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Everything posted by victor

  1. Judith,

    So where have you decided to settle? And again what is this reference to the plains?

    Furthermore, if Castres is colder and wetter that Poussan, that may well not be the place for us.

    We are just really tired of having to drive almost everywhere, tired of taking care of a too large pool, and trying to keep a large yard from becoming a jungle. We are really ready for a simpler life where we can just sit in a cafe, relax with friends, enjoy our dogs, and not worry about the exchange rate.
  2. Norman,

    You hit the nail on the head: the issues involved with changing regions. That is why we first checked out the departments in our region west of us. One of my big problems is the wind so we have crossed off the Aude and Pyrennes Oriental.

    We are familiar with Pezenas and maybe it is some place we should reconsider. That said, it has never impressed us. I cannot state a specific reason, just my sense of the town.

    From what I recall about some of your posts you are very familiar with Beziers. At our age lively is not in the menu. Is it a place you would recommend? We have not spent much time there in several years; however, I have heard that dealing with the administration is quite difficult.

    Since it is actually only about 30 minutes from us, we need to do some research on it. If you do live there what are the good and bad points?

    Thanks Norman
  3. Chrisse,

    Labruguiere is a town I do not know at all so need to check it out. What I remember of Mazamet the many times we drove in that area, it seemed dreary or maybe a bit sad.

    Can you expand on what you refer to as "places down on the plain?"

    Also may I ask where in the south of the Tarn you live and what your area is like.

    Thanks Chrissie.
  4. Dave,

    Thank you for all the information you provided. We will be driving to Castres on Tuesday if the weather looks good. Your comment on the long and wet winters is a cause for concern. But then last year where we live it was not too great either nor is it as I write. It has been wet and humid all week.

    Albi is a little further north than we want; however, Realmont sounds worth checking out. Because of the dogs and our current budget, which depends on the dollar/euro exchange, we have no plans to fly anywhere. We simply need to find a smaller property within walking distance of everyday needs using the car for out of town visits or errands.

    We stayed for a week once in the montagne noir, and it was cold! Guess you are near there.

    Thanks again.
  5. We have decided that it is time as older empty nesters to down size. After checking out several areas, we are now focusing on Castres in the Tarn. It has been several years since we have been there; however, we will be going next week to visit. It is about two hours north from us.

    We would appreciate any opinions on living in Castres. We would prefer not to have to drive as much as we do here. It is important to us to be able to walk to the marche or a nice cafe or restaurant. Also, because we have two standard Poodles, we need a house with a garden. And also off street parking. Beziers would certainly be closer to our current home, but we have not heard great things about that city. No question that it would make life easier to stay in the same department.

    A general idea of the weather in Castres would be appreciated, although we are unfortunately aware of the dramatic changes that have occurred here in the south during the last few years. Thus the weather anywhere in France could be dramatically different next year. Here near Sete, the summer this year lasted two months with huge winds and weird clouds.

    Is Castres a fairly quiet town?

    Thanks. Appreciate any insights. Or maybe you are aware of a better city/town not too distant from our current location 13k north of Sete.
  6. Théière,

    Thanks for your assistance! I have a call in to our pool person and will ask him about a better filtration system. Just this year, we installed a new filter and a new pump.

    We had this pool totally redone in 2006, it is entirely ceramic and has been maintained carefully. We have never had any water quality problems until the current problem when my spouse decided to play around with the forage.

    Needless to say, spouse is in the dog house until I have my pool back. I will not even let my dogs use it until it returns to crystal clear.

    Guess who will be spending time with the vacuum?
  7. Theiere,

    Ah...what is a bonde de fond? Do you mean a main drain at the bottom of the pool? We do have that.

    A forage is drilled into the ground and may be called a deep well, and one uses a pump to obtain the water from the underground. It is a complicated set up. In using our forage, we can set it for the water to come directly from the forage or control the volume of water by having it come from a hose wherein the water first goes through a type of pressure system. My spouse choose to use forage water directly. Thus sand at the bottom of the forage directly entered the pool with the water.

    In the countryside many people use the forage as their main water supply. We use ours for the pool and the garden. Our pool water is filtered using sand.

    Actually, this morning I did tell my spouse to turn off the pump and let the sand settle to the bottom. My theory was once it settled, it could be vacuumed up. It seemed to me that the pump was just moving it around as long as the skimmers were on.

    I just want to scream!
  8. The other night, my spouse left the forage on all night to top off the water in the pool. By morning our sparkling pool (7 x 10 M2) was extremely cloudy due to the sand from the forage running all night. We have now been running the pump for 48 hours and are barely able to see the bottom of the stairs. At the deep end, the pool is almost 3 meters.

    Any ideas on how to filter out the sand? It is very hot here, however, I do not wish to swim in a sand filled pool. Help!
  9. NormanH,

    Do you live in the Gironde also?

  10. Hello Lunette,

    Thank you for your offer!

    Interesting, Blaye is one of the towns that we thought might be possible, the other is Langon. I will respond to your PM tonight.

  11. Norman,

    Although we are not English but American, your post could apply to anyone moving to France as an adult.

    It serves as a reminder that our lives are composed of stages, with each stage presenting different challanges. Thank you for writing this excellent post!

    It covers so much and should be mandatory reading for persons considering moving to another country, especially a country where they have no family contacts.

    We have never desired to return to the States; however, as we age, we are preparing to move to a smaller property and a place where we do not have to depend on a car for the necessaries of life. We have also discussed how to proceed when one of us dies.


  12. We now live near Sete in the Herault and need to downsize thus in our research we have recently focused on the Gironde. Our area is becoming too built up, and we prefer someplace quieter yet not isolated. If anyone here lives in the Gironde, we would appreciate your imput.

    How feasible is it to find a house, no more than 180M2 with some land within walking distance of a village with shops, etc. We would love to find a small village which we can walk to and countryside areas to explore without so many cars. Is this an area one would be comfortable retiring to?

  13. Norman,

    I sure wish I lived in your village!
  14. Pickles,

    On what basis do you call chemtrails "arrant" nonsense? Have you looked at the site?

    I also viewed a video from Google called: "What are they spraying?" And another called "Bye Bye Blue Skies."

  15. idun wrote the following post at 18/03/2013 1:10:

    This winter has been very grey and many french regions, and probably much of Europe has had a distinct lack of sunshine, lots of people SAD, or suffering from SAD, (personally it doesn't affect me so I'm not quite sure what it is). There was a full report on french news about it, a week or so or three ago. Friends in the Alpes tell me that it has been the coldest and snowiest winter in quite a few years.


    Last night I spent some time researching and found a site on geoengineering. It was geoengineeringwatch.org. Needless to say, I did not sleep well last night after looking at that site.

  16. Has anyone else noticed that on many days by noon the sun is covered over in a haze? We live north of Sete and by noon on many days, the sun is hidden by a haze or heavy low lying clouds.

    Last winter we often ate lunch warmed by the sun in the south facing window, but now we generally have to eat lunch next to our fireplace.
  17. Clair,

    We have signed onto the EDF site and I have written a letter recommande based on your letter.

    For the time being, we are reading the meter everyday and will do so until we receive our first bill directly from EDF.

    Clair, thank you for the sample letter. It was very helpful.

    Again, I want to thank everyone who responed to our problem. Hopefully, others who read this will have gained some information regarding prelevements and utilities.

    The thing one must always keep in mind is that in France, each department may have its own method on how things are done. Nothing like a challange to keep one alert!

  18. PaulT wrote the following post at 24/01/2013 10:05:

    Victor have they calculated what you owe on the latest cost per kwh or should they have apportioned it over the previous costs - what I am saying is:

    total kwh x cost per kwh as at 2013


    a kwh x cost per kwh as at 2010

    b kwh x cost per kwh as at 2011

    c kwh x cost per kwh as at 2012

    where a + b + c = total kwh

    The latter would be the cheaper


    I am checking into this. You are absolutely on point. Thanks.

  19. Clair wrote the following post at 24/01/2013 10:54:

    victor wrote:

    Clair wrote the following post at 23/01/2013 22:14: victor wrote: ... And I have asked Claire if, given that EDF did stop the prelevement, we still should write the letter to the bank. Emphatically yes. You have authorised them to help themselves to your money. I would advise you to snap your wallet shut ASAP. Clair, OK Claire. I will draft the letter tomorrow. May I email you my draft for you to look over? Victor

    Yes, no problem.

    Here's a sample letter you can adapt to suit:

    Prénom Nom (victor)


    Code Postal Ville



    Code Postal Ville

    (name of town where you live), le (date of letter)

    Ref client : (your bank acc number)

    OBJET : Résiliation d'un prélèvement automatique

    Madame, Monsieur,

    Un prélèvement automatique d'un montant de XX euros est effectué chaque mois sur mon compte au credit de EDF, sous la référence (edf payment ref n°).

    Par la présente lettre je vous informe que conformémént aux articles 2003 et 2004 du code civil, je ne souhaite plus autoriser ce prélevement automatique à partir du (date of letter+1day),

    Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.


    NOM PRENOM (victor)

    Give them a 3-4 days, then you can pop in to check that this has been acted on.

    Then you can contact EDF (phone or letter) to inform them that the DD has been cancelled and that you wish to be invoiced every 2 months.

    Don't forget to register for the Relevé Confiance service so you can give them your meter reading and there'll be no more nasty surprises.


    Thank you! I will do the letter tomorrow and send you my draft by email.

  20. PaulT wrote the following post at 24/01/2013 10:05:

    Victor have they calculated what you owe on the latest cost per kwh or should they have apportioned it over the previous costs - what I am saying is:

    total kwh x cost per kwh as at 2013


    a kwh x cost per kwh as at 2010

    b kwh x cost per kwh as at 2011

    c kwh x cost per kwh as at 2012

    where a + b + c = total kwh

    The latter would be the cheaper


    Excellent points. Thank you. I will definitely check into this.

  21. Clair wrote the following post at 23/01/2013 22:14:

    victor wrote:

    ... And I have asked Claire if, given that EDF did stop the prelevement, we still should write the letter to the bank.

    Emphatically yes.

    You have authorised them to help themselves to your money. I would advise you to snap your wallet shut ASAP.


    OK Claire. I will draft the letter tomorrow. May I email you my draft for you to look over?

  22. idun,

    YES! And it is actually 6,482,36 euros. A very costly lesson!

  23. The technician came today and carefully inspected our meter and the surrounding area to see if someone had hooked into our meter. He also checked our electric box in the house. He was here about an hour.

    We live at the end of a private road and share the road with two other houses. We also have two standard Poodles who alert us whenever anyone comes anywhere close to our property.

    His conclusion was that there was no problem with the meter and that our electricity box inside our house was in proper order. He also felt that someone at EDF did a horrible job by not reading our meter for almost one and a half years and that even one bill that said it was from an actual reading was totally inaccurate.

    Well, I do believe that we owe what the last bill stated, and it will be paid. This "exercise" has been a nasty learning experience. However, in the end, it is our fault. In an abundance of caution, I am trying to reach EDF to get a letter saying that the Prevelement has been cancelled as advised by Norman and others. And I have asked Claire if, given that EDF did stop the prelevement, we still should write the letter to the bank.

    Our deepest graditude goes out to everyone who responded to our plight. You are are wonderful. A great community!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Merci mille fois a tous, Victor
  24. Gardian wrote the following post at 20/01/2013 22:56:

    Just getting back to the numbers, there's something very odd been going on here. (Yes, I know, a statement of the obvious!!)

    Taking your consumption from May '07 - Dec '12, its around 81k kwh, say 1200 / mth, giving 14,500 p.a. average. That sounds about right for your property as you describe it.

    However, the readings have been all over the shop, ranging from a low average of 120 kwh / mth, to a high of 2,450 kwh / mth. Even allowing for seasonal peaks & troughs, that's crazy!!

    Two things - is your meter a digital one or an old-fashioned 'clockwork' job? If its the latter, that might explain the daft readings - ants get in to them and can stop them altogether. If that can happen, who knows what else might occur?

    Second thing is that you should be able to access all your past bills by accessing 'Mon Espace' on the EDF website. I can't remember how you do it, but its not difficult. You can then view all your past invoices and therefore meter readings.


    We have a digital meter, We have signed up for the "mon espace" and the woman on the English speaking EDF site ( has canceled the prelevent to take effect after this bill. Also have a technician coming out tomorrow.

    The woman also had a problem with our readings just as you did. Will see what happens.


  25. Clair wrote the following post at 20/01/2013 19:18:

    To cancel your prélèvement, you must contact your bank, preferably in writing (registered post + proof of delivery) to tell them you wish to cancel the monthly prélèvement made by EDF.

    Make sure you give them the correct payment details (these should show on your statements and on your EDF paperwork) and make sure you time your letter according to the current payment schedule.

    In your letter, write that the request is "selon les articles 2003 et 2004 du code civil, qui dit qu’un mandat est révocable à tout moment." Send me a PM if you need help with this.

    The bank will not charge for a cancellation, but do not use the words stop or opposition, as these may give a green light to the bank to charge for stopping (as opposed to cancelling) the debit.

    Why a registered letter preferably to face-to-face?

    Because when EDF next tries to take money from your account, the bank may let it go through, and unless you asked someone at the bank to stamp and sign a copy of your request, you won't have proof that you asked them to stop paying, and you'll be out of pocket.

    Then call EDF on 09 69 32 15 15 (Mon to Sat 8h00 tp 21h00) and tell them you want to change your method of payment to cheque. They will probably come up with various reasons why you shouldn't, but stick to your guns as it's your right to do so.

    Then you can register online with EDF, sign up with the Relevé Confiance and pay your bills online.

    As far as payments are concerned, I pay my bills on their website with my bank card.

    And it's 6 times a year (an invoice every 2 months.)


    We have a technician coming out from EDF tomorrow the 23rd. I also have spoken to the EDF help site which is in English. Telephone number It took two days to get through. The woman I spoke with told me there are only a few employees for English speakers which is why the line is always busy. Anyway she set me up to get on the internet site which unfortunately she also said is having technical problems at this time. She was terrific however! She said that all future prelevement are stopped and did not see why I should even write the bank.

    What do you think? Shoud I still write a letter to the bank?

    She also said that she set it up so we would receive an email about when to read the meter and send the reading on our internet site with EDF.

    She said that then we would receive a bill with a tip which we sign and send back to EDF and that twice a year our meter would be read.

    Does what I have written sound correct to you?

    Claire thank you so much!

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