Saturday, 29 December 2007

Moving House

It has been about 8 years, almost to the day, since we have had to pack up house but it all it comes back like a bad dream.

What I want to know is how anyone can collect so much rubbish... We seem to live in a society that is obsessed with consumerism: our parents lived must simpler lives buying only what they needed AND they made sure that things lasted. We should really take a lesson from them.

image I packed up about 12 large bags of surplus clothes but couldn't get rid of them. I exhausted the list of charities in Auckland, they all said that they had closed shop for the year and had more gear then they could get rid off. Eventually Lorraine from Tots corner put me onto the Samoan church just around the corner - saved me a trip to the dump and it was good to know they would not be wasted.

What I find most embarrassing is that we have more substantially more stuff to dispose of then to put in storage.

Anyway, after three days of solid effort we are finally getting close. I'm sorting through a huge collection of odds and ends in the lounge and Ange is working on finishing the kitchen. The downstairs room that we are using for storage is packed to the ceiling and is near overflowing. Some of the kids toys will need to go under the house,

We hope to be finished packing tomorrow and can get onto cleaning and the various odd jobs that need doing.

We have five days until James and George more in!!!!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Visa Jitters

Received a phone call today from the French consulate in Wellington relaying a question that had come from Paris.  Our reply was that we had submitted the paperwork in question along with Visa application.
They confirmed this was correct and said that they would get in touch/ check with Paris to confirm that they also have the information at their end.

These things take time and patience is the key.

The good news is that at least someone in Paris is processing our application.  But time ticks on - the bottle of Moet has been chilling in the fridge for a few weeks and I suspect it will stay that way for a bit longer. 

I also confirmed that while we can get our passports returned at any time, we cannot enter France (metro) while our Visa applications are pending.


Plan A: Passports & Visa's arrive on or before 7th Jan - we leave on the 15th Jan
Plan B: Passports & Visa's arrive on or before 20th Jan - we leave on the 30th Jan

No Plan C yet

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

25th December 2007

Christmas2007 Happy Christmas all.

We had a great family meal last night: Ange totally outdone herself as usual.  Ros was over and we all watched a family movie on TV1. After the kids went to bed we had lots of preparation to do and we only got to bed just after 12. 

The monkeys were up at 6am, as can be expected, and we managed to hold them off until 8:30am. Mum came over and we opened presents and had breakfast. Then we raced off to the beach - which was very pleasant (took the adjacent picture of Castor Bay through the flowering Pohutakawa with Rangitoto island in the background). 

Had cold meats for lunch with new potatoes and salad. Kids are playing Buzz Junior Monster Rumble, which was a present for James. Ros is sleeping on the couch - I'm jealous.
Beach Christmas 2007

Saturday, 22 December 2007

France Update

Countdown: I've had to reset / remove the countdown.. see later post of 6th Jan. Still waiting for visas - so we are going to hold out for the end of January.
Visa Status: Still Pending - been nervous about this from the start
Anxiously waiting to see the courier van pull up in the driveway
Flights: Booked and paid for, open ticket on Emirates
Property in France: Rental agreement signed, deposit paid
Schools in France: The three boys have been accepted at Le Got school, 10 minutes drive away
NZ Property: We have rented property to my good friend James and his partner George(nia). They have stored all their stuff downstairs and move in on the 5th Jan.

We move into Trev & Lyn house on the 27th Dec and stay until the 15th.
Packing in NZ: We have 10-11 days get all our stuff sorted and packed up.
Car for France: We have decided to go with a 6 month Eurolease of a Peugeot 307 SW. We pick this up in Paris on 16th January.
Getting There: We have a luggage allowance of 100kg on our flights and will send surplus stuff via unaccompanied baggage.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Goodbye Tots Corner

Another family milestone. Today was James last day at Tots Corner childcare centre. Jack moved to Tots in 2001, Henry started there that same year in the baby room. It was quite emotional saying goodbye as we have built a special relationship with all the staff at Tots, the kids especially have great memories and have made some friends that I'm sure they will keep for life.

We cannot speak highly enough of the professionalism, commitment and quality of the early childhood education provided at Tots. Lorraine has a fantastic team of teachers, we hope to stay in touch with many of them in the years ahead. We may even get a visitor or two in France.

To all the staff at Tots, but especially the teachers we have had direct contact with, Lorraine, Fran, Bronwen, Kate, Bex, Amy and Joanne thank you.

with Bronwen & Joanne with Lorraine & Fran


Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Marathon De Paris 2008


paris_start The first event is now booked. Well almost. There is some paperwork involved and a medical certificate required for all entrants.

Angela is going to run the half-marathon on 2nd March. The two events of split owing to the size.

I was going to enter the Marathon but missed the cutoff, the event is now full!!

I will now also enter the half-marathon. We will just to need to find someone to look after the kids - or maybe they can run to:)

Saturday, 1 December 2007

David Beckham - By Jack

I think that David Beckham is the best footballer in the world.  David Beckham came to New Zealand for a soccer game La Galaxy vs  Wellington Phoenix. 

Beckham got a penalty goal.  It was cool seeing David Beckham on tv.

by Jack.


Bergerac, Dordogne

Bergerac is a market town and a sous-préfecture of the Dordogne département in France. Population (1999): 26,053.  It is between 40 and 50km from Saint-Cernin-de-l'Herm.

The region is often called the "Gateway to the Périgord". Bergerac is home to beautiful cobbled streets and greenery. Despite widespread devastation during the Wars of Religion when most of its Protestant inhabitants fled abroad, Bergerac is still an attractive market town.  The old quarter and the old harbour are particularly delightful boasting late-medieval houses and drinking fountains on street corners.   The town comes alive on market days (Wednesday & Saturday) when you'll see an array of excellent local produce on display.  Try to get hold of some of the white, velvety Montbazillac wine which is often drunk on special occasions.  For the connoisseurs among you head to the slopes north of the river where you'll find small wine growers producing some excellent red Bergeracs.

Bergerac is a useful stopover for the prehistoric sites & the Vezere Valley (see also Perigueux and Sarlat for attractions).

Bergerac is served by an airport (code EGC), which has internal flights, and routes to many UK airports including London Stansted Airport.  Bergerac has an SNCF station with regular services to Bordeaux and Sarlat-la-Canéda.


Friday, 30 November 2007

The Euro

Hmmm... What is happening with the NZD-Euro? It been all over the place in the last few months. image

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Fishing Trip

Had a great day out on Thursday: Thanks to Jeremy and the team of Axon/ Datastor.  I have never seen snapper biting like this before, we started throwing anything under 40cm back and still came in with an impressive haul. Each of us took home 5 decent sized fish.. dinner for a few nights.

JeremyDolphinJamesNetJamesRodBlairBigSnapper DonSnapper JamesCatch   The Catch

Sunday, 25 November 2007

London Reunion

After his surprise arrival the night before we couldn't let Ross head south without a proper catch-up.  Not to mention that Don and Umi had themselves come a long way and were expecting a lift back to the airport.  Shirley drove down from up North and Lyn and Trevor brought their kids over to entertain ours.

The birthday hang-over turned into a mini-London reunion barbeque.  We went though about three bottles of soft drink: I don't think there was a single alcoholic beverage consumed.


From left: Trevor, Don, Donovan, Ross.  It was great afternoon, we spent quite a bit of time marveling at how Ross still had most of his hair and Trev still had all his own teeth - it is pretty impressive for two really old dudes..  Actually Ange made me add that last bit.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Bigger Map

Yes Denise, I can provide a bigger map to show you where we are going!

You can also check it out on Google Maps, Click Here



The big day has arrived.  Lots of cool presents - the boys all wrote some nice  birthday cards and then we went up to Sausilito for breakfast.  I picked up good friends Don and Umi from the Airport and dropped them off at their apartment in the city.  They are over from Sydney leaving little Arnica at home with her grandparents.

Big party tonight at Float!  Have to post some pictures tomorrow.

Party Invite

24th November in History

1859       Published               "On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin
1888       Born                       Dale Carnegie
1943       Born                       Billy Connolly in Scotland
       Died                       Lee Harvey Oswald shot by Jack Ruby
1967       Born                       Donovan Bisset in Durban, RSA
1969       Landed                    Apollo 12 returns to Earth
1991       Died                        Freddie Mercury aged 45
2005       Law change             Round-the-clock drinking in England and Wales allowed
2007       Birthday                   Birthday celebrations rock downtown Auckland

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


CAHORS, surrounded on three sides by on the River Lot, was the capital of the old province of Quercy. In its time, it has been a Gallic settlement; a Roman town; a briefly held Moorish possession; a town under English rule; a bastion of Catholicism in the Wars of Religion and sacked in consequence by Henri IV.

Pont ValentrĂ©. The unique 14th century fortified ValentrĂ© bridge. This medieval masterpiece is the city’s hallmark and said to be the most photographed sight in France, outside Paris. In the Middle Ages it was a well-worn part of the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela and is still used for the purpose even today. A splendid example of fourteenth century architecture.


Photo: CDT Lot Jean MaureillePhoto: CDT Lot Rachel RocherieuxPhoto: CDT Lot Jean Maureille

Towns and Places of Interest

Villefranche-du-Perigord is roughly halfway between towns of Bergerac (on the Dordogne river) and Cahors (on the river Lot). To the north is the famous medieval town of Sarlat-la-Caneda. Bordeaux is 120km to the east and Toulouse 100km to the south.

Situated on the border of the provinces of Dordogne and Lot, we are perfectly based to go exploring in 360' directions. The scale of the map below is 90 km (across) by 70 km.


I'm going to publish some data on the towns in the area and will link them back to this entry. Watch this space.


Villefranche du Perigord

Villefranche-du-Perigord is a classic medieval bastide town (1261) with large covered market. The French held it during the wars with England, who held the town of Monpazier about 15 miles away.

The village is renowned for its cepe market in late summer when people from miles around visit to buy the giant mushrooms. During the busy holiday period there are also antique fairs, musical festivals and night markets. There are a range of shops including a newsagents which sells international newspapers, two boulangeries, two restaurants and post office.  Market day is on a Saturday morning, which is not to be missed.

The address for Pech de la Mas (X marks the spot) is actually Saint-Cernin-de-l'Herm but Villefranche-du-Perigord is the nearest village with full amenities.  The boys will go to school in Le Got about 10km away.




Monday, 5 November 2007

Rotorua "Bike the Lake" Cycle Event


Our first cycle Ange+Don cycle event. After only 3 months and 3 outings, Ange let loose on Rotorua completing the 42Km option in 1:38mins. Marvelous. I did the the 84km and completed with a burst rear tire 3km from the finish. The good news is I'm getting pretty good at the tire change so it didn't take long - I probably would have been 1st overall - well maybe:) 2:58mins. The guys are onto me - I need to come up with a better excuse next time. Photos to follow.

Pech de la Mas

We have confirmed, signed an agreement to rent a property in Dordogne for 10-12 months.

It is set on 1.6 Ha and has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 living areas with great outdoor flow to the pool. It is 5 km from the medieval village of "Villefranche-du-Perigord".

Brilliant, now all we need is a visa.


Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Flights Booked

imageIt certainly isn't cheap getting from NZ to Europe but nothing about this adventure was ever going to be cheap. We have chosen Emirates as we have some friends in Abu Dhabi that we hope to call-in to see on the either the way in or out.
We are tentatively flying on 1st January 2008, which is a rather auspicious date for the start of the adventure. The trip is not as direct as I would have hoped with stops in Melbourne, Singapore, Dubai and finally Paris.
We are trying to get settled so that the boys can start school on the 7th January. We may need to delay departure as the visas could take longer to come though.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Auckland Marathon

Although I had entered 42km, I scaled back to the half as I had not done nearly enough training. There was no way I was going to spoil my previous best time by running over 4hrs. I was pretty pleased with my time of 1:44:22 - but not enough to fork out $20 for the official photo :)


Saturday, 27 October 2007

Long Stay Vistors Visa (over 3 months)

The first comment on this blog entry is that it took me some time to research all the requirements.  I found many contradictory statements from various different consulates, the most comprehensive seem to be the New York consulate but even they omitted many specifics.

The following is my abbreviated version of the requirements listed on the NYC and Wellington consulate web site and is based on our actual experience.

Do you need it:

A "Long Stay Visa" is necessary for visitors from non-EU countries who wish to stay in any of the Schengen  Countries for more than 90 days within any 356 day period.

The visa will allow the holder to apply for a residence permit "Carte de Séjour" on arrival. 

Although you may not require a visa to enter France; you are required to apply for a "Carte de Sejour" if you wish to become a resident.  This is defined as being domiciled anywhere within the borders of the Schengen countries for more than 90 Days within any 356 day period. You have to apply for a "Carte de Sejour" within a certain number of days of your arrival.  This will require more forms and will be the subject of a future blog entry.

There seems to be an endless supply of incidences of people overstaying or bending the rules. Remember in France all citzens/ residents are required to carry identification, it is needed for insurance, banking and all sorts of things.  So if you a 20 year old bumming around Europe you may get away with it, just don't get caught because you may want to return one day [like when you turn 40:)] with your family.

Listed Requirement

Our Experience


Try to follow this as best we could.

  • Our medical tests, from the consulate nominated doctor was in English.
  • Marriage licence and like were in English.
  • We translated our purpose of travel, accommodation evidence.
Apply in person, check on specific times that applicants can apply.

Ange and I flew down to Wellington to hand our application in. In was a testing time and is subject to another blog.. here.

Take care with fine print instructions, ignore these at your peril.  The Wellington consulate wanted the exact amount in cash, they meant just that.

Please allow 2 to 3 months in order to obtain the visa

Yes, we should have allowed more time.

We applied on 4th November and it has taken three months.  Although they were approved in late December and there was a computer glitch and we are still waiting.

Passport valid for a year (+ 3 copies)

We took at least 4 copies of each original document.  The consulate took their own copies.  Our boys now have some scrap paper for the plane trip.

4 application forms legibly completed, dated and signed - (Remember to indicate a date of departure)
  1. Take care to fill these out correctly.
  2. You are almost certainly going to (find) have some help in France. A property agent etc.  I think it was important to be able to list a contact person and address.
  3. Fill in a application for each person travelling regardless of age.
Compliant passport-size photographs NZ only required 2
Proof of health insurance valid for the whole duration of your stay, specifically mentioned by the insurer (including emergency return) with coverage valid for at least one year in France (+ 3 copies)

If your insurance cannot write a letter with all of the information cited above, you’ll have to purchase a separate travel insurance for a year

Note: There is a clear distinction drawn between health insurance and travel insurance.  In other words the policies that come "free" with certain credit cards is not appropriate.

We researched a number of options, mostly geared towards North Americans.  This guy seemed quite switched on:

Carlos Perez
Global Insurance

In the end the consulate told us they would accept a travel insurance policy with Southern Cross.  I suspect that this may be a requirement that is vetted locally.

I'm not sure but I think that the key is insurance without limits on repatriation in the event of a medical emergency.

Financial guarantee such as your bank statement showing balances, savings or brokerage account statements (+ 3 copies)

For people wishing to retire in France, proof of sufficient income : pensions, dividens, savings, bank and brokerage account statements (+ 3 copies)

A question that comes up again and again is how much is enough.

I think now the correct answer is you will need to show sufficient funds to provide for your indicated lifestyle. 

For example, if you plan to include a hotel as your residential address then you should have sufficient funds to live their permanently. I think the person checking your application will work out the required minimum allowance based on the information you give them.  

We were also asked to provide proof on the origin of the funds, i.e. to prove the money in the bank account was our money.


Even though we were leaving our jobs to travel to France they ask for proof of income.

For interest: our budget worked out to around E4,000 per month for a family of 5.

Key lessons we learn were:

  1. The documentation we provided (bank statements) were not easy to read.  A letter from a bank manager/ official would have been better.
  2. We should have submitted a short covering letter explaining how we were going to support ourselves, I would include a high level budget.

For the lodging, a rental agreement or property deed (+ 3 copies)

If you’re staying with family or friends:

Copy of their French ID card or French resident card An attestation of lodging from family or friends Copy of utility bill and if they support you during your stay in France: their last three paystubs(+ 3 copies)

We had to sign a tenancy agreement, for which we paid a deposit etc.

The agreement specifically dealt with a varied start date, i.e. No sooner than 1 January and no later than 1 April; for a period of no less than 10 months and no more than 12 months.

This was acceptable. 

Police clearance

The requirements vary country to country. 

In NZ we had to send a request to the Justice Department to forward a clearance directly to the consulate in Wellington. Takes 2 - 3 weeks.
Letter from applicant certifying that she/he will not have any paid activity in France,

(one of the sites I visited mentioned this needed to be notarised - so that's what we did)
We had a lawyer at Angela's work witness and stamp a very official looking declaration form.


For children under 18 accompanying both parents the requirements are limited to :

4 application forms filled out and signed by the parents 5 passport-size photos 3 copies of the child’s passport 3 copies of the child’s birth certificate

For children under 18 accompanying one parent only :

A notarized parental authorization from the parent who is not going to reside in France (+ 3 copies)

All school-age children (4-16?) are required to attend school, you will need special permission to home school.

We were told we needed and we provided a letter from the school (principal) indicating that our kids were be accepted to the local school.

Check list for kids:

  1. Application form + Photo
  2. Passport
  3. Application fee
  4. Birth Certificates
  5. Medical Clearance  (note: check for Vaccinations)
  6. Health Insurance
  7. Letter of enrolment to a local school
  8. Notarised parental authorisation (if required)
The French Consulate reserves the right to ask for more documentation if necessary and to refuse the delivery of a visa.

Our complete check-list of submitted and required documents:   Red = Submitted in French 

  1. Application form + Photo
  2. Passport
  3. Application fee
  4. Cover Letter "Raisons principales du voyage"
  5. Birth Certificate
  6. Marriage Licence
  7. Police Clearance
    (submitted indirectly through Ministry of Justice)
  8. Tenancy Agreement for rental property in France
  9. Medical Clearance
  10. Proof of Health Insurance
  11. Proof of Travel Documents (Flight Itinerary & Tickets)
  12. Proof of Financial Means
    1. Bank Statement (Witnessed by Bank);
    2. Proof of Income;
    3. Source of funds
  13. Notarised declaration that we would not seek employment or work

Friday, 26 October 2007

France Rental Update

Been a good week! Quite a few follow ups and some very good ones. Been following up on options from a new web site. The response has been great.

We may have a venue sorted!!! Don't want to jinx it by publishing details until the deal is done.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Rugby World Cup

Bugger! Waiting for my brother to call and wind me up - fortunately I was out of town this weekend. I don't think I can last four years. Worse thing is everyone in NZ is congratulating me on the yappies victory. Don't they know anything!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

School Reunion

Ange will have to modify this blog and provide details of the reunion etc. I just going to get this entry posted with the pics.

IMG_0567 IMG_0568

Monday, 8 October 2007

Okura Bush Walk

After the devastation of the rugby we felt the need to get back to nature.  Drove up to Stillwater and did the first part of the Okura Bush walk (6km). Had lunch next to the steam at Karepiro Bay and then headed up the hill for the return walk through the bush.  It was furthest we have walked with James, he did really well and got to ride on my shoulders a few times.  Track was pretty muddy in places - which is pretty normal - but there were some complaints about the smell.

picnic   beach
Picnic at Karepiro Bay looking out to Dacre Point   Looking out at Dacre House.  There is a new development proposed on the private land behind Karepiro Bay and there is lots of local opposition to any development in this area.
Tree   tide
Stillwater Bay
More Tree Monkeys    
Bush Track:  Most amazing Nikau Palms, the track is full with them.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

France - 20 : All Blacks - Going Home

Very disappointing result. Nothing else to say really. Lets hope the French take out England and Argentina runs rings around South Africa. I don't think we could survive another 4 years of ribbing by the yappies.

At least if the French win will should find ourselves welcome over there next year. Viva La France!


Friday, 5 October 2007

Medical Tests Done

Done and dusted! Five medical forms completed and ready for submission. Hardest part was getting urine samples from the three little camels - this required two trips to courier said samples across Auckland. Yes it was a fun day.

Holiday Fun

September School holidays have flown by. All the boys had lots of fun working on the treehouse, with the new trapdoor fitted. We also had a few games of soccer in the park, a couple of long bike rides and caught two movies: Ratatouille and Startdust. Stardust proved to be the favourite by far with both kids and dad: although I suspect for quite different reasons.

Here are some holiday slides.