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I was always expecting last minute additions to the Carcassonne Festival line up and nothing happened.

True Greek style austerity measures appear to be in force in the arts, I suppose its national, I would say the budget this year was reduced to maybe 10% of previous years? Unless  course it stayed the same and and Jean Phillipe Smet had it all, ooops I mean Johnny Hallyday and the Swiss government are backing their  currency with his miniscule  tax bill. From what I read he seems to be tax resident in Switzerland and spend an awful lot of time in California.


Could the firework displays all around France suffer similar cut for the 14th July, I presume the one day of display must keep an entire chinese province in work making the pyrotechnics for this major event.

The Port of Dover website has a page for Traffic and Weather but nothing about strikes or immigration issues, well I couldn’t find it if its there


Another midweek holiday this week, plenty more ponting going on, please please move them to Monday or Friday perhaps the 14th Juillet could be the exception, think of the countries productivity?






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Lost in France


A friend recently sent me an interactive map of the numbers of people shipped as slaves from Africa to the Americas over 300 years and as this followed on from the shooting in South Carolina, I thought I’d look into it – a bit anyway.

The Confederate flag, originally the battle flag of North Virginia, and is still seen by many as a symbol of white supremacy and a reminder of the history of slavery.

In the UK - stately homes, National Trust properties, banks and charitable organisations (including the Church of England) owe their wealth to the slave trade.  It was the basis of industrialisation and capitalism and it built the modern world.


Slavery via the industrial revolution financed the experiments of James Watts. The cities of Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow grew rich on it.   The Bank of England, Harewood House, the mock medieval Penrhyn castle, the British Museum and the National Gallery, Rothschilds, Barclays Bank and Codrington Library at All Souls College were all either beneficiaries of slave-owners wealth or built from compensation (around £20 million in old money) that slave owners received from the government when slavery was abolished.


French cities grew rich from the trade in sugar cane, Nantes along with Le Havre, L’Orient, La Rochelle, Saint- Malo and Bordeaux.  There are 14 African countries which are still paying a tax to France ‘for benefiting from slavery and colonialisation’ despite receiving their independence.  A French slaver with a blinded crew and slaves helped the identification of trachoma and it was Spanish slaver traders who aided medical advancements in the United States by the smallpox vaccine being carried in the arms of slaves. 



I look at my own family history, steeped in the Lancashire cotton industry - cotton grown in the American south, picked by slaves and imported into Liverpool then sent into Lancashire to be woven into cloth by my ancestors. 






 lenetwork  Local press ad







In last month’s article I maintained that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.  Whilst that met with general agreement, it did provoke some interesting responses; mainly exploring the ‘Should I go or should I stay?’ theme so loved by fans of The Clash.  Here is an excerpt from a mail I received from a regular critic of my articles.  I left the first line in out of vanity:


Just for a change, I rather liked your piece in the A&A.  Very sensible.

 Although for me this is home.  Eventually cremated here and ashes scattered  over France.  It's in my last wishes.  But here's a thought for another piece for you, progression from your current article. Although I myself have no intention whatsoever to return to the UK - I intend to die here - I read that one of the things that can go, as you get really old, is your ability to speak a second language.  If that happens, and should I finish up in a care home, it will be difficult both for me and my carers. In that case my family, most of whom do not live in the UK,  might reasonably consider I would be better off in the UK.............



And so be it; let’s explore this theme a little.  I’m sure Charles Green (not his real name) would never be packed off back to the UK by uncomprehending carers and uncaring children, but it is an important point.  I for one would not relish spending my bath chair days in what I perceive to be the alien environment of a French care home.  Coincidentally, I met a couple last week who have retired from UK care home ownership to live in France.  I put it to them last week that if they were to open a  home in France solely for UK elderly clients, they might be very successful.  Unfortunately my idea was shot down in flames.  They retired from the business due to increasing bureaucracy and paperwork in the UK, and certainly wouldn’t dream of trying to recreate the same nightmare in France.  Can’t blame them I suppose, but it still sounds like a nice idea to me, from a future consumer point of view.

For obvious reasons, I need to steer this article towards financial concerns.  I talk to virtually all my clients about retirement provision.  It’s not uncommon to hear that actually people would quite like to spend all of their money before they ‘shuffle off’.  The problem, I always point out, is timing.  It’s one thing to put in place a programme of concerted spending that will exhaust your funds when you reach the age of say 85, but most inconvenient to yourself and others when you last until you are 103.  Life can of course be great fun, and we should always enjoy it while we can, but let’s be under no illusion here; none of us gets out of this alive.  Money comes in very useful while you are living, and my view is that if there is any left after you die, it might be put to good use elsewhere.

My average client couple; Mr. E. and Mrs. X. Pat, have worked hard during their lives and have garnered enough cash to see them through to the bitter end.  I use the word ‘bitter’ deliberately, as I don’t think life has many happy endings.  Some of my clients take a rare and altruistic view of their legacy.  They may not have children or close relatives, or maybe they just don’t like them.  They feel totally at home with the concept of their residual wealth being assimilated into the French national coffers as their contribution to society.  Thankfully, to my mind anyway, this approach is rare, and could even be a sign of approaching mental frailty.  The vast majority of the people I talk to would much rather that anything left be put to somewhat better use; any use in fact that doesn’t involve the word ‘tax’.

Without any tax planning at all, anything you leave to your spouse will be free of succession tax, and your children will get a moderate allowance before paying the tax, but can end up paying 45% on large sums.  Pretty much everyone else need a tin hat to protect themselves from the onslaught from ‘le fisc’. Step children; your best mate; your ex-wife (?), they will all pay 60%.  In anyone’s language, that’s a lot of tax.

There is a better way.  Remember our old friend the Assurance Vie?  He keeps your investments away from the prying eyes of the tax man, and when you eventually need to draw income , he may be able to get you a very good rate on the tax you will then pay.  He also happens to come in pretty handy with succession tax.  In theory even the richest of investors could manage to pass on all of the invested wealth free of succession tax; all he would need would be a lot of beneficiaries.  Each one of them could take away €152,500 without paying a centime in tax.  For we mere mortals, this sort of tax generosity should solve the problem quite easily.  All you have to do is get your act in gear in good time.  You must set up your policy before you get to 70 to get the full benefit.

A bit more thought needs to go into how you pass on property, but it can be done.  For now though, I’m just going to concentrate on the ‘spare’ cash.  Bank accounts; premium bonds, ISAs; PEPs; National Savings, your old Pru bond that you’ve had since Adam was a lad…   They are call manna from heaven to the French succession tax system, and it will swallow them up.  Only Assurance Vie has that nasty tasting Teflon coating that it doesn’t like, and spits out again.

And all you need to do to get an assurance vie is talk to your financial adviser…

If you have any questions or comments 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 on and on

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


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meteo ciel3









Bridge problem.


You have indulged in some overbidding and you are in six hearts. The defence lead the King of spades. Can you make the contract? (clue: the defence didn't find the killing trump lead!)




J 10 9 8 7

7 6 5 4 3

K 2

Your hand

A 5 4

A K Q 6


A 7 6 5 4



Hoping for trumps 2/2 and clubs no worse than 4/2, win the lead, ruff a spade and cash the King then the Ace of clubs. Ruff the last spade and play a diamond. The best defence returns a trump which you win in hand and you ruff a club. Now ruff a diamond and ruff another club. Ruff back to hand with a diamond and draw the last trump. Your last club is a winner! (If clubs are 3/3 you can draw trumps earlier coping with a 3/1 break)




Lizzie Godfrey













Phew, with much of France on orange alert for heatwaves and people wondering if summer 2015 will be hotter than the record breaking summer of 2003 it is hard to be thinking about what to do in the garden.  Obviously, the best practice is to get up as early as one can and get any gardening jobs done while temperatures are relatively cool.  It is time to start collecting seeds from plants that you like and would want to propagate in the autumn (store seeds in a paper bag or envelope in a cool, dark place until you are ready to sow them).  Keep an eye on grafted plants such as roses and fruit trees and remove any suckers that are coming up from below the graft.  Deadhead geraniums and other summer bedding plants to ensure repeat flowering.  The biggest issue at the moment for most gardeners is how to sensibly water, especially as it seems likely that watering restrictions will come into place.  Remember that recently planted items will require additional water during their first summer.  Be aware that a thorough water from time to time is more effective than frequent light watering, try to water in the evening when evaporation rates are lower and think about water conservation strategies such as mulching and adding organic material to your soil.

I have recently had several emails about using plants to repel pests.  The most popular request is for plants that will repel mosquitoes and flies ...  try growing lemony herbs such as lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, lemon scented pelargoniums and lemon grass near areas where you sit.  Other possibilities are marigolds, catmint, mints, lavenders, rosemary and basil.   Plants that will repel wasps is harder but many people use plants from the wormwood family, particularly Artemesia absinthum as a wasp repellent.  Cat repellent plants is a more difficult issue still but lemon balm and curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) are said to discourage cats as is an annual with very smelly foliage known as Coleus canina (sun Plectranthus ornatus) although there are mixed reports about this.  It is well known that cats adore catmint (Nepeta fassenii and similar plants) and it was suggested to me that the best thing would be to plant loads of catmint in a far corner of the garden in the hope that they would leave the rest of the garden alone!

At the nursery we have been looking at past sales records and realising that hardly anyone comes to the nursery during August.  So, in a change to our publicised opening hours we shall be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm until the end of July and after the beginning of September.  During August we shall be open by appointment only, just phone or email if you would like to come and visit the garden or discuss autumn orders.


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. Remember that you are always welcome to visit the garden 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



J’ai le plaisir de vous inviter au vernissage de mon dernière collection, La  Force de Trois, à la galerie Inspiré, Azille, samedi le 18 juillet à 18h00.

Sculptures sur bois et dessins inspirants en camaïeu.

I would like to invite you to the vernissage of my new collection “The Power of Three”  sculptors and drawings at the gallery Inspiré Azille on Saturday the 18th July 2015 à 18h

Thank you Jane


Inspiré       Azille

Espace d’art, Henri Delanne

<<  La Force de Trois   >>

Jane Hummer

Vernissage Samedi  le 18 juillet 2015 à 18h

Exposition du 18 Juillet au 29 Aout 2015







This may be well known, but I have only just come across it. If you do not speak moderately fluent French and do not respond to telephone calls in French, you are safely immune. It is an interesting little fraud or "arnaque" as they call it here.

Here is how it works.

The phone rings, the number is not one you recognise. You pick up and say:


"Bonjour Monsieur - c'est bien M. XYZ?

"Oui, c'est moi - c'est qui s'il vous plaît?"

C'est votre Compagnie de Livraison. Nous avons un colis pour vous qui doit livré cet' après midi. Vous avez quoi pour noter ce numéro? Voici votre code de référence - C1234Y56. Si le paquet n'arrive pas avant 16:00hrs veuillez nous téléphoner? Le numéro à téléphoner est 0899969635."

I reply "Mais n'est ce que ce numéro est surchargé?"

"Mais non Monsieur, c'est un numéro au prix normal."

No parcel arrives and at about 5.30pm I ring the number given. There is a recorded voice which gabbles, in French, about this being a call which will be charged at 1.75 Euros/minute as soon as you are connected. I immediately put down the phone as I am not prepared to pay for the privilege of being told when my little packet will be delivered. Then I start to think - I was expecting a packet of medical supplies, but they would not phone me unless they had tried to deliver and had failed. If I had held on I would have been put into a waiting loop where I would have hung on for perhaps five minutes. Then I would have rung again later to see if the queue had diminished, and perhaps hung on again for three or four minutes. So they can expect the average random call to generate at least eight minutes at 1.75 Euros a minute, say 14 Euros.

A nice little revenue earner. Would you investigate an extra 15 to 20 euros on your phone bill? To whom would you complain? The phone company keeps its share of the revenue so they don't care too  much. Ever tried ringing Orange to complain?

Good luck and stay alert.

Chris S.





Hurrah for the anarchy!   Why does the monarch need to be in London at all,she could stay with relatives when she visits and parliament could rent her the balcony for waving purposes,polly




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 11 Juillet


CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

EspérazaVide grenier de la feria'za

LimouxVide Grenier des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Limoux

Narbonne Brocante de Narbonne Place Voltaire

Roquefort-des-CorbièresVide grenier nocturne anim540

CazavetVide greniers


SaverdunVide greniers +brocante

VarilhesVide-grenier et Foire à tout

Dimanche 12 Juillet

CarcassonneVide grenier

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

Cenne-MonestièsVide-grenier de Récré à Cenne

CoursanVide greniers ECC FOOT

Coursan Vide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-CabardèsVide grenier des Motards de la Montagne Noire

Fleury d'aude10 ième Bourse Multi Collections, et Vide Greniers

LagrasseBrocante - Vide grenier

MoussoulensVide grenier brocante

NarbonneBrocante de Narbonne Place Voltaire

NarbonneHyper vide grenier

Ornaisons Vide grenier

Rieux-MinervoisBourse moto et vide grenier

Villeneuve-les-CorbièresVide grenier association PARMIS NOUS

Betchat Vide-grenier


Laroque-d'Olmes Vide grenier ET vide dressing

PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

PechVide grenier

SoueixVide grenier Association Patrimoine Soueix Rogalle

VarilhesVide-grenier et foire à tout



Mardi 14 Juillet

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante


MoussoulensBourse moto voiture velo mecanique ancienne


La Bastide-de-Sérouvide-grenier

Varilhes1er vide grenier du Comité des Fêtes

Samedi 18 Juillet

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Laprade BasseVide grenier..fete de la peche

Port LeucateVide Grenier - Brocante

TuchanVide greniers de la Fête du Vin

Varilhes Vide-grenieret foire à tout

Dimanche 19 Juillet

AlzonneVide grenier

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

CavesVide-greniers du crac

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Leucate-PlageVide Grenier - Brocante

LimouxFoire a la brocante

MarseilletteVide-grenier de la salle des jeunes

NarbonneVide-greniers associatif

NarbonneHyper vide grenier

RoutierVide-greniers et marche gourmand


Sallèles-d'AudeFestival Eau, Terre et Vin à Sallèles d'Aude

TalairanVide grenier d'été

Castelnau-Durban Vide - greniers sous les platanes

Castillon-en-CouseransVide-grenier, Brocante

Laroque-d'OlmesVide grenier ET vide dressing


PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

Saint-GironsFête du Baléjou

Saint-YbarsVide grenier de la fete locale

VarilhesVide-grenier et foire à tout

Mardi 21 Juillet



What's On


CAT EMPIRE 12 July Argeles

TOTO & CHRISTOPHER CROSS 15 July Nimes Festival

SANTANA 16 July Nimes Festival

SANTANA 17 July Argeles

LIONEL RICHIE 17 July Nimes Festival

STING 20 July Nimes Festival

JOAN BAEZ 22 July Nimes Festival

THE RED ARMY CHOIR 3 Nov Zenith Toulouse

UFO 10 Nov Le Metronum

THE STRANGLERS 10 Nov Bikini Toulouse

NIGHTWISH 26 Nov Zenith Toulouse

LA TRAVIATA 28 Nov Zenith Toulouse

SCORPIONS 4 Dec Zenith Toulouse

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL 22/26 Nov Zenith Toulouse



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