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Well they do say you can't keep a good man down, and you can't even keep Mugabe down as apparently he fell down a staircase as he was leaving a podium from which he had been addressing supporters. This was at the airport on his return from Ethiopia where he had taken over the cudgel of the rotating chairmanship of the African Union.


It is scary times with the Greeks voting against living within their means because that could mean that the Spanish and no doubt the French will start to think along the same lines. Greek PM is in Paris.  I wonder if he flew Ryanair?



So Sting is now confirmed for the Carcassonne Festival on 26th July in the Cite.





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



Lost in France


My previous attempt at commenting on the connections between the English and French languages led me on to Eleanor of Aquitaine and the machinations of the 12th and 13th century inter-linked monarchs.


I’d love to see a new authentic dramatic version of the story of this woman’s life  It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of dramas about later kings (‘Wolf Hall’, ‘The Tudors’ etc) but surely it would be just as interesting to shine a new light on the intrigues, political and sexual as well as battles that this woman appears to have had a hand in.  The French have a few made-for -TV versions of ‘Les Rois Maudits’ who followed after her and there have been two English-speaking versions of ‘The Lion in Winter’.  And there have been endless stories of  Robin Hood and Richard the Lionheart but as far as I’m aware nothing on her life (as drama).


Despite her renowned beauty there are no portraits of Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Married to King Louis VII of France, her dynamism and beauty so disturbed him that he pleaded with the priests that women be taken on the Second Crusade.   He was either besotted in love or worried that she might be unfaithful while he was away.   Permission was granted and this crusade became known as The Chattering Crusade.  Inevitably much misbehaviour ensued, the priests were scandalised and Eleanor managed to humiliate her husband so much (having some kind of ‘close’ relationship with her Uncle Raymond) that they returned from The Holy Land on separate boats. Their marriage was annulled and she decamped to England.


At the English court she met and married Henry, a handsome boy of 21 while she was a beautiful 32. Together they had 8 children two of which became Richard the Lionheart and King John and the rest of that bit of history is history. This marriage made Eleanor Queen of England and turns half of France English. 


Eleanor's first husband's third wife finally produce a male heir for France who becomes Phillipe II aka Phillipe Auguste.  Phillipe fights in the Third Crusade alongside Richard the Lionheart - the son of Louis and his third wife and the son of Louis's first wife and her second husband get on like a house on fire so much so that when Eleanor encourages her two sons to rebel against their father, Phillipe takes the side of Richard. 


As with many royal offspring, the press would have had a field day.  But Phillipe and Richard fall out, go to war, end up in prison, fight again and so it goes almost ad infinitum but what a woman!



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 lenetwork  Local press ad





We have just had our annual conference, The Spectrum Economic Forum. We had presentations from leading

investment managers including BlackRock (the world’s largest investment house), J P Morgan Asset Management,

Rathbones, Kames Capital, Jupiter Asset Management and Henderson Global Investors.


The conference is a great opportunity for us to hear directly from some of the investment management companies,

which we recommend for the investment of our clients’ financial assets. Their collective forward-looking views on

markets and key issues for 2015 provided us with a valuable insight, so that we are better able to advise our clients.


We also had presentations from several product providers, including Prudential International, Old Mutual International

(formerly Skandia International), SEB Life International and Tilney Best Invest (who also provide discretionary asset management services). All companies gave interesting presentations on developments in their products, which are

focused upon the needs of expatriates.


The conference is always a good opportunity to get together with colleagues from the six countries in which we operate

 It’s a chance for us to exchange views and discuss issues that are common to all our clients, wherever they live.


There was agreement amongst us that one of the biggest potential ‘issues’ that the financial services industry is facing

this year is the subject of pensions, as a result of the forthcoming UK pensions reform. Many Spectrum advisers

expressed concern about predatory companies that are already operating, which could result in people unwisely

cashing in their UK pension pots. The importance of obtaining professional advice from qualified advisers, who are

regulated by the authorities in the country where the pension scheme member is living, was highlighted.


We were fortunate to have Momentum Pensions present to us, which is the first company to be able to offer a truly

multi-jurisdictional pension solution for clients. Like us, Momentum has their clients’ best interests at heart and they

understand that expatriates can move from one country to another. Therefore, Momentum has now added a UK Self

Invested Pension Plan to their range of international pension solutions, which means that even if the client moves back

to the UK, they can have a smooth transfer of the pension benefits from the overseas pension scheme back to the UK.

As can be seen from the above, we are constantly working closely with investment managers and product providers to

find the best solutions for our clients, whether this is for the investment of financial capital, using tax-efficient solutions,

pensions or inheritance planning. If you would like to have a confidential discussion on any of these subjects, please

contact me either by telephone on04 68 20 30 17 or by e-mail

Planning forLe Tour de Finance 2015is also now underway. As many people reading this know, this event is a perfect opportunity to come along and meet industry experts on financial matters that are of interest to expatriates. We are

now taking bookings for May 2015 events at:


Perpignan – 19thMay

Bize-Minervois – 20thMay

Montagnac – 21stMay


Le Tour de Financeis an increasingly popular event and early booking is recommended. So if you would like to

attend one of these events, please contact me to reserve your places.


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


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




Below - A very important article in the TELEGRAPH - Please promote.
Liz Roberts, the author of the article, also writes to me as follows.


Dear all,
This may be of interest - the Electoral Commission has launched a drive to add 100,000 expats to the register ahead of May 7:

I would be most grateful if you could share this link with your friends and followers, or retweet / share it from our Twitter and Facebook feeds (@TelegraphExpat and

You may also wish to encourage them to sign up for our email bulletins, as more on these topics will be published in the run up to the election:

With kind regards,

Elizabeth Roberts, Content Editor, Weekly Telegraph and Expat Channel

Tel: 020 7931 2587 ||@TelegraphExpat

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 St Valentin 2015 ENG aude

Mirepoix ext 



Tech Talk



There’s an App for That.


As many of you know and as I have written about a few times before I took a decision around 14 months ago to lose weight. I have a job that means I spend a lot of time sitting down and apart from walking the dog a couple of times a week I was not doing any exercise and had put on a lot of weight.



Over the past 14 months I have lost 23Kg (3.6 Stone or 50 pounds) nobody is more surprised than me that I have managed to lose so much, but I have not done it without some help.



The biggest help for me has been an App, a small program/application that I installed on my smart phone, the app is called My Fitness Pal. It allows you to keep a food diary recording all that you eat and drink each day and any activity I do. This made me aware of just how much I was eating and what foods where good and no so good, it helped to educate me and make me think very carefully about what I eat and also just how much exercise I had to do to burn some of the calories I had eaten. (1 glass of red wine = 40 minutes walking)



I think I am now just about the right weight and I’ve certainly had quite a few very complementary comments about how much I’ve lost.  But I still have a large belly that I want to reduce, I’ve been exercising 3 or 4 times a week for the past 12 month which has greatly helped with the weight loss but I needed some help to move things to the next level and that’s been very difficult.



But I found an app that has helped me, I have a number of fitness machines a treadmill, and cross trainer (elliptical trainer) an excise bike and a rowing machine, but I have found it very difficult to exercise for more than 25 minutes at a time, I get tired and I also get bored!. Now that it’s winter and I can’t go outside as much I have to exercise on the machines but I found an app that brings the outside inside, the app is called BitGym


This great app uses real scenery from locations all over the world and the scenery moves as you exercise, the camera on the smartphone or tablet watches your movement and coverts this into forward movement through your chosen location.




Using this app I can complete a 40 minute run through a forest, a bike ride around a city like Vancouver, or a cross train through a mountain range. It does not stop me getting tried but it stops me getting bored and keeps me going and inspires me to try and go a bit further than I otherwise would.  




If I can do it then any one can do it, I have never been a sporty person or the sort of person that worried about their weight I like food far too much, but things have changed for me and now I find I really enjoy it.



Look in the Apple Apps Store or Google Play Store for:


MyFitnessPal and BitGym



Or go to: or



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.



f  ithead3010




Pat Penny - Massage Therapist, Health and Fitness Specialist







We could probably all do with improving our posture, and I DON’T mean ‘stand up straight and put your shoulders back’ kind of thing either (although that’s a start).


I really mean the way we USE our bodies on a day-to day basis, how we stand, sit and move in this modern world for which our bodies aren’t yet equipped (you and I are basically still cavemen as far as the body is concerned).



So really, posture should perhaps be seen as a dynamic activity rather than a static attitude.


Our bodies are designed for movement and so this fact means that they are inherently unstable (think lots of moving joints, stilts and levers that form the skeleton). This instability however, also renders our bodies plastic enough to adapt – so that if we sit slumped at a computer / television / car steering wheel for long periods of time, the body moulds itself to this pattern.


In this case, the body would bend forwards, shortening muscles in the hips (thus eventually putting strain on the lower back), draw the ribcage inwards and downwards (making breathing far less efficient and crowding the digestive system). The head would have fallen forward of ‘neutral’ (the upper back muscles will all join in as ‘reins’ to try and bring the head back causing tension headaches and muscular pain).


However, you can’t go about improving your posture without being able to connect with your body and this is where the ‘lost sixth sense’ comes in. This is the sense of kinaesthesia – or as some wag once put it: “ that which helps us distinguish our arse from our elbow”.


Modern life conspires to rob us of this sense because we are generally becoming detached from our bodies (at least in a true sensory context!). We need to hear the whispers of our bodies before they turn into screams! The way we do things become habitual and this isn’t always the best thing for the body.



Sitting at your computer, try operating your mouse with the ‘wrong hand’ – even just putting your hand on it will probably feel ‘weird’. But it’s made you THINK, because it’s not what you usually do – we have to do things differently if we want to see positive changes in our bodies then, we have to give them a bit of time and attention.



There is also an important psychological effect in being aware of our bodies - if only every now and then – it’s both satisfying and empowering to learn to be at one with your body!



The following is apparently a Chinese proverb but it could equally be a plea from our bodies:

“ Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. INVOLVE me and I understand”





meteo ciel3

Windfarms (or Eoliennes in French)

Coming in your Area -Soon!!!!


Firstly, just to introduce myself, my husband and I live in a small hamlet in the forest near St. Benoit, south of Limoux. We have a farm with a small flock of sheep and a few elderly horses, and we are retired on pensions (not large) and have a gite which provides us with some very welcome additional income.  We have lived in this house since we came to France now 11 years ago. So far so good – we are very happy and contented with our situation.


Just after Christmas we had a visit from a fellow English lady who lives, like us on a small farm, just over the hill in another commune.  What she had to tell us was quite surprising – apparently some promoter or other has persuaded two small farmers just over the hill to agree to a 5 or 7 tower Windfarm.  It is rather handy for the Mairie of the village concerned which is St. Couat de Razes, that the proposed site of these 150 meter high monstrosities is a lot further from his village than it is from us. However, the surrounding farmers and home owners that are in his commune are not at all happy either.


 I have to admit that I have until now taken a fairly middle of the road attitude to these things and like many others, thought that they were not too bad to look at from a distance and that they were possibly fairly environmentally a good thing.  However, having attended a village information evening in St Couat de Razes where there were several speakers from other local villages & anti windfarm groups, and we were treated to a film show with a sound track, we are now even more horrified than we were originally.  We are now totally against the installation of these towers as all my research on the internet has adequately backed up the theme of the information evening at St Couat to the extent that we now know that they are NOT environmentally friendly and do not have what is called in the jargon “a good carbon footprint!”  There has been a lot of publicity to the effect that they do not cause any problems, however there is a growing body of actual evidence not saying that they may do so, but  that they do cause the following to a large number of people even though they are outside the so called exclusion zone:


  • headaches
  • sleep problems
  • night terrors or learning disabilities in children
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • mood problems (irritability, anxiety)
  • concentration and memory problems
  • issues with equilibrium, dizziness and nausea
  • loss of capital valuation on property or even a total inability to sell.


I quote from an article written about the installations of windfarms already in place in the USA -  “The rapidly spinning blades of huge wind turbines have an effect on their surroundings, and it goes beyond aesthetics. The blade tips of a wind turbine can spin at speeds­ of up to 80 meters per second, or about 180 miles per hour. In high winds, this rapid spinning can produce sound a­nd vibration -- in addition to disruptions in air pressure.  The extremely low air pressure surrounding a wind turbine could be the reason why bats die near them. A bat's lungs are very delicate, and it seems the low pressure might cause them to expand to the point of bursting blood vessels [source: NewScientist]. Scuba divers can certainly attest to the effects of pressure on the human body. And the corporeal effects of sound -- essentially fluctuations in air pressure that vibrate the eardrum -- are well-documented. For instance, infrasound -- sounds at such low frequency that they can't be picked up by the human ear but can carry through the atmosphere for thousands of kilometers -- is believed to cause certain breathing and digestive problems [source: Infrasound Lab].

“Infrasound is the primary issue for those concerned about wind-turbine syndrome. They also say that audible sound and vibrations contribute to the health problems reported by some people who live close to wind farms”.   Bear in mind that the foregoing was written about the towers in the USA which are only 84 feet high whereas the ones in our area are to be 150m or 350 feet high (or more)!


Apart from our personal possible health issues, we are particularly concerned that the number of wind farms projected for the Aude/Ariege area particularly around Mirepoix, Chalabre, Montbel and down towards Limoux will be a deterrent for holiday makers booking accommodation in our area and have a direct affect on the areas income from tourists into this wonderful Cathar area.  Lets face it, apart from the physical deterrent of not wanting to visit or stay somewhere where there is a stroboscopic wind tower throbbing out audible & nonaudible sounds 24 hours a day, visible stroboscopic light affects all night from the warning lights to aircraft and other health hazards, but there are other associated problems too.  Many of our visitors enjoy our outdoor pool – in the evening the bats keep down the midges & mosquitoes – if the majority of our bat population is killed, then the pool will become a no-go area in the afternoon/evening.


Most of our visitors enjoy glimpses of our wonderful and divers wildlife, many of them rare even in Europe.  We have recently seen Pyrenean Chamois – 5 females and a ram!  There have been sitings in recent years of the extremely shy European Lynx!  In truth I saw one myself 6 years ago.  We have Pine martins - young ones look like fluffy teddy bears in the trees and in a cold winter they go white.  Many of us farm in an ecological way – some are even registered Bio – what is the point of that effort when by building these wind farms the local wildlife will be badly affected if not destroyed.  If you don’t believe me read the evidence now coming out of Spain from the wind farms they have erected down there in recent years. 


I am so concerned about the likely affect on our tourist industry that I am planning to start an Aude & Ariege Gite Owners Association which will be dedicated to the gathering and broadcasting of information to protect and promote the interests of Gite Owners and Managers in the area.  I will shortly be launching a Facebook Page and if you are at all interested in such an Association I would like to hear from you as soon as possible.


I for one do not believe it is safe to erect these towers even in the most remote areas because we are all coming to realise that bad things happening in the ecology in one part of the world have knock-on affects in the rest of the world.  The butterfly wing effect!  The more research I do on this matter the more horrified I am.  I would sincerely recommend anyone who doubts what I am reporting about should go to which is the website of the European Platforms Against Windfarms and read the Testimony of Dr Sarah Laurie to the Appeals Tribunal of the State of Victoria, Australia.  The excerpts are interesting enough but the whole results of her 4 years of research have left me without doubts of the case against these projects.


 I list below the website addresses of the associations already in place fighting to stop the spread of the Eoliennes in our own area, the Communes under direct threat as supplied to me by the Federation des Associations de Sauvegarde des Pavs d’Aude and the Communes where projects are currently under consideration.  PTSPPC – Maire de Cambon 09500 –

Vent contre nature – 09120Ventenac –

Association de défense des colines du pic d’Estel – Maire de Camon

Le Cri du Vent, 11230 Sonnac sur L’Hers

Avenir d’Alet – 11580 Alet les Bains –

Amis de Saint Sernin – 11300 Bouriege

List of the Communes threatened :  Alet les Bains, Ajac, Antugnac, Bouriege, Caudeval, Castelrent, Chalabre, Conilhac de la Montagne, Corbieres, Courtaly, Festes et St. Andre, Gueyte de Labastide, La Bezole, La Digne d’Amont, La Digne d’Aval, La Serpent, Loupia, Luc sur Aude, Magrie, Montjardin, Montazels, Peyrefitte du Razes, Pomy, Rivel, Roquetaillade, St. Benoit, St. Couat du Razes, St. Polycarpe, Ste Colombe sur L’Hers, Sonnac sur l’Hers, Tourreilles, Treziers, Veraza, Villelonge d’Aude & Villefort.

Projets en cours : Bugarach, Fourtou, Cubieres, Veraza, St. Sernin, St. Polycarpe, St Ferriol., Quillan, doublement du parc de Roquetaillade.


Please be advised that we are as it were ‘firing warning shots’ – we must act and we must act swifly.  Even if you are not a good French speaker please join one of the associations near you – that is the only way you will find out what is really happening before it is too late.  It is not necessary for you to be an ‘active’ member but that you add your voice to the people who are putting time and effort in to this now defensive action.





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All being well spring is in sight so there are plenty of jobs to be getting on with in the garden!

* Now is a good time to start to prune roses and summer flowering shrubs (which flower on current season's growth) like buddleja.
* There is still time to put up nesting boxes to encourage birds to your garden.
* It is a good time for transplanting shrubs and perennials that you have decided are in the wrong place.
* And, it's also a good time to clean up and sharpen tools, secateurs etc

There is not a lot in flower in the garden yet but the spring flowering hardy Cyclamen coum has just sent it's first dainty little flowers above marbled foliage.  This is a perennial that likes partial shade and a humus rich and well drained soil, it grows to about 10cm high with a similar spread and when happy will self seed itself around.  It will be summer dormant so labelling it's site is a good idea!

At La Petite Pépinière we are offering two gardening courses this spring:

An Introduction to Pruning – Wednesday 18th March, 10am to 4pm

This will be an introduction to the principles and practice of pruning, why, when and how.  Practical work in the garden here will be included and we will focus on pruning practices relating to plants frequently found in gardens in the region.  Course fee:  45€

Propagation:  Thursday 19th March, 10am to 4pm

An introduction to the principles of propagation - how to increase your own plants by layering, division, seeds and cuttings.  Plenty of practical work included.   Course fee:  45€

For more information email 






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 








Art Auction 2015 e2vent copy







You are in four hearts and they lead the King of spades.I can tell you that a 4/2 break in trumps is more likely than 3/3. What next?




> 2
Q 8 7
7 6 5 4 2
Your hand
A 4 3
K J 10 9
10 7 3
A Q 3




You have at least ten tricks if trumps break 3/3, two spade ruffs in Dummy, the Ace of spades, three trumps, the Ace of clubs and four diamonds but, if trumps are 4/2, the defence may lead a fourth round of spades when in with the Ace of hearts thereby promoting a trump trick for themselves and causing you to lose control of the hand. The answer is to duck the spade at trick one! Now you can ruff a spade continuation in Dummy and keep control of the suit with the Ace.



Lizzie Godfrey













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


On the subject of missing or silent letters:

Whilst the English have a problem with the p as in psychology etc, the French don’t seem to have the problem, as in pneus.

For a bit of fun though, ask a French neighbour to say thistle and watch the look of exasperation that ensues..


Robert Hancock.



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 7 Février 2015

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-d'AudeVide grenier

Saverdun Videgreniers + brocante

Dimanche 8 Février 2015

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-d'AudeVide grenier

OrnaisonsVide grenier intérieur extérieur

Rieux-MinervoisBourse de l'arme ancienne et antiquités militaire

Saint-PapoulVide greniers

Pamiers  Marché et puces et à la brocantes


Samedi 14 Février 2015

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-d'AudeVide grenier

LimouxVide grenier Lions Club

PexioraVide Dressing Adulte

Saverdun Videgreniers + brocante

Dimanche 14 Février 2015

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-d'AudeVide grenier

PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

Saint-GironsLes puces du champ de mars


 What's On




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


















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