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Everything posted by Tancrède

  1. [quote user="Théière"]the first vote was one off the back of a pack of lies[/quote]Absolutely.  I couldn't agree more.

    Three of the more egregious of these (delivered at great cost to every household in the country) were :

    The EU referendum is a once in a generation decision.

    This is your decision.

    The Government will implement what you decide.

  2. [quote user="Bonnie"]it is gritty…[/quote]

    Aaaah.  I think that this might be the crucial detail. 

    The first time I had Gritty Lavatory Syndrome I was totally baffled for a couple of days  -  until I finally worked out what had occurred.

    There was no one in the house at the time whose digestive products were likely to be composed of grit to any significant extent, neither could it reasonably be attributed to 'backing up'.

    But, a painter and decorator had been doing a bit of work in a room not far away.  He was an impeccably tidy worker but, having left for another chantier he entrusted the final sweeping up to his young assistant.

    The said assistant decided that these insignificant sweepings  -  dust, dirt, fragments of paper and other debris  -  would make a worthy offering to Cloacina and consigned it to the lav, neglecting to notice that it also contained a quantity of brick-dust, decomposed mortar etc.

    Everything else duly disappeared, leaving only a puzzling sandy and gritty residue which I didn't in fact notice until several days later.

    I wondered briefly what to do about it, and concluded that the best thing was to ignore it in the hope that it would go away spontaneously  -  which it did (until the next time it happened).

  3. [quote user="Jacqui Too "]but is it possible to have the remainder done in £'s[/quote]Yes, this is possible, and it is how I bought my first property in France.  But that was in the last millennium.

    Even in those days it depended on finding a notaire with sufficient grit, gumption and adaptability to perform the deed in this slightly different way. 

    As far as I recall it, he was concerned, naturally enough, that the agreed price of the transaction should be declared in francs, and to be assured that this fairly represented the full amount that would change hands in sterling, and to receive a deposit of a sufficient sum in francs to cover the frais.

    There is a little Q&A piece about it here :


  4. [quote user="nomoss"]Another Catch 22.[/quote]


    But surely it was nice gesture on the part of the European Commission to have 'allowed' such a petition?

    I have to admit to finding the wording of the original announcement peculiarly revealing and distasteful.

    In the country in which I grew up  -  a representative, participatory, and mature democracy, with a 'grass-roots-up' legal system   -  popular petitions, liked and disliked, pleasing and uncomfortable had been launched by the will of the people since the C17th and even before, without any question of requiring 'permission'. 

    In that country it would have been laughable and impertinent for a government (let alone an unelected and unrepresentative 'commission') to pretend to have the authority to 'allow' or 'disallow' such a basic expression of freedom of speech on the part of the governed.

  5. Leaving aside any restrictions related to conservation etc., the basic principle concerning the creation of openings which overlook a neighbour's property is dealt with in Article 678 of the Code Civil :

    On ne peut avoir des vues droites ou fenêtres d'aspect, ni balcons ou autres semblables saillies sur l'héritage clos ou non clos de son voisin, s'il n'y a dix-neuf décimètres de distance entre le mur où on les pratique et ledit héritage…

    The key thing, then, is whether or not there is a distance of at least 1.9 m between the proposed opening and the boundary of the adjoining property.

    There is a useful little article about it here (with diagrams) :


    It also explains  -  perhaps the most useful bit in the OP's case  -  how this prohibition can be circumvented by the creation of an accord entre voisins, and how such an accord can be created either for the benefit of the present proprietor, or with permanent effect.

    As regards what Mint said about selling, it is important to note that any opening in contravention of the rule can be challenged up to 30 years after its creation.  (After which time the right becomes prescriptive.)

  6. [quote user="mint"]
    Where to buy Gingeur, the best ginger beer I have ever, ever tasted since childhood?[/quote]The answer is very simple  -  you have to brace yourself and Make Your Own.  It will be perfectly delicious and immeasurably better than anything you had in a Salon de Thé.

    I make five gallons of ginger beer at the beginning of every summer.  And another dose later if it promises to be a heat-wave.  It is as cheap as chips and much easier.  And it all seems to go with remarkable rapidity. 

    It is one of those things, like pickled walnuts, elderflower cordial, piccalilli, going out to catch live Chanterelles in the woods, and sloe gin, which enhances life out of all proportion to the slender amount of effort required.

  7. [quote user="mint"]I think there is a MUCH bigger scandal than the personal accoutrements of some women and that is how animals for consumption are killed.[/quote]I couldn't agree with you more.

    Not to mention forced and under-age marriages;  grooming gangs;  hacking at their children's genitals with shards of glass, and the connivance at mutilation as a form of judicial punishment.

    Dressing up as a letter-box should really be welcomed as relatively innocuous  -  perhaps even verging on the lighthearted.

  8. I imagine that you have rejected the TGV possibility because it doesn't fit in with the projected timings, but  -  just in case you had overlooked it  -  there is ONE decent daily direct connection between CDG and le Creusot TGV. 

    It leaves at 21.16 and takes an hour and twenty minutes.

    A couple of months ago when I had a visitor who was a little timid of trying to navigate from CDG to the gare de Lyon I suggested this option and she said it was a doddle  -  and she went back the same way.


  9. Yes  -  the sudden production of leaves with seven leaflets is a typical sign that a cultivated rose is suckering from the rootstock.  The best course of action is to remove it entirely, because such a sucker can  -  and usually will  -  outgrow and debilitate the grafted plant, by reason of its superior vigour.

  10. [quote user="woolybanana"]Anyone tried a flame/ heat method; If so, which do you use, gas, electricity of agent orange? Any good?[/quote]I use an ordinary blowlamp  -  the sort where you buy a separate nozzle

    and control, and recharge it with 450 g camping type gas canisters.

    I find it wonderfully satisfactory and quick, and use nothing else for weeds between paving stones and cobbles.  And I find that it is sufficiently accurate that one can relatively easily avoid any plants that are on the approved list. 
  11. Elle conduit comme une vache espagnole

    I was delighted to overhear this entertaining adaptation the other day and thought at the time that it was worthy of a wider currency.

  12. [quote user="alittlebitfrench"]Yes Lindal....but most of the French population live in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and other major cities.[/quote]

    This is said from time to time on the forum, and it remains as much couillon as the last time I checked it, about six years ago.

    I come from a very limited and provincial background and am very easily impressed, so let us say that a Major City begins at 20,000.

    The population of France is some 66,900,000.

    According to the latest available INSEE figures a mere 24,936,834 of those live in communes of 20,000 persons or more. 

    That is to say, a mere 37% of the population of France live in those few communes (only 434 of them) which have a population larger than a mediocre 20,000.

    The other 67%, some 41,000,000 and the vast majority live in ALL THE OTHER COMMUNES THAT ARE SMALLER THAN 20,000.

    There are, as of 2015, some 36,681 communes.  If we subtract those few communes that have a population of more than 20,000, we are left with 36,247 that are ex hypothesi 'small'.

    That is to say, 67% (41,000,000 people) live in the 36,247 communes which have a population of LESS than 20,000 people, and down to the arse-end-of-nowhere.

    So, to recap :

    37% (the minority) of the population live in those 434 communes that are the Great French Conurbations of more than 20,000 population.

    63% (the vast majority) of the population live in the 36,247 that are smaller than 20,000, including those that are Very Small, Very Small Indeed, Tiny, and On-the-Point-of-Vanishing.


  13. Yes, very nice.  And thank you.  I especially liked the bit with the Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

    But if there are interesting visual images (which there were), and if there is also speech (which there was), I don't want to be assailed  -  in addition to these appropriate delights  -  with various random selections of musical fragments which are :

    a)  inappropriate

    b)  self-indulgent

    c)  too loud

    I am sorry if this is blunt.  But in fact it is flattering.  Your well-chosen images and your voices were sufficient and pleasing. 

    And a little bit of distant accordeon is naturally de rigeur. 

    But your preference for incessant and obtrusive background musak (and I say nothing that I wouldn't equally say to BBC Radio 4) is really trying and makes me want to press either Fast Forward or Off.


  14. I was just about to write exactly what Norman has already posted.  But also had the following on the computer (from a different source), which usefully expresses exactly the same system, but in the form of a self-diagnosing statement on the part of the student.

    Very Advanced

    I speak and understand English completely fluently.


    I speak and understand very well but sometimes have problems with unfamiliar situations and vocabulary.


    I speak and understand well but still make mistakes and fail to make myself understood occasionally.

    Upper Intermediate       

    I speak and understand well but still make mistakes and fail to make myself understood occasionally.


    I can speak and understand reasonably well and can use basic tenses but have problems with more complex grammar and vocabulary.

    Low Intermediate

    I can make simple sentences and can understand the main points of a conversation but need much more vocabulary.


    I can communicate simply and understand in familiar situations but only with some difficulty.


    I can say and understand a few things in English.


    I do not speak any English.
  15. [quote user="Russethouse"]Do you know people who behave as you suggest ?[/quote]Naturally I know nothing of the experiences of Gluestick  -  though I find his posts stimulating and interesting.

    But I have known the nurse who was responsible, week after week, for the 'oversight' (care is not exactly the right word, though she did her best) of viable fœtuses as they desperately tried make their escape from the kidney dish, before their ultimate disposal.

    Not nice.  And not 'enlightened'.

    [quote user="Russethouse"]

    I find your remark in very poor taste.[/quote]Oh really ?

    Have you ever heard of 'virtue signalling' ?

  16. [quote user="NormanH"]…rather than accepting that other languages have

    other ways of doing things that are valid in their own

    way.[/quote]Exactly.  Thank you for putting this all so lucidly.

    [quote user="NormanH"]That has nothing to do with forgetting it or not using it with other speakers, but starting from your mother tongue is the biggest hurdle I observe with the British struggling to improve.[/quote]Quite.  And equally in the opposite direction (as my class tonight will certainly remind me).

  17. [quote user="mint"]How do other people feel about la rentrée?[/quote]A load of hyped up clap-trap as far as I am concerned.  And mystifying, too.

    I have never succeeded in get a French person to explain, to my satisfaction, what the rentrée actually is, or why it should have any more than a passing significance in anyone's mind or life.

    Despite not having been to England for many years, my diligent enquiries amongst those of child-rearing age lead me to suppose the Going Back to School there is exactly as simple today as it was in the last millennium.  Namely, one simply goes back to school.  ('Pick up your blazer from the cleaner, and get your hair cut.')

    One French mother told me that the rentrée demanded (as it seemed to me) an overweening degree of attention, because little Émilie would be changing class.  The conception that this representative of an indulged and overly-fragile generation might simply make efforts to discover for herself what room she was meant to be in, and navigate to it under her own steam, was apparently inconceivable. 

    And now I discover that  -  at least in the view of the coordinator of these things  -  that the students in my English classes cannot possibly begin their lessons this week because of, hahaha, la rentrée.  They managed it last year and the year before without serious damage to their mental health, but this year not. 

    The fact that only one of them had any sort of 'child' for which they evinced the remotest concern (in this case a grandson in Martinique) was brushed aside as irrelevant.  La rentrée is la rentrée with the same inexorable and disruptive finality that Brexit is Brexit.

  18. [quote user="Patf"]Are there any general rules about m and f?[/quote]If you mean regarding their genders, then these endings are both almost exclusively masculine, with very few significant exceptions :

    la soif, la clef, la nef ;  and la faim.


  19. [quote user="alittlebitfrench"]Shops opening ten minutes late.[/quote]Blimey, that's prompt.

    And everything else being ten minutes late (or more).

    And wall-to-wall floral flock wallpaper on the ceiling  -  though I am sorry to see that this seems to be dying out a little. 

  20. [quote user="Gardian"]Mrs G maintains that if in doubt and it's something bad, then it's feminine.[/quote]Yes, this is a very useful rule which works well in the other direction too. 

    Le silence is (almost uniquely amongst nouns in -ence) masculine;  because, as we were taught at school, women could not keep it…

  21. [quote user="JandM"]It looks like tar, and definitely has a smokey smell. [/quote]This is Stockhom Tar  -  goudron de norvège.  The characteristic chimney-fire smell is unmistakable.  This has a vast number of uses, including being smeared on the lower parts of trunks of trees as an attractant for boar.


  22. Rockfish, I have just sent you by Private Message the names of two tradesmen who might be useful  -  the one as a possibility to fit ready-made shutters, and the other to make wooden shutters from scratch and to fit them.


  23. [quote user="Heccy"] trying to establish if getting an appropriate TEFL qual in the UK would be useful as a potential income-earning backup before we move to France[/quote]Teaching in the school sector is chasse gardée as Norman points out.


    having recently moved (within France) to a town not a million miles

    from Doubs I have found myself slightly inundated with EFL work.  I

    didn't in fact seek this, and certainly didn't want or expect it  -  no

    sooner had I arrived than people contacted me out of the blue asking me

    to apply for posts which they found themselves unable to fill.

    Part of this was under the aegis of the Mairie, part connected with the Pôle d'Emploi.  One job (which I declined) was offered by the Centre de Formation d'Apprentis.

    A friend in the Côte d'Or does a great deal of EFL work for businesses, which seems to come very largely via the Chambre de Commerce.


    whilst this may not make you rich beyond the dreams of avarice, I would

    say that this is not by any means a complete non-starter, even in the more

    rural parts of France.

  24. [quote user="NickP"]I seem to recall that you can't "hail" a taxi in the street in France?[/quote]It's not exactly that;  you can't hail a random cab plying for trade within spitting distance of a cab-rank (thereby effectively enabling the unscrupulous driver to jump the queue).  I believe that the mandatory distance is 50 m.  Beyond that minimum distance, taxis with green lights are fair game.

  25. [quote user="Aaronkiwi"]Could the same be applied to French Contract law?

    As their way of dealing with contracts is slightly different when compared to Westminster law.[/quote]If you want to understand the basic technicalities of the law of contract in France and its differences from Common Law, your first port of call is the Code Civil, which can be consulted here :



    Scroll down to Livre III, titre 3 for the law of contract.

    The matters that you refer to  -  what constitutes a contract, its parties and its terms  -  are dealt with in the opening articles, No 1101 - 1165.

    The site is extremely lucid, and there are explanations and references for the various articles.

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