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Everything posted by mint

  1. all this is of enormous interest to me as we are new homeowners in france and we are looking at different ways of heating our sitting-room which is quite a big space. as there is a "feature" chimney place in situ , we are thinking of installing a wood-burning stove.  i will heed all the advice so far provided. i do have a further question.  apart from carbon monoxide, do these stoves produce any carcinogenic substances?  forgive my ignorance but, when i think of cigarette smoke and how toxic that is, i can't help wondering if the smoke from these stoves bear any resemblance to cigarette smoke? 
  2. dave, thanks for the info, and i love the name "plumb" for someone who knows so much about things to do with tap water.  here in wales, you'd probably be called "dai tap" or some such.  
  3. can you please clarify a couple of things re your message. 1) what is a waterside unit 2) where do you get one 3) approximately how much does it cost to buy and run 4) can you fit it yourself, that is, without involving an "artisan" (not having much joy with our artisans at present) sorry that's 4 questions so double a "couple"! thanks for helping
  4. must tell you a story about when we were househunting and ended up in a rather posh hotel in saumur.  in those days, my knowledge of french was minimal but i knew enough to ask for a room with bath or shower for 2 people for one night the courtly and rather elderly gentleman (i presume the owner) heard my request through with great patience and then answered in perfect english that, yes, of course they could accommodate us i remonstrated with him, asking him why he had let me struggle on in french when he could have ended my embarrassment earlier.  his answer was, and i quote, "madame, you need to practise" not sure how to take that, meant as reproach or helpful advice?  je ne sais pas! as english is my fifth language and as that incident was over a year ago, i am pleased to say that, faced with the same circumstances, i will now be able to deal with it with aplomb 
  5. thanks chris and cassis.  i love the sound of pomegranates.  i grew up in malaysia and i love the fruit in salads and, of course, to eat on their own cassis, what are mirabelles? so, i have decided on apricots for sure and pomegranates.  we already have a fig tree so may well have a couple more pears, apples and cherries sound fantastic.  yipee!  it will be SUCH fun  
  6. chris were you an advertising bod or what.  barefoot on the floors sound definitely enticing. however, we now have the pleb stuff in place so we will just have to live with it. having said all that, as i am the person who is going to have to clean the floors, i don't regret my decision. one damp mop and bob's your uncle
  7. we are in the charente maritime and the water there is very hard.  having lived in wales for some 14 years, we are used to lovely soft welsh water i find the water in our french property very hard and playing havoc with my hair and skin.  consequently, we would like to install a water softener unit.  anyone has any ideas of cost or effectiveness? thanks all.  would be lovely not to have a kettle which needs de-furring every couple of days!
  8. calling all gardeners!  we have a large field which was once used for planting vines.  we are having the stumps etc grubbed out and my husband would like to plant fruit trees so that there will only be minimal work clearing the grounds between the rows of trees. we are in the charente maritime.  so, what would grow well and would it be cheaper or not to bring the fruit trees from blighty? all suggestions gratefully received.  cheers
  9. got to get my say in.  we do not have hardwood; goodness knows what it is.  it was stained a nasty orange colour and was completely vile.  my husband was against anything with polyurethane.  however, as he wasn't around when i got the job done, his opinion didn't figure much there is some stuff by i think called v3; it's in all the bricolage outlets.  i used a cheaper one on the bedroom floors and the most expensive in the sitting-room.  the french all seem to know what it is; it's something like vitrificateur the expensive stuff needed mixing up 1:1.  what you need to do is prep the surfaces very carefully.  rub down, remove fluff, hairs, resin, etc.  clean with white spirit and leave absolutely dust free.  hammer or counter sink all protuding nails, screws, etc apply the stuff with a brush or roller.  leave for at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hrs.  then rub down, clean with spirit, apply another coat etc until you get the finish you want. i did 3 coats in the bedrooms and 4 in the sitting-room.  the finish (i chose satin) is fantastic.  impervious to water, etc.  paint spots lift with ease and i have now lost all sniffiness about polyurethane or whatever life is too short to worry about polishing floors.  give me a damp mop and impeccable looks any time 
  10. already getting into french mode for our trip over later today, my husband went to a well-known supermarket and brought home some croissants for breakfast full of anticipation, i looked at the package and noted that it said "healthy living - 50% less fat"  eueuch!!! i bet the french do not go in for such namby-pambyishness oh well, should be having the full fat yummy gallic version tomorrow morning
  11. bilko in any event the tontine clause is not normally suitable for any property over 150 000 euros.  you could look at the "change of matrimonial regime" route which allows the remaining spouse to retain a life interest in the property and do as he/she wishes with it for the duration of their life.  or, you could explore carefully with a notaire the implications of making out a french will that gives you some leeway in what you wish to happen to your french estate  i think you will find quite a bit about change of matrimonial regime on the forum.  i posed a question about it recently and had some excellent advice from forum members
  12. us mongrels are lovely.  please don't say anything derogatory about us as we are inclined to be a little sensitive.  my own dog is pure pedigree working cocker.  as for me, i don't really have the certificate like she does!
  13. in the course of finding out as much as possible about all things french (we hope to be living there permanently), i found myself reading all the info on this topic as posted in this forum our position is this: my husband (oap) has glaucoma for which he is monitored 6-monthly in our local hospital.  when he needs new glasses, he goes to the optician in the normal way and pays for their services as normal when we are french resident, who would "look after" his glaucoma, do all the necessary tests and provide the prescription for the eyedrops he uses? i am getting very worried indeed after reading all the various comments.  if the cost of getting health care for his eyes is going to be prohibitive, it's going to have a major effect on our finances.  i don't fancy yet more belt-tightening! anyone in the same position and has experience of what happens in cases like my husband's? [8-)]  
  14. we did consider southern burgundy which we were told was lovely and very underrated.  but we found out that the winters were seriously cold.  i am still curious about burgundy, however, and would be looking to holiday there some time my husband always says that the trouble with france is that the last place you visit is always the nicest.  we looked in 3 or 4 other regions before buying in the charente maritime.  and that was more through good luck than good judgement, i'm afraid all best wishes with your hunt
  15. don't worry, cassis.  it will be LOVELY when he stops!
  16. mint

    Tax Fonciere

    su do you mean that it might be possible to have help with both your taxe fonciere AND taxe d'habitation?  i won't get too excited yet as i don't know how "low" income might be defined! it's all yet food for thought.  at this rate i am going to get mental indigestion very soon cheers
  17. mint

    Tax Fonciere

    i talked to a legal bod based in france recently about this.  now i stand to be corrected but i think she said the age is 70, that you have to be french resident and that your income is also taken into account. no doubt someone out there will have the definitive info.  new as i am to the forum, i am continually amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge you can tap into from forum members
  18. thanks, will.  this is the neatest, dinkiest little tool imaginable and i can't wait to try it out
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