Afternoon all! Just checking in to say hi.
I was nosing through a few old threads on here earlier, and it is a delight to find Deb's writings, logical, passionate without being dismissive. So proud to have been the man in her life.
Little bits of news : My Form S1 has arrived! Tomorrow I take it down to CPAM in Le Mans and hope they recognise it for what it is! because I was a bit - no, a lot - late in registering my earnings at the Hotel des Impots, CPAM have been on at me to provide the assessment they assumed I already had. Since I'm 65 in three weeks time, it won't matter a lot now, but I have finally heard from the taxman and it's a surprise - I seem to be paying a lot less!
I've had a bit of work done on the house - all external woodwork painted - and hope to get the upstairs bathroom done before long. I don't need it, but it adds to the value and makes it nicer if I ever invite visitors!
I had 10 days in Blighty at the end of last month. The weather was lousy (That's the delicate word for it) and I had a cold (expletive deleted there, too!) but I saw a few friends - and implausibly bumped into several former colleagues on a funny little railway in Snowdonia!
The house is still full of Deb's stuff - we were always good consumers - but I have whittled down the clothes a bit. It's the 1000+ DVDs that remain a puzzle, since I would want to keep about 5 of them. Then there are the Fairport Convention CDs, DVDs and above all tee-shirts. the market for such in France may be limited, I fear. Oh, and Deb's voice is still on the answerphone - so she calls out every time some call-centre tries us.
Anyway, the headline is I'm ok-ish. Loneliness is not really a factor yet, may never be, I suspect. Motivation can be lacking some days - but then I was always impressively lazy, so no real change there, either.
I wish the Forum well, and hope the members continue to discuss and debate as vigorously as Deb did, in the fashion that she so enjoyed among you all.
Just a brief note to say that it is 12 months, pretty much to the minute, since I lost Deb. As I've said before, this forum - and therefore you - meant a great deal to her over several difficult years. It's good for me to know you are still there, even if I'm a rather poor visitor.
Take care, everyone.
My "longest day" got off to the most bizarre start I can
recall in 64 years. About 8, just considering getting up to make tea, I heard
noises and went to investigate - naked. After all, I was expecting a parcel from
the UK, so perhaps the delivery chap was trying to wake me. No - there was a man
standing in my kitchen/living room! He had forced the outer shutter - a
full-height wooden affair with a notional security device, and opened the
unlocked front door. [If someone is prepared to force a security door, the lock
on a glass-panelled front door won't make much difference, so I seldom lock it
except in gale force winds.] Rushing for my dressing gown, I asked him what he
was doing - and he asked me for a light! I quickly realised he was drunk. He
offered me a bottle of Heineken, gently declined, and before long a large bottle
of Calvados, equally unappealing, TVM. In the meantime I had looked outside and
seen a lady's (!) bike by the gate. I asked him about this, and he said it
wasn't his - his motorbike had run out of fuel down the hill, and his mate would
be coming to pick him up with fuel - he showed me a mobile phone to support this
tale. He was wandering about looking here and there in the garden, so I rang the
emergency number, had a brief English conversation and they transferred me to a
police number. Sadly this was on "please hold" function, so I gave up after a
couple of minutes - but then they rang me, knew who I was, where I lived. Quick
explanation and they promised action. In the meantime matey had been in my
Nissan - had I left it unlocked last night? I asked what he thought he was
doing, but got a typical too-drunk to care response. I decided I'd better start
getting dressed, and heard sounds outside - yes, three burly gendarmes just
putting the handcuffs on him! Then another police van arrived with two ladies -
they being the locals from Bonnetable, the guys from the barracks at Mamers.</P>
<P>The upshot is that this guy is well-known to all. I gave a brief statement to
one of the Mamers guys, and have now been to the nick at Bonnetable to give a
formal statement. When I went to start the Nissan I found he'd pinched the keys
from the house (not the set I usually use) and they were in the ignition. All
the police were charm itself. While I was there the phone rang - it was the
guy's father, who is obviously at his wit's end about his alky son, as you would
be. His son is in hospital to dry out, will be interviewed when sober. I think
he will be charged - I have registered "plainte".
I thought I ought to just drop in to say what and how and so on.
Almost everything has been sorted out - at least as far as I know! I have yet to get to grips with the tax return. Apparently I will need to fill in two returns, one pre- and one post-events. I think I will ask the people at Mamers to help with that. All the banks have been sorted out - with the exception of nationwide, who, having asked for a translation of the death cert, which they received two months ago, have yet to convert the account to my name alone. So much for being mutual.
You may recall that Deb picked up a bargain-priced mobility scooter in England last year. I have donated that to an elderly lady in Bonnetable.
The huge collection of CDs and DVDs - well into 4-figures - remains a problem, since most of the \DVDs probably lack a French language option, and Fairport Convention is not too popular on this side of the Channel, I suspect.
We are now into Le Mans race fortnight - the reason we moved here in the first place, of course. I had a couple of wobbly moments during the Test Weekend, but will enjoy the event I'm sure.
I will drop by now and again, but hope all Deb's friends and animated correspondents on here are well and life has moved on, as it does.
Take care, one and all.
This is from a post on another forum of which Cooperlola was a member:
Despite the above discussion and repeated confirmation from my colleagues in France, I have just see the outside REAR COVER of this weeks Le Mans Special AUTOSPORT magazine.Full page advertisement jointly from Alcosense and Halfords stating that "You'll need one of these by law".
So ripping people off is still part of the national sport in the UK.
Cooperlola, as most will realise, was not backward with adopting technology. Her Android phone had a wiggly-finger code on it. Last time (first time since....) I was in the UK I dropped into a cheapo phone shop, and the code was broken after two day and £30. Great. Get home to France and it now wants a password! Probably the same password Deb had set on her laptop, too.
This is yet another of the 468,000 (approx) things that Deb just used to 'do'. Her pension was paid in euros, so although that meant a small % was lost in conversion by the bank our pension fund used, no question the amount Deb declared was the figure in the bank account, and thus open to audit. My pension, somewhat larger by virtue of 38 years of unstinting toil (yeah, right) is paid into a UK bank. Since currency exchanges fluctuate on a minute-by-minute basis, I had expected to take the figure on my bank statements and convert that using European Central Bank rates for each of the (13, paid every 4-weeks) payment dates. I infer from this thread that I am going a bit further than may be necessary.
An additional complication arises from yesterday's otherwise easy meeting with the Notaire. It seems I need to fill in two declarations for 2012, one for the period ending 5th September, one for the remainder of the year. A morning at the hotel des impots beckons, I fear!
Thanks again, everyone, for positive input as usual. What I had failed to spot was that the CC Co had, a couple of months ago, cancelled the Direct Debit on this account. Deb had also set up a Standing Order, which I have now stopped. So the CC Co had already written the debt off.
Deb had a Kindle (there wasn't much technology she hadn't dabbled in!) and I've manged to de-register this, and passed it to a friend. What impressed me here was the relative ease of cancelling Deb's Amazon account, to which there had been regular payments for a couple of periodicals online for the Kindle. I had to send a copy of the death cert - required by the Data Protection Act, I believe, and entirely reasonable - and within 24 hrs received a confirmation that the account had been closed.
I am seeing the Notaire ||Thursday to sign up and pay up. I hope that will be painless - I know the amount, at least.
Oh, Deb's voice is still on the answerphone. No wish to erase that just yet!
Thanks, Idun, that does seem to confirm what the nice man told me. I am looking anew at the form, and seeing that i can make and sign a legitimate set of numbers that leave the estate in deficit. Wot a turnaround!
Typically astute, merci, RH! Being me, I had mentioned that I also have a card with the same company (Deb had shopped around some years back, so we both signed up - and interest rates have indeed remained competitive) and he simply repeated that they do not seek to come after me (his term), only the estate of the deceased.
I should be here more often, I know, but feel somehow in Deb's shadow, as she made herself so wise on Forum matters, while I generaly just ask basic questions!
I am always aware of the pleasure this Forum's virtual company provided for Deb. In that, I am in your debt, actually.
I am not about dodging the debt. My mind doesn't work like that. Over the last few years, we had been under the false impression there would be moneys to come from the insurers after Deb's acident, so spending was not constrained. Since the cancer was diagnosed, I was hardly going to suggest she spend less, as it clearly added something to her life to buy things she wanted.
I am expecting to pay up, and yes, that implies a long and expensive process. I have already indicated in writing a willingness to pay off additional amounts if the opportunity arises. The questioonaire I have been sent asks for £ valuations on virtually everything except the house. They then expect me to sign as executor. My belief is that the donations option we signed is in lieu of an executor role. The Notaire has had to undertake a full valuation of the joint estate and found it to be well below any threshold for payment of taxes. We wouldn't have debts if we were rich, would we?!
Anyway, I think I'd better call the CC Co and see what they think they're after. My suspicion is they don't know what to do, have sent me a standard form to fill in and no-one is actually "on my case"!
Update! Crumbs and crikey! (A family forum, after all!) Rang the CC Co and nice man says fill in the form, and if the vlue is nil etc then say so. They do not expect to recover the debt from me, only Deb's estate - and I can stop making the existing payments. This is surreal. The cynic in me will believe it when I get it in writing, but the chap was so sure of his script that I'm almost inclined to do so!
A year ago today, Cooperlola & I were in La Rochelle, in the middle of our short break in the Vendee, while builders knocked 7 bells out of our kitchen. We dined a couple of times with a Forumite and his lady, too. Yes, the kitchen/sejour are the better for the work they did in our absence!
I am close to finishing off the legal side of things here in France - I see the Notaire next week to sign up and pay up. However, I am being hassled by a UK credit card company, since there is a substantial outstanding amount. This was being serviced by a Direct Debit, and those payments are ongoing, so there is in no way a default on the account. Had I not told them of Deb's demise, they would be happily receiving their due in ignorance. Now they are looking for me to give full financial details of everything in Deb's 'estate'. Since we had signed 'donations' on arrival in 2004, everything is mine, debts and all. There is therefore no lump sum waiting to be paid out, of course.
Does anyone have any (realistic!) advice on how I should deal with these people?
On 11/12/12, three items were posted in Devon, at the same office, to me. Two, a card and a "small packet" arrived within a week. The third,a small parcel, originally a whisky-bottle box, got caught in the French need to slap a bar-coded label on parcels, and arrived on the 28th. As it contained trivial items intended to be a Xmas stocking, this was a pity.
Never mind - it provides work for a French person. That's much more important than delivering mail on time, after all.
Let me try to give an example of why it can drive you mad, and why it appears to be an exercise in its own right, not a means to achieving a goal.
I am, as most folk here know, trying to tidy up in the wake of Deb's rather rapid demise in September. I needed to re-register her car in my name, and, while doing so, offered the man doing the task her French driving licence and disabled parking badge. Both had been issued in the same office - the Prefecture - that we were sitting in. Nothing to do with him he said - take them to the front office. So I did so, and the lady accepted the licence, but gave me a printed slip with an address for the disabled badge. When I got home, there was a message on the phone from her - she needed a copy of the death certificate. This was issued, of course, by another Goverment agency across town - the Mairie. Now you might think that all that matters is that the licence has been taken out of circulation, avoiding abuse or misuse. No- it has to follow a procedure. Moral - don't bother, and you will probably never be asked for such a thing - there is no-one to join up the dots between Deb's death and her licence!
Good day! I hope the Forum is flourishing. I thought I ought to drop in and say something seasonal, and perhaps reassure you all that I have managed to keep on a more-or-less even keel these last 3 months and more.
So - how am I doing? Well, not too badly, actually. The paperwork is taking an age, but is slowly being consumed. I dropped in to the Notaire's office the other week, and was told that thay have had good responses from everyone they contacted - except a stunning silence from the insurance people. So I have now got a mandate for re-registering Deb's Nissan, issued at the Prefecture - where, because Clair had advised me, I had all the right documents and was welcomed, paying a mere 2 euros 50 cents for the privilege.
Other bits will fall into place. British bankers have various responses to a French death certificate - Santander being brilliant, Nationwide rather less so.
So ends a dreary year for me. We lost our Best Man in February to cancer, our neighbour across the road (45) in April ditto, and then Deb in September. 2013 can hardly be worse!
Once again, it is important to say just how much you all meant to Deb - hence her 12000-odd posts. You gave her an avenue to use her intellect and encouraged her to research and to fight for what she believed to be right. In her wake you rallied behind me, too, so making the early days that much easier. I am very grateful for that.
I am spending Xmas Day alone - by design. I have been invited to join others, but feel that this year I need to work the day through on my own, not hiding in the comfort of others' festivities.
May I wish you all a good festive season, with all you would wish for yourselves. I'm sure we will meet again in 2013!