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  1. How right you are.  Good on you for moving back to the UK for your son, Panda.  We would like to do the same for our son (aged ten and now home educated largely for the same reasons you quote), but we cannot sell our house and are stuck. So he is home educated and we are going for boarding school in the UK where his big brothers and sisters live.
  2. Tell him to google Help in France, a company that runs the sort of stay he wants, including lessons in english.
  3. Hello Sara, my son is ten and a half and has been over here since he was one, hence had only been educated in french school.  He would be CM2 here or Year 5 in the UK.  We took him out of conventional french school two years ago, with the aim being that he should go to school in the UK at age 11.  I have been home educating him since then. He taught himself to read in english pretty early on, and I taught him spelling in english when we began Home Ed.  He fairly flies along, but french school left him a legacy of hatred for poetry, which took about a year to dispell.  He now loves poetry because he isn't forced to learn a pointless poem off by heart.  He reads inspirational poetry (Horatio at the Bridge, The Highwayman, The Inchcape Rock, Pro Patria Mori, Hilaire Belloc, RL Stevenson etc and adores it. We worked our way through Roald Dahl, and I have always, and in fact still do, read aloud to him.  Usually we start a book together now, and he goes on to read it by himself. He likes things like The Alchemyst, The Magician, Harry Potter, Philip Pullman, etc.  And I think he's now about ready for The Lord of the Rings.  He loves well written fantasy, although two years ago I would never have imagined he would be such a fanatical reader (1am in the mornings sometimes!). If you want your son to go to school in the UK, it would be a very good idea to take him out of french school for a while beforehand and home educate him to make sure he is up to scratch. There is so much you can get off the internet - past sats papers etc, that give you an idea of where your child stands compared with UK school children. It has enabled us to forge ahead in maths much further than my DC would ever have gone in french school and he is working at uk Level 7 now doing an advanced Year 8 text book with no trouble. His english is very good, but we keep his french going too and he reads in both languages. It is not a complicated thing to do at all. Just a simple letter to the Academie and to your Maire and your child can be taken out. They are inspected once a year in the summer, and given very short tests in maths and french, but last year our inspector had no trouble with the fact that my DC was doing all his lessons in english.  I just told them he is going back to the UK eventually. Best of luck, PM me if you wnat any more advice.
  4. Can anyone tell me if you are in receipt of Incap from the UK, do you qualify to have an exoneration of Taxe Fonciere? If you get AAH you do. OH was found eligible for AAH, but just above the cut off, so doesn't get it, as he gets Incap.  We pay a HUGE fonciere bill, which we could do with reducing, being on a low income. Advice appreciated, as surely NOT allowing the same benefit to be linked with an equivalent benefit from another country should be seen as discrimination?
  5. Small hope for you on the CGT front.  I read in a magazine somewhere that if you are registered disabled with a proper french Carte d'Invalidité, you are exempted from CGT.  I think.  You could look this one up.  I think I am right, as in, I think I understood the article correctly.  So, you could get yourself on that?  Maybe? Fil
  6. Hi, we have three gites (3,3 and 2 bedrooms, one of which is considerably larger than the other two gites) and we manage to clean all three every changeover day between 10 and 4.  Quite often, when we are all cleaning (the kids help me in the summer when they are over for their summer breaks from uni etc) we can get the lot done in a morning, as we did last week.  I also have a friend who comes and helps clean and whom I pay.  If it's just her and me then we obviously take longer, but it's great to be able to delegate.  There are four shower rooms, three kitchens, patio furniture etc.  We have a routine, starting upstairs and working down, each time doing one or two extras that don't need doing every week. However, she also has cleaned (and still does clean some) very bad gites.  Firstly none of the cleaning products are supplied (we have two enormous plastic crates stuffed with everything you could possibly require), not even a mop!  This owner, on being asked to buy one, said she would only sweep between tenants!  Ugh!  She has also had to cope with electric problems (she had to clean in the dark once, as there was also no key to open security shutters as well as no power downstairs) and wash the floor with a cloth on her hands and knees.  She didn't get paid petrol money either, even when she had to go back and sort out problems.  One gite was stuffed full of cockroaches at the beginning of the season, some alive, some dead, and which she had to gouge out from nasty nooks and crannies!  Then the owner asked her why it had taken longer than two hours to clean!  Ugh again! Another friend looks after a gite and is treated by the owner as a manager (clean the house, mow the lawn, trim the hedge, sort out all gite problems at any time of the day or night, welcome the guests, return to collect the keys before they leave, take a damage deposit and give it back after checking) all for about €44!  Cleaning should be €15 per hour, but the first hour should be more, to cover travelling - €20, if the cleaner lives at a distance. Grass cutting should be €20 per hour plus travelling and extra if you have to take your own mower, strimmer etc. Gite Management should be alot more!  Some people treat their cleaners like managers for cleaners' wages, as I said above.  They should pay the going rate if they don't live on site or in France themselves. I know alot of you reading this will think 'oh no, we wouldn't do that with our gites' and you are probably right.  But there are lots of people out there who do, and I know some of the people who clean for them.  The other obvious problem with gites like the above (my second friend gets embarassed showing guests round the one she 'manages' as it is so substandard) is that once people stay in a substandard one, they then think all gites are like that, and bang, there goes another potential client for those with nice gites.  Better go, changeover to do today!  And only six hours to do it in!  However, luckily, lots of help today, so I foresee an afternoon in the swimming pool all by ourselves, before our next guests arrive at 4pm!  Goodoh! Fil
  7. Hi, thanks.  That's pretty much what I thought, because, after all, how much hay can you get on a lorry?  Even at its cheapest price, it isn't going to be big profit is it?  And if the price zooms up, then probably a loss!  It cost us about £600 five years ago to get a horse lorry over here when we moved, so no doubt the price has gone up since then.  Still, I've tried, which is what I said I would do for her.  Thanks again. Fil
  8. Hi, I have a friend who has a horse business in the south of england.  She telephoned me today to find out about buying hay over here in France.  I said, her best bet was to find the cheapest ferry crossing for a lorry (suggested LD ferries which she is looking into) and then sourced hay near to her destination.  So if she goes via LD  to Le Havre, she needs to find good small bale hay that she can pick up nearby.  I have NO idea about hay prices over there (I am in Brittany) so am looking for someone out there who might!  She needs small bales, suitable for horses, and she needs a good price on it to make it worthwhile coming over for. Any ideas anyone?  Any phone numbers, any contacts?  Ideas gratefully received. Thanks, Fil
  9. Hi, sounds like you have a similar pool size to ours.  First year we had it, no heating, sun shone and it got to 31° all by itself.  Too hot really to be refreshing.  We decided we'd install a heater for those less than hot weeks the second year, and it was a much cooler year, the heater was on full time, the thermostat was set high (28°) and we had a HUGE bill!  Same heater as you, I bet, as it uses 6kw. Also, if we had the pool heater on, which we did, maybe the washing machine AND the tumble dryer and then had the stupidity to turn on the electric oven, off went the electrics altogether.  So, the next year we decided to use Heures Creuses, like you, and it has worked fine, except when the temperature at nights is very low.  September we usually get lovely hot days, but much cooler nights, and the heater doesn't cope, so we've decided that it's just not economically viable except in the hottest months, maybe (normal year, not this one) June, July and August.  But we get no complaints on the warmth of the pool. Like the person who wrote about algae, we've for the first time this year had a problem with it, probably down to lack of use of the pool due to weather, and to the stormy weather itself.  So this Thursday we emptied it!  Saturday morning it was refilled by about 8am, at 18°!  PH very high and had to be lowered, and off we went.  It rose 2° the first day (in about 12 hours) just by sunshine, then overnight another 2° presumably just by heating as no sunshine (so the 60 hours to rise 1° is definitely wrong).  Then another 2° during the day on Sunday, and presumably has gone up again overnight, although it has tipped down with rain. So, I would conclude that it is a good way of heating a pool, combined with sunshine, and that if we can do it in southern Brittany, then virtually anyone can do it.  Obviously if you lived further south than us, you would probably use less power still. Good luck, Fil
  10. Hi, our son was diagnosed over here at Brest which is a very good centre for Autism.  It is the Hopital de Bohars, a Dr Lemonnier.  James was 15 when he was finally diagnosed and it was due to the intervention of his college, particularly his very good headmistress.  Fortunately, having been diagnosed, it gave him the knowledge to rise above a handicap he had never understood before.  He did four years in french school where he got into Lycée, but after Seconde decided to return to the UK for schooling.  He is now in 6th form doing french, maths, physics and art A levels and enjoying every moment.  He decided to change because he was being forced into continuing with subjects he did not want to do, and that he found hard due to his AS.  He is extremely bright (over 145 IQ) and is going to do a physics degree (wants to do a MSc and a PhD as well) and is so focussed (AS again) that I am sure he will.  He is extremely gifted artistically (wanted to be an animator in films and has done loads already by himself, apparently to degree standard already according to a friend's son who is in a degree course himself) but this isn't challenging enough (I quote him) so he wants to use his brain and do particle physics. He liked french school up until the Bacc, found the regimentation etc very comforting for an AS sufferer, but could not hack having to do all subjects.  Hated the subjects they forced him to perform in (in music every child HAD to sing and actually got marked out of 20 for it).  Now I would have hated that myself and I am not AS, so imagine how he felt about it!  5 for words correct, 5 for rhythm, 5 for the tune and 5 for the loudness.  I suggested he recited the words loudly to get 10 out of 20, but he just totally refused.  He also NEVER spoke french once in 4 years to a teacher.  He communicated entirely by writing.  I think he spoke to his friends in french, but not adults at school.  He does well, incidentally, in french A level!  Apparently speaking french to english people is different.  WHo knows? He is well adjusted, loving school in england, and looking forward to university now.  Good luck with your son.  My advice is live near a good centre, like Brest or Limoges.  There are not too many, so do your research before moving.  He may need it. Fil
  11. Hi, my little boy who is nearly seven and just finishing CP has cent pour cent health care due to his hyperactivity.  I didn't ask for it, it was just given.  What I would like to know is, what exactly is he entitled to with it?  Could we get help with his education is the major point I would like to discover, as we have found a fee paying hors contrat school (so no bourse available) which might be able to help him achieve his potential, and we really could do with financial help. Anyone with any informtion on this can pm me, or email me, or whatever.  Please. Thanks in advance, and hoping someone out there can point me in the right direction, Fil
  12. Hi JR, one of the major things I have learnt is that whoever you ask (qualified included) you get a different answer!  We went to the Huissier (very nice guy with alot of information at his fingertips, or so it appears) and he gloomily forecast that despite the end of the Bail (contract) arriving, our Dodgy Lodger (like the term!) would be able to stay on 'sans titre etc' even though there would no longer be a Bail covering his being in our house.  HOWEVER, my poor friend who is being kicked out by her mum and step dad, went to see an Avocat (I went too to help with translations etc) and HE said that as she had no Bail, she had no rights and could indeed be chucked out!  So those two opinions seem a bit at odds. To get a huissier, just look in the Pages Jaunes and ring your local one up.  They only do a certain area, so the fact that now the Dodgy Lodger has decamped elsewhere (into another department we think) might be a problem.  And it appears that WE must find his new address (not easy) as this is not covered in his remit!  Not sure how he wants us to do this, but we'll give it a go!  He made us an appointment at the Tribunal d'Instance (I think this is a bit like the Small Claims Court) but initially this was just to get him out.  However, he was gone before the appointment, but we had to go anyway to ask for our Huissier expenses to be awarded to us.  Our hearts sank as we saw that the court was crowded and evidently everyone had the same early time to come!  However, the judges waded through the pile of folders on their desk at a great rate and it was soon our turn.  We were asked to approach their desk (if you don't speak good french take someone who does, but we do thankfully) and the judge was really nice.  We told him why we were there (just to get expenses so far) and that he still owed us rent, and he said that was all, took our dossier off us, and said we would get notification in the post.  Which we now have (took about ten days maximum to come).  So now we wait, I think.  We were a bit nervous we would have to stand up in front of everyone else and speak, but no, we were called forwards, and that was it.  My friend's avocat was there (we had seen him the day before) and he smiled at us nicely, which made us feel a bit more at home I think.  Not a nasty experience at all, and actually quite interesting. My advice.  1.  Firstly, only let long term (instead of holiday rentals) if you truly have to. 2.  Secondly, get a very well versed avocat or notaire or someone like that to do the Bail - NOT an immobilier. 3.  Don't take single men. 4.  Make sure every thing you want is included in the Bail.  Get a very well educated french friend who has already dealt with lettings to read your Bail for you and make sure there are no loop holes. 5.  Don't take any children.  You'll NEVER get them out. 6.  Take a HUGE deposit. 7.  Make sure the caution is GUARANTEED by someone else. 8.  Use an agency (okay you don't get all the rent) that gives you an insurance of getting the rent if the tenant doesn't pay up. 9.  Check all references yourself - do NOT rely on the agency to do that for you! 10. Go back as far as you can with the prospective tenant's history!  Ask to see his bank account! 11. Check with his employer as to how long his contract is actually for!  They can be very short in France.  Check the job is not going to finish whilst he is your tenant.  Check the employer is happy with him. 12.  Lastly, only do all of this if you truly have no choice.  Because all non furnished tenancies in France are for 3 years and you will have a job getting them out any earlier, or even after the three years, and if you sell, they will have the option to buy!  Furnished are for 1 year, no matter what you want written in the Bail, and you appear to have less rights yourself over these than you do for unfurnished ones! Above all, remember that the tenant is king, you, the landlord, have far less rights than he has, and as you are a property owner, the judge can actually (our huissier told us) rule that as you obviously are rich, you don't NEED the rent!  So the tenant can stay. BEWARE. Fil
  13. Hi, thanks for the enquiry.  I have not been on the forum for ages.  He has GONE!  Due, I think, to fear of being shopped to the gendarmes should he try to drive (being without a permis).  Ha ha!  And what is more, his mum came and took his last bits, and even offered to clean, but that is another story!  However, now we have been to a huissier and been to the Tribunal d'instance and got a ruling in our favour.  So are just awaiting what might happen next.  But we also have a few ideas up our own sleeves.  House is empty, bookings are really good, and the sun is shining!  But such phrases as 'never again' cross our lips frequently!  Unfortunately for the no doubt thousands or millions of quite normal people renting houses, this experience has coloured our opinion, and it is definitely NEVER AGAIN!  Thanks again for everyone's KIND support. Fil
  14. OK Bugbear, I was referring to the fact that you said it was a farce, rather than it being one sided, you know. But please tell me why you think it is one sided?  Other than the obvious fact that the malefactor has not contributed, and is unlikely to.  This is not meant to be a discussion WITH him, this is meant to be a discussion ABOUT him and his behaviour.  He has proved himself on numerous occasions as someone whose main form of communication is through aggression.  As you would see, if you could read back over the old thread.  But alas, you can't, as it has been stifled. I merely raised the nationality question, as it has been suggested before that this is a race issue.  Which it is NOT, and I wanted to reaffirm this fact. Which I did. Would you like his telephone number, so you can ask for his side of the story?  I have it, you know.  Fil
  15. Wow, leave it a day or two and there certainly is loads to read!  I will start with Clair's suggestion that I am actually enjoying the experience.  - Oh, so that is what the sleepless nights are for is it?  I must remind myself what fun this is from time to time. Quillan - hmm, is that not breaching the code of conduct, suggesting that I might do illegal things?  You ought to watch it you know, those moderators will be after you. Bugbear - one sided farce?  Why is that?  Because someone has dared to air an opinion against someone of a different nationality?  This has nothing whatsoever to do with nationality.  It is just against awful people, of whom there sadly appear to be plenty about, don't there? Teamed Up - thanks. Turnip - so true!  Oddly, it appears only to be me who is not allowed to speculate. Llyncelyn - thanks as well for appreciating that this is not a personal vendetta at all.  I (and my OH) just want the money that is legally owed to us. Russethouse - in what way is GIVING him the money a favour to us?  We might as well have put an ad in the paper saying 'house for free -stay as long as you like but pay nothing'.  He LEGALLY owes money, so why should be be excused?  Who is going to excuse me my bills?  No-one, I suspect.  So why should I excuse him. Sunday Driver - if it costs little, I will continue.  You are forgetting something here.  It is OUR money that he has pocketed, and NOT his own.  He has even got allocation de Loyer from the CAF and I am sure they will not want to be giving him that to contribute to his drinking habit!  We could have overlooked his smelliness and drinking habit (as long as it did not effect us) if he had JUST paid!  If he had JUST paid a bit, we could have been satisfied to wait, assuming (oh no, speculating again!) that he was intending to pay the rest when he could afford it.  It is the fact that his nasty habits have impinged on us that we are cross about -seeing him imbibing our rent money and then peeing it down our fosse septique was a bit of a choker, I have to say.  Mpprh - sounds nasty.  I think I might PM you for advice.  Happily for us, we have lots of lovely photos of our gites BEFORE he turned up, although thankfully, the worst thing so far appears to be the smell. Frederick - I am sure that is what they were hoping for. Georgina - thankyou too.  I do certainly need moral backing and advice.  If you were able to read my other postings, you would see that I have tried to do everything legally.  Much good that has done me.  The best thing so far that I did was to tell him we knew he had no license and that the gendarmes had told us that if they caught him again it was clink for him.  That put the fear of God in him, I think, and is probably why we have now not seen him (other than when he picked his clobber up on thursday) for nearly three weeks.  He knows we'll shop him if we see him driving, and THAT is perfectly legal.  And what is more, I think that is WHY the gendarmes told us about it.  I am sure they were not supposed to reveal it!  There, that has got all those answers off my chest. Finally, to PANCAKE - I totally agree with your initial posting.  Free Speech is being squashed.  I am sure it would have been possible to delete anything offending and reinstate the original thread.  Shame they have not.  I see we are now up to nearly a thousand again, and whatever anyone says, I think the number of views a thread gets reflects the interest in it.  How can it not? Thankyou everyone, Fil  
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