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Everything posted by Teejay

  1. Our neighbour's dog has given birth to labrador cross puppies. They are now about ten days old.

    We know the parentage of these puppies as the father is also a near neighbour's pet. This particular dog has a wonderful temperament. The mother too is good-natured.

    There are four males and two females. All, so far, are golden coloured like their parents. I have no idea whether they have secured homes for any of them to date.

    Teejay (departement 16)
  2. I briefly looked at the Telegraph report and fairly quickly dismissed it. Logically how can you have an estate agent complain about people who ONLY want to buy a big house and land and yet this same agent was only too happy to contribute to the report by Living France on the Charente Maritime? Don't recall any grumblings then.

    Focused more on the charms of the region and the rise in house prices in the last two or three years.

    This is the same agent that I would approach if I was selling. The same agent that has prospered on foreigners buying in their locality.

    I'm sorry but for me this doesn't add up. This looks more like a newspaper filling a space with a not too serious report.

    By the by, the most expensive house in our village was sold by The French to the French and the last two houses sold have been purchased by young French couples and the new builds all owned by, yes, you've got it....the French.
  3. [quote]Ah - Teejay - I think the answer is pretty basic - you know what they teach in the boy scouts ?........Be Prepared[/quote]

    Gay, I have no desire to be bad mannered, but what exactly does your comment refer to?

    Could you embellish please.

    PS> Why do you all care so much about whether people succeed or not in their quest for a different/better life?
  4. [quote]however much homework one does in preparation for life abroad, nothing compares to actually living it day by day. Couldn't agree with you more. Sometimes too much sensible decision making results...[/quote]

    Good research is no doubt valuable but France is a large country and if one gets it right first time you're very lucky.  Only yesterday I heard of another couple who are moving to a different department.  In fact someone recently remarked to me that there appeared to be a new angle on Brits living in France and that was the phenomenon of the short stay.  Either they were moving on to somewhere else in France or leaving to discover pastures new across the world.  

    As for your observations regarding advice I think a polite person may listen and say thank you but most adults who aim to be independent would prefer to make their own lifestyle choices and consequently would cringe at the thought that a move to France is decided for them by words of wisdom delivered from this forum.

    Do a growing number of people leave their brains behind at Dover?  Is there sufficient evidence to back up this theory?   However if you can provide facts and figures I would be most interested to read them.

    MWJ, perhaps for some people, those who don't reside in green and leafy Britain,  France appears to be a sort of utopia.  Who can blame them for wishing to change their rather grim circumstances.  OK, so they get it wrong and realise that the dream was just that, a dream.  So they return.  I still continue to be perplexed as to why it seems to bother some more than others.

    Regards J

  5. [quote]Bixy/Teejay, Yes, thank you for the schadenfreude, beautiful term. I agree with what you're saying about people living and learning from their mistakes but that assumes one can afford to and not eve...[/quote]

    Perhaps a forum like this is a good place to inform the ill-informed that considered choices are the best. But most people wish to see for themselves and if it goes pear-shaped and a return to the UK is not possible for financial reasons then I agree that for some it might be hell on earth. Yet it needn't be. There are always solutions.

    Since living here I haven't as yet met any of these unfortunate people. Most of the ones I've had the good fortune to meet have been remarkably resourceful. Nor have they all been comfortably off. But the one ingredient they share is their ability to cope with life in France.

    MWJ, however much homework one does in preparation for life abroad, nothing compares to actually living it day by day. Sometimes too much sensible decision making results in limiting the options.

    Don't you find that attempting to prevent people from acting hastily often produces the opposite effect?

  6. [quote]I also cannot obtain this.The local Supermarkets sell standard French size mountboard,already with the windows cut out.However the inner windows are the same sizes of the watercolour pad,so about as m...[/quote]

    Any good art shop sells mountboard. I haven't bought it myself but have seen this product for sale in France and a pretty wide choice of colours too.

    If I want to research a product I normally look on the web at Daler/Rowney etc and look up stockists in my area. The art shop I use have been enormously helpful and have ordered products for me without any problems. Well, just the usual delay that one experiences here in France. Best to order before one runs out of things.
  7. [quote]Schadenfreude - what a lovely word. Why does it creep in? A psychologist writes: it is an extremely common human emotion. The degree to which you will feel it depends on your own sense of self worth. ...[/quote]

    Thank you for the explanation.

    However my posting must have been unclear. What I was trying to say, obviously not very well, is that personally I don't have a problem with 'change of heart' whether it means going back or moving on to another property within France or whatever other permutation you can think of.

    Some, however, see these decisions as mistakes, others display a touch of schadenfreude.

    Each to their own, but I am constantly amazed why people appear to be so exercised by all this.

  8. [quote]Do not assume the stuff the kids are smoking these days is the harmless stuff you knew in the 60s 70s and 80s. The new "skunk" strains available are typically 5-10 times stronger in terms of the activ...[/quote]

    Well said. The first one, sorry second, to mention the harmful effects that cannabis has on the young, particularly the reference you made to psychological problems which can and do occur as a result of over use. You only need to listen to Susan Greenfield to understand.

    There is now plenty of evidence to show that regular use of cannabis over a long period has harmful effects on short term memory, attention and concentration span. In addition it has been shown to lead to an increase risk of developing psychosis.

    Forgot to mention; it's easy to spot a heavy cannabis user as they generally lack motivation and laugh at all their own jokes even when they aren't amusing.
  9. [quote]That is why, if at all possible one should try and buy a house in France that appeals to a broader range of people than just potential second home owners. And make sure that one doesn't skimp on th...[/quote]

    Ignore the above quote. It doesn't relate to this reply.

    My question is this; Why is it that when the subject arises of the increasing number of people having a change of heart from living in France, for whatever reason, there often creeps into the replies a degree of schadenfreude?

    Any explanations offered?

  10. [quote]I think there is a danger of second homes being a fad. Driven by the media frenzy on this subject and helped by low interest rates and easy credit in the UK. The problem is that for many people after...[/quote]

    That is why, if at all possible one should try and buy a house in France that appeals to a broader range of people than just potential second home owners.

    And make sure that one doesn't skimp on the heating of the newly acquired property either.   People often return early to the UK from their holiday homes because they haven't taken into account that France is actually very cold in the winter, particularly now.

    I don't have the facts regarding the resale of second homes but doubt whether it's all to do with trends, boredom etc.  Of course anything that one hears is purely anecdotal, but often people sell up because of a partner's death and the survivor opts to return to Britain.  Also people sell up and move to another area in France.  We know several who have done just that.  In fact a Dutch couple we know are on their fifth house in 25yrs of having second homes here and I have no doubt that they will move again.  Despite all you see on TV about people overstretching themselves financially there are still plenty around who have the funds to do exactly as they please. 


  11. [quote]Icena, I am amazed and pleased that you have only seen 2 accidents since being in France. The number that I have seen both on Autoroutes and ordinary roads in France over the last 15 years are at an ...[/quote]

    We have lived in France for eighteen months and during that time have seen two fatalities.  The first was someone on a motor bike, the second a cyclist killed not far from Brive.  In both instances it was difficult to ascertain the cause and whether anyone else was involved and neither were on major roads. 


  12. [quote]Apart from "La Chute", which I must say I would very much like to see. But in a different genre I saw "Mariages" last week, which I can highly recommend. Some very good lines, insights into relation...[/quote]


    We enjoyed 'Les Choristes' on DVD recently. 

  13. [quote]I always have subtitles turned on, if they are available. I can just about manage without, but I do find it difficult having to concentrate so hard on what is being said all the time. I can grasp the...[/quote]

    At Christmas I watched Pinocchio(Italian version) with French sous-titres and realised afterwards that I'd been able to follow and read every word. OK, not difficult for some, but for me it meant I had reached another level of understanding and that felt good.

    So long live sous-titres!
  14. Our stonemasons laughed when we asked them about the 35-hour week.

    The guy working at our place arrives around 8 o'clock and leaves about four.  He appears to work a 35 hour week.

    We asked him what he thought of the 35 hour week changing when the final decision is reached in about ten days time?   He gave a typical Gallic shrug, blew a raspberry, and said "je m'en fous ".

  15. [quote]I watched a french film last night with english sub titles. I found them very distracting and as I couldn't help but look at them found them quite inaccurate, especially the swearing. I would be wary ...[/quote]

    I have found watching English language films with French sub titles to be pretty useful, especially if you know the film already. You can avoid some distraction by turning off the sound allowing one to concentrate on reading the sous-titres.

    Surely no translation is exact hence the phrase 'lost in translation'.

    My husband has been known to sit there with a notepad jotting down interesting colloquialisms. 'When Harry met Sally' and 'Love Actually' are two of the films which came under his scrutiny.
  16. [quote]At last we are within a few weeks of '24 hours in France' trip.We are planning a trip to a supermarket and I think it might be a good time to buy a new frying pan, I have a ceramic hob and the middle ...[/quote]

    There is a new range of non-stick frying pans that claim to be fork proof. They aren't cheap, over 50 euros, I think. Probably Tefal but as I was looking at something else I only gave them a glance. Think it was in Darty that I saw them.

    I bought a frying pan last year from Auchan. It's extremely robust and cost around 28 euros. It's brillant.
  17. [quote]I read a very scornful review of this recently, might have been in the Private Eye, basically said it was just a load of. French women might eat all sorts of naughty things, but only in minute amount...[/quote]

    Minute amounts. Suppressing the appetite by smoking. Spot on. That's exactly how it is for many women.

    It's changing though, as one is beginning to see the signs of overweight children as they consume more and more fast food. The next generation will probably be quite different. Less lean than their parents.

    Surely this issue of French Women Don't Get Fat is based on city dwellers. In my brief experience women in rural areas come in all different shapes and sizes.

  18. [quote]Anyone know of any?[/quote]

    If you are ever in Bordeaux there is a splendid bookshop in rue vital carles where you can purchase quite a wide choice of books in English.

    Also in our local town the library has at least three or four shelves of books donated by English people. Really it's all about curiosity, once you start looking it's amazing what you can find.
  19. [quote]the quality of British newspapers As strange as this may sound, with the exception of the price, I actually prefer reading British newspapers abroad. I like that feeling of detachment that comes w...[/quote]

    We prefer world news via TV or reading newspapers online. The problem with UK newspapers is that when living permanently in France most of the articles are just too parochial, unless they are of major interest. They don't relate to your life anymore. At least that's how we feel.

    Apologies, gone off topic.

    Back to original theme. For my two pennies worth I believe it's normal to feel the blues from time to time when embarking on a change of direction and not something to be ashamed of. Brandy and Haribos help in the short term (I'm currently trying to wean myself off 'polka') but perhaps it's the ability to embrace change that matters. That's what I tell myself anyway.

    Another thought. If the bad days still keep-a-coming after a long duration in France then that's the time to worry.
  20. [quote]Many thanks for all the replies everybody - what an active forum!I know this is under the wrong heading, but as you live somewhere within the Charente region maybe you could give me your opinions on s...[/quote]

    We have lived in the Charente for 18mths and have used different artisans over that period. According to someone who has lived in France for many years skilled craftsmen are becoming thin on the ground. The young don't want to take up these trades any longer.

    However there is no shortage of good carpenters(menuisiers)and plenty of small cabinet makers. The problem is trying to get anything done in a reasonable amount of time. Kitchens that are handmade tend to reflect typical French style

    and are much more ornate than we are used to. Beautiful never the less. It is possible though to have furniture made up in the wood of one's choice and to any design.

    Most French people in our village have built their own kitchens and nearly all have inherited furniture which gives their homes that individual touch. Dough bins, armoires etc seem very popular.

    There is a rather special shop outside Angouleme which does sell pine furniture.

    You will see similar on the website www.le-comptoir-de-famille.com.

  21. [quote]Has anyone got one of those photo printers - I'm hopeless at doing them on the ordinary printer.[/quote]

    Yes, I have a Canon photo printer and always use canon paper. The most expensive part of using a photo printer is the cost of the inks. In fact I am in the process of using it now to make some prints from photos taken recently.

    When sizing a photo nowadays I try to avoid resorting to inches in order to become more comfortable with cms. It is such a long time since I've used an ordinary printer(not photo, that is) that I've forgotten what their limitations are.

    As regards batteries for digital cameras one requires several sets. Using the camera in the advanced mode just eats up battery power and you always need to carry spares when going out and about. Sometimes, if at all possible, I would take the computer and download images on the spot. Buying a card that takes many images is preferable too. In fact have as many as you can afford for sometimes one may wish to take a photo in Hi resolution and that certainly takes up memory.

    Most of the time I use my camera set in the 'fine' mode.

    According to our dentist the new digital cameras of at least 8 million pixels can take photos in poor light without the use of flash but that they are rather delicate in damp or sandy conditions. But then most cameras are, surely?

  22. [quote]What are the equivalents of the T1, T2, and T3 that you often see in France?[/quote]

     Isn't it the term that estate agents use for describing how many rooms there are in a house etc?

    Or am I completely confused here and you're still referring to clothes sizes.


  23. [quote]Can someone kindly give me the French/uk clothing size comparisons as we cant find it anywhere in our literary bumpf! Many thanks to the respndents!Maude[/quote]


    UK 12 = 40 French size

    14 = 42

    16 = 44

    18 = 46

    According to a label from a garment I've bought recently size 40 corresponds to UK 12. As far as I can remember it's never been any different.
  24. [quote]Isn't there a difference between "environmental" and "cost-saving" issues? I have no particular axe to grind with the environmentalists, I am far too selfish to take environmental issues into account ...[/quote]

    Isn't there a difference between "environmental" and "cost-saving" issues?

    Personally I would consider you to be correct in that assumption. However it was so cold, -1 this morning, that my brain might be suffering from the shock.

    If we are to respect the environment then barns are problematic as they deprive various creatures of their natural habitat. But on the other hand they often make beautiful homes for people. So therefore the arguement put forward in the original post about using sustainable/environmently friendly materials is from the outset already flawed. Yet, repeating what I said before they are often beautiful buildings and particularly in Dept 46. In fact several examples of well considered conversions in that region are discussed by Maisons Paysannes de France on their website.

    Sound insulation in large buildings like barns and old farmhouses is always necessary unless one wants to listen to the bodily functions of those you live with in stereophonic sound. It's essential and not really an environmentally friendly thing to do.

    Respecting the environment in my book also applies to respecting the vernacular architecture too, if at all possible. It costs I know, but the end result if done well blends in with the surroundings. I'm afraid I would give a thumbs down to the UPVC barn doors even if the cost is high for the wood version.

    PS. Consider fitted carpets to be a perfect formula for wall to wall fleas.

    Thank goodness France has a love affair with le carrelage.

  25. [quote]I still find it hard to believe that the UK housing market could have such a dramatic effect on French house prices. What about the Dutch housing market, what's that doing just now? Current figures...[/quote]

    There was, in November 2004, an article in the Sud Ouest about the flaming of house prices in the South West.  It suggested that they were unsure about how long this trend would continue, however it did not state that the rise was due to Brits buying in France.

    The most pricey areas were Biarritz, Hossegor, Bassin d'Arcachon, Bayonne and La Rochelle.  After that came Bordeaux, plus suburbs, Landes, and Charente-Maritime. 

    Dordogne, Gers and Lot-et-Garonne  were approximately the same.  After that the Charente, which had seen a big increase in prices of recent times.

    Speculating on the future of the housing market and what will be the final outcome is chancy at the best of times.  There are too many variables.  Some parts of France will always hold their price, whatever the UK housing market is doing. 

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