered under French health system from now until Dec 2007 (not on an E form, but as a result of working here and paying cotisations) - but are now considering selling up and moving elsewhere in Europe (will definitely be another EEC country) - has anyone looked into this - do we apply for a sort of E106 equiv from CPAM or is it more complicated? I'm quite happy to do a search if someone will just give me a hint where to look!   Cheers    
  9. Teamed Up, You're showing your age! And advocaaat is back in fashion again! Mix lemonade (really can only be R White's!) with the advocaat (just like we used to do) plus now add twist of fresh lime juice, a (large) splash of vodka - and garnish with fresh lemon or lime slices - delicious!!!!!
  10. Hi,   I need some advocaat for a cocktail that I'll be serving to guests over Xmas - haven't seen it in any of the shops. Has anyone seen it for sale anywhere? We live between Perigueux (24) and Limoges (87) so shops in either place will do. Thanks in advance  
  11. Hi Agenais, Being an ex civil servant (for my sins) I've still got a number of friends who work for the DWP, who keep me abreast of changes etc - your experience is by no means unusual. According to one of my acquaintances (who is quite senior in the Department) there is increasing pressure on staff and doctors to find reasons at the "review" stage to reduce/refuse entitlement to INCAP, let alone perceived "extras" such as parking permits etc! This even extends to people (such as yourself) who are clearly severely disabled  - all part of the push to reduce claims before the benefit is totally abolished in 24 months time. Also, the whole basis of the medicals & the questions asked has been changed quite recently & the old points system for "passing or failing" medicals (via the Adjudication Officer) has been re-appraised.
  12.   Details on the changes to medicals bought about by the new "Pathways Scheme", plus an overview of the planned changes from 2008 (when INCAP will be totally abolished) can be read on the DWP website (http://www.dwp.gov.uk/index.htm) if you do a thorough search using search words such as "pathways", "Incapacity benefit" etc. Details from all the green and white papers on the subject which are available on that website.
  13. Hi Miki, I'll do better than that - I'll send you a cheque for £100,000,000 & all you have to do is send £400 of this onwards to my friend (naturally by Moneygramm or Western Union, certainly NOT by cheque!) in Lagos/Sarajevo/Moscow/Amsterdam ! You can phone me to confirm his - I believe you have my Beanz-Meanz-Heinz phone number. Trust me also        
  14. Hi, The original poster should be applauded for putting this on the board. Please, forget the smug "blindingly obvious" comments from the Poster above (who would have been better keeping their mouth shut on the subject), I think it's very important that websites continually broadcast warnings to their membership. If anyone wants more information check out the FAQs on this website:  http://www.419eater.com/ they give facts and figures on how many people are taken in by these scams - if victims weren't plentiful then these scammers would not continue to exist would they?  
  15. Hi, Anyone living in and around the Excideuil area may be interested to know that there is a wonderful English couple nearby who have set up a completely catalogued English book lending library in part of their house. There are thousands and thousands of books in all subjects, and people can borrow books for up to one month at a time. The best news of all is that they offer this service completely and utterly free of charge!!! All they ask is that people phone before they visit to make sure they are in. I won't plaster their telephone number on here for obvious reasons but anyone interested should contact me via Forum email or Inbox. Penny
  16. If you were interested in a timber framed, straw bale insulated ecologically friendly houses we know a French artisan (who speaks fluent English) who builds them from scratch to whatever stage of completion you want. He has a show house in the Excideuil area. PM me if you want further details.
  17. Hi Liz, Have just heard this evening from the Phoenix and they have succeeded in finding the little fellah a loving home.  
  18. I am pleased to say that the situation may be resolved now. We decided to try one last thing before going "official" and asked a mutual friend to have a "quiet word". Within minutes we received a phone call from the builder and he has promised that the factures will be with us by the weekend. Apparently, he has changed address, phone number and his two email addresses recently & this was the reason we weren't getting replies.
  19.  HI, We used a Scottish builder on our Dordogne renovation for over 8 months. He was SIRET registered and we always paid him by cheque on a week by week basis. He promised that we would receive the factures at the end of the job, but these have never been forthcoming despite NUMEROUS requests. My French neighbour has advised me to contact our Adjutant Maire as he is also a qualified advocat and often takes on problems like this free of charge for people in "his" commune. Another friend (a French builder) has told us just to lodge a complaint with the Chambre de Metiers, as they will intervene on our behalf and have the powers to stop this guy from trading if they think he won't stick by the rules in future. Has anyone else been forced along this route. If so, what advice would you give. Obviously this is NOT a builder I will be recommending to anyone! Penny
  20. Urgent Appeal from Phoenix Three days ago, an unidentified, year-old boy West Highland White terrier was found abandoned in the middle of a road in Périgueux by a Veterinary 'locum'. He is happy and lively in himself - affectionate and eating well....BUT (and here's the 'but'!), he has a chronic skin condition and a lot of missing hair. The Vet's a sweety, and doesn't want to see him put-down, but can't keep him for long. She is fully aware that he is totally unrehomeable through the French system in his present condition...........we are his last chance. We have just a short time to decide - a couple of days at most. If we give the 'green light','she will treat him against mange and all external parasites and pay for the analysis of a skin 'scrape', a skin biopsy and a blood-test to see if there are any hormonal anomalies, but the results may take a while to come through. In the meantime, he will need medicinal baths, possibly steroid/antibiotic skin creams and lots of TLC. The condition is NOT contageous, but at present it is impossible to say how long it will take for him to get better. PLEASE ...is there anyone prepared to take him on a temporary or long-term basis? Phoenix will pay for all his food, suppliments and medical needs, but we can't take him in straight away. All our foster homes are full to bursting and our regular carers unable to give him the time and attention he will need. If you feel you could help, we're just waiting with our fingers crossed to hear from you!......our phone number is 05 53 54 94 81 - and leave a message with your own number. Thanks xx Sheelagh and Richard
  21. Hi Dog, Sorry, no slur intended on your (obviously impeachable)personality. You are right about the Shepherd's characters - they are dogs with a great sense of humour as well as being immensely loyal and very intelligent.
  22. Hi, We are in the Northern Dordogne close to Thiviers (the corner where Dept 24 meets Depts 87 and 19, yet not that far from South East 17 either!). We are currently fostering a 16 week old puppy on behalf of the Phoenix Refuge (his owner has been taken seriously ill and can no longer care for him). He is a Belgian Shepherd cross, terribly cute with one sticky-up ear and one flopping-down one, he is very friendly, excellent with other dogs, is learning to respect cats (we have 7), is house trained and knows all the basic commands. He would make an excellent family pet - he is the kind of dog who just loves humans and will happily share your life and be totally devoted to you. He's the sort of dog who'll be really happy sitting on a riverbank watching you fish, or joining in a game of football, or lying by your feet in the sun while you chill out. I think he would make an ideal companion for a family with a young lad. He'd just love to be someone's best friend. Can anyone out there offer Scoobydoo a home? if so please contact me via my inbox or LF email or via the Phoenix Refuge website: http://www.phoenixasso.com
  23. We've also inherited the same and I recently asked advice from a neighbour who has the greenest of fingers and always produces delicious veg and fruit. He doesn't ever spray his trees and believes in pruning out neglect and disease, he took me round his garden and explained which branches he would lop off and where (in layman's terms the dead looking ones & you simply lop them off just above a healthy looking bud & always at this time of year). He seems to cut out anything that's knackered looking, bent, twisted etc. He also said for me not to be afraid to cut down leading shoots which are just growing up, up and up (he said lop at least 1/3 off) - he says a short stubby tree bears more fruit than a tall, willowy one. On the other hand, another neighbour with equally green fingers swears by spraying every fruit tree in sight with "copper sulphate" at this time of year. I'm going to try the pruning method first................. Hope this helps
  24. Hi All, Hoping that someone will be my email "buddy" and guide me through the school enrolment process etc. Being mid 40's and gay this was NOT a question I ever expected to pose on here! But our niece, aged 7 (very determined and strong minded) has decided she wants to come and live with us in France for a year while her Mum spends the next 12 months studying to qualify as a teacher in the UK. This is not a flash in the pan decision, my sister-in-law was in the process of organising a move to France & had a job lined up here, then she decided to follow the UK teaching route instead, so our niece has been expecting to move here for months now. Ella doesn't want to give up the opportunity to live in France and learn French so she has announced her intention of cming to live with us. We've said we'll look into it & will of course, start at the local Mairie, but can anyone foresee any potential problems that we will run into, given French bureaucracy and the fact that we are not the legal parents of the child. Apart from the Mairie, can anyone think of other bodies whom we need to consult with? Any advice most gratefully received!!! Am about to start reading every single post on this thread now in the hope of picking up the basics about the French eductaion system etc. Thanks in advance Penny  
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