Author Archives: Bill

Riding a Moustache

Ready for a fun ride

Our goal has been to be very positive in our writing and our outlook on life through the years and we have managed very well. This is not to say that everything works out perfectly every time but it does work out in the end as you will read. 

I bought my first e-bike just over two years ago from our local bike shop that carries many different brands of bikes. They are very helpful and have a great service department with wonderful people. I have to admit that I did not do any research in advance and saw a German built bike with a German motor on the website and purchased it with only a short test ride. This store also has an adjoining rental shop where they told me to go and try different bikes to find what I wanted and the cost of the first three rentals would be deducted from the price of any bike I purchased. Did I take them up on their offer? Well I did not and I paid for my mistake as it was a lemon. I should have done more research online before spending a lot of money and time with the bike in the shop. In less than two years my bike was in the shop for four (4) motor replacements. Each time I would be riding and the computer on the bike would flash up a warning “Waiting for drive”. Sometimes I could just power off and on the bike and everything would be back to normal for 20-30 kilometers. Other times it required removing the battery and resetting the computer and all would be fine for a few days or not. The company had extended the warranty from two to three years due to all the problems they were having with different motor failures and these were well documented in the complaint forums. My local dealer was very kind and gave me a free loaner bike to use while mine was being serviced and shipped back to Germany twice. It was helpful to try the different bikes but I did not like any of them so I knew some others to drop off my shopping list.  Read the rest of this entry

Travel Tips and Observations From Bill

First class on an Italian train

First of all we had a wonderful trip using the trains which allowed us to relax while enjoying the view of the countryside and sea. We do take our meals and apero snacks along with us when we are on the train to make sure we are well fed and have enough to drink at the appropriate times. It is possible on most of the major train lines to buy food but it is not always convenient to wait for your meals to be delivered to your seat (if you are in first class) that you might have pre-ordered and the menu pictures do not usually correspond with the items served. You might be able to save enough to add a nice bottle of wine with your lunch, apero or dinner by buying a nice salad, sandwich, cheese and sausage platter from a grocery before entering the station. Coffee brewed yourself is always better than they have the ability to serve on the trains. A half liter thermos is just about right for each of us for breakfast and is easy to pack and manage. One more thing to consider is that all trains do not have food on board so if you bring your own you know it will be there when you are ready. Read the rest of this entry

Money drop

We love the game shows on the French TV stations. They happen to be broadcast during our happy hour(s) every evening. We watch with the subtitles on in French so we can comprehend some of the words that are spoken so quickly. Money Drop is a great show where money is placed on trap doors of the answers and the losing answers drop the money away back to the vault.

Plane over rooftops

Another load of tourists arriving

We think of this show every day as the planes line up to land at the local airport and they have to pass by the Cité and over the Bastide St. Louis. Yes there might be a bit of noise as they fly directly overhead but the planes are filled with tourists coming to the area to spend their vacation (and Euros) in the region. Each and every tourist dropping out of the sky helps our local economy and in turn helps keep the taxes lower for those of us living here on a permanent basis. As the region is known for the wine production and the two UNESCO world heritage sites there are not many large businesses as a tax base, although this is the world’s largest wine producing region and we are doing our part to keep the vintners in production. Read the rest of this entry

The medical exam

By now you have read In residence and got the cold hard facts of the visit to the OFII immigration office. There was a lot of fun going on during this visit that made the time fly by.

Each and every person that we encountered was doing their very best to make each person feel at ease with the process. Casual banter about where you were from and how they had been there, too. “Good to see you back again” to someone who must have had a problem with the first visit. This is not your typical government operation of any government that I’m familiar with. Read the rest of this entry

Riding the roller coaster

Georgia house after a nice rain. Thanks to Pat, our realtor.

Georgia house after a nice rain. Thanks to Pat, our realtor.

Last Monday evening we met with our realtor. Three offers were on the table for the house and they were all very similar. Selling this house was a lot different from most home sales. I actually was the one to show the house to the buyers and their agents. The storms and floods managed to work to our advantage during the process. When there is that much rain and the basement stays dry then everyone is happy.

I do have to back up a bit for you to understand how it all happened so quickly. First we offered the house to the neighbors who expressed interest from the beginning. The timing was wrong for Michael and his family but another family was very interested but really did not know the value that a dry, finished basement adds to property. They could not understand why the home was appraised so much more than others in the neighborhood without basements. Read the rest of this entry

Call for a dumpster

The thought had crossed my mind that I might have saved a bit too much wood and drywall from our basement build out but then again I was not thinking that there was a move coming in our future and someone else might not appreciate the bits and pieces stored in the basement. Yesterday I headed into the back storeroom of the basement and started emptying all the one gallon milk jugs of water that were for emergency use “in case of a hurricane”. Well then I started to look around and next to the shelving unit there are carpet remnants that we saved to use as door mats and they work very well but who needs enough to last 20 years? There are also oriental rugs with their pads that should make their way to Goodwill for someone else to use and camping equipment that we will never use but we kept just for that emergency that has never happened (thank goodness). The same room has much more “stuff” that will not be going to France and so it must be thrown out or given away.

Lumber & stuff under stairs

Lumber & stuff under stairs

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Take it or leave it – Bill’s version

We just enjoyed spending time in rental properties in Maine and Massachusetts on vacation I have come to the conclusion that I have to chose carefully the items that will follow us to France.

Special kitchen tools

Special kitchen tools

After more than 30 years of culling the items that are not necessary and finding the perfect kitchen utensils that have withstood the test of time, there are tools that must continue their lives as part our new life. I have broken more garlic presses than I care to admit and now I actually have two that are sturdy and that do the job perfectly. We are taking one with us on our next vacation to pass along to our new-found friends Alan and Tracy who had to leave theirs behind when they moved from Reno a few years ago. I have a vegetable peeler that I found over 40 years ago in a little store in San Francisco, Williams-Sonoma. It is still sharp and is pleasing to use after all this time and after taking a look at it found that it was made in France so it’s going home, too. Read the rest of this entry