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Callie

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Everything posted by Callie

  1. The most effective punishment for these ados would be to pour petrol on them and threaten to set fire to them......and the best thing is to pick on the leader and do it in front of his friends. They would certainly get the message.....unfortunately we are not allowed to treat people like that.....

  2. Hi Frenchmama

    yes, I have heard that some of the rules and regs for CdH and TdH have changed. I saw a posting somewhere where someone said she had had to do a course in Paris on hygene - cost 800€. As far as I can remember, she only did B&B. She seemed to think that if you had been doing it for more than 3 years, you would be exempt.

    I have been unable to find any credible info on this despite various on-line searches. No point in asking our local Mairie - they'd be the last to know !!!!
  3. Yes - I have bought several clothing items from the USA as I practise Western riding and clothes and boots are far cheaper there, even allowing for postage and duty. It may depend where you buy from...

    I have used two different suppliers and bought several pairs of Wrangler Pro Rodeo jeans over the years, plus boots, hat, several things for the horse. Both companies sent the goods by carrier (UPS or similar) and they give you a website link so that you can follow the track of your goods. The charge was about 20$ for the carrier and I had to pay the postie this end (France) about 25€. Since the Wranglers cost 23.50$ and sell here for about 60€, you only need to buy two or three pairs to make it more than worth your while. The goods were delivered within a week. The boots would have cost me 3 times what I paid.

    So, YES, it's definitely worth it if you know the goods are coming from a reliable source !

    PM me if you would like more info.

  4. The concept of B&B, CdH, etc has changed and evolved over the years. People are offering more and more for their guests in an effort to attract business - and some guests are getting more and more demanding. Prices have also increased as many B&Bs are offering almost hotel-like facilities. I had to laugh at some French guests who asked me the following morning if I changed the sheets and towels every day !!!!!!!

    The "coin cuisine" idea has been around for quite a while, but as for asking to use the host's kitchen.....well !!!!!! Sometimes it's really hard to keep a straight face at some of the requests - which are sometimes just a little unrealistic !

  5. Quote Nectarine "France seems to be full of retired police officers and retired teachers!!."

    That's because they are probably on good pensions !!

    France is a wonderful place to live but it is no longer as cheap as it was when we moved over here 11 years ago. The cost of living has risen - food, electricity, house rates, water, insurance etc etc.

    Finding work in France is not easy as you get older - and if you don't speak French, almost impossible. We see a lot of people here who are literally scratching a living cleaning and scrubbing for others, which is one thing when you are younger.....

    However, there is seasonal work which can be useful for picking up the language, gets you into the health system and also earns you a bit of money.

    Far from being "smarmy", a lot of what people write about the difficulties of living in France (or anywhere else for that matter) come from personal experiences. It is really a question of reading as much as possible about France, about people's experiences and then making a judgement. Renting a property is certainly a good start rather than committing to buying if your future is uncertain.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  6. I think it entirely depends on where you are. Our area is a lot quieter this year and we do not have any extras like a pool. So we have been happy to take people for, say 10 days, on a pro rata basis, provided they either arrive or leave on a Saturday.

    If you are in a good touristy area, you should be able to stick to Saturday changeovers. As you get further into the season, you can start being more flexible so that you can fill the 'holes'.

    As I said, it really does depend on the area in which you live. We have noticed fewer tourists in the Saumur area this year - confirmed by the tourist office and local shops.

    I think a lot of people chose to go further south after two not very good summers in succession. This year seems to be no better weatherwise, so it remains to be seen whether anyone comes here next year !!!
  7. I think it entirely depends on where you are. Our area is a lot quieter this year and we do not have any extras like a pool. So we have been happy to take people for, say 10 days, on a pro rata basis, provided they either arrive or leave on a Saturday.

    If you are in a good touristy area, you should be able to stick to Saturday changeovers. As you get further into the season, you can start being more flexible so that you can fill the 'holes'.

    As I said, it really does depend on the area in which you live. We have noticed fewern tourists in the Saumur area this year - confirmed by the tourist office and local shops.

    I think a lot of people chose to go further south after two not very good summers in succession. This year seems to be no better weatherwise, so it remains to be seen whether anyone comes here next year !!!
  8. Vespa - I think it depends on the guests ! You can run a B&B and never really have much contact with your guests if they want to disappear after breakfast every day. We have always had a good relationship with our gite guests who are completely separate from our part of the house. We sometimes chat when we cross paths, sometimes share a glass of wine... There are no hard and fast rules, and in the end it's what you make of it.

    We have never felt that the gite (2 bedrooms and up to 4 people) infringes on our privacy and we hope our gite guests feel the same. But in the end, they are paying good money for a nice holiday and we enjoy making their stay as pleasant as possible.
  9. There is a fiscal difference in running B&B as opposed to a gite. Have a look at this website which deals specifically with gites and B&B :

    www.laymyhat.com

    I have noticed a shortage of decent gite accommodation for couples. All too often it is a rather small studio, sometimes without a proper bed, just a click-clack. The worst ones are those that advertise for 4 people where there is one proper bed and a click clack ! Naturally people renting out gites want to cram as many people in as possible - and sometimes guests are happy to split the cost in this way. But there must be a lot of people like us who would like to rent a decent gite for 2 people, which provides a proper bedroom area rather than cramming everything into a small space. In the end, it seems that couples are obliged to rent a gite that caters for 4 people in order to get a little more than basic comfort.

    A decent sized gite for two would get my vote. Much easier to manage and taxwise a lot simpler !
  10. Hi Mayenne-man

    For our pig styes we used the chaux/sand mix (ordinary chaux and river sand) but added a yellow ocre powder, you only need a little. The pointing came up in a lovely creamy gold colour. For the back of the house, we didn't bother with the dye and the pointing is greyer - but we didn't mind because it's at the back.

    The front of the house was done by a mason who used a mix of white chaux and yellow sand and the pointing is a nice creamy gold colour. I think the secret was the white chaux - he also added a 'whisper' of white cement.

    Perhaps it's a case of trial and error....

  11. Fi - don't give up your sense of humour - after all, learning a language is much more fun if there is some laughter in it. And people are more likely to remember their mistakes !

    Mr Callie teaches English to adults/business people in Paris - they are usually reasonably advanced. He gives them all sorts of tongue twisters like "six thick thistle sticks" and "Harry had an apple and a hamburger". In turn, they teach him some French ones !!

    Whilst now he doesn't need to do the preparation he did when he started, he does say that it is important to be able to explain grammatical points, even when people only want to do conversation. He did a TEFL course about 12 years ago, and has been teaching English ever since.

    But if you start by helping your friend, you will find out what you need to brush up on.

    Good luck - and have fun !
  12. I have read loads of things like Carol Higgins Clark and Patricia Cornwell in French - not too difficult and good thrillers.

    If you want to be more adventurous, try any of Jean-Christophe Granger's books like "Le Vol des Cygognes" or "Les Rivières Pourpres" (unless you have seen the film). The others are a little bit too fantastic for my taste.
  13. Marriage certificate ???? !!!

    It's worth getting a couple of certified copies as a simple photocopy is not considered 'official'. Never had any problem going to husband's name when I've waved the certificate !
  14. Sorry, can't help with a campsite, but I had a look at the Gorge on internet - it's quite stunning. Not for those who don't like heights !

    You could try looking up "campings" "Gorge de la Caranca" on internet.
  15. We've just returned from a visit to Strasbourg and Colmar, where I saw one of the best examples of trompe l'oeil I have ever seen : It is on the gable end wall of a well-known restaurant in La Petite Venise, and the painted shutters and stonework look incredibly real - even when you are close up. Regrettably I haven't got a photo to hand.... but it's stunning.

    I have never heard any translation for trompe l'oeil - we use the same expression in English.
  16. When we switch our oil-fired CH to summer mode for an hour in the early morning, it heats the water only. We turn all the radiators off except the bathroom one. This means that the bathroom is always warm first thing - even in summer, when at 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning, the outside temperature is still cool.
  17. I agree with Clarkkent about « serrurerie » – any word that has the letters « r » and « u » is going to be more difficult to get the tongue round !
  18. No, Panda, you have certainly not failed by deciding to return to the UK. Living in a foreign country with a different language and culture is an extremely valuable experience.

    Don't think of negative things, think of the positive things you and your son have done and learnt.

    I would tend to agree with your comments with regard to the difference in education here. Much of it seems to be done by rote with little chance of freedom of expression. This seems to follow on to French universities, which do not seem to have the opportunities, societies and general FUN that the British ones have. Bearing in mind, of course, that everyone in France has the right to go to university - but there is huge drop out rate after the first year of those who are simply not up to it. No doubt I will be jumped on for that heresy, but it's what I have observed over the years living here.

    We have heard comments from several of our friends' children saying that school isn't nearly as much fun here, and that the French children don't seem to have a laugh in the same way. Culture difference ?

    Best of luck Panda. It's your choice, and a positive step !
  19. Lovely photograph, Gardian.
  20. When they walk on the gravel, their colouring is a wonderful camouflage, and because they are quite small, they can be difficult to see.

    They are still competing with the cuckoo :

    Hoo hoo hoo....cuckoo cuckoo....hoo hoo hoo !
  21. I have just remembered that my parents, who don't have property in France, but do have a bank account, were required to produce identification and a P60. As they are retired, the P60 is very old ! However, I went into our local Cred Ag on their behalf with the paperwork which my father had sent me (and signed) and everything was sorted out by the cashier. My father had been quite nervous receiving a letter like that so all was well.

    Banks and accountants can be prosecuted for not revealing sources of income or any relevant information.

    So, Just John, I think the letter is routine. However, I would go in to the bank and sort it out on the spot. If you aren't in France, write to them telling them when you will be coming out and arrange an appointment. The other thing you could do is send photocopies of any relevant documentation by post, saying that you will being the originals when you njext come out.
  22. We've never had an English speaking bank manager, so perhaps I've just got a nasty suspicious mind ! However, i would still prefer to do the business face to face than risk of any sort of misunderstanding !

    Bonne chance !
  23. Sounds highly fishy. For a start, that sort of letter would usually be in French. Did they quote your bank account number or anything else ?

    If I were you, i would go in to your bank and ask them about the letter. I would definitely NOT write back until I was sure it was a genuine letter.
  24. [quote user="ErnieY"]

    [quote user="Callie"]« However ............... there is one category of driver which scares the **** out of me. Women drivers, 25-35-ish, school run, country lanes around here, 08.45 - 09.15. Probably worse on their way back from dropping off the kids. Terrifying. [/quote]

    Fortunately most will be in a position to avoid said hazard.[/quote]

    Please note that this was Guardian's quote, not mine !  I lifted it because I agree with it, but cannot use the "Quote" facility with Safari. [8-)] I've had to go to Camino to  do this posting !

  25. Quote Guardian

    « However ............... there is one category of driver which scares the **** out of me. Women drivers, 25-35-ish, school run, country lanes around here, 08.45 - 09.15. Probably worse on their way back from dropping off the kids. Terrifying. »

    Women drivers collecting kids from school are just as bad in the UK. Most of them couldn’t imagine parking 100 yards away from the school and actually walking to collect their children. No, they all have to park one on top of the other as close to the exit as possible. Then when they drive away, their minds are certainly not on their driving ! And the number of these drivers that don’t make sure the children in the back are belted up is unbelieveable.

    The choice between driving in France and the UK ? France wins hands down. You just need to keep your wits about you when you come to a place that has a priorité à droite !

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