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Posts posted by mmaddock

  1. I have a young cat (female - been sorted!) about 18 months old that needs a new home.  She's well looked after, always flee'd, wormed etc.  She's a black/brown tabby, very petite.  Friendly, likes attention and very good with kids, not at all spiteful (there have been two young ones dragging her around since she was a kitten, so very well used to that!)

    Her brother was recently killed by a couple of rather nasty dogs next door and she's been obviously quite lonely since.  I don't want to get her a replacement companion because of a personal situation, which is also part of the reason I'm looking to re-home her.

    If anyone could help, or know someone that can, please let me know.

    I'm in Civray (86), half way between Poitiers and Angouleme.

    Many thanks,


  2. Long story, I'll try and simplify as much as possible!

    I started a Micro Enterprise (BIC) as a Travailleur Indépendent, selling goods, in March 2007.

    I received the Appel de Cotisation from URSSAF and RSI, all well and good, I pay them no problem for 2007 until...

    ...December.  At which point I received 2 demands from RSI.  Both exactly the same letter, but with different amounts.  On further investigation, I notice that the No. Sécurité Sociale is different on each letter.  My French is ok, but I ask a friend who speaks fluent French to phone them and ask what is going on to be sure to understand the situation.  They tell her that the old SS No I had was a temporary one because it has '999' in the number near the end (although a lady told me today that is because I am an étranger)   RSI said that the new SS No. (with 000 rather than 999) was the correct Appel.  Anyway, at their request we write to them and I get two letters back, one with the old SS no stating that I own nothing on that account, and the new SS No with a corrected amount (another story) - which I've been paying from Jan by Prevelement.  That's been fine and I've been happily paying that by prevelement until just last week when...

    ...I receive a letter from URSSAF demending an overdue payment for Alloc Famil, CSG/CRDS from February (on the old SS No.) - which according to the letter from RSI, I'm paying to them rather than URSSAF.  Coincidentally or not, on the same day, RSI also sent me a new Appel de Cotisation 2008 for my old SS No requesting 180 euros quarterly (1st payment due in Feb 2008 - letter dated 12 Avril!)

    Both the Appel de Cotisations 2008 from RSI state that they are for "maladie-maternité, indemnités, retrait, invalidité-déces, allocations familiales, CSG/CRDS" and the URSSAF Appel states that is it for "d'Allocations Familiales, de CSG et de CRDS"

    Today I went to the URSSAF offices in Poitiers (who also seemed to deal with my RSI enquiry!) and told me that I had to pay all 3 cotisations, and it is normal to have (at least) 2 different social security numbers - in fact, she told me I had 3 against my name!!   And she stated that URSSAF was for CSG/CRDS (despite the letter from RSI stating I'm paying them for this) and that the two Appel's from RSI are for different things - one is for "retraite" only (if I recall correctly) and the other is for "maladie etc. etc." but not CSG/CRDS, even though it says so in the Appel!  When I pointed out that both Appel's stated they were for the same things (as quoted above), she told me it was a computer problem with the letter and it should not say that - this just sounds plain wrong to me, and sounds like an excuse not to look into it further.

    What I simply don't understand is why after speaking to RSI in January, they sent me an Appel stating that I owed nothing on the old SS No. for the year 2008 (it states quarterly payment, but the amount of 0 for each one), but now 4 months later they are asking me for back-dated payment for this SS No.!

    This all seems very odd to me!  I know it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the French system is this bizzare, but perhaps someone else in a similar position can tell me if they are paying 3 different sets of cotisations - 2 to RSI and 1 to URSSAF.  One RSI payment is monthly, one is quarterly and the URSSAF one is quarterly too.  Further, does anyone else have 2 (or more!) different social security numbers?! 

    I'm trying to convince myself that I don't have to pay anything on the 'old' SS No. (reasons for not least of which because it nearly doubles my tax bill!!)

    Apologies for the length of this - I tried to keep it as brief as possible to get all the facts in!

    Any help / hints much appreciated.


  3. Hell Joynnyboy - where did you find that bloke?!!  Sounds like a bargain to me!

    A couple of years ago when we were not here perm, the garden at our holiday home had gone crazy - neighbours complaining, mayor complaining because neighbours complaining, but I never had time to do it as we were only over for a few days at a time, so I asked for a quote from a local guy.  The garden was no more than 100m2 and he quoted 1500euros to bring it down to ground level!  I was waiting for him to convert the figures he was writing down into euros from Francs!  You can guess that I never actually asked him to come back.  In the end I bit the bullet and spend two days getting cut to shreds and did it myself.


  4. [quote]Great stuff gravel, dont knock it.[/quote]

    [:)] I think I just get put off with it getting stuck in tyres, dragged

    around the garden & house on shoes, children playing in it, cats

    'using' it. etc.  When I was in the UK I used to get complaints from

    the neighbours because I had 'big' gravel, and some little s**ts used

    to pick it up off the drive to chuck it at the neighbours houses.


    I've experimented and got the right sized pieces from the quarry, so

    I'm happy enough, but I need a lot more than our trailer can handle,

    and I don't fancy 100 trips there and back, not to mention that I don't

    think the tyres would handle it!  So, I want to ask them to deliver for

    me, but no idea how to figure out how many tonnes I need!


  5. I'm just turning part of our garden into a driveway at the moment.  Much as I hate the stuff, gravel seems the quickest and cheapest option for the moment, but how do I figure out how much I need to buy?  Had a search around the web but can't find anything.  The area is around 100-120m2 (bit of an odd shape!)

    I'm going to go straight down to the quarry rather than buy it through a merchant, so I'd rather know how much I need before going down there.

    If anyone can make any suggestions I'd be grateful.



  6. I've just done the same (connected up a DVD/HDD recorder)

    I wired the Sky box into the DVD recorder using a scart cable and then the DVD recorder into the TV using HDMI (but you could easily use scart)...

    ...now to get the Sky box to work, you have to select the correct input (from Scart of the Sky box) on the DVD recorder first, and then the correct input (from the DVD recorder) on the TV.  The problem I found was that my DVD recorder does not work as a pass-through device, so I had to have the DVD recorder turned on before the Sky picture came up - if the DVD is turned off I get nothing.  So, now I've used both scart sockets on the back of the Sky box, one lead goes to the DVD recorder and the other to the TV directly, and I just select the apropriate input on the TV accordingly.

    If you stick a pre-recorded DVD in and you get a picture on the TV, then my best bet would be that you haven't selected the correct input on the DVD recorder to allow the Sky input through.  The setup of the DVD recorders (at least mine) is pretty complicated, lots of options and settings in the menus, so might be worth going step by step through the manual to make sure it is set up properly.

    I can't see why the Sky box would be incompatible, as far as the DVD recorder is concerned, it is just receiving a standard signal - it doesn't know what type of device it is.  Tho I'm pretty sure most all DVD recorders will accept an RGB signal via scart, you may want to check that setting on your Sky box (Services - 4 - 1 - Video Output - either RGB or PAL)


  7. Pickup a copy of Aladdin/Chinambule or one of the other listings mags - they tend to list around one month in advance.  My favourite is the A5 sized 'Le Chineur'.

    You will generally be allowed onto a brocante fair by the organisers, but if the gendarmes come around you'll get stuck when they ask you to produce your SIRET No. and you also need a certificate from the prefecture stating that you are allowed to sell 'non-sedentary' - i.e. on the street.  These things are not like car-boots in the UK where anyone and everyone can openly sell pirate DVD's etc. week-in week-out - the Gendarmes DO come around, and do check.

    As pointed out before, go for a vide-grenier instead as private individuals (particuliers) are allowed to sell there - although with legal restrictions on frequency, and if the gendarmes see you selling at V-G's too often they will kick you off!

    Personally I'd wait for the summer fairs as they do tend to be a lot busier.


  8. Does anyone know if France is currently broadcasting (or planning to release) a free to air HD TV service via TNT?

    I have to say that some of the images on the TNT arte channel are bloody superb already, but still, I'd like to try HD without having to spend a fortune buying a HD DVD/Bluray player!

    Also, are they planning on shutting down analogue TV like in the UK so they can make a fortune selling off the free'd-up spectrum?



  9. Tele2 have finally annoyed me to the point of leaving (we have both telephone & Internet with them) current problem being that I can no longer call my parents on their home phone number - tho it works to every other number in the UK - Tele2 blame FT, FT blame Tele2 - so getting nowhere...and at the point of telling them to get lost.  Their Internet service is also up and down like a yoyo, plus we get a 2Mbps download but only a pitiful 128k upload (Tele2 inisiting that is the best we can get without being degroupé) whereas FT will offer 18Mbps / 800kbps.  But I'd rather not jump out of the Frying Pan! 

    When we were on FT, I've found them really helpful both in terms of setting up the line, sorting out problems and cancelling the line in our old house and were very good when I've contacted them about setting up my parents phone and sorting out problems there - their engineer turned up next day and spent all morning putting in a new cable right down the street!  but I don't have any experience of their Internet service.

    So.....does anyone know if their Internet service is relaible, as I do need a relaible service.

    Many thanks,


  10. Just knocked the plaster off one wall and dug out a fair amount of the muddy mess they bind it all together with!   I want to point it so that it achieves that almost flat, but the stone still shows through in places look.

    I'm just stuck with how to mix the mortar to make it that lovely browny/golden colour that they seem to get here...what materials do I use to get the colour?



  11. [quote user="retread"]

    To save any more problems with your 90deg bend, have you considered replacing it with a tee closing the redundant (lower) end with a tampon and then you can remove the tampon for cleaning and flue sweeping? You might have a problem with tar residue collecting in the bottom, tampons are available with a small tube to allow drain off into a small tin or WHY.


    Yeah, I did look at those T-pieces the other day, but our flu is 97mm and the smallest they had in the local place was 111mm.  What I'll probably do in the longer term is get an adapter

    to take it from 97 mm to 125mm straight out the back of the stove and then put in one of those T-pieces in to give better flow.  The current bend is a folded one, and it obviously gives lots of ridges for tar etc. to get stuck.



    Enjoying a toasty warm lounge again! (as are the cats!)

  12. Regardless of the on-going debate, many thanks to those who replied with help.

    The 90deg bend is right behind the stove because it exits to the rear, so there is no choice.  At the moment it is running with a short extension from the stove (about 30cm) and then the 90deg bend - there is more than enough draw to pull the smoke up after that (it almost pulls it up straight out of the back of the stove, but I have it pushed out into the room a bit so less of the heat goes up the chimney!) I'm not sure about the usefulness of adding more pieces to the flu, because adding more flu only allows the junk to build up in it and then fall back into the 90deg bend, whereas this way it disperses into the chimney just like it would with an open fire.

    There is a futher complication in that I checked out the stove and the flu doesn't actually go straight out the back, internally the flu vent exits in a different place to where it comes out at the back (hard to explain), but that hasn't helped because it has obviously blocked up internally within the stove - which explains why I couldn't get it going properly even with the flu off.

    Anyway, I have today burnt one of those Buche Ramonage in it, and now it is going like it always did - so many thanks to those who suggested that.  I'll stick one of those on a month during burning season and hope it keeps it clear.

    On the subject of chimneys, I do recall our fair share of chimney fires from when I was young - what fun to see flames coming out of the top of the chimney pot! (well, it is as a kid!)  Never ever did any harm to the house.  I believe the only time you have a real danger of your house burning dow is when someone put the beams into the chimney brest.


  13. The wood is very well seasoned - in fact almost too much so - it burns like mad on full blast (when the stove is working well).  I was told it had been sat for around 10 years, which I'm sure isn't ideal - but I was desperate, and it was very cheap from a friend of an aunt of a friends mother - or something like that - you know, the typical French thing!  The stuff I bought for last winter from the local supplier (at some stupid price of 54€/s) hadn't been seasoned, so it is waiting until next year.

    This particular stove / flu has only been in for a few months, so the crud has built up in a matter of months - I wouldn't have thought I should need to clean it that often, especially as it has only been running on a daily basis for the past month or so.

    I don't think the 'corrugated' bend helps much as it gives lots of sticking points on which bits can stick.  What I may do is try and get an adapter to enlarge the diameter of the flu to allow better flow - it is one of the smallest ones at 97mm.


  14. Just been investigating why our wood burning stove doesn't seem to be operating as it was, minus 6C outside is taking its toll and we need the stove back to roasting hot again!

    I bought an extension to the flu to extend it further up the chimney because I thought maybe it wasn't drawing properly, but on removing the 90deg bend in the flu before it goes up the chimney, the problem becomes immediately obvious - it was almost entirely blocked with ash and a horrid gooey tar.

    I've cleaned it out as best as possible, and it is working again - but obviously it is going to re-occur.  Does anyone know if there is any sort of product that I can use on the flu - maybe some sort of internal coating that would stop this stuff sticking to the flu?  Or is there something you can burn in the stove to clean the flu out now and again?



  15. [quote user="ErnieY"]

    You'd be utterly barking to use Paypal.

    I've just checked and apart from 2.5% fee the current exchange rate is a pathetic 1.39 - HiFx today are offering around 1.43


    (ErnieY, this is not personally directed specifically at your comments, but a reply to a few others too)

    So you transfer maybe £100 a few times in a month to pay bills (which I'm sure the big money transfer companies would absolutely love to handle for you - NOT!) and if you are not living in France how are you supposed to get to the branch - fly over everytime you need to pay in a bit of cash to pay the phone bill?

    £100 @ 1.39 = 139 euros, 1.43 = 143 euros - Wow, I'm really going to miss those extra 4 euros!!  (Not to mention that you would not get 1.43 for a £100 transfer)

    Now let's compare.  With Paypal within less than 30s I can transfer from bank to bank sat at my PC, and it is often in my bank account in France next day, two days at the latest.  The last time I withdrew cash and paid it into my local branch of the bank I use it took 4 days to get into my bank account (no joke).  Now, I can get it into my original branch of the bank I opened the account with next day, but it is a 60 mile 1 1/2  hour round-trip (plus waiting time!!) fuel, and thoroughly inconvenient.   Yeah, I'm utterly barking to use Paypal!!

    As I said before, I'm not suggeting you seriously use it for large amounts, and I very much doubt anyone ever was - of course in that case the best way is using the money transfer co's, but if you're not in France, or local to your original branch (or often even if you are sometimes) Paypal is hard to beat.  Damn sight easier to open a Paypal account than set up a whole new bank account in the UK with N/wide just to get free withdrawals occasionally!


  16. They work well, but just remember that depending on where you are siting it, you may need a non-return valve on the waste pipe to ensure the waste is pumped in the right direction, and not into the shower/sink etc. with rather unpleasant results!


  17. [quote user="J.R."]

    To explain the use of "hypothetical" re paypal transfers it is because loads of people suggest it but I am still waiting to find someone that does it.


    Perhaps it is because people don't want to admit to doing it in case PP jumps on them....although there is nothing illegal in moving your own money (providing it is legally obtained!) from one country to another....

    ...and without admitting anything, it is perfectly feasible. I wouldn't suggest it as a good way to transfer large amounts, but a great way to move regular small amounts to pay bills.  However, you have to set it up right on both sides, you have to have two PP accounts, and you have to know what you are doing otherwise you get charged [avoidable] merchant fees.

    Their rate yesterday was 1.40something, with no additional fees.


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