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Everything posted by zeb

  1. Di - we used the Black Bison wax and tint (cire et teint) (small tins I'm afraid from Mr Bricolage). I think it was medium oak - chene fonce or chene moyen (used one of them for the beams). Was hard work - do it by hand (with a sqeegey spongy in one direction) not machine as that gouged out chunks - but the end result looks really good - three coats I think and then a bit of polishing ( not slippery). Also did skirting boards (you can pratice on them first!) People who visited last week said "oooh, you've used real parquet" I took that to be a compliment as they had spent loads of money per square metre on fake parquet!! Our pine was around 11 euros per sq mtr but the wax and tint (and hard labour) brought the price up a bit!! Looks like real chestnut!!! Very easy to clean - but not sure how it would stand up to lots of traffic as ours is upstairs. regards.............helen PS wasn't it you that said NEVER USE WAX!! LOL I forgive you!
  2. Oh bugger - can't get the quote thing to work!!
  3. [quote]Thankfully nobody at present. However when we took possession everything had been stripped out including the light bulbs which we expected, of course. However in the grenier we found a purple skateboa...[/quote] Are you sure it was water??
  4. Hello Anton - it's good to have you back in whatever shape or form!! regards......helen PS my problem is that everything is soooooooo slowwwww. I read the other day that divorce rates are rising due to the internet. I can quite believe it as my wonderful man is getting extremely p.......d off as he thinks I am now addicted to chat rooms or something and it's all down to LF fora taking so long to load. Will probably have to give up as marriage is more important than LF!!!!!!.
  5. Hi Catherine - we've got a DD which we inherited with the house 3 years ago. We keep threatening to change it for a normal woodburning stove and one day we will but.......each winter I love it more!! Unfortunately it doesn't look trendy or cool like an AGA or Rayburn - it just looks like a 70s French cuisiniere which it is, but it's great for cooking stews and simmering things. I have a kettle on the top for the whole winter, soups on top and casseroles and rice puddings in the oven. If you need a high heat you have to roar the fire so I don't often do that as kitchen gets too hot. After a couple of years I have learnt how to keep it in overnight. - fill it up with the largest old logs you can find, shut it right down and chuck on a few sticks in the morning with the door and damper wide open!!  Don't forget logs have to be 33cms (old and dry) - oak and charm are best but everything gets chucked into our fire!! Gives out a wonderful heat and I much prefer it in the kitchen to the central heating. We've also got an inox Italian range-type cooker which runs on bottled gas - huge oven and great to use now that I've learnt how(!) Must say the kitchen does look a bit strange with two cookers but people with AGAs must surely have something for summer use!! Anyway best wishes and bon chance.......helen    
  6. [quote]I do exactly what you want to do and I am registered in France and have the Siret No to prove it. John was a UK accountant and if there was an easier or cheaper way, trust me he would have found it...[/quote] Dear Di and John - I note that you have just registered and are justly proud of it. I have just paid a years cotisations, subscriptions, insurance etc (we didn't earn enough to pay tax for 2003) and realised that we worked at least 7 months for the French government. I do hope you feel as happy being part of the French system at the end of a year. regards.....helen
  7. A reclamation yard has recently opened in beautiful old mill premises at Confolens (16). It's on the Angoulem road out of Confolens before you get to Anzac.   They sell shutters, stone, beams and floor boards, some old furniture, old rolltop baths, fireplaces, carts, windows and doors etc. They open six days and do not shut for lunch!! regards........helen PS This business is nothing to do with me - I wish it were!
  8. A reclamation yard in beautiful old mill premises has recently opened up in Confolens 16. Sells beams, floorboards, stone, shutters, fireplaces, some furniture and lots of interesting stuff. It's on the Angouleme road between Confolens (just past Casino) and Anzac and has a large sign. Open six days and is not shut for lunch! regards.............helen PS This business is nothing to do with me - I wish it were!
  9. Bob - that doesn't sound too bad to me. English neighbours of some friends got a couple of quotes in June for painting their pavilion (not very large). First guy, French, quoted 24000 euros and the second quote from a British outfit was for nearly 12000 euros. LOL - they did it themselves over the summer and it looks really nice.   Think in some areas Brits are being taken for a ride. Friends have recently had fosse installed and pond dug out - first quote from Brit with digger was over 6000euros and that didn't include removing the spoil (as he had nowhere to put it!!). Second quote was for just under 4000euros from local French artisan recommended by maire - included everything and was quickly and very professionally done!   May pay to get several devis.   cheers......helen
  10. SE France is a very large area. If you are researching a particular department try looking in www.pagesjaunes.fr I am miles away from you and there are several kennels around the area (Poitou-Charentes). Have friends who have a kennels just over the hill from their place. Very noisy at all times. You may lose a lot of friends but if there are few around where you are business will probably be good.   helen
  11. [quote]Whilst CORGI may not have been recognised in France a few years ago, I believe that it now comes with a Europe recognised accreditation and as already been pointed out it is a gas installation qualifi...[/quote] LOL - just showed this to our young French electrician, who, after two years of working quite infrequently at our place, has learnt about two words of English!! He laughed and said that if the English are moving to France and want artisans to work for them, they should learn French, including technical terminology. Or at least, that was the gist of it and I agree. He's rewiring our house a bit at a time as and when we renovate a bit (probably an extremely expensive way of doing things but there you are). When he first started here we spoke hardly any French and used sign language and drew lots of wiring plans on walls/floors/cardboard etc. We have progressed and can now explain where we want sockets etc (we just draw a few crosses on the wall!) but we have become firm friends and he has helped US a lot in learning the language. Why should he learn English, even though we have recommended him to other renovators? If you were French and living in the UK would you expect your local plumber to learn French?? I think not!   regards and bon weekend.......helen (luckily for you all I'm back at work next week!)   PPS Sorry to hijack thread Dwebs. For what it is worth a Brit plumber (not a heating engineer) moved into our village in 16 a couple of years back and is now overwhelmed with work!!
  12. Hi Mick - you find the maire at your local town hall (Mairie) - every town and village has one (even very small villages!). Flags are hanging on the wall outside.   I know how you feel about caravans everywhere - we have quite a few parked in gardens dotted around the commune. The majority belong to French folks and are used for a couple of weeks a year. I wonder if they get permission......   regards......helen
  13. Hello mick and welcome!! Can't answer your leccy question - haven't a clue, but regarding the caravan I suggest you go and introduce yourself to your maire, explain the situation and ask him/her nicely for permission to site it.   I think with caravans size matters and you know what France is like - every department/ commune/ hameau has different rules and regulations. We are in 16 and had a 14 footer parked in various places (it kept getting in the way) on our plot for two years - didn't even think to go and ask for permission and our maire knew it was here but never said anything so who knows how the land lies in 17.........   best of luck....helen
  14. Not necessarily. We had caravan here for two years and never asked at the Maries although they knew it was here. It was a 14 footer - sorry , we sold it at Easter to another renovator!! May help to say where you are though, France is a big country!! good luck......helen    
  15. zeb


    Weldoms sharpened my Stihls last year for 5 euros each. I find this the safest, easiest option as they oiled and airbrushed them clean at the same time. They will also let you know if anything is bent or needs replacing. Don't know if they're a national chain - there are certainly several Weldoms in Poitou-Charente. regards.....helen PS Never mess about with a chainsaw!
  16. I'd be pleased to hear of any other garden maintenance businesses out there who are paying their cotisations through MSA. We are finding that everyone who visits us or who we have dealings with at the local MSA gives conflicting information on everything. A year ago our cotisations were worked out by a controlleur on the basis of 42% of 1000 times SMIC (yes, expensive) but the woman who deals with our paperwork this year hadn't really got a clue why it was calculated this way, whether it was correct or even what benefits we are entitled to. Her colleague even argued that we have to charge 5% TVA which is rubbish as we are registered as a micro! Is anyone else finding the MSA confusing? helen    
  17. We offer a gite changeover service as an add-on to our main business and charge 8 euros per bedset which includes towels. The owners just price this into their rental charge as no-one wants to be bothered with bringing their own bedlinen. This has worked very well for all concerned until this year when one of the owners changed all the towels to Ikea bath sheet size (very thick). I can only get 3 or 4 at a time into my washing machine so looks like I may have to charge extra next season! So, all you gite owners, please have a thought for the cleaning person and how much time and electricity is used laundering. Stick to ordinary bath and hand towels, and preferably poly cotton bed-linen (Tesco do a super range of easy care stuff at very low prices). Sorry Gay, don't know about the stretchy sheets - aren't they too hot??   regards.......helen
  18. [quote]Having been to hundreds of French houses I have seen hundreds of fitted carpets. However it would appear that 99% of them were either on the walls or ceilings. But seriously carpets are not that pop...[/quote] .......yes but I think they are becoming more popular with the younger generation. As someone else said on another thread, carpets are available in places like Leroy Merlin - several are sold on rolls there and loads more styles can be ordered. Can't remember where it was but I have also seen lots of different hemp type carpets for sale - very North London. And where do the Brits get theirs? Nearly everyone I know from the UK and living permanently in France have fitted carpets somewhere in their houses, usually in the bedrooms. LOL  - some houses are fully carpetted. Maybe Geraldine and husband should concentrate on advertising and servicing the ex-pat community! Good luck whatever you decide to do though Geraldine. regards.......helen
  19. Hi all - we need to install wiring for a va et vient system at top and bottom of stairs. Does anyone know if there are diagrams on line please? cheers.......helen    
  20. Brico-Lots at Poitiers (turn left off the N10 ring road between airport and Lepeyre Zone Artisan or Commercial next to Babou) is closing down (don't know if it's all Brico-Lots shops) and all prices are at least 50% off. Good solid pairs of shutters (all sizes) with hinges and locking mechanism were between 35 and 50 euros. There were windows (double glazed wood and uPVC) in all sizes, internal doors, bathroom basins, some kitchen door and drawer fronts (oak), a few pine staircases, floor tiles (internal and external) and bathroom tiles (extrenmely cheap and lots of naf colours but we found some nice ones and bought 8sq mtrs for 17euros! You will have to be quick though - me and several other people were clearing the shop out! cheers.......helen  
  21. Following on from Belinda's post, SPAB do excellent 1 day Lime rendering/mortaring courses all over the UK. We went on one in Suffolk before moving to France a few years ago and, as well as a super lunch (!), it taught us most of what we needed to know about working with lime based products, all for £49!! Go to http://www.spab.org.co.uk   regards.....helen (now a supreme being - LOL!!!!)
  22. >Can anybody advise of a good >place to get new car >tyres. I live in Champagne >Mouton. Anywhere within reasonable distance >of here would be good. Hi dickie - we used Vulco at Ruffec - rather than turn right at gardencentre for Leclerc carry straight on and Vulco is near the end of the road on the left. regards.......helen
  23. So far I've bought (at different times) dishwasher, gas range type cooker and fridge freezer from Geant (Angouleme). I always look when there are promos on and got the dishwasher and f/f each reduced by 200 euros! Delivery is free and includes installation and changing of gas jets (if necessary) on cookers. However, if you have no Geant handy, you can always try http://www.mistergooddeal.fr You can compare prices and order direct from them. regards......helen
  24. HI John and Di - ours is squashed a bit upstairs where it comes down a wall where the plasterboard is pretty close to the jutting out rocks in places - it still works OK downstairs though! Don't know how we managed without it - no stale air in rooms next morning after spicy food/drinking and baccy nights, no fear of CMP, no pooey smelling bathrooms, etc but sometimes a bit chilley in January so have been known to switch it off during the day! Does it exist in GB? regards.......helen
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