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Aude and Ariege Flyer

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I really don’t understand why President Macron allowed himself to appear to be Trump’s junior playmate?  It’s weird. It appears it was a ruse in the light of all the way he appears to criticise His Trumpness during his speech to Congress. Perhaps he’s taking the Putin method of saying one thing and doing another.

The word is that man with the ironed quiff is visiting the UK in July, I think that will be a good time to stay away from London. Perhaps he will have had a rethink about visiting the new US Embassy. Has the Queen offered her rooms at her HairBnB?  

Interesting that PM May apologised to the Commonwealth heads of Government more publicly than she did to those disenfranchised, then blamed the Labour party for destroying a load of landing cards.  I am sure they have now all been given their correct status and compensated….not.

News from the National Petanque Federation in that they have applied a rule that has existed since 1990 where players in the National Championship have to smarten up and not wear jeans.  The rule is non-denim jeans or smart shorts for qualifiers as well as for the final championship. It’s seemingly because they want the game to be considered as an Olympic sport for 2024.   Well, it is in Paris.  In true French style protests are being planned - there is one in Nimes where the condition of playing is you must BE in jeans.  Was Nimes selected specifically because the material was named originally ‘serge de Nîmes’ or Serge from Nimes.  I have never written the word ‘serge’, before and apparently it’s a type of twill, rather than your favourite Frenchman. In my exploration I was told by Wikipedia that the contemporary use of the word "jeans" comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gênes). Who would have known?   Maybe you all do.

The weather hey, it tricks you into thinking its summer and then…….





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Lost in France


The views expressed here are those of the writer and not of Steve.



black squirrelI’m driving along the narrow road to our village and ahead of me I see a small black thing in my path.  I hope it isn’t a cat, alive or dead, it is a long way from home.  But then it moves.  It is bowling along quite merrily.  As I get closer I can see a long bushy tail bouncing along and little back legs.  That’s no cat.  As I pass it bounds off into the undergrowth.  It is a small black squirrel.  I’ve never seen a black squirrel before.

I thought I would look them up and I get very conflicting opinions.  Some say that they are a mutation from the grey squirrel.  Others say they are red squirrels with very dark fur.  So I have no idea if they are really black, or grey or red.  They could be a genetic mutation with the black squirrel having better immunity than the other colours. 

According to the Daily Mail – which seems just par for the course – we learn that the black squirrels are testosterone-fuelled faster, fitter, fiercely territorial and more aggressive. 

Whatever species they are, whether an off-shoot or completely different the existence of this little being was a reminder, that after heavy rain the sun arrives and it is in fact spring.  Oh, that and the frog chorus coming out of my neighbour’s abandoned pool as the light fades.

And I leave you with a reminder that if it is spring, beware of those nasty processionary caterpillars.








 Ad 2017  Local press ad

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Pension planning in Europe ahead of Brexit

For the past twelve years most UK pensions, if you live outside the UK, have been eligible

for transfer to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (or QROPS).  For

EU residents, regardless of nationality, the benefits of such a transfer, despite determined tampering by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and successive Chancellors of

the Exchequer, remain an important financial planning consideration ahead of Brexit.


Not all UK pensions are suitable for transfer.  Defined Benefit schemes, which used to

be called Final Salary schemes, are complex arrangements and need to be analysed carefully, as most provide valuable guaranteed benefits – a responsible adviser will always complete

an extensive and objective assessment when reviewing a Defined Benefit scheme. As

there are unfortunately some irresponsible advisers out there, the UK government has ruled

it necessary that Defined Benefits transfers above £30,000 must be subject to a (sometimes costly) review process by a UK regulated adviser.  In addition to this, if you are

already drawing a pension from one of these schemes, you cannot transfer it.  And if you

were in the police force, or the armed services, you can forget it as well. It is also not possible to transfer the UK State pension. Any transfer of a Defined Benefits scheme should

involve careful analysis by an appropriately authorised adviser to establish suitability

for individual circumstances.


Alongside Defined Benefits pensions sits another very large sector of the pension market, namely Defined Contribution, also known as Money Purchase, schemes.  These are pensions that are made up of contributions from an employer and often also the employee which

are invested for the purpose supporting you in your old age. At least that was the case before the introduction of ‘pension freedoms’ in 2015, when access to these pension pots was

blown wide open from the age of 55 onwards. Some cynics, me included, think that this

might have had more to do with increasing revenue from income tax than giving 55-year-olds the right to park a Lamborghini on a newly tarmacked driveway next to the new conservatory.



The truth perhaps is that HMR&C has never been very keen on QROPS, and this is understandable really. Having given away billions of pounds in tax relief on

pension contributions, it was a bit galling to see those pensions taken out of the UK,

and ultimately taxed abroad. Unfortunately, they didn’t have much say in the matter.  Pension reform in 2006 was driven by the EU, and they had little choice but to comply. Roll the

clock forward thirteen years however, and after Brexit the UK will of course cease to be

a member of the EU. Whilst we can’t be sure that this will be terminal for QROPS, the fear

is that the freedom we expatriates have enjoyed, and possibly overlooked, may be about

to end.


My message, hopefully, is clear.  If you live in Europe, and you have a UK pension that is eligible for transfer to a QROPS, you should be exploring the potential benefits.  You

might decide that QROPS is not for you; your adviser can arrange an objective assessment, offer practical guidance and help you make an informed decision.  What you should

most definitely not do is bury your head in the sand and ignore the opportunity, which

is unlikely to be around longer term.


It is impossible to predict the timing and extent of legislative change but, for now at least, valuable planning opportunities remain and QROPS benefits still extend to –

  •    -Having your own personalised investment strategy – fully aligned with individual objectives and risk profile.

  •    -The ability to choose the currency of your pension, including EUR – a practical option to minimise exchange rate exposure if you are firmly committed to a future outside of the UK.

  •    -Payments made without deduction of tax - liability determined by country of residence.

  •    -Administrative efficiency - consolidate and tidy up existing pension arrangements.

  •    -No tax penalties for growth – relevant for higher value pensions approaching the UK Lifetime Allowance threshold.

  •    -Beneficial tax position for surviving spouse or another beneficiary where the pensioner dies aged 75 or older.

Pension legislation is of course complex and specialist guidance from a qualified, regulated and experienced adviser is essential.


If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your financial situation or how this may affect you, please contact me either by e-mail at or by telephone on 04 67 24 90 95. 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:


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Email:  Website:

Forum:     Local Association No : W11200059


Tech Talk


General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR



I would guess that not many of you will have heard of GDPR, but the new legislation comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and will have a big effect on the way your personal date is stored and used by companies. I won’t go into all the details here as it would put you to sleep in about a third of a second as it’s so technical and extremely uninteresting I have therefore summarised the basics.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy. 

The aim of the GDPR is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world that is vastly different from the time in which the 1995 directive was established. Although the key principles of data privacy still hold true to the previous directive, many changes have been proposed to the regulatory policies; the key points of the GDPR as well as information on the impacts it will have on business can be found at  

The GDPR has far-reaching implications for all citizens of the European Union and businesses operating within the EU, regardless of physical location. If businesses hope to offer goods or services to citizens of the EU, they will be subject to the penalties imposed by the GDPR. In addition, any business that holds personal data of EU citizens can be held accountable under the GDPR.

What sort of data will fall under the General Data Protections Regulation?

  • Name
  • Photo
  • Email address
  • Social media posts
  • Personal medical information
  • IP addresses
  • Bank details

So in short what does that mean for you?

It means companies must ask your permission to store your date, they must seek your permission to pass that data on or move it to another company (ie if the company is taken over). It also gives you the rights to access any data store about you, the right to have all data stored about you deleted and the right to stop that data being passed on to 3rd parties without your permission.

It also increases the fines and penalties for breaking these rules and finally brings proper sanctions against companies that have data stolen because they have not stored it properly or safeguarded it securely against hacking and theft.  

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

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readers write

 Thank you to all of you that were worried that you hadnt received your Flyers, do write with comments etc for future Flyers

thanks Steve






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 28 Avril

Coursan  Vide grenier

Quillan  Vide grenier

Foix  Vide grenier

Oust  Gratiferia  Marché gratuit

Dimanche 29 Avril

Bram  Vide grenier annuel

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Vide grenier

Fleury  Vide greniers à Saint Pierre la Mer

Marcorignan  Vide grenier

Mirepeisset  Vide grenier des Vieilles Canailles

Moux  Vide grenier de la MJC

Narbonne  Vide grenier

Ornaisons  Vide grenier de printemps

Saint-Gaudéric  Fête du jardin et vide grenier

Saint-Marcel-sur-Aude  Vide grenier

Sigean  8ème les puces des couturières

Villemoustaussou  Vide grenier des vieilles cylindrées

Foix  Vide grenier

Oust  Gratiferia  Marché gratuit

Pamiers  Vide grenier brocante

Mardi 1 Mai

Bize-Minervois  Vide grenier

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Molleville  Vide grenier

Narbonne  Vide grenier spécial mai muguet offert exposants

Palaja  Vide grenier

Pomas  Vide grenier club temps libre

Puichéric  Vide grenier et marché aux fleurs

Trèbes  Vide grenier

Villarzel-Cabardès  Vide grenier de printemps

Villedaigne  Vide grenier

Vinassan  Vide grenier et marché artisanal

Laroque-d’Olmes  Vide grenier

Lavelanet  Vide grenier

Mirepoix  Vide grenier du 1er Mai

Mirepoix  Vide grenier ancien gare

Varilhes  Vide grenier

Samedi 5 Mai

Capendu  Vide grenier des écoles

Coursan  Vide grenier

Leucate  Tante Marie vide ses greniers

Saint-Denis  Vide grenier et marché aux plantes

Dimanche 6 Mai

Alairac  Vide grenier de l’ASSC

Azille  Vide grenier

Bram  Vide garage du quartier

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Vide grenier

Cruscades  Vide grenier du muguet

Cuxac-d’Aude  Vide grenier

Espéraza  Grande foire et vide grenier de l’Oscar

Fendeille  Vide grenier

Gaja-et-Villedieu  Vide grenier

Homps  Vide grenier marché de printemps

La Digne-d’Aval  Vide grenier et dressing

Leucate  Vide grenier du rugby

Lézignan-Corbières  Vide grenier

Limoux  Vide grenier et grillade géante

Limoux  La mensuelle brocante

Mirepeisset  Vide grenier

Narbonne  Vide grenier parc des sports

Palaja  Grand vide grenier

Pennautier  Vide grenier annuel

Rieux-Minervois  Vide grenier

Saint-Marcel-sur-Aude  Vide grenier

Saissac  Vide grenier

Sallèles-d’Aude  Vide grenier

Salles-d’Aude  Vide grenier de printemps

Mazères  Vide grenier mensuel

Nalzen  Grand vide grenier de printemps

Pamiers  Vide grenier brocante

Rieux-de-Pelleport  Vide grenier

Saint-Lizier  Vide grenier

Saint-Paul-de-Jarrat  Vide grenier

Vernajoul  Vide grenier








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What's On 



SPARKS  30 May Toulouse Bikini

ANGUS & JULIA STONE 15 July Carcassonne Festival

STING 17 July Nimes Arenes

SIMPLE MINDS 20 July Carcassonne Festival

a-ha 24 July Carcassonne Festival

ROBERT PLANT 24 July Carcassonne Festival

YOUSSOU NDOUR 26 July Carcassonne Festival

BETH DITTO 30 July Carcassonne Festival

THE CAT EMPIRE 21 Nov Toulouse Bikini

CIRQUE DE SOLEIL 20 TO 25 Nov Toulouse Zenith

DISNEY ON ICE 17 TO 20 Jan Toulouse Zenith



 Jane hummernatalie vives detraz 1 Poster


 affiche 3

Stage portrait et paysage printemps été 4

art toulsom



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

Email your text, pictures and contact information to

interesting to watch