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  1. Thanks for your replies - I guess I'll have to wait untill I can assess what soil type I'll be working with and be prepared to dig in lots of compost etc. I'm going to give it a go but substitute some plants with others . If it works I'll let you know !
  2. Hi all - we will be moving to the South West ( either the Dordogne or Lot regions ) later this year. I love gardening and our one here in the UK is full of the classic English Country garden plants. Could I recreate this look in our new French home ? . How do Delphiniums, Foxgloves, Aquilegias etc do in the South West, I'm guessing that roses and Lilies would do well but what about things like Hosta 's ? Or should I forget about this and go for a mediterranean look ? If so can you suggest plants that do well in this region ? Thanks !
  3. yvonne

    Pet couriers ?

    Hi all , with our UK house now being under offer it's time to think about the logistics of moving ourselves , our 'stuff' and our 7 dogs across to the South West of France. Has anyone used a Pet travel company that they would reccommend ?
  4. yvonne

    Carte Vitale

    Thank you Tina & Norman - that's good news
  5. yvonne

    Carte Vitale

    We are planning to retire to France this year. My husband will be in receipt of the UK state pension by the time we move. Will he be entitled to the Carte Vitale and if so will that also cover me too ?
  6. yvonne

    dog shows ?

    What is the show scene like in France - I know that there are Championnats held in every region but wondered if there is the equivalent of our Open or companion shows as well ?     Yvonne
  7. yvonne

    What Dog?

    ooops - perhaps I should have said 'female' instead - not swearing honestly !!     Yvonne
  8. yvonne

    What Dog?

    I would think alomost any of the Pastoral breeds would be suitable - these include:  Rough and Smooth collies Border Collies German Shepherds Belgian Shepherds Shetland sheepdogs Maremmas Pyrenean Mountain dogs Pyrenean Sheepdog Bearded Collies   all these breeds are quick to learn and have a natural tendency to circle 'their property rarther than run off. They tend to be intensly loyal and effective guards although some of them do reqiuire significant amouts of coat care and the bigger breeds will obviously eat more. I have Belgian Shepherd Dogs and they are fine with my chickens - regarding them as part of 'their' property and will herd them given the chance - two of them are also PAT dogs ( therapy dogs) which speaks volumes for their temperament- yet they certainly let me know if anyone is approaching our property...(.we live in an isolated farmhouse in the Lincolnshire Fens )   I would strongly advise your son to get a bitch rather than a dog and have her spayed - the bitches in all these breeds are markedly easier than the dogs and make wonderful companions and great workers. you can see my own dogs on www.simplesite.com/grondemon.   good luck Yvonne
  9. Aboistop works with some dogs but I've known dogs simply close their eyes against the citronelle spray and bark continuously until the device is empty !. A good method is to get a small tin with some  pebbles in or any other small object that makes a sharp sound and each time the dog barks drop it near the dog - preferably so that he does'nt know where the noise has come from ( don't throw it at him no moatter how tempted you may be !!!) - say 'quiet' or another verbal signal  and as soon as the barking stops then give a reward ( bits of cheese or cooked liver are good.). If you can use a clicker to reinforce the reward then this will make the lesson even clearere - be consistent - you will need to do this every time he stops when you give the 'quiet' command.   Febreeze can be used on dogs and so can carpet freshner ( the foam type) -use it sparingly on the body area only - make sure it's not sprayed into their eyes or ears  interestingly tomato sauce will get rid of the most disgusting smells although you will need to wash the dog afterwards it will stop any nasty niffs from lingering - you can also use a diluted solution of bicarb of soda to swap down any surfaces that been in contact with a smelly dog - it will neutralise the smell !.
  10. Hi Jacqueline - of course I will be happy to answer any questions - just ask away ! -   Yvonne
  11. Hi   Just a thought - but perhaps something you might consider, I breed and show Belgian Shepherd Dogs ( Groenendael)  - here in the UK the current gene pool is small and we do have a significant  problem with inherited epilepsy so last year I bought a puppy bitch from one of the top kennels in the breed in France - she is beautiful and comes from  4 generation epilepsy clear lines so should prove very useful to the breed in this country. However I did not want to put her through quarantine and knew she needed to stay in France for her 6 month wait as part of her Pet Passport -( rabies regulation). I found it really difficult to find someone that would take her for the 6 months - raise her as a part of the family - socialise her and do  a little show training as well if possible. Eventually after a frantic search I found a lovely foster home in Normandy who treated her as one of their own dogs - took her ,along to the local market and made sure that she was well socialised with people and other dogs. I paid around £ 2,000 for this service ( comparable to quarantine costs her in the UK)  and it is perhaps a gap in the market that you might consider filling ?. I am not the only breeder who imports from other European countries and many of us will not consider placing young pups in the  6 months solitary confinement that is quarantine - why not try an advert offering the service in one of the UK dog papers ( OUR DOGS or DOG WORLD ). As this type of work would not require kennels or indeed large numbers of dogs at any one time I would imagine that the kennel regulations may not apply ? - we visited 'Bijou' several times over the 6 month period and it would have been good to stay in a gite 'on site ' - another income producer perhaps ?. the total cost of importing Bijou came to over £3,000 - sounds like madness - but then her pups here in the UK will sell for £1000 each - and we already have 6 booked by fellow breeders. There is an untapped market for those able to provide the show world the kind of personalised service I got for my French girl !!!.   Yvonne
  12. yvonne

    Needing a name

    we called our French bred Belgian Shepherd dog 'Bijou' - meaning Jewel - and she is !!! (that's her on my Avater )     Yvonne
  13. Hi Phil why not try a compromise ? - like yourself we wanted to change our lives - but we had two children who were already  settled and doing well in the education system here  in the UK - and to my mind the diffference between the two education systems is too great for most kids to cope with (unless they are just at the start of primary). So we did move - but within the UK - we moved right out to rural Lincolnshire - house prices were (are) lower than most of the rest of the UK- we got a Victorian farmhouse and 2 acres of land for the same price as our small bungalow near Basildon, Essex. So our kids got to grow up with ponies and dogs - kept their own chickens and ducks and had endless space to roam about in. Jobs were difficult to come by and wages far less than in Essex - I worked in a local school but my hubby had to commute daily to London - not great fun but worth it for the wonderful life we had in the countryside. ...and now ? ..now we are are on the brink of realising our dream of retiring to France - the kids have grown up - have good jobs and have flown the nest ..we will have good pensions to live on and the house will sell for a good profit giving us a much sounder basis for our new life. you CAN live your dreams but in a different way ...just look at other alternatives.     Yvonne
  14. Hi - thanks for the info - we only breed when we want something to keep for ourselves ( only 4 litters in over 20 years of owning the breed !) so have no plans to go into breeding 'commercially'. I am half French - my mum comes from near Marseilles (too hot !!) and I speak fluent French so should have no problem with the exam should it be required - we did think of offering a puppy fostering service for those English breeders that want to import European lines but need somewhere to place their pup whilst it's waiting out the pet passport requirements - we imported a dog from France last year and had great trouble finding anyone who offered this service and were experienced enough to show train the pups they fostered - so think there is a bit of a gap in the market there. Mostly however we are looking to retire in the Mayenne region and will not be dependent on earning an income out of our hobby- we already have a good network of French friends in our breed as we regularly show and judge over there so will just change our frantic British lifestyle for (hopefully) a more relaxed way of life in the beautiful French countryside !. thanks again Yvonne
  15. Hi all - We are planning to relocate to France within the next year and are thinking about renting somewhere initially while we either hunt down the right property or build our own. At present we have a small kennel of show dogs - (seven BSD's)  - you can see them on www.grondemon.co.uk and would need a place that would be suitable for them - something out in the countryside or perhaps a small farm would be good. Has anyone relocated with this number of dogs and how did you do it ? - it all seems a bit daunting at present many thanks Yvonne 
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