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Everything posted by Tancrède

  1. Now that Loiseau has let rip with the p-word, I can admit that phrase I particularly enjoy is :

    Il pète plus haut que son cul.

    Describing a tedious, overreaching, self-referential windbag, all of whose geese are inevitably swans.

    Not only is it an expression hallowed by some four hundred years of literary currency, but it has gain even further dignity by a recent employment in connection with the President of the USA.

  2. [quote user="You can call me Betty"]I would second Norman's observation. [/quote]

    Absolutely.  You mustn't be afraid of derisory offers  -  they will be charmed an delighted to get any offer.  And if they aren't, tant pis.

    When I made my very low offer for the house I have just moved into, I had to brace myself to say the sum. 

    To my delight, the excellent and entertaining agent, grimly (but without contempt) wrote it in figures on a piece of paper, held it up like a 'flash-card', and said,  Do you mean this ?

    When this was followed by,  And are you going to be in the town for the rest of the day ?  I knew that it was in the bag.

    And as for paying a seventeen-year-old in a polyester suit to pluck a figure out of the air  -  why would the vendors be remotely interested in this person's opinion ?

    If, on the other hand, a derisory offer is made to you as a vendor, a totally different pack of cards is needed…

  3. [quote user="Gardian"]my old hobbyhorse - Identity Cards.  If the UK went that way, there'd be less of this nonsense. Usable within the EU (90% of the need) and providing useful security ID. Passports only needed for further flung places.[/quote]

    Whilst I agree with the general drift, I hadn't realized that ID cards would serve to promote promiscuous travel.

    I had been decvidedly in favour, but find myself doing a rapid 180° turn.

  4. [quote user="PaulT"]

    Clicking on 'here' takes you to:


    Very good rates shown up front and fast.

    When I used FX dealers such as HIFX they did not offer their best rates to start with unless I bartered.[/quote]

    Thank you, that is extremely interesting.  Having just done a transfer per HIFX I regret not bartering.

    The disconcerting detail of the whole operation was that the CA teller insisted on asking me what I was transferring the money for.  I found this frankly difficult to answer.

    The money was here, and I wanted it to be there.  What more is there to be said than that ? 

    It is very rare for me to have a flash of inspiration but  -  Whitsun looming  -  the Spirit gave me Utterance.  I said  I am so troubled by the persistent rumours that CA is insolvent that I wish to transfer this money somewhere safer.

    That seemed to suffice, and I offer it as a OSFA solution to this piece of impertinence.

    For those happy few with different banking arrangements, one could substitute 'France' for 'CA' with very much the same effect.

  5. I am evidently more than usually moronic today.  I cannot find anything to click, or any kind of 'study'  -  apart from a list which spelled out in painful detail the obvious truth that changing currency through a bank costs money.  

    And I went to bed with every intention of listening to Moneybox Live, but only succeeded in being conscious for the Shipping Forecast at 06.20 before jumping up to water the garden.

    I see from the Transferwise site that they are a 'totally new way to beat the old system'  -  but am still utterly at a loss as to know what this totally new way actually is.  Cowrie shells ?

    And if it is as good as the puff suggests, why aren't their rates as good as plain old currency brokers (like e.g. HIFX whose services I used yesterday) ?

    I have no particular brief for HIFX, but if anyone wants an 'introduction', I will happily oblige and we will both get a £20 Marks and Spencer voucher as a reward.

  6. [quote user="sweet 17"]"un vrai numéro"…   Describes completely a rogue of a neighbour of mine[/quote]

    Finding the right expressions to describe our neighbours is, of course, very important.

    I used to find myself at a loss when French visitors were taken aback by the disconcerting antics of my next door neighbour   -  who, though charming and delightful, had lost or perhaps had never had a full grip on reality.

    It was my cleaning lady who supplied the DS solution.  Mlle C.  -  disons qu'elle est un peu originale. 

    I had not, until then, been aware of this particular refinement of the word original.  But as an ambiguous and not unkind rendering of 'bonkers' it seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

  7. [quote user="sweet 17"]If someone is said to be "un vrai numéro", what does that imply?[/quote]

    Great fun at the bar, and the subject of many appreciative stories.


    But you would not, in your right mind, buy a second hand car from this entertaining individual (even with a valid CT).


  8. [quote user="Cendrillon"]Up to 30 degrees here today in 17[/quote]

    I am delighted to report that in Nolay (Côte d'Or) the mercury briefly touched 36° this afternoon  -  lovely.

  9. If these unimaginative people have proposed themselves for a fortnight, and after a mere two days are incapable of getting themselves from under their hostess's feet, then Bordeaux is much too close.  You are allowing them the possibility of boomeranging back within hours.

    The Hôtel des Prélats at the ravishing town of Nancy is very acceptable.  (Long journey and no motorway.)

    Or, clench your teeth and do what I am doing  -  stripping acres of extremely stubborn vinyl wallpaper.  Make it seem even worse that it really is (though it is, in fact, not too bad) and the most dreary and unmotivated guests suddenly find very good reasons for Going Out,


  10. [quote user="idun"]trousers are not warm, au contraire. [/quote]

    Absolutely.  Trousers, a revolutionary, democratic and republican garment, are decidedly not warm.  I long for the moment  -  a very brief one this year  -  when the temperature falls below zero, and I can go into breeches.

    As regards ladies wearing trousers  -  there is one great advantage in this.  That singularly uninteresting question,  Does my arse look big in this ?  is rendered completely unnecessary as the answer is a foregone conclusion.

    PS  I see that the empêcheurs de danser en rond have decided to expurgate my text.  The word was A R S E  -  just to avoid all possible confusion.

  11. But we skated all around this pond yesterday.  I hope that we haven't got stuck in a Chronic Hysteresis…

  12. [quote user="Bbrown1664"] Is 100 days from offer acceptance to completion normal or is someone taking the Micky?[/quote]

    I received my acceptable offer on 2nd December 2013 ;  communicated the details to the notaire on 4th Dec. ;  supervised the lead and asbestos boy on 17th Dec., who submitted his report very briskly ;  signed the Compromis last Tuesday ;  and am due to complete the Acte de Vente on 22nd April. 

    100 days ?  -  Thank your lucky stars you have such a speedy notaire.

  13. Curtain pole  -  une tringle

    Tie back (the metal thing)  -  une patère

  14. [quote user="confused of chalus"]I have spent ages deleting about a hundred of them, but they just keep coming![/quote]

    There is no point in trying to delete this load of clutter piece by piece.  Simply Quit Safari, and get rid of it all in one go.  Viz. go to Safari on the bar at the top, and select 'Quit', from the drop-down menu, and click it.

    If there are several windows open with loads of tabs, it will say :  Do you really want to close all these tabs etc. ?  Say :  Yes.

    You now re-open Safari by clicking its icon on the dock at the bottom (perhaps) of your screen.

    [quote user="confused of chalus"]when I access 'top sites' yahoo france comes up on

    the whole screen.[/quote]

    The 'Top Sites' facility if you use it (and you are not obliged to), is generated by your own browsing history.  For some reason it believes that you have a particular yen for Yahoo.

    So go to 'History' in the bar at the top and consult the drop down menu.  You will be able to see the various addresses that you have visited, today, yesterday, the day before, etc. etc.  Conceivably this will give you a clue as to when and how this problem started.

    At all events, click 'Delete History' at the bottom of the drop-down menu.  Since there is now no browsing history, a new 'Top Sites' pages will have nothing to offer.  Give it a try and see what you get.

    Now go to 'Safari' in the bar at the top.  Select 'Preferences' from the drop-down menu.  Select 'General'.  This will tell you what you are asking Safari to do in respect of opening new windows etc.

    Mine says :

    'Default search engine'  -  Google.  Since it is Yahoo that is giving you grief, I suggest that you change this setting from Yahoo to Google  -  at least as an experiment to see what happens.

    'New windows open with…'   I suggest you chose here 'Top Sites' (since this is obviously a facility that you use).  Make sure it is not set to 'Empty Page', since this seems to be what you have been getting too much of.

    'New tabs open with…'  You may well want 'Top Sites' here too.

    Now return to your Safari page, and see what happens.  Navigate to a few favoured sites in order to build up a bit of 'History', and see if these visits prompt a suitable change in 'Top Sites'.  Whilst this delicate experiment is proceeding, use Google, and do not use Yahoo.

  15. [quote user="Frank"]websites where I can find out who is responsible (joint responsibility etc) before I replace the fence.[/quote]

    The appropriate section of the Cadastre will distinguish boundary structures which are mitoyenné and non mitoyen (the meaning of the various relevant symbols is indicated in the légende). 

    You can consult it online here :


    In the case of a wall non mitoyen, there will be a symbol (a dash) to indicate the parcel to which the wall or fence belongs.

    The search facility is pretty lumpish, but it does actually work eventually.

  16. [quote user="sweet 17"]I am quite sure that we never WORE it![/quote]

    Yes  -  and there is a very practical reason for that state of affairs :   in our youth there was still a considerable clothes industry in UK, and fibre-producing hemp was (ludicrously, I think) an illicit crop which could only be grown under licence from the Home Office. 

    So there was no home-grown raw material readily available for such desirable creations. 

  17. It might, of course, be an error for linen;  not everyone can tell the difference. 

    But hemp is soft and smooth and cool, and altogether pleasing…   Much nicer than cotton.

  18. [quote user="sweet 17"]I have seen it many times on my favourite leboncoin site but I still don't know what material chanvre is.[/quote]

    Oh  -  I am glad that you have corrected it !  [Or did I misread?]   Chancre is canker (in trees) and various other things, mostly unpleasant.

    Chanvre is hemp.

    When I moved, the déménageur (unable to access a crucial box) lent me some hemp sheets for the first night  -  wonderful.

  19. That a person of ordinary means should be required to pay tax at a confiscatory rate of 55% or 60% is self-evidently unjust and discriminatory.  You should leave no stone unturned to avoid paying this excessive imposition.

    I am in the reverse position, in that any bequest that I might make will be milked to the tune of 60%. 

    In a casual conversation with my notaire I expressed my repugnance at this situation, and he immediately reeled off a number of ways in which this punitive payment could be avoided or mitigated.   

    One, I have to admit, caused laughter ;  another took be completely by surprise as it revealed a possibility that I simply had not realized existed.  There were at least two which seemed to be potential runners, and which I am actively considering.  (It is pointless to go into them here, as they might well not suit your particular situation.)

    I strongly urge you to consult a sharp and imaginative notaire.

  20. [quote user="idun"]I was rather shocked when she then joined him on a podium.[/quote]

    Exactly.  She joined him on the podium.

    In an essentially socialistic and meritocratic society, we do not expect to see the son dragged up to the podium, nor the daughter;   and we do not expect to see the blatant nepotistic promotion grandchildren or of 'nephews'.  So what was this character doing there ?  And what remote claim does this unimportant person have on one single second of our time or our attention ?

    When President Félix Faure met his interesting and entertaining demise he was (unsurprisingly) in the company of a 'lady'.  She was not in fact his First Lady, but  -  given the definitive nature of his final apoplexy  -  she was certainly his Last.

    She had the common sense and discretion to remove herself swiftly by the petite porte.  This final and intimate companion of the President of France remained mercifully anonymous, and her only lasting memorial was the corset (in which she did not have the time to reinvest herself), which Le Gall grabbed as a souvenir.

    I wish that Hollande's various insignificant attachments were as discreet and as non-apparent as Félix Faure's.


  21. I find it difficult to understand what all this fuss is about.

    Apparently we pride ourselves on being sufficiently grown up not to accord any honour to a person merely because he or she is the son or daughter of 'somebody'.  [Cue: Boo to the hereditary peerage, cheer-led by 'Baroness' Jay.]

    If that is the case, then why should we give a tinker's cuss who is the current shag of one of France's more outstandingly inept presidents?

    [quote user="Clair"]There is a (very faint and subtle) hint that using second indicates the count stop there (there's no third, fourth...)[/quote]

    But perhaps, following Clair's accurate advice from another recent thread  -  if we have to concern ourselves with these people  -  we could call the one Première Dame, and the other Seconde or Deuxième Dame according to the exact nuance of the situation.

  22. [quote user="powerdesal"]Gengulphus wrote:- '' The 'People Carrier' has now deservedly come to the fore as a symbol of wasteful vulgarity. ''

    Why ?????   

    7 seats, allowed the whole family to go out in one car rather than using two, thus saving environmental pollution.[/quote]

    That is an interesting point  -  but I don't think I have ever seen them used for families

    The tight-faced female who usually drives one just behind me, and who looks like a slightly gone-over footballer's wife, (fur coat and no drawers type) is inevitably the sole occupant.

    And is an Olympic standard tail-gater…


  23. [quote user="Pommier"]Gosh, that's been around the world a few times…[/quote]

    Indeed.  But the old ones are the best. 

    And it is extremely informative and interesting to see how the text has mutated and developed since Chancer previously presented it here in 2011.  The 'People Carrier' has now deservedly come to the fore as a symbol of wasteful vulgarity. 

    And the cashier has had a sex change.

  24. [quote user="Loiseau"]"C'est normal" - I thought was used with a modest shrug when you are being thanked for some kindness/service a bit beyond the call of duty. [/quote]

    Oh yes, I was overlooking that more benign sense. 

    I was thinking more of the C'est normal by which the plumber airily excuses the soil pipe dribbling into the water inlet, and the bank almost any kind of delay or inefficiency.


  25. [quote user="Manon"]These wretched creatures are destroying my garden which I love and they have started eating the roots of my young fruit trees . [/quote]

    Yes, I had a great deal of trouble with them in my orchard a few years ago.  Not only interference with the juvenile trees, but they are (as you will know) such indefatigable diggers that they filled the interior of my cabane so deep with spoil that I couldn't even manage to open the door to shovel it out.

    Merely out of experimental interest I started pissing regularly in their trial diggings.  I had previously been successful in detering a very persistent badger from interfering with my beehives, with exactly the same technique  -  which had been recommended by another bee-keeper.

    They very rapidly ceased to be a nuisance, and from that day to this I have had no further trouble.

    Of course the positive result may have been entirely coincidental.  But it is worth trying.  It is ozone-friendly, biodegradable, cheap, and does not require going to the Mairie.

    I was was given to understand that the best 'outcomes' are produced by gentlemen rather than ladies.

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