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As we hurtle headlong into 2017 the world doesn’t seem as stable as it has appeared historically. We have slipped unknowingly into post-truth and maybe that’s the difference?  There is Mr Trump telling us that “The whole age of computer has made it so nobody knows exactly what’s going on.” Is it now that everyone thinks they know enough to do everything and that maybe all the changes are for the good?  Surely now the people in charge are there for philanthropic reasons, not lining their own pockets, and they will create all of those jobs again, bringing industry back to the USA?

Did anyone have any problems laying their hands on turkey or other meats for the festivities?

FIFA think poppies for remembrance are political, well I did suggest someone start a new Federation for world football as it still seems a rather sick organisation.  But if Allardyce has supposedly been criticised for corruption on a couple of occasions why is he given a new job?

I always thought Lakeland were good at coming up with things that we don’t know how we could do without, so now is Amazon muscling in on that territory? You can get an amazon dash in the UK, it costs £4.99 and you programme it to a specific product you use regularly, like toothpaste or toilet rolls and when you are getting low you press the button on it and it re-orders the item which then arrives in Amazon’s normal delivery. On your first order you are credited the £4.99 back.

And did you see that Amazon applied for a patent for massive flying warehouses equipped with fleets of drones that deliver goods to key locations?

I wonder how long (and how hot it would be) it would take for a hot dog to get to a purchaser at a festival as the organiser would need to tax all orders to make their so necessary pound of falafel.

Gongs for Adele and Stephen Fry tomorrow? Or Rowling and Murray?

Below is someone else’s view of how this year went and is slightly more entertaining than my ramblings.




Click on this

2016 omg





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Lost in France

Lost in France is not written by Steve and he is not responsible for my views and comments.

PigeonI’ve been Lost in France for a while now and some things get easier and others still remain relentlessly annoying, so it was nice to find this little book about the experiences of someone even more lost in France than I am.  ‘Pigeon French’ is written by Mary Walker, published in 2016 by and therefore available through Amazon.

She rocked up in this region, in a town called La Pêche, a name which I believe is thinly disguising Mirepoix unless there are other towns around here that have extraordinary apple festivals.  Her lack of French and the fact that she rented a house on faith reveals her remarkable spirit of adventure.  But her travails and experiences can easily be related to from an ex-pat perspective and is a nice gentle read when you either feel like you can’t take any more bad news and want a pleasant diversion, you can raise a wry smile at her experiences with language problems, English landlords, builders, buying turkeys and visiting the magical places of Languedoc.  This leads me on neatly to Nick Inman’s book ‘The Mysteries of Languedoc’ which I hope will be arriving in a couple of days’ time.

I would also like to share with you, what I consider to be a great discovery.  As the French have no concept of what the non-French world consider to be the ‘Gallic shrug’, I discovered yesterday that the French do indeed have a word that expresses the gesture.  It is ‘bof!’  My neighbour explained the meaning of it while simultaneously performing the shrug.  Imagine my delight and then her confusion as I tried to explain to her why I was so pleased.




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As 2016 draws to a close, and we take stock of global events during the past year, we can be forgiven for saying “well I wasn’t expecting that!”. Everything appears to have happened this year and not only in the way the political landscape has shifted. I don’t think I’ve ever known a year in which we’ve lost so many of our much-loved celebrities and entertainers; from David Bowie in January through to Zsa Zsa Gabor on the day I write this article, it has seemed hardly a week has gone by without hearing of the death of another star. With everything else that’s gone on, the loss of these people has helped fuel the realisation that we are indeed living in uncertain times.

Who would have thought that Brexit would have had such a galvanising impact upon UK investment markets, despite all forecasts? Who amongst us would have guessed that the UK would end the year with the strongest growth amongst the G7 nations? Unemployment in Britain is running at 4.8%, the third lowest in Europe (France is 10.5%). The FTSE 100 is up 10% at the time of writing. Who would have guessed it? Certainly, not the forecasters, who managed to consistently call it wrong in 2016.

So, what of next year? A year of ‘known unknowns’ beckons. Or put another way, we know we don’t know what will happen. Donald Trump will move into the Whitehouse and ……who knows? There are elections due in two of Europe’s strongest nations, France and Germany, and with no clear prediction of outcome of either. Article 50 will be triggered at some point also adding to the uncertain landscape.

The year ahead could bring more change than ever before, and it’s imperative at times like this that we all exercise good financial house-keeping. We can expect inflation to rise, and this will affect those bank savings – what interest are you getting? Inflation erodes your capital if the interest rate stays consistently below the rate of inflation. Would non-emergency funds be better invested in a well-diversified portfolio of investments to counter inflation? What else do we know? We know that it is impossible to predict how the markets will perform (as has been seen in UK since 23rd June), and that the best way of making money (and consistently generate income) is to invest and remain invested in those markets. Being in the market works, we have statistical evidence to prove this.

In my last article, I spoke about ‘Fonts en Euros’ assurance vie contracts and how caution must be exercised if you hold one of these French-based insurance contracts. Now might be a good time to move those savings, preferably into an assurance vie that is neither French (although they are French-compliant), nor invests in Fonts en Euro accounts.

We can create a well-balanced, spread of investments designed to minimise the worst effects of a market fall in uncertain times like those foreseen. We can also provide an investment option that smoothes the returns you receive, and although the returns are not guaranteed, you do get quarterly estimates of them.

Also, look at those pension savings in the UK. Are you a member of an occupational scheme through a past employer? With annuity interest rates at an historic low, transfer values are at their highest right now. Many of these pension schemes are in deficit, with employers having to commit funds over many years to reduce deficits that can be as much as 50%. If a company fails, then its pension scheme will more than likely pass into the Pension Protection Fund, but this will only pay a proportionate benefit at your retirement age. Perhaps now would be a good time to ask us for a pension review, we will assess your scheme and give an unbiased and unambiguous opinion of it based upon your circumstances.

These are indeed uncertain times, needing good financial house-keeping. The Spectrum IFA Group is ideally suited to giving an appraisal of your situation in the form of a financial review, which is delivered at our cost. We will assess your position and provide a report detailing our recommendations. This is also without cost to you. if you would like to take advantage of this service, please contact me by email at or call our office in Limoux to make an appointment. Alternatively, I conduct a drop-in clinic most Fridays (holidays excepting), when you can pop in to speak to me. Our office telephone number is 04 68 31 14 10.

I look forward to seeing you soon.
Derek Winsland
Chartered Financial Planner
Mobile: 0771 71 95 52



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Email:;  Website:

Forum:      Local Association No : W112000594



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Some vide greniers and foires!
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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

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To all our English friends & neighbours in the Aude (& further afield?)

Every year the Lyre Orchestra from Limoux traditionally presents their New Year concert & this year this will be performed on Sunday 8th January at 3pm in the l’Olympie stadium in Limoux.

The programme features the piece “Pomp and Circumstance” by the English composer Edward ELGAR, which will be sung by the maximum number of English people who live in this region, to accompany the orchestra.

The human element being the most important part of this process, we are obviously hoping for the highest number of participants.

For this piece, Guy Robert, the orchestra’s conductor, will hand over his baton to the English conductor, Mr William HEDLEY, director of the Départemental choir, string ensembles, etc. who, seduced by the desire to unite the Lyre orchestra & their English friends, immediately agreed to participate in this project.

Let the concert begin !!!!



In order to help in the organisation, we ask that you confirm your participation by ringing either of the following telephone numbers with your name & number of participants;

Ecole de Musique  : (French speaking staff)

Jean HOLLINGWORTH : (English speaking )

Name :

Number of participants :

You are cordially invited to an aperitif after the concert.

Look forward to hearing from you all,


The School of Music Committee & Guy Robert


What's On 




TEENAGE FANCLUB 20 Feb Le Letronum Toulouse


SUICIDAL TENDENCIES 11 April Bikini Toulouse

PLACEBO  24 April Zenith Toulouse

SIMPLE MINDS 29 April Halle Aux Grains Toulouse

XAVIER RUDD 18 June Bikini Toulouse


BEJART BALLET 9 July Carcassonne Festival

PIXIES 27 July Carcassonne Festival




By their fruit (deeds) you shall know them. (Matthew 7/16)

Harry Shindler phoned me – “I have an idea”, he said.  “Not unusual” I replied. 

“We should stop saying ‘expatriate’.  “I thought the same myself – I use the term ‘Citizens Abroad’.  “That’s interesting” said Harry.  “I’ve decided to use ‘Britons Abroad’

My reply – “I dislike expatriate because many people spell it ‘expatriot’ which really means ‘almost a traitor’ i.e. no longer interested in one’s country.”

Harry – “And ‘ex’ indicates something in the past – gone”

“And that is how those folk at in Britain see us – deserters – those who have gone away and are no longer interested.”

“Agreed – we will no longer say expatriates but Britons Abroad.”


Harry tries again and again and again to convince the Government that Britons Abroad must have the vote.  If they had the vote the disaster of Brexit might well not have happened.  Brexit is a potential disaster- 

Read this

People’s lives are affected.  Yes - there are those Britons Abroad who support the departure of Britain from the EU, and no doubt say ‘all will be well’. All manner of things will be well  So said Saint Julian of Norwich in the 14th century.  Many still wait six hundred years later to be convinced.

It is the British Government which has cut adrift the Briton Abroad – As it has done to those in Australia whose pensions are frozen. 

The quip ‘A Briton Abroad is a Briton ignored’ has a ring of truth.

  Very recently Harry went to visit the Minister for the Constitution, Christopher Skidmore. 

Once again Harry put forward a proposal to table a Bill to remove all reference to the 15 year limit for voting.

Once again he received a charming reception and the assurance that a Bill is on its way.
Once again – where is it? One waits to be convinced.

Meanwhile will another election come and the Briton Abroad be left waiting still?


The Liberal Democrats

For years I have maintained a politically independent stance.  Through that I have established friends of all persuasions.  It is time to reconsider this position, though I hasten to add that I will never cow-tow to any party line but retain an independent mind. But you can only have confidence in those who stretch out their hands to support you.  Only one party is wholehearted in supporting Britons Abroad. So I am attracted to the Liberal Democrats.  -  Nick Clegg peeps out occasionally from the long grass – a wise place for him! for he famously said by implication - If the Briton Abroad wishes to be politically active, he should be active in the politics of the country where he is resident- .  Such idiocy appalled me.  Now the Liberal Democrats have firmly rejected that position. Their attitude to Europe and the Briton Abroad is streets ahead of the other parties.

For those interested there are two contact  addresses and a third with information.

1. Laura Shields,  Laura is chair of  the Europe-wide branch of Liberal Democrats.

2. Paul Fisher, Chair of Liberal Democrats in France.




Expatriate Citizens Rights in the EU (Expatriate here includes all European citizens – not just Britons Abroad in the EU)

From now on I will not be posting many messages from the base I established many years ago of  Pensioners Debout! primarily in support of

I am putting my efforts, with others, into ECREU.  This is a non-party political venture. I am on the steering committee along with others amongst whom some previously have had long and most active associations with other political groupings, and many still retain those connections.

Please join ECREU  even if you live far away from Europe. I know many Britons Abroad  are concerned about the political scene in Europe.

*****   join and so support – it’s free.

From now on ECREU may be the only way you receive information on the Vote.  

May 2017 bring wisdom to the British Politicians and peace to us all.

Brian Cave


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Google Android

If you tend to download apps from places other than the Play Store, your Google account might be compromised. Researchers at the security firm Check Point Software Technologies have uncovered a piece of malware that seeks to root your device in order to gain access to your precious Google account.

But the so-called Gooligan Trojan Horse isn’t after your credit card information or contacts list. Rather, the scheme is an old-fashioned money-making one. Once it has broken into your account, the malware proceeds to download apps from Google Play on your device and give them high marks and positive reviews on your behalf. Additionally, it may install adware on your phone that manifests itself in the form of intrusive pop-ups.

At least 1 million accounts have been affected by the Gooligan attack, and Check Point is seeing some 13,000 new devices infected each day, primarily ones running Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop. Phones running Marshmallow (6.0) or Nougat (7.0, 7.1) appear to be immune.

To stay safe, make sure your security settings are correctly set. Go to settings, Security and make sure the Unknowns Sources “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources” is NOT turn on. If you only use the Google play store to download apps then you will be safe, as these app will be checked by google.

Netflix offline viewing.

Netflix wants to make your Christmas season a little merrier. The company announced on this week that selected TV shows and movies are available for download on Android and iOS. In other words, Netflix now enables offline viewing. Only Tablets and Phones at the moment, Laptops and computers cannot view offline yet.

It’s not for everything, though. Most of Netflix’s original programming will be covered by the new feature, but some titles may not be due to licensing restrictions.

Netflix's new "Available for Download" section in the app's menu. The easiest way to see what shows can be downloaded is to tap the menu in the app, and then go to the appropriately titled “Available for download” section. Otherwise, tap on something you’d like to watch offline, and if it’s available for download there will be a downward arrow icon next to each episode. For movies, the download icon will appear in the details section just below the movie description.

Once you’ve downloaded something it shows up in another section of the new app entitled “My Downloads.”

If you need help or have any questions about your computer please give me a call or send me an email for advice.