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Posts posted by mmaddock

  1. [quote]Although social contributions in France are high, certainly for a

    salaried worked they would not bridge the gap down the €15000, so I am

    now baffled. This is frequently, I find, a problem with statistics.[/quote]

    Well, quite!  I did an MSc in stats a few years ago (just to stave off boredom!)  I think you typically find that with a correctly worded hypothesis you can show just about whatever you want to with the use of statistics!  I guess it all comes down to what is and isn't included in those two sets of statistics.  IMHO the stats on the originally posted website are probably a bit simplistic - i.e. total net household income declared for the commune divided by the number of households in the commune - that is obviously inclusive of pensioners, people living on benefits etc. etc. and not representative of wages per se.  Without in-depth information we'll never really know.

    Perhaps those people who poo-poo'd my stat of 29000 euros might find that I was not actually so far out after all taken as a comparison between what would normally be quoted as an average income in the UK, which is what I was trying to do [:)]


  2. Jon - are you a statistician by any chance?  (I'm not being funny! just the way you describe the stats, it seem like you know what you're on about!)

    For information, I got the (approx) 29k avg income stat from the FT website here... http://www.ft.com/cms/s/55fc8dc0-a118-11db-acff-0000779e2340.html.  Maybe I read it wrong?!

    "While average French households became richer over the last decade, as

    incomes rose 1.8 per cent between 1997 and 2003 to €28,410, the income

    of the average French farming household fell 1.8 per cent to €30,630."


  3. Often bigger things than that Cassis [:)]!

    I've sent a few small things through La Poste internationally, but I

    thought they were a bit pricey - I guess perhaps they don't quite have

    the developed courier industry that the UK has?

    Someone arranged for UPS to pick up a large parcel from us the other

    day.....first they never turned up, then someone calls me and say that

    the driver was too late to get to me, and could they pick it up in the

    morning (which I agreed to).. next day they never arrive so the person

    who arranged it in the UK telephones UPS who did't even have any record

    of them arranging it in the first place, so they re-arrange.  When the

    courier (just a white-van woman!) does turn up, I ask her for the

    paperwork (given the item was worth around 900 euros) and she hasn't

    got a clue - she was just going to take it away without giving me any

    sort of receipt.  After insisting, she phones the office and then

    spends the next 15 minutes trying to figure out how to fill out a

    collection manifest, insisting throughout that I didn't need to put the

    value of the item on the manifest (in the end I ignored here and put it

    on myself as I'd been told by the person who arranged it that it was a

    requirement to get full insurance cover).  All in all, not too far from

    my experiences with UK couriers! but then I'd only be paying a UK

    courier about a fiver for the privilege of wasting my time and not

    several hundred euros!  I'd just like to find a cheap [good] courier

    over here, but seems I may be out of luck!

    I'll queue up in La Poste sometime soon as ask them about their service for large international parcels and see what they say!



  4. That's a great site - we have over twice the national average for people over 75 (17,9% as opposed to 7,7% - is that a good thing?!) the locals were slightly more in favour of the european constitution than the national average, and best of all we have nearly 10% more women in our commune than men [:)] tho I expect most of them are in that over 75 age group! [:(]

    Anyway - Avg revenue per household here is 13.609€ - I assume that includes everyone - employed or not - pensioners, unemployed etc.  So that doesn't really represent the average "salary" as it is listed as "household income"- with only 30% of the population in employment here that figure does not represent individuals wages - given the way tax is declared here (i.e. for the "household") I would guess that an accurate average "salary" figure is more difficult to come by.


  5. Thanks Cassis. 

    Certainly a lot cheaper than DHL et al! 

    I wonder if La Poste have a size limit - can't seem to see anything obvious that says it does. 

    Chronopost seem to be too restrictive for me. As I understand it - length + 2 x height + 2 x width must be less than 300cm....  "Dimensions maximales des envois : la somme de la longueur + 2 hauteurs

    + 2 largeurs ne doit pas excéder 300 cm, la longueur ne devant pas

    excéder 150 cm" ...is that right??



  6. My apologies - the website I got that figure from was obviously talking b*ll*x!  Perhaps cherry picked somewhere like Paris.  Tho I do suspect that the communes most English people live in are far from representative of the majority of the population i.e. city dwellers.

    As I said, it all depends entirely on your personal circumstances / lifestyle, so as pointed out - hard to compare like for like.  The last tax fonciere bill was 268 euros!  I dread to think what council tax would be anywhere in England for our house, a lot more than that for sure!


  7. I'm trying to find a French courier (along the lines of the UK equivalent of DHL etc.) to send [large] parcels to the UK.  I can send a large parcel from the UK to France up to 25Kg for £23, but whenever I've asked for quotes from French courier companies to similar parcels to the UK I'm getting quotes of 800-1000 euros!!!  (that includes DHL France).

    Any help would be appreciated.  Does La Poste offer an International service for large, high value (>1000euros) items?



  8. Average income in France is around 29000 euros, so a little short of the UK.  Obviously in rural areas it is generally less than that.  Families (we are married with two young children) do benefit from the system more than singles.

    Depending on your lifestyle and health, if you take into account all forms of tax (council, fuel, road duty, alcohol! tax etc) [at least personally] I find the overall amount of tax paid is probably less, tho it is difficult to make exact comparisons because of all the indirect taxes which obviously rely on your personal lifestyle.  I do find we can get by on less here than in the UK.  A prime example is our UK council tax which was near 3000 euros, our housing taxes here (fonc, habit, rubbish) are less than 800 euros for a house at least 3 times the size of our UK place - not to mention actually having a garden!

    I think the thing that catches a lot of people out is that they believe they can come over here mortgage free and get by on a baguette and a bottle of red a day whilst pottering around doing the odd gardening job, but the tax systems here are not favourable to that sort of lifestyle.

    [quote]Yet another bureaucratic mess would be created. Hope they have the foresight to avoid this.[/quote]

    I doubt it!!! [:)]


  9. To be honest I don't see that taxes are higher in France than in the UK if you're earning a fairly 'average' income.  I think the main problem is that there is a lot of mis-information & myths out there (not helped by the sometimes confusing ways that the French calculate your tax liability)  Perhaps the biggest problem comes if you are earning a low wage where the social charges don't appear in-line with your earnings and can make running the business uneconomical.  Whereas in the UK you can easily run a small 'side-line' business and not have to pay huge amount in tax (which I agree, encourages enterprise leading to creating jobs etc. etc.) that system doesn't yet exist in France.  If you're working for a French company I don't think your overall tax burden on an average wage is any more than in the UK (tho the same can't be said for the company employing you!).


  10. I'm not necessarily suggesting this is your problem, but I had to update the firmware in my Netgear router to the latest version to get it to work at all in France.  Everything seemed perfectly fine, but it just refused to connect.  Very easy to do - check the Netgear website - downloads section, pick your router and follow the firmware upgrade instructions. Oh, make sure you do it over a wired connection rather than wireless to be on the safe side.


  11. Were the conditions that bad I would have agreed with you, but the road was not that far from dry, it was a long straight open, clear good visibility dual carriage way and as far as I was concerned I was quite within my rights to be driving at (or actually just under) the posted speed limit of 110.  If they thought I was going that fast and dangerous they would have pulled me over for certain.  I've passed the gendarme driving along [slowly] with their blue light going before - so it was just another one of those things at the time.  Unlike in the UK, they seem to put the blue lights on for anything, not just "emergency" situations.  My question was posted to reveal the answer that someone has already posted - that I actually probably wasn't within the limit! I thought the lower limited applied "a temps de pluie" as you see on the signs on the autoroutes.  I know for next time!  Tho I'm still confused as to why they didn't do the same thing to the French driver who passed them at exactly the same speed I did only 30s earlier!  To speculate that I drive unsafely is a little unfair I feel.  Having driven extensively through France and passed many many may roadside speed traps over the years (not to mention UK ones) and never been stopped would suggest that perhaps I am a sensible driver...and Dick, thanks for the comment on the photos [:)]


  12. Thanks for the replies.  I realise that you should be cautious when overtaking emergency vehicles when the blue lights are going, and I did hang back for a while to check nothing was going on - it was a clear, long straight piece of DC.  I wouldn't have overtaken, but I've followed French cars past the gendarme on "high alert" (i.e. lights flashing!) driving slowly on DC's before a few times - it wasn't like he was in a hurry to get anywhere!!  On reflection I wonder - given that maybe I should have been doing 100 - he was going to pull me (the passenger pulled on a yellow bib as I went past, so I think that may have been their intention), but when he saw it was a brit (yes, I'm still on English plates) he couldn't be bothered with the hassle, especially in the cold!??!

    Who knows - in the future I'll stick to 100 in the wet I guess!


  13. OK...today I was driving down a dual carriageway - speed limit 110.  Not raining, but a bit moist on the road due to the melting snow, tho not excessively.  I came up behind a gendarme "Clio" with its blue flashing light going (for no apparent reason!) - he was doing about 95, road completely clear, no-one else around apart from a couple of lorries up well ahead...I pulled out and started to go past doing just under 110 when he wound down his window and started waving his arms at me and pointing to his speedo.  I slowed down a bit and pulled in front of him.  The passenger put on a yellow bib as though they were going to stop me and he was going to get out, but the next thing he then went flying past, overtook the lorries in front of me and then just sat there again doing about 95 with his blue light continuing to flash (I stuck behind him then!).  What is more confusing is that later on along the dual carriageway

    another car came past (I guess doing about 110) - overtook me & the

    gendarme car and he didn't take a blind bit of notice???!  At the end of the dual carriageway he pulled over into a layby on the road (still blue light flashing!) and just parked up.

    Now..he was obviously telling me I was going to fast, but as far as I was concerned I wasn't!  I understand in the rain that the speed limit lowers, but it wasn't raining.  Do the lower speed limits apply on damp roads too?  Can someone please explain to me what I may have been doing wrong - the next time it happens I'd prefer to stay within the law than get pulled!  I have passed gendarme vehicles on dual carraigeway before when they've had their blue lights going for no apparent reason without provoking a reaction!



  14. I don't mind using that for furniture and floorboards, but I need loads of oak beams, floor joists etc. etc. injecting as that's the only thing that really works properly on those.  I had a card from a local French guy who spoke reasonable English a while back but annoyingly I've lost it!  Anyone know of someone in the local area?



  15. I've been put in charge of finding someone to quote for sorting out the woodworm in my parents 'new' house (it's still pretty obviously active!) and needs a damn good going over.  I don't think a coat of Xylophene is quite good enough!  Does anyone know someone (English/French) who'd do a good job of injecting the beams - without charging a fortune for doing so.  In the 86 (16/79 border) area.



  16. Tony,

    Sorry if this seems a bit simplistic, but I'll start from the very basics

    ADSL is the technology that lets your telephone line access the internet at high speed (normally referred to as "Broadband" or "Haut Debit" in France)  To be able to access the Internet at high speed your local telephone exchange needs to be upgraded to allow that AND you need to be within 6.5km of the exchange.  If you put your telephone number into the website suggested previously it will tell you if you can get broadband on your particular telephone line.

    WiFi (Wireless networking in English!) is the technology that allows you to communicate (within a relatively small area - 50/100metres) between computers without wires.  For this to work you need an "Access Point" and wireless networking adapters installed on any computer you want to connect to the wireless network (and hence the broadband Internet connection)

    You can buy a "box" that will both connect to your telephone line for the ADSL connection, and provide the WiFi "Access Point" connection.  If you want to buy a simple device yoursef I would suggest something like the Netgear DG834G (or GT).  It is farily simple to setup yourself - but if there are any problems it can become quite complicated very quickly with settings for VCI/VPI/Multiplexing/PPP and all sorts of other settings you might need to adjust to get you going.  It's not difficult to do, but I would imagine if your IT skills are limited then it could be quite confusing.  If you want to avoid all that, the simple way is to get the box from your broadband supplier that should come ready to go aside from you supplying the necessary username and password (given to you by your broadband supplier).

    If you have an existing broadband supplier (if so, who are they?) the easiest thing to do would be to talk to them to see what they can provide for you.

    I have to confess to be a bit confused by your reply tho - you say you have broadband on "both" lines.  Do you have two incoming telephone lines (i.e. with different telephone numbers) and if so, why would you have broadband on each telephone line?


  17. [quote user="Dick Smith"]

    Another answer would be to have a good quality recorder plus a cheapo multi-region player (I have a JVC which was cheap) and use both. I must admit to having an embarrassment of DVD players at the moment!


    Me too - I think at last count it was 5!  How things have changed - my first DVD *player* cost me £650!!  One of the reasons I have so many R1 DVD's is that when I bought mine there were only about 5 R2 titles around!  I used to buy them from Quixell (a forerunner of eBay UK) the shops in the UK wouldn't sell them, but HMV on the Champs Elysées used to sell R1's!  Strangely that original DVD player won't play a lot of the recent DVD's on the market - I have no idea why.  Not that is gets much use now-a-days anyway!


  18. [quote user="Dick Smith"]That's interesting - the HX525 is definitely advertised by Amazon as multi-region capable - see here. From what you say I assume that means if you hack it, which looks a bit complex.

    Which is a rather dodgy bit of advertising, I think.


    I tend to agree - tho the fact that they give you the hacks on their own website is I suppose how they get away with it.  None-the-less, it is good news that you can software hack it rather than have to pay to chip it.


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