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The migrant influx doesn’t appear to be being managed in Europe by the European government, clearly there are those that should be given asylum and those that should be sent back.  They should to be absorbed into each country based on some kind of a formula, perhaps density of population per square kilometre per country. Surely that’s the only argument the British Government have for saying we can have more (because they left the back door open for a few years and now have 5 million more people in the country than they will admit to).  And France has thousands of small villages which would benefit from a doubling of the population, and then of course there’s a shortage of 120,000 people for the vendange?  Surely many other European countries have large amounts of accommodation in rural villages which they need to fill up. There is the fact that the migrants won’t want to live there and will have no work but I am sure there must be solutions.....

 Oh, the power of Umsatzteuer (VAT)!  If you add a million young people to your population you will have them all spending money and the average age of your aging workforce gets younger.


There are 5000 French farmers in Paris with 1000 tractors who are protesting about grain prices, because the price they receive had gone down as a result of two bumper harvests.  Surely they have lots of work to do on the farms?  If there was more grain they would receive more money so even though the amount they received per ton was less, shouldn’t they be happy?

Listening to Radio 4 i heard Don Trump described as an American cross between Jeremy Corbyn and Simon Cowell, now thats even scarier than the reality.






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Lost in France

La poste. I'm sure it's been written about before on here, but I am doing it again. The opening hours have changed at the local post office and for some reason I thought it was for July only, however when I set off to walk there a couple of days ago I knew in my heart of hearts it would be a wasted journey. It was 6 km there and 53 back. Well it seemed like that uphill on the return journey. La Poste was, of course, fermée. It is now open for a measly hour and a half in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. 



The next day I tried at the main post office which has the computer allowing you to do it self-service and frequently without queuing.  I was delighted to see that despite the queues at the other counters there was no queue at the machine. Hah, false smugness! There were no queues at the machine because it was refusing to accept cash or cards. The queues were too long so I gave up.


So the following day having carefully adhered to the local office schedule, I went back there (not on foot this time). I arrived at 14.05 with one person in front of me.  I was served at 14.15 and left at 14.25. It had taken us all so long because the damn computer kept crashing, going slow etc. the post mistress told me and the two other waiting customers that this internet link was so bad that people had refused to work there as it stressed them out too much. I commiserated and said it was Orange and that we had a similar problem in our village at which point she spewed a stream of vitriol against the mayor and not Orange, who was taking their money and not passing it on to the relevant parties. Someone else said that another village close by with less inhabitants had a better internet service but no post office. The problems in my village were dismissed (pleasantly) because I was 'in the mountains'. Hardly, but I get her point.


Eventually the computer came back to life but then decided it would not accept Royaume Uni as destination country and somewhere called something like Rumchaka kept appearing instead.  After several attempts with the computer flicking between Rumchaka and Roumainie I suggested she try Grande Bretagne. That worked.


Despite it being only 14.25 in the afternoon, the post had already been collected for the day and it won't be picked up until the following day.  










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In my travels I meet lots of people who claim not to know where they live.  This isn't an age or an alcohol problem, and to be fair it would be better to describe them as not knowing where they reside, or are resident.  In many cases a few minutes explanation, or a paragraph in a report, does the trick.  There are a number of die-hards however who really don't want to recognise the obvious.  And then sometimes it isn't really all that obvious at all.


The problem is that the central argument of the UK guidelines can get so convoluted that it is far too long to detail in this column, and of course we also need to look at what the French regard as the deciding factors in French residence.  So what I'm going to do here is dip into both pools and see if I can confuse you completely.


The French side of the equation is quite easy to understand (if you want to, that is).  You are resident in France if:


 a) Your home is in France, which includes where your main home is or where your family lives.


 b) Your principal place of residence is in France. This applies if you spend more than 183 days in France per year.  Even if you spend less than 183 days per annum in France but have a permanent home available in France, you're 'in'


 c) Your business activities in France, whether salaried or otherwise, are managed from France unless you can show that this business activity is incidental to your main employment.


 d) The centre of your economic interests is France, meaning that you have your main investments in France or they are managed from France or that you derive the majority of your income from French sources.



So many times I hear 'but I have a UK address and no-one can tell how much time I spend in France'.  A dead give-away in anyone's language that.  It's nearly subtle, but really it's the same as the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion, and it's the wrong side of the coin.  In the modern days of passport scanning it is also plainly incorrect.  If you really want to ignore all of the points above and claim to be non French resident, you must really be claiming to be UK resident, mustn't you?  So let's look at how HMR&C regard the conditions for UK residence.  Please note we are ignoring UK domicile here, That's another can of worms altogether.   Here's what it takes to be a guaranteed UK resident.  You need any of these factors:


a)  You spend 183 days or more in the UK.


b)  You have only one home and that is in the UK (or more than one home and all are in the UK).


c)  You work full time in the UK, ie, a continuous period of 9 months and at least 75% of your duties are carried out in the UK.


Now for most of the people I meet this presents a bit of a problem.  Ever helpful though, HMR&C do recognise that there can be people who qualify for UK residence that can't claim any of the above, so to help them they have come up with a list of 'connecting factors'.  I call them 'back door passes'.


Connecting factors


  •          -If you have family in the UK - spouse/civil partner and/or minor children.

         -Whether there is available accommodation in the UK.

  •          -Substantive employment in the UK (40 or more days).
  •          -UK presence in previous years – if you have been UK resident for more than 90 days in either of the                 previous two UK tax years.
  •           -More time spent in the UK in the tax year than any other single country.


Pay attention here, - it's getting complicated!  To be counted as UK resident, and therefore not French resident, you need to combine days spent in the UK with the connecting factors as shown below:

Number of days that
make you UK resident

Connecting Factors

16-45 4 factors
46-90 3 factors
91-120 2 factors
121-182 1 factor
183 or more Always resident

There, easy isn't it?  Alternatively of course, one could take one's head out of the sand and go legal as a French resident...


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 on

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


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The New UK Pension Regime

By Mary Taylor, Partner, Blevins Franks


The new UK “pension freedom” which came into effect in April provides new opportunities for retirees, depending on the type of pension.  This is a significant change, and all very new, and many expatriates may not realise how they are affected. 


First of all, the new freedom is not for all pensions – it does not apply to defined benefit (final salary) schemes, public sector pensions, state pensions or annuities.  Most options only apply to defined contribution schemes, the industry name for money purchase schemes such as personal or stakeholder pensions, self-invested personal pensions (SIPPS), executive pension plans etc. The government is currently looking at ways to allow greater flexibility in the way annuities are offered and might include the ability to ‘sell’ one for a cash sum.


You can transfer out of a defined benefit scheme, to a defined contribution scheme or QROPS, but may lose valuable benefits so need to consider it carefully. You can only transfer if you have taken advice from a pension transfer specialist regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.  You cannot transfer out of public sector or unfunded schemes.


Secondly, even if you have a defined contribution scheme, you do not have to do anything. You can leave your pension as it is, and continue to receive regular income through income drawdown.  Indeed, not all such schemes will offer the new flexibility. There is no regulatory force to make them. As such you would have to transfer to a plan that can offer the new flexibility. In turn that could involve a loss of guarantees or other valuable options. Not all providers accept non UK residents, so the choices are limited.  You could always make changes in future.  Even if you do want to act now, explore all your options, and the tax and long-term consequences, before taking a decision. 


So, what does ‘pension freedom’ mean?  You can do almost whatever you like with your funds.  Besides taking income drawdown, you could take the whole lot as cash in one go (with no restrictions on how you use the money); you could make withdrawals as and when you want, with the balance remaining invested, or take a lump sum now and then start income at a later date.  You could also buy an annuity.


If you do choose to take all or much of your fund as cash, first ensure you have a reliable plan for your long-term financial security.


It is very important to think about the tax implications, especially for larger funds.  UK taxpayers receive 25% tax free, but other income/withdrawals are taxed at their marginal rate of income tax.

French residents will pay French tax according to the local rules.   State retirement pensions, pensions derived from professional activities and private pensions are taxed at the income scale rates of tax up to 45%.   Most government service pensions remain taxable in the UK.


Lump sums from UK pensions are taxed at a fixed 7.5%, provided there is no possibility of taking another lump sum in future.  So if you take your entire UK pension at once as a lump sum, it will be taxable at 7.5%; otherwise it will be taxed as income.


Pension income is additionally subject to 7.4% social charges, unless you have EU Form S1 or do not yet have access to the French health system.


Many QROPS cannot yet provide full flexibility on withdrawals.  The rule where 70% of the transfer value made to a QROPS must provide an income for life currently remains in place for non-EU QROPS.


The 55% death tax has been abolished, but if you die over age 75 your beneficiaries will still pay tax, at their marginal rate on income or currently at 45% on lump sums.  This also applies to annuities, but not final salary schemes. 


This is just a brief, generalised summary.  It is important to seek personalised, expert advice. Getting it wrong could be very costly.


Blevins Franks Seminars – Dealing with specifics

What do the following mean for you?


n  European Certificate of Succession

n  UK pension freedom

n  Automatic exchange of information

n  Assurance Vie – They are not all the same

n  Investments - suitability and choices


The Blevins Franks seminars provide an update on these important issues and explain the implications for residents of France. 


CAHUZAC-SUR-VÈRE (in Tarn) – Wednesday 7th October

CARCASSONNE – Thursday 8th October

GIMONT (near Auch) – Friday 9th October

Talk to the people who know.  Click here to book your seminar seat now, or contact Mary Taylor on  or 05 62 30 51 40                

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change.  Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change.  Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

meteo ciel3

 truff15 to 16




 tf furniture ad




Bridge problem.


You are in four hearts after your left-hand-opponent opened one spade and your right-hand opponent raised to two spades. A spade is led; you try the Queen but it is covered by the King. What now? There's a clue in the bidding....


Q 6

Q 9 7 6

A 10

9 8 7 6 5

Your Hand

A 2

A J 10 8 4 2

K J 2

10 3


Your right- hand -opponent has the King of spades plus a top honour in clubs (otherwise your left hand opponent would have led them from A K) so your left hand opponent has all the remaining points. Win the Ace and finesse the ten of diamonds. Cash the Ace of diamonds, come back to hand with the Ace of trumps and pitch your losing spade on the King of diamonds.  The Ace of trumps may bring down a singleton King for an overtrick. Now that was easy wasn't it!!!



Lizzie Godfrey














Most areas of the Aude and Ariege have now had some rain and the temperatures are starting to cool - this means that we are looking at the beginning of the autumn planting season, there is still warmth in the soil and moisture too so anything planted in the autumn months will have a chance to make good root growth before the winter and will have a head start over items planted in the spring.  Think about preparing the ground and starting to plant shrubs, trees, hardy perennials and sub-shrubs during the next two or three months.  If you have tender perennials in your garden (eg pelargoniums, some sages etc) this is a good time to take cuttings that will be overwintered in a frost free environment ready for next year.One group of plants that many people love to hate are the oleanders or "laurier roses" (Nerium oleander), whatever your thoughts they have been providing lots of colour (and scent in some cultivars) all through the summer but they will be starting to cease flowering soon.  Just after flowering, ie in September, is the best time to prune oleanders in order to shape them and produce more branches, giving more flower heads next year since oleanders flower on new wood.  They should be cut back just above the leaf nodes. (This is the section where three leaves come out of the branch.) By cutting the plant here, you will be encouraging new branching at each of the leaf nodes and will therefore get three new branches coming from the section which once had three leaves. By letting these new branches grow a little bit and then pruning them also (at the leaf nodes), you will again force new branching to occur at these points. By doing this, you will again increase the branch threefold. This is how you get round, bushy plants. Remember, the location of you first pruning should be low on the plant to allow a good base structure for all the future branching. Eventually at each new branch tip, you should get a flower cluster…therefore, by having more branches, you will also get more flowers. Remember that oleanders are tough plants and can take a good amount of pruning so can be cut back to whatever base height you wish.  The photos accomanying this article show some of my favourite cultivars
We have a number of events planned at La Petite Pépinière this autumn and we hope to see some of you at these events:
*  Sales prices on agaves, yuccas and related plants:  many of us have faced watering restrictions in our gardens this summer and more than ever are looking for truly drought resistant plants.  One adaptation that plants have made to survive drought is succulence - the ability to store water in leaves, stems and roots.  One group of plants that are succulent are the agaves, yuccas and related plants; we are all familiar with the large, spiky blue Agave americana and the white flowered Yucca gloriosa but there are many other plants in this familiy which are more interesting, less invasive, smaller and much less spiky that suit our local climate very well.  We have been experimenting with a number of these at La Petite Pépinière over the last few years and now have surplus production so we shall be offering many of these at sale prices over the weekend of 12th & 13th September.  I shall be available to show you our experimental plantings and to discuss how such plants can be used in gardens and in what planting combinations and there will be greatly reduced prices on a range of plants.  The following plants in 1,4l square pots will be offered at 5€ each instead of 8€:  Calibanus hookeri, Agave toumeyana ssp toumeyana, Dasylirion cedrosanum, Beschorneria septentrionalis, Beschorneria tubiflora, Nolina hibernica, Nolina parviflora, Nolina microcarpa, Hesperaloe funifera and Agave ornithobroma.  We shall have a number of the gorgeous but slow growing Agave victoria reginae available in 10cm pots at 4€ each and a number of small plants in 8cm godets at 2€ each including Agave filifera schidigera, Agave lechuguilla, Agave striata, Dasylirion wheeleri, and Dasylirion glaucophyllum.  If you are interested in this group of plants come and find out more on the 12th or 13th September and if you want to research before then just copy the Latin name into a google search! 
* Ornamental Grasses Day, Sunday 20th September:  Imogen Checketts, Kate Dumbleton and I will be available all day to show you the ornamental grasses that are growing in the garden here and to give you advice on designing with grasses and appropriate planting combinations. There will be a demonstration of three planting designs, showing how to plant different grasses together as well as how to combine grasses with sub shrubs and flowering perennials.  A wide selection of grasses for sale will be available on the day.
*  Gardening Course: Introduction to Gardening in Summer Dry Climates,  Wednesday 14th October (11am – 1, 2 – 5pm) and Thursday 15th October  (10am – 12.30, 1.30 – 4pm)  2015: This is a two day course designed for those who are relatively new to gardening in the Languedoc climate.  The aim is to provide information and promote discussion in a relaxed and informal atmosphere which will help those interested in creating interesting and easy to maintain colourful, ornamental gardens in our summer dry climate.  We'll look at the nature of the local climate, the physical problems associated with gardening here (heat, drought, cold, wind, soil) and how to cope with these varied problems particularly dealing with drought and thinking about “waterwise” gardening; recognising plants which are appropriate to this climate; buying plants; planting techniques and maintenance.  We shall also look at design basics and working out planting schemes, succession (planting for year round interest) and plants for particular situations, for example dry shade or slopes.  Appropriate resources and useful French/English vocabulary will also be included as well as a guided tour of the garden here to illustrate points made.  The course is designed for a group of between six and twelve people to allow time to discuss individual issues and problems.  The timing of the course is designed to assist anyone who may be coming from some distance and wishes to stay overnight on the Tuesday, if you would like suggestions for local accommodation just ask.  Course fee: 100 euros, including teas & coffees.  We ask you to bring a packed lunch.
Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm from the beginning of September until the end of November. 
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




I am one thats why Im shouting. They are trained in basic first aid. In the UK we have ECG machines, can diagnose the heart attack, in some cases can thrombolyse, can give drugs to help till we get to a cardiac cath lab.
In France they just transport to hospital. Some of them have defibrulators but not all.


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 5 Septembre


CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Port LeucateVide grenier - brocante

TrèbesVide-Greniers Trèbes Tennis de Table

Lézat-sur-LèzeVide greniers

Saverdun Vide greniers +brocante

Dimanche 6 Septembre

Narbonne Vide grenier foire au jouets et linges

AlzonneVide dressing pompiers solidaires

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

Carcassonne20 ième Vide grenier organisé par le Trivalenc

Conques-sur-OrbielVide grenier de l'ECV XV

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

CruscadesVide grenier des vendange

Cuxac-d'AudeMéga Vide Grenier Fitiavana Madagascar

GruissanVide-Grenier Association Gruis'Sang

LagrasseBrocante - Vide grenier

MarseilletteVide-greniers de l'école

MontréalVide greniers Marché artisanal

QuillanVide-Grenier au profit de SPA

Saint-GaudéricVide grenier à saint gauderic

Saint-Marcel sur AudeVide grenier au profit de l'association princesse ALYCIA

Saint-Pierre-la-MerVide grenier

Sallèles-d'AudeVide greniers d'automne - Association Sallèles Horizon

TreillesVide grenier de Treilles

VilledaigneVide grenier de la rentrée

Villeneuve-la-ComptalVide grenier

Villeneuve-lès-MontréalVide grenier

ArnaveVide greniers d'automne

MazèresVide grenier mensuel

PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

Saint-LizierMarché aux Puces, de la cave au grenier




Samedi 12 Septembre

CarcassonneVide grenier et bourse aux sports

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Aigues-VivesVide grenier

Péreille Vide grenier de rabaute a pereille

Saint-YbarsVide grenierSaverdunvide greniers +brocante

VarilhesVide grenier brocante

Dimanche 13 Septembre

Narbonne Vide grenier et jouets et vetements

ArzensVide-Greniers de la Chorale la Malepère

AzilleVide grenier de TONIC GYM

BarbairaVide grenier

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

CastelnaudaryVide grenier

Cenne-MonestièsVide-grenier,Vide-Dressing de l'association Récré à Cenne

CépieVide grenier

CouizaVide grenier de l'association Au Coeur des Estamounets

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Fontiès-d'AudeVide Grenier

GruissanVide Grenier - bourse aux matériels sportifs

La PomarèdeVide greniers

Le Somail Vide-greniers brocante d'automne

Montréal  Puces Couturieres et loisirs creatifs

Narbonne-PlageVide grenier

PomasVide grenier de l'AREP

Ventenac-CabardèsVide grenier

Daumazan-sur-ArizeVide armoire (vetements, mode, bijoux, maquillage)

FoixVide Grenier AMBCL


LavelanetFete du quartier chinois

Le PeyratVide grenier du comité des fête

PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

VarilhesVide grenier brocante







What's On


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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