What are the biggest problems or challenges that you are facing?


(James Higginson) #1

What are the biggest problems or challenges that you are facing at the moment?


What are you worried about?


What do you need help with?


What can SFN do to make you life easier?


Let me know what you need to improve your life!



(Diana Pinnell) #2

It always was a hotel, Norah, customers wrote illuminating Trip Advisor reports about it! At one time there were up to 1000 people there in 98 rooms.

I learned this week that the company has bought another 3 smaller hotels in Thornton Heath to expand specifically for asylum seekers, so maybe they will be taking more tourists in the Queens.

I know what you mean about the Brits in the Whitgift Centre, which is now looking a bit run down awaiting redevelopment, and where the security men are less enthusiastic than they used to be. Bluewater suits me better! The parking's free, too.


(Norah Baxter) #3

Diana, if you are speaking of the Queens Hotel, you will be pleased to know that this is no longer used as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers. Its back to being a hotel. And I have to say the mood in the Whitgift Centre is not great for me either, but its the Brits that bother me - perhaps its because they are the ones who I can understand planning their forthcoming "revelries" or discussing those already undertaken! Or should I say committed?


(Catharine Higginson) #4

The person in question had their membership revoked. Hence the posts appear without a name. Hope this clears things up! x


(Jane Williamson) #5

Anthony, Inhave had wonderful support from my french friends who recognise that I am the victim here.
I have no faith in the impartiality of the gendarmerie.
I have seen them allwing striking seamen leave burnng tyres on the roads, done nothing to stop the chiefs of Air France from being chased by a rabid mob, another person in our commune has had trouble with the same gendarmerie.
I think that the fact that the gendarmerie is not a civil constabulary, but an arm of the army is part of the problem.


(Diana Pinnell) #6

Catherine, I am seeing the same "Ouxzfzvndel8c" exactly as Anthony describes.


(Tim Sadler) #7

I am an expert!! Two knees and a hip. Knees extreme pain in tears once but others have not suffered as much pain for six weeks on both that is normal but wonderful after first 14 years ago other 10. Hip in on teusday op at 1.30 out thursday 1 pm no painkillers!! bad backage for weeks.if you want to know brilliant surgeons ask me


(Anthony Murphy) #8

Jane, does it change your opinion of the country, its inhabitants and the things that they seem to so readily do? Does it make you question your choice to live here? I have not experienced anything quite like that, although I did have an idiot that backed into me with his towbar (me stationary in Tours Airport carpark), I reached for my camera, jumped out, started taking photos; he / they (a couple) told me I was a raving lunatic, my wife went mad AT ME too, they filled in an accident form, made numerous omissions on it; my insurerer could not do anything with it because it was illegible and they did not say who their insurance agency was. So just another prang, scratch and knock on our poor little VW Golf (10+ year old modest car). I knew full well that the scheming Frenchman was trying to con me (avoid his insurance responsibilities) as I am an Englishmen, he just insulted me, shouted at me and my wife went along with it all perfectly, being, as she is, FAR TOO NICE TO THE SCHEMING AND UNTRUSTWORTHY FRENCH. He got away with it. I have had other delightful interactions with the French like that.


(Anthony Murphy) #9

Catharine, on my screen, I am seeing the user / subscriber "0uxzfzvndel8c" but everyone is refering to them as Dominic. And there is no photo. I am confused. Have I been 'blocked' by this person and I am not meant to see them or something?


(Anthony Murphy) #10

Well done Maureen, I totally agree. I have been criticised a number of times by the same old SW / Dordogne / 'I live in the Golden Triangle' (Bdx / Montauban / Brive) crowd who repeatedly seem to say 'I should get to know the Maire better', it's all my fault (because I don't know the Maire better), 'the problem must be just in your area', etc. Clue: God (or he thinks he is) with a white beard is extremely verbose and seems to have a definitive view on chuffing everthing ... I mean, THE definitive view! SHUT UP MAN! Frankly, I am damn sick of hearing from him. Sorry to blow my own trumpet, but I do speak the language fluently, I do things that I know 90% of the Brit expat retirees cannot do, YET whenever I say anything, I seem to be told that perhaps I haven't quite understood and should go back to London (or I should get to know the Maire more ... to fit it!). Like people telling me that I don't understand a Brocante; just how patronising does one want to be? I am not particularly enjoying living in this Administrative Dictatorship that is France, it is impossible to make any money in France (perhaps if I got to know the Maire a bit better?) and living here has just stripped away all our savings. The provincial town that I live in is dead, full of old people, the French just do the same, buy the same, the town is run by the same old oldies that organise the same rubbish year after year. I am bored, I have just spent YET ANOTHER afternoon chasing around administrative agencies in my préfecture town to tick administrative boxes (a false parking ticket, a registration plate, débit de boissons, accessibilité), it never ever ends in France, nothing is ever sorted. I think I will go back to London and come back in a campervan!


(Diana Pinnell) #11

If there were no asylum seekers getting through the EU into England, the UK would not be voting about leaving the EU. Sadly, southern England is so drowned by immigration that it makes little difference to the natives where the migrants come from, and the EU gets the blame when their human rights to stay in a country which they entered illegally have to be respected. This may or may not be factual, but it is widely perceived and the UK govts have been happy to point the finger at the EU whether justified or not. Elections are, of course, rarely fought on facts, but more usually on influencing perceptions. The damage has been done over a long time, and brushed aside during multiple general elections (Brown's comments about bigotry being the last straw). It surfaced again during the last GE, when the fear of UKIP and other eurosceptics, and the far right, scared the PM into pretending to understand the problems, and now the Referendum is to be decided purely on resentment about both EU migration and non EU migration.

I'm not supporting either side particularly here, just trying to explain to expats who may not be aware how dire things are getting in the UK and why feelings are running so strong. Feel free to tell me that I'm completely wrong, and everyone has got the wrong end of the stick, but I am in the UK at the moment and can see the stick very clearly.

In a way I am scared of what might happen if Remain wins the referendum. There might be a terrible backlash from people who are desperate and believe the public has been conned.


(Jonathan Barclay) #12

Presumably, by definition, the asylum seekers are not EU citizens and the problem of immigration into Western Europe will exist for the UK regardless of whether the UK stays in the EU. The UK is not part of Schengen so already has control of its borders against non EU citizens.

The attractions of the UK for asylum seekers are several - many speak some English, many have family or contacts already in the UK, the UK has relatively little unemployment, the UK has no identity card system making merging into the community easier than in many countries


(Kwashie Konu) #13

Thanks Peter I checked out the gravel place last weekend, good prices and nice people...all I have to do now is get someone to transport it - they suggested a firm in St Germain, just wondering if you knew of anyone more local. Thanks Kwashie


(John Alcock) #14

My doctor in the UK was ex navy you didn't pull any sickies with him you were either ill or get back to work ,during the discussions such as they were about my son, patient confidentiality and all that, he told me its very common but rarely fatal if caught early but men rarely check themselves. I had just returned from a trip to France relaxing in the bath he walked in told me he had cancer and was off to Cornwall with his mates if the hospital ring with an appointment call him on his mobile ,after a brief explanation of what had happened off he went but was back well before before his appointment


(Peter Bird) #15

Hi John, my middle brother had testicular cancer when he was in his early 20s. One side removed and he is now pushing 70 with three healthy kids and a bundle of grandkids so it didn't do him any long-term harm !


(John Alcock) #16

Its so easy to loose track of the little things like falling of ladders, my son had testicular cancer age 19 i never realised how common it is, he is fine now and a father so always think positive. We have a friend who is constantly worrying about what will happen when she gets old,she cant drive, she cant bring in the wood enjoy your life worry about it when you do get old


(Diana Pinnell) #17

John, thanks for the reassurance. My grandfather was killed by untreated prostate cancer but not until he was 89, and my father had it, plus radiotherapy, and died aged 85 so as my husband is not yet 70 I also hope to have him around for a long time. It is scary, but so is the thought of him falling off a scaffold tower while cladding the rear walls, and he takes such risks daily, so I try to keep it in perspective.


(John Alcock) #18

Diane my father had prostrate cancer when in his 50s he had the treatment, he died age 90 i only hope i last as long as he did


(Diana Pinnell) #19

I think it is very unlikely that any of us will have to return to the UK. Reciprocal agreements existed before Britain joined the EU and will continue if the UK leaves.

We are the only UK residents in our village of 700 people, though not the only foreigners. One other Englishman owns a second home with his village-born wife, to which they will retire in a couple of years. A first-class butcher has taken over one shop, we have a Vivals, a bakery, a hairdresser, a hotel, a bar which does pizzas, a library and, best of all, our very own GP. A new tranche of land has been released for building and the village and its plastics factory are thriving. This may explain why our attitude is rather more optimistic.

Please don't dismiss everyone who is campaigning to leave the EU as "kippers" or "little Englanders". I am a very moderate middle-roader, but as I write this at my desk in the UK I am distressed by what I see all around me. Part of the problem is the withdrawal of government funding from local authorities in Greater London, but the main one is the influx of people from extremely different cultures who have taken over our town, applying their ways to our homes. It makes me weep to see how my home town has fallen apart.

Please do not shout me down as racist - many of these immigrants are indistinguishable from my neighbours in France by appearance. Accuse me of being culturalist if you must. Developers are partly to blame. A once very posh hotel nearby has been converted to a doss-house for hundreds (yes, hundreds) of asylum seekers awaiting the outcomes of appeals against deportation, which have to be handled in my town. The streets in the town centre where I have shopped for 60 years, where I wandered on my way home from school, met friends for coffee and shopping, now frighten me and I won't go there any more. The empty shops, the number of languages spoken in our primary schools, where only a few kids speak English as their first language, the inability of doctors to understand what the patients are saying, the rapid turnover of neighbours one never gets to meet, the crime, noise and disturbance, are all too much to bear. Developers are buying up 3-bed semis in once respectable roads and converting each into 6 bedsits for emergency accommodation at exorbitant rent and letting them to people who don't know how to use a a toilet or a shower, or a dustbin. Please don't accuse me of exaggerating, one such house is a few doors from my elder son, and I know exactly what I am talking about.

The UK you moved away from no longer exists, at least in towns in the SE of England. Please try to feel some sympathy for people whose world is being destroyed before their eyes. I can't complain - I pay taxes to France after all, and have chosen to live in France, but my sons would both love to leave the UK. None of us is anti-European, we are all a bit hostile to the European Parliament or rather to the non-elected bureaucrats who run it, but one daughter in law is Spanish and that son's previous girlfriends included a Finn, a German, two Senoritas and a Latvian so we have great sympathy with and love for Europeans in general.

The information about life after Brexit and justifying a vote to leave are readily available but tend not to be reported by the BBC. Yes, the UK domiciled EU residents, like the EU people living in the UK are generally ignored by both sides, but I have posed questions to the GO campaign and the answers were reassuring and sensible. My Tory MP here has not responded.

If you are concerned, write to the MP where you last lived, and ask where you stand, as I have. Ask the political parties in the UK what will happen if the UK leaves, and again what will happen if we don't leave but continue to irritate the rest of the EU as in the past.

I don't want to provoke a mass falling-out here, but I can't just stand by without explaining why we have arrived at this position, necessitating a referendum. This isn't a case of Nimbyism on behalf of well-heeled, complacent, arrogant, middle and upper class conservatives. The people worst affected are much lower down the socio-economic scale and are probably more scared of the future than you are.


(Jane Williamson) #20

David, I too am of a certain age and read Worrals.
It is all too obvious that these people are living in the past, although the lack of true demmocracy within the EU needs to be addressed.