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So all athletes are under scrutiny for what they are putting in themselves to enhance performance and they try to disguise their emissions to cover it up. Now there is the car scandal and it’s not what they are putting in that’s important but once again they are masking results of what is coming out.

Vorsprung durch Technik roughly means "Advancement through technology” and that’s the way Audi have promoted itself for nearly 4 decades.  In a Super Bowl commercial in 2014 they substituted it for “Truth in engineering”. Oh yes.....


How come nothing happened following the BBC Newsnight report on car companies rigging emissions when testing in 2014? 

Who could possibly have known, within the VW corporation, of the rigged systems?  Well one would imagine a huge number of people, and is it possible it’s only VW involved? 

So when the dust settles what will happen? Governments will levy huge fines? Individuals will have claims paid out for misselling, and one could imagine there will be claims for people getting sick and dying due to the fact that emissions were greater than stated. 


Doesn’t that mean VW and other companies doing the same thing are 100% financially bankrupt? Not another too big to fail situation?


Some French radio broadcasters have staged a 24 hour protest against changes to the already archaic and protectionist quotas of French songs in French. If I understand it, the stations have managed to mainly stick to the quota by using 10 songs, I imagine those known internationally and the Ministry of Culture want that number increased.  Radio stations also complain that the rules don't apply to online streaming sites such as Spotify. "It's like introducing a law whereby Renault cars can go through all red traffic lights but Peugeot cars have to wait through two red lights before they can move on," Tareq Mami from Sirti, a union of independent radio stations,  "The law is already difficult for us without this new amendment."  Apparently the amount of French albums “in French” produces in 2014 is 66% of that produced in 2013.


I suppose it could be worse, the nice government of Uzbekistan has told musicians, film stars and directors to help bring in the cotton harvest or risk blacklisting. "They were pretty firm," says one film actor. "They put us on buses, drove us out to the fields and said 'pick 30 kg [66 pounds] each by lunchtime, and don't let us down'. They made it clear that anyone who failed to go would miss out when it comes to casting and awards."






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

Lost in France

I was thinking of writing about the problems with French builders (as I am currently suffering them) then on second thoughts I realised that everyone has their own experience of working with builders and my problems and my experience will be nothing new.  I guess on the flip-side, builders have stories to tell about the impossibly high expectations of their clients.

What does appear to be new however are the changes that have happened to necessary documentation required when hiring a car in the UK. 


A few months ago I hired a car and just had to bring my credit card and my identity card driving licence.

  Now apparently, with no reference made within the terms and conditions from the car hire company, you have to provide the paper section of your driving licence as well, and if you don’t have that you have to provide your National Insurance number.  Despite the fact that you’ve had your N.I. number since birth it might not be on the tip of your tongue when you are faced with the blank face of bureaucracy at a time when you are least expecting it and are starting to feel quite stressed.  I’m not sure what would have happened if the NI number wasn’t available in any part of your brain cells.


Similar bureaucratic hurdles are put in the way of dog-owners when they are returning with their pets to the UK.  If your dog’s passport has been issued since the end of December 2014 there are new rules in place, which can be checked on the DEFRA website. The contact details including address of the vet who gave the injections must be on the passport.  And the time of the test, jab whatever must be added on the passport too so that the officials can see that when you travel you are within the relevant time frame.  Frequent travellers with animals probably won’t find this a problem, but when you arrive at Calais to find that despite your best intentions all your documentation is not in place, you can get more than a little stressed.  I’d be interested to hear if anyone has experienced problems taking animals back to the UK.








 lenetwork  Local press ad








Age and wealth are often linked.  One increases inexorably in a linear fashion, and the other tends also to increase over time, but always in a non-linear way.  Following this traditional route, we tend to become more affluent as we get older, barring financial mishaps and accidents of course.  This may have something to do with the notion that as we get older we become wiser.  That may well also be true up to a point, but then it can occasionally go horribly wrong.  Leaving that unfortunate possibility to one side, how can we expats best contribute to our own financial well-being?



All a bit deep that, but here is what I’m getting at.  If I were to attempt to present a snapshot of my average client to you, it would be of a couple in their late 50’s to early 60’s who have retired early after successful careers and family building, based either on employment or their own business.  Avid Francophiles, they are now ‘living the dream’ funded by the fruits of their former labours.  All is well in their world; or at least that is how it appears on the surface.  Underneath though, there are concerns, and these concerns are common to all of us.  Age and money.


I think very few of us actually like getting older; I certainly don’t.  It is becoming more and more difficult to ignore those ‘milestone’ anniversaries.  I think of them more as millstones these days.  As I suspect is the case with many of us, I tend these days to look my accumulated ‘wealth’ (cough), and wonder if it will last me out. I think it will, and I certainly hope it will, but I’m pragmatic enough to realise that it isn’t a ‘gimme’ (in Solheim cup parlance).


So then I start to look at the variables.  What can possibly go wrong?  What can I do to defend myself against the risks?  What are the risks?  I am after all a financial adviser; all this should come naturally to me.  To an extent it does, but knowing what is out there doesn’t mean that you necessarily know how to beat it.  It does help though.  Here is my top three on my list of risks to worry about:


Institutional Risk   -    Basically this means that you put all of your money under the floorboards in the attic, but next year your house burns down, floorboards and all.


Market Risk   -  How could putting all your money into VW shares possibly go wrong?


Exchange Rate Risk     -    This is where Murphy’s Law comes into play.  Whatever the rate is; whatever you do will be wrong.  Otherwise known as Sod’s Law.


Obviously, it is a good idea to work on avoiding these risks wherever possible.  I thought long and hard before listing them in this order, but I do think that Institutional Risk stands out.  After all, it can wipe you out completely.  It can also be avoided completely.  The other two cannot be eradicated, although some would argue about F/X risk.


Indeed there was a time when I would have argued that F/X risk can be avoided.  In a former life (I’ve told you this before I know), I used to be a foreign exchange dealer in the world of international banking, before it became unfashionable. One of my jobs was to explain to corporate and private clients that F/X risk was the enemy, to be identified and eliminated at all costs; unless of course your job was to make money trading (gambling) in it.


Ten years ago I brought this dogma into my new career as an IFA in France.  How long do you intend to stay in France? (forever).  Where are your savings? (in the UK, in sterling)…  Over the years, the subtleties started to emerge.  The collapse of sterling against the Euro; the resulting exodus of thousands of UK ‘snow birds’ from Spain because their UK pensions wouldn’t support them anymore, and the growing realisation that our old enemy ‘age’ was always going to play its trump card; they all contributed to the much changed conversations that  have with my clients these days. Strangely though, it is another banking term that now dominates my thinking, namely hedging.   ‘Hedge your bets’.  To be honest, I tend to question anyone these days who says that they will never return to the UK.  Statistics show otherwise.  We tend to base our current view on our current circumstances, preferring not to think about what will happen if we end up on our own.  How many UK expats are there, I wonder, in French care homes?


Since the Euro came into existence the £/€ exchange rate has been as high as 1.7510 and as low as 1.0219.  In anyone’s language that is an enormous range.  Coincidentally we currently sit at almost exactly the half way point between those two extremes, but I don’t see that as any reason for complacency.  We need to take this risk very seriously, especially if we accept the possibility that we will one day have no more use for Euros. I have a firm view on the best way to  manage this risk, but I’ve run out of space in this edition.  If you want to discuss it, you know where to find me.


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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 Foire Aux Vins Réservez la Date 2015 aude

 Mirepoix ext















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Friends ,

The EU Referendum affair  gets hotter.
The English Language newspaper 'The Connexion' sent this to me today 2nd October for wide circulation.
It pre-empts an item I would otherwise have circulated after October 13th - when the Lords begin the debate on The Referendum Bill.
It includes a list of Peers with their email addresses who one could contact with your views.
Please take action -  Unless the politicians know how we feel - in numbers - they will not sense the need to act.


Dear Brian 
I don’t know if you saw this article we did today – hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to encourage people in your network to take action.


 Oliver Rowland 



And also


Important News for British State Pensioners.

Pensioners who were born before 6 April 1951 (6 April 1953 for women) now have a limited period in which to boost their entitlement to their current state pension.  They will be able to buy extra entitlements to their state pension of up to £1300 a year, for life. This will be achieved by making a lump sum payment in the form of voluntary class 3A NIC, between 12 October 2015 and 5 April 2017.

The exact amount that needs to be paid to receive each extra £1 per week of pension depends on the individual’s age at the time they make the payment. There is a table on page 5 of the state pension top-up factsheet, and an online calculator on to help with this calculation.

The ability to top-up the state pension may be particularly useful for women who have taken breaks from employment during their working lives, and for the self-employed with similarly patchy NIC records. Married couples will need to decide which person should make the top-up payment, as an income will be paid to a surviving spouse (or civil partner) of at least 50% of the topped-up amount.

Note the paragraph about customers (they mean pensioners) living overseas on page 3 of the factsheet.

State pension top-up factsheet


State pension top-up calculator for class 3A contributions


The first condition for the top-up is that the pensioner must already be in receipts of a UK state retirement pension.
Highlight the contact details to register an interest:

email: or
tel: 0345 6004270

It will be important to register an interest as there will be no doubt an online system to make the payment that may require a person to prove identity. That make be more tricky for someone who lives outside of the UK. 

[Example - A male at the age of 83 could pay £11,350. IF he lives 15 years he would receive back a total of  £19,500 plus inflation increases on top. 
If his wife lives on, she would continue to receive at least 50% of the sum. The lump sum payable goes down as one ages and is also related to one's sex.]

Brian Cave  

-Votes for Britons  -     


meteo ciel3

 truff15 to 16






 tim furn




Bridge problem.


You have bid to six spades after your partner opened one heart. The defence lead the two of hearts. How will you play the slam?



K J 8 7

A K Q 5 4

K 5 4



Your hand

Q 10 9 6 4

8 7

A K Q J 10



A strange lead against the slam no? If you decided to draw trumps straight away, you would have gone down as the defence will take the Ace of spades and give their partner a heart ruff.  Before you touch trumps, play the Ace of diamonds from hand then the Ace and another club which you ruff in Dummy and then play the King of diamonds pitching your last heart from hand. Now you can safely draw trumps, ruffing high in your hand when a heart is returned.



Lizzie Godfrey







Un nouveau voyage vers l'enfer!

le 08/11/15 à Carcassonne

"Serez-vous prêt?"



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Une course où compétition et chronos sont relégués au second plan pour laisser place à un seul et unique objectif, pouvoir dire: "J'y étais et j'ai terminé"

la Frappadingue en images:

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8h30: Ouverture Village

9h00: Départ de la première vague

18h00: Fin de la journée Frappadingue


Pour toute inscription avant le 04/10/15 minuit, bénéficiez d'une réduction de 10€ grace au code promo suivant: CARCA2015

Informations et inscriptions par internet sur le site;;fr">





 fetes aude autumn





Readers of the Flyer sometimes write to me with individual queries and this week a reader sent me the following:  "I wanted to suggest a possible subject; oxalis control. This weed has run rampant in my veg patch especially as it responds so vey well to being rotivated. I do not want to use chemicals on it in the potager – is there another method of controlling it?"   Unfortunately I had no very helpful words to offer.

  Most of you will know the oxalis under discussion; a shamrock type leaf and white flowers with a white bulbous tap root and the capacity to produce seemingly endless bulbils that will all grow into more plants.  None of us wants to use chemical weedkillers, especially on a veggie garden but there are some weeds which are extremely difficult to control - the oxalis being one of them.  I haven't tried this recipe but many people use a homemade weedkiller consisting of a gallon of white vinegar, half a cup of salt and a little dishwashing detergent which can be sprayed onto weeds.  After that the only solution is to painstakingly hand weed your veg patch on a regular basis, rotovating is, unfortunately, often the worst thing one can do for weed control since it disperses the oxalis bulbils and it tends to chop all the roots of persistant perennial weeds such as couch grass and bindweed into little bits, all of which work as cuttings. 


  If you have the time and the space it may be worth covering your patch with heavy duty black plastic or old carpet for a season or two, this will certainly help to suppress weeds.  Some people plant through black plastic as a matter of course, not pretty but it does help to suppress weeds.  Heavy mulching of any bed will also help to suppress weeds, on a veggie bed organic mulch is the most practical and it does have the advantage of slowly breaking down to introduce more organic material into the soil.  If any Flyer reader has any other ideas about controlling difficlt weeds please do write with them so that we can share any tips with other readers!

Autumn is definitely with us and now is a good time to be dividing perennials to improve vigour and to create extra plants for other parts of the garden.  You may like to save seeds from perennials to as another way of increasing plants, seed from selected cultivars won't always come true but the results will be interesting!  We are starting to have autumn leaf fall, rather than let wet leaves accumulate on flower beds collect them and add them to your compost heap.


Don't forget our autumn events at La Petite Pépinière -


                               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



Hi Steve,

Thanks, as usual, for a superbly informative email. As someone with a property in Aude, I do find the updates useful.

I'm looking for companies that can offer security grills/screens in Aude, don’t know if you can help or can point me at anyone who might know? My property's rented out and has been vandalised on a couple of occasions - windows stolen, etc - and when the current tenant vacates next year, I want to use it as my holiday home again. It's up in the hills, nearest town Castelnaudary.

Any ideas gratefully received.



David Q

All responses to please 

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 10 Octobre

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

NarbonneVide grenier, exposition des créations du club Lou Grangeot

QuillanVide grenier

Thézan-des-Corbières Bourse au jouets - Playmobil feerie et aventures

Lavelanet Lavelaneth'on vide jardin le 10 et vide grenier le 11

SaverdunVidegreniers +brocante

VarilhesVide grenier brocante


Dimanche 11 Octobre

AlzonneVide dressing

AzilleVide greniers

Bize-MinervoisMéga Vide Grenier Fitiavana Madagascar

BramVide grenier des familles rurales de Bram

CarcassonneVide-grenier du 2ème dimanche d'octobre

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

Conques-sur-OrbielVide grenier de quartier rue Georges Brassens+impasses

CouizaVide Grenier des écoles des Pitchouns de la Salz

Coursan Vide grenier à Coursan


MontclarVide-grenier d'automne

MoussanVide grenier

NarbonneVide grenier 11 Octobre du Comité Voltaire-Joffre

Narbonne Vide Grenier et vetements, Foire aux disques et livres

OuveillanFoire aux rougnes des vendanges

PennautierVide dressing

Peyriac-MinervoisVide grenier de la fête des vendanges

Salles-d'AudeVide-greniers et fête de la bière

Thézan-des-Corbières Bourse au jouets - Playmobil feerie et aventures

FoixVide-greniers et animations de l'école Lucien-Goron

Lavelanetlavelaneth'on vide jardin le 10 et vide grenier le 11

Le FossatVide-greniers, Brocante , et Artisanat

LéranVide grenier


PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

Saint-Félix-de-RieutortVide grenier vide poussette puériculture


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

UB40 12 April Casino Toulouse


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