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And the plot thickens, Ukraine’s ex-President Yanukovych's son “drowns in lake” when VW van went through the ice whilst he was taking part in a sporting event on Lake Baikal.  Miraculously 5 others in the vehicle survived.  Five other officials have also died in mysterious circumstances this year, and its only March.  I wonder if he really did embezzle millions of dollars of public funds and also wonder if he has given any to Vladimir Putin?  Perhaps that was the $52 million he paid for a house in Barvikha, Russia. What an interesting place


You know when you hear something and you think that can’t be true?  Well a few weeks back I was told that said President Putin had spent some days (2 months  ago now) hunting with Marco Pierre White at an estate near Tiverton in Devon. Then when I heard he had disappeared for 10 days (a different time period) it made me think.   Surely if he had arrived at an airport we would have heard about it, or a rubber dinghy from a submarine?


It would appear the announcements of “one meal fills all” and no headscarf or burqa at university have assisted Sarkozy in a Netanyahu fashion.  It appears this put his party ahead of the FN in the local council polls. When it gets to presidential elections I wonder if there will be a “let them eat pork” slogan bandied about?


Not much progress on the Carcassonne festival front, plenty of Bruel, Clerc Noah and Pagny a Roger Hodgson, the voice of Supertramp….. Perhaps it’s too early or just budgetary cutbacks.



You know the routine about Toques et Clochers, well this time it will surely be simpler as its back in Limoux again, just remember everything in moderation well except Magret sandwiches


Bonne fête





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Lost in France


Bette Midler once said that when it’s three o’clock in New York, it’s still 1938 in London.  And that’s about how I feel on a cold wet March Sunday afternoon in a cold wet village in France.  I know that it is 2015, it says it everywhere, but when I walk outside where the rain is dripping off the gutters, the streets are empty with not a light showing nor even a curtain twitching, I could be forgiven for thinking that it is indeed if not 1938 at least (for the purposes of this piece) 1955 outside my door. 


So on the basis of a) the popularity of vintage fashion;  b) the resurgence of the ‘make do and mend’ ethos;  c) The Great British Sewing Bee and d) the fact that it was Spring last week and so hopefully will eventually be Spring again quite soon, here is something that men and women can attempt to make until the sun shines over the hillside, a 1955 sewing pattern made from ‘le tissu anglais, le tweed’ from Votre Tailleur de Printemps.





 lenetwork  Local press ad

 Carolyn Knight new ad

gaf ad5 



 peterlawton clk


Last month I ended my article with the following paragraph:  Clients who have Sterling assets do not need to convert them to Euro to make use of the products available to them outside the UK.  Those clients who have transferred their assets in Sterling are most probably quite pleased that they did not convert, but what about now?  What if we hit 1.40, or 1.45?  For my money the only way is down from there, back to my preferred levels.  If we do get to 1.40, I will certainly be looking long and hard at my Sterling funds, with my finger hovering over the deal button.


Well, it did indeed happen, and as I write this sterling is worth over 1.40 Euro.  Did my finger hover over the ‘deal’ button?  Yes it did.  Did I press that button?  No I didn’t.  I need to make two things perfectly clear here.  Firstly, what I’m about to type must not be regarded as advice.  I’m just telling you what thought process I went through.  Secondly, we’re not talking mega bucks (or pounds) here, certainly not for the meagre amount that is lurking in our one and only UK bank account anyway.


It’s quite difficult to express the reason for not changing that sterling into Euro, but I’ll give it a go, at the risk of sounding somewhat deranged. Every one of my pounds somehow feels to me to be worth more than €1.40.  That is of course irrational.  Anyone who thinks the true rate should be in the region of 1.25 should bite the hand off anyone who offers him 1.40 or better.  Yet I didn’t want to do it; I just couldn’t bring myself to sell my shiny £1 coins in exchange for what looks like a bunch of supermarket trolley tokens.  Immediate apologies to ‘le Tresorie’ at this point.  I suspect that part of me is being a bit greedy looking for a Euro collapse, but would that necessarily persuade me?  Potentially not.  The weaker a currency becomes, the less inclined I might be to buy it.  In essence, I think I’m more likely to buy Euros at 1.40 when the rate is on its way down than when it’s on the way up.  I did tell you that I used to be a foreign exchange dealer; funny bunch they are.


The other hot topic at the moment is of course pensions.  I know that there is a risk that you might be getting fed up of hearing this, but I am largely opposed to the ‘pension freedom’ that is just around the corner for the UK pension market.  I am opposed to virtually all kinds of tax grabs, and I see this as just another example, albeit dressed up as a fabulous opportunity for the over 55’s  Or maybe that opportunity is for anyone who can take advantage of the over 55’s, including conmen; salesmen, and taxmen.


For me, the writing is on the wall regarding UK based pensions.  They are ‘in play’. Shedding all access restrictions is designed to provide a huge tax income boost for the UK coffers.  If it doesn’t work, they will look for another way to get their hands on our savings.  Even if it does work there will come a time when more cash is needed to bale out the UK economy.  Pensions will then come under more fire, and more ways will be found to raid the coffers.


I will not be a part of either process.  My pension funds are safely housed away from the UK jurisdiction.  They will be used as pension funds should be used; to provide an income when I retire, whenever that might be.  Hopefully that won’t be any time too soon as I’m enjoying myself too much to stop, but when the time comes I won’t be relying on a UK state pension alone.  That would not be an attractive proposition.


QROPS is an extremely welcome result of the European freedom of movement of capital.  We should all grasp the concept and use it to ring-fence our future incomes.      


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


Siret number:  491 228 573 00029

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







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Email:;  Website:

Forum:      Local Association No : W112000594


French tax on Britons' second homes illegal


Ruling by the European Court of Justice means France is liable to reimburse tens of millions of euros to British and other EU non-resident owners who let out or sold their properties


France has lost its tax war against British second home owners after the European Union's top court deemed it "illegal" to force them to pay social charges on gains from renting or selling their properties.


The ruling by the European Court of Justice, which emerged on Thursday, means France is liable to reimburse tens of millions of euros to British and other EU non-resident owners who have let out or sold their properties in the past two to three years.


Some 200,000 non-resident British property owners in France were affected when the Socialist government of President François Hollande in 2012 imposed a 15.5 per cent "social charge" on capital gains from the sale of second homes or rental income – a measure which it said would bring in €250 million a year.


Tax on rental income rose overnight from 20 per cent to 35.5 per cent, while capital gains tax on property sales rose from 19 per cent to 34.5 per cent.


The French finance ministry said it would "remove an unjustified tax advantage" for non-resident owners.

As a result, a British couple who bought a French property for €200,000 20 years ago and were selling it for €750,000 would have to pay almost €60,000 in social charges on top of the existing capital gains tax. They received no credit against their UK tax bill for this amount.


In its February 26 ruling, the Court of Justice concluded that the tax violates EU law because a resident of a member state must contribute to the social security system of one member state only.


It is thus illegal under EU law for France to levy social charges on income and gains derived by non-French EU residents on selling or renting their French property.


The Luxembourg ruling came three months after Eleanor Sharpston, the European Union's top legal advisor, told the court that the French tax grab violated EU law because “a person exercising an activity in one Member State is only subject to social security regulation of that Member State.”


The Advocate General’s advice was based on EU precedents dating from 2000 and 1971.


Graeme Perry, a London-based French tax law expert, said the ruling was "good news for the many EU residents who have been forced to pay this charge".


He advised anyone who has not already submitted a claim to the French tax authorities to do so now.

The chances of being reimbursed are "very, very strong" for anyone who sold their second home in 2014, he said.


"If you have already made a claim, you should now write to the French tax administration asking for your money back and also asking for a refund of any tax agent's fees."


To limit the damage, the French recently imposed stricter deadlines on submitting reimbursement claims. These prevent anyone who sold in 2012 or 2013 from making a claim unless they did so by December 31 of the year following that sale.


These deadlines, however, "may be open to legal challenge", said Mr Perry.

David Cooper, 79, a retired chartered surveyor from Lymington, sold his holiday flat in Port Grimaud in the Gulf of St Tropez last year for €467,500 after buying it for €190,500 in 1989.


He said he was "very encouraged" by the prospect of being reimbursed the €16,100 he paid in "social charges" on capital gains.


"I only wish they'd done it sooner, because the euro has crashed in value since the sale last August," he said. The charge amounted to "unfair double taxation", he claimed, as none of it could be offset against the £65,000 in capital gains tax he paid in the UK.


Owners currently thinking of selling may still have to pay the charge and claim it back once French law is changed, experts said.


Mr Perry expected this to take place by the end of this year, as France faces paying growing interest on any social charges it fails to pay back.


The Telegraph


meteo ciel3

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The NHS and the British pensioners in the EU.
-- follow up --


Below are two links which explain the situation.  The second gives the background and the part played by New Europeans and a correspondent Jane Williamson in this matter.

I quote from the second link .................


1.   "UK state pensioners who live elsewhere in the EEA will now have the same rights to NHS care as people who live in England. This applies to all pensioners who receive a UK state retirement pension and registered for healthcare in Europe with an S1 form."


[Note:-- It would be a wise precaution to carry the EHIC (health card) which is issued by the Dept of Work and Pensions with you if you travel to the UK - It would prove your right to free NHS care in the UK.*]


2.  "However, people who live elsewhere in the EEA or Switzerland who are not working and are under the UK retirement age should either use their EHIC if they’re entitled to one, or make sure they have health insurance if they need NHS care when visiting England. Otherwise they will have to pay for their care. This includes former UK residents, and ensures that people who already live and work in the UK do not end up paying through their taxes for visitors who are not economically active."


Clearly, younger British people resident in the EU (beyond the UK) should ensure that they get an EHIC from their local CPAM (or social security office) before visiting the UK. They will then receive treatment in the same manner as a person resident in Britain.

* Those who are retired should automatically receive the EHIC card from the  Department of Health in the UK.
* The card which was issued issued a few years ago expires on 12 March 2015.  If you have not got a replacement, phone the DWP. 0044  (0) 845 604 3719. The older card carries a personal identification number.


On another matter which is of interest to those who think deeply on these things - The British Constitution


The Government Select Committee on Political & Constitutional Reform are debating the production of a new Magna Carta or Constitution of Rights for British Citizens. [The general introduction is here]
But  this survey has some interesting points to consider.  The 'report' mentioned is not important to the survey and can be ignored - if you can locate it!  (both links need to be copied and pasted in your browser)
I have completed it and made various observations on 'British Citizenship' - in brief:- people do not cease to be citizens at Dover.




Brian Cave
le Fourquet, Gourdon, 46300, France


Tel-    ++33(0)565 41 42 69


-Votes for Britons  -  





The weather continues to be kind and everything in the garden is advancing well.  If you haven't yet done so do finish trimming back perennials and sub shrubs and prune shrub roses.  Most of us like to have fresh herbs in the garden, one that can be difficult to grow in the Languedoc is mint which requires damp soil and some shade - although when it is happy mint can become invasive.  Many of us find it easier to grow mint in a pot and it easily becomes potbound;  now is the time of year when you should be splitting up and repotting your mint plants to rejuvenate them and ensure a supply for next year.  Mints root readily from cuttings too.

For many of us a move to the south of France is synonymous with growing certain plants, one of these being mimosa (Acacia dealbata) which is in full flower at the moment.  It is a lovely, fast growing evergreen tree with scented flowers, so what's the catch?  Acacia dealbata itself is normally winter hardy to about -8°C so stands most winters without difficulty (2012 excepted) but .....   the type species prefers acid soil and will quickly become chlorosed (lacking trace elements, typically iron & magnesium) in limy clay.  So, for limy soils you need to buy a "Mimosa greffé", a grafted plant; unfortunately they are often grafted onto the lime tolerant Acacia retinodes which is slightly less winter hardy.   On acid soils, and particularly in mild, coastal locations Acacia dealbata can escape into the wild (it propagates easily from seed or offshoots) and can become a menace to native vegetation - see this link for more details about invasive plants -  There are other species in the genus Acacia which make good garden plants but many are less winter hardy so one tends to see them nearer the coast.


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. Regular opening hours at the garden and nursery started on the on the 27th February and we are now open every Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10am to 6pm until the end of November. Do remember that you are free to visit the garden without any obligation to buy but to observe, take notes etc.  We are also always open by appointment, just phone or email to fix a time.

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 fo you asked me where this beer fest is, well its at the Carpe Diem Cornebarrieu, Toulouse, it has been moved twice since last Flyer and is now over Easter



Profuse apologies from ‘the management’ as the date for the British Beer Festival is postponed once again but is now confirmed to run from Thursday 2nd – Saturday 4th April.

The bureaucracy issues faced this year are now resolved, and this, the 16th Spring Beer Festival will at last go ahead. Consider it as a Easter Bunny Beer Hunt.

The list of beer/cider expected is below.

Please help us pass the word to those not on this distribution list.

Thanks and apologies,

Jeff and Bill



RCH Pitchfork

RCH Old Slug

RCH Boadicea

RCH Steam Springs

Dark Star: Hophead

Anarchy: Sublime Chaos

Quartz: Chrystal

Bristol Beer Company: Sunrise

Dukeries:  I.P.A

Great Oakley: Harpers

Oxfordshire Ales: Marshmellow

Keystone: Cheer Up It’s Nearly Summer

Tring: Redshank

Green Jack: Orange Wheat

Whitstable: Kentish Retreat

Cheddar Valley Cider

Lily the Pink Cider


Hello Steve

Just to put the record straight on French prescriptions, it is no different to the UK as far as over supply of pills are concerned.   The drug companies decide how many pills in each pack.   However, France is experimenting in several regions, only supplying the exact number of pills for any treatment.   This has been mentioned on French television several times and seems to be working well, so may well be extended to the whole country.   Also any unwanted/out of date medicines of any kind can be taken back to the pharmacy.   They are collected centrally and re-distributed to under-developed countries which are badly in need of them, so there is absolutely no need to flush them down the loo.



Dear Flyer,
Regarding Lost in France, and excess drugs.
Take all the drugs back to the pharmacy, and ask for them to be re-cycled.
They are sent to charities, which send them (within their sell by date) to 'third' world countries.


Hi Steve

Thanks for the flyer.
Any unused drugs should be returned to the pharmacy.
I'm up to speed on this - my wife's just had a bad infection. As a matter of interest, unlike you she was given exactly the correct number of antibiotics for her 10 days' treatment.
Best wishes




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 21 Mars 2015

Coursan Vide grenier

Cuxac-d'Aude Vide greniers, vente de produits alimentaires

Saverdun Vide greniers +brocante

Dimanche 22 Mars 2015

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

Coursan Vide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-d'Aude Vide greniers, vente de produits alimentaires

Montlaur Vide greniers les Montlauriers

Moussoulens Vide grenier

Narbonne Vide grenier

Pamiers Marché et puces et à la brocantes

Saint-Ybars Vide Grenier mensuel

Samedi 28 Mars 2015

Coursan Vide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-d'Aude Vide greniers, vente de produits alimentaires

Lézignan-Corbières Vide grenier de l’institut l’amandier

Saverdun Vide greniers +brocante

Dimanche 29 Mars 2015

Badens Vide dressing

CapenduPuces des couturières et des loisirs créatifs Multi collection

Carcassonne Vide grenier brocante

Coursan Vide grenier

Cuxac-d'AudeVide greniers, vente de produits alimentaires

Fleury d'aude Vide grenier

MontréalVide dressing

MoussoulensVide grenier

Narbonne Hyper videgrenier et terroir et vetements

PennautierVide dressing

Saint-Martin-Lalande Videdressing et chambre d'enfants

Sigean Vide greniers de l’amicale du CIAS de Sigean

VillepinteBourseaux jouets/puericulture

PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes



 What's On




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






 venez shoppingcarac



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