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I was wondering where Rasputin, ooops sorry Vladimir Putin, lives and a quick internet search turned up stories of a $350m palace (paid for in some odd ways) which supposedly he visited regularly during its construction. 

Maybe it has nothing to do with him but if it really is his you can understand why he would want to have secured Crimea and why Georgia will be next on the list.

Click on the picture.

Plenty of room to wrestle bears and breed Chinese goat-eating tigers there






My ear problem seems to have turned into Labyrinthitis, which I would have thought was either an affliction of someone who spent too much time reading Kate Mosse books or had a season ticket for Hampton Court Palace.  Alas no, and it’s a right pain in the ear, balance off and slight disconnection with the world is how its manifesting itself. Let’s hope I am making more sense than the usual diatribe.

The answer with regard to FIFA’s shenanigans is to start boycotting World Cup sponsors and partners, Visa, Coke and Adidas for example.  Has someone a lot of spare time on their hands to start it off? All in one Rhythm.


Do you think president Hollande is going to Guinea to try to catch Ebola so that he can get the sympathy vote?






















There is talk of the EU trying to break up Google and I suppose following my idea that supermarkets in the UK do better if their name has only 4 letters - Aldi and Lidl  etc., then they could put large parts of their business into Ogle and the search engine can then be Go, Ogle -  kind of fits -   

anamorous, flirtatious, or impertinent glance or stare.”


In a similar way if they wanted to break up Facebook it’s easy, Face and book, not sure what would happen with Twitter, er....


Four letter names seems to be working for UKIP also, I am sure if I arrived in France tomorrow from an EU country and wanted to collect benefits I wouldn’t be able to.  So maybe the UK could just adopt this model if that’s what the problem is.


I was surprised to see that Home Bargains in Britain are offering firewood, 2 cubic metres palletised and wrapped and delivered to your door for £299, unless you live in the highlands and islands where you will definitely need it and where there’s a surcharge to deliver it there. Not bad for a jumped up out of town glorified £1shop







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Lost in France


We’re all Gothic now



The village of Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges isn’t exactly in the Aude or the Ariege, but it’s not too far away past Toulouse in the Haute Garonne.  Here we are almost spoilt for medieval gothic atmospheric castles perched on cliff edges or towering over tiny villages and the powerful presence of the cathedral of Saint Marie at Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges will not disappoint.  You can be driving peacefully along narrow village roads when round a bend the whole countryside is suddenly dominated by this magnificent gothic edifice.

It is a stopping point on the pilgrims’ route to St James de Compostela and the area has history dating back to Roman times.  There are treasures hidden away and grotesque but beautiful wooden carvings in the chapels, but you can find the tourist spiel better described elsewhere.  However, I will tell you that it is the location of a short story by one the greatest horror writers of the 19th century, MR James.

His splendidly malevolent ‘Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook’ is based in and around the cathedral.  It is only about 8 pages but once you have read about the crocodile pinned to the wall and then you actually see it you do hope that the rest of the story isn’t as true.  I don’t know whether it is James’ elegant careful prose which sends shivers up your spine or the description of the events surrounding the scrapbook, but if you enjoy the true gothic architecture of this area you must visit Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges.




 Aude Flyer Xmas 2014


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Quite frankly I’ve been struggling to think of what to write about this week, but it suddenly struck me that there has been a recurring theme in a number of my client meetings recently.  That theme, put simply, is, ‘Where will I end my days; in France, or in England?’.  This isn’t a popular topic of conversation amongst vibrant, exuberant, middle aged expatriates, but we’re not the only people here.  We are in the company of many seasoned expats who’ve been here longer than we have; seen it all; done it before we did, and are feeling a bit tired.  Many of them are ‘going home’.


We should pay a lot of attention to this group, because we are going to inherit their shoes.  We need to learn from their experiences, and take the opportunity to plan for the time when we will experience what they are going through.


Five years ago, when writing on a similar theme, I think I proffered the theory of the three ‘D’s as the principal reason to return to the UK: death; divorce and debt.  I still think that they are valid causes, but I now think that there are many subtle variations to be taken into account, and the biggest addition to the equation is age.  Age changes your perceptions; often for the better, but age often brings insecurity and loneliness.  Add to that illness, and maybe bereavement, and you have a powerful reason to examine your reasons to continue to live hundreds of miles away from a family that (hopefully) continually worries about you. In short, no matter how much we pooh-pooh the idea now, the chances are that we may eventually end up being cared for in our final years in the UK rather than in France.


OK, that’s enough tugging at the heartstrings.  Why is a financial adviser (yours truly) concerned about where you live, and where you may live in future?  The answer is currency, specifically Sterling and Euro.  In a previous existence, I used to be responsible for giving advice to corporate and personal clients of a major High St bank regarding exposure to foreign exchange risk.  The basic advice was simple – identify and eliminate F/X risk wherever you can.  F/X risk is for foreign exchange dealers; it is gambling.  Don’t do it unless you know what you’re doing, and even if you do, prepare to lose money.


On a basic level, eliminating exchange rate risk is easy.  Faced with a couple in their 50’s relocating to France with a healthy investment pot behind them and good pensions to support them in future, I will always ask ‘Where do you intend to spend the rest of your days?’  The answer is usually an enthusiastic ‘France, of course.  We have no intention of going back to the UK.  In fact wild horses wouldn’t drag us back.’  I know this for a fact;  I’ve said it myself.


The foreign exchange solution is simple.  Eliminate your risk.  Convert your investment funds to Euro (invest in a Euro assurance vie).  Convert your pension funds to Euro (QROPS your pension and invest in Euro).  Job done.  Client happy.  For now.  But what happens 25 years later, when god knows what economic and political shenanigans have transpired, and the exchange rate is now three Euro to the pound, and the surviving spouse wants to ‘go home’?


As it happens, I will no longer be his or her financial adviser.  The chances are that I will have popped my clogs years ago, but If not, I will most likely be supping half a pint of mild in a warm corner of a pub somewhere in the cheapest part of the UK to live in. (In fact that is poetic licence, as I know full well that I’d probably be being spoiled rotten in my granddad flat in one of my sons’ houses).


To draw this melancholy tale to a close, I’d just like to round up by saying that things are rarely as simple and straightforward as they seem.  My job is not always to take what you tell me at face value.  I know people who’ve been here longer than you.  My advice may well be ‘hedge your bets, spread your risk’.  I will give you the best possible investment tools for your money and pensions, but I might just surprise you with my recommendation as to what currency those funds should be invested in.



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 at  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





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Tech Talk


Hope for iPad 2 owners.


iOS 8.1.1 Brings Bug Fixes, Hope For iPhone 4S And iPad 2 Device Owners


iOS 8.1.1 is now available, it includes a number of bug fixes, improved overall stability, and, most importantly, performance improvements for older devices including the iPhone 4s and iPad 2. These devices, while technically supported with iOS 8.0, suffered a performance hit according to some as a result of the demands of the new OS, and this update should help make life easier for those who’ve already upgraded.


Apple doesn’t elaborate any further on just how these improvements work, but even just word of something potentially better should be welcome news to iPhone 4s and iPad 2 owners.


The update can be found by navigating to “Settings, General, and Software Update” and should download relatively quickly. Get it now, especially if you’re dissatisfied with the performance of your older device under 8.0 and later


Netflix in France


Netflix have launched here in France, its very easy  to sign up and watch the Netflix service without needing to hide your location here in France.


The  service will be based in Belgium or Luxemburg as the French do not allow streaming film services for anyone other than makers of French films. The content is very limited compare to Netflix USA but the number of titles is growing and more will be added next year. Don’t expect brand new films that are just out in the cinema it’s not that type of service, but there is more than enough to keep you out of trouble on winter nights.


The service cost 7.99 euros per month will allow you to watch films and TV series on your TV, laptop, tablet or any other device that can connect to the Netflix service.


The basic service runs very well over 1 or 2 meg broadband so most people should be able to get this, the HD service requires at least a 5 meg broadband connection and cost a little more per month.


Go to to sign up.


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


















Bridge Problem.


You are in five diamonds and they lead the Queen of hearts. Plan the play.





S  Q
H  K 10 9
D  9 8 4 3 2
C   K 9 8 7


Your hand


S  K 6 5 3
A K Q 6
A Q 3 2




Did you duck the King of hearts? You must! Otherwise, if you cover and ruff the return and trumps are 3/1, you will be a trick short and unable to ruff their winning heart trick after having drawn trumps. Watch what happens when you duck the lead; a heart continuation (assuming the defence have made the lead from Q J) establishes a trick in the suit for you so you can ruff and draw trumps with impunity. If they switch you can just draw trumps and ruff two spades in Dummy.




Lizzie Godfrey

meteo ciel3

 Le Flyer est disponible dans d'autres langues via le site web,






It is still a good time to be planting and transplanting trees, shrubs and hardy perennials while there is still warmth and moisture  in the soil. Remember that it is always a good idea to incorporate lots of organic material when planting; in heavy soils this improves drainage and aeration of the soil and in light soils it improves moisture retention.  I am often asked where to obtain organic material; the best is to make your own compost and leafmould but it is worth asking at your local dechetterie about shredded green waste and/or at your local cave co-operaive about (well rotted) spent grape pressings.  At the time of writing it is still very warm and dry but, on the basis that winter must surely arrive sometime it is a good time to be thinking about preparing for the winter - checking all your stakes and tree ties is always a good idea.

There is still good autumn colour around, just two examples of this are the field maple (Acer campestre) and the domestic service tree (Sorbus domestica).  For a late show of flower in November then the tree dahlia (Dahlia imperialis) provides a brief but stunning display.  It grows to four or five metres on annual stems and starts to flower in early November, the first proper frost will finish it off although in mild climates it flowers throughout the winter.  The rootstock is winter hardy.



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. The nursery and garden don't have regular opening hours during the winer months but we are always open by appointment, just phone or email to arrange a time if you would like to visit.




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





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




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 27 Novembre

Foix Bourse aux jouets de la CAF

Vendredi 28 Novembre

Cuxac d’Aude Bourse aux jouets

Samedi 29 Novembre

Carlipa Bourse aux jouets, vide dressing

Coursan Vide grenier

Coursan Bourse aux jouets des parents d'élèves de Casanova et Miquel

Cuxac-d'Aude Bourseaux jouets de Cuxac d'Aude

Gruissan Playmobil Les 40 ans Gruissan joue aux playmobil

Limoux Bourse aux jouets Limoux

Pexiora Bourse aux jouets et vêtements d'hivers

Saverdun Vide greniers +brocante

Decembre 30 Novembre

Alzonne Bourse aux jouets et periculture

Arzens Bourse aux jouets, vêtementsenfants, articles puériculture

Belpech Bourse aux jouets

Boutenac Bourse aux jouets, vêtements et matériels de puériculture

Capendu Bourse aux jouets et articles de puériculture

Couiza Bourses aux jouets, puériculture et vêtements

Coursan Vide grenier

Coursan Bourse aux jouets des parents d'élèves de Casanova et Miquel

Cuxac-d'Aude Bourse aux jouets de cuxac d'aude

Espéraza Bourse aux jouets, puericulture et livres (école maternelle)

Fleury d'aude Marché de Noël et Vide-greniers

Ginestas Bourse aux jouets et vide dressing

Gruissan Playmobil Les 40 ans Gruissanjoue aux playmobil

La Palme Bourse: Jouets, vêtements enfants & articles  puériculture

Ladern-sur-Lauquet Bourse aux jouets et de puériculture

Moussoulens Vide grenier

Narbonne Bourse aux jouets

Saint-Couat-d'Aude Bourse aux jouets et aux vêtements

Sigean Petit marche et brocante de noel

Villesequelande Vide dressing

Daumazan-sur-Arize Bourse aux jouets et articles de puériculture

Pamiers Marché et puces et à la brocantes

Rieucros Bourseaux jouets et puericulture

Saverdun Vide grenier de noel

Tarascon-sur-Ariège Vide grenier du telethon 

Samedi 6 Decembre

Carcassonne Bourseaux jouets

Coursan Vide grenier

Pomas Vide-dressing

Quillan Vide Greniers du Telethon

Saint-André-de-Roquelongue Marche de noël-bourse aux jouets-vide grenier

Sallèles-d'Aude Bourse aux jouets

Saverdun Vide greniers +brocante

Dimanche 7 Decembre

Azille Bourse aux jouets/puériculture

Bages Bourse aux jouets / puériculture

Barbaira Bourse aux jouets organisé par le FACS

Bram Vide grenier

Capendu Marché de noël et bourse aux jouets

Carcassonne Vide grenier brocante

Caunes-Minervois Vide grenier

Coursan Vide grenier

Coursan Vide grenier du téléthon

Limoux Brocante

Montredon-des-Corbières Vide grenier du Téléthon 2014

Moussoulens Vide grenier

Narbonne brocante, Vide grenier, bourse aux jouets, produits terroir

Puicheric Marché de Noël, Fréginat et Vide-grenier

Roullens Bourses aux jouets

Sigean Bourse aux jouets/puériculture Calendreta

Villeneuve-Minervois Bourse aux jouets organisé par Les Ballerines de Villeneuve

Auzat Marchede noel et vide grenier

Castelnau-Durban La hotte de noël

Lavelanet 10eme Vide grenier du telethon

Lescure Vide grenier Téléthon Lescure

Mazères Vide grenier mensuel

Mirepoix 49° Bourses toutes collections

Pamiers Marché et puces et à la brocantes



 What's On





ANGUS & JULIA STONE 7 Dec Bikini Toulouse

BEARDYMAN + PHAZZ 13 Dec Bikini Toulouse


DISNEY ON ICE 30 Jan 1 Feb Zenith Toulouse

TRICKY 11 Feb Bikini Toulouse

NINA HAGEN 24 March Bikini Toulouse

WOODSTOCK GENERATION 27 March Bikini Toulouse

WWE LIVE 16 April Zenith Toulouse

DIRTY DANCING 1/3 May Zenith Toulouse

THE RED ARMY CHOIR 3 Nov Zenith Toulouse

LA TRAVIATA 28 Nov Zenith Toulouse



About this time of the year, older taxpayers in the UK will again be
receiving another 'Winter Fuel' payment. This is indeed a very
exciting programme, and I'll explain it by using a Q & A format:

Q. What is a 'Winter Fuel' payment?
A. It is money that the government will give to taxpayers

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen of it

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase gas and
electricity or a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.K. Economy by
spending your 'Winter Fuel' cheque wisely:

* If you spend the money at Asda or Tesco, the money will go to
Gibraltar, Ireland and Luxembourg

*If you spend it on Amazon your money will go Lichtenstein

*If you spend it on eBay your money will go Switzerland.

* If you spend it on petrol your money will go to the Arabs.

* If you purchase a computer it will go to India, Taiwan or China.

* If you purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Kenya, Spain, or Morocco.

* If you spend it on 'cheap' cigs it will end up in Romania or Bulgaria

* If you buy an efficient car it will go to Japan or Korea

* If you buy a luxury car it will go to India or Germany

* If you pay off your credit cards or buy shares, it will go to
management bonuses and they will hide it offshore

Instead, keep the money in the UK by:

1. Spending it at car boot sales

2. Going to night clubs

3. Spending it on call girls

4. Buying cider, beer or scotch

5. Getting yourself a Tattoo

6. Visiting a bookie

(These are the only UK businesses still operating in the U.K.)

No need to thank me... Just glad I could be of help.



















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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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Standard Display Advert - Corporate


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


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

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What's on feature advert

35 €

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information about advertising rates and specifications.
informations sur les tarifs publicitaires et specifications.
Send details to of your advert to Steve Hedges.
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