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Posts posted by KathyF

  1. Not just you, RH, I've thought the same myself.  The cynic in me says that one is a very young, very cute child who goes missing in sunny, scenic Portugal, the other a pleasant looking, but older child who goes missing in unscenic, industrial Yorkshire. I'm guessing the latter doesn't push anywhere near as many media buttons. I wish someone would prove me wrong....[:(]

  2. [quote user="Monika"]. Surely every country has good things and bad things. England is beautiful, we have lots of history and some very picturesque countryside. We might have a government we don't agree with, but which country has the perfect one?  [/quote]

    Whichever party is in power, at least half the population will be unhappy about the current administration at any one time.  Human nature surely, rather than a particular country.  Let's be grateful we can change our government - much of the world's population would be glad to have the chance! 

  3. Good advice above. From my experience, contacting the hospital to enquire certainly shouldn't count against her in the future.  I think one of the things which can delay more serious operations such as heart procedures can be a shortage of beds in the appropriate ward.  Many heart ops need special nursing care afterwards and if there is a shortage of staff or too many other more urgent cases, there can be some slippage.  Wish her well from me.
  4. This is what our daughter (living in Yorkshire, just north of the M62) had to say about it in her email: "We're fine, other than a disturbed night. It was unnerving, but that's about all there was to it.  As far as we can tell, there wasn't any damage to the house, though it did rattle around for what seemed like a long time!"

    It was obviously strong enough to wake them up and they work so hard that they normally sleep like the proverbial logs.

  5. I'm afraid I'm another who would encourage you to open a French bank account, Jonny. We opend ours with Britline (Credit Agricole) before we signed the Acte de Vente on our second home, and now pay just about all our French bills (utilities and taxes) by direct debit from it. It saves all the worry about bills reaching you (we've moved house twice in the UK since we bought the cottage) and makes keeping track of expenses much easier. 

  6. Super post, John. We were looking for a small holiday cottage in Normandy and that's exactly what we ended up with. We couldn't afford a big initial outlay, so were looking for a renovation project and found a farm cottage with sound walls and  a good floor upstairs and the bonus of a new roof, as the old one had been blown off in the big storm of December 1999. This was in February 2003, when this kind of renovation project was flying off the estate agents' shelves. We saw the house one day and the price was so reasonable that we agreed to buy it next morning and signed the compromis de vente the same afternoon!

    All the major work has been done over the past 4 years, either by builders or us, but it hasn't cost more than we could afford as we did it gradually.  Now we have a lovely little cottage (with only the interior decoration to be finished) with a big living-room, a new kitchen-diner and downstairs shower-room where the farmer used to keep his tools, and two bedrooms and another shower-room upstairs in the grenier.  All this on 1600m2 in a group of 3 houses next to a very quiet road just outside a tiny village and 10 minutes to a small market town.  What more could anyone want? [:D]

  7. [quote user="now just john "] My intended message was that it is not that my grief is painful, (it is) or that Sue was a beautiful person who was cheated (she was), but Life is so Brief and Time is a Thief; to all of you out there spending years looking for perfection I would just say you may not have as much time as you think; so dial in some compromise in your list and go for it as Cooper lola says. [/quote]

    John, I'm so very sorry that you and Sue will not have the chance to live out your dream together. You have my deepest sympathy.

    I so agree with your comment above and it's what we've now done. My dear father-in-law dropped dead from a heart attack at 60 and he and my MIL never had their long-planned-for retirement. I had my first breast cancer at 52 and a few years later we bought our little French second home the day after first seeing it and have spent years making it habitable.  After my second breast cancer at 59 I decided to retire while I still could, so that we could enjoy the long summer visits we'd been dreaming of.  The house isn't perfect, but neither are we, nor is life, and we are very contented whenever we visit our little corner of Normandy.

  8. [quote user="Llantony"]

    We just haven't bothered to have a phone installed.  Just not worth it fpr a maximium of 3 weels at a time.  Mobile for occasional use and phone card for planned calls works fine.  

    Will need a phone when move over later this year - does it take long to organise? 


    We did it all by email via the FranceTelecom website, Llantony, and the basic arrangements took a couple of days. We were given our new phone number almost at once and could book the date we wanted for installation. We asked for it to be installed the day after we arrived and they turned up as promised and had it all sorted the same afternoon AND it cost only half of what BT charge for a new line! [:D]

  9. [quote user="ErnieY"]Hoorah for the Australian stance. Sadly, and tragically, the British seem to have neither the nerve nor stomach for such straight talk which reinforces my earlier comment that sooner or later the UK will become an Islamic state.[/quote]

    So why did Australians reject John Howard so decisively in their recent general election that he actually lost his seat?!

  10. Oh Frenchie, it's gorgeous!  I can quite understand the coup de coeur.  The exquisite detailing, the wonderful stonework, the unspoiled nature of the whole (OK it's falling down, but you know what I mean....[:)])  I'm a sucker for all things mediaeval, so if I ever win the lottery, I'll be right there with you.
  11. When I was working we only got across for 3 or 4 weeks a year, usually in one or two visits.  Never for weekends, because of the cost of the ferry and petrol and time taken.  Now I've retired we're planning to spend at least two or three months a year there, with a long visit in the summer (2 months +) and perhaps a month or six weeks at another time.

    When you calculate running costs, don't forget FT's ligne residence secondaire scheme which allows you to switch off your phone line up to six times a year when you're not there, thus saving line rental. If only BT did something similar in the UK.....[:(]

  12. Hi Paul,

    Welcome to the forum and good luck with your plans. Could I please make one suggestion before you start posting on other topics?  Your choice of grey print on the cream background makes your post very difficult to read for some one like me with less than perfect eyesight.  Good old black is always much easier.  Hope you don't mind me mentioning it.


  13. [quote user="DerekJ"]

    So how would this effect me as a potential second home purchaser with no intent of taking out French residency and planning to be in France less than  6 months/year?  My plan has been to cover health requirements via EHIC and normal holiday insurance cover. Am I missing something?  [/quote]

    What you plan to do is absolutely fine, Derek, and is what we've been doing for the past 5 years.  The need for private health insurance / E121 is only for those intending to move to France permanently.

  14. [quote user="runningdog"]  In 72 years I have never had a broken bone or serious illness in my life apart from my heart which has 100% cover.  My wife is similarly healthy except for thyroid problems for which the prescription charges are €1.40 per month.  The jury is still out on this one because €150 per month buys a lot of healthcare which in all probability we shall not need.[/quote]

    David, I'd want to add to what you've written the words "so far".  Just because you've been healthy up til now does NOT mean that this happy state will continue. In fact as you get older and your body starts to wear out, it sadly won't.  None of us knows what lies around the corner. I've had breast cancer twice, at 52 and 59, and would have called myself very healthy before I was diagnosed.  It came out of the blue and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have to worry about the possibility of facing a big bill for part of my treatment. The tablets I'm on now cost the NHS almost £1000 a year and I'm on them indefinitely, hopefully to prevent the cancer coming back yet again.  And as Russethouse has pointed out, accidents happen to the best of us and cannot be foreseen.....

    Doing without top-up insurance sounds like a false economy to me.

  15. [quote user="Pangloss"]

    As we're not builders ourselves we will only be buying outbuildings with good walls and roofs (though we have noticed that roofs rarely have waterproof membranes so will at the least need for the tiles to come off and be relaid with a membrane).[/quote]

    Our renovation was done in bits and pieces over some years, so can't help with ballpark figures, but it always turns out to cost more than you think. [:(] As far as roofs and membranes are concerned, even in green and moist Normandy, the new roof that had been put on our cottage before we bought it (the old blew off in a very bad storm) doesn't have a waterproof membrane and never leaks.

  16. [quote user="Will"]

    Up to about seven or eight years ago the POTC was free for all, anybody could join (like the similar Cercle Voyageur equivalent which was operated by the French end of the company but now seems to have disappeared from the web site). Then, about the time we joined, they wanted a French address, verified by utility bill in your name or copy of the notaire's attestation, to prove that you actually were a French house owner.....

    I think one of the best benefits of POTC is the free or half-price day cabins.  [/quote]

    Thanks for explaining that, Will. I now know how a Francophile friend of ours became a member eithout owning a house. When we joined 5 years ago, we had to send a copy of the attestation to prove our ownership and I naturally assumed that had always been the case.  Mystery solved. [:)]

    I'd agree entirely that the reduced rate/free cabins are a big bonus, which we make use of every time we come across.

  17. Hi Goldfish, really hope you manage to realise your dream. My only bit of advice would be not to spend too much time online looking at houses, enjoyable as this is. [:)]  As you've already found out, websites don't always get updated regularly and you could fall fruitlessly in love with a lot of houses. Much better to research areas and go across whenever you can to get the feel of the areas you are starting to favour and look in estate agents' windows. So many houses never make it onto websites  - ours didn't even make it onto a sheet of details, as we were shown it the day after the agent had been mandated to sell it and had our offer accepted the following day.
  18. [quote user="oakbri"]

    Probably better off ignoring the numbers as they seem very inaccurate, especially when it comes to the number of muslim schools, they say 2 when this site (which incidentally is a muslim education website, states 127) http://www.ams-uk.org/


    No inaccuracy, oakbri.  Betty's statistics mention only state schools, whereas the ones you refer to cover all Muslim schools.  At present almost all Muslim schools asre privately funded.

  19. [quote user="Chief"]

    Expanding this a little then.  What isd your position on female firefighters?  Reason i ask, they are not permitted to fight fires in radioactive environments in case of damage to their reproductive organs.  Fortunately male firefighters don't have reproductive organs so i guess thats okay........ [/quote]

    Chief, I think the likely reason for this ruling is that a woman firefighter might be in the very early stages of pregnancy without knowing it. Exposure to radioactivity at this crucial state of development could very badly damage the embryo.

  20. [quote user="You can call me Betty"]

    Among the huge number of righteously indignant people on this thread protesting in the strongest possible terms about the erosion of British society evidenced by the lack of school nativity plays, how many of you are in fact practising Christians and regular churchgoers? Because unless it actually means enough to you to actually maintain it, then regrettably you've only got yourselves to blame when it disappears. The Government doesn't make you go to church, or prevent you from doing so. It's a matter for you, your conscience and your personal choice. If you want to defend your right to a set of traditions based on traditional Christian values, then what about the other 364 days a year when you could be upholding them? [/quote]

    I can't answer for anyone else, Betty, but as a retired parish priest and an active Christian for the last 30-odd years, I see no evidence of the disappearance of nativity plays and have already said so. My middle grandson was a star in his KS1 nativity play last term and the elder has been in similar plays in the past.  From my experience as somone who for some years went regularly into primary schools to do assemblies and attend Christmas productions, as well as being a foundation governor at the local C of E school in my last parish, many schools tend to alternate a more or les traditional nativity one year and a more secular Christmas production such as "Scrooge" the next. Alternatively others get the "infants" (KS1) children to do a nativity while the older children do a play or a musical.  Given that a substantial minorityof primary schools are C of E schools, I doubt there is any need to fear for the disappearance of the traditional nativity play. However, given also that nativity plays can unfortunately give the impression that the Christmas (and therefore Christian) story is only for children young enough to be made to wear angel wings and tea-towel head-dresses, perhaps I shouldn't be so upbeat about their survival.....[8-)]

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