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  1. Thanks for all the advice and replies folks! Apologies for not making my post clearer! It is plain to see that I am not a builder! I need to lay a floor that is either chaux mortar or concrete (béton). The option for chaux is to buy bags of lime and a load of sand, hire a large mixer, mix it on site, barrow it in to the cave to lay and spread it. I was under the misapprehension that pre-mixed chaux mortar could be bought in bulk. Apparently this is not the case. Mixing on site is also an option with dry ready mixed sand and cement that can be purchased by the cubic metre and loaded on the back of a truck. The other option is to purchase ready mixed wet concrete. This would have to be loaded on the back of my friends truck, 0.5 cubic meter at a time, driven 3 kms and dropped just in front of my cave onto a tarpaulin where it would be shovelled into wheelbarrows by two or three of us and then barrowed into the cave, (a distance of approx 8 meters), dropped in place, spread and levelled off. It should take about six loads from the builders merchant to complete the work. I need to add that my cave is not a cellar. It is a 8m x 4.5m room straight into the hillside rock with a barn door. (Caves such as these are in abundance in this part of France.) However I do not have room (or the funds!) for a cement mixer lorry with a 'tapis' to get onto the property, hence the need for mixing or delivery on site with a smaller vehicle. I am inclined to go with the wet ready-mixed concrete version as there should be 4-6 of us to do the work and I am advised that there is a working time of at least 30 mins before the concrete starts to go off. (The journey time from the builders merchants to my house is 4-5 minutes) . Also the work should be done in one day. Using dry materials will take two or three days, and as I am paying a couple of guys for their labour, keeping within budget is important. Thanks again for your replies.
  2. Help! I'm caught between two 'experts', each giving different advice. Here's the project: I need to lay a 'Chaux' mortar floor in my cave. The area is 8m x 4.5m and the screed needs to be 8-10cms thick. It has been estimated that it will take 3 cubic metres of mortar to cover the floor, which is old brick. The source of the cement is the local builders merchant, which is only 2.9kms away. Because the access to my cave is a little narrow, it is not possible for a cement-mixer lorry to deliver ready-mix cement to the cave. Therefore, it has been proposed that using a sided, flat bed tipper truck of a friend, wet ready-mix cement will be collected at the builders merchants, (about 0.5 cubic meter at a time), transported the 2.9kms to my house where it will be deposited next to the cave entrance on a large tarpaulin. A group of us will then proceed to quickly barrow and tip the cement into the cave where it will be levelled and smoothed off on top of a wire grid. Then the truck will fetch another load, etc, etc. The guy who owns the truck and another 'ami' who is in the building trade assures me that the cement will remain workable as the distance between the builders merchant and my cave is only a few kilometres and will be a just 4-5 minutes drive. However, another friend who has done a lot of work for me in the past says the best thing would be to hire a large cement-mixer, buy the cement mixed with sand, dry 'en vrac' from the merchant and mix it at the site. The reason for this method, he says, is if I buy wet ready mixed cement, by the time the cement reaches the cave, it will have lost a lot of water due to transportation vibration and will start to go off by the time we are laying it. I don't know who to believe! My 'dry-mix' friend is an older, experienced Jack-of all Trades and quite 'old school'. But I don't really want the faff and expense of having to hire a large cement mixer, when I can purchase the cement all ready to go. Can any one offer their thoughts on this? Will the cement go off that quickly? We are in the Centre (41) and I hope to have the work done in early June, so it should not be too hot. Any advice would be gratefully received. Ta!
  3. Thanks AnOther, Yes I've got plenty of EDF bills!
  4. Thanks for this Steve. It seems it's the same bureaucratic process wherever you live. That's fine - I can gen up online and look into it. Many thanks again Matelot
  5. Bonjour! Can anyone please help regarding the question of registering a UK car in France from a non-residents point of view? I am resident in the UK, but spend just under six months of the year at my house in France. I have a second-hand Peugeot 206 at home in the UK that I would like to take to France and leave it there permanently as a little runner for local trips. Because it is a UK registered vehicle, I would like to get it registered in France as I don’t want the expense or hassle of bringing it back to the UK every year for MoT, etc. However, most of the information I can find relating to registering a UK car in France, applies to people who are full time residents there. Is there any way I can bring a car over to France as a UK resident? Can anyone please help with advice? Will Jock and Snowy reach Dick Barton in time to save him from the boiling lava? Thanks in advance for any help! Matelot (Signs off to the ‘Devil’s Gallop’ music)
  6. Was ever thus! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Félix_Faure Well....If you've gotta go..........
  7. Hi there! A French friend of ours has purchased one of those halogen oven gizmos, and although very pleased with it, she was bemoaning the fact that it only came with a small recipe pamphlet. Does anyone know if there is such a thing as a recipe book in French for these ovens? I'd like to buy her one a small gift. Thanks for any info. Matelot
  8. You're right! It is a matter of personal taste and I would like to overcome my aversion. But every time I eat one there's that certain hint of pig-manure in the smell and taste! Strange really because I like strong flavours in my food and I'm a fan of old style country cooking. I probably need more Pastis before I dine!! ;-)
  9. Bonjour!, Is there any way I can check my 2013 tax foncieres and tax d'habitation account online? Because we will not be returning to the UK until mid November, we will miss our bills as they are delivered to our UK address. As there is a payment deadline, it would be helpful to check (and possibly pay) online. Any help would be gratefully received. Thanks!
  10. I need to put this on record! Andouillettes taste of dung! With the urging of my French chums I have tried Andouillettes many times - Andouillette du Troyes, Andouillettes du Vouvray, Canard Andouillette, etc, etc, grilled, fried, smoked, but I just cannot get on with this very popular item of French gastronomy. I really think they taste of m*rde! My French friends think I'm daft and rate them highly. When we go to local BBQ's they all tuck in to this evil tasting comestible, while I choose the inevitable merguez. My question is this: Is it just me or do other members of this forum think the same? It's not that I'm anti-French food. I will happily tuck into boudin noir, snails, horse steak and all manner of charcutiere (except Paté du Couenne*) but I cannot conquer the dreaded Andouillette! Any suggestions? * Paté du Couenne - Pork Rind Pate. Rather like eating a bike tyre in aspic!
  11. Good point Sue.I'll dig the paperwork out and have a look. Thanks Matelot
  12. I'll look into it Sue. The only problem may be that they will still charge me for the months remaining on my contract, as it is still my first year. In which case, I might as well leave well alone! Thanks again for your help and info.
  13. Thanks Frederick & Sue. I guessed this would be the case. We had a load of hassle after we took out the internet package last May. We said we did not want the anti-virus and firewall as we had our own. After a week of service, our contract was cancelled because OF took our refusal of the anti-virus, etc, as asking to terminate the entire package. It took a month of being lied to by the so called 'customer services' before they re-instated the broadband service. And they charged me for the month when I had no service. When I queried this, the reply was:"But Monsieur, we have no record of your internet problem! Perhaps next time you should ask for a reference number." Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhh! The only good thing seems to be that the broadband service works very well here - faster than the UK. Seems like I'll have to bite the bullet and continue paying even when I'm not at the cottage. Hey-ho! Thanks again for replies. Matelot
  14. Bonjour, Does anyone know if the Orange Broadband service can be suspended in the same way as a ‘ligne fixe‘? We have the Orange ’Découverte’ basic internet package with Livebox at €24,00 per month, coming through our residence secondaire fixed line for which we pay a separate rental every two months. We have had the internet service since May this year and it works brilliantly. However, we shall soon be returning to the UK for the winter and although I can suspend the telephone line, I’m not sure if I can do the same with the internet package. I asked in the Orange shop in Vendôme if we could suspend the internet service and the lady said yes and gave me an address to write to and the wording of the request. However, when I checked online this seems to be asking for the service to be cancelled, not suspended, in which case I would have to pay the rest of the monthly contract subscriptions anyway and send the Livebox back to Orange on pain of a €100 euro fine. All of which rather defeats the object! I’m keen to save myself €150,00 euros, but I don’t want the faff of having to take out a new subscription all over again next May. Can anyone give me a steer on this please? Many Thanks Matelot
  15. When I was in the 'Mob', my old Chief Stoker told me never to volunteer for anything. But I'd have a go at some interview techniques!!! :-)
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