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The alternative garden festival WE’RE BACK!
The Chelsea Fringe is back for its sixth year. Last year we reached our 1000th event! This year the Festival will run from 20 May to 4 June; that’s 16 days, three weekends and one Bank Holiday Monday to fill with exciting gardening/arts projects and events.
We are inviting individuals and organisations, first-time “Fringers” and veterans to discuss what they might like to do. If you already have a project or event in mind for the alternative gardening festival please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org – here as we are now open for new submissions. And pass this on to anyone else who you think might be interested.
You can find out more here:
Calling all Volunteers
No time to volunteer?
BE A FRIEND
Want to Know More before Deciding?
The 2016 Fringe was a huge success, with some 350 community gardening activities, garden/art installations and happenings, walks, talks, food events, open days, exhibitions and performances across London and far beyond. There was excellent coverage in the national media – newspapers, magazines, radio and television here. We also renewed our broadcast partnership with BBC Radio London (the Robert Elms show) and that will continue in 2017.
The Chelsea Fringe is volunteer-run and unfunded, operating as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company [CIC]
I hope you are all enjoying this lovely March weather, what great weather to be out in the garden! Here are few bits of news and information about upcoming events.
* Open Jardins/ Gardens Ouvertes is a scheme that was set up in France just a few years ago with the aim of opening gardens to raise monies for charity – rather like the Yellow Book scheme in Britain. They are keen to expand into the Occitanie region and we have agreed to open the garden here on Sunday 21st May, Sunday 25th June and Sunday 24th September (10 to 18h each day) as part of the scheme so for those of you who would like to visit the garden here occasionally we shall hope to see you. You can see more about the scheme at http://www.opengardens.eu/ , they are keen for more gardens to be involved so if you think you and your garden could be part of this you can contact Catriona McLean <email@example.com> who is the lead Co-ordinator for my South Western region.
* Sunday June 4th 2017 - we shall be holding a day in the garden here as an awareness and fundraising day for Languedoc Solidarité avec le Réfugies (http://languedocsolidarite.com/refugies/), this will partly replace the open weekends that we have held in the past and will include garden tours and other garden related acivities, La Table d’Emilie will be organising the food as always and there will be a range of activities on a garden fete theme …. come and try Sjoelbak, Jenga, Splat the Rat and many other garden games and fun activities …. more info nearer the time but please put the event in your diaries. We are still looking for one or two more people to become involved to organise and staff individual activities so if you would like to help please get in touch.
* last autumn we ran a gardening course - Aromatics for Languedoc gardens which was well received and a number of people have asked me to repeat it so we will be offering the Aromatics course again on Wednesday 10th May (10am to 4pm), as before this course is for gardeners and foodies alike. We will consider a range of over forty common and more unusual aromatics (herbs and spices) which we can grow in our gardens. We’ll look at how to identify plants, how to propagate and grow them, how to harvest and use them as well as thinking about how to incorporate aromatics in ornamental gardens and using them as companion plants. The course fee will be 50€ and as usual we will provide teas & coffees and ask you to bring a packed lunch. For more info contact Gill@lapetitepepiniere.com
* Imogen and Kate have been working very hard on their new garden and nursery next door - Le Jardin Champetre - and it is really looking good, they are open every Saturday from 10 to 5pm or by appointment so do come and see it. They are also taking part in the Open Jardins scheme and will also be offering a number of events throughout the year. You can contact them at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>
As ever, for general gardening queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch, enjoy your gardens and we hope to see some of you during 2017.
Regards, Gill Pound
Le Jardin de la Petite Pépinière de Caunes
21, av de la Montagne Noire, 11160 Caunes-Minervois 04 68 78 43 81 www.lapetitepepiniere.com
There was bad news for holidaymakers, who’ll have to pay more for their flights soon; Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates are set to increase in line with the Retail Price Index in 2018-19.
There was relatively little movement for Sterling off the back of the Budget announcement, with the currency remaining at consistent levels against all major currency pairs pre-and-post Mr Hammond’s statement.
However, with Article 50 set to be triggered by the end of March, the next few weeks will be key for Sterling, with potential for the currency to experience volatility.
Your thoughts on the Budget
Before the announcement, we asked you; what impact the Spring Budget would have on Sterling?
The majority of you (40%) expected it to have a positive effect, hoping for an upbeat sentiment, focussed on positive growth in the UK economy to give Sterling a much needed boost.
Opposed to this, 32% of you thought Philip Hammond’s announcement would send Sterling on a downward spiral.
However, it was the minority that predicted correctly, deciding there would be no movement for Sterling (27%), with many commenting that there would be some initial change, before the pound reverted back to levels seen over the past few weeks.
Although the Spring Budget has had little impact on currency markets so far, the next few months could see considerable movements, with Article 50 set to be triggered and several high-profile elections across Europe. Get in touch today via our web site Currencies Direct
by Bob Elliott
A List of Essential Web Sites
Here are the most useful web sites that will help you set up the best services for you. There are many more of course and there are others only your telecom provider has access to as part of the services they offer.
Use this site to find out what the general broadband speed is in any town or commune where you are searching for a property. In the event of there being no service or a very slow one we can tell you if there are any upgrades planned for the near future at your local exchange
Found your ideal property? Use this site to see what broadband speed you will get there. If there is no line going to the property use the number of your nearest neighbour to get an indication of the likely speed you will get. Ask us to help with interpretation of the results if necessary:
A major investment in the broadband network started in 2013 with a planned completion date of 2022 and a budget of 20€Billion. The aim is to bring high speed broadband to about 80% of homes with towns having priority. Not all rural areas are guaranteed this improvement. Your telecom company or mairie may also have information on how and when this will affect your commune. To find out more go to this web site:
Choosing the right mobile is made much easier if you use the link below. It will tell you the coverage of each network, so you can choose the best for your area:
Calling UK non-geographic numbers (marketing numbers) from France is expensive. UK free phone numbers are not free either as your provider has to get your call onto the UK network, for which you will be charged. Go to this web site to see if there is an equivalent national telephone number:
Squeezing Maximum Speed from Your wifi
Like property, it is all about location, location, location!
• The higher the modem is located the better. Wifi signals are sent out radially and downwards.
• Modems do not like microwaves and white goods, so kitchens are bad.
• They don’t like TVs or mirrors either.
• Every modem has several wifi channels – but are factory pre-set using just one of three. Get help to change it if necessary.
• Make sure you have used your security code to stop others using your service.
Many of us dislike receiving cold calls from sales people. You can minimise this by going ex-directory (Liste Rouge) when you set up your line, but this may not be sufficient or you may want people to be able to find you for other reasons. Use the following web site to request your number not to be called by cold call organisations, the service is free:
Make sure you choose a provider that will give you the best advice now and look after you when things change.
Great information is only a call or an email away!
Prior House, 35 Sydenham Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3RX T: 01483 477 100, F: 0330 648 0299,
An update from Blevins Franks, International Tax & Wealth Management
It is important to keep up to date on the latest tax rates and rules in France, in order to protect yourself from unnecessary taxation.
There are no changes to French income tax rates for 2017 (payable on 2016 income). The income tax bands for each rate have increased very slightly, however. For example, last year’s €9,700 nil rate band has increased by €10, and the 45% top rate band is up €152 for a new threshold of €152,260.
Individuals with a taxable income of up to €18,500 (€37,000 for couples) could benefit from a new 20% tax reduction. There is also scaled relief available for individuals earning up to €20,500, and €41,000 for couples.
The supposedly temporary ‘exceptional tax’ is still in place for 2017. This charges an extra 3% or 4% for income over €250,000 and €500,000 respectively, with higher thresholds for families.
Remember, income tax is payable on earnings, pensions, rental income and investment income, and you are taxed as a household rather than as an individual. Take advice to make sure you are taking advantage of available tax-efficient structures for holding your wealth and investment assets.
No changes to social charges in 2017 means your income continues to attract up to an extra 15.5% in tax. Together with income taxes, this can invite combined tax rates of as much as 64.5% on your investments. However, there are compliant, tax-efficient arrangements available in France that can help you lower this tax liability, sometimes significantly.
Although not due to come into effect until January 2018, you should be aware that a French Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system is planned. Not only will this apply to employed and self-employed individuals, it will affect those receiving French pensions and French unfurnished letting income. If you are a French resident, it will also apply to your wages, pensions and annuities paid by non-French entities, although it is not yet clear how this will work.
While there is a chance that the PAYE reform may be undone by the incoming President, you should prepare for an end to the current system where taxes are payable in arrears at the end of each tax year. As a result, most of your 2017 income may escape the usual income tax and social charges in 2018, although any income classified as ‘exceptional’ will still be subject to the normal scale rates of tax.
Despite rumours that the wealth tax ‘holiday’ period would be extended from five to eight years, this has not happened. So new residents of France still need to start paying wealth tax on non-French assets five years from arrival.
You are liable for wealth tax if your taxable worldwide assets are above €1.3 million, at rates of 0.5% to 1.5% on assets over €800,000. However, the French tax system still limits your combined income tax, wealth tax and social charges liability to 75% of your total income. While this sounds high, it does provide tax planning opportunities.
Wealth tax can prove costly for those unprepared for it, so if you are affected, seek advice on how you can legitimately lower this tax liability.
There have been no major developments here for 2017, although the succession tax reduction for families has been removed. Previously, beneficiaries with more than three children could reduce their French succession tax by €610 per third and subsequent child on inheritances from a parent or spouse, and €305 on legacies from more distant relatives.
Even if the removal of these allowances does not affect you, the new year is a good time to review your estate planning and make sure your arrangements are up to date.
Remember, French succession tax works differently from UK inheritance tax and the effect on your heirs depends on their relationship to you. Stepchildren and unmarried partners, for example, are seen as ‘non-relatives’ and face tax rates as high as 60% on inheritances and gifts. The ‘forced heirship’ rules also mean that natural children could inherit up to 75% of your estate, regardless of your intentions.
While you can override forced heirship by opting for UK law to apply under the ‘Brussels IV’ EU regulation, this is complex and can have unexpected consequences. Also, bear in mind that this will only affect how your estate is distributed – it will not remove your liability for French succession tax. Take personalised advice to ensure your legacy is dealt with according to your wishes while protecting your heirs from unnecessary taxation.
It is important to understand how French taxation affects you personally, and establish tax planning solutions based on your unique objectives and family circumstances. Even if you have already done this, regular review is essential to make sure your arrangements are up to date. For expatriates, an adviser with cross-border experience can help you make the most of opportunities offered by the French tax system.
Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.
To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website www.blevinsfranks.com
We’re very sorry to report the death of Linda Shepherd
She was ‘an inspiration to us all’ and her work has helped thousands
Cancer Support France founder, Linda Shepherd, has died at the age of 64 following her own battle with cancer.
She founded the charity in 2002 in Poitou-Charentes after she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer shortly after she moved to France. She praised the extensive treatment she went through but found she needed to talk to someone about her fears and worries in her mother tongue.
Her French doctor, Prof Alain Daban, CHU Poitiers head of the radiotherapy department at the time, encouraged her as he was aware of the need for a support group for the growing number of English-speaking cancer patients.
In the 15 years since then, CSF has helped around 2,000 people and the charity has grown so much that a national association was created to support the network of 15 affiliated, but independent, associations throughout France.
It trains volunteers who give practical help, information and emotional support adapted to the individual needs of the cancer patients themselves, but also to their carers, families and those closest to them.
When she stepped down as president in 2014 Mrs Shepherd’s work for British residents in France was recognised with an invitation to a garden party at the Paris British Residence for the Queen’s birthday and then an invitation from President Hollande to a State Banquet at the Elysée Palace.
By that time her cancer had come back but she continued to play an active part in CSF, even doing her last session as a trainer at her local group, CSF Haute-Vienne, last month although very poorly.
CSF national president Penny Parkinson said: “It is Linda’s vision and determination which led to the creation and development of CSF. Her tireless support and the example of how she lived her own life with cancer is an inspiration to us all.
“Only last November she was able to attend and contribute to our Trainers’ Conference in Toulouse.
“Her legacy is that the organisation she created is now helping anglophone people touched by cancer across a large part of France.”
by Jane Hanks, reprinted from The Connexion 24th March
by Richard Pickering, Head of Research & Insight Cushman & Wakefield
In the balance
Plan for Britain We are now serving notice on the EU under Article 50. Although the precise contents of the letter that Theresa May will send to Donald Tusk are unknown, she has given some indication of what may be in store in the form of a 12-point ‘Plan for Britain’ released last week. This can be summarised as follows: (1) certainty (required by business), (2) control of laws (ending EU primacy), (3) strengthening the Union (a nod to Nicola Sturgeon), (4) Common Travel Area (mitigating impact on Northern Ireland), (5) controlling immigration (control rather than necessarily curbs), (6) securing EU nationals rights (although no pre-commitment on this), (7) protecting workers rights (presumably both in respect of trade and domestic law), (8) free trade (if the EU accepts this), (9) new trade (e.g. with the US and China), (10) science and innovation (continuing partnerships with EU), (11) crime and terrorism (cross-border security), (12) a smooth and orderly exit (read: transitional arrangements).
Rates in the balance The BoE Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) last week voted by 8-1 to keep the base rate at 0.25% and to continue with its programme of buying corporate bonds. The MPC, which is tasked with keeping inflation at 2%, noted the prospect for a ‘slowdown in aggregate [consumer] demand’ over the coming year. It concluded: ‘Attempting to offset fully the effect of weaker sterling on inflation would be achievable only at the cost of higher unemployment and, in all likelihood, even weaker income growth.’ Meanwhile, across the pond, the Fed made the decision to raise the US base rate by 25bps to 1.00%. This comes in the expectation of looser fiscal policy and strong growth. Rising interest rates pose a risk to property pricing when this is not responding to stronger growth. However, an increase in rates can also stimulate lending, which in turn encourages demand for property.
Vertigo The Government is launching a £7.2m study into the health impacts of living and working in skyscrapers. The commission to the universities of Bath and Exeter has been prompted by concerns over the psychological impact of small vibrations and movement on some people. The world’s tallest towers can sway more than a metre in strong winds. Whereas this is imperceptible to most, it is also thought to cause mood swings and listlessness. Densification is largely inevitable, and in many respects desirable (reduced commute times, greater social interactions, sustainable and efficient use of resources). The challenge ahead is for the ergonomic approach to planning and building design to keep pace with the rate of population growth in our big cities (ave: 3.4%, London: 5.7%, Bristol 4.5%). Alternatives to high rise are an important part of this jigsaw.
Charleston East Corporate campus development took a step forward with the approval by Mountain View City Council of Google’s new ‘Charleston East’ facility in California. One of the key talking points about the futuristic community is the blurring of private and public space. The low rise 595,000 sq ft structure contains a public walkway though the ground floor which houses restaurants and staff canteens. In stark contrast to a traditional gated campus, Google is promoting it as a destination for the local community. Both physically and conceptually, this is a flexible, semi-public umbrella, designed and owned by an occupier, only part of which is for its exclusive benefit. This provokes interesting questions about the potential role of multinationals in delivering new quarters of our cities, where the government or existing landowners may be less able.
Productivity laggards In a speech to the LSE this week, BoE Chief Economist Andy Haldane set out a view of a two-tier corporate economy where ‘leaders’ coexist with ‘laggards’. Haldane cites recent research suggesting that a fall in real estate values during the financial crisis tightened collateral constraint and credit conditions for small business, and was ‘a potent crisis propagation channel’. However, this does not explain the subsequent failure to improve productivity as asset prices have recovered. For this he points to a failure of innovation to ‘trickle down’ from market leaders, due to IP constraints, natural monopolies and management failings. This diffusion lag is creating ‘clear and widening blue water’ between the top 5% of firms and the rest. This, more than regional or sectoral disparities, is what Haldane considers is responsible for global productivity stagnation.
Identity crisis Do you define yourself as European, British, by nation (e.g. Scottish), by county (e.g. Yorkshire), or by city (e.g. Cardiff)? This debate has been given context by those who feel that leaving the EU in some way diminishes their Europeanness, by the calls for a new Scottish referendum, and by the continued push for city devolution. However, there is also a wider economic context. The world’s most powerful cities are developing a runaway lead, and in many cases are stronger economies than substantial countries. Tokyo, for instance, has a larger economy than Spain; New York has a larger economy than Iran, and Paris outsizes the Netherlands. With much real estate investment focused at a city level, the importance of clustering to achieve scale benefits, (e.g. Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine) is apparent.
Robotic returns A study published by CEBR and Redwood Software this week suggests that returns from robotics offer better long-run value than investments in real estate, financial services or transportation. The study also notes that the UK’s robotics density lags behind the US and Germany at just 33 robots per 10,000 workers. By comparison, data from the International Federation of Robotics states that South Korea has a robotic density of 531 robots per 10,000 workers (with much of these in the manufacturing sector). On the face of it, this suggests greater potential for automation / job losses in the UK. The CEBR report states, ‘However while humans and robots are highly likely to be substitutes in the production process, there is a clear economic rationale for the two to not be perfect substitutes.’ Beyond employment impacts, the study reports that increased robotisation is positively correlated with productivity and GDP per capita, which supports the case for public investment
Good neighbours With Nexit-1 seemingly having been avoided in the Netherlands, a second Nexit has reared its head, as rumours emerge that Channel 5 may end the UK’s 31-year transmission of Neighbours. With UK viewers accounting for a significant percentage of the global market, the Aussie soap is as quintessentially British as St George (Turkish), Fish & Chips (Portuguese), or cups of tea (Chinese). At its high point in 1990, the show was attracting 21m UK viewers, whereas at the same time the population of Australia was only 17m. However, viewer numbers have since dwindled and Viacom has apparently flinched at the contract renewal. Australian High Commissioner, Alexander Downer, has recently made positive statements about the prospect of a post-Brexit UK/Oz trade deal. However, sightings of Toadfish Rebecchi in London during Monday’s episode of Neighbours have prompted speculation that either he, or possibly Dr Karl, will be managing these discussions going forwards.
British Airways is celebrating a decade of success and growth of its regional airline business.
BA CityFlyer, the wholly owned British Airways subsidiary, with its headquarters in Manchester, marks its 10th anniversary with good cause to celebrate – the number of customers using its services has more than quadrupled and aircraft numbers have doubled in the past 10 years.
BA CityFlyer is firmly established at London City Airport, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, as the biggest operator in terms of routes, customers and aircraft movements.
Adam Carson, BA CityFlyer’s managing director said: “The 10-year anniversary is a significant milestone for us. Initially a business-based airline we listened to what our customers told us and moved into leisure flying as well, reaching a whole new market but at the same time expanding our core business network.
“The key to our success is our schedule, offering our customers well-timed and well-priced flights and plenty of choice to destinations they want to fly to. London City and Edinburgh airports have both been key to our operation, with aircraft and crews based there, but adding another London airport, Stansted, to our network was a major expansion ahead of new regional flying from Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol from May this year.”
British Airways actually began flying from the Docklands airport in 2003 as BA CitiExpress, the company formed when four regional airlines combined.
BA CityFlyer was launched on March 5, 2007 with 144 flights a week, increasing to 250 flights to six UK and European destinations with a month. This summer it will fly from London City and regional airports to a record 54 destinations in the UK and Europe.
The airline is expanding its regional operation to fly from Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol airports as well as increasing schedules at Stansted, Edinburgh and Dublin.
Declan Collier, CEO of London City Airport, said: “Over the last decade, BA CityFlyer has grown its fleet considerably and become our largest airline customer, offering great service and a growing route network that continues to be widely praised by our passengers.
“As London City Airport celebrates its 30th anniversary year in 2017, it’s fitting that we recognise BA CityFlyer’s 10 years at the airport, and thank the dedicated team that have helped contribute to a phase of record-breaking passenger growth.”
The original aircraft fleet comprised 10 RJ100 regional jets, but the airline soon took delivery of new greener Embraer jets and the current fleet has 14 Embraer 190s and six Embraer 170s.
In 2007 BA CityFlyer employed 278 staff, today it has more than 500 employees, including the management team based at its Manchester headquarters.
Underlining its business focus at London City, British Airways offered customers a schedule that enabled them to do a full business day in some of Europe’s major cities with a same-day return option.
More recently the airline has expanded its leisure flying, serving popular European sunspots and this summer almost two million seats will be on sale from London City.
Some of BA CityFlyer’s destinations and low prices include each way fares to Milan from London City and Stansted from £45, Manchester to NICE, Alicante, Ibiza and Palma from £49 and Bristol and Birmingham to Palma and Ibiza from £49.
Aries ( 21 March – 19 April ) – This is a month in which your strength will shine. There will be a lot of burdens weighing on you but you need to keep your headup, things will come out just fine. The way you will be organizing your life – both on the job and with family – will have a momentum all its own! Keep your communication wide open in this cycle. Allow yourself to have some fun without compromising the integrity you emanate with your work and family. New friends and romance can emerge at this time. Let conversations and invites flow at this time. Favorable Dates : April 2, 3, 11, 12, 20, 21 Favorable Colors : Red & Green
Taurus ( 20 April – 20 May ) – You might be looking at an influx of creativity and perhaps the birth of a new relationship. It may also signify an abundance of skills, courage and drive – all waiting to be channelised well. In a way, it may also indicate at delegating or seeking other experts’ help and guidance to move ahead. The success to come would be usually concerning a material conquest, a venture, a renovation project or a creative setup. You will be keen to enhance the quality of your life, and will not hesitate to seek support. Favorable Dates : April 5, 8, 14, 17, 23, 26 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Green
Gemini ( 21 May – 20 June ) – There may be new beginnings, some of them that you have been waiting for. This period signifies accomplishment and triumph, despite fatigue, strain, setbacks and opposition. You will also be willing to take risks. But, also be patient and vigilant at the same time. You now have the power to bring great happiness to others – so give freely and unconditionally, for the Universe, then will return to you in an equal measure. This is a fertile time – in almost all aspects, and if bearing a child has been on your mind, this is a perfect time. Favorable Dates : April 2, 5, 11, 12, 22, 26 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow
Cancer ( 21 June – 22 July ) – There will be a palpable joy in the air, as love, bonds and work will bring you success and rewards. Romance blooms, good news arrives and a brighter future beckons with all its might. Use this extremely positive time to get the maximum out of your life. You shall be gifted with an amazing ability to sense others’ needs. Make use of your emotional energy to make yours and others lives beautiful. A romantic young admirer may turn out to be quite a charmer and you may find yourself learning about a side of life you never knew about. Favorable Dates : April 1, 2, 10, 11, 19, 20 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow
Leo ( 23 July – 22 August ) – Your intuition is heightened and you could find yourself getting drawn to all kinds of people almost magically. A relationship that begins this month could turn out to be a lasting love. Initially you may be reluctant to open your heart up – maybe you have suffered heartache, not quite long back. This period also heralds a very sociable time – do network well. Compromise is another keyword– let the hanging issues reach conclusive ends. Take your determination levels higher and utilise this favourable period to seek the truth, get to the bottom of the matters with confidence. Favorable Dates : April 2, 4, 11, 13, 20, 22 Favorable Colors : Green & Yellow
Virgo ( 23 August – 22 September ) – You may be looking back at the past with a happy, overpowering nostalgia taking inspiration from the positives and resolving to better things in the present. Work may bring you solace and if you’re ready a new romance may be in the cards for you with either someone at the workplace or connected with your line of work. However take things slow. Rushing matters could only lead to heartache. Enjoy the good times and make your loved ones a part of the celebrations. The erotic instinct will become more highlighted. Favorable Dates : April 2, 8, 11, 17, 20, 26 Favorable Colors : Purple & Red
Libra ( 23 September – 22 October ) – This period gives you more time to develop a better relationship with a parent, boss, or authority figure. It can help you to gain a better professional reputation, to become known as someone of rank or significance in your chosen field. This period also increases career and financial prospects. It’s time to expand your marketing or your social contact, to increase your visibility or knowledge base. You may find yourself swept off your feet in a whirlwind romance that could lead to marriage. Expect added intensity, a significant redirection or forward thrust regarding relationships matters. Favorable Dates : April 1, 3, 10, 12, 19, 21 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow
Scorpio ( 23 October – 21 November ) – You should see prospects, relationships, and opportunity on the upswing. This period is good for resuming creative projects, marketing revisions, bringing yourself up to speed, etc. Ambition well placed can deliver substantially. This period can be financially lucrative or it can see you make an important personal breakthrough or discovery. Pump up your immune system and don’t be overly casual in providing personal information or opinions. Feel your way along and do what is in your best interests and what serves in the best interest of others too. Favorable Dates : April 7, 9, 16, 18, 25, 27 Favorable Colors : White & Red
Sagittarius ( 22 November -21 December ) – This period calls for better self care. Aim to get yourself better acquainted, familiarized, situated or secure. Start with your own comfort zone and build it from there. What soothes, nourishes, or comforts you will benefit those around you too. The period could hold enough sway to redirect your life in some significant way. A professional contract, real estate deal or legal matter could come to fruition, or at least it can see significant action. A speculative venture could net a great pay-off. The days that follow can see you cover a lot of good ground. Favorable Dates : April 1, 2, 10, 11, 19, 20 Favorable Colors : White & Blue
Capricorn ( 22 December – 19 January ) – This month re-energizes you with fresh ideas, attitudes, and opportunity. It’s an ideal transit for writing projects, classes, marketing, and networking; for diversifying your interests or income sources, and for expanding yourself socially too. Serendipity and creativity go hand in hand, especially over the first two weeks. Last two weeks are excellent for manifesting. Things can open up and work out beautifully. It’s a good month to travel or to expand marketing or social connections, but keep on the alert regarding potential vulnerable or weak spots. Favorable Dates : April 2, 4, 11, 13, 20, 22 Favorable Colors : Red & Purple
Aquarius ( 20 January – 18 February ) – This month can help you to establish a better personal, creative, relationship, and romantic flow. You’ll also find you can finally get going on those side-tracked goals and projects. This period can introduce you to new people, products, or financial prospects. This is one of refortifying and strengthening from within. It is one of learning better self preservation tactics and of more astute planning. It will help you to stand up for yourself more, to speak and convey with more power, conviction, and presence. Favorable Dates : April 1, 3, 10, 12, 19, 21 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow
Pisces ( 19 February – 20 March ) – This month can be a mixed bag. Watch for unexpected potential, opportunity, add-ons or rising costs, breakthrough points, big news or major letting go. Enjoy your abundance, but also try to keep somewhat realistic in your expectations and try not to give into extravagance, impulsiveness, or an overactive imagination. This month can turn the spotlight onto a special someone. When the heart or imagination is captured, you can be especially vulnerable. Top up your immune system, keep your distance from sick people, protect your valuables and remember to back up and lock up. Favorable Dates : April 1, 7, 10, 16, 19, 25 Favorable Colors : White & Green
Manish Kumar Arora, 91-9871062000
K.P. Astrologer, Numerologist, Tarot Card Reader & Vastu Consultant
One Mother’s Journey: Creating My Family through In Vitro Fertilization
by Jennifer Prudenti
For most of us women having a baby is something we naturally want, and assume it will just happen, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
In this frank and detailed book the author, Jennifer Prudenti, with timely insertions from her husband Marty, take us on their quest to be parents.
Jennifer’s story starts very openly as she explains how, as the daughter of a loving mother, all she wanted was a daddy, and how, like many before and since, she turned to boys to get the attention she craved from males. This yearning, and the consequences of it took her health and body down a tragic route which eventually led her to need In Vitro Fertilization, or as it is commonly known IVF.
Happily married, all Jennifer and her husband Marty wanted was a family, however, this was not to be – well not easily, as you will read. The path they took was a hard one, IVF. Jennifer explains in detail the various procedure, and tests which she endured, and the life she led dancing to the rhythm of her body clock, and the routines which had to be followed. The unfortunate disappointments, the emotional rollercoasters, and everything being swept aside by Jennifer’s strong feelings that she would be incomplete as a woman, and a wife, without being a mother, despite Marty’s protestations of the opposite.
Along with following traditional guidelines, she found herself trying alternative medicines and remedies. They changed clinics and doctors, done whatever they could until, finally she was carrying her babies.
For many, from then onwards is a natural path, set in stone, but for others (myself included), this is just the beginning of months of fears and worries. Unless you have experienced it no-one can understand the feelings you go through just to get to the magical 28 weeks when baby is ‘viable’, however the author does a very good job, as it certainly brought back memories for me.
As the title suggests this story does have a happy ending, but then as they say in films, this is only the beginning of Jennifer and Marty’s life as parents. I am a true believer that no-one can prepare you for parenthood, of course, the love you feel when you see your baby or babies for the first time, but also the emotional toll, sleepless nights, worries when they don’t sleep, the list is endless. As parents all we can do is our best, and of course hindsight is a wonderful thing.
This story is one which needed telling, not only because Jennifer and her husband thought so, but also to give hope, information, courage and the strength not to give up to the thousands of couples out there who strive to have a family of their own, whatever it takes….
Fearne Fairy and the Dandelion Clocks – Book 8 in the Whimsy Wood Series
by Sarah Hill
This delightful Fearne Fairy adventure takes place on a beautiful March morning. With the daffodils swaying in the breeze, and bird song filling the air as young chaffinches practice their singing.
We all know that fairies are magical, and can do amazing things, but like ordinary people there are things they have problems with, and Fearne really does have trouble with her landings, and unfortunately on this day she crashes at the bottom of the stairs and hurts her head.
No worries, she thinks, I have just the remedy hidden in my conker cupboard, her special, sore-head-fixing dandelion drink. However, when she goes to the cupboard she discovers that there is no drink left!
What can she do! Well she must have a good think, and what better to help her than a crumpet or four? Just as she finds the solution, she hears a rumpus outside and discovers Bertie and Beatrice, the bunny twins fighting over a dandelion clock! Of course, like most fighting, it ends in tears and also poor Beatrice bumps her head. The situation is urgent, now there are two sore heads and no sore-head-fixing dandelion drink.
But will the bunny twins remember where they got the clock from, because, surely there will be dandelion leaves there, and hopefully there will there be enough for Fearne Fairy to make some of her magical drink.
It is time for a lesson Fearne decides, and so she tells the twins, after their fight about the importance of sharing, and about her family’s motto of ‘share and share a-like.’
But as to the spring cleaning, well…
This is a truly enchanting fairy tale, magical and yet with a little lesson about the importance of sharing woven in. I read it to my little granddaughter and she was captivated, loving both the story and the wonderful illustrations. I look forward to sharing more Fearne Fairy tales with her as we explore this exciting series together.
Available from Amazon
Lessons from Shadow: My Life Lessons for Boys and Girls
by Shadow Bregman
What a wonderful book for children. Not only is it cleverly written by a worldly black Labrador called Shadow, of course kindly penned by his human daddy Walter Bregman, but it contains some important life lessons for children to learn, and other dogs of course as long as their mummies and daddies read it to them. Because you see, as I already know, but many people don’t, dogs to understand us, and talk to us too!
When Shadow’s mummy and daddy decided to take him home from the rescue centre Shadow had already learnt a lot of good, and bad things. Sensibly they took their other dog Betsy to say hello to shadow before they made a final decision, but they didn’t need to worry, they quickly became friends. Betsy did like to be the boss though, and could be a bit of a bully some times, but the story behind that is in one of the lessons.
Shadow’s lessons cover many subjects. In the first one, Shadow admits to being very greedy, (like most dogs) and tells of the mischief which can be caused if the pantry door isn’t closed, especially if dogs pinch the chocolate!
As we settle down to enjoy the tales Shadow tells, it is fun to look at life through his eyes, taking a dogs eye view of life and situations. For instance, escaping is fun, the bigger the fence the better, until you get to the other side, and discover you want to go home! Then things can be pretty scary!
Family life is varied and sometimes sad, and Shadow explains in his own sensitive, wise way, how he and his daddy coped with sad times in their lives, and the loneliness which affected them after.
Of course the world is sometimes confusing for a dog. In the chapter called lessons, we discover some of the things which we, as humans, don’t really understand about dog communication, and some of the things which puzzle them. Shadows summing up of this lesson is priceless, but you will have to read the book to find out what it is.
If you love dogs, whether you are young or old, you will find this book enchanting. For those of us who love our dogs, it is affirmation that they do understand us, and can teach us so much. The chapters in this book cover very important issues for children, and guide them sensitively in the right direction, to enable them to deal with various situations.
I loved this book! Shadow is a very wise dog and I hope he and his daddy write some more so I can enjoy learning more about their lives, and the important lessons they have to share
Diary of a Drug Addict
by Stephen E Crockett
You see them on street corners, hiding in doorways, furtively watching, waiting for their next fix, selling drugs, or perhaps they have just had a shot.
Perhaps you walk by pitying them, looking on with distain, smugly thinking that you will never be in their position, you would never become an alcoholic, or a drug addict. If you do, just stop and think. Who are you to judge? There is a very true saying “You cannot judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” As we go through our lives we make decisions, some very minor, or so we think at the time, however, everything we do comes with consequences. The face we put on to the world is not necessarily the person within, many of us hide behind masks. Sometimes this is done in the knowledge that we want to be deceptive, mislead, and bend a person to our will. However for many others it is a necessity, the only way to deal with the demons within, self-preservation.
Stephen Crockett life changed at a very early age, when he could no longer endure being surrounded by religious fanaticism, made to attend church, and being beaten if he asked questions.
It was in his 18th year however, just before graduation that his drug and alcohol abuse really took hold. Stephen had tried drink and marijuana before, however, whilst his fellow class mates were getting ready for the graduation photo, Stephen was sitting in the car park, passed out drunk. He missed his graduation ceremony because he was in hospital, recovering from asphyxia, and acute alcoholic poisoning.
Missing that ceremony seems to be a turning point, in his own mind he became invisible, unworthy, from then on he began his quest to blending into the background, suffering tremendous feelings of disappointment in himself, and depression.
His decision to leave the countryside for the town opened his eyes to a whole new world, and he became addicted to Heroin, the mother of all illegal drugs, which claims more lives than all the others put together. Stress and depression become his monsters in the closet, as trapped in his miserable existence he turns to drugs and alcohol. Soon he becomes part of the underground scene, dealing drugs, and living from fix to fix, in a drugs and alcohol induced haze.
This book, and its companion ‘Black Tar’ has opened my eyes to a world I knew nothing about. Stephen has a very frank way of writing, and in his own unique no holds barred style, he talks openly about the addiction he has had for decades.
What will the future hold for you if you go down the same route? Well, as Stephen so graphically explains, you will lose everything – no not just physical things, but yourself, self-worth, friends, and so much more.
So what has become of Stephen now?
Is he drugs free, and if so how did he do it?
Find out by reading his compelling story – I guarantee you it will be an eye-opener!
All reviews by Susan Keefe
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