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There is all this talk in the UK of people going to A&E for the wrong reasons: toenails in need of a trim, hangover help and bad-hair-day dramas are just three of the bizarre reasons why people turn up at Accident and Emergency, a new NHS campaign has revealed.

The Choose Well campaign urges people to go to the right place for NHS treatment after new figures revealed that one in four A&E patients could care for themselves or get treatment elsewhere.  Other weird and wonderful reasons for casualty visits ranged from constipation and diarrhoea to seeking treatment for a sick dog and even help with removing false nails.

One woman took her child to A&E to ask the staff to clean dog poo off her child's shoe, while another went to complain that her hand had turned blue after the dye on her jeans had rubbed off on her skin.

Shouldn’t they just be treated in the same way as hoax callers on 999 i.e. liable to prosecution? Perhaps it would galvanise their thinking.


It’s that time of the year where news will trickle out about the Carcassonne festival, unless I missed some stuff so far it’s only Johnny Halliday performing   at the racecourse and it appears to be a 3 day event.  Who could the other heavy hitters be? Muse maybe?  Well it won’t be Lennie Kravitz who is down for Argeles and Nimes already.  Sting seems to be down for Nimes as well and I would have thought that was with Paul Simon.  Santana is also on at Argeles and Nimes if you feel like some Caravanserai on a warm summer’s night.


Many of you will remember a survey that I conducted through the Flyer a few years back, which returned some interesting results in the area of things that you can’t buy in France or they are just too highly priced to buy when they reach you.  Let me know the top 3 things you have to buy when you are in the UK or things you get people to bring?  Maybe a lot more is now available?




Thousands of regular readers make the Flyer the place to be seen


Lost in France



Have you ever wondered, like me, why some French words which are very similar to their English counterparts have at the front an ‘e’ where we have an ‘s’.  I decided to look into this and there are a huge number of these words not least of all ‘étranger’:

étrangler – strangle  L

étage – stage  OF

épine – spine  L

épice – spice  L

étoffe – stuff  OF

The majority of these words come from either Latin or Old French and actually did start their lives with an ‘s’ at the front.  Then at some point the French felt it was too difficult to pronounce the ‘s’ and so an ‘e’ was added to make an ‘es’ at the front.  As time went by people stopped pronouncing the ‘s’ in ‘es’ and only the ‘e’ remained.

When the English took words from the French they omitted the ‘e’ because apparently it wasn’t stable enough or maybe it just sounded too French to the burgeoning English language.

And if you think it weird that the French had a problem with the ‘s’ at the beginning of words, consider the problem that the English appear to have with ‘p’ at the beginning of certain words e.g. psychology etc.

If anyone knows of any book, which isn’t too dense so possibly ‘for dummies’, which compares the two languages I’d like to hear of it.










Welcome to 2015.  Let’s all hope for a prosperous and, maybe optimistically, safe year to come.  This is my 60th year on the planet, and the cracks are starting to show.  Many thanks indeed to the many well-wishers who sent me messages of goodwill following my hip operation in December. They were much appreciated.  I am up and about again now, and whilst I may leave it a few more weeks before I resume training for the triple-jump, it is good to be able to get around freely.  Bear with me, I will get to the financial stuff soon.


With the physical recovery going well, my mental state did take a knock however on an early foray back into the big wide world.  Congratulating myself on being able to get around with only one crutch, I decided to take myself off to my local Bricomarché to buy some light fittings. With only one checkout open, I resigned myself to a long wait at the back of the queue.  I suddenly realised that the people in front of me were moving aside, and I was being beckoned to the front by the cashier.  How utterly charming, and completely crushing.  When I protested, I was told that this was normal treatment for ‘handicapped’ people.  I was appalled.  Not that a DIY chain should treat it clients this way, but at the fact that they should regard me as a ‘client in need’.  It was like peering into my dotage.  How many years before it is me with a long grey beard, waving a walking stick, being pushed in a wheelchair?


Looking back on that day recently, it struck me that there is probably a link with my recent focus on old age and pensions.  I know I’ve said before that the older you get, the more interesting pensions become, but I really think that it is true.  What is worrying me now is the growing list of younger people who are getting very interested in our pensions, for all the wrong reasons.  The younger crowd I’m referring to are politicians who are gleefully rubbing their hands and salivating over our pension assets.  There seems to be no political rivalry over the new pension reforms due in April that are to sweep away all forms of prudent financial planning for old age.  They’ve all got their eyes glued on the same pot.


Please allow me to get slightly technical for a moment, and explain GAD to you.  The initials stand for Government Actuarial Department.  Actuaries are very clever people, mathematicians basically, who walk around wired into computers.  One of their jobs used to be to come up with a formula that worked out how much you could draw from your personal pension per year without reducing your pension pot too quickly.  In short, they were there to make sure that your pension outlived you. 100% GAD meant the maximum you could safely draw from your pension.


Then the politicians started to get interested.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea if we let the old fogeys have more of their pensions to spend?  That way we can boost the economy for the rest of us.  It won’t be a problem, they’ll probably still die before the pension runs out.  Let’s try 120% GAD and see how we get on.  Well, OK, it helped a bit, but we still need more capital spending.  Let’s see how we get on with 150% GAD.  The next logical step is of course about to take place in April.  Forget GAD.  You can have the lot.  Use your pension as a bank account.  Treat yourself to something special.


This is in my view tantamount to criminal recklessness.  You and I may be completely confident in our ability to run our own finances, and I trust that that is in fact the case.  But who is going to protect the vulnerable amongst the older generations?  Who is going to protect pensioners from double glazing salesmen; roofing contractors; cowboy builders; money grabbing children looking for early access to their supposed inheritances?


And then there are the annuities.  These are financial instruments that you used to have to buy with your pension funds.  These gave you a guaranteed income for life.  You are no longer obliged to buy an annuity with your pension fund.   I do agree with this.  The fall in long term interest rates meant that annuity rates fell quite dramatically over the years, and the income you bought became less and less.  I suppose then it should come as no surprise when we hear that pensioners are to be allowed to sell their annuities, and receive lump sums instead.  More money to spend. More tax to pay.  In twenty years’ time this could turn into a monumental national scandal, but by that time our current batch of politicians will be retired, enjoying their protected pensions. 



My own personal pensions are now safely housed well away from further potential meddling.  I will not be drawing out huge (I wish) sums to finance cars or cruises, and barring worldwide financial calamities there will be enough money to see me out.  If I do last another 15 years, whatever is left will also go to my chosen beneficiaries without any tax deducted.  Did I mention the 45% tax that will be payable in the UK?




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

Forward this Flyer to friends and anyone else you know who may find it useful





A correspondent (Simon Wollen)  has composed a résumé of the Winter Fuel Payment affair. He has sent it to his MP.
It is excellent. It is attached.
May I earnestly entreat you to send it to your MP.   Remember to tell your MP or ex MP the following.
Dear  ------------- M.P.
Before leaving the UK for my present residence in (France/Spain/Cyprus etc) I lived in your constituency at ...............  You, therefore, are the MP who should represent my interests in Parliament.
Please read the attached and I earnestly request that you sign the EDM number 695 tabled by the well respected MPs Sir Roger Gale and Sir Peter Bottomley.
Surely such experienced politicians deserve your support.
Please read the attached résumé by Mr. Wollen of the circumstances.
 your name  ...............................


So far  (Thursday 22 January 4.30 p.m.) only one other MP has added their signature to the two original sponsors of the EDM - Sir Roger Gale and Sir Peter Bottomley.
excuses have been
It is the custom to respond only to the needs of constituents.
As a minister I cannot intervene.
I will look at the matter later

- others no response at all.

This matter must be dealt with well before the 9th February -  Please help...  Brian Cave

To find your MP -

Mr. Wollen's paper can also be located via

You may not yet be involved  with WFP, but we are all likely to be affected by Government attempts to govern using a false basis for its Statutory Instruments.   For example using the  temperatures of the tropical and equatorial areas of the French State to falsify the mean winter temperature of France, to make it higher than the winter temperature of SW England'. So also act in the interests of solidarity with those a little older.

Brian Cave
























 Nudes final draft with border psd copy










Harry Shindler (93) writes his first ever email today.

Democracy  day...

Today is democracy day when we recall the first British parliament 750 years ago.....But  750 years on..... One  million ex pats are denied the vote.

The first act of the new parliament after the general election must be to right this wrong and by so doing line up with the other democratic nations of the world       

Harry Shindler.  M.B.E.


Harry refers to the Parliament of Simon de Montfort of the 20th January 1265 - the first ever.


meteo ciel3

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



If you haven't already done so now is the time to winter prune your wisteria; cut stems back to two or three buds to tidy the plant up before the growing season starts.  It is also a good time to trim back other climbers such as ivy and Virginia Creeper to contain their growth.  If you are planning on any new areas of planting this spring it is a good idea to get started on digging over such areas in readiness.  And, although it has been a relatively mild winter so far don't forget to keep bird feeders clean and topped up with food, remember to provide some water as well.

I have said before that winter interest in the garden isn't just from berries and flowers .  Eriogonums are a genus of shrubby plants from summer dry areas of the US which make a lovely dome shape with a long period of flowering in July and August but their seed heads can still look amazing well into winter.  The photographs show Eriogonum fasiculatum in full flower in August and then with the russet red tones of the seedheads during January.  The plant will be clipped in another couple of weeks or so, ready to make new growth for next years flowers. 




















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 winter months but we are always open by appointment, just phone or email to arrange a time if you would like to visit; regular opening hours will start on the 27th February when we'll be open every Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10am to 6pm until the end of November.    We are currently in the process of up-dating our website (thanks to Bruce Taylor) so please have a look at for an up to date list of plants we  propose this year and lots of new photos.

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



We are getting good reception from our 90 cm dish on all channels including HD . Reception started beginning of November and only went off during the two days of heavy rain recently. After the storms cleared everything came back.


Hi Steve,

Here is a link to my news page, it explains why some people smaller dishes may be working at the moment.!satellite-news/c175d

Hope it helps.

Kind Regards

Stephen Marston

Digi TV Solutions


It all depends - Sky viewers will still be receiving those channels (SKY) plus a few other odds n sods on 60 Cms! (Different Sat from BBC etc.,.)

Yes, at present, with the predominant high pressure and clear skies, reception is possible (actually recorded as such) on 80 Cms!

But, when the real clouds come back, whether rain, or worse, snow laden, then it's back to 120 Cms for anything like reliable reception, especially of HD channels.

I repeat my offer of last spring, fairly widely published in the area, of guidance, advice and more (short of installation) for those who are still attempting, and struggling with a Satellite solution to the problem. (Absolutely free, of course.)




The Limoux section of AVF (Accueil des Villes Françaises) organises a quiz from time to time:  details on 14 rue de la Blanquerie 11300 Limoux or 04 68 31 72 69 (Monday & Thursday 2.30 to 5 pm).

According to their latest newsletter:

The Quiz will take place on Tuesday 27th January at 7pm in the Café de Commerce, with a charge of 2 euros per person. You will be able to order a meal from the restaurant Le Concept.

Their membership is about a third English speaking, not limited just to new arrivals, and they organise French & English courses, bussed shopping trips to Toulouse for the “soldes” and various other events.

Hope this helps.

John Vernon

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 24 Janvier

Coursan Vide grenier

Saverdun Vide greniers+brocante

Dimanche 25 Janvier

Carcassonne Vide grenier brocante

Coursan Vide grenier

Narbonne Vide grenier, foire vêtements, produits terroir

Pamiers Marché etpuces et à la brocantes

Samedi  31 Janvier

Coursan Vide grenier

Saverdun Vide greniers+brocante

Dimanche 1 Fevrier

Carcassonne Vide grenier brocante

Coursan Vide grenier

Limoux Vide grenier+brocante, mensuelle le 1er dimanche chaque mois

Limoux Vide grenier

Mazères  Vide grenier mensuel

Pamiers Marché etpuces et à la brocantes


 What's On





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

RIVAL SONS 22 April Bikini Toulouse

DIRTY DANCING 1/3 May Zenith Toulouse

THE RED ARMY CHOIR 3 Nov Zenith Toulouse

LA TRAVIATA 28 Nov Zenith Toulouse

SCORPIONS 4 Dec Zenith Toulouse






Cathar Castle Tours have been operating for a few years now, running week long tours concentrating on the usual “Cathar Castles” as well as a number of other sites with strong Cathar connections. Their tours are normally a week long, residential, and aimed at English speaking visitors with an interest in history, medieval life, Catharism, the Albigensian Crusade and the Languedoc. The tours are led by James McDonald, an author who has been researching the Cathars since he moved to the Languedoc almost twenty years ago. They are fact based but entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. (You can read some Trip Advisor reviews at Cathar Country Tours)


A few people have suggested shorter non-resident tours for English speaking locals – at a substantially reduced price.  This is a significantly different proposition, so Cathar Castle Tours are looking to assess what readers of the Aude Flyer would be interested in. If there is enough demand, they’ll put together a programme for Spring next year.


If you are interested please drop them a line directly at or

It would help if you could provide the following information (no commitment!):

Numbers of people you know who might be interested and how much they already know about the Cathars (nothing, not much, a fair amount, lots)

Any particular sites you’re interested in visiting (there’s a list at their website including a few sites you might not have heard of, or have heard of but didn’t know they had Cathar connections)

Whether you’d be interested in 1 day, 3 days or 5 days tours.

Any particular aspect you’re interested in (Cathar beliefs, medieval crusading, Inquisition practices, castle architecture, personalities, siege warfare, etc)

If you’d be interested in a talk or series of talks on aspects of Catharism as well as visits (and if so, any topics you’re particularly interested in.)

You’ll find more information about the content of their standard tours at which will give you an idea of what’s on offer.












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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 €

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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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