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Well done Mr Grayson and Mr Hodgskin for answering correctly 'the Abbey of Caunes Minervois' and a copy of Nick Inman’s book will arrive on your doormat shortly.


It’s a shame the people at Retail Acquistions Ltd didn’t smell a rat when they were able to buy the BHS chain for £1!  If they had spent a little time in France they would have realised that HS means out of order. Were there further clues available to them? Look at what happened to VHS.  And then there is the British health system, the NHS which everyone says is broken and collapsing, I do of course think they are wrong.






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Lost in France


SidneyAgain, this is not strictly about living in France but as there’s an awful lot going on around the subject of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, I thought I’d add my twopenneth.  First of all let me say that William Shakespeare did not write anything.  Well he might have scrawled lists of merchandise and supplies and possibly notes to a variety of tradespeople.


Someone and we don’t know who, it could have been one of many people, took William Shakespeare as a pseudonym when he or she or indeed they wrote his works.  And this name was based on a real person, William Shakspere who did indeed die in 1616.


Much has been written on the Shakespeare authorship controversy and as many scholars over the centuries have based their careers on the text within the works by relating it to events and locations from Shakspere’s life, it becomes highly contentious to say that William Shakespeare did not exist.  The person or persons who took the name William Shakespeare stole Shakspere’s identity.


Commonly known facts about William Shakespeare:

There was no eulogy written by a fellow writer or poet at the time of his death.  This is significant as no major playwright or performer was left unsung at their deaths.

There was no burial in Westminster Abbey.

There is no definitive signature for him.  Six, possibly seven signatures were found all of which were different from each other.

Even his will when it was discovered in 1747 was thought to be the only personal document that he had written.  Expectations were high and swiftly dashed when the writing in the will was dull and irregular.

We have no real clue as to his appearance.  An exhibition mounted at the National Gallery in London in 2006 entitled ‘Searching for Shakespeare’ concluded in its brochure that we will probably never know what he looked like.


And there are more;

William Shakspere of Stratford on Avon was barely literate.

When Queen Elizabeth I ordered the arrest of the author of Richard II neither William Shakspere nor member of his acting troup questioned.

A book written on the seven great writers of the Elizabethan era did not include his name.

In Shakspere’s quest for a coat of arms took quite a long time, if he had been a playwright-poet he would have been obliged to name himself such and thereby speed up the process.


I kind of like the idea that the person or persons who used the pseudonym of William Shakespeare at the expense of William Shakspere were having a joke at the latter’s expense for some reason, maybe because he could barely write, who knows?


I thank the book ‘The Man Who Was Never Shakespeare’ by AJ Pointon and wonder really who’s death are we celebrating?  But like someone once said ‘What’s in a name?’









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UK State Pension

The new UK State pension scheme has now come into effect from 6th April 2016. Widely publicised by the

government as being easier to understand, based on the questions we are getting, this is not the case!


If you reached State Pension Age (SPA) before the start of the new scheme, then you are not affected by the changes

– even if you have decided to defer taking your State pension. Under the ‘old scheme’, the basic State pension is

£119.30 per week for 2016/17, based on having 30 years of National insurance Contributions (NICs) or credits. You

may also be entitled to some additional State pension and the amount varies according to your earnings during your

working life and whether or not you were ‘contracted-out’ of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme

(SERPS) or the later State Second Pension (S2P). The maximum additional pension entitlement is around £164 per




The new State pension scheme introduces a ‘single-tier’ pension of £155.65 per week for 2016/17, based on having

35 years of NICs (or credits). So anyone starting work today, who retires with a 35-year NIC record, can expect to

get the full amount of the single-tier pension and nothing more. Of course, this is subject to the rules not being changed

for the next 35 years!


However, for people who have already built up a NIC record before 6th April 2016 and have not yet reached

SPA, the transitional arrangements are complex. Some will get more than the single-tier pension, others will get less,

and here is where the confusion begins!



If you fall into this ‘transitional group’, as a first step, your State pension under the old system is calculated as at

5th April 2016. This includes your basic pension plus any additional pension that you are entitled to receive and this

known as your ‘Starting Amount’. You cannot get less than this amount.



So even though you may not have 35 years of NICs, it could be that under the old system, your Starting Amount is

actually more than £155.65 per week. If so, you will receive the higher amount, but you cannot build up any

more State pension, even if you continue to pay NICs. The difference between your Starting Amount and the

single-tier pension is known as your ‘Protected Amount’ and this will be increased by reference to inflation.


However, there are many people who have a Starting Amount that is less than £155.65 per week. Typically, these

are people who were contracted-out of the additional State pension scheme and thus, paid a lower rate of NICs

and/or do not have the 30 years of NICs required under the old scheme. Hence, many of these people are asking

if they should pay voluntary NICs to increase their State pension entitlement up to the single-tier amount.



For those over age 55, it is possible to get an estimate of your new State pension entitlement from the Department

of Work & Pensions. One of my clients (let’s call her Jane) did this recently.



Jane has paid NICs for 25 years before coming to live in France. She has about 10 years to go until she reaches

SPA and before the new scheme was introduced, she had planned to pay 5 years of voluntary NICs to secure

entitlement to the full basic State pension, but to do this closer to her retirement. However, now she is 10 years short

of the full 35-year record and so she is not sure now what she should do.


The letter that she received from the DWP confirmed that she was entitled to a State pension in the new system of

£138 per week, based on her existing NIC record to 5th April 2016. As she only had 25 years of NICs, around £96 of

this was basic pension and £42 was additional pension.



Under the new State scheme, you get £4.44 per week for each year of NICs (£155.65 / 35). Jane thought that she

needed to pay 10 years of NICs to get the full single-tier pension of £155.65.  However, this would add £44.40

per week (£4.44 x 10) to her Starting Amount, resulting in a total amount of £182.40. As this is greater than

£155.65, the excess would be lost. Therefore, the maximum amount that Jane can purchase is £17.65 per week

and so she only needs to purchase 4 years.



To purchase extra years, you have to pay voluntary Class 3 NICs and the rate for 2016/17 is £14.10 per week. A

full year of NICs at this rate of £733.20 would increase your State pension by £230.88 per annum. In effect, this is

not a bad ‘annuity rate’ and one has to question whether or not such generosity from the government is really

sustainable over the long-term? A problem to be faced by a future government and not the current one!


In Jane’s case, it is 10 years until she will receive her State pension and we have seen constant change in the UK

pensions arena – last year the major reform in private pensions and now the reform of the State pension. It cannot

be ruled out that more changes will take place in the future, particularly as concerns the period needed to qualify

for full pension and the age at which the State pension starts. There is every possibility that Jane could pay the

voluntary NICs now, only to find that the ‘goalposts’ are moved again during the next 10 years.


Everyone’s situation is different. Hence, whether or not it is a good idea to pay voluntary NICs to increase your State

pension will vary from one person to another. In any event, such a decision should only be considered as part of

a wider review of your overall financial situation and taking into account other retirement provision that you already

have in place.



If you would like to have a confidential discussion with one of our financial advisers, you can contact us by

e-mail at or by telephone on 04 68 31 14 10. Alternatively, drop-by to our Friday morning

clinic at our office at 2 Place du Général Leclerc, 11300 Limoux, for an initial discussion.


The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation

from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of the UK State pensions system, the

investment of financial assets or on the mitigation of taxes.


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


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L'Audeaunat's Wildlife diary.

Here we are towards the end of April and the beginning of May, Spring has been with us for over a month and it is possible to see many different plant species appearing. It’s thanks to the combination of sunshine and rain in this period that you can see the flowers of the Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), and during your walks in dryer areas keep an eye open for the Yellow-bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) as it is now that the will reveal their bright yellow side petals.



As for birds, you will have no doubt noticed the return of two notable Springtime songbirds! The Grey Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) and the Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos). The cuckoo is of course weel known for its strategy of parasitic mimicry of the eggs in the nests of various songbirds, whilst the Nightingale with a dull and discreet plumage must stake all his seductive powers in his song which he is capable of keeping up throughout the whole of the night.

Also during the night you can hear the echoing calls that are associated, wrongly, with toads. In fact they are the calls of the Mediterranean tree frog (Hyla meridionalis). The males of this small amphibian species, weighing only a few grams, sing out their songs to attract the females that are hidden in the vegetation near to a stagnant pond.



In order to find a female the Western green Lizard has a completely different strategy. They show themselves off in blue-green colours so to be easily seen by the females; the more bright the throat in a magnificent Cyan blue, the more interested are the females! 



Loïc Brepson, Wildlife guide


A Guide to Mystical France  

Mystical Sites in the Aude and Ariège

Nick Inman


While I was writing my book, A Guide to Mystical France, I found the southwest to be particularly rich in sites to mention. Here is a selection of my favourite places to visit in the departments of Aude and Ariège  – and just beyond their borders.












 fetes aude autumn





















 readers write



Steve, this link to a speech by Nigel Farage is doing the rounds. I am not normally a UKIP supporter except for one policy they offer nothing.

However Farage is an engaging speaker and with this speech he really nails the 'European problem'. He is right on the money.

Get a load of the faces of Merkel and Hollande. May be worth a discussion in your venerable flyer.




Always good to start the day with a Flyer and in return, I will offer something which may lessen the threat of Harump.

Well I finally found someone who understands what America really needs.

One problem: It's Canada

The Canada Party - "Queen Elizabeth II Endorses Canada"

The Canada Party - "The Candidates"

The Canada Party - "Election 2012 Concession Speech"

CANADA for President 2016

Perhaps you've seen these before. With all the political wrangling going on everywhere, even a short pause for sane levity should not be denied.




Hi Steve, have you seen this?

“What did the EU ever do for us?

In the week when the UK's five extremist right-wing media billionaires won their battle to waste our time, money and political capital on a EU referendum, I thought it a good time to post the great letter by Simon Sweeney in the Guardian, which he kindly allowed me to reproduce in my book, "The Prostitute State - How Britain's Democracy has Been Bought":

"What did the EU ever do for us?
Not much, apart from: providing 57% of our trade; 
structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline; 
clean beaches and rivers; 
cleaner air; 
lead free petrol; 
restrictions on landfill dumping;
a recycling culture; 
cheaper mobile charges; 
cheaper air travel; 
improved consumer protection and food labelling;
a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; 
better product safety; 
single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance; 
break up of monopolies; 
Europe-wide patent and copyright protection; 
no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market;
price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone;
freedom to travel, live and work across Europe;
funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad; 
access to European health services; 
labour protection and enhanced social welfare; 
smoke-free workplaces; 
equal pay legislation;
holiday entitlement; 
the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime; 
strongest wildlife protection in the world; 
improved animal welfare in food production; 
EU-funded research and industrial collaboration; 
EU representation in international forums; 
bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO; 
EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; 
European arrest warrant; 
cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence; 
European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa; 
support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond; 
investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital.
All of this is nothing compared with its greatest achievements: the EU has for 60 years been the foundation of peace between European neighbours after centuries of bloodshed. 
It furthermore assisted the extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships, now EU members, since 1980. 
Now the union faces major challenges brought on by neoliberal economic globalisation, and worsened by its own systemic weaknesses. It is taking measures to overcome these. We in the UK should reflect on whether our net contribution of £7bn out of total government expenditure of £695bn is good value. We must play a full part in enabling the union to be a force for good in a multi-polar global future.

Simon Sweeney,

Lecturer in international political economy, University of York"








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

Mardi 3 Mai                                                                           

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Mercredi 4 Mai

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Jeudi 5 Mai

Arzens Vide Grenier de la chorale de la Malepere

Bouilhonnac Vide Grenier et Vide Maison

Bram Vide Grenier-marche aux fleurs

Durban-Corbières  Vide grenier et couse de caisseà savon

Fontjoncouse Vide grenier

Gruissan Vide grenier

Lézignan-Corbières  Vide Genier de l’UF Lézignanais

Mirepeisset Vide Grenier mjc Mirepeisset

Narbonne Vide Grenier

Peyriac-de-Mer Vide Grenier

Puicheric Vide Grenier de la pétanque

Rieux-Minervois Vide Grenier Fête du Printemps – Marché

Roquetaillade Vide Grenier Brocante

Saint-Pierre-la-Mer Vide Grenier

Trèbes Vide Grenier du Hanball

Villardonnel Vide Grenier du Foyer rural

Montgailhard  Vide Grenier

Vendredi 6 Mai 2016

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Samedi 7 Mai 2016

Argeliers Exposition ventes de brocantes

Coursan Vide Grenier

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Montseret Vide Grenier

Port Leucate Tante Marie Vide ses greniers

Trèbes Vide Grenier Music Show

Saverdun  Vide grenier et marché aux puces + auto


Dimanche 8 Mai

Alet-les-Bains Vide Grenier, Danse Country

Bram Vide Grenier Cyclo Club Bramais

Carcassonne Vide Grenier du 08 Mai

Carcassonne Vide Grenier Brocante

Citou Vide Grenier

Coursan Vide Grenier

Douens Vide Grenier

Gruissan Vide Grenier

Le Somail Vide Grenier, Brocante du Printemps

Narbonne Vide Grenier

Narbonne Plage Vide Grenier

Palaja Vide Grenier

Peyrens Marché aux fleurs – vide grenier

Rieux-Minervois Bourse moto vide grenier

Saint-Pierre-le-Mer Vide Grenier

Sigean Puce des couturieres

Villasavary Vide Grenier

Villeneuve-Minervois Vide Grenier, foire artisanale


Daumazan-sur-Arize Vide Grenier

Foix Vide Grenier

Foix Vide Grenier de Montgauzy

Lavelanet 11eme Vide Grenier du Telethon

Pamiers Vide Grenier brocante

Varilhes Vide Grenier brocante 

Mardi 10 Mai

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Mercredi 11 Mai

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Jeudi 12 Mai

Argeliers Exposition ventes de brocantes

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Vendredi 13 Mai

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Samedi 14 Mai

Argeliers Exposition ventes de brocantes

Coursan Vide Grenier

Lézignan-Corbières  Brocante

Thézan-des-Corbières  Brocante

Mazères  Bourse de printemps

Pamiers 22ème Bourse Auto

Saverdun  Vide grenier et marché aux puces + auto

Varilhes Foire à tout vide grenier nocturne

Varilhes Bourse à l’auto et moto

Dimanche 15 Mai

Azille Vide Grenier des Sapeurs pompiers

Barbaira Foire loisirs créatifs puces des couturières

Belvianes-et-Cavirac Vide Grenier et Marché aux puces

Carcassonne Vide Grenier brocante

Couiza Vide Grenier des Ecoles

Coursan Traditionnel Grand Vide Grenier de la Pentecôte du Club 70

Coursan  Vide Grenier

Escales Vide Grenier

La Digne-d’Amont Vide Grenier

Lasserre-de-Prouille 18ème Vide Grenier

Mailhac Vide Grenier de la petanque mailhacoise

Narbonne Vide Grenier Foire aux jouets et linges

Ricaud Vide Grenier, dressing

Saint-Marcel sur Aude Vide Grenier

Sigean Vide Grenier des sapeurs pompiers de Sigean

Thézan-des- Corbières  Brocante

Ventenac-en-Minervois Vide Grenier

Villedubert Vide Grenier

La Bastide-sur-l’Hers Vide Grenier, vide jardin

Mazères  Bourse de printemps

Mirepoix 57ème bourse le club cartophile de Mirepoix

Pamiers  22ème Bourse Auto

Pamiers Vide Grenier, brocante

Tarascon-sur-Ariège Vide ta chambre

Varilhes Vide Grenier, brocante






 Screen Shot 2016 04 26 at 14.55.22 talent 








What's On

THE WHO 14 June Zenith Toulouse

NEIL YOUNG 21 June Zenith Toulouse


ELTON JOHN 8 July Argeles


PHARRELL WILLIAMS 16 July Carcassonne Festival

MUSE 17 July Arenes de Nimes

DAVID GILMOUR 20 & 21 July Arenes de Nimes

MARIANNE FAITHFULL 29 July Carcassonne Festival

SCORPIONS 31 July Carcassonne Festival

PETER DOHERTY 18 nov Bikini Toulouse

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL 22 to 26 Nov Zenith Toulouse


The following prices are for one insertion in the Flyer email news letter unless otherwise stated


Give away items


1 image and 25 words, plus contact details

All items for sale inc Motor vehicles, boats, caravans & trailers

25 €

1 image and 25 words, plus contact details in 3 editions


Property for sale - land, houses, businesses

50 €

up to 8 images and 500 words, plus contact details - your own property web page linked to the "Property Page" section of the Flyer for 13 editions

Large Display Advert - Corporate


Finished artwork to be 756 pixels by 200 pixels landscape or 378 pixels by 400 pixels portrait

Standard Display Advert - Corporate


Finished artwork to be 378 pixels by 200 pixels landscape

Large Display Advert - Small Companies and Sole Traders (at my discretion)


Finished artwork to be 756 pixels by 200 pixels landscape or 378 pixels by 400 pixels portrait

Standard Display Advert - Small Companies and Sole Traders (at my discretion)

25 €

Finished artwork to be 378 pixels by 200 pixels landscape

What's on feature advert

35 €

Finished artwork to be 378 pixels by 515 pixels portrait

information about advertising rates and specifications.
informations sur les tarifs publicitaires et specifications.
Send details to of your advert to Steve Hedges.
Please note all text (unless in a finished advert) should be Plain Text,

Finished adverts should be submitted in jpeg format 378 pixels wide

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