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Anglican Church in the Pas de Calais – News

Once again the church here in the Pas de Calais is being forced to make a new start. Our Chaplain has decided to leave the parish early and is taking up a new position in Zurich. Thus again we will be all facing a period without a resident priest. Fortunately we do have help to hand for which we are most grateful. The Reverend John Porter who was a chaplain here some time ago has agreed to conduct some services in Hesdin while The Reverend Paul Bennett from the Mission to Seafarers in Dunkirk will help out in Calais. The Boulogne congregation has just decided to have two services a month, the 1st and 3rd Sundays, at the Convent in rue Denacre in Boulogne St Martin, at least in the short term.

We will have to rely on visiting priests but inevitably some of these services will be lay person led. However we are trying to make them somewhat special. Thus the service planned for 6th November will be a Remembrance Day Service led Paul Glaister with music by Charles Vandezande. On 20th November there will be a priest led Eucharist Service –at 10.30 On 4th December we will hold a special Advent Carol Service led by Lalage Glaister with readings by the congregation and Carols selected and played by Charles Vanderzande..

On 17th December at 4pm there will be Christmas Carol Service in the Church at Estreelles followed by Mince Pies, Mulled Wine and a stall selling Christmas Goodies: This service is always well attended by both the British community as well as the French residents from the local village. Charles will again be playing the organ and we will have carols in both English and French. In Boulogne the following day 18th December there will be a Eucharist service with additional carols.

We therefore look forward to a challenging time ahead and hope that the local community will be able to support us and we will of course welcome all who wish to attend these services. For further information please go to our website at http://anglchurch.free.fr/new/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=47

Buying Tyres Online Saves A Packet!

Check your tyres before winter sets in

Patrick Hay tries the service offered by a Frogsiders advertiser- and saves money!

It doesn’t really feel like it yet, but it won’t be long before winter gets here. With wet, cold, and windy weather you really need to have confidence in your tyres. When you think how small your tyres’ area of contact with the road is, it’s amazing your car can stay on wet or icy roads at all, so it makes sense to check that they are all in good order well before the bad weather sets in. It’s going to be too late to do anything about them when you run into a blizzard or freezing fog in the middle of a long journey.

A couple of weeks ago, I rang one of the local specialist auto shops for a price to replace two front tyres. As the old ones had lasted well, I was keen to buy the same Goodyear Eagle brand again. The shop (Norauto) quoted €182 and said they could have them there in 3 days. The price included fitting the tyres, new valves and wheel balancing. I very nearly ordered them right away, but then I remembered seeing an ad on Frogsiders home page for “pneus moins cher online”, so in the interests of all Frogsider readers I decided to try the service from the 123pneus.fr website.

First I checked the exact size and type of tyre I needed. The size is written on the side of the tyres already on the vehicle, so it took only a moment to write down the details and enter them into the boxes on the advertisement. I don’t use special winter tyres – they are useful perhaps if you’re in the Alps or Scandinavia – so I specified Eté (Summer) grade.

Clicking the Recherche button took me to a page on the 123pneus.website where I was able to see details of all the tyres available in the correct size and rating for my car. A list of 75 different tyres could be arranged in alphabetical order of manufacturer’s brand or by price. I chose to view the tyres in ascending order of price, which ranged from €39.70 for something called a Linglong GL699 up to €130.40 each for Toyo Proxes R888 which, according to the website, is supposed to offer superior comfort and longevity on all types of road. All the major brands like Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli were available, too.

123pneus.fr list of tyres

I soon found my Goodyear Eagles towards the expensive end of the list. The website description informed me that they’re particularly good in the wet, offering an improved sense of the straight ahead position as well as sharper steering response. To be honest I have never asked nor been told in a shop, exactly what the performance qualities of my new tyres would be, so the comprehensive information offered was a pleasant surprise. It even included approval ratings and comments (written in German) from official tyre testing and certification authorities.

The site gives lots of information about each type of tyre

At first glance the price of €61.90 per tyre made the local tyre shop look very expensive, but you have to remember that this does not include fitting. The 123pneus.fr website price does however include delivery to a garage in your area. You can choose one from a list. Prices for fitting are clearly detailed on the site. These can vary slightly from one garage to another, and also according to whether you have alloy wheels. I was easily able to calculate that my tyres would cost a total of €159 delivered to my local garage, fitted and balanced, including new valves – a saving of €23 over the local shop price.

So, armed with more information and more choice than I’ve ever had before when buying new tyres, I placed my order, paying for the tyres by credit card online. You can, if you prefer, pay by cheque or electronic bank transfer. Within a few minutes I had received an acknowledgement of my order, an invoice, and a confirmation of my payment. The following day I got another e-mail informing me the tyres had been despatched and would arrive at my chosen garage a week later. This message included a link to the carrier’s website so that I could track the progress of the package.

Fitting was quick and efficient, at our local garage

A few days later I rang my local garage to ask if the tyres were there – they were – and to make an appointment. The tyres were correct, fitting was quick and efficient and the price was as expected. I could find no fault with the entire operation.

123.pneus.fr guarantees to take back and replace any unused tyres that are found within 30 days to be incorrect, damaged or defective. There are also a number of other safeguards for the client built into their terms and conditions which can be read on the website. There’s also a very clear Frequently Asked Questions page, and if you need any further information or reassurance you can phone them and speak with them direct.

For me the saving was €23 on two tyres, but with the comprehensive information and the wide range available I could have made an informed choice and saved even more money on tyres of equal quality. This way of buying tyres seems to work well as long as you don’t mind waiting a week or so for delivery. So, don’t leave it until the last minute – plan in advance. Take a look at your tyres now and see if they’re really fit for the winter weather ahead.

20% French Tax Proposal on Properties owned by Non-Residents

Frogsiders has just received this news from French tax experts,  PKF Guernsey.  It will no doubt come as welcome news to many non-resident French property owners.

“Further to our recent Bulletin on the proposed new 20% charge for non-residents owning French property, we are pleased to confirm that, under the pressure of French expatriates and various property owners’ associations,  the French Government recently announced that they have scrapped the proposal altogether.  This will come as a relief for many people.  Unfortunately there has been no official confirmation regarding the possible cancellation of the taxation on notional income basis (Article 164C). This concerns residents of non-double tax treaty partner countries holding French real estate (Channel Islands, Isle of man for instance), even when they do not receive any French rental income (for further information on this change please visit www.pkfguernsey.com/French tax/ publications).  We will provide further updates via our Bulletins.”

Frogsiders will, of course, make PKF Guernsey’s French tax update bulletins available for download on our French Tax Section pages as soon as they become available.

Restaurant Review: Les Pieds Dans L’Eau at Berck Sur Mer

We are pleased to re-publish a restaurant review which appeared recently in “Sand-Blog”, an occasional journal written by Frogsiders publisher and local gite owner, Patrick Hay.

Exterior view of Les Pieds dans l'Eau restaurant

A good seaside place to eat - Les Pieds dans l'Eau at Berck

“The other night we were planning to eat out before going to the cinema in Montreuil.  The film (The Company Men, with Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones, in English with French sub-titles) was not scheduled to start until 9pm, so we had plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely meal beforehand.  We had aseafood place in mind, too – somewhere we hadn’t been before – the Brasserie “Les Pieds dans l’Eau”, aptly named as it is on the beach at the seaside resort of Berck (about 12 miles drive from Fort Mahon).   This is the restaurant at Berck’s Agora Leisure Centre which I had noticed while attending swimming club training sessions in the excellent pool there.

Brasserie Les Pieds dans l’Eau, Agora, Berck-sur-Mer, Tel. 03 21 89 87 10

Sandboys Sand-Blog reccommends Brasserie "Les Pieds Dans l'Eau" at Berck

Seafood specialities and wines by the glass.

The restaurant is very comfortably furnished and nicely decorated in a modern style.  It is accessed either through the basement level of the Leisure Centre (the restaurant is actually underneath the seaside promenade) or by steps down to the beach from the promenade.

Appropriately for a seaside restaurant, the kitchen at Les Pieds dans l’Eau leans towards seafood, though salad and meat eaters are certainly not forgotten and will find plenty of choices on the extensive menu.  There are some spectacular-sounding specialities as well as a sensible children’s menu.  You’ll find almost all seaside restaurants in France are well prepared for families with small children – we noticed that Les Pieds dans l’Eau had a good supply of high-chairs available to cope with the summertime family seaside holiday rush.

Comfort and fresh decor at this seaside reastaurant

The comfortable interior of Les Pieds dans l'Eau

We chose to eat inside, although it was a lovely sunny evening, and there was plenty of room at the open-air beachside tables.  We both chose the same cold starter, Tartare de tomates fraîches et confites, copeaux de Parmesan, a delightfully fresh and zingy dish.  Sue had Moules Frites for her main course – it’s virtually this seaside region’s signature dish – while I tested the kitchen with a more demanding Turbot rôti, sauce vierge, escalivade de légumes.  I was very happy with my excellent fish, though I personally found the dressing on the vegetables a little too oily for my taste (most people will probably disagree with me)

There is an excellent choice of wines, including a range of wines you can order by the glass.  Unusually you don’t pay any extra for the “by the glass” option.  A 12.5 centilitre glass is priced at one-sixth of the bottle price.  We chose a very acceptable French Chardonnay from the Pays d’Oc, and since we had 3 glasses between us (only one for me, the driver), we paid for exactly half a bottle.

We had to leave it there without trying any of the interesting range of desserts so that we could make it to the cinema in time, but we’ll be back on another occasion to see what they’re like.

All in all, Les Pieds dans l’Eau gets our Sandboys stamp of approval as a very decent, comfortable and superbly positioned French seaside restaurant.”

This restaurant review is reproduced with the permission of the publishers of  Sand-Blog

“Life on the ocean wave” – an art event in the heart of Europe.

Rajula at Madras

An invitation to an artist to show his work at the European Parliament represents a special form of recognition.  And when the artist is British, and one of the paintings is entitled “Trafalgar Dawn: The French Perspective”,  you could be forgiven for imagining, at least for a moment, that the EU had been taken over by the UK Independence Party.

“Life On The Ocean Wave”, an exhibition of maritime paintings by Gordon Frickers, is to be mounted next month in the new Altiero Spinelli building of the European Parliament in Brussels.  This is a considerable honour for a British artist, even one with such impeccable European credentials as Frickers, who lives and works much of the time in France.

Gordon Frickers is a professionally trained artist, shipwright and boat builder as well as naval historian.  He is the only artist who is a member of the British Marine Federation and Superyacht UK and the first marine artist to be invited to show in the European Parliament.  His paintings feature subjects as diverse as emigration, ocean racing, Olympic sailing, superyachts, passenger and commercial shipping, ports and people: subjects all linked by the common thread of life on the ocean wave.

Swans at Guernsey

Brian Simpson MEP, the chairman of the Transport and Tourism Committee, and host for the exhibition says “Frickers merits the exhibition, he has produced some outstanding and renowned art.  Frickers is widely regarded as one of the finest living marine artists”.

The show will include a selection of original works including some new paintings and some key pictures from his 30 years of art work.  Invitations to the show preview, in the evening on May 23, have gone to most of the 400 MEP’s and heads of departments, plus VIPs and invited guests from Britain, France and further shores.

If you are interested in Gordon Frickers art, it may still be possible to get your name on the preview invitation list.  Contact Gordon Frickers through his website  for details.

Personally, I can’t wait to see the look on the faces of the French MEPs when they catch sight of Frickers’ “Trafalgar Dawn” painting – the ominous view, seen from one of the  French ships, of Nelson’s fleet approaching, ready to give battle.

Trafalgar Dawn: The French Perspective

Easter Invitation – St John Passion at Montreuil

LA PASSION DU CHRIST SELON SAINT JEAN

Récitée en français,
Traduite en anglais
Chantée en Lingala (langue du Congo)
par l’Abbé Jacques Tamgombé,
Victor et leurs amis.

Montreuil sur mer
le SAMEDI 2 AVRIL 2011
à 18h00
dans l’église Saint Saulve

L’équipe d’animation au nom des membres de l’Eglise Catholique et Anglicane
vous invitent à une
célébration oecuménique
de La Passion.

Staying overnight in Paris? Live like a Prince!

If you’re planning a stay in Paris you might want to take a look at the new Shangri-La Hotel that’s just opened there.

The hotel – originally built between 1892 and 1896 as the private residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte, grandnephew of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte – has 81 rooms including 27 suites, most with unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts say they plan to open another European hotel in Vienna later this year and another near London Bridge in 2012.

Click here for more details of the Paris Shangri-La hotel.

How we miss Gordon now he’s gone!

I do miss Gordon Brown – though that’s not the same thing as wanting him back.

The thing is, last winter, when there was snow, ice, transport chaos, the pound was worth nothing, your pension had been made worthless by his pension fund tax raids, devaluation, inflation, a crashed stock market and bankrupt banks, we did, at least,  have someone we could blame.  Clearly Gordon Brown was the culprit – he had been there for 13 years and screwed everything up that was capable of being screwed up.

Now, with all the same chaos again, who is there to curse?  Cameron hasn’t been there long enough to be blamed; Clegg the same.  Darling, when he appears at all, now talks some reasonable common sense from time to time instead of the Brownspeak rot he used to come out with.  Blair is sunning himself somewhere surrounded, like some African dictator, by gold plated taps and door-handles – and his billions of dollars stashed away in offshore accounts.

Clearly the Milliband kid is only guilty of once being Gordon’s protégé and anyway, he’ll obviously never be actually put in charge of anything important.

Sarkozy, Merkel and that slimy Italian spiv can’t be blamed, because they don’t carry that aura of control freakery around with them that characterised Brown.  You can’t blame the Irish either – they were just passengers on a crashing bus.

As long as all the news is of transport, financial, religious and political chaos, I suppose we’ll just have to go on blaming the UK Prime Minister nobody actually elected.  His new book “How I Saved The World” or some such tosh, is, by the way at about no. 4983 in the best sellers list, reduced to less than half-price at any bookstore foolish enough to stock it (I believe there are a couple in his constituency that have a copy or two), and destined for recycling into loo paper immediately after the January sales.

Congratulations Gordon! – you have been elected at last – as the scapegoat for everything – and you’re still to blame even when you’re no longer there.

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