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Tsar Vlad the Annexer has done it then, he says the Ukrainians acted illegally ousting a democratically elected government and now he has masterminded a 3 week turnaround on a referendum for Crimea. The Winter Olympics and Paralympics are over and the Russian parliament are due to vote this week on allowing other territories to join the Federation. He says he has no plans for taking back any part of Ukraine, but he hasn't said he wouldn’t want to push for a referendum in the eastern part of the country. 


Maybe he would prefer to have the east and then put gas prices up for the euro-favouring westies? I am sure he could encourage people with nice uniforms, including the statutory balaclava and shiny new kalashnikovs.


Watch out Georgia, when he has the flavour for this he may push harder!


So I happened to bump into a copy of the Daily Star earlier in the week where their headline says that the disappearance of MH370 is a carbon copy of a 1968 Tintin book storyline.


In the comic strip, called Flight 714, Tintin is aboard a jet in the Far East that is hijacked by the pilots and brought to a deserted volcanic island.  

It makes a rough landing on a makeshift roll-out runway before gunmen surround the plane.


 The article goes on to say that the families of some of the missing on the plane have heard ring tones on their loved ones mobiles when they are called rather than the call being picked up directly by voice mail.


Today some of the relatives are threatening to go on hunger strike because I suppose of the way the Malaysian Airlines have handled the situation.


Some days ago it was announced that other countries including France were being asked to check their satellite data, surely if that had been done by now they should have a position for the aircraft?


So it's not getting better for Francois Hollande, his ex-budget minister has now been dumped in it by his wife (she is divorcing him) claiming he has kept a couple of million in the Isle of Man to avoid some tax. Turns out to be 2.5€ million - not bad for a cosmetic surgeon.

Frank himself is rumoured to be doing some spring cleaning and Julie is on the way out? (Honestly, I thought she would have gone after the helmet photos - ooh, don’t laugh missus). Valerie is threatening to spill some beans having got a big book deal. And now he seems to be spending more time with Seggie? Perhaps they need to get things straight from an accounting point of view before the publication of that book.


The return from beyond? Madness have cancelled their appearance at the Festival of Carca. That to me sounds a bit odd, could it be that someone jumped a gun.......?


Don’t forget to put your clocks forward on the 29th.






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I had a call from a client last week that set me thinking.  He told me about an elderly relative in the UK who is very unwell and has been taken into care.  Her property has been sold, and a rather large sum of money is now to be administered under a Power of Attorney held by my client’s wife and his sister in law.  These two ladies have been contacted by an adviser in the UK who is touting a 12% return on the money if they invest it through that firm.


My first response was amazement that this sort of thing still happens in the UK.  Regulation there following well-documented excesses over the eighties and nineties has tightened so much that many people, advisers and clients alike, consider the new financial regime to be overly restrictive.  Strange then that such a blatant malpractice as this still happens.  My immediate advice was to ignore all further advances from this firm, and I passed on a suitable contact name that I know will treat them fairly and honestly.


I would have been less surprised to have heard of this kind of thing happening here in France.  Regulation in France is strict, but it has not yet achieved the vice-like grip that the FCA supposedly has in the UK.  There are some advisers preying on expatriates here in France who are less than scrupulous with their application of accepted standards.


I’m often asked during a first meeting with a client ’How much interest will I get?’  That question tells me a lot.  Firstly, it really does tell me that they need my help and advice more than they probably realise.  Interest is of course payable on a fixed term or callable deposit.  An investment return is a measure of the amount of growth attained over a given period, usually measured annually.  Unfortunately both answers come as percentages, and this can lead to confusion.


I don’t want to get bogged down in the whys and wherefores of assurance vie here; I’m going to assume that most, if not all of my readers, are fully signed up members of the assurance vie appreciation society (to which I hand out free membership to anyone who is interested).  Fixed term interest rates are rare inside an assurance vie; we are much more concerned with return on assets in this tax efficient mechanism.  So what is my answer to the question?  Well for a start, it isn’t 12%.  Or indeed any set rate at all. ‘How long is a piece of string?’ isn’t very appropriate either, unless it’s a very short piece of string.


The real answer is complicated.  A quick and honest response would be ‘I don’t know’, but that is not very high up the potential  business development ladder.  What I nearly always say is ‘It depends’.  The reason I say that is that it depends on two principal factors; your attitude to risk, which dictates the type of fund you will eventually invest in, and it depends ultimately on the market conditions and performance that your chosen investment meets and enjoys. 



Thankfully, I have some very useful tools to help me in the next stage of the investment process.  The first is common sense.  Helping a client to assess their appetite for risk isn’t rocket science.  I can use a long pre-prepared list of questions designed to reveal a client’s inner thoughts on this, or I can just sit down and talk to you about what your aspirations are.  The two ends of the scale are ultra-conservative and ultra-aggressive.  If you are a retired couple living on a small pension and a nest egg built of over years of hard work, you are likely to be conservative.  If you are young, go-getting entrepreneurs, you are more likely to be aggressive, (but not always!).  There is a very large playing field between these two extremes.


My second best friend in our journey to your investment is history.  History is not bunkum, it is fact.  Yes, I know that past performance is no guide or promise to future performance, but it is a very good guide to how a fund or fund manager has performed over a period where market conditions are a known quantity.


What I can, and do, say to clients such as the one I referred to earlier in the first meeting, might go along these lines.  I never prejudge, but this client could turn out to be a conservative investor.  I would explain to them that I do have access to a sterling denominated fund that is managed in a deliberately conservative style, and yet has managed to grow by over 36% in the four years to the end of 2013.  Sterling invested in that fund increased in value every single day.  This return does not take into account assurance vie charges, but when these are taken into account clients still cleared between 6.5% and 7.7% average per year over the period, depending on how long they had been invested for.


No, I can’t promise that the same will happen next year, and no, I’m not even going to forecast that it will.  But I can tell you that I will be investing some of my money in it.  This same assurance vie provider also has a Managed Growth Fund.  Again in sterling, It has been around for a year longer than the Cautious Fund, and has grown by 68% in the five years to the end of 2013.  I’ll be in that too.  And we’re not talking about any obscure name here.  No advertising allowed, but you have heard of this company.  It has been at the pinnacle of the UK financial landscape for over 160 years.  I’ve been talking about the sterling versions of these funds, but you can just as easily invest in Euro, and the results are strikingly similar (30% and 58%).


To finish, I’d just like to clarify an issue that has been bothering one of my clients in one of my recent articles, wherein I classified different types of assurance vie.  I listed French; Expat, Legacy, and No Way assurances vie, and I described the domestic French AV as ‘very dull, very boring, and very low return’.  I am perfectly happy to clarify here that I was in fact referring to a principal component of the French assurance vie, namely ‘Fonds en Euros’.  To tar the whole genre with the same brush is perhaps unfair.  Yes, you can add exciting and volatile investments to a French assurance vie.  It doesn’t make me a fan though.


If you have any questions on this, or any other subject, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Rob Hesketh:

By phone on 0468 247758 or mobile 0631 787647

Or by mail at   You can find out more about Spectrum on  and


The Spectrum IFA Group advisers do not charge any fees for their time or for advice given, as can be seen from our Client Charter at














   Want to advertise but cant do the artwork?

Just email and i will try to sort it out, at no extra cost.






Email:;  National Website:

Forum:     Local Website:

 Local Association No : W112000594






Tech talk








Can your computer help you loose weight?


I sit in front of a computer all day every day, when I’m not in front of the computer I’m driving or sleeping, not a very good lifestyle and not the one I came to France for.

So a few months before the New Year resolutions start I decided to try and lose a bit of weight and do a bit more exercise. I’m not very good with this sort of thing, I get distracted and what is supposed to be an hour on the computer can easily turn into many hours. I love food both cooking it and eating it and with the combination of sitting around and eating too much my weight has slowly increased over the years.

So I thought about how I could get the computer to help, I asked around a few people and my sister came up with something that had worked very well for her. It’s called My Fitness pal, it has a web site and an App (for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows phone) and it helps you keep track of your daily intake of food and exercise. (It works on any computer)

Once you have signed up you add to your diary each day for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks, its able to search a huge database of foods to give you accurate nutritional information without any hard work. You simple enter each of the meals or food you have eaten, how much of each type of exercise you’ve done and it tracks and shows how you’ve done each day.

I’ve been using it for 3 weeks and have lost over 3kg (6.6 pounds or ½ stone) just by being a little bit more aware of what I’m eating and by walking the dog a few extra minutes each day.

It made me look much more carefully at what I am eating, a large Sunday roast is very nice but accounts for nearly a whole days calorie count in one meal, but a hours walk with the dog makes up for the bowl of soup at lunch time, or the two biscuits with that cup of tea.

Seeing it on the screen really brings it home, getting a red result at the end of the day somehow feels much worse than simply knowing I should not have had the second helping and by doing it each and every day it helps to keep you focused on looking after yourself.

Give it a go – its working for me and it might help you too.

Its 100% free and very easy to use, you can even link up with friends or share your results if you’re brave (I’m not)???

If you need help or have any questions about your computer please give me a call or send me an email for FREE advice. or Telephone 05 61 60 84 23.





Aude Flyer sept 2013






















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Now is the time to finish cutting back growth on summer flowering shrubs and sub shrubs such as Salvia microphylla and it's cultivars,  Perovskia, Gaura, Caryopteris, etc  Foliage on perennials can also be tidied up but be careful to avoid damaging young growth.  It is also a good time to divide hardy perennials and grasses.  With the warm weather make sure that any recently planted or transplanted items are kept watered.

With all the mild weather there is lots coming into flower.  Repeat flowering plants are always particularly welcome in the garden and one of the best is Rosa chineensis sanguinea; this is a species rose (and thus displays good resistance to disease) that will grow to about 1,20 to 1,50 metres high with a similar spread, it has deep red single flowers about 6cm across and flowers on and off throughout the year - peiods of flowering alternating with periods of rest.  It tolerates limy soil, like sun or half shade and needs some supplementary watering during the summer.  The form Rosa chinensis mutabilis is similar but the flowers open an orangey yellow and fade through coppery pink to deep pink.









Many of you will be aware that during our advertised opening hours we are not exactly swamped

with visitors and more and more of our sales are for specific projects and orders  ....  so, we are going to restrict our regular opening times to one weekend a month but will still always be available at any time for you to come and visit the garden, talk plants by appointment - just email or phone to organise a time.  Regular opening times for the next few months will be 7/8/9 March, 11/12/13 April, 9/10/11 May, 6/7/8 June, after that we will review how things have gone.  In addition our annual open weekend will be Sat 31st May and Sun 1st June, put it in your diaries now!


 At La Petite Pépinière we have a couple of places left on our   Gardening with Mediterranean native plants course –Friday 4th April, 10 am to 4pm.  If you are interested  just email for more info.

For any garden queries do get in touch with Gill Pound ( 04 68 78 43 81 or ). La Petite Pépinière de Caunes 21, av de la Montagne Noire (route de Citou) 11160 Caunes-Minervois.

La Petite Pépinière de Caunes
21, av de la Montagne Noire,
11160 Caunes-Minervois
04 68 78 43 81









The Property Page




 front door 011smallarcher

 Razes circulade village



Period house in a beautiful Razes circulade village.  This renovated but unspoilt house is over 200 years old and has far reaching views of countryside, hills and mountains from almost every room, and a stunning roof terrace.  There are 3 double bedrooms, large lounge, separate dining room and kitchen.  There is also a very large walk-thru cellar.  The house retains many period features including a beautiful oak staircase.  Price 110,000 euros.  Please contact for further details and viewings.







Former Presbetary with courtyard near town centre



 Village house to renovate with a courtyard of 80m²





Villa for sale 11390 Brousses-et-Villaret Aude 295,000 €


Bordebasse du Lac - Cottage available for long term rental


 Detached modern house

for sale in Montréal



Holiday Apartment AiguaBlava,

Costa Brava


Naturist Property 97,500 euro


for 13 editions (6months)
link to your own web page



readers write  



Dear Steve,

Re the readers enquiry below which I could not see how to respond to -

Those of  British underpinnings who have always taken it for granted that our household policy covers personal items when they are not in the house are labouring under a misapprehension if we think that it is the same in France. My other half, as the years advance, has found the need for hearing aids (if you don't know what they cost I hope you never need to find out). I checked with my insurer and find that personal goods, watches, jewellery declared, specs etc. are covered whilst they are IN THE HOUSE other than that forget it. I have spent a couple of days looking for suitable cover and received Gallic non interest, has anybody a solution?

She could look at which covers French property and is underwritten at Lloyd’s of London. They can cover personal possessions worldwide as an option and I am pretty sure hearing aids can be covered

Kind regards

Paul O'Sullivan







Some vide greniers and foires!
Please check before setting off
They also have a sister site where you can giveaway stuff or find stuff others are giving
Its all recycling - you know it makes sense!
If there are two in the same town on the same day, it could be a duplicate on the site or a second event
Black = Aude - Brown = Ariege


Samedi 22 mars 2014

Coursan vide grenier

Narbonne vide grenier de st estauche

Saverdun vide-Greniers

Dimanche 23 mars 2014

Capendu vide dressing "arc-en-ciel" au grand foyer


Carcassonne vide grenier brocante

Coursan vide grenier

Narbonne vide grenier de st estauche

Narbonne brocante & collection

Pexiora bourse aux vêtements et puériculture

Quillan .English Library's Car Boot Sale at the Carrefour's Car Park

Saint-Pierre-la-Mer vide greniers

Pamiers Marché et puces et à la brocantes

Samedi 29 mars 2014

Coursan vide grenier

Narbonne vide grenier de st estauche

Saverdun vide-Greniers 


Dimanche 30 mars 2014

Carcassonne vide grenier brocante


Coursan vide grenier

Narbonne brocante & collection

Narbonne vide grenier de st estauche

Sigean vide greniers

Pamiers Marché et puces et à la brocantes

Vendredi 4 avril 2014


Samedi 5 avril 2014

Coursan - vide-greniers

Narbonne - vide-greniers

Pieusse  - bourse aux vêtements

Port Leucate vide-greniers

Saverdun vide-Greniers



 What's On


CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, QUIDAM 5 TO 9 March Zenith Toulouse  

JOHN MAYALL 8 March Bikini Toulouse

BETH HART 19 March Bikini Toulouse

TOQUES ET CLOCHERS 12/13 April Toureilles

HOLIDAY ON ICE 21 to 23 March Zenith Toulouse

METRONOMY 25 April Zenith Toulouse

JELLO BIAFRA & THE GSM 29 April Bikini Toulouse

ARTISTES A SUIVRE 29 May to June 6, Haute Vallee



NINE INCH NAILS 1 June Zenith Toulouse

EELS 11th July Bikini Toulouse

ELTON JOHN 15 July Carcassonne Festival

LANA DEL REY 17 July Carcassonne Festival

JOE SATRIANI + CHICAGO 19 July Carcassonne Festival

FRANZ FERDINAND 20 July Carcassonne Festival

MASSIVE ATTACK 24 July Carcassonne Festival

THE JACKSONS 25 July Carcassonne Festival

VANESSA PARADIS 28 July Carcassonne Festival

JAMES BLUNT 30 July Carcassonne Festival















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The following prices are for one insertion in the Flyer email news letter unless otherwise stated




Give away items


1 image and 25 words, plus contact details

All items for sale inc Motor vehicles, boats, caravans & trailers

25 €

1 image and 25 words, plus contact details in 3 editions




Property for sale - land, houses, businesses

50 €

up to 8 images and 500 words, plus contact details - your own property web page linked to the "Property Page" section of the Flyer for 13 editions

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Finished artwork to be 756 pixels by 200 pixels landscape or 378 pixels by 400 pixels portrait

Standard Display Advert - Corporate


Finished artwork to be 378 pixels by 200 pixels landscape

Large Display Advert - Small Companies and Sole Traders (at my discretion)


Finished artwork to be 756 pixels by 200 pixels landscape or 378 pixels by 400 pixels portrait

Standard Display Advert - Small Companies and Sole Traders (at my discretion)

25 €

Finished artwork to be 378 pixels by 200 pixels landscape

What's on feature advert

35 €

Finished artwork to be 378 pixels by 515 pixels portrait

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