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Everything posted by bannie

  1. Pauline, is it possible you could investigate whether your husband could just pay for the last 2 years NI he has missed so he qualifies for cover. I've just been advised to keep paying (self employed Class 2) when we move over next month so I can get cover until I reach retirement age. www.direct.gov.uk/pensions
  2. Maybe this will put you in touch with other artists/illustrators - www.creativefrance.ning.com I'm a botanical artist about to move to Dept 79 (for now) but I'll just continue doing what I've done in the UK. good luck Annie
  3. For us they have been brilliant, we've had more bookings than we ever hoped for - Christmas too - with visitors from Canada/Australia and Belgium but mostly Brits. Ours is a home too and the list is a guide, we have much more in the way of kitchen equipment and the furnishings are not Ikea! They do like you to have 'new' matching utensils etc which isn't unreasonable. If you'd like more specific info, please email me Post edited by the moderators. Please do not post your personal details on the message boards.
  4. Oops - should be www.welcomecottages.com (forgot the e)
  5. Yes - we have used Welcome Cottages for past 7 years, very good for us, good bookings last year too and bookings coming in for next year. They are a big company (Cottages4You and others in group) so advertise heavily and handle all the booking/deposits insurance problems etc if you are too busy to do all that yourselves. They were the only company willing to take us on at the time as our Gite is in a town and we certainly can't complain about them. www.welcomcottages.com - 0845 268 0816 Simon Law email me if you would like more detailed info Good luck
  6. We are Uk resident with a maison secondaire as a gite and this year is much the same as last (24 weeks), the only difference being the bookings for August came in a bit later than normal (folk fed up with the weather?) It's a 2 bedroom gite in tourist town so cheaper than hotels and we're getting bookings for 2010, a bit earlier than last year, again maybe because of the weather. Lets hope all the bookings continue and sterling recovers a bit for the visitors!
  7. We've put several agave in pots sunk into gravel between the olives with some house leaks that have begun to spread in a few places with a curry plant/rosemary and lavendar. We lift the agave pots out autumn/winter until spring as they're not keen on freezing and the wet but look good and are easy to maintain in between visits as are the other things. Phlomus (?? yellow flowers) things with small greyish leaves everlasting wallflower bush, senecio etc.
  8. We have been with Welcome for 5 or 6 years now, our gite is small, 2 to 4 people max (2 double bedrooms) and we get almost continuous bookings and repeat visitors. They were the only company to take us on as it's a town gite, so certainly no complaints about their marketing for our property. Email if you would like more info.
  9. Sorry the above was in response to Vespa Re: short breaks
  10. We considered letting our Gite for short breaks but decided against as you still have the same cleaning /laundry costs for 3/4 days as you do for a week and you would receive less for the rental too. Hasn't made any difference to bookings (ours is only a small gite, max 4 people - 2 double bedrooms) but most bookings are for couples as it's in a town. If you are living in France it probably wouldn't matter so much if you were doing the changeovers yourselves but we are still in the UK.
  11. Figs like to have their roots constrained so would be great in pot, big architectural leaves for shade and they like to be treated mean (survive without much water). Bamboo lovely but will need watering
  12. Yes, we charge per person for towels/linen, some people prefer to bring their own and like previous post we don't want to increase the overall weekly charge for everyone. I always speak to them a week before so they have the option and if traveling by rail/flying, I tend to not charge especially in the more expensive weeks. We supply plenty of loo roles/cleaning and everything else and charges from the caretaker to do the washing is what we charge visitors.
  13. What about a fig (edible type), decorative large leaves and easy to train to whatever shape/space you have and you get fruit too
  14. Yes - think we all remember the good bits and gloss over the embarrassing bits!
  15. Ooh, never had that - would put burglars off though and maybe our neighbour who plays the Sex pistols at full volume to new visitors!
  16. Good and bad points about glass doors - At least you can see if they want to come in without having to open the door and look for them, especially in winter - bad side was our male Airedale used to play 'knock down ginger', he'd stand there tail wagging, see you coming and belt off up the garden! (he never did tire of this) You can see what they're up to without them hearing you open the door. Easier to clean glass than keep painting wooden doors.
  17. Agree with oscar - it covers all the running costs and pays for our trips several times a year, spending money and general upkeep and improvements to the property plus some left over (if we haven't gone mad). We get some hardy types who stay in the winter months and even had Australians staying one Christmas! Depends where your house is though, if it's a town or near a town the season may be longer. We prefer to have the house occupied even if you can't charge much in Jan/Feb, at least the house is kept warm. Who knows what next year will bring!
  18. Have now sorted out 'linen' charges - think I misunderstood the way the charges worked, my mistake - worked out it was going to cost about €80 per person just for laundry! Thankfully all clarified and affordable now.
  19. Also still in the UK so happy to use professional companies. We have used Welcome cottages (not sure if I'm allowed to mention them by name) for about 4 years - excellent, lots of bookings and they sort out all the insurance etc. You may get more money by doing it privately but it's no good if you don't get the bookings. They do not do the changeovers though. We had a one man operation doing changeovers but recently had problems but we're just about to meet a new changeover company when we're over next week, they seem very flexible and all their fees are set out so no surprises, again may seem slightly more expensive but want to avoid problems with not being able to clean and leaving us stuck! Will let you know about new company if you are interested when we get back, they seem to operate in several areas.
  20. Trouble is, ours is a small town Gite usually rented by couples, sometime 2 couples and solidly booked the majority of the year, so the costs for linen over a season would be disproportionate to rental income particularly during months of October to April. We include tea towels and shower mats etc anyway. Thanks Sue and Pete, think we'll do as you suggest and just explain to visitors - sure they'd rather bring their own towels than pay so much extra for their holiday!
  21. Currently we charge for linen/towel hire €12 per person (€24 per couple) and they leave the cash for the caretakers. Our new caretakers are going to charge per item and this will amount to quite an increase - (more than double) in our costs that we couldn't pass on to visitors. We could get round it by just supplying bed linen and shower mat and ask visitors to supply their own towels - what do you think?
  22. Good picture framers seem to be in short supply - I've tried some from the Big DIY places but not that inspiring - would you do conservation framing ? and arrange packing/export of paintings. There's a wholesale supplier of all types of framing materials in Brittany area (can't name) so there must be a call for specialist framers. AP Dept 49
  23. Yes - I'd be interested next year when we move out to Dept 49 ish. More details would be helpful when you have it
  24. I'm moving to France during next 6 months and would like to continue to sell paintings (I hope) in US and Europe - would you be able to recommend picture framer/shipper for artworks. I'll be around Dept 49 ish (Loire) but prepared to travel if needs be.
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