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Oh wouldn’t it be so simple if the vote swing in Europe was based on people wanting a lighter touch (and cost) EU as opposed to the knee-jerk racism angle from which it seems to have derived.  One can only hope that backsliding doesn’t start occurring in the Hollande camp to overcome the Marine/ Farage threat.  It won’t be very good for the Euro or indeed the French franc if they don’t stick to debt balancing and structural reforms.

It’s interesting that Berlusconi is too old to go to prison but the octogenarians convicted under the Yewtree investigations will have to - is it a European law or one that Silvio wrote in readiness? Next month Gary Glitter’s bail runs out so that saga will no doubt be dusted off again.

I know that the UK border agency got themselves into a bit of trouble a few years ago when they were a tad short staffed but when I came through Stansted the other day I was very surprised by the queue sizes - which were enormous.  When I finally got to the front I noticed that all of the staff had new uniforms.  The uniforms were black shirts with white writing on their lanyards and epaulette badges. There were signs all around on TV screens saying “stricter checks take longer” or something to that effect, but it was the uniform that struck me.  I was so surprised that I asked the lady who reviewed my passport “Is that dark blue?” she replied “No, it’s black” ..........








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ETE 2014 A4 aude 


 lenetwork  labedouce






Le Tour de Finance – a winner again!



Last week, Rob & I presented at two of the venues of Le Tour de Finance. This is a tour that travels around France, where we bring ‘experts to expats’. Now in its fifth year and due to the popularity of ‘Le Tour’, the events take place in both spring and autumn.


Rob and I did a ‘double act’ and gave a presentation on The Spectrum IFA Group, which covered our processes and the products and services that we provide to clients, as well as highlighting the importance of our independence and how we are regulated in France by the French authorities. We also discussed client concerns (tax-efficiency, inheritance tax planning, securing pensions, protection of capital and continuing issues about the security of banks in the Eurozone).


SEB Life International and Prudential International presented on the topic of assurance vie, explaining the tax-efficiency of this type of investment, both personal and for inheritance planning. Each of the companies outlined the unique features of their own products and it could be seen that the products complement each other, one or the other being more suited to a client, depending upon attitude to investment risk.


The Standard Bank provided details of its structured product offerings that are currently available. There are different terms available and there is an element of linking to stock market performance with this type of investment, but all provide a guarantee that at least the original capital invested will be returned at the maturity date. For our clients who invest in these Standard Bank products, when used in conjunction with a particular life company wrapper, the clients benefit from an extra bonus, which is provided in addition to the capital guarantee.


Currencies Direct presented the various options open to clients who wish to exchange currency, whether this is for regular payments or for ad-hoc exchanges perhaps for larger purchases, for example for property. It was very interesting to see how much could be saved by using Currencies Direct, rather than a retail bank. Unexpectedly, as the Sterling Euro exchange rate jumped by more than a Euro between one day and the next over the two days when Rob and I were at Le Tour, currency exchange proved to be more topical than any of us were expecting.


Exclusive Healthcare Insurance presented on the range of products that they can offer clients. This included a range of seven different mutuelle plans that top-up the basic French health cover, which are designed to meet the needs of the different income groups of French residents and the variation in medical costs from region to region. Like all mutuelle insurance in France, there are no underwriting conditions and pre-existing conditions are covered. The company also outlined a different product that provides full private medical insurance, but which is subject to underwriting conditions. However, since the UK will stop issuing Certificates S1 to early retirees from July this year (i.e. for those who are not receiving UK State pensions), this might be a viable option for those who may be affected.


There was a presentation on French succession planning from Heslop & Platt, which is a firm of UK solicitors that are specialists in French law. As many of our clients maintain a connection with their former home country, the importance of ensuring that there is no conflict existing between the wills made in the different jurisdictions was highlighted. In addition, the forthcoming EU rules on succession were outlined and it could be seen that there would still be a need in France for inheritance planning the ‘French way’ to avoid the French inheritance taxes that will still exist even when the EU rules are in operation from August 2015.


New to Le Tour this year was PetersonSims, a firm of chartered accountants based in France, which also specialises in expatriate tax issues. A presentation from their Tax Director demonstrated how much money they could save clients, just by making sure that French tax returns are completed correctly and relief from double taxation is obtained.

If you did not make it this time to Le Tour de FInance, keep in mind the next local events which will take place in October. On the other hand, if you would like to have a confidential discussion now on your financial situation, please contact me by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17 or by e-mail at


The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of investment of financial assets or the mitigation of taxes.


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


Daphne Foulkes
SIRET 522 658 194 00017
Numéro d’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800




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Is it just for athletes or can we all benefit?


We often see athletes stretching before and after an event in order to maximise performance and avoid injury.

But what use is stretching to us mere mortals? Well, pretty much the same really! The movements we make (or would LIKE to be able to make!) on a day-to-day basis, can be seen as our ‘event’ – so, just like an athlete, stretching can enable us to function at our optimum and can also help to reduce or avoid annoying, niggling aches and pains that can restrict our freedom of movement and eventually lead to injury.


Tight, stiff muscles have a tendency to impact joint mobility – for example, tight muscles of the upper back or the chest can limit the available range of movement in our shoulders. Over time, we accept this limited (and possibly painful) movement as ‘normal’ whereas this is far from the case and plenty can be done in order to restore function.

Sometimes, muscles that are tight and stiff can even impair circulation and this obviously has wide-ranging effects well beyond movement.


It’s no secret or surprise that with each passing year muscles and joints become stiffer and tighter, this is part and parcel of getting older! Although getting older is inevitable, this should not mean that we give up trying to improve the situation – in fact quite the opposite, we have to work harder at it! But it is possible to improve things considerably.


If you don’t stretch regularly at present, please start slowly, be patient and NEVER force a stretch. Always stretch when your muscles are warm (think of cold Blu-Tack, it breaks when  you try to stretch it straight out of the packet, once it is warm it stretches like chewing gum. It’s the same with your muscles). Spend 5 minutes climbing stairs or go for a brisk walk to warm up.


Yoga and Pilates both have functional flexibility at the core of their philosophy so finding a good class in either or both of these disciplines is a great way to begin to improve stretching.

However, you may feel more comfortable starting out in the comfort of your own home and progressing at your own pace – and there are plenty of quality resources to help you get started, this is one of the best:

This site is really comprehensive, don’t be put off by the amount of information, just take the time to read the bits that are especially interesting to you. As well as looking at the pictures of the stretching exercises, it’s really important to read the accompanying text too.

Especially useful is the ‘how to stretch’ section.

The second link is part of the same site and is an excellent resource for ‘seniors’ (disturbingly classified as ‘over 35’s’!)

Make sure that you stretch when you have TIME, you need to really FEEL what’s happening in your body. To benefit from the positive effects of stretching takes time, patience and regularity – but surely……… in order to enable your body to function at its best, at whatever age, it’s worth the effort?

Pat Penny

Massage Therapist

European Register of Exercise Professionals




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This is a time of year when it is important to stay on top of the weeding jobs in the garden, early action with a hoe will often save more back breaking work later in the year.  If you don't already do so think about mulching your flower beds, ie spreading a layer of organic or inorganic material over the soil surface in and around your plants.  Mulching helps to conserve moisture (particularly useful in our summer dry climate), suppress weeds and if you use an organic mulch then it will rot down over time and improve the quality of your soil.  If you would like more information about this I have a pdf of a leaflet published by the Mediterranean Garden Society and will happily send this to you.  If you grow repeat flowering roses be sure to deadhead them frequently to encourage more flowers, if you have roses that flower only once they can be pruned after flowering.  Most commercially available roses are grafted; keep an eye out for any suckers (usually distinguishable by vigourous and different foliage) from below the graft point and remove them.

To many people the word geranium still means the (generally) half hardy ones that are so good for pots and window boxes, these botanically are pelargoniums but there are many hardy, perennial geraniums which are excellent garden plants.  Geranium sanguineum is a European native plant that is in flower at the moment, it will grow in sun or half shade.  The type species is a deep pink but there is also a lovely pure white form (Geranium sanguineum album) and a pale pink, lower growing form (Geranium sanguineum lancastriense).  If you cut them hard back after flowering you will be rewarded with a second flush of flowers in September.

Remember that we are restricting 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 etc by appointment - just email or phone to organise a time.  Regular opening times for the next few months will be   6/7/8 June, 11/12/13 July and 8/9/10 August.  In addition our annual open weekend will be Sat 31st May and Sun 1st June, put it in your diaries now!   The programme is at  .   Remember too that we are always happy to organise guided visits of the garden here for groups.

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 99,000 euros. .





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


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 readers write



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If there is evidence to find him guilty "Rolf" should certainly go to prison..

Just being rich and famous should not be a camouflage for getting away with crimes that ordinary working people are punished for




Hi Peter,

at this link you will find the details for François Artige at Guitars Doktor, Avenue de Lyons, Toulouse. An excellent luthier who refretted my Strat and works regularly for professional musicians of my acquaintance.

Assuming that no major parts of the instrument are missing (it looks as if there ought to be a tailpiece and bridge), you can make an appointment with François, allowing you to deliver the guitar in the morning and collect it later the same day, thus avoiding a second trip to Toulouse (though it does make a nice day out because there are many good music shops in Toulouse . .

.).  The shop is joined on to Fred's Guitar Parts where they hold a very large stock of parts.

best wishes, Eddie Castellan.






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


Jeudi 29 Mai 2014

Carcassonne Vide grenier brocante

Fontjoncouse  Vide grenier

Gruissan  Vide grenier

Narbonne  Vide grenier de printemps

Narbonne  Les amis des betes

Puichericvide grenier / brocante de l'Aappma

Rieux-Minervois  Vide-grenier

Roquetaillade  vide grenier brocante

Saint-Pierre-la-Mer  Vide grenier association "les chats errants "

Trèbes  Vide Greniers de l'Aqua Club Trébéen

Villalbe  vide greniers

Villardonnel  Vide grenier du Foyer rural de Villardonnel

Montgailhard  Vide grenier

Samedi 31 Mai 2014

Cournanel  La fête des beaux jours

Coursan  vide grenier

Narbonne  vide grenier de st estauche

Saint-Lizier  Salon Tendance Zen

Saverdun  vide greniers +brocante

Dimanche 1 Juin 2014

Capendu  bourse aux armes et militaria

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Carcassonne  Méga Vide Grenier et sa 3ème Fête du pain

Coursan  Vide grenier

Cuxac-d'Aude  vide grenier des écoles

Escales  Vide-greniers

Fabrezan  brocante de la pêche

Ferrals-lès-Corbières  Vide grenier

Gruissan  A.S.L.C.

Leucate La Franqui  Tante Marie vide ses greniers

Limoux  vide grenier - Club des supporters du teize limouxin

Limoux  brocante

Montréal  Vide greniers / marché artisanal

Montredon-des-Corbières  Vide grenier

Narbonne  vide grenier de st estauche

Narbonne  brocante & vide-greniers GEANT-CASINO 62 places Couvertes

Narbonne  vide greniers Club Léo Lagrange

Narbonne-Plage  Vide grenier de l'association PICA PAU PERCUS

Pezens  Vide grenier

Rennes-le-Château  Vide grenier

Rieux-Minervois  vide grenier du rugby

Saint-Papoul  vide grenier

Tournissan  vide grenier

Villeneuve-la-Comptal  vide grenier

Villesequelande  vide grenier

Arignac  vide grenier

Arnave  vide-grenier de Printemps - Comité des Fêtes d'ARNAVE


Bélesta  vide armoires


Léran  Vide grenier ecole de leran


Mazères  vide grenier mensuel



Pamiers  Marché et puces et à la brocantes

Rieucros  Vide grenier

Saint-Lizier  Salon Tendance Zen









Saint-Lizier  marché aux Puces, de la cave au grenier

Saurat  Les Puces sauratoises

Saverdun  vide grenier de quartier

Samedi 7 Juin 2014

Coursan vide grenier

Narbonne  vide grenier de st estauche

Port Leucate  vide greniers

Thézan-des-Corbières  vide grenier brocante marche artisanal

Aigues-Vives  vide grenier


Saverdun  vide greniers +brocante

Dimanche 8 Juin 2014

Belpech  1er vide poussette de printemps

Bram  vide grenier Chateau de Lordat à Bram

Carcassonne Vide grenier brocante

Carcassonne Vide Dressing de La Calandreta

Castelnaudary7ème vide-grenier comité des fêtes Saint-Michel

Coursan vide grenier

Fitou vide greniers brocante

Gruissan vide chalet 37°2

La Digne-d'Amont vide grenier

Lasserre-de-Prouille 16ème vide-grenier de Lasserre de Prouille

Leucate Vide Grenier

Narbonne vide grenier de st estauche

Narbonne brocante & vide-greniers GEANT-CASINO 62 places Couvertes

Narbonne Vide Grenier de Pentecote

Narbonne-Plage Vide Grenier de Narbonne Plage Amitié

Salles-d'Aude Vide grenier

Sigean Vide grenier de la calendreta

Thézan-des-Corbières vide grenier brocante marche artisanal

mega vide grenier


Ventenac-en-Minervois vide grenier du cochonnet ventenacois

Vinassan vide grenier

Castillon-en-Couserans Vide-Greniers

La Bastide-sur-l'Hers vide grenier et vide jardin

La Tour-du-Crieu les puces de l'enfance

Massat Vide grenier et vente d'anciens bureaux d'écolier

Mirepoix Bourse toutes collections,organisée par le club cartophile

Pamiers Marché et puces et à la brocantes

Tarascon-sur-Ariège Vide greniers

Lundi 9 Juin 2014

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Durban-Corbières vide grenier pompiers de Durban Corbieres

Peyriac-de-Mer Vide-grenier associatif

Thézan-des-Corbières  vide grenier brocante marche artisanal

Trèbes  Vide-greniers Trèbes Tennis de Table

Mirepoix  Bourse toutes collections,organisée par le club cartophile

Sabarat  vide-greniers



 What's On


ARTISTES A SUIVRE 29 May to June 6, Haute Vallee

NINE INCH NAILS 1 June Zenith Toulouse

JOE BONAMASSA 19 June Zenith Toulouse


7 July Argeles sur mer

SEASICK STEVE,  UB 40 8 July Argeles sur mer

KEZIAH JONES, PHOENIX,  LILY ALLEN 9 July Argeles sur mer 


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

PHARRELL WILLIAMS 6 Oct Zenith Toulouse

LILY ALLEN 29 Oct Zenith Toulouse

SAXON +SKID ROW 26 Nov Bikini Toulouse

DISNEY ON ICE 30 Jan 1 Feb Zenith Toulouse













 firsbuggered uop





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