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Everything posted by mmaddock

  1. [quote user="cooperlola"]It has to be surely, although the plates will still have regional identification on the right of the plate (there's a thread about it round here somewhere!)  Although this will only tell you the origin of the car, since we won't have to swap depts. on s/h purchases any more.  Got to be a lot better, it's a right pain at present![/quote] But presumably when you buy a car you're still going to have to go through the process of informing your insurer, going to the Prefecture with a pile of paperwork to get the CG and pay your fee - does anyone think it will be reduced because they aren't issuing a new number?!  The only thing that is going to change is that you're not going to have to put new plates on your car (25€ max?), so unless you're changing your car every month that's not really an issue! Personally I rather like having a local plate! Matt
  2. We had the same problem with our youngest.  All the supermarkets stock soya (Fr: soja) milk, but it may not necessarily be where the rest of the milk is!  We often found it in the health  food sections.  It is sold in those rectangular cartons rather than bottles.  Usually 1 - 1.20€ / ltr.  Seems popular because our local supermarket was often sold out. As an aside, we found the supermarkets here stocked a greater variety of soya products (yoghurts etc.) than in the UK. Matt
  3. I do wonder why people complicate things like this!  If moving to France and in the position to buy new, why not just buy a new car from a French dealer and save all the hassle!  Buying LHD in the UK, registering it in the UK, sorting out tax issues and importing into France stikes me as seemingly much harder than just ordering a car (even with a limited French vocab.) from a French dealer!  If you can manage to buy a house in France, you can buy a car here! Matt
  4. [quote user="gottogetoutoffhere"]Was also looking at left hand drive cars in the uk to import to france but the paperwork and timescale would probably mean this is not worthwhile except for certain models [/quote] I reckon a lot of LHD cars are now more expensive in the UK than in France!  I guess expats buying them in the UK because they feel it is easier willing to pay a premium.  I'm sure that prices of 2nd hand French cars have lowered quite a bit in the past year or two, they are almost becoming affordable from what I've seen!!  You certainly see a lot more new/newer cars on the road around here than I ever recall, suggesting that the French are starting to buy more new cars than they used to. Matt
  5. It does sound like a good idea, however I tend to agree with Nick - I tend to buy new parts over the Internet in the UK and have them deivered within a couple of days - most of the suppliers who deal [for me in LR parts] do up to 30kg European delivery for just £5.  There would be no real advantage in me buying 2nd hand locally in France.  Is there such a big market for 2nd hand car part from ex-pat community to keep you going? There is a very good 2nd hand car parts/scrappie near us (over the counter jobbie with a huge stock of parts) but they don't tend to do much LR stuff for obvious reasons! anyway, my point being that they do exist, meaning you're not likely to get trade from the locals, only from ex-pats and then only when their car breaks down and again only when they decide to use a 2nd hand part rather than buy new.  When you factor in that you're going to pay [a lot of] tax here regardless of whether you earn anything or not, I think you need to make certin it is going to pay before doing anything. Matt
  6. Thanks for the tips & advice - all useful stuff to know for a first timer!  One of the reasons we're taking it away for just a night is to ease ourselves into it gently and learn what we need to know, need to buy! We'll mostly be using it for weekend/short breaks for the moment ('tho self-empolyed, I still have to work unfortunately [:(]). Visiting family in the UK should be a bit more relaxing in it though as we can make easy over night stops on the way up / down.  Arriving at hotels with 2 tired & screaming children at 11pm hasn't been a lot of fun in the past! Cheers, Matt
  7. [quote user="jamesg"] Make sure you don't take fresh water from a tap used for toilet cleaning! [/quote] I'll have to make sure I don't fall for that one!!   Picking it up on Friday, first trip this weekend!  Planning on a short tour around La Rochelle & Ile D'Oléron area on the advice of our French caravanning neighbour! Cheers, Matt
  8. Chocccie, I have to agree with a previous poster - we had been looking for something around that price for a while and gave up as all we could find were 1980's petrol ones, or wrecked diesels.  We had given up and decided to buy a cheap caravan instead, but on visiting a local camping car/caravan dealer (looking for an old caravan!) we fell for a fairly new camping car, went totally nuts and bought it! Having looked around, I reckon they are generally about the same or cheaper here in France than the UK (unlike cars!) and you don't have to go through the whole approval process - as we understood it, to get it French reg it was going to be very difficult/impossible anyway. As someone else has pointed out, check Le Bon Coin - there is usually quite a good selection on there to give you an idea, but be aware that we bought ours from a dealer for less than a lot of people are asking for the same/similar ones on there as private sales!  Plus we get 12 months warranty and I got quite a few freebies thrown in!  If you check eBay France, the majority of them never meet their reserve. On the plus side, insurance is surprisingly cheap! Actually, just had a thought - PM me your e-mail address - one of my neighbours popped round this morning and during the converstaion he said he knew of someone locally selling a camping car for a bargain - if you let me know your details I'll try and find out more and pass it along - certainly within your budget, but I don't know anything about it! Matt
  9. I don't know why people think that 'updating' their car from the manufactured spec by adding different/extra parts etc. does not constitute a modification. Alloys wheels = more desirable to thieves = more risk to the underwriter. (in the same vein, some insurers even consider badges as a vehicle modification because it increases the risk of theft - e.g. putting an M3/M5 badge on your BMW when it isn't) As for the sports exhaust - not to mention the performance improvements (albeit maybe not that significant on a 1.2 clio!) - if as perhaps has happened in your case the rear of the exhaust is damaged, then because it is non-standard it may well be that the insurer has to pay more to replace a larger portion of (or the entire) exhaust - why should they pay the extra when you didn't inform them that it was not a standard system - which is what their insurance quotation is based on? Declaring modifications is not all about the increased risk of having an accident because your vehicle is 'sportier'. Matt
  10. Thanks James. When you fill up with water is it just a tap, a hose? i.e. do I need to buy a container, hoses / adapters or such like to fill the tank in the van?  Sorry for such a basic question, but I don't want to turn up and find that we can't fill up because I'm missing something really basic! Cheers, Matt
  11. http://www.automobileclub.org/site/actualites/index_actujur.php?code=76&menu=
  12. Thanks for the replies.  I asked our local insurance agent and she said if it was less than 750Kg PTAC then it could be covered 3rd party on the car insurance, if not it needed its own. Regardless, we went completely nuts and fell for a very nice "Camping Car" and put a deposit down on that yesterday!  Now my next question!...I have seen those free 'camping sites' where all the French park their C/Cars up and where you can get clean water from, but as I recall you needed a token to get access to it - does anyone know where you get the tokens from? Cheers, Matt
  13. Not sure exactly where you are, but we bought ours in Ruffec (16) from a guy on the weekly market, he said he was there twice a month, but I can't remember the exact dates - I think it was 2nd and 4th week of the months. Matt P.S. Ask him for the laying chickens!
  14. Thanks, I'll bear that in mind. Cheers, Matt
  15. Looking to buy a cheapie caravan for the odd weekend away.  I know it has to have its own carte gris, but are there any other requirements for a caravan in France?  Is insurance compulsory? Intending to buy a French one because I don't want to go through the hassle of registering it here - the car is French reg so the 'van must be too.  Not withstanding that I want to use it perhaps this weekend or next week!  (anyone got anything for sale? 4/5 birth?!) Any helps and hints appreciated, Cheers, Matt
  16. Without wanting to cross post, I'll refer you to my comments on LD on this thread..here I would use LD again, but only if they were significantly cheaper than BF and only if I upgraded to Club/Sleeper class on each journey because otherwise there is nowhere quiet to sit and rest.  As for the food - I've bought myself a small cool bag just in case I ever have to use LD again! Matt
  17. Just to add to this thread a bit late...I used LD Lines last week after defecting from BF for only the second time in 4 years (despite their higher prices, the BF trip works out better on the whole for me)  I used the Eurotunnel last time - superb and at 60 euros return I thought I couldn't go wrong - but the 8 hour drive up to Calais and an extra 1.5 hours on the otherside just works out at too much driving, especially as you can't avoid London! and if you start adding hotels it gets expensive again. My LD Lines outbound (Fr-UK) crossing was hideous - nowhere private to go, kids everywhere you looked and not a space in sight to sit in peace.  The food was so rediculously expensive that I only got a main course and a water (the main course being pretty awful IMHO).  I found a lot (not all) of the crew very off-hand, almost to the point of being rude on occasion.  The return journey was better as I was booked into Club class (and then upgraded to Sleeper) - different world, finally some private space - tho note you do have to pay extra for this! After paying again to upgrade to Sleeper I was horrified to find that you have to pay (at least a deposit - I didn't ask further) for a blanket to sleep under!  In short I would equate LD with Ryanair/Easyjet - cheap crossings* but you pay through the nose for everything else.  Brittany may be a bit more costly on the crossing, but then you get - to continue the anaolgy - 'BA' service, private seating without having to pay, good [reasonably] cheap food, and as many free blankets as you can carry! Plus the huge advantage of three crossings a day - to me a big bonus when I only spend 1 or 2 days max in the UK)  I guess it all depends on what you are after.  EDIT: forgot to mention, the unloading on LD was appauling, took absolutely ages and there was no-one to guide you out if you were near the rear, resulting on one person crashing their horse box straight into the upper level - sheer incompetence on the part of the crew who should a, never have put the vehicle in that place to start with and b, been there to help guide them out. *I was all ready to book LD Lines this week again because of the cost difference, but on checking - LD Lines 280-odd euros, BF 290-odd euros.  Guess who I'm going with!  Tho what I can't understand is that on the BF 'Summer Fares' page it worked out more expensive?! Matt
  18. Good advice.  Depending on the tile, I have also taken to dipping them in water before laying so that the ceramic back of the tile soaks in some water and doesn't instantly dry out the adhesive by sucking the moisture out of it before it properly goes off. Matt
  19. I'm not sure about the tile types, but really as long as it is thick enough for floor tiles then just get whatever you like the look of! If the tiles are more than about 20cm x 20cm then you need to use a cement-based adhesive - not a ready mix or regular tile adhesive because it will never fully dry in the middle of the tile as those adhesives set through evaporation (which can't happen with big tiles), whereas the cement based one sets by chemical reaction. Matt
  20. No chickens at our local market I'm afraid and we go every week...I'll have to see if anyone else knows about another market with them. I'll invesitage the local Coperative. Cheers, Matt
  21. Not sure this should go in the 'pets' section, but I couldn't find an alternative section for farm animals!  Anyway, having just made an enclosure for the two chicks our neighbours are giving us, it suddenly seems a rather large area for just two of them! so I'm looking for maybe 2/3 'regular' chickens to add to the brood!  Does anyone have any available for sale, or know the best place to get hold of them around the Civray (86 - border 16 & 79) area.  Cheers, Matt
  22. I tend to agree.  When we finally got around to connecting our phone line we went into the local FT shop and asked them to connect it - as the property was in the middle of a small hamlet with no street address / number we had no idea how to explain to them which line it was, but they found it from our vague idea of the name of the last person to have it connected.  Despite not even having our address, the phone line was connected the next morning!  There was a problem with the line, but an engineer appeared the next day and sorted it.  I can only assume their 7 days is a 'just in case' quote.  Either way, I'm sure you can cope without a phone line for 7 days can't you?  We did for 2 years - paradise!! Matt
  23. [quote user="J.R."]Have you used a sous couche platre de platre? If not it will swallow loads of adhesive and destroy the plasterboard if you try to remove it. In fact the "special" glue you used probably just is watered down PVA, it is what I always use on commercial vynl wallcoverings unless they are being placed on a sealed gloss painted surface where they would take forever to dry in which case the "special" adhesive contains a fungicide to prevent mould during the drying period. In my experience the only times the special adhesives attain the advertised coverage is over just such a substrate (under laboratory conditions) where they should not actually be used. [/quote] No, I didn't use a sous-couche.  To be honest it is only a way of rejuvanating the tired ceiling so I don't care about it ever coming off neatly - in reality I should be pulling the whole lot down, but I have a lot more essential things to do with my time right now than the nightmare job of pulling down an old slatted wood/plaster ceiling!!  The immobilier who sold us the house came round to see the place and he suggested this stuff rather than a new ceiling.  The tub said 12.5m2 coverage, I managed 5!  Glad I bought the small tub as a tester and I didn't waste my money on the huge 75m2 tub.  Will give PVA a go tomorrow evening - I've got bucket loads of that!  What sort of concentration would you suggest? [quote user="J.R."] Try your PVA on the next strip but with much more water than you think the first time, you can always wait for it to dry or refresh prematurely dry areas with a plant sprayer like I do. [/quote] LOL - I thought I was the only one who ran around with a plant sprayer full of PVA!!
  24. Has anyone used this stuff before?  It's like rolls of fibreglass that you put on the ceiling/walls.  I laid my first strip on the ceiling, 5m long, and had to apply the special 'glue' 3 times before the damn stuff finally stuck!!  2nd and 3rd times I mixed it with 20% water to stop it drying out almost instantly!  At 10 euros a pot (and I used an entire pot for a 5m strip, and have another 20m to lay!) I'm not that impressed!  I reckon I could have used slightly watered down PVA with better effect, and unless anyone can advise me otherwise I think that is what I will try on the next strip. Any advice much appreciated! Cheers, Matt
  25. [quote user="Choochoo"]Can anyone tell me why French paint tins are always half empty when you open them up. Must cost them a fortune in extra transport costs. First time I bought paint in France I took it straight back complaining it had already been opened and half used !![/quote] I have noticed that too!  I heard that it was because it was expected that you would thin the paint yourself after purchase, but no idea if that is true or not. As for other comments regarding flaking paint after a short period, the problem there is almost certainly poor preparation.  To get a good lasting finish you must always prepare the surface by sanding (unless it is new wood) and then use a good undercoat.  My preference is to prepare, undercoat, one thin coat of the final colour and then a slightly thicker coat to ensure an even finish.  I am currently working with a paint company trialling a new high performance paint product (comprising traditional 17/18th century French colours BTW) it is expensive stuff, retail will be around 30 pounds per litre, but unless the surface is prepared properly even that doesn't adhere significantly better than cheapo junk from a DIY place. Matt
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