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Everything posted by Lucinda

  1. It is a thriving business AT THE MOMENT!!! Don't forget most weddings have been booked 1-2 years in advance so the wedding market is not seeing the downturn just yet! 2010 will be the telling year! Sorry can't help with Chateaux in Entre deux Mers but can in the Dordogne!
  2. Use the French sausage meat but add one third breadcrumbs and it will be just fine - been doing this for Scotch Eggs for years now. Also a bit of seasoning doesn't go amiss. Lucinda
  3. I would agree - you need to give people plenty of time to make their travel arrangements - I have weddings booked right up until October and they have all sent out their invitations already. Lucinda
  4. http://www.cnsmdp.fr/english/interface/frame/frame_all.htm You will find the Conservatoire in most big cities in France. Hope this helps.  
  5. We bought ours from Darty - all stores carry stock.  
  6. Stick with the roast dinner on a Sunday for a treat. There is always a fair bit left over so grind ALL the leftovers down in a food processor. Boil and mash a couple of potatoes and mix these in with your leftovers and seasoon to taste. Shape into small patties - flour, egg and breadcrumb (using breadcrumbs made from any stale bread you have) and you have delicious rissoles which can be either fried or oven baked. You can also freeze these very sucessfully for future meals. Breadcrumbs will also freeze so you never need to throw any bread out. Use any vegetables that you may have overbought or have in excess to make Minestrone Soup - delicious and very nutritious. Fishcakes - the same principal as the rissoles only you use a can of tuna or salmon and an onion to add taste instead of your leftovers. Again cheap and nutritious. Lucinda
  7. We do exactly the same!!!! Only we use sheets of fibreglass that have the aluminum on one side!! On the south side my OH did a DIY double glazing job by buying the glass cut to size - some battening and a little putty. Both jobs save an enormous amount of heat loss from the house. Lucinda
  8. I too have a positive experience of the education system here - after 14 years I have one who is two years off qualifying as a vet and an 18 year old who is her first year of Pharmacy (I will let you know if she gets a place for 2nd year after the concours in May!!). We did the small village school, slightly bigger canton college, large town Lycee, City further education route - have been very involved at every stage (knowledge not interference) and have two very happy young adults!!!!      
  9. Similar here - although I think it is Horse Chestnut and not Sweet Chestnut trees that are affected. We have a 300 year old Horse Chestnut tree in front of our house that has been affected by this canker.  I am waiting until next spring to make the decision to fell it. I don't want to but it is beginning to look inevitable - other trees in our village are in the same condition.
  10. [quote user="OldyamYams"] Vauxhall refused to do anything about it said it was out of warranty ..........................................I wouldn't touch Vauxhall with a barge pole. Dave [/quote] And I have had the exact same attitude from Opel even though the car has had problems from day one. I even contacted GM France who effectively gave me the gallic shrug over the phone and refused to put any reasons for refusing to help in writing.    
  11. Don't buy Vauxhall/Opel!!!!!!!!! Sorry but I have had a terrible experience with a General Motors car!!! I have a 4 year old Astra with 30,000kms on the clock and have had NOTHING but problems with it. Do Opel want to know? NO!! Do GM want to know? NO!! Great cars just so long as you don't have a problem - if you do then you are on your own!! My Astra needs more money than I have spent on it just to make it right - and I can't even get the parts from an independent person because GM have the market completely tied up and the parts are ONLY available through Opel!!!    
  12. I use Cider Vinegar which is actually much nearer to Malt Vinegar when pickling. My onions keep crisp for years - agreed it is the brining that is essentail. You can buy pickling onions here in the Dordogne but I think it may be a bit late in the season now - I usually buy then in August/September time.
  13. Definitely try to get Jack here so that he can do the last year of Primary school (CM2) - it will give him time to adjust to the new system and to pick up the language without being under too much pressure. The first year of College can be a bit stressful as it's the year that the children are assessed to find out their levels of competence in all subjects. In the meantime try to get Jack French language lessons so that he has a reasonable level of French when he starts at school here. Simon only had two terms in CM2 before going to college but we had a very good teacher who saw his potential and made sure that he was brought up to speed. I'm not saying it will be easy for Jack but you can certainly help him by making sure he is fully prepared for his new life in France. Lucinda
  14. No probs - we've got full length glass doors and our three lounge lizards - sorry, Labradors - have never been able to scratch the glass . Now the wooden back door..................gouged like crazy!!  
  15. Hi Panda, I'm glad you've found my comments encouraging. My two are by no means the exception - there are an awful lot of success stories out there - but people tend not to spread good news - doom and gloom often seems to be the order of the day which is a real shame.  IT is something that is being addressed but, as with all things in the French system, it is taking time to implement. Hopefully, your son will have exposure to that when he moves on to college in the next year or so. Lucinda 
  16. [quote user="Daft Doctor"] Thanks very much lucinda.  I checked out the BAC pass rates for the Lycee local to where we hope to relocate, but wondered what is considered to be a good percentage of students passing (I realise that the higher the better of course but wondered if there is a benchmark figure which suggests a school is doing well)? Also we wondered what the availability and level of IT education was in French schools these days, and at what stage IT tends to be introduced into the curriculum? Any help you can offer is gratefully received       [/quote]   Pass rates will vary depending on the type of Bac taken - as a benchmark you should look at the pass rates for the Bac S as this is considered to be the most difficult Bac of all for various reasons. If your local Lycee is getting around 75% of it's students through then that's fairly good. Be warned though Colleges and Lycees can change within a matter of a year if the Proviseur changes. The College my two went to had a terrible reputation when our son started there - I was told NOT to send him there by many people. Within two years the head had changed and a lot of improvement was seen. Then it became THE college to go to!! As for IT education - this varies and is on the change. Certainly my two had none whatsoever - they are entirely self-taught in that respect. I do know though that this is changing rapidly but again level of provision can vary from region to region and even from school to school. It is something that you need to acertain for yourself when you visit the proposed school. Sorry I can't really answer more definitely on that particular subject.  Hope this helps. Lucinda
  17. My son joined the French education system shortly after his 10th birthday - he's now in his 5th year (of 7) towards becoming a Vet. Daughter was 5 when she joined the system and is in 1st year of Pharmacy. The system (in it's early stages) is very easy to understand. Children are assessed yearly and redouble if they are not keeping up. In the last year of college (usually age 14 or 15) they take their Brevet - sort of like the old school leaving cert. Most go on to Lycee to do a Bac - there are three levels of Bac - Bac Pro where you are expected to go out to work afterwards. These Bacs are very much oriented to the practical. The technical Bacs after which it is usual to go on to do a BTS or some such short education course. Bac S, ES or L - the pure Bacs - after which you are expected to go on to longer education courses (Uni or Classes Preparatoires). The general pass rate for all Bacs is 10/20 (50%) but you will be reassessed is your pass is between 8/20 and 9.9/20 to find out if there were reasons as to why you did not get the required minimum. Depending on what you wish to do after Bac really determines what is considered a good pass. If you want to get into Prepas, for instance, you would be expected to have passed your Bac with a mention bien (above 14/20). Once you get into the Prepas/Uni system things get a little more complicated because there are quite often "concours" to get into certain career paths. An example is my daughter - 1st year of Pharmacy. Currently there are 500 pupils in her year. There is a concours in May and there are 131 place available for 2nd year Pharmacy. Once through the concours, providing your work is up to standard, you will remain on the path to qualifying. Veterinary Science is even more difficult - out of the 2500 candidates most years there are only 370 places for them countrywide!! Concours are competitions - it is the first (best) of the available numbers past the post who get offered the places. My advice to you would be to look at the available schools in the area that you are looking to move to. Choose a school that you feel will suit your child - often for non-French speaking children smaller schools are more comfortable in the first instance. Take an active but not interfering interest in every aspect of your child's education - ask the teachers if you do not understand something that is happening. In the meantime - invest in some French language lessons for your child so that he/she gets here able to communicate with his/her classmates. Hope that all helps - ask anything more specific if you like - I have a wealth of information but don't want to make the first answer too long and complicated. Lucinda     
  18. The Grand Ecoles are not considered as Universities - they take the very best pupils after Classes Preparatoires (2 years after Bac) - Of my daughters Terminale class 2007/8 over half went to Prepas so they will likely end up in Grande Ecoles and not in the Uni system and are not included in the tables. It's a bit complicated but that's partly why the French Unis don't figure in the top 100!
  19. How about Department 36 - Chateauroux???????!!!!  
  20. I wish I was but, seriously, it is one of the things they have to do!!!!
  21. [quote user="Quillan"]Perhaps parking should be a compulsory part of the French driving test.[/quote] Believe it or not - IT IS!!!!
  22. Yes, she had to do that. She also had to "keep up" with the traffic which basically involved tailgating - if you're in a 50 you DO 50 even if it means being on someone's bumper. The handbrake is a "parking" brake - you don't use it unless parked even if it means rolling back in a queue of traffic when waiting to take off. Drive as close to the centre white line in the road as possible.......................... do you want me to go on? [blink] Lucinda
  23. It's the way they're taught to drive!!! Our daughter passed her test in June - she had to do some really diabolical driving to get through the test!!! She did the Conduite Accompagne so we taught her how to drive properly and safely. However, she had to forget all that for the 45 minutes of her test!!!! Even she now criticises the French drivers (in gerneral, of course!!!) Lucinda
  24. Sympathies - I know how you feel. Just about getting used to not being followed everywhere by Cally who we lost a couple of weeks ago - her daughter has taken up the mantle now!!!! Lucinda
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