So France wa s once again largely closed to air travel by French air traffic controllers as part of the general strike earlier in the week. The lobby group ‘Airlines for Europe’ (A4E), which represents airlines including EasyJet, Ryanair and BA's parent company IAG, has called on the European Commission and governments to take action to reduce the impact of air traffic control strikes. Surely it’s time for this hostage taking to stop.
I saw an image somewhere of Herr Trump dressed as the caped crusader, it made me think of Supertramp the group, who are still around but had success in the mid 70’s, they have had some album titles which could fit with future tabloid headlines should the worst happen:
Crisis? What Crisis? (1975)
Even in the Quietest Moments... (1977)
Breakfast in America (1979)
...Famous Last Words... (1982)
Watch that space!
The plight of rhinos is horrific and if I can be asked by a very large family group from Cork who happened to be in KFC Carcassonne at the same time as me if I had any rhino horn, then the threat is much bigger than one would imagine.
Drones take nice pictures and seem to be getting a bad name for people flying them in an unregulated and or dangerous manner. I have a suggestion - create solar powered drones that fly high enough above all the rhinos and elephants (and any other endangered species) in the wild. They track their own individual or pack of animals if they stay close enough together. They can track a sensor attached to the animal. 360 images are beamed back to a base station. Should poachers come within range then small but deadly rockets can be launched from the drone. Base sends out a replacement drone when it’s nearly out of rockets.
And the ground was steaming after short bouts of rain, time to turn off the punkah wallah it ain’t half quite as hot…
Apologies if you were trying to reach Derek Winsland from Spectrum, the last Flyer went out with his mobile number 2 digits short.
here it is correctly
Derek Winsland APFS CFP
Mobile: +33 (0)7 71 71 95 52
Should you ever find an error like this its worth checking the website as i would normally make any corrections on there
Please do dig deep to assist Jan Riordan, following her house fire. See Readers write
Thousands of regular readers make the Flyer the place to be seen
Lost in France
I’m always having problems when I speak French. I don’t always understand why. Some people to whom I speak understand me perfectly and others just can’t make head nor tail of what I’m trying to say. It isn’t always to do with the regional accent of the district. So I found it quite interesting to read an article by Mark Forsyth (the author of The Elements of Eloquence: How to turn the perfect English phrase) which even though it discusses the vagaries of the English language it is also about the subconscious knowledge of one’s own native language which we carry inside us and which may be one of the reasons I am not always understood by native French speakers because they have similar stuff going on in their subconscious too.
Here is an excerpt:
It’s astonishing quite how expert you are at the English language. There are so many tenses you can use without even thinking about it, and almost certainly without being able to name them. It depends how you count them, but there are about 20 that you deploy faultlessly. The Pluperfect Progressive Passive for an extended state of action that happened to you prior to another action in the past is, when you put it like that, rather daunting. But then you’d happily say “I realised I’d been being watched” without breaking sweat or blinking. Think how daunting this is for people learning English. The teacher has to explain to them that the English don’t usually use the Present tense for things that are happening in the present. “I brush my teeth” doesn’t mean that you’re doing it right now, it just means that you do it regularly. For things that are actually happening right now you use the Present Progressive “I’m brushing my teeth” (but only if you can speak with your mouth full).
And having learnt that you then have to learn that there are certain exceptions, like the verb ‘to think’ used as an auxiliary, as in “I think you’re right”. It sounds fairly comic to us, but we had years and years and years of immersion learning just to get all these subtleties. And English is complex and weird. We actually have a tense called the Future Present. Imagine having to learn that. But for us it’s just “The train leaves tomorrow”……..
English is largely made up of rules we don’t know that we know. And actually the rules we know we know are a rarity. We can cling to a few of them at least. At least we all know that we know that adjectives have comparatives and superlatives. Big, bigger, biggest. Hot, hotter, hottest. Easy, easier, easiest. It’s comforting. It’s reliable. It’s something we know that we know.
But can you do it with an adjective that’s three syllables long?
Curiouser and curiouser.
I think I want this book.
Forward this Flyer to friends and anyone else you know who may find it useful
French Inheritance Planning
In May, I wrote about tax-efficient savings & investments in France, including Assurance Vie (AV), which is the most
popular type of investment in France for medium to long-term savings. If you did not see the article, you can
I had intended to return to discuss the benefits of AV for French inheritance planning, in the following month. But then
we had the result of the Brexit vote and that caught my attention just a little more!
So now I am getting back to basics of what works for successful French inheritance planning for financial assets –
regardless of whether the UK is in or out of the EU – and regardless of nationality. Without a doubt, this is the AV,
as this is an excellent planning tool for protecting the survivor, providing you with freedom of choice about who you
can leave your financial assets to, as well as mitigating the potential inheritance taxes for your beneficiaries.
In France, there are strict rules on succession and children are ‘protected heirs’, each being entitled to inherit a
proportion of their parents’ estates. For example, if you have one child, the proportion is half; two children, one-third
each; and if you have three or more children, three-quarters of your estate must be divided equally between them.
However, for a quirk of historical reasoning, the death benefits paid from an AV fall outside of your standard estate.
Therefore, you can leave the proceeds of your AV to whoever you wish and so get around the French ‘forced’
succession rules. I know that there will be many out there who are saying that you can do this anyway now, as a
result of the EU Succession Regulations. Well that’s true, but maybe it’s not quite as straightforward as one might
think – or at least hoped!
The problem is that even though the EU Regulations have been in place for more than a year now, these have
not been widely tested. Notaires and cross-border legal specialists are still trying to get to grips with how these
Regulations actually work in practice. So I, like many other professionals, still hold the view that if there is a tried
and tested ‘French way’ to achieve your objectives, then this should be used. Early articles that I wrote on this subject
can be found at http://www.spectrum-ifa.com/the-eu-succession-regulations/
The EU Succession Regulations do not change the potential French inheritances taxes that are payable, but an
AV does. Whilst there are no French inheritance taxes between spouses and partners who have entered into a
legal civil partnership (known as a PACS, in France), for other beneficiaries, the tax rate varies according to their
relationship to you. For example, step-children (and other non-blood beneficiaries) are taxed at a punitive 60%!
For amounts invested in an AV before age 70, each beneficiary (whatever their relationship to you) is entitled to a
tax-free allowance of €152,500. Taxation is limited to 20% on amounts paid above the allowance up to €700,000,
and at 31.25% for amounts exceeding €700,000 per beneficiary). There is still no tax between spouses and PACSd
partners, whatever amount is transmitted.
There is no limit to the number of beneficiaries that you can name. Hence, whatever your family situation, it is possible
to pass on your capital to whoever you like, without them suffering excessive rates of French inheritance tax.
Thus, the survivor can be fully protected and then the capital can subsequently pass to your other beneficiaries,
following the death of the survivor.
For amounts invested after age 70, the inheritance allowance for all your beneficiaries combined is reduced to
€30,500 (plus the investment return on the total amount invested). In effect, therefore, it is only the amount
invested that exceeds €30,500 that would be taxed at standard French inheritance tax rates.
Sadly, social contributions are now charged on any gain in the policy paid out as a death benefit. Even so, when
the above inheritance planning advantages are taken into account together with the personal tax savings, this makes
the AV a very attractive proposition.
Inheritance planning is a highly specialised and complicated subject. Everyone’s family situation and level of wealth
is different and it is very important to seek professional advice, so that the best course of action for you can be
The benefits of AV and tax-efficiency is a subject that we cover in our popular financial seminars across France –
“Le Tour de Finance - Bringing Experts to Expats”. Overall, our industry experts will be presenting updates
and outlooks on a broad range of subjects, including:
French Tax Issues
The date for the local seminar is Friday, 7th October 2016 at the Domaine Gayda, 11300 Brugairolles. Places are
limited and must be reserved, in advance. This venue is always very popular and with less than a month to go, the
event is likely to soon be fully booked. Therefore, you should contact us as soon as possible if you would like to come
to the seminar. I will be at the event with our other advisers in this area, Rob, Derek and Sue.
In practice, financial advice is needed more than ever in uncertain times. Doing nothing can often be an expensive
mistake. Hence, if you are not able to attend the seminar and would anyway like to have a confidential discussion with
one of our financial advisers, you can contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on
04 68 31 14 10 to make an appointment. Alternatively, if you are in Limoux, call by our office at
2 Place du Général Leclerc, 11300 Limoux, to see if an advisor is available immediately 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 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
SIRET 522 658 194 00017
Numéro d’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800
Le Flyer est disponible dans d'autres langues via le site web, audeflyer.com
Some weeks ago there was a letter in the Connexion warning about a scam used on drivers by people claiming that they had been hit & damaged by their car & demanding money to pay for it.
Some old friends - & I fmean old, as they are considerably older than us - who are in the process of moving up to Mirepoix from Narbonne, had exactly the same thing happen to them last night in a particularly scary situation outside a friend's house where they were staying in Mirepoix.
As Don drove down the road to the house he heard a bang but felt nothing & when he stopped & got out he was confronted by two very large guys who accused him of hitting their car & smashing the wing mirror, whiuch they said was a very expensive electronically controlled one. They said Don would have to contact his Insurance Company but as that would mean his premiums going up, it was better that he pay up - wait for it - 2,100 Euros in cash & they would forget about it!!
Don of course checked his own mirror which was unmarked but in the meantime one of the guys had got into his car & rifling through the glove box found their Insurance file. Irene had by this time come to the door but they pushed past her into the house & went through her handbag. They then said that they would ring the Insurance Company & speak to Mr Warmbie - the name on the Certificate - who would advise on the best way out of the situation. On making contact they handed the phone to Irene who had often spoken to this person but did not recognise the voice & told him so. On being assured that it was indeed Mr Warmbie she asked him for her Christian name, which of course he could not answer. She then said that she was going to contact the Police - they agreed to this but insisted on phoning themselves - & guess what - the "Gendarme" had the same voice as Mr Warmbie!
After a lot more menaces & threats if they failed to pay up, they eventually drove off when the next door neighbour turned up in the back garden, shouting that they had not heard the last of it.> Apparently they use a heavy glove to bang your car as you drive by & choose vulnerable single people to threaten, a lot of whom seem to agree to their demands.
Poor Don & Irene were very shaken up as you can imagine but we remembered that it was when the Fete Forain was in town that the guy walked into our kitchen when we were here & took Debs handbag & my purse. So be warned & lock up your house & your daughters. Unfortunately nobody managed to get the number plate & the local Police say they can do nothing without some identification. Don & Irene are back in Narbonne now but I would bet if they walked around the Fair, they would spot these bastards.!
Love to everyone & tell your friends to be on their guard.
Tony & Debs
Isnt this a little non PC? the editor
I am tying to contact as many people as possible who know Jan Riordan - who lives at Verzeille. Apologies if you don't!
Please pass this on to anyone you think knows her.
Tragically last Friday Jan's house burnt down and she lost everything.
You may have seen the articles in the Independant and Depeche.
Jan wrote herself the following:
Many of you will have seen the news about Jan's home being destroyed in a fire on 2nd September 2016. Here is what she wrote about it -
Yesterday was the worst day of my life. My house has burnt down completely and I have nothing left. This is to llet you know I am unharmed and being looked after by my village neighbours and friends. I was woken at 3.00 in the morning by my smoke detector alarm, went out of the bedroom to check and couldnt get down the stairs because of the smoke. Realised there was a major problem and could only get out ont the top floor terrace for fresh air and when I looked over the wall saw flames coming out of the ground floor window. I could see villagers outside and shouted to let them know I was there and could only wait for the pompieres to arrive. Just in time with a very high ladder and as i got on the ladder the windows exploded. Just the four walls are left ... I have lost everything. Sadly my cat Madame didnt escape but I found dear Georgie later bewildered but unharmed. Until I get another mobile and computer i wont have full contact and am busy trying to sort out things so may not be responding immediately.
Many people have offered help - But it is difficult at this early stage. So we have set up a solidarity fund with the aim of not only helping but showing we care!
If you would like to donate please follow the link below.
Thank you for reading this.
Sorry to hear about your friends breakdown story...ours was much easier
We broke down some years ago on the way home. We just managed to get off the A75 at a couple of junctions north of Millau. We got to the garage at 5.45...too late for any action, of course. Spoke to our breakdown insurance, who immediately organised a night in the hotel near by and left the car at the garage. On return to the car, we were advised that they couldn't fix it as it needed to go to the nearest Opel dealer in Rodez. Spoke to the insurance again and they immediately organised relay across. We arrived late morning to be told, like your friends, that the car couldn't be looked at for a few days. Spoke to the insurance again and they organised a hotel nearby. Garage provided a car. Meanwhile I needed to get back to the UK, so our travel insurance paid for my journey back via public transport (amazing coach journey from Rodez to Montpellier via Millau and a Ryanair flight to Manchester) and friends picked me up from the airport.
Meanwhile, hubby hung around sight seeing in Rodez for 3 nights, then car fixed and set off for home. Breakdown insurance sorted and paid for new Eurotunnel crossing and travel insurance paid for the hotel in Compiegne on the way back...Result...All we paid for was the car repair. Overall amazing service from both our Breakdown and Travel insurance
Cheers Bob and Kate Hingston
I,m not into writing letters, I,m deaf???.
Anyway I read this rubbish from those composing about Brexit, omg the people voted for it so be it.
If u said the sky will fall on a specific day then they have some to worry about.
Common sense has come into play
I am sorry to have to reiterate my previous points regarding the decision of the British electorate to leave the EU.
However the letter from Peter Elliot was simply too much to take.
Not only did he expect you and the 'flyer' to support his view he expected you to use the 'flyer' as a campaign tool for his
own ends. That is some brass neck.
He blithely ignores the fact the British parliament felt the decision on whether to remain or leave was too important for parliament alone to decide, therefore they quite rightly offered a referendum to the British electorate to make the decision. Now the decision is made, Mr Elliot expects parliament to approve or dismiss it. The very same parliament who were incapable of making the decision in the first place! That is really rich. Talk about having your cake and eating it. Parliament is expected to simply accept the will of the very people it asked to decide the question. Very rarely do I encounter such ill conceived argument purporting to be serious which is simultaneously contradictory and illogical. On top of that he expects you to provide publicity for some nefarious crowd funding exercise so the 'belly ache brigade' can seek to overturn democracy on the grounds that it doesn't suit them. How arrogant can they get? I wonder what the reaction would be if the boot were on the other foot. Furthermore would he remind us of the last time the EU offered any sort of vote to any electorate on any issue. I can assist him there: never is the answer and never it shall remain. The EU commission, you know, those people who decide our future, then magnanimously hand it down to the MEP's for approval. The approval of course is guaranteed because no democracy exists in the EU and MEP's approve policy because they want to maintain their national subsidies. The gravy train goes on. Is he also aware that these 'good citizens of Europe' are on excellent salaries which are tax free! That's right tax free! No wonder the searchlight of public scrutiny is never allowed to shine into the murky depths of the EU. This grotesque manifestation of government is something to be desired by Mr Elliot and his cronies, and if it is truly what they wish then I extend my deepest sympathy for your future. However, as long as there are true British values and democracy to uphold then that type of non elected, self serving, federalist government should be disposed of. Oh! I forgot, you can't dispose of it can you, you don't get a choice much less a vote on who runs the EU, what a shame, never mind eh!
So Mr Elliot, don't seek to overturn a democratic decision, because in the process you will be insulting the British electorate and the process which we fought so hard for, you may also destroy a democratic principal which at some future point you may yourself rely on to be upheld in your favour. Finally I wish to know which part of 'the British electorate voted to leave the EU' are you struggling with?
Yours hopefully for the last time,
I set out below the reply I have received from my constituency MP on 6 September 2016:
Dear Mr Elliott,
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the EU referendum. I sincerely apologise for the long delay in getting back to you.
Allow me to set out my views as fully as I can.
I must say that I was deeply disappointed by the referendum result. Brexit isn’t the path I would have chosen, nor one that Oxfordshire voted for. During the campaign I did my utmost to put forward positive arguments for our EU membership, which in my view helped us to safeguard jobs, uphold national security and tackle global problems such as climate change. Indeed, my belief was that these issues will only become increasingly fundamental to our national prosperity in the generations to come.
However, it is also my firm view that Britain as a whole has spoken. It is now crucial that all respect that democratic decision. In particular parliament should not, indeed cannot block the will of the British people. With that said, as the Government looks at the detailed arrangements for leaving the EU, Parliament will clearly have a role in that in making sure that we find the best way forward.
Inevitably there will be significant uncertainty over the terms of our future settlement with the EU, and it is now vital that the Government moves quickly to reassure those who voted Remain, as well as those voted to Leave, that their views will be taken into account.
Of course, at such an historic moment in our history, it is crucial to get this deal right. This is in the interests of all UK citizens (and EU member states too). The Government is now preparing for our negotiation process, working alongside the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to ensure that the interests of all parts of our UK are protected and advanced.
It is ultimately for the Prime Minister to decide when to invoke Article 50 and begin the formal process of exit negotiations.
In the meantime, the creation of the Department for Exiting the European Union will bring together officials and policy expertise from across the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, the Foreign Office and the Business Department. The new unit will sit at the heart of government and be led and staffed by the best and brightest from across the civil service. It will be responsible for conducting the negotiations in support of the Prime Minister, including by supporting bilateral discussions on EU exit with other European countries. It will also be responsible for the policy work to support the UK's negotiations to leave the EU and for establishing the future relationship between the EU and the UK. To support this new Department, the Prime Minister has also set up a ministerial committee for Brexit (in addition to committees on the economy and social reform), all of which she is leading personally.
As the Prime Minister has emphasised repeatedly, we’re going to make a success of Brexit. A fundamental part of this means taking all necessary time to prepare ourselves for the tough negotiations ahead, but I repeat my position that the democratic will of the people cannot be denied.
Thank you again for your email and I hope I’ve been helpful in explaining my views.
Nicola Blackwood MP
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon
So, in this case it is clear that a strongly pro-Remain MP (who is also a member of the current government) is not in favour of a Parliamentary vote on the detailed arrangements proposed for Brexit.
One can only conclude that this remains this government’s position simply because they know they will be quite unable to come up with a proposal for a detailed arrangement that could gain the support of a majority in Parliament!
Whither parliamentary democracy?
I used to vacation in Aude or Ariege (or stay in one and visit in the other) and my friend in Amsterdam would come down to share whatever gite I'd rented.
He loves caves. Over several years we visited many of them except Grotte d'Aguzou because it required too much advance planning.
It is the Underground River of Labouiche where we split ways. It was all the steps down to the river and then all the steps back up. My knees were up to a lot of walking, some hiking and much exploring but 200 steps, no. I always travel with a book or three so I was content to sit in the shade, read and wait.
He thoroughly enjoyed the visit even though the guide spoke no English and he didn't have enough French to do justice to the travelogue explanations. But he said he was glad I hadn't attempted the stairs...since we're both from the US we're aware of the excesses of government oversight on some things, he laughed and said the place would have been shut down as a safety hazard a long time ago. He also thought it would be a perfect place to take a spouse/parent/enemy to do them in with a careless push. He is not a mean or violent person but we both read mysteries so locales such as that stimulate our minds and we might discuss the plot of a story never to be written about the location.
Since we love Ariege we agreed the story couldn't take place in the actual Labouiche area, wouldn't be fair to associate the place with ill will and murder.
Now if we agree that we dislike someone very much (usually someone in politics) we say "I'd like to invite them to Labouiche" and they stand condemned forever and ever.
But back on topic, here's the story in La Depeche:
I went back to read it and discovered I needed to sign up so I did...but I don't know if you want to go that far, so I've copied the text in French, then done a Google translation (they're doing much better) and put it in a document which I'm attaching.
I know a lot of people don't like attachments so it won't hurt my feelings if you don't want to open it, just didn't know and thought I'd offer.
At least now you'll know the story...the town is greedy. I seem to remember a childhood story. Something about a goose and a golden egg...ring a bell with you?
CHRISTIAN DEATH 1 OCT BIKINI TOULOUSE
THE KILLS 7 NOV BIKINI TOULOUSE
PETER DOHERTY 18 nov Bikini Toulouse
STEVE HARRIS BRITISH LION 8 NOV LE METRONUM TOULOUSE
JAKE BUGG 9 NOV BIKINI TOULOUSE
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL 22 to 26 Nov Zenith Toulouse
BIFFY CLYRO 29 JAN BIKINI TOULOUSE
CELTIC LEGENDS 28 MARCH Zenith Toulouse