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Everything posted by Fi

  1. Norman; bon courage mon frère - a true tale of heart over adversity .  Even if you are a grumpy pants who talks sense from time to time [:P] PS  I am now helping with English as a benévolé at the local primaire - "heads, shoulders knees and toes" anyone?
  2. Thanks for that info!  I'm a little paranoid at the moment after middle son downloaded some tripe from youtube which had some nasty little friends!
  3. Couple of times in the last few days I have received email notification that a new post has been made on a couple of fairly old threads.  It is always a different user, but the post on the email reads Normal   0   false   false   false   EN-GB   X-NONE   X-NONE or Normal   0   21   false   false   false   FR   X-NONE   X-NONE If I click on "view topic" on the email, I am told the forum no longer exists. Is it the forum or me? If it's a nasty virus, I need to do something about it! Thanks
  4. He is a real cutie (he looks a lot like our Felix) and you are a complete star for taking such good care of him.  I know nothing of hand-rearing kittens, but won't he be big enough soon to start lapping soon?  If I wasn't on the other side of the country, I would happily volunteer for the day shift (I'm at home in the day) - is there a neighbour who might be able to take over once in a while to give you a break - a sort of kitten Mamie? Bon courage ma soeur - hope you can feel the goodwill emanating from the Vosges!
  5. Think it was me wot hijacked - sorry about that!
  6. This may sound a bit  "macramé a new house" but lemon juice and drying outside on a very sunny day seems to shift curry/tomato sauce/rust!
  7. Many thanks for the suggestions.  They are both French registered, hadn't thought of selling the Zafira for spares - presumably if sold for spares there is no need for a recent CT ?? Would much rather keep Gloria - she's a tatty thing, 455K on the clock, but I love her!
  8. Sorry to hijack, but we are in a quandary about which car to sell (OH now has company car and 2 people do not need 3 cars between them!). We have a LHD 15 year old Golf diesel and a RHD 8 year old Zafira.  Neither exactly worth mega-bucks, but one needs getting rid of.  I would prefer to keep the golf - she's just more stable in the winter and I feel safer in her on snowy and icy roads, and obviously much cheaper to fuel, but I have a suspicion I should soldier on with the Zafira, and flog my lovely Gloria. Boo hoo!
  9. I lived in the Netherlands for a couple of years - it was fine, but France is a lot better - weatherwise, space-wise (NL is a small country with a large population - houses tend to be small, with minute gardens), and the language is really difficult - even our Dutch friends admit that it is tricky to learn.  We were in Den Haag which has a huge international population so it wasn't too hard to find a niche - from what I heard out in the countryside it would be very difficult without speaking dutch (hmmmmm, remind you of anywhere???) But any move to a different country is going to have its difficulties, all part of the fun! You don't say how old your children are - the older they are, the harder they will find learning a new language and fitting in - my daughter was 8 and she found it quite hard, and only now, nearly 3 years later does she really feel settled, my son who was 6 has become a small french person (even down to al-fresco widdling [:$]) and I have to correct his English .... I think your biggest problem (if you can overcome the visa/passport problem) will be finding a job - without fluent French it will be hard - OH is working in Luxembourg at the moment because, even though his French is perfectly OK for daily life and social chit-chat, and he does some esoteric IT stuff which is in demand, his language skills still aren't at a high enough level to get through a job interview with a French company working in a completely Francophone environment - we're working on that one! Good luck with whatever you do!
  10. We are in the process of getting our ground floor apartment ready for a long-term let (it's been a gite thus far, and leccie was just one element of the rent).  It shares a compteur with our part of the house (the other apartment is completely independent thank goodness!) The immobiliere strongly advised against a forfait, or any kind of percentage deal.  Difficult to police and enforce.  He suggested either getting a "sous-compteur" fitted under the fuse box in the apartment, then effectively re-selling the electricity, which though illegal, he said lots of people do it , or, going the whole hog and getting edf to install a proper meter, and all the other electrical work involved. We are lucky that we still have the old edf compteur for that apartment in the meter box, and the apartment has it's own fuse box, so it would not, I imagine, be too costly or tricky to reconnect it all again.  the reason we had them on one meter was to reduce the standing charges from edf. Our water rates are very low here, so that will just be included in the rent - there's no bath in the apartment, and it is for single occupancy, so we'll just take that hit!
  11. We'll have to agree to disagree .......
  12. As others have said before, there are many factors: where do you place yourself in the market - luxury, basic, somewhere in between? how much do you charge?  If I was to include linen etc in my 'headline' price, I would be way out of line pricewise compared to other similar properties in the area.  Then I wouldn't get any bookings, because nobody ever reads the fine print ..... how do your guests get there? - there is a difference between what a self-driver will cram into their car, compared to someone who is flying who are your guests? - French and Belgian guests expect to bring their own linen and have absolutely no problem with it, Brits expect everything to be provided I scared myself early on with how much it actually costs to provide linen, so chose early on to have it as an optional extra.
  13. My brats are on their 3rd country - UK, Netherlands and now France.  They may be a little confused at times (in Holland you shake hands with your teacher as you leave, in France you don't, but you do get an occasional bisou!, and in the UK you get a little wave if you're lucky), but they are still in touch with their friends from the previous countries, and, with a lot of jiggery pokery from the parents, get together once in a while, can only be a good thing. And Cathy, you are soooooo right about the ongoing guilt-trip of being a parent - dogs are so much easier!
  14. My daughter is going to 'redoubler' CM2 next year.  My son redid CP last year.  She was 9 when she first went to school (my son was 7) - they spent the most of the first year simply getting to grips with the language. My daughter also had many problems with her maths which didn't help. Now they have cracked the language pretty much,  and she's averaging 15/20 in maths, and they are now learning maths/french grammar/ history etc at the same time and at the same rate as their French peers.  In fact my son is doing so well, they are now talking about him skipping a year so he we will be in the 'right' year for his age. We were involved in making the decision to redoubler - we had meetings with the enseignantes, the directrice of the school and the enseignante reférante for the area.  It wasn't a surprise!  I am glad we made the decision to do this - they are both settled, reasonably unstressed, they do not feel they are playing 'catch-up' all the time, and most importantly they are happy.  There is no shame in re-doing a year - I know of parents who have insisted that their collège-aged children re-do years in order to increase their score averages so they have a better chance of doing the BAC of their choice. My children are not geniuses, they are average-bright with occasional flashes of brilliance, and this has worked very well for them.
  15. Hi They'll be cheap because it is the first week back at school after the Easter holidays in France (February and Easter school holiday dates are staggered in France by area - stops everyone landing on the ski slopes at the same time). Hope you have a great holiday!
  16. Aaaaaaaah!  We do let them use our wifi (if they ask - they need the access codes in order to get on) - but on the proviso that they don't bung up the bandwidth downloading movies etc.  I make it clear that I will disconnect them if they do!  No problems so far, but then, not many ask for it, even though I say it is available in all the blurbs. 
  17. We don't have phones in the gites!  We're on site so there is a phone available should anyone need it (no-one has thus far), but in this day and age everyone has a mobile so there seems to be little point in having a landline in the gite at all.  I think GdF have it as a requirement, but I was told by the GdF lady when I enquired about joining, that having one available somewhere would be enough. I've stayed in a lot of gites, and I can only recall one (Brit-owned) with a phone, which didn't work anyway!
  18. I did a very mini roast dinner as a starter once (but it was a bit of a faff!) - as a 'rosbif' I felt duty-bound to live up to expectations!  It did go down well though. Mini yorkshire pudding (made in miniature muffin moulds) couple of small slices roast beef (rare though, I couldn't bring myself to incinerate it) + small blob horseradish + pan juices 2 or 3 minute roast spuds
  19. We lose all ITV channels, C4+1, More4, E4 (no hardship there - I hate Friends!) and Sky News in the evening - they work perfectly well during the day.  We use a non-Freesat box, i.e. a French FTA box.  I can happily live without X Factor on Ice Get Me Out of Here, but apparently the eldest girl brat can't.  There are a few things I wouldn't mind seeing on those channels though. Have tried retuning the box, and twiddling (minutely) the LNB to no effect.  Any ideas? Many thanks.
  20. Looks like the electric option is one to go for ........ what is it in French??  Then I can do a sensible search on ebay/leboncoin.  Thanks. Going to get him castrated anyway - caught him trying to hump the poor cat earlier - exit one thoroughly outraged feline!  And as you say, there is a slender chance it will help.
  21. Many thanks for all the suggestions - much food for thought!  I am a little wary of the electric collar solution - Eco has an amazing memory - before we got him (he was 8 months old at the time) he had his paw shut in car-boot door - he is still scared when the door is shut and tries to leap into the back-seat, squashing the assembled brats in the process!  I don't want to give him any more complexes.  And those collars are very expensive ...... We are guest-less at the moment so I can park the car at the front of the house, and the gate can be kept shut nearly all the time, so Tim has constructed a barrier to block the escape route.  It ain't pretty, and it is a bit of a pain, but so far, everything crossed, he's only got out once, and that was because the postie left it open. Coops, I love the idea of the water pistol (the same idea worked keeping the cat out of the Christmas tree - good clean fun for all the family :) )  And for the dog training link - many of them are soooo complicated, and this one is written in language an 8 (and 47 [:$] year old) can understand.  He can do the basic stuff - sit, wait, and he does come back when he is called, apart from when totally distracted by other dogs/tractors/walkers/a rabbit 3 fields away. He's going to be castrated next month (the vet wouldn't do it before 18 -24 months - something about his bones/ligaments need to be fully grown) - think this will be 90 euros well-spent, and hopefully will calm the daft b****r down! Will let you know how we get on! Thanks again for all the input.
  22. If you do come back let me know and we'll meet up for a beer or something.  Glad you had a good weekend [:)]
  23. Thanks for all the suggestions - am doing some more research.  Incidentally he hasn't bugged off once since my first post ...... Melrose, he gets plenty of exercise, not a problem for me because a long dog walk has the added bonus of tiring the children out.  He just seems to lack the pack instinct, and is a bit of a floozy where other people/dogs are concerned, hence my thought of getting him a doggy friend.  I have plenty of energy, and live in glorious countryside - perfect for dog walking.  I adopted him from an apartment-dweller who found him too demanding exercise-wise, and he hated being stuck in town. I wouldn't dream of getting rid of him!!!!!!!!!
  24. [quote user="Patf"]Any chance of fixing some king of electrified wire along the bottom of the gate? I know this sounds a bit cruel, but one small shock might do the trick. As you say it's a  serious situation if he chases tractors. Our first border collie was killed when chasing a car, and could have caused an accident to humans. Or use an electrified collar and handset to train him out of it - again an extreme measure, but perhaps necessary. We have one going for free. [/quote] I can't put anything across the bottom of the gate - and it's metal so that could become interesting!  Which is a shame because he knows to keep away from electric fences.  How does the collar work?  If I seem him trying to escape, do you press a button to give him a small shock?  I was hoping he'd get too big to fit under the gate, but he can make himself very flat - just wish I was that bendy! Is it a Labrador trait to wander, or is just Eco being Eco?
  25. [quote user="Bali"]Well, we control a couple of holiday rentals in Bali, Indonesia. I came across this topic while googling Mr. Palmer's details. Thought I should join this forum and make comment, I have played with these time wasters in the past, but these days I simply don't have the time. Maybe there could be a 'scammers' section on this and other forums to list all the alias's ? I get these emails on a regular basis, and today I got one from George Palmer, same phone number but different address George Palmer.  11 London Street Edinburgh Midlothian EH3 6LZ Scotland,UK. Tel:  +447024053981 My email wasn't for models, he only wanted a few standard rooms (we don't have standard rooms) Cheers, David [/quote] There is a section on laymyhat.com concerning scam emails.   One wonders why they bother - everyone must be wise to them by now!
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