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Burgundy Maid

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  1. The point that we are making is that AVIVA are saying the reason that these extra forms of identification are requested is that we have left the UK to live abroad; therefore anyone leaving the UK to live abroad automatically becomes high risk in their view. The amount of money is not an issue and not taken into consideration; we have pointed out we are talking about less than 10k however they just return to the fact 'you have moved abroad'.

    In obtaining the certified copies of our passports we have been quoted 100€, which would leave us out of pocket in comparison with a UK resident who would not have to pay out that money; it is pure discrimination. As for doing a loan back etc we don't want to get involved with other financial matters such as that, losing out on a terminal bonus is out of the question. The endowment policy is already half the original amount so there is no bonus we know exactly how much we will get there is no more.

    In speaking to AVIVA today we said 'are you saying if it was the British Ambassador to France or an other form of diplomat they would still be seen as 'high risk'?' The response was most illuminating as a lot of waffle came out and the woman said, 'umm you aren't the ambassador are you?'

    As AVIVA are insisting that moving abroad is the 'problem' in their eyes, we feel it should, be 'you have moved abroad and' ............. or 'you have moved abroad but' ............. NOT just the fact we have moved abroad. We have also asked if someone moving to the UK from another country in the EU or anywhere else for that matter is treated the same but they refuse to answer.

    About four years ago we had another policy mature (not with AVIVA or their previous owner)  we signed the paperwork, sent it back and the money was paid no extra questions asked; it was a dream unlike this.

    In Coral's previous employment she had a view into how money laundering worked and no self respecting money landerer would pay low premiums from the same household account over 23 years for a low payout.  There has to be more than the fact you move abroad and it cannot be taken as the only criteria. It is the way people who have moved abroad, of which there are thousands in France alone, are treated in comparison to people who live in the UK. Moving abroad in itself is not  a risk, this includes all diplomats, and other people sent by their company to work in overseas offices, footballers transfered etc. the amount on the policy MUST also be taken into consideration.

    We are still in communication with AVIVA.

  2. We have had an small, old endowment policy for 23 years and we now wish to surrender it.

    We contacted AVIVA a month ago and asked for the relevant paperwork, we were told they won't pay into a bank account in France but as we still have our old bank account in the UK we said that was not a problem. After a couple of weeks nothing had arrived so we rang again and a duplicate form would be sent out however, the following day the original arrived which we completed and returned the same day.

    Yesterday we received a telephone call from AVIVA saying the bank details didn't match the paperwork we sent but their form doesn't have enough spaces for the bank account number so, reading from right to left we had entered as many digits as possible which they eventually agreed did match the paperwork. During the call they mentioned we needed a letter from our old mortgage company saying they had no further interest in the money (the mortgage was paid off 9 years ago.) On their paperwork they have the word 'assignee' but as lay people we have no idea what this means and as the mortgage was cleared 9 years ago thought there was no outstanding monies owed to anybody. We were then told we needed a letter from the building society saying they had no further interest in the matter. After a quick call to them a letter is on its way to AVIVA.

    Returning to the matter with AVIVA because this was out of the blue and the person on the phone agreed the form sent out us was didn't clarify what an 'assignee' was we asked to be transfered to a supervisor. In speaking to the supervisor he realised staff had not sent out sent out correct information because as we had moved abroad we were considered 'high risk' for money laundering purposes. Further proof of identity would be required in the form of a certified copy of our passports or driving licence or sending the original documents to their offices. On querying this it was confirmed this would not be required if we still lived in the UK as 'moving abroad puts you into a high risk category.'

    We explained that we had paid our premiums from the same bank account for 23 years and were asking for the payment to be made back to that account and the sum is less than ten thousand pounds in view of the poor performance of endowment policies but this is not taken into consideration.

    We were also told that should we let the policy run to maturity we would still have to provide the additional proof of identity.

    We are still, to put it politely, discussing the matter with AVIVA as to why moving abroad on its own makes someone a high risk. It would seem to us all this is a matter of delaying as long as possible the pay out.

    We spoke to Consumer Direct and the Financial Services Agency in the UK regarding the matter.  The people we spoke to there didn't know what was meant by 'assignee' and they said under no circumstances send original documents as this can lead to identity theft. The FSA say AVIVA have taken the FSA advice on money laundering and made their own interpretation.

    George and Coral

  3. I filled my form in with the help of a lady at the Centre Sociale. It was put in the door of APA in December. an arrangement was made for the lady from APA to come early January but the lady at the Centre Sociale who was to translate was ill so they came 2 February instead.

    Nothing was asked about our income just what I can manage to do. I was told that I can have someone to come and do the housework; we want them twice a week but the APA lady thinks it should be more. Adaptations to the house like a stair lift, a a buzzer to wear to call for assistance. My husband looks after my personal needs so that isn't a problem as such. I need things to help me prepare meals and to eat. The ladies are coming back in a couple of weeks with an occupational therapist to discuss in greater detail what I can have.

  4. When I got my carte d'invilidité I was told it was for use on trains  to get seats etc and in queues in the supermarket - to get faster service as the supermarkets in France do not have cash desks of the same proportions as UK but caisse prioritaire handicapée. The GIG GIC is for the parking. You must have the carte d'invilidité with you to get faster service etc. As I use a wheelchair I can only use the prioritized cash desks and trains I haven't tried yet.

    The MDPH arranged my electric wheelchair which cost me nothing. I have a visit from APA next week to assess me for help in the house, aids so I can prepare meals and cutlery and adaptations. I went to the centre sociale and a lady there filled in my application forms, she asked for everything and anything she could think of.

    We came over on an E121 and both my husband and I are covered 100% with CPAM. We have assurance (mutuelle) and when I was hospitalized then in rehabilitation for a month we paid about 50€ all told and that was for the television and phone. I have blood tests every six weeks, a prescription from my GP and one from a consultant every two months and rarely do I pay for anything. The medications come with coloured stickers and I believe it is the blue stickers you pay for (sorry if I have that wrong.) All the money I pay to GP and consultant is refunded. When I changed mutuelle recently I told the laboratoire but as I am covered 100% they weren't interested! Mutuelle is vital as it helps with hospitalization, dentist and spectacles.

  5. I will add that last Thursday being a bank holiday we went to Alésia, near us, which is the site of the last battle between Caesar and Vercingetorix.

    There were artisans in bronze, pottery, bone and horn carving, salt drying and a forgeron. Our grandson had been learning about this at Maternelle so he was going to be our tour guide. He told us all about it in English and asked numerous questions of the artisans and when an artisan asked a question he happily responded.

    Obviously what he had been taught went in and he could relate it back with out problems from French to English.
  6. Our grandchildren arrived in France April 2007 aged almost 6 and 3 and a half. Both went into Maternelle for the last couple of months of the school year, neither knowing French.

    Our grandaughter started in CP in the September with extra help to bring her up to the level of her classmates and she has since retaken CP. This hasn't fazed her at all and she comes into her own when the teacher teaches English as she asks our grandaughter if she is correct in pronounciation  etc. So she helps her friends and teacher and they help her. Our grandson is now in Grand Section and goes to CP in September he is quite derogatory about his teacher who he says cannot speak English cake coming out as cak! He told her it was wrong and the teacher quickly passed to the next word!

    Everything they watch, DVDs and television is in French. Our grandaughter prefers to read in French although she has expressed an interest in learning to read and write in English but as their lives are going to be in France both children have to get to a good standard of French to progress through the education system. They speak excellent French now and speak to each other in French too.

    Their mother has a French fiancé who speaks to them and their mother in French and she alternates between French and English with them. My husband and I speak English to the children and I read to them in English while they follow the words. My other daughter a teacher in England seems very keen for the children to be reading and writing English and sends lots of workbooks for them. Our concern is that they need to keep up with their peer groups and they are still learning in the French education system. Also we don't want to confuse them any more than possible. They go between both languages very easily and have no accent in either language so they are taken as French by French people and English by English people.

    Other people we know who have put their children through the French school system find the children cope very well with language. One couple now have two sons at Lycée and another due to start in September; all three speak French together but speak, read and write  English with no problems. Another lady who is married to a French man, so the children are half English half French, has found her children have found their own happy medium. A friend who is German speaks German to her sons, the English father speaks English and the children spend most of the day in the company of French people. Both children prefer to read, write and speak French. As the mother says their German and English will never be to the standard that it would be if brought up in Germany or the UK but they have that head start on other children. At the moment, like our grandchildren, they cannot see the advantage of being bi lingual or tri lingual that hopefully will come later. What they do like is speaking in French when non French speakers are around!

    Wednesdays my grandaughter goes horse riding and is well versed in equestrian things in French and my grandson plays football again good for integration. Saturdays our grandaughter horse rides or we take them to places where they learn about arts, history, nature etc exposing them to things not always taught at school. They get to use the home computer and can find their way round it better than me.

    My grandchildren will live in France and I cannot see them returning to the UK except for holidays.

  7. I have written about the help I am now getting or going to get on the health forum. My blue badge and carte d'invalidité arrived about a month after appliaction!

    I am going to get a home help, allowances, adaptations to the house and hopefully an electric wheelchair.


  8. I posted under the 26/52 but it may be in the wrong place if so perhaps someone could move it?

    It tells how I am getting the help I need not from the UK but from France and perhaps some people will be able to apply for similar help.

  9. I moved to France in 2004 having had three strokes in the UK and not been advised of any financial or physical help available; in fact even my physio was taken away from me. I left hospital with a wheelchair and a seat for the bath so I could bathe/shower. My husband was and is my carer. Strangely I was put on high level Icapacity Benefit and when I moved to France on an E121 the French health service gave both my husband and me 100% cover.

    I have received excellent treatment in France, regular blood tests, cholesterol checks (I was told after my last stroke my cholesterol was high but being alergic to statins cholesterol treatment wasn withdrawn.) I am now taking a different medication without statins. Last year I presented pain in my hands and wrists and was immediately refered for blood tests, when the doctor received the results I was sent to a rheumatologist. He had further tests and x-rays carried out and diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis which since last June has spread through my body; I have also been diagnosed with a herniated disc in my back for which I have physiotherapy. I am now taking steroids everyday and have cortisone injections which a nurse administers at my house weekly. I have blood test, x-rays and see the consultant every six weeks. I make my blood test and x-ray appointments in advance and often have to point out that I don't need them for another month or they would be done the next day!

    In February I saw my GP as my blue parking badge was due to expire in June and I know it can take a while to renew. I asked about a Care d'Invalidité and explained I have extreme problems in getting up stairs, need help from my husband in cutting up food, getting to the toilet, showering, dressing and walking. Was there anything that I could apply for that would help?

    She signed the paperwork for the parking badge and made an appointment for me at the Centre Sociale. The lady there was a great help and she filled in the forms saying we would apply for everything and anything and see what happens! After various questions (none about income) she suggested we ask for an electric wheelchair as I can no long self propel and for a stair lift, also she suggested a home help. We sent the paperwork off and just waited.

    I received the parking badge after a month and just after that the Carte d'Invadilité. Then I had a phone call that someone from la Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées who came to visit me. She asked questions and looked around the house and asked my specific problems. I can't prepare meals as I can't hold the peeler, a knife etc and had been told there were aids available to help in my everyday life but I would have to pay for them. The lady said that they would give me money to buy them. She said a man would come and assess the house for adaptation too and for the wheelchair.

    I received a letter telling me I am considered 80% or more disabled and will receive an allowance which will pay for a home help (she starts the begining of June for three house a week and will do house work and when needed take me shopping without my husband.) My husband will also get an allowance for helping me in the house with washing, dressing etc.

    From the time of visiting the Centre Sociale in February most of what was requested has been put in place and the man comes about the stair lift and other adaptations  plus the wheelchair on Friday.

    The lady from the company who are providing the home help told me there was no problem in me getting the help I need even though I am not French as the provision is there.

    In fact when I broke my shoulder in 2007 I was told I could apply for help in the home but my husband was able to cope then. His own health which has been poor for nearly 15 years has deteriorated and he is now prepared to accept that we need help as do I. I feel guilty about asking for help from anyone but my health is such that I have to accept things for what they are.

    I am happy that I can get this help in France but I feel bitter that I cannot get it from the UK because I am a new applicant from overseas even though the benefits and allowances are deemed exportable. We paid into the system all our working lives and as we both receive civil service pensions the tax MUST remain in the UK. We are not able to claim on it but we are subsidising people in the UK. I have written to the MP for our last consituency in the UK regarding the situation but the head of the DWP says they are STILL looking at the recurpussions of allowing people who have left the UK to claim DLA, AA and Carers Allowance.

    For some people my situation mayn help and asking at the Centre Sociale may get you the help you need. We did come on E121s, receive 100% cover on our Carte Vitale and have been here 5 years. However, as we found if you don't ask you don't get.

    If anyone wants to contact me and talk about my experiences please do as I hope this will help to relieve the worry and uncertainty of others who desperately need financial and or physical help.

  10. Yes I sent my stuff to MDPH (formerly COTOREP), and I asked should I send the photographs but was told to wait and they would request them. So I have them ready and waiting, just as long as they don't take too long or I shall look older!

    I have found people to be really helpful over everything concerned with my illnesses/conditions and am as truthful as possible. Sometimes dates are a little blurred but I think if I try and hide something and it comes out then I will be the one to miss out.

    As to the other things I have requested I will report back if anything happens; I hope so but it is fingers crossed at the moment.

    I have signed the on-line petition for DLA from the UK as I really need help now. In the UK after my third stroke I was given a wheelchair and Incapacity Benefit and sent home to get on with it. No physio, occupational therapy nothing. My husband and I paid into the system for years in the UK but we cannot get anything despite the European Court of Justice say Disability Living Allowance is exportable. The UK government are still debating what the implications will be in paying the benefits deemed as exportable to those living in the EU.

    I have contacted the MP for the last place we were registered to vote in the UK and obtained the paperwork for DLA from the Exportability Co-ordinator, Room B120D, Pension, Disability and Carers Service, Warbeck House, Warbeck Hill Road, FY2 0YE     e-mail:- [email protected]

    When I telephoned them I was told I had to see my GP here in France and get copies of the 'necessary papers' and a report from my GP on my health and conditions which I would then have to have translated into English; but not to hold my breath as nothing has been agreed.


  11. I got my first parking badge here in 2004 and have just applied for the second. I had to visit the Centre Sociale to obtain the necessary paperwork. My GP completed the blue form and the Centre Sociale assisted in completing the second part. My Macaron (blue parking badge) expires in June. At the same time the lady at the Centre Sociale helped me apply for a Carte d'Invilidité which allows for travel on public transport.

    As my husband also has health problems and I use a wheelchair I asked about an electric wheelchair. I have had three strokes and have rheumatoid arthritis which means that I cannot self propel a wheelchair. My GP says you have to be paralysed to be eligible and I have some mobility. The lady at the Centre Sociale made an application for an electric wheelchair, a ramp for the car plus adaptations for the house such as a stair lift, hand rails and some one to come in three times a week to help me and give my husband some respite. She also said if I ring her she will come and see us at home and discuss anything else that would make life easier.

    I live in a village in Burgundy and our Mairie is only open one and a half days a week and do not hold all necessary paperwork but according to my GP it is the Centre Sociale which is the place that disabled people should visit.

  12. We bought it in Carrefour in Dijon.

    We are here permenantly and our grandchildren are at school here so we thought it would be good for them. They are used to French keyboards but as the children are 5 and 7 we thought it was good with the vowels and consonants highlighted.

    I was also thinking about partially sighted children/adults as the colours can hel with seeing items and as for people with hand problems I thought the keys were an excellent size.


  13. We have just bought a computer keyboard (clavier enfant) for our grandchildren for Christmas.

    The letters are picked out in bright colours. The consonants are in green and the vowels in purple. Other buttons are in red, blue, green and yellow. The other good thing is the buttons are large.

    I think for the disabled this would be a perfect accessory to the computer, with large buttons for fingers and for those with poor eyesight the bright colours would help them to pick out the letters and buttons. I have put the website below. I wonder what others think?



  14. Thank you Cat

    If you are aparent of a deaf child in education or going into education if France


  15. I am disabled and also an internet journalist.

    These are articles which also give links to services which will help people.






    This site is useful http://www.apf.asso.fr/ and it gives advice on various items and services

    PM me if you want any further information


    Mods note: To make a link live, just highlight it, click on the ball and chain iconon the right of the posting toolbar, click OK. Most of the time that will do it.

  16. I write articles for the internet on disablility issues in France, travel and tourism also. I have also written about my experiences as a disabled person since moving here four years ago. I have written about the benefits that can still be obtained from the UK and the help available in France.

    We do not have the luxury of motorised scooters, unless you have your own, at hypermarkets. In fact you are lucky to get a caddy that fits your French national health wheelchair!

    Carrefour seems to pick and choose in our area as to whether they have caddies for use or not and if you have had to do your shopping with a loaded basket on your lap you would understand.

    LeClerc have issued a pamphlet saying how they have improved their supermarkets to accomodate everyone, which, if it wasn't so humiliating would be funny. I use one of these shops once a month  to buy my maize bread and while there pick up a few items but to go through the caisse is a farce. There is a sign that says handicapé but the wheelchair just fits through the caisse exit by the till  if I keep my arms in but the caddie won't fit. At first the staff wouldn't believe it until they saw it with their own eyes, I forced it through and nearly took the surround with me. Still nothing has been done despite their promises in writing in their own pamphlet.

    I cover many events where new accessible areas are opened to the disabled public and have made suggestions of improvements. L'Office des Forets have made walks for the disabled, the last at a beautiful location by some lakes. It is a long way from the road and from a village, but there are no toilets. I explained for the disabled it is imperitive there are toilets, just like everyone else (if you have visited anywhere with young children you will understand) but I said I didn't expect flush toilets but dry ones like they have in Australia would be good and they could move them around. They hadn't thought of this, for anyone.

    Dijon is our nearest large city and you can have dropped kerbs one side of the road but not the other, parking wardens have watched me being pushed along a pavement only to have it blocked by a parked car or van but they ignore it. Luckily me husband pushes me but if I were alone, what then? I have seen an ambulance car arrive at a consultant's surgery and two ambulance men lift an elderly man, in a wheelchair, up the steps. Disabled toilets at malls that are not large enough to take a wheelchair due to them being blocked by unnecessary tat. I have encountered taps that are difficult to turn due to problems with my hands, others that have a lever that has to be operated by the legs (what if you are paralysed in the legs?) the best are the ones that come on automatically when the hands are put beneath them.

    If supermarkets in France used the same system as the UK, where all checkouts are of the same size, there would be no need for disabled checkouts. I do assert myself but other people wait while people who don't need them push in.  Our local supermarket closes one checkout for an hour a couple of times a day and yes it is the disabled access one.

  17. We spent a wonderful week in the the Cote d'Amour, Brittany, at a converted cotton mill which is totally accessible for disabled people. There are six appartments and the rooms are spacious, the bathroom is a wet room so there are no access problems there either. I didn't need it but total care packages are available and equipment such as hoists and electric beds are available. The is a lift that takes you to each floor.

    It was a great time spent with great people. www.ineedaholidaytoo.com even provide transport should it be needed.


  18. Here in Burgundy our grandchildren go back 2 September. I do know for some holidays different regions have different dates. French friends have told me that this is so it staggers the holidays across the country. But that is only what friends have said.

    If my daughter is unsure about things she asks other mums. They are always happy to share information and the village nounou always comes up trumps!





  19. We don't find the drive back to the UK too tedious, nine hours door to door, from the Cote d'Or; but then we only go once a year!

    We have just been on holiday to northern Brittany and the Mayenne, actually we are nearer Germany than the other side of France.

    We have very few Brits around us, which we like, as we have to speak French all the time. But have a French/British group that meet monthly to speak in both languages. This helps all concerned as we learn from each other regarding language and culture. We attend all things that go on around us as far as possible, especially those in the village. Our grandchildren love school here and have loads of friends and our daughter works here and has a French partner who helps with the childrens' acquisition of the language.

    My husband and I belong to committees which means we mix with the local people and need to use our language skills too.

    If you are more interested in playing golf, wine tasting, rambles etc with English speakers your best bet is to look at the Saone et Loire/lower Cote d'Or/lower Morvan as more and more are moving there.

    Dijon, Beaune, Autun are great to visit but give me my village in the forest and by the canal any day.

  20. We had a second home here which we bought after my third stroke. I found that when in France I made progress and when I returned to the UK I slipped into a relapse. In 2004 we moved permenantly.

    We are happy, not well off, but now have our daughter and her two children here too. The children are doing well at school, my daughter works and my husband and I belong to various committees.

    I write, for pleasure, for the internet. I have written on this subject pointing out people usually make it in France, or any other country they choose to move to, if they do it for the right reason.

    Running away from something, thinking a major move will mend a failing relationship, trying to escape debts etc  never works.

    If people move after doing their homework, find the right area, right house, have the language skills or at least basics, have the will to integrate and learn the language and not live in British enclaves they will do well.

    We live amongst the French, live with them, talk to them, attend things going on in the village and around us, my daughter works here, the children go to school and have loads of friends and now my daughter has a French partner. Members of our local website for expatriates tell us we are here for the wrong reason; although they seem to only like playing golf together, going to wine tastings, and do not seem interested in integrating.


  21. Hi,

    We live about 1hr 30minutes from Beaune north of Dijon. Yes, the winters can  be very cold down to -10 or so but they are relatively short and also the past winter had very little snow and the temperature only got down to-10 on a very few days.

    Have not heard any further news regarding the re-instatement of flights between Dijon and London. The airport, that is part military, is supposed to be having the runway strengthened and the rumours were that flights to London would begin again this summer. However, the Eurostar/TGV service from London to Dijon is very good.

    Finally, There are many interesting places other than just Beaune and Dijon around  the Burgundy  region and you also might find the BurgundyPulse forum of interest for further insight and assistance if needed.

    George sans 's'

  22. My husband has regular blood tests, three monthly, for another condition and this last blood test, last week, included the prostate one. Yearly we both receive colon cancer tests. We live in Cote d'Or Burgundy.


  23. I have two girls, one of 31 the other 27.

    The older one went to college in England to do her A levels and lived on campus during the week coming home Friday night going back Sunday night. We were living in England then. She loved coming home at weekends was a dream as completely self motivated and when went out told us where she was going who with and when she would be back. But when she and her sister met up it was world war three! She went straight on to University in London and was away termtime once ringing about 1030pm to say she was ill and if she didn't come home she would have to go to hospital so my husband drove up to London to get her. She arrived home saying 'mummy I'm not well!' Her sister had helped make up her bed and put a hot water bottle in to make it comfy! As they were getting older they were reasonable to each other when they met up. She is married and a teacher in England.

    Younger daughter was a nightmare staying out all night, getting up to heavens knows what. Got through college then met a man, got pregnant and married. She has two children now, going through a divorce and she and her children are living with us in France. She has a French boyfriend her language skills are really good due to him and the children now speak very good French. She had to grow up quickly in an unhappy marriage but now is happy and doing well. She has always been our problem child and when she started working after she arrived last year we took on looking after the children. we got involved in the French school system, homework things we thought we had left behind.

    They now have a good relationship as sisters. We have not treated them differently for any other reason than that they are different characters and personalities. Older one hated cuddles younger one did and still does love a 'mummy hug'! Not having boys I can't compare but friends with boys say boys are more loving than girls but as I said my younger one was and still is very loving. Older one is organised, practical but still enjoys herself and loves visiting us. They will always be my babies.



  24. We have been in Burgundy since 2002 and are in the Auxois which makes all the departments accessible.

    The Morvan has lots of small villages and not many larger towns for shopping. We are 4 minutes from all commerce but still in a village with village advantages. We are ten minutes from a railway station with TGV and can be in Paris within an hour. Dijon is an hour from us but we only go if we really want to. We are going this week as we are going to a concert there.

    I find that both burgundypulse and Burgundy Friends are dominated by people from the Saone et Loire, but we make our own friends here and have a good life. Our daughter and her children have settled in too and love the mix of country life with good commerce on our doorstep.



  25. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME but doctors, psychiatrists etc have no knowledge or understanding of the illness.

    The nearest places I could go for help are in Paris, Reims or Lyons. I have articles from treatment I received in England translated into France but still nothing.

    In an interview with me last year Gillian Thornton gave contact details for help/advice in France. I would like to have a support group for English speaking people in France so we can help and encourage each other.

    Please e-mail me from here if you are interested as if you have that copy of the magazine my e-mail address has changed.




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