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Everything posted by JandM

  1. We've been with the same insurer through the same broker for ever, but want to change after the current policy term expires because, as is so common in Britain, they're taking the pee with ever upward premiums as the reward for our loyalty. We've found a new insurer who can more than halve this year's quote. I know nothing about the French insurance regime except that insurers are entitled to six weeks notice, which I have just given. But my soon to be ex broker has written to say that two months notice is required, or I could use the 'Loi Hamon' route. Anyone been through this route recently who can throw some light on the situation? Cheers James
  2. While reading the political discussions on this forum I often wonder about the age, circumstances, social and economic profiles etc of the posters and, with regard to Brexit, of which way we hang, as it were. Without any real evidence at all, I have always assumed that we are generally retired and, while not wealthy, fit somewhere into one of the ABC1 socio-economic brackets. As to age, we're quite ancient aren't we? On Brexit, I'm surprised that so many posters are so very hostile to the EU. Or is it just that Brexiteers are more vocal? Anyone prepared to give their vital statistics? I'll start: Male and partnered Age 54 Still working Middle class (but no money) Live in London and Dept 47 Voted Remain General politics - Lib dem supporter
  3. Does the report give the same information in terms of percentage of the respective GDPs for the UK and for the remaining 27? I didn't analyse the entire document but I didn't come across it.
  4. Interesting . Something to Google. Thanks.
  5. There's no forestry section on this forum, so I'm posting this query in Gardening. In the woods just beyond the boundary of our land (in Lot et Garonne) a number of trees have had the lower parts of their trunks smeared with a thick black substance. It looks like tar, and definitely has a smokey smell. It actually smells more like the fake barbecue stuff that flavoured foods get cooked in. We think it's almost certainly something to do with the local hunt. The chasse will be slaughtering boar and deer in a few weeks, so perhaps it attracts the quarry? Anyone got any info?
  6. I'd forgotten I'd ever posted this request. Thanks for the responses, although I don't think that the subject has set the forum alight.. In the end we've used a groomer called Club Bibi in central Agen. They were fine and, despite our rather poor French, did what we wanted them to do. We paid 45 euro for a wash and cut for a standard schnauzer, which compares well with what we pay in the UK. The grooming guidelines for the breed are obviously more or less international, but the coat was cut noticeably shorter in France, which I think I prefer. Good for the hot weather.
  7. I hope the Marines were understanding about your son's late arrival, HSD. Well, here's my London-to-Bordeaux-at-the-height-of-the-strike experience: I made it to Paris from St Pancras with no delays (my companion had bad motion sickness on Eurostar, threw up three times on the train and turned straight back home as soon as we got to Gare du Nord, but that's another story..) The Monparnasse-Bordeaux/Agen train was packed to the gunnels and late, but it at least it ran and I had a seat, unlike so many of the poor sods from cancelled trains who crammed themselves in. My return train, however, was cancelled, but I managed to get the next one, which itself was late, and found an unreserved seat, although I had to move twice during the journey. We arrived in Paris 40 minutes late and, because I was already on a later train I only had 45 minutes to make my Eurostar connection (metro journey: 35 minutes. No hope) but I went through the motions of hurrying. But on arriving at Gare du Nord 8 minutes before my train was due to leave, I found that there were scores of others arriving and Eurostar was holding the train, and waiving the requirement to check in 30 minutes in advance. Big relief and thanks to Eurostar for exercising good sense and even better customer relations. Once on the train though there was a group of moaners complaining loudly about the number of people holding up the train . I guess transport companies just can't win.
  8. Thanks All, Useful info. I've decided to set off and see what happens. What could possibly go wrong..?
  9. I'm supposed to be taking the train from London to Bordeaux this coming Monday 6th June. I've been trying to gauge the strength of the train strikes. It seems that Eurostar to Paris is unaffected, but the freshest news I can find on French internal rail is a Reuters report from yesterday saying that the strike is weakening. But the death of Muhummad Ali seems to have wiped everything else off the agenda today so the news has tried up. Anyone got any more up to date information on where the strike's going?
  10. It's a stretch putting this in the French Language box because it's about the English language, but there you are. There isn't a box for English, but it's language nonetheless. Can anybody explain the difference between "while" and "whilst"? I was asked by a francophone Belgian the other week, and was completely stumped for an answer, except to say that whilst is used by people who want to sound more educated than they really are, like the policeman who says: "I was proceeding in a northerly direction." A bit snobbish and probably wrong, but that's why I avoid the word. I wouldn't mind the use of whilst if those who use it also said wouldst and shouldst etcetera, but you don't often hear or see these words, while whilst is rife. Maybe it's to confuse foreigners?
  11. Three plants could make an 80 foot hedge, but it would have two enormous gaps in it :-) Good to know that deer haven't eaten your plants, Patf. There might be hope for us. They will be close to the house but as we're away for up to three months at a time, I imagine that they'll come right up anyway. We'll propagate by cutting six inch long shoots and letting them make roots in water before planting them out. I'll plant two rows, staggered at 12 inches apart, so I'm going to need about 160 plants. Come to think of it, three plants might not be enough. Still, I'll see how it goes.
  12. We're hatching a plan to replace the lavender surrounding the terrace with sedum. The lavender keeps dying on us - probably because it gets half buried under oak leaves for part of the winter. I tried improving the drainage a couple of years ago, but it didn't make any difference. Also lavender doesn't look that great outside the flowering season. So, time for a change. We're going to use sedum 'Autumn Joy', which I think is the most commonly grown garden variety. It grows to about 2 feet, is be about the same height as the lavender and carries on looking good after flowering, right through to late winter. Plus, it's just as drought resistant as lavender and will be far less scratchy on the hands when weeding in and around it. Plus plus, it is easy and cheap to propagate, so I reckon we'll get a 80 foot hedge out of two or three bought plants. But there's a but. I've just been reading that deer like sedum. There's no way we can keep deer out of our garden, so are we likely to be wasting our time, producing nothing but fodder for our cervine visitors? Anyone had any experience here, or thoughts?
  13. JandM

    Dog Excrement.

    [quote user="Mr Wiggy"]I did drop some into an offender's post box after I pressed it flat, setting alight to it is a bit too drastic and I think illegal as it could be classed as Arson.[/quote] You really did that? Didn't it escalate a relatively minor (albeit extremely annoying) problem into a major dispute? If someone put dog shit into my post box, no matter how justified they thought themselves to be, I think I'd probably notify the police.
  14. Can anyone recommend a dog groomer within an hour or so of Agen (47)? We're spending six months in France this year so we'll need to get the dog - a schnauzer - cut at least once while we're there. If it's very hot perhaps more often. There seem to be plenty of groomers around, but using one that folk on this forum know and love would be great.
  15. I've always believed that that Montreuil is the one Victor Hugo set some of Les Miserables in.
  16. JandM


    Assuming it's the most common type, it'll be pretty easy to keep alive. They like it warm and don't mind central heating. I keep mind by a south facing window in winter and move them about a metre away from the window in summer. If the window faces east or west the plant can stay put all year round. Water regularly but don't let it stand in water - pour excess away. Then you pretty much leave it to its own devices. The RHS always gives good advice, so look at this.. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=388
  17. I read in an old Rough Guide to France once that the South West appeals to the Brits, or at least the English, because it reminds them of how home was 50 years ago. Or how they fondly imagine home was like anyway. Certainly the landscapes and climates have similarities, albeit the somewhat steamier SW French summers. As for snobbery, I don't think I've ever met anyone in the UK save those who holiday down there who has heard of Lot et Garonne, Gard, or Gers etc. Maybe there's a very vague awareness of the Dordogne, but that's about it. As for snobbery, I suspect that albf is guilty of snobbery him/herself, appearing to enjoy despising all those English speakers and their kids bursting onto the Bergerac-bound flights.
  18. I was speaking from experience, Araucaria, which I thought was standard, but the range of accounts here shows how awkward and capricious the system can be. In my case, I booked an aller et retour trip over this last summer from Agen to St Pancras using the SNCF site. Collected the four tickets which covered the four legs of the return trip, which was via Monparnasse and Gare du Nord, and, apart from it taking two attempts with the machine on the Agen station concourse, it all went smoothly. And I've just checked with a friend who did the same return journey in reverse, starting at St Pancras, and he says he got all four tickets from the machine in London. I don't know about the Eurostar site, but when I booked with SNCF it offered you a pdf that explained with pictures and all how to use the touch screen ticket machines. Of course I didn't bother to print it, which is why I came unstuck at the point of collection and it took more than one go.
  19. If the trip was booked in one go, the machine will give the ticket for each leg all at once at the outset. If it's a return journey Mrs D71 should get four tickets. Mind you, if she manages to get the transaction right first time and without asking for help from the attendant she'll have done well. It's over complicated.
  20. Looking at the situation from the other end, perhaps Dutch directness could be seen as honesty. And British - or English, as many on this site would say - tact or politeness may in turn by them be seen as duplicity. I've worked with many a non-Brit who's complained, only half jokingly, that we never say what we mean. The good thing about direct people is that you can generally be direct right back without their taking offence. Generally.. As to the lower markings for the B&B, I do think the Dutch and Flemish tend to be fanatically clean, and a tad judgmental towards others on the subject, a tedious failing on their part.
  21. ..and how do you post up other people's quotes without getting all that gibberish!!?
  22. [quote user="Chancer"]What makes you think that I dont "get it" and why should that worry you? Just because I found the cartoon very distastefull does not mean that I cannot understand and/or respect the viewpoint of others, condemning those that dont "get it" seems to me to be no different to the way that ISIS, or extremists of any religion behave. Why should we all have to be with Voltaire or anyone on this or any other subject? I found one of the replies on this thread to be as distastefull as the cartoon but I still "get" where they are coming from. [/quote] Chancer, if it's my post that you're responding to... I've no idea whether you 'get it' or not. I wasn't referring to anything that you'd said. I was actually thinking of the OP's comments.
  23. Well said idun. We all have to be with Voltaire on this. However offensive CH's latest cartoon offerings might be, Je suis Charlie is all about supporting the right to freedom of expression, which includes being offensive. That there are people outside the world of these Islamist maniacs who don't get that is worrying.
  24. I've googled all the suggested terms and they've all thrown up similar sets of images. So now I'm spoilt for choice in the terms I use. Thanks to everyone for the help. In fact I'm not looking for builders, but plans and materials costs as we're going to build it ourselves. As a follow up, anyone got any advice, warnings, (accusations of reckless stupidity)?
  25. Thanks Andy. That's exactly the thing. Cheers.
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