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  1. I forgot to mention that my house had a new roof in 1990 - most people I've told this to have been very surprised when I said what the Maire had told me, as they've been of the opinioon it should not have reached the kind of state he was suggesting in this time.... Another thing ... re teaching, I don't teach in schools, only language schools, have been offered a teaching job one day a week to start in September - but unfortunately it's in Bordeaux - didn't realise how far away it is, and was trying to find a way I could afford travel from my area, but it looks as if it's far too expensive ... does anyone know anything about railcards etc.? I haven't been able to find out how much I could knock off the full price by getting the right cards. Also, on the ANPE website, there seems to be a lot of teaching going in Toulouse part-time,my plan was to apply once down there as no point until I can get to interviews. Some of you have said how difficult it is to get teaching, yet the jobs seem to be offered - so do you mean there are just lots of people applying? Or is there something else I don't know? I have 10 yrs exp, so don't think that should be a problem. I did see something about social security numbers, and wonder how difficult it is getting them - as I understand it, anyone who offers you a job on a permanent contract has to give you one - that's partly why I wanted to take the Bordeaux job. Anyone got any info? I've now written spec letters to a school in Montauban who were interested in seeing me some time ago, and to the Wall Street Institute in Toiulouse. If anyone teaches EFL or has any info about the situation, I'd be very interested to hear it. Sorry my posts are so long! Many thanks for any suggestions, Tessa
  2. Hi everyone, thanks for your input, thought I'd update you - the Maire wrote back thanking me for getting in touch quickly and saying 'provided the work is done very quickly, it shouldn't be a cause for concern', and he was pleased that I said I'd go down there. It did begin to look as if he was just giving me a wake-up call (though a pretty scary one, and I can't be sure, as he hasn't answered my query as to whether the 'declaration' can be held off if the builder can't start work by 30 June). I checked up on how work should be paid for and found that the way I paid the builder before is the accepted way - 30% down payment, then in stages, then a last payment after it's finished - so this should give me time to get some cash in. I've now been offered a teaching job for a month in England which should give me about £1,500 to spare, and I've found a couple in France who run the 'St Antonin Owners' Club, looking after properties, tthey've sent me exterior photos which show that my roof hasn't blown off at all, in fact it looks much the same as when I was last there 2 yrs ago. What a relief! They could only see 'some tiles on the ground next to a white car with flat tyres' - my voiturette, which a daft ex-partner of mine left out there, I was intending to go back shortly afterwards but couldn't, and I forgot all about it. I think I can see how I've annoyed people!...... I'm sending keys down and they'll get a devis this week - I'll be on tenterhooks until I find out how much it'll be, but it looks more like a case of 'some tiles off' now, so I'm just hoping a thousand or two will do it...... Then I just have to tackle my debts with Taxe Fonciere and Water, and my blocked bank account ...... and perhaps I will survive after all! Incidentally, I also have bats in my house, and I discovered they're protected in France as in England - I saw a case in the paper in England where someone who wanted to demolish a house had to spend £250,000 on building an alternative home for the bats before he could do it - does anyone know how this would work in France? I intend to contact the bat group for the area, but I'm just wondering what the implications would be if the Maire really did want to knock it down.....? Anyway, thanks to you all for giving me your views - I will update from time to time..... Tessa
  3. You hit the nail on the head, Baypond! I am not insured...... I fell into huge cash problems a while after I bought the house, considered going bankrupt, everything requiring payment had to be stopped. I've hardly been able to get to the house, just once every year or two -last time I went I hadn't been for 3 years. For the last few years I've been trying to get myself back on track, and the dream of getting to France and getting on with the renovation has been the only thing keeping me going! Now I'm nearly there .... and this has happened! I've done a bit of research - not v. cheered by it, it seems the 'batiment menacant ruine' is a legal sort of term, if they declare it so, you have to do the work within a time limit - then there's something about calling in experts, then they knock it down, I think. My French isn't perfect, so I'm a bit hazy on the bit in between the experts and the demolition! Now the shock has worn off slightly I've begun to come up with a plan of action - am contacting a builder who previously did work on the house to ask for a devis, I've emailed the Maire to express my concern and to tell him this, and I'm going to go down next week to assess the situation - my lovely mother has offered to lend me £1,000 if I need it - how much that'll buy me I've no idea, but I used to pay this builder in stages, so I'm wondering if I might manage to get something started at least. I hope to God I don't find my whole roof's gone! If that's happened I'm sunk. Well, if anyone in the area does see this, I hope you'll respond - or does anyone know any other way I can find out whether Cazals got hit badly in the hurricane? I've looked at the news online and stuff, nothing about my immediate area, though I know Toulouse got it pretty badly. Also, if any of you know trustworthy/reasonable builders in the area, please give me their details. Thanks for your input, anyway. Tessa
  4. I'm in need of urgent help/information! I have a house in Cazals, 82140, had it 10 yrs but haven't been able to afford to renovate it yet. I'm planning to move over there in Augst and start, but in a very slow way, and doing most of it myself, because I basically have no money, though I'm hoping to get some teaching (I'm TEFL qualified) when I get there. I just got a letter at my house in England from Monsieur le Maire which says the roof at my house in France needs repairing because tiles are coming off in high winds and falling into the street. It says if I don't get the work done by 30 June he is going to 'declare cet immeuble en batiment menacant ruines'. What the heck does this mean for me? I presume the phrase means 'a dangerous structure', but does anyone know what the significance of this 'declaration' will be for me? Can they confiscate my house? Can they knock it down? Would they do the work and charge me? I've never had a problem with the tiles before, and I'm now wondering what happened to the roof in the hurricane last winter - my house is in the hamlet of Cazals, which is down in the gorge, & I was hoping the winds had gone over the top. I've no money to go there and check, or to do the work, which I presume will be to fix on the tiles, as they are canal tiles and are not hooked on. I'm going to email the Maire to ask if he knows the extent of the problem, but trying to plan what to do if it's the worst case scenario. The house is big, I think the plans said the floor area was 120 sq m, which someone told me means the whole thing is 480, because it's got 4 floors - so scaffolding would have to go a long way up! Or could it be done from inside? Does anyone 1) live in the Cazals area and could go and have a look & see if my whole roof is in the street, 2) know how much it might cost to put a tarpaulin or something temporary over it, 3) know a roofer who lives in the area, preferably speaking some English? My French is ok for face to face conversation but explaining things on the phone is a bit of a nightmare! I'm absolutely terrified that this is the end of my 'French dream', and that I'll end up with a ruin. If anyone can suggest anything, I'd be pleased to hear it. Thanks in anticipation! Tessa
  5. Hi,   I have a voiture sans-permis in France, it was bought some years ago and was at one time all legal, and I was using it, but it has spent the last few years in my cave needing some replacement parts, while I've been in England with no money.  Now it's ready to go again, but I don't seem to have the documentation for it.  I've found out that I need to complete a form for the lost Carte Grise (I'm not even familiar with the document names, but I'm assuming this is what we'd call the Log Book in England - is that correct?), get it insured (it was insured with AGF before, but they can find no record of it now) and get the Controle Technique done - but not being a motorist in England, I'm a bit confused as to what order I will  have to do all these things in, and as it's my only transport apart from bicycles, I'm concerned about getting it on the road as soon as poss because I'm out in the countryside and it's so difficult to get from place to place without it.  I've found the form to get a replacement Carte Grise on the net, which is one hurdle crossed.  The car runs ok, but needs some repairs before it will pass the Controle Technique, I'm told.  It is also 25 years old, and I've just read that if I make a special application for it to be considered a Collector's Car I might not have to have the CT done, but that this isn't automatic, and that restrictions apply with this - does anyone know what they are?  I don't know if it's worth doing this or not, or how much hassle it is.  Also, how much does the Controle Technique cost?    If anyone can advise me what to do so that I remain legal at each step, I'd be very grateful!   Tessa
  6. Hi everyone   Does anyone know of any English-run or English-speaking vineyard owners looking for vendangeuses in the south-west or south this year?  There are plenty advertising on the ANPE website but I'm not too confident of my French on the telephone yet, so don't dare ring them!  If anyone has friends in the wine business who need people I'd be pleased to hear from you.   Thanks in anticipation!   Tessa
  7. Hello everybody, I'm looking for the cheapest (as long as it still works!) monthly broadband package I can get in France.  Does anhyone have any ideas?  I see that Tiscale do one for only 10 euros or something, with an introductory free phone calls offer, but it is only 256 kb.  Wht sort of prices are people paying for 1mb?  I'm also wondering whether I will have any problems getting a connection, as I'm in a gorge.  I'm a bit of a technophobe, so anything I have needs to be easy to use!    Any advice or ideas gratefully received.   Tessa
  8. Hi all Anyone know anything about steam cleaning beams? I have taken down my ceilings in France and the beams, joists and undersides of the floors above are a bit of a mess, partially covered in old, scruffy looking paint, dirty, and with adze marks and splinters on them. I don't know what to do about the splinters etc., but I saw someone on a TV prog steam cleaning some beams and thought maybe this would help to make them look presentable. I presume you can hire steam cleaners - has anyone done it? Are they effective? Has anyone had a company steam clean any timber? How much does it cost? Are there any drawbacks? Any info gratefully received, Tess
  9. Hello! Nice to read a post from someone in my area - I have a house about 20 mins by car from Caussade, near St Antonin Noble Val - do you know it? I haven't started to visit regularly yet, but hope to soon, although I still have a big task ahead of me doing up my house. If your visit happens to coincide with one of mine I'd be pleased to meet for a coffee somewhere and talk about the area and the little I've learned about it. Hope to hear from you, Regards, Tessa
  10. Many thanks everybody! I love this site! Tessa
  11. Hi all Can anyone tell me whether it's possible to use an English Tumble Dryer in France? Or any other electrical appliance for that matter.... Quick response appreciated if anyone's on here now! Thanks Tessa
  12. Thanks Cacknanty. Maybe I was right then - at least that's not quite so bad.... Next question - does anyone know where I can get packing cases, preferably tea chests or something, cheap? I have looked for sites, but wooden cases seem expensive. Or does anyone have any they've used for a move and want to get rid of cheaply? Tessa
  13. Just remembered another question..... How much have people been quoted for getting across the channel with a 7.5 tonner? I spoke to Eurotunnel and I thought they said £300 return, but I noticed on here that someone said it's £300 per single journey - if so it doesn't seem worth hiring a van as opposed to using a haulage co. Please tell me it isn't true! What about the ferries? Any info gratefully received..... Tessa
  14. Hello all Thanks to everyone for your responses - I had practically given up on the self-drive idea! I shall keep trying. In case it's of interest to anyone else, I have also found a site called LoadUp on which you can advertise your load and its destination, and hauliers who are looking for loads will contact you. I have had several quotes, which are much less than removal firms so far. Tessa
  15. It seems that no self-drive van hire company will hire a 7.5 tonne lorry to go across the channel because none of them have the insurance. Is this really correct? Does anyone know of a company who will hire me one? Tessa
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