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Posts posted by Fi

  1. Well not exactly naughty, but amusing in a Hilaire Belloc kind of way .  The bits I have are:

    There was a man, a man no more,

    Who failed to lock the bathroom door

    then a big blank, then

    Like Venus rising from the foam,

    Forsook his sponge and made for home

    and the last line is something like

    In one fell swoop and (something or other) lost

    His aunt, his honour, and his sponge

    I don't think I'm going completely mad, and I have tried various find-a-poem websites without success, but has anyone else heard/know this one?  It is driving me nuts!


    Fi [8-)]

  2. The invalid has recovered (much rejoicing here!).  The worming treatment worked - I did feel a little sorry for Patrick when I heard all the nastiness being expelled (no more detail, you could be enjoying a very late dinner).  He is now acting like a proper kitten!  Here are a couple of pics for your delectation:



    Many thanks for all the help and support.  Positive thinking always helps.


  3. Have just got back from the vet.  She thinks he has a bellyful of worms (poor lamb).  Have just squeezed some noxious substance down his throat and we are waiting for the results [+o(].  If he still has the squits after this, we have some anti-diarrhea tablets which will mean he has to fast for 48 hours - he will be one unhappy puss after that.

    It's a waiting game.

    Many thanks for all the kind thoughts.  Will keep you posted.


  4. My sister managed to murder 2 hoovers (25 quid  jobs from Tesco) and missed the toaster (on top of the microwave) and tried to make toast in the m/wave.....pooey - she has holiday appartments herself so dimwittedness no excuse.  I have just about forgiven her because her OH knocked down a wall in my gaff (as requested[:D]) and made the stairs to the attic safe.

    But if you can't trust your own family to use their noddles, no-one is safe[:)]


  5. Off we go to the vet then. Hopefully a dose of worms which is easily dealt with. In the past,  I have lost 2 cats to which was known a "Cat Aids" at the time, so I am slightly paranoid about minor symptoms turning into something nasty.  And he is very, very cute.  May post a pic when we get over this.

    Thanks for all advice and support.


  6. Sorry, a comma missing, he gets no milk, but he always has a bowl of water available.  I was told he was eating "pate" (not foie gras I hope!) and he knows how to use a litter tray.  I think his "grandmother" is a big cat softy, so he didn't have the expected farm upbringing.    But I did see him eating grass earlier today.  I haven't had a young kitten since I was at school.  I can do dogs though (which isn't terribly helpful I know). 

    Not sure what do to do.  Knowing my luck he'll get sick around 6pm on Saturday (this being France, not a good time!).


  7. New kitten (8 weeks) arrived from our farmer neighbour last Friday.  Poor little thing has had diarrhoea for the last couple of days.  Still eating like a horse (or is that a kitten?) and bouncing around as only a kitten can.  Is it necessary to go to the vet, or shall we give him another few days.  He is having 4 small meals a day of whiskas kitten food, have banned milk, and water.  Is there anything else I can do?

    Someone please advise.  Patrick is part of the family already, so would hate anything really bad to happen!


  8. 'ere we go again [:D]

    I only have gites, which by definition do not include any food etc, but I have been asked if it would be possible to provide an evening meal for first/last nights.  I am happy to do so, I have cooked for the public before, however, I would need to get a type 3 license to provide this service.  Having discussed at length with some more talkative guests, they didn't want 7 courses of haute cuisine for 70 euros, more along the lines of salade au chevre, coq au riesling, some chocolatey gooey number and cheese.  Which is eminently do-able for 15 euros, including a limited quantity of superior plonk, especially when the vegetation/fruit elements come from the garden.

    I think we all know exactly, and in minute detail, Jon's business model, but as has previously been mentioned, you cater for your audience.

    Going for a lie down, just got rid of lunch guests and have a mild headache.  Stuff the pots!


  9. [quote user="water rat"]

    Had a monsieur who informed us at booking he was strictly ,completement salt-free, so to be on the safe side I cooked his meals separately,veg not a problem as I don't usually add any,but bread ,main meal etc was a bit of a pain. Imagine my surprise when he tucked into the cheese course! he just grinned when I mentioned his problem so in the morning I didn't bother to make separate bread.


    People are so naughty.  Maybe they think they'll get better service if they are more demanding (demanding bullies just put my back up and make me even more determined not to cave in to their demands[:)])

    I have discovered though that as I get older [:(] if I eat less bread and carbs I do feel better - less lethargic and lumpy.....


  10. We're at the cheap end of the market - our gites sleep 6/7.  We've found abritel.fr, 1000gites.com and pour-les-vacances.com the most effective for us - others will have other ideas and recommendations of course.

    When we sourced our websites we simply entered the criteria of our gites into their search engines to see what they had - it also offered good indicators of price/level of equipment etc etc. 

    Hope this helps.


  11. [quote user="jon"]

    You did not make your own bread Cerise?

    A nice rice pud made with coconut milk...

    What was on the dinner menue?


    Have you ever made gluten free bread?  It is a complete performance, you end up with a bowl of wallpaper paste which you bake and get a housebrick back in return. 

    My advice (from one who experiences the dubious joys of a gf diet on a daily basis) - stick to the bought stuff.  Schar also make ciabatta rolls which you bake yourself - actually quite nice when warm.

    We find bread is the real problem.  Other stuff is quite straightforward assuming you are cooking from scratch and control the ingredients:

    use gf flour rather than wheat - for baking you need to add xanthum gum (from healthfood shops) to replace the gluten for stretchiness

    stale gf bread makes good bread crumbs

    there are zillions of pudding recipes out there which either involve no wheat anyway, or can easily be tweaked - Queen of Puddings with made with GF cake crumbs was very yummy!

    etc etc.

    It's a challenge, and challenges are what keeps us awake!


  12. [quote user="Chris Jewell"]We,er trying an alternative method of sticking to gites only during the busy summer weeks (we are just about fully booked) and advertising B&B with continental breakfast in the gites in off season times. Watch this space to see if it works. Anybody got experience of offering B&B in out of season times, and any tips. Our website keeps us busy in summer and we have only just added the B&B pages.


    We are thinking of doing a similar thing.  There are a couple of things holding us back:

    Bathrooms - my understanding is that each bedroom needs a bathroom to itself - our gites have 2 or 3 bedrooms, but only one bathroom, so therefore could only be let to family groups, or there would be the expensive of heating and lighting a whole house/appt, for one night stays at what, 50 euros/night

    License - acquiring a license to serve drinks (even coffee and orange juice) - isn't there a new rule which involves going on a 900(ish) euro course about the the perils of the evil drink before they will issue a license?

    Meal service - I understand that if you have a CdH, meals are supposed to be taken in the host's home - not sure how that would pan out if the guests are staying in the gites which are totally independent, even if they are in the same building and trailing round to our "bit".

    The CdH in the village seems to have people there all year round - I would like some of that, but I need to think more about the logistics and legalities.

    If I have any of the above wrong, I am more than happy to be put right!


  13. [quote user="Judith"]Fi

    Not everyone bases the holiday choice on cheapest - sometimes a more expensive gite would get the booking, simply because it had something the hirers wanted and the others didn't.  (Or they had something the hirers didn't want, as in our case, a pool for example).  Unfortunately, it is not always possible to know in advance how hirers make the decisions they do:)


    I'm not suggesting they do, however recent comments have concerned hidden charges, hence my comment[:)]

  14. What is an acceptable time for CAF to process an application?

    I applied for child benefit at the beginning of April - I had everything requested - proofs of everything, letter from the Dutch authorities confirming they were no longer paying us, tax returns, payslips, passports, RIB, inside leg measurements, dog's passport etc etc. 

    I went to the local permanence in the middle of July and they said that the dutch paperwork was still being translated but she would hurry them up and we should hear something soon.

    Still haven't received any confirmation that they are even dealing with our application, let alone come to any decision.

    We have also applied to the Maison des Personnes Handicapes for extra benefits for our youngest son who is autistic.  They have at least made a start, and they have agreed to pay his travel costs to and from the special school, and we have a certificate stating what level of handicap he has.  But no decision/notification for any benefit payments.

    But no money from anyone.  We really need something soon.   I know when they finally decide it will be back-dated and we will get a nice lump of money, but that won't really help with our current financial situation.

    There doesn't seem to be much point in nagging them in August for obvious reasons, but this does seem to be rather a long time to wait with no communication whatsoever.

    Any thoughts from them what know?



  15. Sorry, another thought - those of you who would only accept an all-inclusive deal - have you done a price comparison between those that do offer everything, and those who make an extra charge for linen?  If I only did an inclusive price, and it took into account the cost implications of laundry etc, I would be significantly more expensive than other, similar properties in this area on the listings websites, and I imagine binned at "first sift" by potential clients on price alone.  It would only be on further reading of the small print that they would notice the extra charges and by then too late for me, I've already been binned.

    As and owner I have to take account of what my competition is doing, and here, it is the basic price plus extras.


  16. We have a similar system to Owens88.  There is a basic price which is the rent, electricity and taxe de sejour, and we have an inclusive price (about 120 euros more which is the above plus all linen, towels and end of stay clean), and we have a third option of the basic price plus options for sheets, towels and cleaning.  All very clearly explained on the website, in my replies to enquiries and in th t&c's.  I'm (edit - oops)not Pierre et Vacances, I can be flexible!


  17. My son follows a gluten-free diet.  We have found that Schar Pain Carre (sometimes called pain de mie) is fine toasted - it looks like cardboard, and untoasted tastes like cardboard, but it somehow improves immensely once grilled - but make sure you serve it straight from the toaster.  You can get it at Cora, or healthfood shops (or look on their website for your nearest stockist).  It costs around 3.20 for a loaf - and what you don't use you can bung in the freezer for your next gf guest.  There are plenty of gf cereals and muesli's out there, but don't go for Kelloggs - their rice crispies contain malt which has traces of gluten in them!

    I'm impressed that you are going to all this trouble.  Most places (in the UK and France) just shrug, tell you to bring your own, proceed to toast it and put it in the basket with the non-gf bread and rolls [:@], and charge for a whole breakfast, even though you have just provided some of the ingredients which they have proceeded to marmolize......    Where are you again???[:)]


  18. [quote user="Russethouse"]We're not particularly dirty people but I wouldn't want to spend the last day of my holiday cleaning, I'd rather pay for someone else to do it![/quote]

    I'm not suggesting that you should, and I always opt for the "forfait menager" when I stay in gites, but emptying the bins, checking under the beds for abandoned knickers and tissues (don't go there[:)]), removing skid marks from the loo/toothpaste from the basin, and maybe getting rid of the worst of the debris from the floors in my book comes under the heading of "civilised behaviour".  I have a separate charge for end of stay cleaning (expected by eurofolk who are 90% of my business) - if they choose to do their own end of stay clean and save themselves 40 euros, it should be a proper clean - I don't mind doing windows and the like, but the floors should be mopped, cooker, fridge and bathroom cleaned, beds stripped and bedding folded etc.  My idea of heaven on changeover day is the hum of a distant hoover at 7am.  If they choose to pay the charge, I fully expect to do the cleaning (with the above-mentioned caveats).


  19. [quote user="Will"]My avatar is very worried about the reference in the OP to leaving lapdogs on buses and trains. [:P]

    And as for carrying illegible people...

    Are we all turning French or something?


    A joint operation for the RSPCA and Spooner Society I think.... [:P]

  20. [quote user="Grimaud dreamer"]

    I hope you don't get flamed within an inch of your life!

    I understand where you are coming from.  I spent many years in the self-catering travel market and did my fair share of cleaning.  It is a thankless and soul destroying task, but I now find myself incapable of leaving a holiday let without giving it a full clean - I even do the windows...oh dear...I am British as well, what has gone wrong!!! 



    You can come and stay anytime[:D]

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