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Everything posted by Fi

  1. Have you thought of getting a cat net which fixes over the top of the cot?  It's only attached by elastic, so very easy to get on and off for access baby.   It's very fine, soft mesh so doesn't block any light, but to a cat it feels very unstable and they should steer clear of it (well it worked for my cats anyway!). I haven't a clue what they are called in France, but Mothercare sell them - perhaps a rellie could send one over to you pdq? (Don't forget to tell them the dimensions of the cot!)
  2. My mother's (UK) one has two parts - the badge showing validity, and a separate clock (also blue). This is newish (2 years ago - beofre that it was an all-in-one card). She gets a new badge every year, but is supposed to recycle the clock.  Maybe the powers-wot-be thought you had a clock card already??? probably no help whatsoever, but I try!
  3. Don't know about the the joint names, but I run our gites as an AE and it works well.   Depends on your projected turnover though - think the upper limit is 32K.
  4. According to my neighbour (Georges who knows everything) you rake them.  I had loads this spring (they emerged from the snow in a truly irritating manner) - the soil is really good so I used some to fill in the gaps in the veg patch, and the rest I raked.  4 weeks (and some rain) later, there are just a few patches of soil in the grass, which are rapidly disappearing.  Trouble is, there are now a few more molehills ...... may have to adopt a more laisser-faire attitude towards these ones[:)]
  5. Heat some milk and butter in a pan.  Add crumbs and sugar. Beat in a couple of eggs.  Leave to do it's thing for about 10 mins.  Pour into a buttered baking dish (a shallow le creuset oval dish ideal).  Bake in a medium oven for 30 mins until set but not hard - should be slightly wobbly, but not liquid.  Leave to cool.  Put a thin layer of jam on the custard, then top with meringue.  Bake in a hot oven for 10 mins or so until golden.  Eat tout de suite (wth pouring cream if you are greedy - we are).  I prefer the goodhousekeeping recipe to Delia, mainly because her over-use of the word squidgy really gets on my bits!  Either will give you correct quantities, but use your imagination as follows!: I used to individual puddings in ramekins when I was a chalet host, and currently I use any sort of preserved fruit (sans sirop), rather than jam.  I do the "Reine des Puddings Lorraine" with mirabelle jam, mirabelles  being the local produce.  C'est a vous! As long as your breadcrumb mixture isn't doing a concrete impression, the second baking makes for a really light, yet yummy and substantial pudding! Enjoy!
  6. Back to food! How about Queen of Puddings for pudding?  It's quite light (and lovely made with brioche crumbs rather than plain bread) - always goes down very well with French guests
  7. Hi Have you thought of registering with http://www.helpx.net ?  It helps to connect volunteer workers with host families - anything from farming to childcare to gardening to painting and decorating.  These are not paid jobs - you get free accommodation and board in exchange for a few hours work a day, but I am told by my nephew that it is a great way to meet people, see the country and improve language skills! Hope this helps.  Good luck!
  8. Have you tried Angloinfo Strasbourg?  It's a very small AI site, but you might find something there!
  9. I use the Collins/Robert Senior, which is a big thing but covers most eventualities, and the Hachette French dictionary - if I come across a word or term I don't understand in French, looking it up in a French dictionary often helps, and gives synonyms in French which are always useful. I do use an on-line dictionary when working on the pooter, but if I get a letter, or come across something in a book or newspaper which I don't understand, it is far simpler to just look it up in a book, rather than faffing around on-line. I take a dictionary with me for meetings and appointments, (the Hachette college one)  not necessarily because I will have a problem with French, but that can nearly always be explained in different terms which I will understand, but for when I need to translate something from English and my mind goes a complete blank! Incidentally, I did a couple of courses at the Alliance Francaise in The Hague, and the Hachette dictionary was recommended by our teacher, because it gives a good range of synonyms, together with an explanation of the different shades of meaning of said synonyms.
  10. Montblanc, will you be living on site?  If so I can see little point in paying an agent when you will be there to deal with problems yourself.  Different listings sites work for different markets - if you are aiming for non-Brits (and I strongly advise that you do - can't remember the exact figure but something like 70% of the French holiday in France!), a UK oriented site, like holidayrentals.co.uk will limit your potential renters. Pour-les-vacances and 1000gites - both French sites have been very successful for me, and they are both reasonably priced. As has been mentioned before, Lay My Hat is a valuable source of advice and information, both for listing site recommendations, and for all the other minutae of gite rental. Hope this helps.
  11. [quote user="Jo"]You don't get much more relaxed than that!!!!![blink] [/quote] He isn't so relaxed when the ginger hooligan decides to pitty-patty with the dangly bits!
  12. That sounds like a fun job[:)]  Enjoy....
  13. [quote user="crazyfrog"]Theodore You haven't said what you do, or would like to do, as it may have a bearing on where you go. Don't listen to the negative comments about coming to France and not getting a job because you can't speak the language. I think you are doing the right thing by starting to learn. I got a job here, support 5 people, and my french is rubbish. good luck[/quote] I think you got lucky!  How anyone can expect to get a job in any country without some knowledge of the language beggars belief.  Do you use your "rubbish" French in your job?  Are the 5 people you "support" French?  What is it that you do which doesn't require French in France? Pray tell, I'm sure there are many out there who would like to know! Of course it is good to start to learn the language of the country you plan to live in - that goes without saying, not only for employment, but for day-to-day life, but to assume that fluent English is enough to get you a job in France is at best naive or deluded, and at worst arrogant. I wish the OP well, but it is my belief that without a reasonable/good level of spoken and written French, finding a job in France for a French company would be difficult, if not impossible.
  14. He's fab.   He's realised that the way to my heart isn't with a soggy, half chewed shoe - I just get my wrist licked.  And being a similar age to the new cat, he is showing kitten tendencies, i.e. patting a ball round the house and chasing it, while the cat holds bits of wood between his paws and growls at it.   He (Eco) has stopped trying to take elderly spaniel for a walk by his ear, and most importantly, he has nearly stopped knocking the children over and then trying to steal their boots. He is still totally mad, but I can now stop him with a stern "Eco - arrete", he lets humans through the door first - he automatically stops and takes last place in the queue.  We still have our moments, but he is a pleasure to live with.  This is Eco in relaxed mode: [IMG]http://i497.photobucket.com/albums/rr340/FNSH/IMG_0324.jpg[/IMG] Trouble is, he lays himself open to attack by Pat the Cat - it is like living in a tom and jerry cartoon late in the evening! We love the soppy blonde hooligan and couldn't be without him. In doggy heaven Fi
  15. We have found that French companies tend to interview in French (quelle surprise!) so if your French language skills can't cope with that you may have a problem.  Once working, I am sure it would be possible to "wing it", but a lot depends on what sector you are looking at (IT is mainly in English, healthcare 100% French).  OH had an interview with a French company who hadn't realised he was British (despite his CV being in English, and his covering letter (in French) explaining that his French wasn't completely fluent-we did get a couple of good uses of the subjunctive in though!).  They were pleasantly surprised, and impressed (he was terrified).  The job is for "missions a l'entranger" where English is essential, but good French is essential too.  They are waiting for a suitable mission - please keep everything crossed for him! There is always the "expat" route, but the gravy train is notoriously hard to get on to. We lived in Den Haag for a couple of times - aka Gravy Train Central, so we know. Btw, please lay off Norman, he may have a slightly unfortunate use of words from time to time, but it wouldn't be the same here without him, and he does have useful knowledge and experience to share.  (flip, I've done it again!) Fi  
  16. If we have a blockage, we just call the local plumber who has all the required equipment, knows us, and doesn't charge a fortune.  And a weekly dose of Tarax (or similar) keeps things flowing.  
  17. Or with toasted brioche, onion confit and sauternes. 
  18. Our newish lab (8 months) and kitten (5 months) are either the best of friends, sharing the blanket in front of the fire, or sworn enemies chasing each other (really!) with lots of growling, hissing and molesting.  And at other times they totally ignore each other.  They are both picking up each other's characteristics too - I caught the cat chewing a piece of wood, holding it between his front paws and growling, and I have seen the dog patting a ball around the garden with his front paws.  I work on the basis that the cat can get away if he wants too (either through the catflap or jump on top of a piece of furniture) so I just leave them to it. Fi
  19. Have been offered sanglier at 2 euros/kg .  All dependent on the luck of the hunter of course, so it could arrive tomorrow, or Christmas Eve or never.  Have also been given the occasional bunny, but that's about it.  Our local butcher has a small selection, and there is no problem getting ostrich etc at Intermarche (!), but "bog standard" game seems tricky to get hold of.  The hunters must keep it all for themselves. (greedy lot!). Fi
  20. If you are hoping to attract French/Belgian/Dutch guests, we have found pour-les-vacances.com , abritel and 1000gites.com effective.  These are paid for sites though.  (For Holland, marktplaats.nl is popular with the Dutch for finding holiday accommodation, but you will need some knowledge of Dutch to navigate round the site, even though a listing in English is acceptable (better if your header is in Dutch though e.g. Vogezen rather than Vosges, Lotharingen rather than Lorraine etc, then the listing will be picked up in searches)). From my meagre experience (we are coming to the end of our first year of gites) we have not had much success with free sites, but the three paid-for sites mentioned above have produced around 85% of our bookings. Hope this helps Fi
  21. Can you think of an alternative to peanut butter?  It's a horrible price here (3,50 for a tiny jar).    Perhaps dog treats?  Not even going to consider Nutella - horrible messy stuff - I've seen what a 9 year old can achieve with it! Took the hooligan for a walk this afternoon - he managed to retrieve and drop twice before lunacy took over - he really does want to please!  Would have helped if he hadn't blotted his copybook by demolishing a whole camembert on his return.... that dog could eat for France if we let him. Fi  
  22. He'll chew anything.  Was slightly concerned when I found bits of balloon in his poop [+o(]  And he's in deep disgrace (again) for chewing a book which I had borrowed - cue manic search on Amazon for a replacement and one dog outside considering the error of his ways (but all he did was chase the kitten, until the kitten puffed himself, yowled in a scary manner, and Eco ran off with tail between his legs - big coward!) Dogs are vile - why do we have them?  (apart from all that soppy unconditional dog love, and big brown eyes, and entertainment value...) Fi
  23. Try googling location materiel de cuisine - I just tried and got loads of companies who hire catering equipment.
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