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Posts posted by mmaddock

  1. I've only had one problem with an English card, which was just the other day when the old dear in La Poste was convinced that the hologram on my card was the chip! She insisted on putting it in the machine hologram first several times, despite me trying to point out she had it the wrong way around!  Sometimes it won't take to the chip-n-pin route, but they always just swipe it in that case and I have signed instead, so chip-n-pin isn't a reqirement - tho occasionally they ask for a passport if I sign.  I do tend to use my French card mostly now though - plus the more you use it, the less the yearly charge is.

    I noticed the other day that the Esso garage just outside of Ouistream now takes English cards - shame as it was rather fun to regularly see the non-French bank holders scratching their heads at the pumps trying to get them to work!!


  2. Just a warning to people out there...now I don't normally do this, but we had just moved over here and I was looking for a cheap call provider and a nice bloke turned up the door promoting "Endéis Télécom".  Stating that calls (backed up with his documentation) to the UK were 0,06€ / min at all times.  I'm sure that isn't the best deal around, but at the time I didn't have the time to search for anything better, and I was pretty sure that was cheaper than FT so I signed up as it was "sans engagement" and I could look around later for a better deal.

    My last bill was a little higher than expected, but I guessed we used the phone more than I thought and I was way too busy renovating to look closely at it...This month I have just received our bill - at 88,54€ for one month seemed a little high! so I decided to check the rates...UK land line calls are, as stated 0,06€ per minute -BUT with a 0,3€ (HT) connection charge, UK mobiles have a minimum connection charge of 0,725€ (again HT) and then charged at somewhere around 0.5€/min.  Even local calls have a stupidly expensive connection charge of around 0.12€ - an 8s local call cost me 13 cents! Now my French isn't brilliant, but I certainly understood everything he was saying, and read through the brochures - which seemed to clearly state all the rates - but not the connection charges quite so obviously!

    I can't reach them on the numbers listed on the bill to complain, but needless to say - I'm sitting at the computer trying to find a new provider right now!

    I had been using Skype quite a bit, but the call quality varies so much, and drops out quite often so I gave up since we were on a "cheap" tarrif anyway - or so I thought!


  3. Thanks for the info - seems like the best thing to do is go into their local office!

    I wondered if they were resisting because they will have to actually change the disjoncter (I would say it is at least 50 years old!) rather than just coming out and uppping the supply in 5 mins?!  The guy who came out was very nice and did upgrade it there and then to the highest he could.



  4. We had EDF in the other day to change the meter as we had a very old one, and we are now on the two-rate system where the rate is reduced between 10.30pm and 6.30am.  I asked the EDF guy if he could upgrade the power and he bumped us up from 15A (3KW) to 30A (6KW) but said he couldn't go any higher because the disjoncteur was rated for 30A max and it would have to be changed and he gave me a number to call to get it sorted.

    Ideally we'd like 45A (9KW) as we are installing an electric heating system, but we are having problems getting EDF to come out to do it.  They are confused as to why we need so much power and resisting coming out.

    I had a French friend call them to try and explain, but all they got out of them was that EDF were going to call me to discuss again (which they haven't done)  My French friend said that they have electric heating in their house and they have a 6KW supply which works fine - although I really don't see how - I have worked out that if we have all the electric heaters on (a distinct possibility during winter!) we will be using exactly 6KW, leaving nothing for any other appliance - and even if we only use half of the electric heaters by the time we put the washing machine and a kettle on, our supply is again overloaded!  I just can't see why EDF are being funny about coming out to upgrade the supply, they will get more in standing charges once it is done!

    Has anyone else had any experience of this and got any advice?  Should we just give up, stick with 6KW and hope for the best?!



  5. I don't know why it is that everyone seems to think French smoke more than the English (myself included!) - perhaps it is that they do it more openly (less socially unacceptable than in the UK??) but the figures I saw were that 26% of UK residents (aged 15 or over) smoke and 27% of French residents smoke - so really very little difference between the two.  (Figures from the WHO-2004)


  6. [quote user="Deimos"]Locals round me seem to like burning things. I cleared one field and the next field (not mine) was uncut but both very dry. Somebody came to look and was suggesting I set fire to it. I was not keen so he just got out his lighter and started. Fortunately I stopped him as my field would have gone up as well as my neighbours !!.


    I had the gendarme around after setting fire (kind of accidently I may add) to my garden.  I was told in no uncertain terms that it was illegal to have a fire without a permit, and that I must pay for the visit by the pompiers (despite me actually having put the fire out by the time they arrived) - although no bill ever arrived.

    I have to say though, it was very effective at clearing quite a large area quickly - but I wouldn't recommend it - and the neighbours were not too happy.


  7. Sky is up and running but we don't get Ch4 or 5 in the listings at all.  If you skip through the channels it goes in sequence like this... bbc1(ch101), bbc2(ch102), itv1(ch103), sky1(ch106), sky2(107) etc.etc..  I know Ch4/5 are not FTV, but other encrypted channels appear in the listings, so why don't Ch4 & 5?  If I buy a FTV card will they suddenly appear, or will I have bought the card for nothing?!

    I have installed Sky (with a big dish!) excellent signal strength and almost max signal quality.  I had the same  problem with installation elsewhere in France, but assumed it might have had something to do with the small dish and poor signal, so now I'm confused!

    Any help appreciated as I'd rather not spend £20 on a card to find out that it does nothing!



  8. My experience of French plaster has been awful.  I plastered our entire kitchen and bathroom in the UK using British 'pink' plaster with no problems, but when I tried to use the French 'white' plaster I don' know what I was doing wrong.  It was setting in the bucket before I even got it anywhere near the wall, and I ended up with a terrible finish on the places I was patching up.  At first I thought it was because I had an 'old' bag (about 4-5 months old) but I had the same results with a 'new' bag too!  Maybe I was doing something wrong?!  I recall the bucket getting quite warm as it set!  I intend to import plaster when I need it as I understand what I'm doing with British plaster!


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