Search found 2075 matches

by martyn94
Tue 09 Oct 2018 23:39
Forum: P-O. Life Café
Topic: Vernet les Bains
Replies: 9
Views: 1239

It is not too bad in Winter. My wife bought our place partly for the view and partly because the village still has life in February. It’s mildly amusing that Vernet, along with anywhere else in Southern France, was originally a winter resort: it was nice to have a mild winter down south, but the ...
by martyn94
Sun 07 Oct 2018 23:54
Forum: P-O. Life Café
Topic: Brits on the Box
Replies: 19
Views: 2272

Hello. A variation on the Brits in France & Brexit topic in this headline from today's La Depeche newspaper in Aude: https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2018/10/06/2883009-tea-time-pas-de-brexit-pour-les-gourmands.html . Yours,eng Ted & Jemimaj[/quot I was curious about the music thought to be appropr...
by martyn94
Sun 07 Oct 2018 13:30
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: 50 years on.
Replies: 16
Views: 1671

1962. Run down towns and villages in Northern France. Rats runnning around the streets in broad daylight. The scars of war everywhere. Crossed the Rhine to see what Germany loooked like. Cities such as Cologne reduced to rubble. Lesson learned? Millions of Europeans, soldiers and civilians, died in...
by martyn94
Sat 06 Oct 2018 15:13
Forum: Airport Transport
Topic: Perpignan Airport <> Collioure Sept 2018
Replies: 8
Views: 1378

Thank you, Martyn. However, I think at 70+ we need the taxi from the airport to the station more than the bus lol. Also, the train we are hopefully due to catch from Perpignan to Collioure is the last train for some time so we would prefer to avoid time spent buying tickets - particularly if, as be...
by martyn94
Fri 05 Oct 2018 00:08
Forum: P-O. Life Café
Topic: Vernet les Bains
Replies: 9
Views: 1239

Re: Vernet les Bains

I have seen an ultra cheap studio of sale in Vernet which rather tempts me as a summer retreat from the heat of Béziers and the plain. What are the main drawbacks of the town? I doubt I would be there much in the Summer .... I think there are people here who live round there. For myself, I stay th...
by martyn94
Tue 02 Oct 2018 15:52
Forum: Places to visit/Info about the area
Topic: Climbing Canigou in Winter and Summer
Replies: 1
Views: 460

Apparently yes. It has a perfectly serviceable website, here

https://refugedescortalets.ffcam.fr/home.html
by martyn94
Tue 02 Oct 2018 15:43
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: 50 years on.
Replies: 16
Views: 1671

Helen wrote:
It you had “ivreâ€￾ and “au secoursâ€￾, and maybe the mot de cambronne when you were a bit older, you were pretty much good to go.
I did indeed have the 'mot de cambronne' in my vocab pretty early on... though I have to confess to googling what that actually meant having read your post Martyn.

I'm amazed I haven't come across that as a phrase before (or maybe I have and just forgot)

But thanks for using it - I still love learning new phrases and origins of words.
There is apparently a verb “cambronniserâ€￾ which can be used (in its transitive sense) to say that someone gave/got a good bollocking.
by martyn94
Tue 02 Oct 2018 00:00
Forum: Entertainment & Events
Topic: How to choose a VPN?
Replies: 0
Views: 643

Re: How to choose a VPN?

mariad wrote:I have been to a lot of forums and communities where people are looking for recommendations and how to make a choice.

Well, there are a lot of things to consider How to choose a VPN service?

Most important is the price, then comes the servers, encryption and many other factors.

I believe for me the two most important factors are the number of servers available and the price being charged for the subscription.

I would like to know what factors do VPN users on this forum take into consideration while choosing a VPN?
I usually look at the sub-forum I’m thinking to post on - “Entertainments and Eventsâ€￾ in the present case - and go somewhere else where people might know about VPNs.

If you do manage to find the right spot (maybe “Hi-Tech/Geekâ€￾?) I still won’t give a damn, but there are others here who do.

Apart from the sensible things you mention, you might think about security and encryption. A VPN operator can access everything you send or receive, if it’s transmitted in a form that it can read.
by martyn94
Sun 30 Sep 2018 20:44
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: 50 years on.
Replies: 16
Views: 1671

Helen wrote:And almost 50 years for me since I stepped off a train in Montelimar in the middle of the night and was 'paired' with my French penpal before heading off into the night with her family.

That two week stay started my love affair with France and encouraged me to ramp up my French studies. I realised French was actually a language that it was useful to speak.

It's where I learned the word 'ivre' (thank you penpal's Papa for the wine we drank on Easter day) and 'au secours' when I nearly fell into the Rhone, mucking about by the river. Words I've never forgotten since!
It you had “ivreâ€￾ and “au secoursâ€￾, and maybe the mot de cambronne when you were a bit older, you were pretty much good to go.
by martyn94
Sun 30 Sep 2018 19:09
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: 50 years on.
Replies: 16
Views: 1671

Re: 50 years on.

It’s fifty years, plus a few weeks, since I first entered France, Same here, just over fifty years ago myself and a couple of friends decided to spend the summer vac from university touring Europe. Bought an old banger and a few phrase books for different languages and headed off. Ferry to Calais...
by martyn94
Sun 30 Sep 2018 18:49
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: 50 years on.
Replies: 16
Views: 1671

Re: 50 years on.

russell wrote:
martyn94 wrote: It’s fifty years, plus a few weeks, since I first entered France,

Same here, just over fifty years ago myself and a couple of friends decided to spend the summer vac from university touring Europe. Bought an old banger and a few phrase books for different languages and headed off. Ferry to Calais, then Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and on to Greece. We returned through Yugoslavia, Italy, along the South of France, and up the west coast to Cherbourg for the ferry. Only one breakdown, and one robbery!

Russell
The only thing that annoyed me was that I arrived a few weeks late for the “événementsâ€￾ of summer 1968. Nothing going on by the time I got to Paris, but I still got pulled for my “papiersâ€￾ by the CRS about three times a day. I had a lot more hair in those days, and still quite bright red.

Pretty much the story of my life.

Talking about guide books, I did my trip on a Hallwag map of Europe on a scale of about 100km to a centimetre (I exaggerate, but not by very much, especially when you are hitch-hiking).
by martyn94
Sun 30 Sep 2018 17:54
Forum: P-O. Life Café
Topic: Funeral
Replies: 2
Views: 982

Any day when you bury/burn your father is a difficult day: it’s just as well that you only have to do it once.

I don’t think that my own father’s (standard crematorium, minimally religious) funeral was very satisfying (if that’s a word that you can tastefully use). He certainly didn’t plan it, nor would he ever have thought to do so if he had had more warning. But I’m not sure he would have wanted a “celebrantâ€￾ either: he didn’t have much time for bullshit. Not that it was an option then.

I posted my own post because what I saw was about the most minimal way I can imagine of drawing a formal line to a life in a post-religious society. If that’s what you think you need to do
by martyn94
Fri 28 Sep 2018 22:55
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: 50 years on.
Replies: 16
Views: 1671

50 years on.

I keep forgetting to do this post, but it doesn’t matter. It’s fifty years, plus a few weeks, since I first entered France, under my own steam, over the Pont de l’Europe at Strasbourg. I’ve never had occasion to regret it. The thing that strikes me in retrospect is how I came out alive. No m...
by martyn94
Thu 27 Sep 2018 13:57
Forum: P-O. Life Café
Topic: Funeral
Replies: 2
Views: 982

Funeral

I’ve just come back from a funeral, entirely by accident. I took the silly little dog down to the quai to buy some bread and a newspaper, and then took him up to place de l’obélisque to have a trot round.

When I got there, I found that they had cleared the front half of the car park, and put a coffin there on trestles (with flowers, but not wreaths that I saw): there was a decent but not huge crowd of mourners. The master of ceremonies spoke briefly (and obviously knew the deceased, so far as I could judge from a discreet distance). And then they played some mild jazz over the PA. And then someone else spoke. And more jazz. And then more, briefly, from the MC. And then they took him off to be burnt (at something well over 80, as I gathered from the speeches).

I would settle for that, on such a lovely day as today (assuming that it’s compulsory to do something to get rid of the body, as I guess it is).

I think I will have “Muskrat Rambleâ€￾ as my “going-to-the-cremâ€￾ music

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0vpuFYQwZ5o

although the original version on the “Hot Fives and Sevensâ€￾ is far better.
by martyn94
Wed 26 Sep 2018 03:37
Forum: Places to visit/Info about the area
Topic: Things to do in & around Collioure Sep '18
Replies: 11
Views: 1566

logomage wrote:All of those things float our boat, Gus - thank you! I guess almost anything except sport or high opera lol.



Philip
[/quote%]

This has being preying on the back of my mind for a few weeks. Not so much that you don’t want “high operaâ€￾ (there’s not much of that around down here, more’s the pity) but that you can dismiss it by “lolâ€￾.

There’s quite a lot of rebroadcast opera at cinemas nowadays. Go and watch it until you get your head straight. And depending on the show, take some Kleenex.
by martyn94
Tue 25 Sep 2018 14:28
Forum: Hi Tech/Geek
Topic: Amazon Echo arrives in France
Replies: 38
Views: 4593

If anyone is interested, the Amazon echo plus that I mentioned the other day is now available in France, and in a newer model with slightly bigger speakers. Otherwise the selling proposition, as before, is that they can connect to, and let your echo devices control, “smartâ€￾ bulbs, sockets, locks etc.

As I’ve said before, I bought mine for specific reasons, to control lights, which they serve very well, but no doubt I will stumble over more ( “Alexa, what’s the time?â€￾ is certainly useful if you wake up in the pitch dark).

They have also juiced up the rest of the range in various ways. The basic echo is newly updated, and not changed, but you can now set them up as stereo pairs, and add a sub-woofer which looks hefty, and would be dirt cheap if it’s any good.

There are various introductory offers here

https://www.amazon.fr/Système-Stéréo ... words=Echo

and at surrounding pages.

I posted that particular link because it’s the one I’m tempted by. I can’t justify it, as a purchase, beyond being fed up with remote controls for my existing audio set-up (probably rather higher fi, but I don’t have golden ears). And also because it would get in the way less, and get less knocked over by the dogs.

If I do get it, all I would need is an echo dot for the downstairs lavvy.

Incidentally, does anyone have experience of the Amazon Fire stick for a TV? Because I can apparently get it for $39.99 as a Prime member (god help me).
by martyn94
Sun 23 Sep 2018 19:40
Forum: Hi Tech/Geek
Topic: Amazon Echo arrives in France
Replies: 38
Views: 4593

Allan wrote:Well done Martyn.

Do the Ikea bulbs do anything other that turn on and off, e.g. do or change colour?

Do they respond at all to the switches at all? e.g. To turn on with a switch, turn it off first and then back on? Or are your switches now redundant?

It is always satisfying to solve a problem.
I think that the lights will always respond to the wall switches: the switches do, after all, physically interrupt the flow of current. What I don’t know is whether the bulb remembers its status under Alexa control once you monkey around at the wall. I’ll tell you today or tomorrow once I’ve cooked our dinner. The provisional moral I drew is that I should never touch the wall switches again: if I switch a bedside light off at the wall tonight, I won’t switch it on again with my echo in the morning unless I previously switch it on at the wall.

For the rest, you get what you pay for. My general service IKEA bulbs (€9.99 from memory) switch on and off and dim (“Alexa, dim light one by 50%â€￾) and have a colour temperature of 2700 Kelvin (a generic “warm whiteâ€￾). They have a more expensive one (€19.99 from memory) where you can also adjust the colour temperature from a bit “warmerâ€￾ to quite a lot bluer. That had no particular appeal to me so I saved my money. Other firms have fancier bulbs at a lot more money (Philips Hue seem to be the brand leaders) which can change colour more radically, but I’m not running a disco, so again ran out of curiosity.
by martyn94
Sun 23 Sep 2018 18:29
Forum: Hi Tech/Geek
Topic: Amazon Echo arrives in France
Replies: 38
Views: 4593

martyn94 wrote:
Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote: Any ideas? It seems a shame to find things that are so cheap, and superficially capable, and then use them as paperweights.
You could try plugging the Alexa into it, that way if you get annoyed with it you can tell it to turn itself off.

I have a number of remote controlled plugs bought for me as a present but most of the time they do nothing.

I think the more customary approach is to have a problem to solve, rather than buying one and then trying to think of things to do with it.
Well yes, but for €10 I’m prepared to buy the solution and then find a problem. I enjoy playing about with tech, within limits. I always knew that it would be good for about three things (ie table lamps), but they are still in Normandy. I was surprised that I couldn’t think of more, and humble enough to ask for suggestions.

However, my own post inspired me to do some googling. I had thought that I was doomed so far as the obvious application is concerned, ie the wired-up lighting: I have about 26 GU10 spots (in four zones) in my downstairs room, plus about fifteen GS bulbs elsewhere (ie the sort that look like lightbulbs). I had assumed that automating them would cost a fortune, and involve much rewiring.

Not so: it turns out that you can buy smart wireless bulbs (eg from IKEA) for only a couple of euros more than plain ones (and, from memory, cheaper than plain ones from my local supermarket): apparently you can address, and switch, and dim, them individually through the echo, or programme them into groups. And then do fancy things like make them go on and off when you are not at home.

The second residual complication is that the bulbs (unlike the cheap wall plugs) work on a different wireless protocol than ordinary Wi-Fi: you ordinarily need a “bridgeâ€￾ (which isn’t given away) to get them onto your network.

But there is an answer to that in the form of an Amazon Echo plus: it is basically a second-generation Echo with a “domotiqueâ€￾ hub built in, for not much more than an ordinary Echo.

The final complication is that Amazon don’t yet sell them here (and Amazon UK and Amazon.de won’t ship them here). I’ve just bought one on eBay.de for very little more than the sticker price (I wanted another Echo anyway).

All I need to do now is buy about thirty new lightbulbs (it’s not a tragedy: they are well into their useful life, and failing once a week).
My echo plus arrived a few days ago. I haven’t played with it much, and I doubt that my home will ever be terribly “smartâ€￾ (any more than I will be).

But I have fitted a couple of smart bulbs (from Ikea) on either side of my bed. The electrician who rewired my house was a skilled tradesman (so far as I can judge) but had very decided ideas about how things should be done, until I belatedly found the courage to say no. The switches for my over-the-bed lights are at least 40 cms too far from the edge of my perfectly ordinary double bed, and at least 30 cm too high. Switching one on in the dark is like pinning the tail on the village-fête donkey: and switching both on requires a trek across the bed.

I have long intended to move the switches: it would only take about half an hour (once I had remembered where I’d put my hole saws and choc bar and god knows what else) but then a couple of hours to patch up the old switch holes, and then a couple of days to repaint the room.

Now I just ask Alexa to switch them: she has an amusing, slightly “blaséâ€￾, way of saying “OKâ€￾ as she does so.

It’s the lights on the stairs next, but any extra “functionalityâ€￾ I find for the gizmo is already well paid for.
by martyn94
Wed 19 Sep 2018 21:33
Forum: Entertainment & Events
Topic: Did anyone here watch the Venom Movie Trailer.
Replies: 3
Views: 1546

They will soon have trailers for the trailer, so that you can get even more over-excited.
by martyn94
Mon 17 Sep 2018 23:19
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: Does anyone use Cheques D'Emploi
Replies: 14
Views: 1229

I appreciate all the advice but I'm still not getting it. Perhaps I am thinking too much in UK terms (or I'm just thick). When they talk about a credit d'impot, do they mean that the tax that I pay is reduced by that amount or that the amount on which I pay tax is reduced by that amount? The former.
by martyn94
Mon 17 Sep 2018 16:22
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: Does anyone use Cheques D'Emploi
Replies: 14
Views: 1229

I don’t think so. The details are here
https://www.impots.gouv.fr/portail/part ... i-domicile

Your employee will be liable to tax depending on their other income if it gets recorded as part of their revenu fiscal de reference (as it would, obviously) and it will count against their entitlement to various “allocationsâ€￾ and exemptions (eg from taxe d’hab’) which tend to loom large in the budgets of people who do this sort of work. So I doubt that it’s a no-brainer for everyone to be paid legit, but it’s obviously meant to be tempting, if only to save anxiety.
by martyn94
Mon 17 Sep 2018 16:05
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: Boxes of Wine from Calais to Thuir
Replies: 1
Views: 342

No idea. But from memory, and from a while ago, there is mad paperwork your delivery man will need to move that much wine. Though with minimal risk, I imagine, of getting nicked if they don’t have it.
by martyn94
Sun 16 Sep 2018 16:42
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: Does anyone use Cheques D'Emploi
Replies: 14
Views: 1229

Can you please clarify, their site talks about the financial advantage for the employer. Is your tax reduced by the financial advantage, or is it just allowed against the amount on which you pay tax? If it is the former then it looks like you get back more than you pay out. How does the employee’...
by martyn94
Sun 16 Sep 2018 16:32
Forum: Anything about Anything
Topic: Does anyone use Cheques D'Emploi
Replies: 14
Views: 1229

Allan wrote:Can you please clarify, their site talks about the financial advantage for the employer.

Is your tax reduced by the financial advantage, or is it just allowed against the amount on which you pay tax?

If it is the former then it looks like you get back more than you pay out.

How does the employee’s tax work. I believe that if you make a net payment to them then your payment includes an element of tax but do they get it back if they don’t earn enough or is that it?
There are two sorts of income tax in France: actual “impot sur le revenuâ€￾ which people on low incomes are unlikely to pay (and if they do they sort it out for themselves, until next year, in principle, when employers will have to deduct something vaguely like PAYE, but not until 2020 for domestic employees) and CSG (and a host of other charges on the same basis) which is already meant to be deducted at source from the pay of employees.I think they can get some CSG back if they have a very low income indeed, but otherwise it’s just a flat rate and vouched by your cheque emploi.
by martyn94
Fri 14 Sep 2018 18:31
Forum: P-O. Life Café
Topic: Brits on the Box
Replies: 19
Views: 2272

Rats. Missed it. Doesnt really matter who they picked does it? A cross section would be those who speak french fluently, those who speak it passably, and those who don’t speak it at all. Has to be one of those groups so why not the third? :-) It was actually done via the P-O Life Face book Page w...
by martyn94
Tue 11 Sep 2018 15:06
Forum: P-O. Life Café
Topic: Irish passeports
Replies: 9
Views: 928

Do go and set foot in Ireland: it’s very nice if you avoid the stag do’s around Temple Bar in Dublin. You could even go and kiss the Blarney Stone and post here even more often than you do (or at least that’s my excuse).
by martyn94
Mon 10 Sep 2018 16:08
Forum: Hi Tech/Geek
Topic: Amazon Echo arrives in France
Replies: 38
Views: 4593

Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote: Any ideas? It seems a shame to find things that are so cheap, and superficially capable, and then use them as paperweights.
You could try plugging the Alexa into it, that way if you get annoyed with it you can tell it to turn itself off.

I have a number of remote controlled plugs bought for me as a present but most of the time they do nothing.

I think the more customary approach is to have a problem to solve, rather than buying one and then trying to think of things to do with it.
Well yes, but for €10 I’m prepared to buy the solution and then find a problem. I enjoy playing about with tech, within limits. I always knew that it would be good for about three things (ie table lamps), but they are still in Normandy. I was surprised that I couldn’t think of more, and humble enough to ask for suggestions.

However, my own post inspired me to do some googling. I had thought that I was doomed so far as the obvious application is concerned, ie the wired-up lighting: I have about 26 GU10 spots (in four zones) in my downstairs room, plus about fifteen GS bulbs elsewhere (ie the sort that look like lightbulbs). I had assumed that automating them would cost a fortune, and involve much rewiring.

Not so: it turns out that you can buy smart wireless bulbs (eg from IKEA) for only a couple of euros more than plain ones (and, from memory, cheaper than plain ones from my local supermarket): apparently you can address, and switch, and dim, them individually through the echo, or programme them into groups. And then do fancy things like make them go on and off when you are not at home.

The second residual complication is that the bulbs (unlike the cheap wall plugs) work on a different wireless protocol than ordinary Wi-Fi: you ordinarily need a “bridgeâ€￾ (which isn’t given away) to get them onto your network.

But there is an answer to that in the form of an Amazon Echo plus: it is basically a second-generation Echo with a “domotiqueâ€￾ hub built in, for not much more than an ordinary Echo.

The final complication is that Amazon don’t yet sell them here (and Amazon UK and Amazon.de won’t ship them here). I’ve just bought one on eBay.de for very little more than the sticker price (I wanted another Echo anyway).

All I need to do now is buy about thirty new lightbulbs (it’s not a tragedy: they are well into their useful life, and failing once a week).
by martyn94
Sun 09 Sep 2018 16:28
Forum: Airport Transport
Topic: Perpignan Airport <> Collioure Sept 2018
Replies: 8
Views: 1378

Thanks everybody! I'm not sure how keen we are taking the bus between Perpignan airport & railway station because of getting our luggage on and off a bus? Philip How much luggage do you need for a week in what will hopefully still be very mild weather? My apologies if you have special issues with h...
by martyn94
Sun 09 Sep 2018 09:57
Forum: Places to visit/Info about the area
Topic: Things to do in & around Collioure Sep '18
Replies: 11
Views: 1566

Alternatively, you might try Le Train Rouge https://www.letrainrouge.fr/. This runs on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday during your stay. The connections from and to Collioure are not great but you could leave Collioure by train at 7.52 and arrive in Rivesaltes at 8.27. Then at 10.00 take Le T...
by martyn94
Sat 08 Sep 2018 19:18
Forum: Hi Tech/Geek
Topic: Amazon Echo arrives in France
Replies: 38
Views: 4593

Since I bought my Echo, Amazon have been stalking me on the internet (as they do) saying why not buy this or that to go with it? Eventually I caved in and bought a smart plug for a bit over €10. The written instructions were as useless as usual, but very brief googling found the app (Smart Life: there are others, I think ) needed to connect it: first to my network and then to the Echo.

After that it was quick, and slick, and intuitive: I never thought I’d say that about any bit of consumer electronics, let alone something costing €10. So I thought I’d ride my luck and install a WiFi extender (costing about €11) that I hadn’t previously found the spine to grapple with. Just as quick and easy. What is the world coming to?

My only problem, after a bit of head-scratching, is that the smart plug seems essentially useless in my current set-up. Everything electrical is either hard-wired, or needs some sort of hands-on activity (the dishwasher, say) to do anything even when it’s alive at the wall, or is asleep by default and needs tickling with a remote control. I’ve got some table lamps which are still “oop Northâ€￾ but apart from that, what are they good for?

Any ideas? It seems a shame to find things that are so cheap, and superficially capable, and then use them as paperweights.