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Le Scouse

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Everything posted by Le Scouse

  1. [quote user="DerekJ"][quote user="Mr Coeur de Lion"]I like French address system, normally only requires two lines and little writing. Very efficient.[/quote]

    Yes but....  I'm always amazed that we ever receive anything in the countryside given that there is so little information within the address.  It seems to rely on local knowledge.

    [/quote]

    Unless you happen to live in the "town Centre", the low density of houses in each cluster of communes that might share a postcode means that its easy to identify people, Our postcode in France is 50860, so anything sent from the UK to our address gets sorted by the 50 to identify the Dept, then sorted by the postal district 860 and then the local post sorting office will look for the village, then the commune name to plot it into the delivery route.. so there is a lot of filtering and sorting done.. Back in the uk, i'm continually amazed by the Royal Mail's systems which electronically read and sort addresses even when the postcode is hand-written !! Not sure if that is done in france though.
  2. Thanks.. I'll drop into the Maire when i'm over next week
  3. QUOTE

    are you really saying that you have never ever put a single item in a

    poubelle or used any other municipal facilities to dispose of Anything? There

    will be a reasonable and automatic and assumption that everybody disposes

    of waste and therefore be liable to the charge which unfortunately it

    is not based on quantity nor pay per throw.

    REPLY

    No, Not saying that at all, although we tend to eat out while we are at the house and yes, where possible we burn everything except glass. We don't use supermarket plastic bags, and to the dismay of many a cashier, I will regularly remove excess packaging from items and leave it at the till. The only glass we get is Coffee jars and these are used for my rusty nail collection. There is no bin collec tion from our commune. I would have to drive nearly half a mile to the "assembly point" on the main road and havent had to do so EVER in 4yrs.. I'm not trying to wriggle out of paying something i'm liable for.. It was a simple question.. I Just wondered whether it was applicable for a property for which we are NOT currently liable for Tax d'Habitation.. given that it is currently documented as UNINHABITABLE.. In essence it is a shell of a building.. not a household..

    Cheers

    Lee
  4. No, Not saying that at all, although we tend to eat out while we are at the house and yes, where possible we burn everything except glass. We don't use supermarket plastic bags, and to the dismay of many a cashier, I will regularly remove excess packaging from items and leave it at the till. The only glass we get is Coffee jars and these are used for my rusty nail collection. There is no bin collec tion from our commune. I would have to drive nearly half a mile to the "assembly point" on the main road and havent had to do so EVER in 4yrs.. I'm not trying to wriggle out of paying something i'm liable for.. It was a simple question.. I Just wondered whether it was applicable for a property for which we are NOT currently liable for Tax d'Habitation.. given that it is currently documented as UNINHABITABLE.. In essence it is a shell of a building.. not a household..

    Cheers

    Lee
  5. Hi Folks,

    We have a place we are renovating in Moyon (50) just south of St Lo. We are over from August 12th for a fortnight on our annual pilgrimage, where we sit in our site caravans looking at our house that looks like it will never be habitable.. Anyway, we are Lee, Sarah and Lewis, and my primary reason for posting is to find any families that maybe also have a football mad son to hook up with our lad who is getting fed up kicking a ball against a wall and waiting for dad to finish hammering bits of wood together in between swearing at them (the pieces of wood that is.. not his lovely family)

    He's 11 (going on 20), very friendly and eats and sleeps football

    It would be good for him not to have to spend the whole fortnight on his own for a change. we do have days out but it would be great for him to have a pal in his own age range

    any offers/ideas/thoughts let me know by PM or mail to [email protected] or call on uk mobile no 07971 672308

    ps he only knows 4 french words at the moment.. "Thierry Henry Franc Ribberry"

    Thanks for reading

    Lee
  6. Hi Guys,

    Quick question. We are "mid-way" through turning an old pile of stone into a liveable residence. It has no windows, no floors, no plumbing, no electrics etc etc.

    We have gone through planning etc and have clearly not confirmed that the work has been completed.. we visit the property perhaps 3weeks a year to work on it (we reside in a caravan when we do) We do not generate household waste at the site and have never left a binbag out. We incinerate everything in an open fire.

    Question is.. We have just received a bill for ordures menageres campagne.. as a non resident in the middle of renovations should we be paying this or should I argue it? Anyone with first hand knowledge would be appreciated

    We are in Moyon, just south of St Lo in Dept50

    Cheers

    lee

  7. I've put one first floor in, complete new roof including rebuild part of a gable wall, got a mains water supply up to the house and knocked through two walls (solid 3ft stone ones!!) .. feels like I must be half way through by now ???
  8. Hi Guys,

    Quick question. We are "mid-way" through turning an old pile of stone into a livable residence. It has no windows, no floors, no plumbing, no electrics etc etc.

    We have gone through planning etc and have clearly not confirmed that the work has been completed.. we visit the property perhaps 3weeks a year to work on it (we reside in a caravan when we do) We do not generate household waste at the site and have never left a binbag out. We incinerate everything in an open fire.

    Question is.. We have just received a bill for ordures menageres campagne.. as a non resident in the middle of renovations should we be paying this or should I argue it? Anyone with first hand knowledge would be appreciated

    Cherers

    lee
  9. Norfolkline Dover into Dunkerque is the cheapest, followeed by a 425 mile drive :-(

    Alternatively, Britanny ferries goes into Santander in Spain which is a few miles less

    to Limoges. More expensive on the ferry itself I would have thought (norfolkline with a 4.5metre trailer cost me £120 return off peak recently, whereas you need to apply to your building society for a second mortgage if you want to go with Britanny ferries..) but you'll pay less Tolls, drive 50 miles less each way in England and have a more interesting ferry crossing if you go via Santander.

    I'm not aware of a cheaper way into France than Norfolkline with a big trailer... If there is i'm sure somebody else will mention it
  10. I have several friends who have gone down the route of Underfloor heating, both Electric and the wet systems. I thought it would be prohibitively expensive and a luxury, but having walked on their floors in December and january, and noticed the thermometer on the wall showing quite low "Air"temperature I was amazed.

    If you think about it.. most of the time the only part of your body touching any part of your room is your feet!! Heat rises and unlike a radiator which requires pipes that leak heat out through the walls and inside walls and floor spaces (however well they are lagged), a subfloor heating system is quite efficient. It needs low maintenance and frees up wall space for furniture.

    I think it's more about how efficiently the heat is distributed that counts. 1kw through the floor would give a better warmth than 1kw blown out of a fan heater..
  11. I use both.. The Norfolkline Maersk is a cracking ship, like a mini cruise ship. Due to its size (It is a big boat), it's usually  a smooth crossing but it takes two hours and don't forget it does sail into Dunkerque which is a dreadful place and for many will not justify the savings.  Now I generally don't mind extra miles if i'm making big savings but if the timings of the crossings aren't available to your liking you can end up wasting your last day, or missing half of your first.. much more important on mini-trips or even on 5day trips

    They charge far too much for the on board cinema, but they do have two reasonable kids areas, both playing a disney or similar DVD. The food is more than adequate.. I'd say on a par with average pub grub.. certainly better than Speedferries but as others have mentioned, its 50mins on Speedferries crossings, so a coffe normally suffices. Norfolkline also recently had a kids eat free offer on which saved £3 on each kids meal.. nice touch, and they have a fast food cafe, and a well stocked cafe and bar. They are usually punctual.. all in all a professional operation. Every bit as good as anything i've experienced with P&O or BFs... I would note you usually have to queue for ages at Dunkerque as they invariably give much higher prioity to Freight users checking on.. Obviously this doesn't slow down the crossing but with a back seat full of tetchy kids, getting them out of the car and into the lounge an hour earlier might be a consideration.

    Now, speedferries... I love em. I would use them all the time were it not for my occasional need for  access with a decent sized trailer or caravan (their limit is 7meters which means a five foot trailer MAXIMUM! on a family saloon)

    They are consistently cheap, unlike BF who's pricing structure seems to be random. I've never failed to beat a quote from them even when I had their membership card.. waste of money

    Anyway, back to speedferries...The layout of the boat is basic, the food limited, the coffee hot and wet. The shop is basic and they only sail into Boulogne.. but hey for the majority of people thats better than dunkerque. Its also a one hour crossing and because of their need to turn around quickly to maximise the route, the delays are minimal. It would be pointless for the boat to be any better equipped, or to have any more ameneties.. You are on board for 60mins

    Overall I prefer Speedferries. I'll like them even more if they get another boat or another route... Wouldn't it be great if they got a route to Cherbourg, Le Havre, Caen or St Malo !! It must have been looked into i'm sure.. and it may have already been mentioned somewhere on the board why this isn't going to happen, but it would be such a popular decision and would give the likes of BF a bit of badly needed competition

    It's nice to have choices at the no-frills end of the crossings market. I've mentioned before there are some MAJOR savings to be made with both of these companies.. I want them both to carry on

    Lee

  12. ?

    Not sure of the relevance of quoting the speedferries T&C's. This is a voucher for a silver ticket, obtained during an on-board promotion. It is not tied to me or my car at the moment, so if anybody wants to use it they can.

    I got it by spending a certain amount in the onboard shop. I use SF all the time but usually at B Holidays and in the summer hols, hence why it's not much use to me and will just go to waste unless somebody fancies taking it off me

     

  13. If Anyone is interested I  got one last year but haven't used it. Runs out  Mid August. Can be used Tue/wed/thur  open ended return.

    Car and up to 5 Passengers  Dover-Boulogne

    Downside is it can't be used during school hols, but if anyone wants to make me an offer send me a PM. Seems a shame for it to go to waste

    Lee

  14. Hi,

     

    My quote from SAUR was for 4000 euros to get the water supply 150 meters further up the hillside than the nearerst neighbour. There was a gentle slope about 10 degrees. Apparently the largest part of the quote was for digging the trench for the pipe which has to be 1metre below ground level. I got a revised devis from them for 2000 euros after i'd obtained a quote for 1000 euros from a firm who do trenching  so I would advise asking for a breakdown of the charges and see if you can save some money. The benefit of giving the utility company the whole job is of course peace of mind.. The trench will be dug properly, and refilled properly and on time and at the fixed price.

    You lose accountability and control over timescales if you split the job up.. the saving has to be worth it !!!

  15. can anyone offer a little guidance please. just received the first of two Devis for a proposed new roof. This is a replacement tile/slate roof for a currugated tin one which whilst being sound and dry is certainly due for replacing. The new roof will allow me access to the roof space which i wish to open up for additional living space.. a bedroom/study or for storage. I have two questions..

    Do I need permission to convert the attic space, perhaps for insurance purposes or is it a "blind eye" sort of thing? If I  definitely,  abolutely do need permission, is there a standard form or format and is it a Maire thing in the first instance?

    Secondly if I wish to fit vellux windows to give light into the space, do I need permission and if so what is the process

    The house is in dept 50 and is an old stone house. The vellux' would not infringe on privacy as the house behind has no windows on it's rear wall and the nearest house ahead of me is some 300yds away and would not be overlooked due to its location.

    The house is a holiday home at present but will in time be my main residence. My french is not good enough for technical conversation yet, so if there is an expert out there who could assist then please mail me if you feel it requires a reply in greater detail than a two line response. I'd be pleased to talk to anybody who could offer expertise and assistance .. for a price of course

    Lee

  16. Hi,

    Is the bit about French govt jobs only being available to French nationals correct?  Surely with the free movement of goods and services, the French have to have an open policy toward other europeans when it comes to employment?

    I had hoped that when I settle in France the only obstacles would be a good command of the language and customs and the equivalency of my uk skills, qualifications and experience to the French standards

    Is this an actual policy then?  or is it just what actually happens in reality despite the policy being "open"

    With regard to vacancies for gardeners, we don't see many brits in our area border of 14 and 50 (Pontfarcy-vire) trying to run a garden/landscape business, but as always this may indicate a> lack of demand  or  b> untapped market

    My area of expertise (computer support) throws up the same dilemna... wondering if the ex-pat community is big enough to support a living or not

    Lee

  17. VERY impressive.. It looks good now... I can picture it finished  it's going to be fabulous

    Good luck and keep it up

    Post more pics as it progresses

     

    Lee

  18. Now then.. I'll have to be very careful with this one won't I... If I have already referred to her as an old biddy, then I'll alienate a significant proportion of Forum members if I'm not careful... I'd say she was closer to 70 than 60. She was rambling on about how she spoke French with a GHAAASTLY ACCENT... in truth, she spoke English with an equally GHAAASTLY ACCENT !!

    I could understand her being concerned, after all, if I saw a bunch of builders vans, 3 dogs and  two skinhead's turn up at the next house to me in a quiet little hamlet, I'm sure I'd be wary, but in this case, it was just my friend and I  in a family saloon and our tidy modern caravan which is enclosed in our own courtyard and cannot be seen. We don't play loud music, there were no heavy machines running, neither of us drink (except at family parties) and we have no pets.

    When we move over permanently, it will be My wife and I and our six year old son.You would think she might appreciate having "decent" professional people to call upon should she ever need help. After all  in her later years, its reasonable to assume that she may need a hand with say shopping in the winter or in the case of some emergency. She's  living alone in a remote farm house after all.

    It just amazed me that in the six years we've been homeowners in France, the ONLY time we've ever met resistance is from an English lady, quite clearly a snob, who thought it quite reasonable that she should be the last English person allowed into France

  19. Hi,

    My advice is Ebay UK, but it will depend where the rayburn is right now??

    If it's in the UK, Make the item available to Europe and not just UK. It will then turn up in searches made by French (or Brits more likely within France)

    Describe it well... every little scratch or missing nut and bolt, otherwise you'll sell it for one price and end up having some tyre kicker (or AGA basher) knocking you down when they collect. You could stipulate a PAYPAL deposit of maybe 20% at end of auction, but I doubt many people are going to want to pay full amount blind on PAYPAL.  plus you want to keep that positive feedback don't you !!

    For what it will cost (12p per photo, get some really good photo's showing it in all it's glory.. take about 4 or 5

    There are over 30 of the little fellah's on ebay right now.. if it's a nice one, make sure everyone can see it is !

    Offer a delivery service to France (if you can that is?) These are hefty bits of kit and the price will be prohibitive if a buyer has to have it shipped.. just needs to be to a rendevouz point near a port

    Make sure the firebricks do not get displaced or cracked if it's to be transported. Many British buyers in France would love a rayburn, but would not have the faintest where to go if it needed servicing

    If it's in France, i'd still put it on UK Ebay but i'd put the words UNIT IS IN FRANCE (dept No XX) in the main title

     

    Having said all that, I'm interested myself ... :-)  where is it and how much do you want for it? Let me know as i'm going out via Dover to bolougne 18th feb heading to dept 50 (manche) and have transport

    Cheers

    Lee 

  20. We bought our latest place in Moyon around 18mths ago.. Small house in Normandy with about 1500sq mtr.. nothing fancy.. needs money spending on its but its basically sound.. We have a tractor path which goes around our house, which is on our land. It serves a couple of fields in the corner and along the back. We only noticed the impact of it when we visited in the spring and it was a mudbath, but you buy in the countryside and this kind of things going to happen. Apparently cows are brought through occasionally, and by the looks of it the farmer puts footy boots on each of their feet

    We had a sroke of luck when the Notaire duly informed us in the final signing that there was actually no right of way and it was up to us if we wanted to grant access to Mr Farmer.

    On the subject of Notaires, why do they insist on Brits being there.. they speak technical french at 160 words per minute and you are sat in a room with the fourteen son's and daughters of the old bloke who croaked 30yrs ago, listening to the guy rabbit on. If you take a translator, you sit there and listen to him talk to the assembled masses for ten minutes straight, and then when he stops to draw breath, the translator turns to you and says "There's no termites"

    They could be telling me any old rubbish for all I know.... anyway, I digress.

    Upon turning up at the house post-completion, our French farmer neighbour greeted us with a nervous concerned look.. seems they wanted to know if we were going to be awkward about access. Now seeing as they've used the path for hundreds of years and we currently visit for about 22days a year it seems churlish to be funny about it, so we nodded and waved.. "Non Problem etc"

    The next day, while I sat in my car, trying to plot a course on my sat nav, I looked up and saw an old biddy peering through my windscreen

    "Bonjour" I offered...silence..

    "Hello?" I offered... silence. Then she turned her nose up at me and went "oh.. you're English.. thats all we need"

    Charming!! I thought to myself.. Nothing like a warm welcome and hey.. that was NOTHING like a warm welcome

    "It's very quiet round here" she scolded. "Good" I replied "Thats good to know.. I want a quiet life"

    "Who are you" she said bluntly... "My name is Lee.. I own this house"

    "Are you sure" she probed, unconvinced. "Well i've just paid for it and I have a big folder full of French nouns and adjectives to prove it" I joked

    She did not laugh

    "You don't own this bit" she said sharply, pointing at the ploughed up pathway. "Ah, but we do" I said

    "No you don't... My tenant farmers use this pathway to get to the field they rent off me"

    "I know" I replied.. "I have told them they can" I smiled.

    "Its not up to you" she retorted... "They have a right of way"

    There then followed ten minutes of english panto  "oh yes they do".. "Oh no they don't" etc etc

    After physically showing her the file she remained unconvinced. I, on my part was being perfectly polite with her,

    "We don't like strangers here, its a very quiet area and the commune doesn't want the English coming over".. I interupted her.."And what part of France are you from?" I enquired.. Silence

    It turns out she's been here five years which is ironic because we bought our first place ten miles down the road 6yrs ago, making us more "French" then her.. For the purposes of maintaining irony, I ignore the fact that this lady is a permanent resident whilst we are just doer-uppers at the moment... It simply suits my arguement that we bought in France first !!

    Anyway, this "greeting" has to this day still annoyed me. Can you imagine ever doing such a thing in the UK? walking up someone's path and laying down the law to a new neighbour. At the very least you'd bring a pot of tea and some custard creams wouldn't you?

    Old biddies.. don't you just love 'em

  21. continued

    I'm bored and my wifes out.. so i'm online downloading porche photographs from the supercar website..

    This the kind of thing you mean?

    [:)]

  22. [quote user="daryl-et-elaine"]

    If like me, you reside in the North West of the UK, the most cost effective means of getting to Dept. 36 is by Brittany Ferries. My total mileage can be extended by almost 200 miles by using the Tunnel or a crossing from Dover to Calais or Boulogne, also the journey from the Lake District to Dover can be an absolute nightmare, and has taken me as long as 10 hours.

    Now, add to the additional fuel costs of that extra 200 miles, the requirement for a hotel, additional Tolls (especially if you are daft enough to use the as-the-crow-flies route via the outskirts of Paris), then I'm sorry but a crossing Portsmouth to Caen or Saint Malo works out a damn site more economical in both time and cost than anything going out of Dover!

    [/quote]

    I  Like Britany ferries...and  I too am from the North West (Preston) but there the similarity in our viewpoint ends i'm afraid.

    For the crossings you mention in August, I can go via speedferries for £50.00 return. The drive in the UK is around 40miles more, so an hour and a gallon of petrol each way. The drive in France (I am in dept 50, in Normandy) is about 220 miles more (so 3hrs and £22.00 more... and  I reckon I hand over around £18 on the tolls

    According to my quick calculations that means going Dover to Boulogne i'll spend a total of  £138 as opposed to £476.00  [:D]

    That means i'll save £338.00. There is no cost saving doing it any other way. Now i'll admit that it's nice to break up a long journey from 'up north with a seven hour "cruise" in a cabin, to arrive fresh in France, but by the same token, you could always book into a Travel lodge in the UK on the way down and sail the following morning. I tend to drive through (masochist that I am), and it is a very long journey, but i'll be over £300 better off and i'll get there just as quick.. because I'll hit France in around an hour. I guess it just depends how much you are prepared to sacrifice. In high season i'll suffer the extra driving because of the massive savings but at low season maybe i'll pay the extra

    As many will point out, this is only for a given set of conditions and circumstances. The speedferries  price is fixed all year around, whereas BF's is fluid (I would be tempted by BF's price for the May crossing for example) but there are other factors too. What if you have a small trailer, a van or a  caravan?. BF do not cater for these very well. My last crossing with a long trailer was £400 cheaper with Norfolkline going into Boulogne than it was via BF into Caen or Cherbourg in High season  (£140 as opposed to £672)

    Quite simply there shouldn't be such a difference between the operators and the routes but unless BF get some competition it looks like i'll be drinking red bull and popping pro-plus for the foreseable.... On the upside, the £300 i'll save will buy some lovely vin rouge for my cellar

    Lee

  23. Regulars will be aware that it really does pay to make the calls to the agents and scour the websites. I've  typically used ferrysavers as I found them cheap for a crossing I needed when I first bought in France and needed to bring a van and or  trailer over. This got me regularly travelling from Dover to Boulogne or Dunkirk which was not our preference as our pile of stone is in Manch (50), but it was always so much cheaper (£200 cheaper typically). Then came that nice man who introduced Speedferries.. all of a sudden I could get a return for £50.. bargain

    I always booked returns, picked up 5day specials etc when they came up and life was sweet. Recently though, i've noticed that it's possible to get two singles, even from the same ferry company on the same route, cheaper than their advertised return price

    Weird but true.. I have just saved an extra £60 doing this.. just seems that there are anomilies in their price structure sometimes for us to exploit.. makes a change from them exploiting us eh?

    Now, I just can't wait for someone to pick up the slack since P&O stopped their sailings into the Cherbourg area... Why don't we all club together and buy speedferries a second boat !!!  Brittany Ferries have nice boats but surely all businesses should have some competition to keep the standards up and prices down

    Lee

  24. [quote user="Teamedup"]

    Well I found this bloke astonishingly arrogant and how patronising is it for him to expect everyone to serve his need for english only spoken in a non english speaking country.

    [/quote]

    Where is it written that you have to learn the language of the land if you move there? If you can get by, waving your arms, nodding your head and pointing at things then fine..ignorance is bliss.. i've watched french TV.. it's rubbish. and most of the chatter in queue at the local boulangerie is meaningless pointless twaddle

    Whats the worst that can happen?  Someone with too much time on their hands starts a pointless thread about you on a forum

    The UK is filling up rapidly with asylum seekers and other nationals who have no intention of learning english, or in integrating into UK society..

    If I was that gentleman of 66 and somebody (English or French) was to call me arrogant for speaking only English, I would politely remind them that if it was not for the English, they'd all be speaking German !!

  25. [quote user="Val50"]

     

    I know it will take time, make new friends etc. but it has just made us so aware of how much we had in France and how much we miss life there.  They don't even have the equivalent of Living France forums!!!

    At least being able to log on and catch up with what you are all  doing helps - just enjoy it whilst you can!

    Thanks again for all your emails, you have no idea how much they help.

    Val

    [/quote]

     

    You sound depressed...... This is not a good thing...... Life is very short... Do the sums, take into account the cost of moving to Canada, the drop in income, the upheaval in the kid's educations the time, the trouble, and all the hassles and then ask yourself  "Why am I here"  Set yourself a target.... When the child at Uni gets the degree (and don't worry.. a Degree is a Degree is a Degree) Move back to Normandy

    Funnily enough though, despite Normandy being my First choice of places to live, Canada has always been my second !!!!!

    Lee

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