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Posts posted by KathyF


    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. [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.

  4. [quote user="pachapapa"]

    I was told that 10 years was required, if less get stuffed.

    Geordie politeness!


    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.

    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.


    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.

  7. 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. [:)]

  8. 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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