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Everything posted by KathyF

  1.   My vote would certainly be for Spanish in terms of future usefulness and I gather it's also a much easier language to learn. My school didn't offer it, so I took German as my second modern language and loved it, finally specialising in it at university. When in Prague I noticed how many menus were given in Czech and German, even when not in English, but I think this was for the benefit of the many German tourists rather than the natives. [:)]  
  2. But again not without having the chance to meet the couple first, Will. I am a retired Anglican priest, but I still need a licence from my diocesan bishop to officiate in my home diocese, and permission from the relevant bishop to do so elsewhere, and there are guidelines I'm expected to adhere to. If I officiate at a marriage blessing I'm doing so in the name of the church and can't just do as I please. This is why the original poster is having such problems.
  3. So pleased to hear this, Coops. Now to get on with your life again. [:D]
  4. So pleased to hear this, Coops. Now to get on with your life again. [:D]
  5. [quote user="Hoddy"]I wonder if it's something to do with people having their children older these days ? When I had my children my mother was still working herself so the question didn't arise.....[/quote] That was the situation for MOH and me when our two were born, plus the fact that we lived well over a hundred miles away (in two different directions) from both sets of grandparents. We simply had to bite the bullet and pay for childcare where necessary. When our two grew up they left Wales to go to university and never returned there to live afterwards.  I was still working when they had their children and though now retired, as they both live about 160 miles away (again in different directions) I've never been able to do any regular childcare. We've stepped into the breach occasionally in school holidays, but otherwise our children have had to be as self-reliant in looking after their own children as their parents were.
  6. Brilliant news, Coops! [:D] Good to hear that you and your entourage are up and about.  They don't leave us lying in bed long these days....
  7. Glad the scan and bloods results were good, Coops, and hope the procedure today went well. All good wishes.
  8. I'm one of those who, as a shy new university student in 1965, was taken in by the "smoking is sexy" line and spent the next 10 years trying to give up. I finally did so at the age of 30 and now can hardly bear to be in the same room as someone who is smoking. Thank goodness for the smoking bans.
  9. Just use a wine saver cork and pump to expel the air and you can keep for as long as you're likely to need to, Idun. I'm a light drinker and MOH hardly drinks at all, so this is what I do to save waste when I open a bottle of wine.
  10. Vintage indeed! [:)]  Somewhere we still have our old manual typewriter (an Adler).  I have the kind of husband who won't get rid of it - just in case....[;-)]
  11. [quote user="pachapapa"]I was told that 10 years was required, if less get stuffed. Geordie politeness! [/quote] That used to be the case, PPP, but the rules have changed and for those reaching retirement age after April 2010, every year of contributions up to the maximum of 30 years will generate a certain amount of pension. My husband has just benefited from this at age 65, whereas I, retiring at 60, 5 years ago, missed out because I had less than 10 years.
  12. Well said, Coops and I join you in the good wishes. Happy birthday, Mr Coops.
  13. Our daughter is a solicitor in a commercial firm where she specialises in pensions law and she would agree with every word you've just written, Betty. She reckons she'll be lucky if she's able to retire before she's 70 (she's 40 at the moment) and is certainly not on a final-salary scheme.
  14. In that case your level of French language skills will be important, as you cannot rely on French clients speaking English  How good is your French?
  15.   I've just caught up with this thread, Rose, and am so glad you wrote and that your friend was able to write openly in return. My experience of being with those terminally ill and dying is that they really need and appreciate being able to speak of what matters most to them and enabling your friend to do this is one of the biggest gifts you can give her in these last months of her life. So often families try to change the subject when difficult subjects like funerals are mentioned, partrly because they want to spare the ill person and partly to spare themselves having to acknowledge what they would rather deny - that the person they love is going to die very soon. Time is too short for this kind of evasion, so go on writing as long as you can and let her tell you what is on her heart.
  16.   And the striking teachers and students and transport staff and....and....  Choose to live in France by all means, but to see only the bad in the UK and appear to ignore the bad in France seems a bit one-sided to me.
  17.   We have a second home just over 6 miles NW of Mortain and spend every summer there. We love the area for all the reasons Catalpa expresses and are so glad we found it.  If you want guaranteed sun all summer don't buy in southern Manche, but if you want a beautiful, peaceful area, with lots of history, enough to do and easy access from the UK, I don't think it can be bettered.  We always travel Portsmouth to Caen and the journey from the port to our house is well under 2 hours, even in our slow and overloaded camper van. [:)] Happy house-hunting.
  18. Hardly undiluted good news in my book, since it only means that pensions will be catching up with the increases in energy, transport and food prices that have already happened..  Our LPG price went up by 9p a litre this month and that's the second big hike this year. [:(]
  19. We have a small (86m2) two bed/2 shower-room house (second home), with living room and kitchen/diner, on 1660m2 of land and last year our taxe fonciere was 263 euros and taxe d'habitation 183 euros (no TV).  No avis yet received for 2011. In 2006, when the basic renovation was finished, we filled in the dreaded H1 form, and in 2008, after the normal 2 years grace, our taxe fonciere went up from 115 euros to 238 euros and the taxe d'habitation from 77 euros to 163 euros. Since we had doubled the floor area by incorporating an existing store-room extension into the ground floor (for kitchen/diner and shower-room) and adding a bedroom and shower-room to the single bedroom in the grenier, we didn't think the increase was at all unreasonable. The poor old man who'd lived there before had cooked over an open fire in his living-room and had a single cold tap, the loo being in the shed across the garden. I'm guessing that the main reason for the still very reasonable local taxes has to be that our house is in a tiny commune (220 inhabitants) where there are no public works other than basic maintenance to our 3 civic buildings (mairie/church/salles des fetes) and of course road maintenace in the bourg. If we add our third bedroom and ensuite loo as planned, plus a shed in the garden, I expect our joint taxes will creep over the 600 euro mark when the 2 years grace is ended. [:)]
  20. We're hoping to add a downstairs bedroom to our French house, with an ensuite loo and basin. Like Sweet, I'm willing to cough up the extra tax as there's no way I'd have a loo without a basin.  One of my sisters lives in an ex-council house in the UK, built in the 1960s/70s, and there the loo is separate from the bathroom and doesn't have a basin. [8-)]
  21. Val, we didn't do any of the work ourselves as it's a second home, but it involved several metres of new pipe being laid from the old external turn-off point to the new meter and the old internal meter being removed. I didn't think the cost was too bad.
  22. We paid 368.79 euros TTC for a similar procedure 5 years ago (internal meter to become new external meter).  This was with Veolia, if that makes any difference.
  23. The forum will be quieter without you, Norman, so hurry up and get well soon. [:)]  All the very best for your treatment.
  24. I've never visited the Dordogne, but it certainly looked very pretty indeed, Rose. I thought the programme was better than I had expected and I'll probably watch again. Nothing very deep or insightful, but a pleasant glimpse of people trying to make a living in a different country and apparently succeeding quite well.
  25. I've never heard this and think you may be confusing plus value tax with taxe d'habitation, liability for which can be reduced or even renoved if you are over retirement age and on a small enough income. Hopefully one of our more knowledgeable members will be along with more information soon.
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