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Everything posted by Gemini_man

  1. Just a little comment: if at all possible it's not advisable to burn green wood in any quantity, that is any wood which was cut down within the last year or even two - the reason being that green wood produces not a lot of heat but plenty of sooty deposit in the chimney and a tarry liquid which condenses in the chimney and proceeds to run down until it can find somewhere to deposit itself !! the ideal situation is to store logs for a few years before use - then they will give a lot more heat and produce less soot and tar - but they will burn more quickly. also, re. pine cones - they do need to be open and very dry to be useful so look out for last years ones :) last tip: just in front of the poele is a very good place to put your "tonights" bottle of red wine to get it up to temperature, not too close though. Have fun :D
  2. Gemini_man


    Hi Beris, We planted approx 20 one year old crowns about 10 years ago and despite that they are meant to be only good for about 5/6 years we still get a good crop each year from about half of the plants. We've always restricted ourselves to about 5 weeks harvesting per season so as not to "overwork" the plants, then we stop picking and let the shoots grow into fronds which we cut down in February/March of the following year.. I remember we added a lot of sand to the bed when we made it - good drainage being very important. Problems: Weeds -  hand weeding seems the only answer although I do now weedkill with Glypsophate in March before the first shoots appear. Slugs  -  will eat the sides of new growing  heads and make them curl -  then only good for chucking! Fresh sand on the surface seems to discourage slugs but it has to be quite thick. Asparagus beetle - a real pain in the butt!! They eat the heads and lay eggs all along the shoot. Personally I refuse to spray anything on our asparagus which leaves the "contact method" to kill them  ie. squishing the blighters. The problem is they play hide and seek, when your hand approaches they nip around the far side of the stem or else they drop off onto the ground. The longer you have your asparagus bed the more chance there is that asparagus beetle will become established and a problem. Other than spraying them the best solution I have found is to hold a container of water with a little washing up liquid in against the shoots and shake or tap the shoots in the direction of the container - in theory any beetles will drop into the water and drown. well, it works for me [:P] Is it all worth it? Yes, most certainly imo if you enjoy lots of fresh, small, steamed asparagus shoots with a little salt and butter on picked that same day (they also keep very well in a jug of water in the fridge for 2/3 days). As for where to buy them, well basically wherever is most convenient for you but I would definitely advise buying green asparagus and not the woody white stuff so favoured in France [+o(] Btw, here's a link which may be useful: http://www.whatprice.co.uk/gardening/growing-asparagus.html Good luck :)
  3. [quote user="spg"][quote user="Onion van man"]Personally I prefer to pay for good quality security products. [/quote] Something along the lines of Nod 32? Sue [/quote] I used to use NOD32 but then I came across Prevx1 which I much prefer tbh - it's very easy to use, very discrete and well behaved (unlike many), uses little resources and at 19.50€ a year I find it very reasonable. As always you can try it free for a month -  http://www.prevx.com/
  4. If money is no object - you can buy 4 stroke strimmers - the advantages are: more power, easy starting hot or cold, less noise and less exhaust gas than with a 2 stroke. I bought a Honda 4 stroke 6 years ago and have used it commercially ever since and I've always been very pleased with it although it did cost me an arm and a leg when I bought it. Hmm, maybe that's not such a good analogy when talking about strimmers [blink] http://www.honda-fr.com/pages/produits/Jardin/Debroussailleuses/
  5. Taken from todays Telegraph - OK, it's not about France but it did make me smile - especially n° 30 ......... http://tinyurl.com/2yb9he
  6. Nice one - you've gotta love Photoshop [:D]
  7. It's not difficult to do - if you have a printer then you can download a new form here (takes a while to load and needs Adobe installed on your PC): http://www.vittavi.net/sr/160/fichiers/medecin_traitant.pdf Complete it, take it to your new doctor for signing and stamping, or leave it with his secretary, then send it to your Caisse d'Assurance Maladie, no explanation needed. If you cannot print it off then ask your Caisse for a copy - Déclaration de choix du médecin traitant.
  8. One of the small print charges with teleconnect is 25€ for reactivation after suspension - I suspect this is an additional payment if they should have to suspend the service (for instance after late payment) and not if the client has chosen to. There is also a charge of 45€ for service cancellation which will probably be due on termination of the agreement.
  9. Gillian, Re: plafond for RMI - Le montant versé sera égal à la différence entre le montant maximum du RMI et le montant des ressources. so if your income is greater than the maximum amount of RMI payable then you would receive nothing but if it is less then you could be paid the difference. RMI levels for this year are here: http://tinyurl.com/2s9ddl however, aide au logement figures are deducted from the RMi amount if you own your own house.
  10. [quote user="Gillian"]Hi   I am glad you got RMI - I tried over a year ago to get RMI directly by applying to CAF  and was denied any form of RMI after giving in lots of paperwork (half a dozen times) on account that I did not have a carte de sejour when we arrived in France in 2004 as a family. Made life very difficult. Thought I would be entitled like a french person, but was told that being from UK was to be treated different to the french, RMI would not be automatic despite declaring taxes over here for previous years. Did CAF make a mistake or apply different rules locally to the National laws, I still don't know and would love to know the answer. How long does RMI last for anyway? 12 months only or for as long as you need it whilst getting the business up and away until it can pay a proper salary? Can I re-apply? Still curious.   Gillian   P.S. I thought that carte de sejour officially ended at the end of 2003. [/quote] Hi Gillian, as you probably know RMI is based on the whole income of your household for the previous 3 months or if you are in business then for the previous year - if your total income for the period is less than the plafond then you can make a claim. It seems best to make an appointment with your assistant sociale, your mairie will have their contact details, and go along with your Avis d'Impot 2006 - once the forms are all filled in an application for RMI will be made and if you fulfill the criteria then you should receive a monthly payment based on your income level. Payment would be backdated to the beginning of the month in which you first make your claim. Thereafter, every 3 months you would receive a form to complete with your income for that period, if your sole income is from your business then you simply attach a copy of your Avis d'Impot 2006 until you receive the one for 2007 then you attach that one - assuming it is still under the plafond. If you qualify for RMI then you will automatically qualify for CMU, school bourses and Allocation de rentrée scolaire. However, in return you're expected to take steps to improve your financial position, these steps are arrived at in conjunction with the assistant sociale. Sometimes it's possible to find solutions other times not but the important thing is to show that you are trying. The RMI period is likely to be between 3 and 12 months and before the end of it you should make a further appointment with the AS and they will then review your situation. Yes you can re-apply but possibly better to apply via your AS this time. Good luck :)
  11. It's a Punk moth really [:P] I've only seen ever one since I've been in France - nice photos by the way :)
  12. I totally agree with Christine Animal, it must be one of those brushes, you can see part of the handle in the original picture, Allez France [:P]
  13. Just to qualify SD's excellent reply - the minimum requirement for the BSR licence is 5 hours of lessons at a driving school and for the A1 licence it's 21 hours of lessons - these are obligatory. My son is currently taking lessons for his A1 licence and by the time he has completed his course and passed the exam the cost will be around 1000 euros - and then the true expense will begin I suspect [blink]
  14. I agree totally with the remarks about Norton and I would include McAfee as well - I use Windows Firewall plus Prevx virus and malware protection (http://www.prevx.com/homeproducts.asp) which is inexpensive, unintrusive and uses little resource. I don't usually pay for PC programmes but I was sufficently impressed with Prevx to do so!!
  15. Gemini_man


    Personally I would have it removed -  in the grenier is too close to home so far as I'm concerned. A couple of years ago I had a problem with a very active hornet nest in the split trunk of a clients ash tree - it was too active for me to consider dealing with it so I went to ask advice at the Pompiers in Ribérac, they said they no longer deal with hornet nests and gave me a card for a guy at St. Astier - I phoned him and he duly came, togged himself up in an all in one suit and proceeded to spray chemicals into the nest area, after a while he pulled out the nest, complete with larvae, and put it in a big plastic bag - the nest was more than the size of a football and he said that was pretty large and mature. The chemicals imobilised the hornets by attacking their nervous system however he said to beware of any around the trunk as they could still sting until their death which took up to 3 days. The cost was around 75€ and he said if there was still activity after 5 days he would come back and treat it again at no extra charge.
  16. [quote user="Rosemary J"]Secondly, can vines thrive in the Auvergne?  I have an enquiry from someone who wants to create a vineyard near Commentry.[/quote] Apparently yes - have a look here:- http://www.cantal-walking.com/wine.html not sure where Commentry is near though.
  17. Val that's what I thought you were saying when I read your post through again but by then I'd already posted my reply so I didn't change it :)
  18. As Val_2 says it's entirely to do with your income. Bourses for the school/university year 2007/2008 depend on your Avis d'Impôts 2005 but so far as I'm aware have nothing to do with being an artisan, commerçant or an employee simply how much you earned that year. However, it's unlikely you can make an application now until the rentrée.
  19. [quote user="Renaud"]I think that there is a climate divide between the north and south of the Dordogne[/quote] I think the climate variation is more North and East of Perigueux than in the South and West, certainly our climate at Ribérac is very similar to the Bergerac area. I've also noticed that the weather is frequently cooler and wetter from Angoûleme northwards.
  20. I think spg already hit the button: try and follow this: ANSWER! Here’s yer problem, buddy. Your computer thinks you have the ‘Fn’ key (otherwise known as the function key) held down right now, even though you don’t! You can tell that this is the problem if the letters/numbers which come out on the screen are the ones which are noted on the lower part of the keys you’re pressing. And you’ll notice that if you actually hold down the ‘Fn’ key, your computer’s keyboard acts as it normally does. So why does the computer think the ‘Fn’ key is being held down, even when it’s not? Because you have ‘Num Lock’ on! When you have the ‘Num Lock’ key on, your computer perpetually thinks that the Fn key is held down. Here’s how to turn ‘Num Lk’ off if you want your keyboard acting normal again: hold ‘Fn’ and hit the ‘Num Lk’ button. (You have to hold Fn while doing this, because otherwise, the computer would think you were trying to press ‘Scr Lk’, or scroll lock. I don’t know the layout of every keyboard of every computer sony has ever made, so it might be different for you.), after that, everything should work normal again. For some reason, Sony Vaio laptops, on the rare occasion turn their ‘num lock’ on by themselves. It’s easy as it can be to turn it back off, it’s just that it can be very confusing for someone who doesn’t understand the problem. Hope that cures it !
  21. Sixteen years in october. [8-|]
  22. [quote user="Chris T"]Help! I know that there are an infinite number of answers to this question, but that's my problem - too much choice. We are looking to move to the Dordogne area, want to be away from the main tourist areas, and have the opportunity to integrate into the local french community, but also want to know there is a reasonable British presence close by also. Any ideas and experiences would be most welcome! Thanks[/quote] Hi Chris, It doesn't matter where you decide to settle sure enough there will be some who say their department is better - but that's their choice after all :) If as you say you are planning to move to the Dordogne and want to avoid the tourist traps then you should look at the top half of the departement ie. north of Mussidan, Montpon. I've lived for 16 years in West Dordogne, my local town is Ribérac - the town isn't pretty or twee but it works and has most that you are likely to need including a well established English community from the surrounding villages. For a better range of shops Perigueux is half an hour away, Angoûleme 45 minutes and Bordeaux an hour and a quarter. As for integrating into the local french community well thats' down to you but it may well be easier if you live in a village or small town rather than in splendid isolation.
  23. [quote user="pale pink specs"]Thanks for the advice... I guess my next question would be anyone out there that has made a claim and happy with the service/outcome?! [:)][/quote] Hi PPS, I can suggest a national French insurance company NOT to insure with in my opinion if you like, based on recent experience and an ongoing situation. I fully intend to start a thread here about my experience, as soon as I have the time, to see if anyone has any advice as to what I can do next but it's quite involved and right now I'm too busy. All I will say here is that I'm talking about a general assurance company that sounds slightly Italian but I would be happy to tell you more by PM if you wish.
  24. [quote user="Panda "]Great photos John. I found a very tiny type of mouse in the garden yesterday but it hopped (rather that ran) and it had really huge back feet when compared to his front, bit like a gerbil, I've got no picture.   I could easily catch it which worried me so I quickly put it out of the cat, dogs and chickens way, what m ight it have been? Loads of stag beetles about this year, is it a bumper year, do they like this damp summer? Panda [/quote] probably a mulot Panda http://tinyurl.com/2yds4a
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