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Posts posted by KathyF

  1. [quote user="tegwini"]

    Anyone can  make mistakes in spelling, so many words lack logic in the way they are spelt.    As a teacher of teens many of whom can't be bothered to learn to spell,  I usually found that after a few hours of marking I couldn't spell either.....[/quote]

    I think it's too late by the time they get to their teens, Tegwini, as the boredom threshold goes down at puberty. [;-)] Spellings need to be learned young to stick forever. We were pleased to see that our eldest grandson started to be given lists of spellings to learn for homework once he reached Juniors (or Key Stage 2 as I've been told to call it [:D]).

  2. Well, it has been nice recently, but if it's any consolation it's been raining all day here in Mid-Wales, sweet 17, and the forecast for the next few days is rain all the way. [:(] The place to be at the moment is Northern Scotland, which is having lovely, warm, sunny weather according to friends who live up on the north coast.
  3. 100% here too.  I always found learning spellings easy when I was a child and at my primary school in the early 50s, learning a list of words was a regular homework task.  I've also always been a voracious reader.  However, my younger sister, who also reads a great deal, has always found it difficult to learn spellings and still makes some very common errors when she isn't concentrating.  I think it's like any kind of talent, some have it and others, however hard they try, find it difficult or impossible. The same sister is very artistic and is now an architect.  I can't draw for toffee! [:D]

  4. [quote user="Baz"]

    It may be all well and good trying to find fuel, but with a barrel of oil reaching 135$ this afternoon an all time high, will you be able to afford it in the weeks to come? [/quote]

    Good point, Baz.  We're in rural Mid-Wales at the moment, where diesel is £1.29 a litre and rising. Being on a limited income, we already think carefully whether a particular journey is necessary (it's a 12 mile round trip to the nearest tiny town for a reasonably priced supermarket) and we find ourselves going out noticeably less frequently in recent months.

  5. We went with our visiting family to the zoo last summer and of course took a picnic with us, the normal sandwiches, fruit and biscuits. There were lots of picnic tables and benches so we could all eat in comfort, but you could tell the French from the British visitors not only by language but by the fully laid-out picnic tables of the French, complete with table-cloth, cutlery and plates.  Our young grandsons were fascinated and rather impressed! [:D]
  6. I'd be afraid of the cats wandering off and getting lost in a strange place.  We don't have cats now, but when we moved house 7 years ago, one of our two got out and disappeared within a day of moving in and we never saw her again.  Because we now spend each summer in France, we feel we can't risk having another cat, much as I love having cats around.
  7. The mind boggles, Jay! Presumably they were happy for their daughter's education to be paid for by other people's taxes? I wonder if they even paid any UK taxes to cover their E111.... And there are people who call immigrants to the UK scroungers! [:@]
  8. [quote user="Panda"]


    Zoot! Someone has left the (ex) possum flap unlocked, if this forum is to return to Dick making ridiculous and frankly sad jibes at spelling and grammer, I'll head for the door before the stampede starts, he has previous for forum death on this front!

    There is a life out there, go on, go get yourself one!  [/quote]

    Ouch! [:(] Why pick on Dick alone - lots of us have been making similar points, because we feel the same way about sloppy grammar and spelling. Are we all ridiculous and sad? [8-)]

  9. [quote user="You can call me Betty"] Based upon the above comments, it would appear that there is a large section of the population who are not only proud of their inability to use English correctly, but seem to believe that possessing this ability is a gift only visited upon the deeply psychologically disturbed. Should we, therefore, accept the fact that being able to spell, or to use our own native language correctly is a source of shame? It looks like it.[:(] [/quote]

    Spot on as usual, Betty. [:)]  Given that this thread and the comments you posted are on forums dedicated to all things French, I do wonder how people manage to make headway learning French if they cannot even express themselves correctly in their native language?

  10. [quote user="LyndaandRichard"] Back on topic, the mistakes that annoy me the most are the use of 'there', 'they're' and 'their'. Also I see 'were' being written as 'where'.

    On a forum, these things are forgiveable. In the national press when you frequently see these errors, it is quite disturbing as these are supposed to be the 'cream of the literary crop', and really there is even less reason to get these things wrong due to things called spell checkers and grammer checkers on computers!

    The problem with spell checkers is that if the wrong word used (e.g pail rather than pale) is correctly spelt, the checker won't actually pick it up. [:(] In addition many people don't think to check their grammar, so the grammar checker never gets used. In my experience forum software doesn't offer spell-checking, so no help there, unfortunately. I really don't think there's any substitute for learning spellings by heart when we're young enough for them to stick.

  11. [quote user="Russethouse"]

      PS I agree with Richard re his healthcare proposals - in fact I would wholly support a move to an insurance based system for the UK.

     Ahem - What do you think National Insurance is  ? [/quote]

    Actually, RH, National Insurance isn't for the health service, but for pensions and other benefits, which is why you don't get a proper pension if you haven't paid enough contributions. [:(]  The NHS is funded from general taxation. There's an interesting bit of background here:


  12. But the British system is completely different from the French and you can't just tinker with one bit of it.  Instead of being an insurance-based system, funded from contributions, whether personal or employer, as in most European countries, the NHS has always been a tax-funded one, basically free at the point of need. As a UK resident and tax payer (and now a pensioner) I would fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.


    Very useful link, thanks, Claire. The formal ways of signing letters do seem very stilted to British ears, but I've always found it better to err on the side of formality when sending letters to French officialdom.  It's worked so far....... [:)]




    I wonder this too, Cathy, but appreciate that learning a new language as an adult, often 30 or 40 years after leaving school, must be very difficult indeed. I studied French to A Level and then did one year at university before specialising in German. This means it's over 40 years since I was actually taught any French and it's amazing how rusty I became, even with 8 years of learning the language under my belt.  In the 5 years since we found our second home in France, I've knocked some of the rust off and am finding the grammar and vocabulary coming back more with each visit, but I'm still not really fluent in conversation. But I can manage to make phone calls in French after a fashion, write letters to recalcitrant utility companies and tax offices (with much use of dictionary and French spell-checker) and pass the time of day and I'm hopeful that with longer visits now I'm retired my spoken French will begin to improve more rapidly. Above all it's fun trying and our French neighbours and acquaintances really appreciate us doing so.


  15. I sympathise with you, Sweet, but would say from my own experience as another asthmatic (who also fought hard against having to be on daily inhalers) that I've always been told by my doctors that antibiotics only make sense when there is a definite secondary infection on top of the cold virus itself.  My GP (in Wales) has always advised me to double my daily dose of asthma inhalers at the first sign of a cold and only go back to the ordinary dose once the cold has gone. Coughing can just as easily be a symptom of asthma as of a cold or chest infection. Since I started to do this I've found that colds cause me far fewer problems on the whole and I haven't needed antibiotics for a chest infection for years. Obviously what works for one doesn't automatically work for another, but I have to admit to considerable unease when I read about the kind of massive over-prescribing described in some of the posts in this thread. My instinct is always to let the body use its own defences against routine minor infections and save the big guns for the real baddies.


  16. John, I'd just written you a long response and lost it when trying to post. Here goes with my second attempt.

    Catalpa's and Cathy's perceptive posts have given you a lot of pointers but I'd just like to add the following, from my personal experience of bereavement and from my former work with bereaved people as a vicar. Whatever you do, don't try to make important and life-changing decisions while your grief is still so raw and fresh. Learning to live as a single person again after so long as one half of a close and loving couple is a difficult and painful process and can take years, rather than months. Give yourself plenty of time and don't let others hurry you to do things you're not ready for.

    Expect this first year after Sue's death to be expecially hard as you face her birthday, your birthday, your wedding anniversary and all the other special family and personal days for the first time without her. They can still hurt in subsequent years, but not so acutely, as you gradually adjust to your new way of living.

    Don't let others stop you remembering and reminiscing about Sue and your life with her. Often people try to change the subject when the bereaved start to talk like this, in the mistaken belief that remembering will make you unhappy. Yes, it will sometimes make you unhappy, as you come face to face yet again with what you have lost, but it will also make you happy too, as you celebrate all the good times you shared. I realise that you don't believe in life after death in the spiritual sense, but whenever you remember Sue and your life together and share those memories with those who knew and love her, she will live on in you and in them.

    Above all give yourself time to grieve, as much time as you need. I get very cross when people seem to treat bereavement like a dose of flu and often within the same kind of time-frame, expecting someone to 'get over it' and 'move on' within a ridiculously short space of time. If you truly love someone you never completely 'get over' losing them, you just learn to live with your new reality.

    With all good wishes


  17. Don't forget the cost of buildings insurance which is compulsory in France and also the standing charges for utilities.

    One of the two property taxes (can't remember whether it is habitation or fonciere) isn't payable if the house is certified by the Maire of your commune as uninhabitable during renovation, but if you stay in it while doing the work you have to pay all the taxes.

  18. I actually caught this programme while driving and it made sobering listening.  Joking apart, it sounded like a few landlords at least are vitually demanding sex, not in lieu of rent, but as a condition of being allowed to rent. Part of the programme was about Saint Denis on the outskirts of Paris and the dreadful physical condition of some of the rented accommodation there - real slums in 21st century Paris. According to the authorities questioned there has been a shortfall in housing provision in France's major cities for the last 15 or 20 years at least, and just as in Britain the rising divorce rate is contributing to a greatly increased demand for affordable housing. The figure of at least a million people homeless or in very substandard housing was mentioned - hardly the French idyll some British expats go on about....

  19. Having also read it, I too don't think it's a wind-up. There's a note of desperation there which would be quite hard to fake. If their only (and declining) income is from the UK business, they will have been hit very hard by the recent rapid fall of the pound against the euro. They could also have real difficulty in selling quickly in the present market, if they decide to go back..

    I feel sorry for them.  They saw and grabbed an opportunity to buy a house, probably in the country and big enough for the 7 of them, to give their children the kind of life they could only have dreamed about in the UK.  Now it all seems to be going pear-shaped and they must feel like they are living in a nightmare. [:(]

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