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The Naked Truth Book 2
available on Kindle
If anyone should know his onions about France, the French and their funny little ways, it’s George East. When he and his wife Donella bought their first home across the Channel, they made so many cock-ups that George wrote a book to warn others about the perils and pitfalls. Home & Dry in France became a best-seller, and was the first of a series of acclaimed books recording their adventures while living with the enemy.
After countless articles, blogs and lectures, George has finally compressed half a lifetime’s experiences of French adventuring into this single publication.
And by the way, it’s also a jolly good read…
Format: Kindle e-book ISBN: 9781908747167 Price: £2.92
Available through Amazon Kindle or www.george-east.net
Toques et Clochers is a two day festival and charity auction whose proceeds go to the renovation of the 42 villages church steeples of the four-terroirs Limoux appellation area of the Aude.
Each year, a different village is selected to host the festival and raise funds for next years beneficiary, also to celebrate the recent renovation of its own church. Last year funds benefited St Joseph’s School Church in Limoux. Funds raised this weekend will contribute to the church’s renovation in Pomas, a village just north of Limoux.
It brings together winemakers, wine professionals, restaurateurs and customers from around the world in a festive atmosphere for over 20,000 people.
It is a respected and recognised celebration in the wine world, and now the second biggest wine auction in France after ‘Hospices de Beaune’. A hundred barrels were sold during the Sotheby’s auction presided over by Arnaul Lallement from ‘L’Assiette Champenoise’ restaurant in Reims.
He is a ‘Toque’, a Grand Chef, with three Michelin stars to his name, and was responsible for organizing other stared chefs for a gala dinner last Sunday, enhanced with the usual Limoux fécos dancers in traditional pierrot costume . . .
The procession told the story of winemaking on tractor-pulled tableaux and included models of previous churches that have benefited from the generosity of the wine drinking fraternity. The street decorations were all made from recycling plastic bottles and cups as you will have noticed . . .
Service Before Self
by Tegon Maus
When Toby Grant starts his first day as a service technician at Handy Dandy Services, in San Bernardino he has no idea what his first week will be like, but full of expectation that first day he is partnered with very experienced Ryan Burnell.
Ryan makes no bones about his reluctance in having to wet nurse Toby and refuses to use his name, calling him ‘Newbie’ instead, and continually reminds him of the company slogan ‘Service Before Self.
However, his partner’s reluctance is nothing compared to the colorful characters Toby meets on the job, so to speak.
From eccentric waste billionaires and very flirtatious women, to unbelievable roach problems and ghosts in the attic, Toby’s numerous adventures in this book will make you laugh repeatedly, however, be aware some will also make your skin crawl. And, all the while poor Toby has to follow the deadpan instructions both gestures and verbal of the reluctant Ryan and do his bidding at a flick of a coin.
However, Toby soon discovers that the Ryan he knows today is a very different character from the man he was a few years before. Back then he was involved in the dangerous worlds of drugs and murder, and, his previous partner was stabbed 27 times.
Ryan certainly has some dark secrets and soon his past is about resurface….
This story is not only a very funny, if cringe worthy insight into the working day of company representatives, and what sometimes they see when entering other people’s homes; but also an extremely gripping thriller in parts as Ryan is pulled back, yet again, into the world of drugs he left behind five years previously.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page of this story and would happily recommend it as a brilliantly entertaining book.
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
Available from Amazon.co.uk:
Can You Hear The Music?
by Sandra Farris
Publisher: Sandra Farris Language: English ASIN: B0079OG342 Price $7.86 – 204 Pages Genre: Fiction
Set in the early 1900’s, this is a truly heart-
The dominating Aunt Lizzie dislikes Corey and abuses her, both mentally and physically, even her husband is afraid of her!
After a failed escape, where she is caught by her wicked aunt, Corey cuts off her hair and pretends to be a boy, very convincingly. She is befriended by a stranger called Andy who takes her under his wing and teaches her how to survive honestly.
This is an amazing story following the adventure which is Corey’s life. It is a wonderful book which takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions as we watch this young girl grow-
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
Available from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Can-Hear-Music-Sandra-Farris-ebook/dp/B0079OG342/ref=sr_1_3_twi_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1427308559&sr=8-3&keywords=can+you+hear+the+music
Circus Elephant: Realizing How Powerful You Truly Are
by John Holley Jr.
Publisher: CoachJohnHolley.com Language: English ASIN: B00JYHY7YA Price: $3.03 – 60 Pages Genre: Self-Help
What an intriguing title, I thought, and then I started to read…
Coach and author John Holley Jr. delivers his inspirational message through a unique and totally captivating story, that of the life and training of a circus Elephant.
How strange, I hear you say, yes, but it works so well. The messages the book contains are explained clearly and so interesting that it held my attention right from the start.
Whatever your goal, whether you want to take control of your life, emotions, body, finances, or in your relationships this book gives you the power to succeed. It contains well written advice, a wealth of inspirational stories, and examples of people throughout history who have turned the tide on themselves, sometimes against incredible odds.
The author has given you the power and inspiration you need and armed with this book, the rest is up to you.
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
Available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Circus-Elephant-Realizing-Powerful-Truly-ebook/dp/B00JYHY7YA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427308799&sr=1-1&keywords=circus+elephant
Susan Keefe http://www.susan-keefe.com/book-reviewers-blog
March has brought it’s usual share of changeable weather – “les giboulées de mars” - but spring is definitely here; many shrubs and perennials are starting to flower, the grass needs cutting and the weeds are growing so there is plenty to do in the garden.
In the last couple of garden notes we have been talking about herbs and we will continue with the edibles theme for a little longer. This month I am going to comment on chives. We are probably all familiar with chives (Allium schoenoprasum) which is a lovely perennial herb that likes full sun and a rich, moist soil and has attractive pinky purple flowers in May. Great in salads and as a garnish.
Unfortunately, chives tends to become dormant after flowering, if you are looking for chives to go in summer salads then there are two very similar plants which do very well in the climate.
Allium tuberosum or Chinese Chives is a perennial plant which also likes full sun and a rich soil but it flowers during August so you can enjoy the foliage during the summer months.
Tulbaghia violacea (Society Garlic) is a cousin of chives from South Africa which, again, appreciates similar growing conditions but has very pretty pink to violet flowers all through the summer, the chopped leaves are equally good in salads. The flowers of all three plants are edible as well and make a pretty decoration.
At this time of year you may find yourself weeding up a plant which looks like garlic or onion in your garden; this is probably the poireau des vignes (Allium polyanthum or wild leek), another herbaceous perennial but if you gather enough it can make a lovely soup. Just chop the bulbs and a little of the foliage finely and sweat in butter with some finely diced potato, add water and seasoning et voila!
The nursery and garden are open every weekend until the end of November on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from 10 to 18h and at other times by appointment.
And, looking ahead – a date for your diary – we shall be holding our annual open weekend at La Petite Pépinière over the weekend of 6th and 7th June, if you are on my mailing list you’ll receive more details soon or if you would like to know more contact Gill@lapetitepepiniere.com We are still finalising the programme but it will be similar to previous years.
For further information contact Gill Pound at La Petite Pépinière de Caunes (shrubs and perennials, ornamental grasses, unusual plants and plants for dry climates), 21, Avenue de la Montagne Noire, 11160, Caunes-Minervois. Tel: 04 68 78 43 81, email Gill@lapetitepepiniere.com www.lapetitepepiniere.com
The Milk Factory, is a Pop-up gallery and ‘reflection space’ dedicated to dairy products: Milk Factory – 5 Rue Paul Bert – 75011 Paris Tel: 01 43 48 83 94
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 13:30 to 19h – free admission - Summer hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 1:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Closed Saturday, July 12
To get there by Metro: Faidherbe Chaligny / Charonne, or by Bus: 46-86 or by Vélib use stations: 11007 – 11008-11101 – 11107- 11112
It’s set up as a culinary creative laboratory of ‘Collective Dairy Products’ and aims to be a laboratory of ideas. The Milk Factory is a multidisciplinary space dedicated to research work (creative) around the dairy business. It provides a forum for artists of all kinds: chefs, artists, photographers, designers, who together they create, invent, exhibit.
. . . and there is an exhibition on from 13th March to 20th April by photographers Vincent Lappartient & Sophie Carre.
Mounia and the Cheeses Girls
This is a photographic portfolio of 15 girls from the French athletic sorority. They include Muriel Hurtis, Nathalie Pechalat and Victoria Ravva. The girls are high-level sports personalities and all seem to share a blatent love for that emblem of European culture and French heritage . . . Cheese.
Fifteen passionate champions have been assembled by Mounia Beria – ‘Mounia and Cheese Girls’ – all changing the playing field and posing with their favorite cheese in front of two amused fashion photographers Sophie Carre and Vincent Lappartient.
It’s billed as being the “largest ever created women’s movement around the love of French cheeses. “ Today there are hundreds to be found throughout this fine group of women: a generation of hungry women who wish to satisfy their appetite freely between the salad and dessert. It is a revolution on a plate, the consecration of those brave that he will sign before a Morbier . . . so there that’s French Cheese for you !
by Louise Sayers
A spam email dropped into my inbox urging me to buy a seemingly paradisical plot of land for next to nothing in the Cayman Islands.
It looked pretty enticing, I have to say, but when I started to daydream, I realised that, even without the complications involved in uprooting my life, husband, children and all, the Cayman Islands would not really be a practical, or in fact, particularly appealing place for me to buy property.
So I started thinking of the reasons WHY France is such a good place to buy and, hey presto, that was the theme for this ‘W’ article taken care of!
So, here’s my top 6 reasons why to choose France for your overseas property purchase whether you are searching for a holiday home or are upping sticks and relocating:
One of my best friends married an Aussie and enjoys an exceptional quality of life swanning around by Bondi Beach in Sydney. But there’s no getting away from the fact that she sees her beloved parents, sister and friends at most once a year and misses them terribly. Australia is a long, long way away from the UK, France is not.
Those of us who have chosen to move to France are lucky enough to be able to fly to England frequently to visit family and friends if we so desire, and they can easily pop over for weekends. New routes between the UK and France are being opened up all the time.
As well as Ryanair – the subject of copious expat gripes but, let’s face it, would half of us be here without them? – numerous airlines have tapped into this market including bmi baby, Easyjet and more recently Aer Lingus, currently billing themselves as “Your new low cost option to Europe”.
There is nothing quite so lovely as the perfect English summer – the problem is the dependability factor! Rather bizarrely, given that I live in the Pyrénées-Orientales, a south of France mecca for holidaymakers in July and August, I generally spend my summer holidays in Norfolk (I work on the “a change is as good as a rest” principle)!
In more than four weeks over the last four years, I can count the number of genuinely swimming-in-the-sea sunny days on one hand, and that’s being generous!
Although there are, of course, huge variations across the country, France generally enjoys better weather than the UK. I’m a sun bunny me so the south of France is ideal – no grey incessant drizzle to contend with and plenty of bright blue skies and hot, hot, hot summers.
That might not be your bag but milder temperatures can be found in other parts of France. In fact, there’s something for everyone here (unless you’re after truly Arctic conditions, in which case, you are clearly insane!).
3. Variety of landscapes
Again, there’s something for everyone on this front too. The majority of French people tend to holiday in France, the general consensus being why would you spend a fortune on air fares when you have everything you can wish for here, from the snowy peaks of the alpine ski resorts to the dazzlingly beautiful beaches of Corsica and the saltwater marshes of the Camargue.
Similarly, you can pursue a wealth of activities here, from some of the best surfing in the world in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques around Biarritz, to world class windsurfing on the Mediterreanean coast in Leucate, from walking in the Pyrenees to climbing in the Alps. Whatever your penchant, you’ll find a landscape and related activities to suit.
4. A more healthy lifestyle
In France the pursuit of pleasure and style is considered far more important than success and wealth and it’s a nicer place to live as a result. When I go back to England, I am always a little taken aback by the frenetic pace of life.
Conversely, our visitors are astounded that most shops are shut on Sundays, sometimes Mondays too, and the whole country comes to a standstill between 12 and 2 as everyone downs tools for lunch. It took some getting used to but I love this element of French life now. Less stressful, less materialistic, more active – what’s not to like?
Few people would argue that the French have one of the finest cuisines in the world, a reputation which they are keen to protect. One thing I particularly love is the fact that the country is fiercely proud of its gastronomic heritage.
This is demonstrated in the way that regional specialities are, quite literally, fêted. Any village or town famous for a particular food whether it be something grown (like fruit) or produced (like cheese) will hold an annual fête in its honour.
For example, in this area, the town of Céret, famous for its cherries, reputed to be the earliest ripening in France, celebrates with the Fête de la Cerise, involving tastings, live music and a giant apéro attended by practically everyone in the town.
Lovers of all foodstuffs French should check out the Reflets de France range (stocked in Carrefour, Champion and a number of smaller supermarket chains) which showcases locally produced foodstuffs and aims to protect and promote France’s gastronomic heritage.
There are over 300 products in the range from Normandy cider to Guérande salt, which the brand is credited with saving from industrial production.
6. Stable and well regulated property market
Of course, France is by no means the cheapest place you can buy property in the world and Brits buying abroad are being enticed to invest in property in alternative locations from Croatia to Cape Verde.
These markets may be appealing but, immature as they are, they offer far more risk. Often, rapid growth in the supply of property is not matched by developments in infrastructure which can cause problems. These markets are also more at risk during these tricky recessionary times and there have been some hefty price drops over the last year.
France is a much more stable market, better equipped to weather the current storm and offer good mid to long term investment potential. In addition, the property market is well regulated with estate agents having to meet stringent legal requirements before being granted the “carte professionelle” enabling them to work.
If you’ve got the means, now is the time to bag a bargain in France, with most vendors willing to negotiate on price. Why France? Why not France?
This series of articles first appeared in French Property News magazine. Please note that some of the information contained in them may be out of date.
Osborne calls time on austerity Britain
George Osborne has declared that Britain was “walking tall again” in his pre-election Budget which helped savers and loosened the screws on public spending.
He declared Britain was on “the road from austerity to prosperity” and declared that Britain was “the comeback country”.
Growth projections were upgraded by less than anticipated by the OBR, amid concern about the Eurozone and disappointing productivity results. The OBR put up GDP by 0.1% to 2.5% this year and 2.6% next.
The OBR also revised down its inflation projection given the sharp fall in the price of oil, delivering a £4bn windfall to the public finances because of a smaller spend on interest payments from inflation-linked debt.
Amongst the key measures the Chancellor announced were: a promise to raise the size of the income tax personal allowance to £10,800 in 2015/16 and £11,000 the year after; a new personal savings allowance where the first £1,000 of interest on savings income is to be tax-free for basic rate taxpayers; a new “Help to Buy” ISA for first-time buyers; Beer duty was cut by 1p, cider by 2p, scotch whisky by 2p and wine duty frozen; a review of the business rates scheme; and a freeze in petrol duty.
The giveaways were funded by a large increase in the bank levy, costing banks £685bn this year alone, tax avoidance measures and a pensions raid.
The Times, Page: 1 Financial Times, Page: 1 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 8 The Guardian, Page: 1, 6-7, 11-12 The Independent, Page: 1-4 Independent I, Page: 4-5 Daily Express, Page: 12-13 Daily Mail, Page: 1-2 Evening Standard, Page: 1-3 The Sun, Page: 1, 4-5
Columnists debate Budget
An editorial in the Mail says the Budget has systematically demolished any rational argument for voting Labour on May 7th. The paper states that there is no doubt about which party is a better fit to steer the ship. Alex Brummer in the same paper says the UK’s economic revival is an “awesome success story”. Meanwhile, Margareta Pagano in the Independent applauds the Chancellor for not attempting to fix what isn’t broken. She also points out that the coalition has raised £397.7bn from the business community in the last year – a £73bn increase on the amount raised in Labour’s last year in office. Leo McKinstry in the Express says the Budget was a package of pragmatic, sensible measures that will help to cement Britain’s economic revival, fuel job creation and improve living standards for most of the population. The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins comments that although David Cameron may be PM, George Osborne is the one in charge. He adds that Mr Osborne has enhanced his reputation whilst Chancellor and no matter the election result, we will see more of him. Jonathan Freedland adds in the same paper that Mr Osborne may have convinced many but beneath the bluster he believes the Conservatives are on the defensive. An editorial in the FT states that a government which is insistent on cutting debt should not make it worse with bungs for wealthy savers, while Diane Coyle, also in the FT, asks whether the Budget will benefit the whole country. The leader column in the Times says the Chancellor’s fiscal discipline could well pay off at the polls. The paper adds that it did not sound like the Budget of a Chancellor who expected it to be his last.
Responding to George Osborne’s Budget, Ed Balls stated that the Chancellor’s claims that Britain is walking tall seemed “out of touch with reality”. The shadow chancellor also writes a column in the Mirror, in which he says the Budget was a “complete flop”. He argues that after five years of the Tories, working people are still an average £1,600 a year worse off. The Labour leader Ed Miliband added that the gap between the Chancellor’s rhetoric and the reality of people’s lives had never been greater and that the Chancellor had failed working families. The Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy accused the Chancellor of being in “complete denial about the damage he has caused after five years of failing and painful austerity”. The Lib Dems Danny Alexander said the deficit problem won’t be dealt with by simply cutting public spending, while UKIP’s Nigel Farage said the government has evidently failed in its promise to the British people to eradicate the deficit. The markets reacted more favourably – with shares continuing to rally. However, sterling was subdued and gilt yields slipped in reaction to the plan to issue more long-dated bonds.
Pollsters see no immediate political impact
Pollsters have suggested that George Osborne’s final Budget before the election will help to shore up support among Tory-inclined voters, but it is unlikely to have changed the political landscape with a series of announcements that lacked a single populist offering of the nation. Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori, said: “It’s all about six words, ‘long-term economic plan’ and Ed Miliband. It was a case of steady as she goes.” Tom Mludzinski, head of political polling at ComRes, stated that it was not a conventional electioneering statement. “It was upbeat and positive with lots for everybody but not much in the way of instant benefits, nothing that would get an immediate political reward,” he said. Rick Nye, managing director of Populus, added that the Chancellor was trying to woo some key voting groups directly, but the key message was to say to voters that they have a real stake in the success of a second term, Conservative-led government.
Anti-tax avoidance and evasion measures will recoup an extra £3.1bn
George Osborne said £565m will be recouped from British tax evaders by 2019 under new European-wide rules requiring countries to exchange tax information automatically. A total of 51 countries including Britain signed the Common Reporting Standard, which will come into effect from September 2017 with a further 30 countries joining a year later. Mr Osborne also announced measures to clamp down on businesses creating artificial losses to reduce tax and brought forward the closure of the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, which allows tax evaders to avoid prosecution if they confess and pay their tax. Meanwhile, Danny Alexander is due to announce plans for a new offence of ‘corporate failure to prevent economic crime’.
Business rate reward for local growth
Greater Manchester and Cambridge councils will be allowed to keep 100% of any growth of their business rates above existing forecasts and be free to invest this extra yield in new pro-growth economic schemes and infrastructure projects, chancellor George Osborne announced in his Budget. The pilot schemes will be open to other councils too. “Our ambition for a truly national recovery is not limited to building a Northern Powerhouse,” said Mr Osborne. “We back in full the long term economic plans we have for every region.”
The Times, Page: 8 The Guardian, Page: 7
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The personal allowance against Income from the UK for citizens resident abroad.
HMRC had proposed that the personal allowance for non-residents should be abolished.
I am reliably informed that this idea has been shelved.
G. Osborne stated so in the Autumn financial statement.
This does not mean that it may not be reviewed by the next Government after May.
The P.A. is at £10,600. The Chancellor has said that it will rise to £11,000 in two years.
Many British pensioners abroad receive income from sources such as…
The Chartered Institute of Taxation argued strongly against any change. If the personal allowance were abolished many on globally low incomes would be badly hit.
Answer from the EU in reply to the French MEP M. Franck Proust’s question on the WFP put before the EU Parliament.
The Question was - A new rule came into force in the United Kingdom recently to change the conditions qualifying people for the social security benefit known as the ‘winter fuel payment’.
Under these new qualifying conditions, the United Kingdom now makes a distinction between different places where beneficiaries reside; in particular, British citizens living in France no longer live in a qualifying country, unlike those living in a number of other EU Member States.
A British resident in my constituency has quite rightly contacted me, therefore, as owing to the fact that he resides in France, he no longer receives this benefit.
Does this change in British legislation comply with EC law?
The answer –The Commission is aware of the amendments to the UK’s Social Fund Winter Fuel Payment Regulations. The regulations will come into force on 21 September 2015. The Commission services are currently analysing the UK legislation in the light of the EC law.
At least they are working on it! Other correspondents have written to the EU. A petition to the EU is tabled by our team.
Exit from the EU?
This Guardian article reports the views of Dominic Grieve – a Q.C. and Attorney General from 2010-14 . He has an independent kind of mind. He didn’t like the Gay Marriage bill and was sacked from the cabinet (cause?)
His comments have also been reported here
British Citizens can only reside and move without any constraint between countries in the EU because of the treaties between the UK and the EU. No doubt if the ‘Brexit’ should happen, some adjustments would be made- but not without hassle. In my view difficulties would arise.
It is quite deplorable that many most affected [Brits in Europe outside the UK.] would have no say in such a development.
by Brian Cave
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