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Everything posted by sid

  1. Which make? 40 years in IT and I've probably tried them all, but I haven't tried MAC simply because of cost. I don't like anything that hasn't got a proper keyboard and I do lots of image editing and logo stuff so I have to have a mouse, not a touchpad. I've always regarded Toshiba as "entry-level". These days I use Dell and have done for the past 15 years. Critics will say that they are not upgradable because a lot of the circuitry is on the motherboard; that's been fine for me as all I've ever done is swapped a HDD occasionally when they've got full or failed (HDDs are made by other well-known manufacturers in any case and you could have the same problem an any machine). I'd second ANOther's comments and use any well-known brand (maybe including Toshiba, but that wouldn't be my choice). You don't need a lot of firepower to write emails and browse the WWW.
  2. We've used B&B Hotels as recommended already, and IBIS Budget (Accor hotels). All the B&B and most of the Ibis ones have a machine for out-of-hours check-in. 
  3. [quote user="Cendrillon"]Hopefully their parents will accompany the little ones.[;-)] [/quote] Ha ha, yes, I would hope so, however we do have our grandchildren without their parents, although they are a few years older! [8-|] You'd be surprised (or perhaps not [;-)] ) to find how much better this makes the visit; no parental influence, just grandma and granddad to spoil the kids! [:D] We are just 23km from Ruffec, so I can vouch for a lack of organised entertainment. It's back to the simple life, which is why we like it! I'll second that mention of La Rochelle, and add the zoo at la Palmyre (near Royan), although it takes around 2 hours to get to the coast; not ideal with the little ones.  
  4. Ruffec is a small town in the middle of the countryside, as I'm sure you must have realised already, therefore it's a little unrealistic expect to fine organised entertainment for children, especially this young. The French themselves seem to make do quite adequately with simple things like the village frairies which take place during August, and also paddling/swimming at the local plan d'eau or open air swimming pool. Ruffec has a pool and there is a nice loisires spot on the river Charente at Le Rejallant (just outside Ruffec) and another at St Macoux. You could visit the Monkey Valley (Vallée des Singes) which is just north of Civray, or further afield Futuroscope outside Poitiers. From our own experience you'd find it difficult to entertain 2 and 3 year olds with organised stuff, they seem quite happy just splashing around on a beach, albeit an artificial one. There is a tree-climbing place which looks good for older kids, and this is just outside Ruffec at Taize-Aize on the Charente; again not really for the youngest of your party. At Confolens there is the Velorail; trucks that you pedal on the old railway track to Manot. Maximum 5 people per truck so you'd need to split your party to ensure you've got a pedaller for each truck and it still might be too hard. Ideally you need 2 adults to pedal with 3 (lighter!) passengers; the first leg is slightly uphill. We took our youngest grandson when he was about 3 and used a car baby seat to strap him into the truck seat. An afternoon trip takes about 3 hours and you have time for a picnic at the turnaround. You can find all of these via Google. EDIT: I forgot to point out that 4 grandchildren plus 2 adults (?) is normally more than a standard car is equipped to carry. If you want to travel together and haven't got a large people carrier (that's not a carrier for large people!) you may be in time to hire one from Super-U (Civray or Saizé-Vaussais) who have a Nissan Qashqai+2 (7-seater).  
  5. ... and my ears are burning. [blink] Woolly sussed me out though, I made loads of money on the old gas thingy and retired to France. [;-)] And this it the last post on this thread! [8-|]
  6. Is it me, or is the use of English getting worser! [Www]
  7. I enjoyed it too, Mint.  Taken in context with the other programmes, it is about the Wests and their travels and family. I love looking at and hearing about architectural and industrial heritage, but surely it would be a drier (no pun intended) proposition for the average viewer. I've never done a canal holiday and I'm rather envious; it all seems so tranquil. Perhaps not so, if you had to moor up overnight in central Manchester/Birmingham/London. I'm looking forward to the Falkirk Wheel next episode. A fantastic piece of modern engineering.  
  8. [quote user="mint"]..... as a man of some substance...., [:)] [/quote] Well, at least that made me laugh! [:D]  
  9. Congratulations, Mint. I received a letter today telling me that my application was unsuccessful due to not having supplied the requested proof. My money has been refunded directly to my UK bank account. So that's £5k for 2 months, lost interest. There is supposedly an investigation into my complaint which is still on-going, but no news on that, and I've lost interest (literally!) in what happens now anyway. The words "left hand" and "right hand" spring to mind.  Also, no news on my Premium Bonds encashment. As I said in my letter to them, I have been an investor for 60 years and I think the way they have handled this application and subsequent correspondence is really shabby. Customer service? I don't think so.  End of story for me.  
  10. Sounds promising, Mint! Nothing here though.  
  11. Mint, at least you have done as they asked, so I would think you're in with a good chance. I refused to go down the "documented proof" route, and instead I complained, listing all of the grievances that you've seen on here. At the end I asked them to send my money back and, while they're at it, to cash all my Premium Bonds. So here we are several weeks later, no refund of my 65+ money which they cashed 6 weeks ago, no PB refund, and only this week a letter to say that it's been raised to a "complaint" to be investigated. I thought customer service in France was poor, but this beats it! Just slightly better than a shrug of the shoulders. Good luck with yours.  
  12. [quote user="cajal"]I phoned them only to be told I now have to complete a "forgotten security details" form and post that ! I think you will find the reason for this procedure, to obtain a temporary password, is a residential issue.[/quote]   Of course it's a residential issue, that's what I'm annoyed about! If I lived in UK it wouldn't happen, so I feel I'm being penalised unfairly. As I said earlier I've had NS&I investments for 60 years. They're quite happy to send the occasional (VERY occasional!) Premium Bond winnings warrant to me here, so why can't they accept that I am the same person, without all this interrogation? DWP send my State Pension, the bank send my statements;  and I don't understand why they can't simply send me another password. But that's a side issue; what I wanted was an allocation of 65+ bonds without all this red tape. They were happy to send stuff to me here when I dealt with my late mother's estate; no identity checks then, and we're only talking a couple of years ago. This is NOT rocket science, it's just daft beyond words. AND they've had my money for a month now, so I wonder who is earning the interest? Answers on a postcard.  
  13. Mint, My cheque was cashed a month ago!
  14. Mint, that's interesting that you were successful with the notaire; I had been told that a "notaire wouldn't do", it had to be a lawyer (not a government tax collector effectively. The latest on my saga is that today I received a letter informing me that my complaint was being passed to the complaints department. I still can't find hard information on the money laundering regulations, although some time ago, when I bought a new car, I was told that it applied to amounts over £10,000 but I've since seen 15,000 euros mentioned (I guess that's going to be the same thing anytime soon!). I'm really miffed as one of my premium bonds was one of the first issue; I remember using my pocket money (4 week's worth @ 2/6 !!) to go and buy it at our local PO in Manchester! I have another gripe now about the NS&I online system. I needed to register; you go online and complete the form but then have to PRINT it and post it to Glasgow! That's VERY online! They are supposed to send a password, again by post, but mine never arrived. I phoned them only to be told I now have to complete a "forgotten security details" form and post that ! I can't forget something I never knew in the first place. They don't appear to have thought any of this through very well.
  15. I'm not so sure about the 1 in 10 gradient. It would be unwise to try to mow across the slope on a ride-on mower, but up and down may be OK. I think I'd go for a self-propelled one but not a ride-on.
  16. I applied on 17th January. 4 weeks later I got a letter requesting "documentary proof of identity". They'll only accept a certified copy of my passport if witnessed by the Embassy, Consulate or a lawyer. By the time I've paid for any of these it will not be worth my while. I wrote back and told them to send my money back. As already pointed out by Q a Life Certificate signed by the mayor is good enough. I've also had NS&I investments for 60 years!! Someone has got it in for us ex-pat pensioners. They use the blanket excuse of EU Money laundering. Pah!
  17. sid

    Dental implants

    I don't often contribute to the forum these days having been shot down too many times, but having recently been through the dental "wringer" I thought I should add some comment here. We have an excellent dentist and he also speaks good English which is a tremendous help when you get down to important detail. I've had two problems on opposite sides of my mouth. I asked about implants and he said that whilst he could refer me to a specialist, he thought that there were ways of dealing with my problems by use crowns, bridges or small palettes. In the end I went for a bridge, effectively crowing two teeth and filling the gap between them. This has restored my "bite" and my mouth feels so much better and of course I can now chew properly. On the other side I had a continual problem caused by an infection at the tip of the root. He advised a minor surgical procedure (résection apicale - removal of the tip of the root and general cleaning up) in order to save the tooth. I've had this done (not at the dental surgery but at a clinic, I think because, like the implants, it's a specialist job and needs to be done under sterile conditions) and I will have a bridge on this side once it's all settled down. I must point out that I'm a dental "wuss" and was dreading all of this, but in fact it all went off very easily. One of the main considerations for me was not wanting "false teeth" in the old-fashioned sense; I recall my mother and father telling me that they had ALL their teeth removed in their early twenties; apparently it was quite common back then (c1935)! Horrific! The cost of all this is another factor. You should ask how long an implant is likely to last. A bridge should be good for 10 years at least, and I have two crowns which were fitted in the 1970's, so I know they can last well. The French health system doesn't reimburse very much for bridge work and neither does our mutuelle (but that's our choice of plan v premium) so it's a hefty investment. Good luck!
  18. Teapot,   Why does any thread about travel have to turn into a Ryanair bashing post? I don't get it. If you don't like Ryanair, don't use it! Simple. For someone who seems not to want to leave France at all (I refer to your post on the latest thread about Spanish traffic laws) it seems unlikely that you have the necessary experience to criticise Ryanair, let alone any other operator! As for docking at 3am, well, if you want to get somewhere early in the morning it seems to be one reasonable way of doing it, otherwise you could cross at a "respectable " time (read "more expensive") and spend the night in a hotel perhaps? [blink]    
  19. I was away on holiday when this thread was active so I missed it. I wrote the earlier post which Jay refers to. (Thank you, Jay). I think in this instance it will be more difficult to complete the registration. VanRoyce, as Powersdeal correctly remembers, was an expensive and HEAVY caravan, and the inclusion of "Royce" in the name was I think meant to imply a high quality. In fact they were lovely 'vans, and very nicely equipped, but far too heavy for our cars at the time we looked at them. The main thing with registration is getting acceptable documentation; this goes a long way towards satisfying the French authorities, even if it the 'van is old. When I did our 1989 caravan in 2006 Lunar were very helpful in providing 2 letters, in English and in French, certifying the standards applicable to the caravan. DRIRE (as it was then) accepted these without question.  This is not going to be possible with a company that has gone out of business, so the only way will be to submit to the full DREAL inspection. You need to be patient and just take it one step at a time. It is best to make an initial appointment (without the 'van) to see the DREAL inspector and get him to tell you exactly what will be required. As it seems to differ from place to place, this route is far better than trying to guess what might be needed. Sunday Driver gave me some very good advice (as he did to so many others on here)... he said to make a proper folder for the registration task, with as many photographs of the caravan and its running gear, including any identification plates etc, and also include ALL the documentation you have. It helps if you also have a proper cover sheet for the folder with something like "Immatriculation d'une caravanned britannique" and your contact details and main identification details of the caravan. SD reckoned this shows you are going about the job in a professional way. I can vouch for the inspector's reaction on seeing mine, and he got straight down to business and listed all the things I needed to change on the caravan (lighting mods, reflectors, ID plate) and the inspections I would need to attend once I had completed the changes. None of this is rocket science, it happens with a lot of French procedures (eg Carte Vitale); you just have to do what they ask. As Powersdeal has already said, it's better to get the requirements from the horse's mouth rather than second-guessing it and complaining afterwards that it didn't work as you expected. If you decide to sell the caravan the best market is without doubt back in UK unless you can find someone who wants to park it on the property here in France solely for use as extra accommodation for friends or family, and not for road use. If you have a specific question, please feel free to email me. Good luck.  
  20. I've flown Ryanair 10 times already this year. I think the improvements are good. Forget about Priority boarding unless you have a very particular need, (I can't think of one off the cuff) as you now have your seat automatically allocated AND it tells you which door to use. This has definitely helped to calm the crush as people scrambled to get a favourite seat. You can still book Priority boarding and you can also book one of a few seats with extra legroom, but these are generally near emergency exits, so you need to be fit enough to operate the door in an emergency, and not be unfit enough that you're a hindrance to others. Treat the journey as you would a bus ride. Expect little, and you won't be disappointed! [:)] In fact I've used Ryanair for about 8 years now and never had a bad experience; all of my grouses have been because of extremely unpleasant passengers. There are always those passengers who take an age to put their bags in the overhead lockers and hold up the queue! And the latest craze seems to be to dump their cabin bag in the first locker near the door and then proceed down the plane to their seat, thus depriving someone else of being able to store their bag above their own seat. Only the first 90 cabin bags will go in the plane the rest go into the hold. I've not seen this implemented yet.  
  21. As I write this, sat in California (we may be here some time if the strike goes ahead!) I have to say that the AirFrance service on the outward flight was nothing short of first class (and we travelled economy!). Comfortable seats, on-time, great service from the cabin staff. We flew on the new A380 airbus and tickets booked last June were around the same as we would have paid from London or Manchester with Virgin. I wonder if the criticism is really fair? The proposed strike is not AirFrance of course, but the French pilots' union. It comes at a really bad time for Air France who may otherwise have actually made a profit this year!  
  22. Steve, that comment was made over a year ago and the section is still here, but not very active. I've forgotten what made me post it now! Are you coming to live here permanently or just visiting your holiday home? There's not a lot you need to know any more than you would for a holiday, such as:-  carry your documents with you, always have your headlights on (dipped), and just enjoy the roads. If you're here to stay get your bike registered. If you have a specific query just fire away. Bonne route!
  23. I second what Kathy says, and would suggest that collecting sandwiches at E Midlands as Betty suggests might be more convenient, or just bring a snack from home for later? Drinks however, won't be allowed on the plane (in cabin baggage) because of the security restrictions still in force. It's only about an hour and quarter from Limoges airport (Bellegarde) to Angouleme, by the way, now that the dual carriageway has been extended further, so they may be able to hold out that long?  
  24. Duly noted Clair, thanks. My wife's hearing aid will be due for renewal soon. We have a new consultant in Angouleme and my wife feels very confident with him. He says that he can prescribe, supply and fit the BAHA type that she uses. As pointed out above there is a finite life for these things, normally 3 years for my wife's type, but we've passed that now and it's still OK. They cost £3000 each in UK and the manufacturer has only relatively recently been supplying them in France. Of course on the NHS they are free, but we can't take advantage of that. It caters for a particular type of hearing loss and requires an operation initially, so it's not the normal solution. I'll report back on here when we eventually go for the replacement.  
  25. Earplugs! I'm going deaf and I want to keep that bit that I've got left! [Www] I can understand about the reluctance to get your bikes registered, it can be a hassle. However, I've just imported and registered a '70 Bonneville and it was a breeze; absolutely no problem, easier than my VFR800 and a lot easier than our British caravan. The insurer will keep taking your premiums, but the worry is what happens in the event of a serious claim... will they then start to question whether the bike was legal? This has been discussed here many times and I don't think they can get out of their obligations (??) but they can sure make it difficult. If you're living here my advice would be to get it done. I think it's rather nice not being immediately recognised as foreign (until I open my mouth at any rate! [:D] )
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