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suzi05

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Everything posted by suzi05

  1. We tried French Connections a couple of years ago and didn't get a single enquiry despite copying and pasting the same advert that brought us enquiries from cheznous and holiday-rentals. We put this down to their search criteria (at the time you could search for either private pool or shared pool but not just pool. This may have changed).

    One good thing we've found with H-R is that they automatically put you on their foreign sister sites. We have had quite a few bookings from English speakers in Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland and Italy. All of these have the added advantage (for us) of having their summer holidays through July, so extending our main booking period (we cater mostly for families with young kids).

  2. I've used them for a few years now and (although they have gone up in price) they're our biggest source of bookings.
  3. Hi All

    As we generally have quite a few travelling waifs and strays staying with us, all with the ever present ipods, we are forever finding stuff installed on our computer that we don't want! We've just heard (from one of our young friends) of this website where (I think I'm correct in saying - although I'm no expert) people away from their home computer can access their iTunes thingy, and download stuff without installing unwanted programmes on other peoples machines! The website is called www.playtripper.com and I thought it might be useful for any of you who may (like us) have au pairs / workaway type people, or a "public" machine for the use of your gite guests. 

    Here's hoping the rain goes away soon!

    Suzi

    www.patiras.com

  4. Hi All

    As we generally have quite a few travelling waifs and strays staying with us, all with the ever present ipods, we are forever finding stuff installed on our computer that we don't want! We've just heard (from one of our young friends) of this website where (I think I'm correct in saying - although I'm no expert) people away from their home computer can access their iTunes thingy, and download stuff without installing unwanted programmes on other peoples machines! The website is called www.playtripper.com and I thought it might be useful for any of you who may (like us) have au pairs / workaway type people, or a "public" machine for the use of your gite guests. (Also posted on gite owners).

    Here's hoping the rain goes away soon!

    Suzi

    www.patiras.com

  5. We have stone walls that drop a lot of dust. We tried PVA and it didn't work at all - ended up having to buy some very expensive specialist product that you have to spray onto the walls which seals them.

    Good luck!

    suzi

    wwww.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  6. We got married here 4 years ago next Thursday! We found it really simple (we are both english and lived here in France). We didn't need a cert de coutume, just official translations of birth certs and the originals (which you don't get back by the way), copies of our witnesses passports, doctors certs and proof that we lived in the commune. Actually we didn't live in that commune but a letter from the harbourmaster saying that we lived on a boat in his port seemed to suffice!

    As for the ceremony, the mairie printed off what they say for us in advance and we got it translated, and somone read out the english version in the ceremony. Our only input was to say "oui" and at the end the maire asked us if we had rings to exchange, when we said yes he said "well go on then"! My only criticism is taht it wasn't very romantic: no vows, no mention of love or cherish, all to do with shared finances and moral responsibility for furture children if i remember rightly! It only lasted about 10 - 15mins. Also, there were only chairs for the bride and groom and the maire and they expected us just to arrive altogether (I guess cos most people go there after the fancy church bit). We didn't get married in church so we decided that the groom would get there first and he and the best man got everyone to stand so that there was kind of an aisle so that I could arrive traditionally late and make an entrance with my bridesmaids! The locals found that very amusing!

    Congratulations and good luck!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  7. Thanks everyone for your replies.

    The box does have a digital readout that always says 120% but that's not a measurement of the Cl production (I don't think).

    I have never added stabilisant - can you buy it with normal pool supplies?

    Which acid should I use to clean the plates poolguy? And where can I buy it? I have had a quote for new electrodes - about 500€ - the pool is only 3 years old!!! So in desperation as green stuff seems to be growing on the bottom of my pool I have switched off the salt system and added "gallets" of chlorine to my skimmers. presumably I should be able to see CL is present in the pool using the DPD test now?? I tried yesterday about an hour after I added the tablets - nothing, but maybe it hadn't had time to spread out?? If the salt system is working effectively should I be able to detect CL in the main pool using DPD tablets? 

    Sorry to be completely dense but it all seems fairly mysterious to me and I don't want to kill off any guests!!

    suzi

  8. So do you check for Cl in the pool steve? Or just rely on blind faith like we seem to have to?

    I love your Fields quote by the way!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  9. I would agree with what most people say - We are slightly older than you, (mid 30's) but even us oldies hanker after the bright lights of the big city now and again! We have had about a dozen people of 18 - 28 age group stay with us over the last 4 years for 3 months to a year, and most of them could only survive here out in the sticks by having or making friends in Bordeaux where they could crash at weekends while having their dose of city living. I'd deliberate hard before ruling out a large town or city.

    good luck

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  10. Thanks Ab & flsteveuk!

    The pH was a little bit high - around 7.5 so I reduced it before adding the chock tablets yesterday. I have re-checked the salt, that's fine. The pool is 10x5m so volume is 75m3. The water temp is pretty warm, around 20 I think. We're in the Gironde and the pool isn't near any trees but there is an enormous passion flower plant along the wall next to it so we get some of those leaves in the skimmers. It's been on 24hour filtering for ages now.

    I do have the intructions for the salt system which don't help at all.  They do say that there is a "defaut" light that comes on if something is wrong (eg furred up electrodes or low salt) but this light doesn't even come on if I unplug one of the electrodes......

    I put the salt in the pool along the side like they did when they installed the pool

    Is there no way of testing the electrolysis??

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  11. Is there any way to test whether my salt system is working or not? Mt pool hasn't been right since last year - I've had all sorts of green / brown / yucky problems with it. I left it "au nature" over the winter (just keeping the filter running a few hours a day) as usual. This year I came to open it up, got a man to come around and check the filtration system (he found a few leaks and fixed them). It seems to be filtering brilliantly. I hoovered and chocked - lovely.... but it still isn't right. Straight after I chock it it is fine, but then the algae comes back again. It seems to me that the salt system isn't doing anything (as in releasing Cl) How can I tell? Should I be able to measure the Cl produced in the pool using DPD tablets? I've just tried that and the test remained clear and colourless.

    The pool is about 3.5 years old and has an Alliance Sel system if that makes any difference. The salt level is fine - topped up and tested a couple of months ago.

    My husband has taken apart the electrolysis chamber and given it all a bit of a scrub out (which didn't make any difference) and noticed that there seem to be burn marks on teh top of the bit with the electrodes in. He thinks that this happened once when the pool water level dropped when we were away. Could it have burnt out in some way? He also reckons that we used to be able to see bubbles streaming from the electrodes but we can't now.

    I know it's probably hard for anyone to tell us without seeing it but any help would be gratefully received - I know that some of you out there don't like salt systems but please don't all post to tell me that they're rubbish - we're stuck with this one now!!

    Also - Stabilisant. What is it? How do I test it and where do I get it from if I need to add it?

    Thanks

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  12. Oh he is so cute!! I have a beauceron-ish. We don't know how much Beauceron he is as we got him from the SPA who told us that he was untrained and untrainable. He's the most wonderful dog, loyal, great with kids, so gentle, wel behaved and fun! And he's so big that I don't have to bend down to stroke him! I think that he must have had one of those horrible spikey choke chains in his previous life, because when we got him he cried whenever anyone went near his neck. 2 years later, I think he's worn a collar and lead 3 times since then (only if we're near any cars) and he's wonderful - walks perfectly to heel, or next to my hand if I tell him to without the lead. It's such a shame that people are scared of these dogs. I think clipping their ears didn't help with their image. I'm glad that's stopped - Vick's ears are lovely and floppy!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm   

  13. On the subject of electric fences, there are ones just for dogs, you can get them at Decathlon. BUT they're for training your dog, and he has to wear a collar so no good for a neighbours one. However the ones you have for horses work for dogs too, they learn quite quickly! You can buy these in Decathlon too.

    We have a friend who has a neighbour who is a hunter and hates cats as they eat baby birds / rabbits etc. She quite casually told us how she saw him once run over her pet cat, and another time beat another of her pet cats to death with a stick!! I couldn't beleive it. I've no idea what I'd have done if he'd done that to my pet but I'm fairly sure I wouldn't still be living next door to him.

    The same guy has also threatened to shoot my dogs if he sees them catching the hares he's set free and have now established themselves on our island. Nice guy all round really!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  14. How true Charlotte! I mixed some white, blue and yellow paints I had left over and made a lovely lime-ish green for my bathroom. It looks great against the white tiles. Used exactly the same paint in the loo next door and it looks a sickly pukey yellowy green in there - shame! Oh well, at least I didn't buy the colour especially.

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  15. Don't be discouraged James, you may find exactly what you want straight away! My parents-in-law decided to buy a place out here, granted they'd decided on the area as they wanted to be near us - but apart from that they didn't know if they wanted a large or small place, with or without garden, in the countryside or in the town. All they were certain of was that it must be detached, need no work done, and not give right onto the road. So here I am sitting in their new house, with attached neighbours either side, the front door opening straight onto the pavement, having just rewired the whole house and my husband is busy re-plumbing before we rebuild a few walls and decorate throughout! And we found it the very first day we looked at properties. We spoke to a local agent who blocked off the following afternoon for us and took us to see about 6 places. We narrowed it down to 2 and chose this one. I wouldn't be afraid of speaking to agents that don't advertise their English abilities. I think you'll find that most local agents around 24 can speak the odd word which is often enough to get you by if you can memorise enough words of what you definately want - toit, jardin etc and definately don't want!

    good luck!  I'm sure you'll have a great time!

    suzi

    sorry, i just noticed that I didn't answer your original question! Where to stay - whta about just getting a B&B when you get there. You may find they can offer help and advice on the locality too.  

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  16. Sorry, not really relevant to this but Sandra who sent me a message about teaching following my posting here - I wrote you a reply but can't seem to send it to you. can you send me your e mail address please.

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  17. Blimming miserable isn't it?! I had a most unpleasant experience today - Got onto a plane in manchester at a fairly sunny 6.30am.... then got off in Bordeaux an hour and a half later in full-on drizzly, damp, fog! Not often it happens that way around thankfully.  Come on summer, where are you?!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  18. Hi Fritz

    Sorry I don't know the answers to your questions, but if you do find out the answers (perhaps some "research" over a few beers is needed!) and open a bar serving British Beer - "Irish", Irish or otherwise -  Please do it within staggering distance of our house!! Mmmm nice warmish flattish pint of Mild'd go down well!

    Good luck

    Suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  19. Hi James

    I know you can check online once you have a telephone number, but I'm not sure about postcodes. But if you're looking at properties through agents, they might be able to tell you if they're online for "haut debit" (broadband) in the places you're looking.

    With regards to the locals  - I can only speak for around here (Gironde) where we're positively welcomed. We do live here though, so we contribute to the local community rather than just having a little used holiday home here (which is often contentious). Everyone we've met here is really pleased to have us here and desperate for us to teach them or their kids english!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  20. Hi Kathy,

    We don't serve anything very special, but by the time you add up nibbles, starters, main course, cheeses, pud, bread, juice for kiddies, bottle or two of apero, anywhere upwards of 4 bottles of wine, for 4 - 8 adults (including ourselves) and 4 - 8 kids...... doesn't often leave much change at Champion bearing in mind we take 52 - 168€. When was the last time you had a dinner party for anywhere between 7 and 17 people and bought everything including all the wine for less than that?!  That's not counting prep costs or time. I suppose we usually get a "free" meal out of it, but like I said, we don't do it for the money.

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  21. You're right, for 28€ you could get a fancy meal at a restaurant, but not with the amount of wine we usually get through! Anyway, our guests generally don't want to go to a fancy restaurant! They arrive hot and knackered, have a shower and then collapse in my beautiful garden with a very large glass of wine while their kids go mental playing with my dogs or on the swings, running off all the energy they've saved up being trapped in a car for hours. We wait on them and sit down to dinner with them, the families from the two gites get to know each other (and decide whether to spend more time together or avoid each other for the week!) and a good time is had by all! The food isn't gourmet, but it's good and everyone eats well and usually stagger away from the table very full and a little tipsy! I honestly don't make any money on the meals, I don't charge for kids under 14 and we buy everything in the local supermarket (except the wine which our neighbour makes). There's always a panic over a hot stove in the 2 or 3 hours between finishing cleaning the 2 gites and sitting down to dinner, (in between welcoming the guests and putting two toddlers to bed) and every time I think "why do I bother? Never again!". Then once the main course is on the table and I've had a large glass of wine, I start to enjoy it - For us it's the best night of the week (if the most exhausting!) and most of our guests say that it makes their holiday - some of them even want to do it again later in their stay so my cooking can't be that terrible!

    BUT, to get back to the original posting.... If there were a nice local chef who would come to my house and do all the slaving over a hot stove, I'd probably take him up on it!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  22. Hi Catherine

    There is always work teaching English around here (either privately or in a school) but then I guess it depends where you want to live. I think it's worth thinking a bit about that - for instance I live in a town of about 5000 inhabitants. People rarely leave their job so you pretty uch have to wait for someone to keel over before you can step into their shoes so the likelyhood of employment is fairly limited! Bordeaux is 45mins away and obviously has plenty more oppertunities.

    As others have said, if possible try and get something sorted before you come out here. Although there does seem to be skills shortages eg in building and decorating, you'd probably have to set up on your own which is so I'm told very costly unless you work on the black.  

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

  23. As there seems to be loads of confusion amongst gite owners about the new pool regs and possible inspections, I would have thought that there would be a market for someone to set up a pool service for them. If you look on the swimming pool section of this forum there is always someone panicking about the greenness of their pool (often me!) If I could pay someone to sort out my pool - even come around every week and keep it looking sparkling, and ensure that if the inspectors come a-calling we're OK, I'd definately fork out for that. I don't know if that's the sort of thing you were looking for, but maybe worth considering.

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm  

  24. We've never had anyone come and inspect our gite pool either but someone did tell me that it's a possibility. They also said that we're supposed to keep a book of the pool treatments etc. I have no idea how we're supposed to find out what we're supposed to do - if anyone else does, please let us know!!

    suzi

    www.patiras.com/trinite.htm

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