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Posts posted by Fi

  1. Not sure if this is the right place or if the gardening forum would be better.

    We bought a Husqvarna tractor mower as part of our house purchase.  For all it is great fun, it takes up a lot of room, and frankly we could do with the money (would prefer some partition walls in the attic!). It is 2 years old and has barely been used. We have a standard petrol mower to do the bit nearest the house, and we are in the process of chatting up our neighbour to do the whole place (around 3000 sq m) once a month in return for a small fee. (Or I may follow up the mouton tondeuse card in the local garden centre!).

    Other than Ebay, does anyone have any other ideas of  where would be a good place to sell it.  Buyer would have to collect - we don't have the wherewithal to deliver it.

    Many thanks


  2. Have just found Hula Hoops in the local Cora.  Frabjous day, calloo callay ....

    Admittedly 88c for a small packet.  Will have to ration them to 2 or 3 a day. (That's hoops not bags).[:D]

    Another guilty secret.  Along with ketchup on scrambled eggs and marshmallows dipped in melted chocolate.  Shhhhhh.


  3. I have been shopping in Conforama.  I have bought a new box for the princely sum of 59 euros, (following Martin's excellent and detailed advice), fiddled around with various leads and wires, taking the opportunity to do something about the spaghetti, labelling all the scart and power leads (sad but hopefully helpful).  Anyway, plugged in the box, selected Astra 28, and found all the channels (and some I didn't see with Freesat - not sure if they work yet though, we've had CBBConly  on so far).  There is an EPG of sorts, so hopefully we are now sorted out.  Just need to get a raccord to link two male fiches so we can choose between tnt and freesat.  My children will watch french tv!

    Martin, cannot thank you enough for all your help.  If you were nearer, we'd find you and kiss you.

    Now, what to do about the dead freesat box - still haven't found the receipt. Will try the honesty route - you never know ....

    Feeling slightly euphoric - so happy it all worked out fairly painlessly. (Apart from going shopping on a Saturday with the monsters in tow!)

    Hope you all have a great rest of weekend.  Now if it would just stop raining, I could go and make a start on the newly created veg patch.

    Fi [:D]

  4. Martin,

    The freebie is a Metronic demodulateur satellite analogique, and it says "permet la reception des chaines satellites analogiques gratuites".  It doesn't say DVB-S anywhere, nor does it say TNT or Canal+ anywhere.  It lists what channels it can pick up via Atlatnitc Bird 3, Astra 19.2 Est and Hot Bird 13.0 Est, but presumably what it picks up is dictated by what the parabole is pointing at?  This box and the parabole only cost 42 euros altogether in Leclerc - I just wanted a cheap parabole for the freesat box so I didn't take a great deal of notice of the other stuff in the box at the time.  Possibly worth plugging it in to see what happens?

    By the way, is a demodulateur the same thing as a decodeur and/or recepteur.  Darty have a recepteur satellite which offers the following:

    • Programmes : Chaînes gratuites

      (sauf TNTSAT sur ASTRA)
    • Type de récepteur : Récepteur satellite numérique
    Would that do the trick?  It costs 50 euros.

    Sorry to be such a pain, but I would like to get this right.  Husband (who is in The Hague during the week) seems to think the brats should be reading improving texts and drawing pictures (dream on) - I will never live it down if I get it wrong!

    Many, many thanks for all your help and advice.  If you need any help with cooking queries, I'm your girl!


  5. [quote user="Martinwatkins"]Well I think that I might then consider purchasing a free to air sat box in France for about €60 - for the sake of the children you understand.

    I know it's frustrating but -  apart from the convenience of the EPG - any DVB-S box will do the job of a freesat box.   You might have to spend half an hour setting it up but might it not be worth it...?

    I hate wasting money,   but it's what I'd do in your circumstances,   then get a replacement freesat box in May and have it as a spare or on a dual LNB for a bedroom...


    Without wishing to appear completely dimwitted, where can I get such a thing? What is a DVB_S box in laymans terms? What should I be asking for? I have TNT boxes everywhere (one in each gite, plus mine, plus one that came free with the parabole) - I did try simply plugging the cable from the freesat dish into the TNT box but it didn't work.  Or am I being completely fick?  I do know what an LNB is though!

    I will go shopping next week once kids back at school.

    Thanks for the advice.

  6. [quote user="Martinwatkins"]"analogue" used to fail the profanity test here on Complete France.

    Is your freesat box the sort with an external power supply (ie the mains plug is bulky) or is it an ordinary 13 amp plug?

    Just wondered as I have an HD and an SD box and one of them (can't remember which) has the external PSU;  if that's the case it's relatively simple to check if it's simply that that has failed....


    I also wondered about Ar*senal as in team (in the loosest sense) of overpaid, over-indulged prima donnas.

    Anyway it's an ordinary 3amp fuse, 3 pin plug.  No bulky anythings - it's a mystery.

    Many thanks for all the suggestions.  My children will be unbearable for the next month (off to UK mid-May).  Gulli really doesn't do it for them!


  7. Dave, your stories make me hoot.  I may give up before I even start though!  No bookings at all for this summer, yet (hopefully).  I think it's the same for many in this area though. We had a few weeks in the winter  - good snow this year I think, but zilch for the summer so far.  I keep everything crossed (makes walking difficult sometimes[:D]).


  8. [quote user="Clair"][quote user="Fi"]... I could be wrong about this, but I think (no doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong), that legally, the retailer cannot insist on a till receipt for a replacement or refund.[/quote]

    How else would they know where the customer made the purchase?

    You could hardly expect Comet or PCWorld to exchange or refund faulty goods from Argos or John Lewis...


    As I said, a question of believing the customer.  One of the vagaries of English law (commonly referred to as an ass for just this kind of situation!).

    Chances are, I will go back to Argos, and, despite certain inferences

    to the contrary, I am an honest person, and I'll come clean. You never

    know, the dratted receipt may turn up in the meantime, then problem

    solved.  Or they might even believe me. Sadly I chucked out the box, so using that as proof of

    whereabouts of purchase is not a solution available to me.

    A small mis-stitch in the great tapestry of life ....


  9. "Do you get any lights on the Bush box?  If so, try replacing the batteries in the handset,  a similar thing worked for me."

    Not a thing!  Maybe there is an internal fuse which has blown (forgive me for sounding like a complete mumpher, my knowledge of electronics could be written on the back of the Argos Customer Disservice Manual[:)]).  I think it will have to go back. 

    Personally I have no problem with a little dissimulation when returning goods.  I have been on the receiving end of positively illegal practices in the past, so I have no qualms whatsoever.   I know two wrongs etc etc  It is not as though I am lying, it is more having to play the game.  I could be wrong about this, but I think (no doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong), that legally, the retailer cannot insist on a till receipt for a replacement or refund. They are supposed to trust their customer. Certainly in my days working as a customer service manager, we tended to give the consumer the benefit of the doubt - after all, we wanted them to come back and spend their money with us and not the opposition!  They had to be nice to us though.  We made life difficult, for rude, shouty, bullies (so professional!).  And no, I'm not saying which company.

    The weather station is still having a hissy fit though!

    Bon weekend tout le monde!


  10. Has anyone had any experience of their Freesat box suddenly ceasing to function for no apparent reason? 

    The six year-old was getting his daily fix of Ed and Oucho when the box just died. It is the cheapest Bush 50 quid model.  Jiggled all the wires, replaced the fuse (I am using a continental adaptor with the original UK plug), nothing, rien de tout, nada.  Elle (il?) est mort(e).

    I have a bad feeling that the only thing I can do is take the beastly box back to Argos on my next UK trip (fortunately in a few weeks) and get an exchange (assuming I can find the invoice - another conundrum).  Unless anyone has a cunning plan??

    And the weather station has stopped receiving messages from the sensor in the garden.  And I have replaced the batteries. And I think I pressed reset (not going to check - it's wet out there!). 

    What next I ask myself???



  11. I'm off to the garden centre very shortly to get a couple of troughs to plant up with some instant colour (and to block the gap on the underside side panel of the gate where aforementioned small child could do a commando-like wiggly worm escape manoeuvre) .  Good idea about something summery - I was just being lazy because the hole had already been dug (if you see what I mean).  I will see what they have lurking ... (or on very, very special offer - having a major economy drive at the moment!)

    Have a great afternoon.


  12. I've just had our terrain enclosed with chain link (to keep small child with wanderlust corralled) and I have been left with a strip of bare soil about 50cm by the new fence.  I would like to plant some bulbs (daffs, crocuses,snowdrops) and then relay the grass (I won't dignify it with the term lawn), so that in the spring the flowers poke through the grass (well that's the theory anyway!).   I do know that the normal time to plant bulbs is the autumn for the following spring.  As a large chunk of the prep has been done for me I would like to take advantage of that.  Can anyone advise me as to whether or not it is a completely bonkers idea to plant spring bulbs now.  I don't want to confuse them so they flower in September! 

    Spring has finally arrived in the Vosges.  The wild jonquilles, violets and other spring flowers have started flowering in the fields this week (the last of the snow melted about a week ago), and the trees are covered in buds - it's beautiful!

    Many thanks


  13. Time to convert the smelly, fluffy springer into a slightly stumpy, overweight, yet fragrant dalmatian.  How do you say "number 3 all over please, we want him to look hard"?  Well as hard as a spaniel can look anyway.  the OP's dog looks great, even though you can sense his desperate need for a big squidgy cowpat for a good roll.

  14. A very good idea. 

    I saw a bit of a Nigella programme which even she admitted was slightly overdone, where she made a comforting supper for herself which I think was a grilled pork chop with marmolised canned haricot beans.  The ridiculous thing was that she attempted to eat said dainty snack semi slumped on the sofa, in her leisure wear (jimjams to you and I!) with only a fork.  Beans OK, pork chop, almost impossible.  This was the same series where someone married to a Saatchi is apparently reduced to standing in the bus queue clutching a flask of pea soup.  [:D] Hmmm.

    Bonne nuit!

  15. It is extremely easy peasy (hence my fear of being a cheapskate!).  Here goes:

    2 med egg whites

    8 oz caster sugar

    4 oz ground almonds

    few drops almond essence

    whole, blanched almonds

    Makes around 25 bite size ones.

    Whisk the egg whites until you reach "stiff peaks"  (ooer - sorry, very juvenile).  Fold in the sugar.  Very, very gently stir in the almonds and essence.  Put neat teaspoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets.  Press an almond onto each biscuit. (You could use half a glace cherry for variety.)  Bake 12-15 mins at 180/mk 4.  They should be pale gold and firm (I should get out more).  Cool thoroughly and store in airtight containers (or wrap up in a jolly manner as presents).  They will be chewy  at first, and will become firmer (don't say it!) as time progresses.  Eat within a week or they will be very glamorous bird food!



  16. We have been here for around 5 months.  Our neighbour, who is very sweet, and who my children adore, has invited us to celebrate her birthday tomorrow.  The brats have already chosen their special present (chocolate cats!) and made cards.  I will of course give her a card, but I would like to give a small gift from me.  I was thinking of making a batch of macaroons and wrapping them up with lots of ribbon and cellophane - do you think that would be acceptable or would seem to be rather cheapskate?  Please be honest!



  17. I do feel very slightly better having read this thread.  We moved here at the end of October last year and my two (9 and 6) seem to progressing at snail's pace with their French.  Peter (6)  is silent at school (he never stops babbling at home), and Maya (9) has a permanent "bunny in the headlights" expression - at least she will try.   They have a soutien 3 times a week to help with their French, and the french equivalent of an ESL (FLE??? francais langue etrangere?) teacher for an hour or so once a week .  Maya tries even though she finds it very hard (she found school in English very hard too so I do feel for her), however, Peter won't try at school - he just stares at his feet and mumbles.  We do everything in English at home, but maybe we should speak French at mealtimes to keep the momentum going.  Their English is great though, both written and spoken!

    I think the message here is given them more time, but at which point do you explore other possibilities (extra lessons etc)

  18. My springer is now 13 ish (we are his 4th set of owners so we are not entirely sure!).  In the last few days he has started pooping in the house which he has never done before.  It's as if he can't hold on for long enough to be let out.  I am pretty quick at getting him through the door normally, but he seems to have lost control.  The other manifestation is that he gets up in the night and leaves presents for the unwary, which again is completely new behaviour.  We haven't changed his diet, there is no new stress in his life (plenty in mine being on permanent poop-patrol!) so the only thing I can think of is that this is yet another manifestation of age - his hearing is very poor, and he creaks and groans like a ship. 

    He hates going to the vet, and I hate paying for the vet, but I will take him if necessary. 

    Any thoughts?



  19. I am officially a Grumpy Pants and stand corrected!  Apologies for misunderstanding, but I have suffered from accusations of self-indugence for having children in the first place so I am a little touchy on the subject.  And yes, I quite agree, if you pay into a system you should get a decent return on your investment - sadly government(s) do not seem to be the best at financial management, being at the beck and call of big business rather than that of the electorate who put them in their position of authority in the first place .... Think turkey, think self-seeking windbag politican - that's better!

    Parsnips, have a great Christmas and a peaceful New Year

    Fi (short for Fiona - but I think I'm in trouble if I get the full name - all my parents' fault!)

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