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Claiming up to 100% of the cost of a delayed flight, or train travel . . . .

Many of us have experienced delays when we travel – anything from a few minutes to a couple of hours. But do we all realise that we can usually claim back the full cost of the ticket if we apply properly and the delay wasn’t down to ‘an act of God’ or something out of control of the carrier ???

Here we set out the more common carriers ‘conditions for refund’ with direct links to the ‘current’ right part of their web sites.



10a4) Unless you are applying for a refund on a lost ticketwe will only make the refund if you first give us the ticketand all unused flight coupons.

10b) Involuntary fare refunds

10b1) We will pay fare refunds as set out below if we:

  • cancel a flight
  • make a significant change to a flight time which is not acceptable to you
  • delay a flight by five hours or more
  • fail to stop at your place of destination or stopover
  • cause you to miss a connecting flight on which you held a confirmed reservation or
  • refuse to carry you because a banning notice is in force against you.



Was your flight with easyJet delayed by 3 hours or more? If so according to European Union’s Regulation EC 261/2004 you may be entitled to receive compensation of over £500 per passenger.

Let our experienced solicitors handle your claim instead of wasting time and money by going after the airline yourself. To start, complete our no obligation online claim form to see how much compensation you are entitled to.

Are you eligible?

  • Did the flight depart from an EU airport, or did you fly on an EU airline to a European destination?
  • Did you fly in the last 6 years?
  • Was the delay due to an airline issue?


30 minute delay entitles you to 50% compensation and over one hour 100%

Delay Repay compensation

If we have delayed your train journey by more than 30 minutes on a Gatwick Express service between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport, regardless of the cause, then Gatwick Express will compensate you for your train travel. You can claim compensation from us under our Delay Repay scheme.

If we have delayed your train journey on one of our Gatwick Express extensions between Gatwick Express and Brighton then you can claim compensation from Southern Railway under their Delay Repay scheme.

How it works

If you have been delayed and wish to claim compensation then you must do so within 28 days of your delayed journey. In order to claim you must provide us with proof of travel.

This could be your original ticket, a ticket receipt or a copy of your season ticket.

You can submit your claim by completing an online Delay Repay form:



Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 09.07.14
100% refund for 30 minute delay

4.3 Compensation for delay

If your journey on Heathrow Express is delayed by more than 15 minutes, you will be entitled to compensation equal to 50% of the Heathrow Express portion of your journey. If your journey on Heathrow Express is delayed by more than 30 minutes, you will be entitled to compensation equal to 100% of the Heathrow Express portion of your journey. Any delays 15 minutes or less will not be entitled to a refund. Applications should be made, detailing the circumstances involved and using the process under 4.2 ‘Method of refund’.


Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 09.09.39
A maximum of 200% of the value of your fare for a four hour delay

33Compensation for Delay

33.1 This paragraph 33 applies where cancellation or delays affecting train services covered by your transport contract with Eurostar mean that you experience a delay between the place of departure and destination under that contract of more than 60 minutes and you do not choose under paragraph 32 either to continue your journey at a later date or to be reimbursed your fare.  This paragraph 33 applies subject to paragraph 35.

33.2 Where this paragraph 33 applies, and the delay occurs on the Eurostar train service, you will have a choice between:

33.2.1 for a delay of 60 – 119 minutes, either a refund of 25% of the fare as required by the PRR or a Eurostar e-voucher (“e-voucher”) for 50% of the fare,

33.2.2 for a delay of 120 – 179 minutes, either a refund of 50% of the fare as required by the PRR or an e-voucher for 100% of the fare.

33.2.3 for a delay of 180 -239 minutes or more, either a refund of 50% of the fare as required by the PRR or an e-voucher for  150% of the fare.

33.2.4   for a delay of 240 minutes or more, either a refund of 50% of the fare as required by the PRR or an e-voucher for 200% of the fare.


Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 09.19.19

How much are you entitled to?

The level of this depends on the length of the delay, as follows:

  • 30-59 minutes delay entitles you to compensation to the value of 50% of the cost of a Single ticket or 50% of the cost of either the outward or return portion of a Return ticket as appropriate; for season tickets and weekly tickets, compensation will be calculated as a proportion of the daily cost of the price of the ticket
  • For delays of over 60 minutes the amount of compensation is doubled to 100% of the cost of the Single ticket or either portion of the Return ticket


Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 09.32.51

1. RIGHT TO COMPENSATION If you are involuntarily denied boarding, your flight is cancelled or your flight is delayed more than 3 hours (provided an exception as specified above does not apply), you are entitled to receive the following amount from us:  € 250 in respect of all flights of 1,500km or less; or  € 400 in respect of all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km, and for all other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km. If we are able to offer you re-routing on an alternative flight and the arrival time of the re-routed flight does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight booked:  by two hours, in respect of all flights of 1,500km or less; or  by three hours, in respect of all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500km, and for all other flights between 1,500km and 3,500km. the compensation set out above will be reduced by 50%. Distances shall be measured by the great circle route method.





ChilternCross CountryDLREast MidlandsEurostarGatwick ExpressGrand Central , Great WesternHeathrow ExpressHull TrainsLondon UndergroundSouth West Trains,  SoutheasternSouthern,  Stansted ExpressThameslink Great NorthernVirgin East CoastVirgin, You must remember that the compensation is only offered on the affected bit of your journey, so your refund will be based on the cost of the single journey, not the cost of a return ticket.


 . . . so the message is; save your ticket, booking information, boarding pass.
Claim quickly and you could receive 200% of the cost of your ticket (but that’s only applies to Eurostar at present)

For deaths on or after 17th August 2015 . . .

by David Anderson

We are dealing with first estates of English people with French property who have died since the new EU Succession Regulation came into full effect in the autumn of 2015.

People are reticent to act as executors of Wills when French land is involved if they are not also the main beneficiaries of the Will.

This is because they now assume personal liability for all the deceased’s debts, taxes and have to give guarantees to buyers when they sell the French property.

The attached article summarises the position. 

This article is for general information only. French law is a highly specialised area and you should only act or refrain from acting after receiving full professional advice on the facts of your particular case.

For deaths on or after 17th August 2015 . . .

. . . the rules on which laws apply to inheritances and the administration of estates in the EU were profoundly changed. Although the UK, Ireland and Denmark are the only countries which did not sign up to this it still applies to UK residents with French property.

The new rules allow you to have a Will applying English law (normally an English Will) to deal with your French estate and you can choose English law to apply to your French property.

An issue which comes up every time a Will is drafted involving French property, is who to appoint as executor of the Will.

In England on death all assets vest in the executor who is responsible for all debts including taxes and who has power to sell assets and who then distributes the estate. In France there is no concept of an English executor as property vests directly in the heirs who are responsible for the payment of debts and taxes direct.

In many cases spouses will appoint each other as executor which is likely to be sensible. However on a second death if children are not to be appointed as executors, solicitors are typically appointed, or appointed as default executors if a child does not want to act.

French notaires have no concept of acting as executors and given the risks of an estate being administered under English law it is unlikely they will accept. Similarly English solicitors will also be wary of being executors of French land and being involved in selling or vesting such land in beneficiaries.


Sykes Anderson Perry solicitors are specialised in this area and will advise testators and executors on the best way forward. In certain cases Sykes Anderson Perry will agree to act as executors.

February 2016

David Anderson

Sykes Anderson Perry Limited    + 44 203 794 5959

148 Sykes Anderson Property Dec15

“A Guide to Mystical France” by travel guide writer Nick Inman

A Guide to Mystical France by travel guide writer Nick Inman is published this month.

Devil collecting souls MontanerHe describes it as “a compendium of all the interesting stories about France that I can’t put into my normal travel guides”. There are many question marks hanging over the history of France, some apparently unanswerable. This book provides a way to think about these questions and explore possible answers.  

Subjects include megaliths, cave paintings, Knights Templars, alchemists, Cathars, Romanesque churches, Gothic cathedrals, the tarot and many others. The emphasis is on illuminating the places you visit and making any journey much more rewarding. France is thick with little known wonders to discover.

The Devil

St Bertrand devil reducedThe Devil (aka Satan or Lucifer) is to be seen everywhere in France. He was the nightmare visitor of the middle ages, often felt or smelt but never seen, and he lingers on in Romanesque stone carvings and frescoes of the Last Judgement. He also pops up in some surprising places such as the holy water stoup at the entrance to Rennes-le-Chateau church.

He is easy to recognise in art by his familiar appearance – horns, tail, fangs, cloven hoof, trident and the smell of sulphur – but these are, of course, all the product of human imaginings and owe more to pagan rather than Christian iconography.Rennes devil reduced

The devil is not all bad if we look at him psychologically and symbolically. He serves an important purpose. He personifies selfishness, vice, injustice, subterfuge and corruption giving us a clear way of thinking about the undesirable, “negative” aspects of human existence.

The devil is really the bringer of awareness with the danger that entails. He tempts but another word for temptation is choice or freewill: to ignore the word of God in the Bible as presented in the teachings of the church and do what you want for your own reasons. The devil could be said to be the voice of intuition rather than obedience; of dissent rather than orthodoxy. Lucifer means “the carrier of light” although this can be taken to mean the light of night that reveals hidden knowledge

Devil's bridge Gensac reducedCuriously, the devil is not always destructive; he is ingenious and he can do the impossible. In this he is almost to be admire. In particular, he is good at building bridges. There are thought to be around fifty “devil’s bridges” around France, even if they are officially called something else. Sometimes the reason for the name is obvious: the bridge looks as if defies gravity and only some supernatural charm could keep it in place.

Usually there is a legend attached to the building of the bridge following a standard narrative pattern. The devil agrees to build a bridge in a single night on condition that he can have the first soul to cross it. The people of the village, who have agreed to this pact, fool the devil out of his reward: either they make a cock crow before daybreak or they drive a mule across the bridge before any person crosses it.

Among the visually appealing “devil’s bridges” are Gensac in Haute-Garonne (south of Toulouse) which looks as if it defies gravity through supernatural charm – and Montolieu south of Foix in the Ariege.


The book includes 240 photographs. There’s a section on the Languedoc in the “where to go” section at the back.

If you want a copy it’s available from Amazon:

or direct from the publisher:

For more information see and

The common link is the way of life of British Citizens across the world . . .

by Brian Cave

 . . . particularly the more elderly, and a call for solidarity.  The solidarity is emphasised by the need for the Vote and a democratic dialogue with Government.

The first matter concerns only the elderly citizens resident in just seven of the EU States – The first two attachments  relate solely to these citizens.

These attachments are on the subject of the Old-Age Benefit known as the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP).
Those of you in many countries beyond the EU know very well that various Governments have imposed restrictions Winter Fuel Paymenton the payments of the State Pension.

This philosophy is spreading to the residents in certain EU States.  So we have this current WFP restriction.  That knowledge surely helps to unite all British Citizens abroad in solidarity for the cause of political awareness and a dialogue between the Citizen and the Government which should recognise the British Nation – the British Citizens across the world- their value and their needs.

Our main cause – Votes – for – Life Bill in Parliament. (and the EU Referendum issue)

This Bill, contrary to my expectation, has not yet appeared.  David Cameron has promised to launch it within this Parliament – that means before May. Time is running out.

Votes for LifeIt central objective will be to remove the 15 year limit on voting. Ostensibly this Bill would eliminate the divisions between British Citizens at home and those abroad.

It could lead the way to a better understanding of the needs of the citizens worldwide as long as the Citizens abroad take up the opportunities to have a dialogue with the politicians at ‘home’.  It is a long hard road but nothing is achieved unless one takes the first steps on the journey.

Why is there a delay in tabling this Bill? It is puzzling. Possibly it is linked with the Referendum.  Perhaps a third of the cabinet are Euro-sceptic.  The euro-sceptics position seems to be that all British Citizens abroad would vote ‘stay-IN’.  May be it is the euro-sceptics who do not want the Votes-for-Life Bill to be hurried through the House. I know that they are mistaken.

I have received several mails from those who live far way from Europe who believe that the UK would be better off out of the EU, freed from EU controls and expenditure. Even some who live within the EU would say NO.  On the other hand  elderly citizens resident in the EU are fearful that could lose their health support and following  the loss of the WFP could even get further restriction on the State pension like our Australian and South African compatriots.

Those far distant citizens who might wish to retire back close to the UK within the EU, might well find that possibility shut off.  Younger professionals and students could find the current flexibility of movement of themselves or of their business, career or services within the EU constrained, and be considered no longer as European citizens.  Without Britain acting as a major controlling influence in the EU (which it has not enthusiastically shown itself  to do so far!),  reforming and guiding change – which is surely needed, some believe that the EU could, State by State, fall apart.

The publication this Tuesday on the relationship of Britain in the EU by Donald Tusk [President EU] brings the need for democratic representation of the British Citizens in the EU into sharp focus.  Many Citizens will have no vote in the Referendum unless there is quick action.
Register to Vote if you can, whatever your opinion – View the third attachment ‘Register to vote’.

Equitable Life saga

This was the main concern of Graham Richards who died about a year ago, and was most helpful in pursuing the Equitable Lifeideals of the Votes for Expat Brits Campaign. The fourth attachment ‘Equitable Brief’ is relevant.  Numerous pensioners have lost fortunes because of this scandal.
A debate in the Commons is being held on the 11th February

Remember lists of MPs are here- if you wish to lobby any of them

Save tax completing at beginning of year

by David Anderson  

This article is for general information only. French law is a highly specialised area and you should only act or refrain from acting after receiving full professional advice on the facts of your particular case. This article is for general information and does not constitute investment advice. Always consult an IFA.

Completing your French property in January rather than December can save buyers money

When you buy or sell a French property there are always two taxes to consider:

  • Taxe foncière which is an annual property ownership tax imposed on the owner, whether or not the property is actually occupied or rented out.
  • Taxe d’habitation which is an annual residence tax imposed on the occupier of a property in which they were resident on 1st January of each year.

What the buyer and seller pay

  • Taxe d’habitation: this is payable the person who lived in the property on 1st January. It is not apportioned on sale. So, if a sale takes place on 10th January, the seller pays the full tax for the whole year. The buyer pays nothing for that year.
  • Taxe foncière: This is apportioned between the seller and buyer. For example, if the sale takes place on April 1, the seller pays the first three months and the buyer the rest..

 When to complete?

It depends on whether you are the buyer or seller.

  • Taxe d’habitation : If the sale is planned for the end of the year, it is best for a seller to complete before the 1st January. This way the seller does not pay the taxe for the whole year. Buyers should delay completing until early January as they will then have almost a whole year tax free. If the buyer delays completion then the seller on 1st January should ensure the property is completely empty i.e. that there is no furniture and that it is not habitable, in which case the tax is not payable. You will need to prove this and can do so inter alia by asking the municipal police to visit your property the 1st January. The police report should be sent to the tax authority when you receive the demand.
  • Taxe foncière : It’s better for the seller to complete the sale after having received the tax demand for the year of sale (issued in September/October). This is because the amount of the taxe foncière generally increases year on year.

February 2016

David Anderson

Sykes Anderson Perry Limited Solicitors London    + 44 203 794 5959 

148 Sykes Anderson Property Dec15

Guide To Buying Property In France: Finding Your Ideal Property With Home Hunts

by Tim Swannie

533708_num1125028_600x600Buying any type of property or land in France is strictly regulated and navigating your way through the property buying process can be somewhat daunting. For this reason Home Hunts have put together adefinitive guide to buying property in France to help offer you advice through every step of this process. This installment looks at how to identify the type of property you are interested in.


Top Tip: For the vast majority of our clients, location is the number one priority when searching for their French property. We always recommend that our clients spend time locally and visit the area as many times as they can. It is so important that you really get to know the local towns and villages and all of the amenities they have to offer.

For example, a village can have a very different feel on a sunny market day compared to a Tuesday evening in spring time. Visit local restaurants, go shopping, while away a couple of hours sat on a terrace outside a local café and get to know some of the locals to really get a better feel for the neighbourhood.

Information on French property is abundant in magazines and websites so it is very easy to get an idea of the type of properties available and their prices before you actually start your search. Having a clear idea of the type of property you are looking for and its location within France will help make the property hunt a lot easier. Things you need to consider include:

533708_num1125026_600x600Location and Property Type

Think carefully about the location and type of property that will be most suitable for you. Take into consideration whether it will be your main residence, holiday home, rental property or an investment for the future.

Identify what you want from your ideal property

Make a list of the most important elements: location, purchase price, overall size and number of rooms. Ask yourself what you really want out of your property. Do you want a cave (cellar)? Is a garage important? Would you prefer a garden, terrace or balcony? Do you want to live in a lively town or the countryside? These considerations will keep you on the right track to finding your ideal property.

Condition of Property

The condition of a property is also an important consideration. There are certain types of properties that are not 533708_num1125027_600x600acceptable for mortgage – property should be classed as habitable, meaning structurally sound.

The property should also have electricity, mains water and sewerage systems that conform to the current regulations. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to raise mortgage finance on buildings constructed of wood, stone cabanons (hut), derelict barns and properties with agricultural land. In addition, some lenders will not accept properties that have been registered for commercial use, such as gîtes and chambres d’hôtes (self-catering holiday accommodation and bed & breakfast businesses).

New Build or Renovation?

Buying to renovate or build a new property demands careful pre-planning. Certain French building regulations are533708_num1125025_600x600 very different from other countries and permission has to be granted from the local mairie (town hall). Detailed applications must be completed for the certificat d’urbanisme (certificate of town planning and urban development) as well as other documents, which state what developments are permitted on the property and its land.

You will need the advice of an expert, such as an architect or surveyor, and if you are relying on mortgage finance for renovation work then this will have to be completed by a registered artisan (tradesperson). Correct insurances that cover the work are the essential guarantees required by the bank or lender.

Which currencies are having a “duvet day”?

image008Welcome to the Weekly Market Analysis, as the UK endures “National Sickie Day”. The first Monday in February is traditionally the worst day for worker absenteeism as the Christmas bills roll in and the days are shorter and darker, costing businesses about £34 million in wages and lost productivity.

However, the employee who stayed home because they’d “just put a pie in the oven” is to be commended for using Cockney rhyming slang to accidentally reveal the flimsiness of their excuse. But we’re all in the office today, so please get in touch if there’s anything we can help you with.

Yet another Super Thursday ahead for the pound

Sterling got a bit of a boost last week, rising a little off recently-struck seven-year lows, although gains were capped by the Bank of England’s warning that it may hold interest rates for the rest of the year because of risks facing the UK economy.

The pound added two cents against the US dollar by Friday, before sinking later in the session as the Greenback rallied. It was a similar story for the pound against the euro: although it remains barely a cent off its 12-month low, the pound is now trending a little higher from the troughs of 20/21 January. Sterling slid steadily lower against the Aussie dollar to end the week down 1%, but rose to its best level in a month against the weaker Japanese yen (more on that later!).

The start of February means the triple bill of Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reports for the UK economy, with the manufacturing data first out today (Monday, 1 February), followed by construction and service sector figures on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Attention shifts to the Bank of England later in the week because it’s Super Thursday, when the central bank will announce its interest rate decision and release its inflation reports. Governor Mark Carney will also hold a press conference following the meeting.

US non-farm payrolls report could aid surging Greenback

The dollar experienced a surge late last week when the Bank of Japan unexpectedly chose to adopt negative interest rates, just as US gross domestic product figures came in broadly in line with expectations.

The US economy grew by 2.4% in 2015, with growth of 0.7% in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said. The Greenback leapt 2% against the Japanese yen in Friday’s session and added nearly 1% against the euro and the Swiss franc. However, the euro was up close to half a cent for the week as the chances of more interest rate rises by the Federal Reserve this year dwindled.

ISM’s manufacturing and service sector PMIs will be in focus this week as investors search for more clues about the state of the real economy in the US. Then on Friday it’s all eyes on the monthly non-farm payrolls report – the report is used as a weather vane by traders, the health of the labour market is key to future interest rate decisions.

Messy data sets give euro mixed signals

The euro was slightly higher against the dollar, but fell against the pound as a mixed set of Eurozone reports offered traders no clear signals. German retail sales fell 0.2% in December, well below expectations, while Spain’s GDP rose by a healthy 0.8%. Inflation data on Friday (29 January) showed prices rose 0.4% in January after a 0.2% gain in December. Like other majors, the euro jumped higher against the weak yen to a one-month high.

European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi is doing the rounds this week with testimony in the European parliament today (1 February) and a speech in Frankfurt on Thursday. German factory orders out on Friday will be the main data event to watch.

Devalued yen just what the banker ordered

The yen plummeted in value on Friday, 29 January, though the sharp loss in value was the intention of the Bank of Japan when it unexpectedly announced the adoption of negative interest rates.

The yen dropped 2% against the US dollar and by more than 1% against the euro as the central bank said it would charge 0.1% interest on a portion of current account deposits banks held with it, and indicated it would reach further into negative territory if necessary. The BoJ was forced to act after inflation was just 0.1% in 2015 – despite its massive asset-purchase programme now being three years old.

It’s now the fervent hope of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (who lost his economy minister on 28 January to allegations of bribery and corruption) that the enfeebled yen will attract big businesses back to Japan, and that they’ll bring investment, jobs and exports along with them.

Have an excellent week.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 23.07.27

Ryanair now flying from Toulouse (Blagnac) to Madrid, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin, Fez, Malta & Stansted

COMMID031V502F4V_2_mod-photos-aeroport-FacadeCoteVille02-9373Ryanair, Europe’s favourite airline, today (26 Jan) announced its first flights at Toulouse Blagnac (its 32nd French airport) with 7 routes to/from Berlin, Brussels, Fez, London, Madrid, Malta and Warsaw from November 2016, which will deliver 600,000 new customers p.a. and support 450* “on-site” jobs at Toulouse Airport.

Ryanair’s Toulouse operations will deliver:

  • 7 new routes
  • Madrid (2 x dly), Brussels (dly), London (dly), Berlin (4 pw), Fez (2 pw), Malta (2 x pw) & Warsaw (2 x pw)
  • 38 weekly flights
  • 600,000 customers p.a.
  • 450* “on site” jobs p.a.

In Toulouse, Ryanair’s CCO David O’Brien said:

“Ryanair is pleased to announce our first flights to/from Toulouse, our 32nd French airport, with 7 new routes to Berlin, Brussels, Fez, London, Madrid, Malta and Warsaw from November 2016 onwards, which will deliver 600,000 customers p.a. at Toulouse Airport and support 450 jobs.

Our low fare services will be ideal for both business and leisure customers and we rya_1021027_500x272plook forward to growing routes, traffic and tourism in Toulouse in the coming months and years. Our customers can also look forward to new aircraft interiors, new uniforms and more new routes, under our “Always Getting Better” programme, as we continue to offer so much more than just the lowest fares.

To celebrate our new routes from Toulouse we are releasing over 100,000 seats on sale at prices from just €19.99 for travel in March, April and May, which must be booked by Thursday (28 Jan). Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto and avoid missing out.”

Jean-Michel Vernhes, President of Aéroport Toulouse-Blagnac said:

“The arrival of Ryanair at Toulouse-Blagnac confirms the strategic orientations of our airport, which relies on the growth of low cost traffic. Ryanair is the heavyweight in the low cost sector which hitherto lacked in Toulouse, and its presence will strengthen the supply of low-cost leisure destinations in Europe. This is certainly good news for the people of Toulouse and the inhabitants of the new region, which will have an even wider offer to travel around Europe with direct flights.”




- See more at:

Up Close and Personal with Dean Friedman

by Moira Martingale

It’s six years since Dean’s first songwriting course with French House Party. Everyone agreed it was phenomenal. As the summers passed, the event has grown … erm … phenomenal-ler.   (that’s enough made-up words – Ed)

9b39ab0e-3b28-466f-ae17-6dd52c5b7ef1Not only for the songwriters lucky enough to get a place on this residential course but for a wider audience – because a highlight of the weekend is Dean’s al fresco gig when the team takes the piano outside and, with our local sound and lights man, Eddie Castellan, we set up Dean’s ‘stage’ in the garden, then throw open the gates to non-residents.

Fairy-lights are strewn in the trees and cafe tables scatter the lawn, so that the audience can be served supper as they watch a musical legend in action.  And, modesty aside, the FHP ‘dream-team’, as we were dubbed last summer, does a great supper too.

The 50 to 80 attendees range from die-hard Friedman fans so thrilled he’s playing annually in France that even a 150 km round-trip doesn’t faze them, to others (almost always under-40s) who don’t even know the words to Lucky Stars, poor suckers.

But the concert-question which Dean and I addressed six years ago was: what if it RAINED? What would we do then?  And in the best tradition of cheesy showbiz parody the answer was, hey guys, let’s do the concert right here in the house!

Umm – 70 people? No problem, we said. It’s an open-plan house with a raised dias for a stage, wide spaces for chairs and even a ‘dress circle’:  overlooking the piano is the mezzanine floor with railings. We could manage to seat 70, definitely.

c86fd2c9-54c2-4d4b-b8ab-76841bd1957eOK, Dean and I agreed, that was the precipitation plan. But it won’t rain. No, it won’t. And during the years that followed, it never did.  July evenings are always warm and wonderful in south-west France. Rain? No chance.

Except that in 2015, sandwiched between days of sweltering sunshine, there was just one day when a deluge of Biblical proportions descended. No prizes for guessing it was the day of Dean’s gig.

The team brought Plan B into action.  One of us was a bit like a headless chicken during the mission to bring 50-odd people inside (and serve them supper), but I’ll give you a clue: it sure wasn’t the pianist, who was as laidback as ever.

0c4fde48-57c9-4ac7-9f9f-ecce2f12d424Plan B turned out to be a triumph. Dean said he loved the intimacy of performing to people only a matter of feet away whose reactions to his songs he could see without being blinded by spotlights.  And they were delighted to watch Dean Friedman’s show in someone’s front room.

This year, the concert will be on Saturday 30 July. No rain-dances, please.

Dean Friedman’s Songwriting Course operates from 29 July to 1 August, 2016.

US dollar weathers the storm, but can it survive a gloomy Fed?

By Currencies Direct


Storm Jonas failed to snow-in the Greenback, so instead direction for the dollar will come from interest rate policy discussions this week. The Federal Reserve is not expected to make any changes when it meets this Thursday, 28 January.

The Greenback remains strong after interest rates were raised at the end of last year, but the Fed could raise concerns about the economic outlook for both the US and the world in general. If the Fed sounds pessimistic, we might expect the markets to treat the dollar with more caution.

Iraq contributes to oil oversupply fears

Another factor in the US dollar’s drop was falling oil prices. Oil shed another 3% after Iraq confirmed record-high oil production of 4 million barrels of crude a day over the course of December 2015.
Were Iraq (which is promising to boost its production even further this year) a member of OPEC it would be the organisation’s second-biggest producer – which is no doubt why OPEC’s secretary-general, Abdullah al-Badri, is urging both OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers to “work together to tackle oversupply” and keep oil prices supported.

Euro starts the week on the back foot against Sterling

The euro lost out against several currencies over recent days, but it made modest gains against the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc. After the European Central Bank’s policy meeting last Thursday, 21 January, the euro took a knock from worries over policy action the ECB plans for March.

The pound-to-euro rate improved slightly last week, though it remains much lower than the best exchange rates available in 2015. This was partly as a result of the Eurozone’s private sector data failing to meet forecasts, which lead to European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi confirming his intent to take action at the March meeting.

The damage done to the euro is nowhere near as it was after that now-infamous meeting back in October 2015, when the euro shed 3.05% against the US dollar. Even so, it’s a less-than-stellar starting point for the euro as it heads into the week, so watch the pound closely to see if it can make up any more ground against it this week.

Sterling is also in recovery mode after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney weakened the pound last week when he announced that there’ll be no interest rate rise this year. His comments also underlined the uncertainty of the global economy in general.

Haruhiko Kuroda: “No limits”

More easing could be in store for the Japanese yen after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) confirmed that it would not hesitate to adjust policy if it needs to in order to reach its 2% target. BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told Bloomberg that the BoJ faces “no limitations” when it comes to quantitative easing.

There is also the chance that the BoJ may increase its policy stimulus at its policy meeting this coming Friday, 29 January, which could have a knock-on effect on trading.
Have a fantastic week.

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