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Everything posted by Penny29

  1. In a moment of madness once, we looked into purchasing in Bulgaria. There were just a few nit picking teensy weensy problems that they never think to mention in those "Place In the Sun" type programmes, just minor details really like: Bulgaria being home to the world's most dangerous and most frequently malfunctioning nuclear reactor; the fact that many of the rivers GLOw at night due to radioactive waste; continuing racial unrest, high crime rates, and the fact that many areas are still active earthquake zones. As I say, just small details.  
  2. Hi Liz, Our visitors with children have always enjoyed a trip to Grotte Villars (at Villars, not far at all from you) - basically it is a short trip through caves looking at cave paintings stalactites and stalacmites (sp??)- the guides usually speak English and the tour only takes an hour or less so the children don't get have time to get bored. They also enjoy time afterwards in the gift shop buying rocks, quartz and ice creams etc. On a dry day there is nothing funnier than taking a canoe up the river Brantome & getting stuck on the weir! Further afield - there are long boats which tour the River Dordogne, plus various caves and mock-ups of life in pre-historic times all along the Dordogne & Vezere River valley. For car trips to touristy places we always keep them occupied by photocopying the Departmental map from Living France magazine and set them up with pen and paper to play the "Spot the number plate - Bingo" game - I've never had to pay out on this one as no visitor has ever seen ALL the departmental number plates! But, to be honest, I've found the best way to keep young kids happy is to wrap them up in waterproofs and wellie boots and take them (and the dogs) down to the local lakes and rivers where they all spend glorious hours getting muddy and wet! After a week recently of taking a couple of kids all around every tourist spot, when it came to the end of the holiday they voted the Muddy Lake Day the best! And it didn't cost a penny!  
  3. I don't know if this will help.............. During renovation we uncovered two beamed ceilings. The first was unpainted but dirty (oak) & these came up beautifully clean with household scrubbing brushes, lots of elbow grease and a diluted solution of something we bought in boxes from the Brico's which is manufactured specifically for cleaning beams (St Marc?). In the second rooms the beams were also old and dirty (chestnut) but, unfortunately, covered with thick, thick, gloss paint. We hired a sandblaster and had a very experienced man into do the job but nothing would shift the paint, in the end he felt the beams would disintegrate before the paint came off so we gave up and have (reluctantly) decided that the ceiling will have to be sanded and painted. The sandblasting was wickedly messy - despite doors being sealed the grit, dust and debris wafted into every room in the house - a job we hope never has to be carried out again.  
  4. Weedon,   Thanks for the info - one last question how do you mix this product? I was about to go out and buy a cement mixer for pointing (acres of it to do) but if this stuff doesn't need a mixer you will have just saved me 200 euros!    
  5. Franglais, Check out the SW France Forum and find a thread I posted there about 10 weeks ago entitled "Re-registering a car in the North Dordogne" - I've spelt it out pretty much chapter and verse and believe me you do not need a helping hand to do it, just all the right documents and a bit of preparation with your French dictionary.
  6. Hi,   Can't help as I already have 8 rescue cats myself but thought I would do my bit by pushing this thread to the top again!
  7. HIFX have transferred funds into my FRench a/c within 48 hours but this was all done via the internet and you have no chance at all if you have not already set up an a/c with Halewoods. I'd agree with the above poster about doing it by credit/debit card over the phone - be very very wary about writing a Britline cheque before you definitely have the money in your a/c. The bank will look at the date you wrote the cheque (date de valeur) and it is an offence to write a cheque in France if you do not have the funds in th a/c at the time. Alternatively, why not phone Britline and ask them to give you a E300 overdraft facility for a few weeks while you get things sorted out?      
  8. I've just thought of an alternative way of asking much the same question. To those of you who live here - if you could turn back the clock would you still choose to come to France? My answer would be an unreserved yes.  
  9. Q. Are You Happy In France?  A. Today, yes, I love it to bits, my house renovations are gathering pace and we can start to dream of the end result, the sun is shining, the countryside is beautiful and I've met some wonderfully helpful shopkeepers today & managed to get everything I went out for. But ask me that question on another day when I am up to my eyes in filling in forms for planning permission for work that "doesn't need planning permission," when I'm having trouble remembering the most basic of French verbs and conjugations, and when I'm dodging 5 wet & muddy dogs within the close confines of a caravan whilst builders appear to have taken over my house for posterity and you could get a very different answer! However, I've never been so content for so long in my whole life - no matter how bad the day there is always something wonderful to see in the changing landscape. I don't know if we will stay here forever - that's nothing to do with France and more about the world being a big place and us getting itchy feet from time to time. But, for now France is home to me in a way that the UK never was, I suppose this country just touches my heart in a special way.  
  10. Yes, Dick, and they never ever remind you about the certificate if you paid cash for the job!!!! I've now learned to always pay them by cheque & then they automatically  write out the certificate whilst I'm writing out the payment.  
  11. I've used two different sweeps since being here and had the chimneys swept 3 times in total - each time it has been E30 per chimney including certificate. I asked local people (French) for recommendations.
  12. Another insomniac here too! Have tried every remedy on the market to no avail. I dream of being one of those people who goes to bed at a sensible time and is up, bright, breezy and chirpy at 6am. The only time I actually see 6am is when I haven't beeen able to sleep all night. Perhaps I am on Australian time?  
  13. We bought one of these from Castorama last winter. Have since had the house renovated with wood buners so our pretend stove is about to go to the Troc! We are also in 24. If you are interested send me a PM.
  14. Hi, If anyone is interested in learning French and lives in this area please check out the thread I have put on the SW France section about lessons in  Jumilhac Le Grand.  
  15. For information for those in the area. I have found some French tuition available from 3rd October 2004 onwards. The teacher is a local woman who also speaks fluent English, she is a qualified teacher and has been running these classes for a number of years. The lessons are held in the Salle De Fetes at Jumilhac Le Grand, near to Thiviers on varying days/evenings of the week according to ability. Lessons consist of 1 one-and-a -half hour session per week for an entire academic year and cost E85 per person per annum. All classes are small (no more than 9 or 10 people) and Katherine groups us according to ability, with each group's lessons tailored to fit needs and knowledge. She is also arranging various trips throughout the year such as visits to the cinema or theatre, all designed to improve our language skills. When we enrolled last week some people had travelled as far as Perigueux for these lessons, and the level of French varied enormousy from absolute beginners to people who already appeared to be quite stunningly fluent. It is possible that Katherine will still allow new enrolments for the next couple of weeks so if anyone is interested please can they contact me by PM for her telephone number (I don't like to type it on this thread as it is also her private number).  
  16. I've finaly found the link to the best example of how to write out a cheque - here it is: http://upper-rhine-online.netfirms.com/html/france/language/cheques.htm
  17. Yes, I find it ridiculous too - after all what is the point in having the animals microchipped for Pet Passports at all if there isn't a shared database. I suppose, if my dog were lost and scanned it would show up, as you say, as an "English" dog, but then one has to wonder if anyone at the SPA here would go to the trouble of contacting Petlog in the UK. I think the system is daft - if anyone else can shed any light on why there isn't an international database I'd be interested.
  18. You can find and example of how to fill out a cheque on this website: http://www.britline.com/g1/using.htm I had a better link and a better example but can't find it right now and the archive-search problem on this forum still hasn't been sorted out. The site below is also useful for filling out the numbers on a cheque: www.london-electronics.com/frenchmoney.htm
  19. Keep your chin up, April. I know how easy it is for one person to make you doubt yourself - been there, bought the t-shirt etc. I'd endorse the other coments regarding taking some holidays and perhaps, later on, considering a few months rental in various areas to help you make up your mind. Your friend does have some nuggets of truth in her sweeping statements -some things are more expensive here than most of us expected, and some ex-pats can be unbearable, and some French people don't want to know the Brits and, yes, sometimes the weather can be atrocious. On the flip side there are many, many wonderful people out here, French and British, who are all too willing to be friendly and helpful; booze, fags and many other day-to-day items are cheaper;and mostly the weather is better than in the UK.  As to area - I guess you must almost let serendipity take you. In our case a chance meeting led to a chance visit to this village & then we realised this was exactly where we wanted to live. I started a post in The Postbag some months ago entitled, "Why did you choose your house?" - and there were some lovely responses (and pictures) to that thread - have a read and it might lift your spirits up! Equally, check out the TF forum - someone has started a topic on there asking "Why do you love France" - it might give you some opposite views to those of your friend.
  20. Just posting this for information really. Like many people we had our British dogs microchipped in Britain prior to export. The address entered onto the UK database (Petlog) was that of our first known French (rented) home (and, as it turns out this was a complete waste of time!) Now we are fnally settled in a permanent home I spoke to my vet here about registering the new address and found, as I already suspected, that the UK and the French databases cannot "speak" to each other. So if I change the address details with Petlog UK (at a cost of £5 per animal) & the dog gets lost then the French authorities will be able to scan the chip okay but they will be unable to trace the dog's address via their registry, so then the dog will be treated as lost and unidentified and end up in the SPA. My vet has now supplied me with the official forms to complete so that my critters can be registered under the French system. The forms are very simple to fill in - just name, address, chip number etc. The vet then scans the dog to confirm the number, signs and stamps the papers, relieves me of E10 per form, and then sends the paperwork off to the French registry. After a few week my pets will have French identity certs (mandatory now in Dept 24 where we are on a rabies alert). My vet also said that the British practice is to insert the chip into the back of the neck whereas French vets pop it at the side of the neck. He has suggested that we attach discs to the dog's collars stating "puce anglais" just in case the dogs should ever get lost and the chips are missed by the SPA scanner. We didn't know how to go about this process, so hope this post will help point someone else in the right direction.      
  21. It ain't Gerry Adam's - it's Bamber Gascoigne
  22. My last boss never called meetings, she used to like us to "touch base" instead. So we used to "touch base" regularly on the third Friday of every month regardless of whether there was anything to discuss. We even had this stupid "Six Talking Hats" thing and she would suddenly announce, in the, middle of a meeting (oops I meant a "touching of base"), "I want everyone to put on their red/green/white/red hats now." We were never allowed to refer to problems as problems, they were "challenges", and solutions to "challenges" were found by us "thinking outside the box" but heaven help us if we strayed outside the damned box too often, as then she would accuse us of not "singing from the same hymn sheet." She wouldn't ask you to repeat something, she would ask you to "rewind", and when a subject became too hot for her to handle she would "fast forward" to the next item on the agenda. Disagreeing with her was called "being negative," agreeing with her was called promotion! I look back on all that now and wonder how on earth I put up with it all for so many years. Anyone else remember pseudo-workspeak expressions?  
  23. Hi, Sorry, cannot help then - we already have 5 rescue dogs and 8 rescue cats which we have paid to be spayed or sterilised, and as this always costs so much we simply can't take on another knowing that a spay would be necessary (over-sexed, uncastrated male dogs next-door - so not worth the risk!!!) I do hope you find her a home - I have always loved Pyranneans.
  24. Hi, If she is already spayed with innoculations and rabies jabs up to date we may be able to help.
  25. Hi, My lump sum was/is probably different from yours - it was a lump sum paid out when they sacked me for ill health (I didn't get an early pension - I have to wait many years for that, dang!!!!), so I  was taxed on the amount which went above the £30,000 non-taxable ceiling. If you PM me privately regarding yours e.g Known taxable position in the UK etc I will ask my friend Francoise asap.  
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