Saturday, 23 August 2014

Chas and Anna have puppies

Bj Val
 Donc qui est integré?
 Et oui, j'ai amelioré le race de Border Collie exclusivement pour le travail de troupeau par 8, il y a 10 jours.
Val says Charles whose French is " pas mal" has just had puppies, 8 border collies 10 days ago. These are champion dogs not the run of the mill mutts. Pictures please Charles.

Phishing emails still about

Hi Val
Just had an e-mail pretending to be from “Service Impots-Public” which includes the following text:
-Apres les derniers calculs annuels de l'exercice de votre activite,
Nous avons determinez que vous etes admissibles a recevoir un remboursement de 359.80 Euro

It then goes on to ask you to click a link and presumably divulge all your bank details.
As I am not a French taxpayer, apart from property taxes, I knew immediately it was “phishing” and it seems that similar versions of this one have been around for years.
I just thought you might want to post a reminder to be on the look out for this sort of thing.
Best wishes

A different mind set about pets

6 French people who all think pets, dogs and cats should live outside and not come in the house.
An English and Dutch couple who both have cats and dogs in the house and enjoy the cuddles.
Just one of the differences highlighted the other evening at aperos.
I know Charles and Anna keep their very happy dogs outside and have cosy kennel areas, and we certainly have 2 cats who live outside ( wish we could get them to come in )
I am not saying it is bad, just different.

I added that about C& A as I know how they feel about animals being soppy pets, theirs are working dogs, possibly with pups?
Comments to

Politician decides to talk less, shock!

Jean-Luc Melenchon has decided to step down from co-president of the Front de Gauche party he founded in 2009. His far left group (which seems to share some economic policies with the Front National) does not support the government but fared very badly in the local and European elections.
He thinks that his high profile has diminished the impact of his message so has decided to withdraw to concentrate on thinking more and speaking less. Probably an example more politicians could profitably follow.
comments to

Yoga teacher holds classes. Sent by Kim Ilsley

HI everyone hope you have all had a fabbie summer with lots of fun,friends
and family. Lassalle will be open on the 15 Sept starting on monday 10.00
until 11.30 with Yoga for all. Paul Reilly(originally from Bristol,England)
has been practising Iyengar yoga for over 20 years and teaching since 2000.
The principle of Iyengar yoga is to start with the 'asanas' or postures in
order to improve our physical wellbeing whilst developing an awareness of
the mind and breath. The 'asanas' are taught precisely and corrected to
improve basic structural alignment and extension.
Props are used if necessary to achieve a posture which we can maintain
long enough to recieve the maximum benefits. A period of deep relaxation
takes place after the sequence of postures which can be intense at times.
This is of great benefit especially for relieving stifffness whilst
strengthening and balancing the body and its immune and nervous systems.

The first class will be free for you to try and after that 12 euros for a
drop in or 100 for 13 classes. ( finishes on Dec 22nd and no class on 17)
Val says can someone send contact details?
Comments to

A letter from the grave

Jean-Marie Sevrain, 68, who lives in the eastern Vosges region, said he was left speechless when he received a letter last month informing him that he had died more than four years earlier.
The letter said he was not eligible for a refund of 23 euros for a routine visit to his GP to renew a prescription for anti-diabetes medicine “because of my death on the 4th of January 2010”.
“When I got the letter, I thought I was dreaming, then my wife and I started laughing,” he said. “The strangest thing was that I was supposed to be dead but the letter said I could appeal if I wanted to.”

Might be worth reading this article by Frederic Raphael in the Telegraph

Remember that you’re the foreigner abroad

If expats want to keep in with the locals, it’s probably best to play by their game


Val says  and their rules are different, we ignore them at our peril. No good saying " but this is what we do in the UK" We are not in the UK and perhaps if you think like that you should not be here.
Actually it is quite a fun game sussing out the rules.
When I read this article I thought Frederic was not really playing by the rules. When he built the wall I think with the neighbour so against it, we would have decided not to pursue it I am sure. What do you think? ... and sorry to those who wish I had given a link straightaway, after all it is my duty to tear you away from the Daily Mail!

More champagne this year

Despite the morose weather it seems that predictions for the vendange vary enormously from area to area. We had contradictory reports from Fronton and Montauban last week and this morning Telematin reported that the Champagne recolte would be up about 20% (though no reduction in price forecast). Bordeaux may be good, but Languedoc and especially Burgundy were badly hit by storms and may be well down, especially some of the top-end Burgundy wines.
comments to

A new book on interesting houses of old Albi

The art of colombages, wood and brick forming an interesting decorative marquetry is in evidence here at maison Enjalbert, at the angle of the rue des Pénitants and the rue de la Timbal. 
 Gérard Alquier has written a book on hotels and houses of  Veil - Alby. ( Veil - Alby is the quartier/ area)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Yoga, a weeks course, starting tomorrow

Hi Val
With a small group of friends, we are doing a 5 day yoga course, beginners level, starting tomorrow. Due to illnes, two people have had to cancel, so we have an opening for two others to join in! There will be five two hour classes in the morning from saturday untill wednesday, after which we will have lunch together at alternating places. If anybody is interested in discovering yoga, no matter what age you are or how fit you feel, you are welcome! For more information please contact me at

Golden oriole in the figs

The figs are ready and all the birds have sent out the message. Figs at Mas del Sol, plums nearly finished, peche de vigne mostly gathered in, grapes are protected but yes the figs are delicious.

I will never get a photo of the golden oriole on them, so I googled  a picture of one.
Blackbird-sized the male has an unmistakable bright yellow body with black wings. A secretive bird which keeps to the high tree canopy, it can be heard, most often at dawn, giving its distinctive fluting whistle. It flies rather like a thrush - slightly undulating flight.
This little chap eating cherries slightly throws you, but imagine he is tucking in to figs
Comments to

A few things to do this week

As the season ends and "la rentrée" looms up the calendar seems less charged than in recent weeks. But some villages are still "en fete" with the usual events. Here are a few T&G happenings which may interest you and your visitors.

Saturday  23 August

Bruniquel: Fete Medieval aux Chateaux. From 10am children's games and demonstrations of life in a
                  medieval camp; archery, cookery etc.
                 9pm Danses manouches.
Sunday 24 August

Bruniquel: medieval camp still open. Entry 6euros, free to under 5

Tuesday 26 August

Caylus: marche gourmand 7pm

Wednesday 27 August

Bruniquel: open air cinema - Les 400 coups of Francois Truffaut 9.30pm

Thursday 28th August
Folk 'n' Jazz at La Contie

St Antonin: Guided walking tour in English. 10.45am at the Office de Tourisme .5 euros

Friday 29 August

Caussade: Weekend of fetes, including fairground.
Negrepelisse: Fete auto/moto : All day expositions of vehicles, exchange of parts, models, marking
                      the 80th anniversary of Traction Citroen. 500 old vehicles and motos on Sunday.
                      info on
Varen: petanque at the Bar des Sports. 2.30pm, followed by a free concert.

Saturday 30 August

Varen: Traditional dances under the market hall. 8pm Free. Animated by Sanguenitou.

St Antonin
Cinema at Le Querlys

Saturday 5pm Boyhood. VO English.
Sunday 5pm Planes2. Animated dubbed into French
Sunday 8.30pm Boyhood
Monday 5pm and 8.30 pm Boyhood
Tuesday 5pm Planes 2
Tuesday 8.30pm Qu'est qu'on a fait au bon dieu! French comedy.
Wednesday 4pm and 8.30pm Comrades (NB early start.) VO English. 3 hour film about
                   "Tolpuddle  Martyrs"


Saturday 30 August
5pm Qu'est qu'on a fait au bon dieu!
8.30 pm Comrades

ideas to

Apology to Charley

Bonjour Charley,
 je m'excuse d'avoir dire que votre cafe semble "unfriendly".  C'etais une impression donné par l'affiche disais gardez chiens chez vous. Ce n'etais pas clair que vous parlais des chiens du village en liberté, et que des clients avec des chiens bien tenu en laisse serent bienvenu.  C'est triste, c'est toujours les gens pas responsable qui faisais des choses difficile pour les autres.
Excusez moi mes ereurs français,
cordialement, Jeannine  
Val says thats the way to do it, well done Jeannine.
Jeannine says 
"sorry for saying your cafe seemed unfriendly. It was an impression given by the poster saying no dogs at the cafe. It was not clear that you were talking of village dogs and that dogs on a leash were welcome. It is sad that is always people who do not take responsibility cause difficulties for others."
Comments to

Germans no longer shunned in France

Last night at the aperos with French neighbours after the talk of the dancing and singing at Mas del Sol at the liberation of the area from the Germans, talk turned to our Germans, Walter and Renata.
Twenty odd years ago this couple both fluent French speakers bought the neighbours house at Mas del Sol. They sold it a year ago to our young French neighbours.
 If you are reading Walter and Renata, your ears should be burning as everyone had good happy stories about you and your twenty years spent on holidays here.
 Josef misses his invitations to eat when Walter was here on his own and the two men ate and drank royally together.
 Norbert says he learnt a few German words just listening to Walter doing jobs, possibly swear words. Michel Vallet remembered you both with affection.
It is good that 50 years after the liberation there was no animosity felt to German nationals then.
The couple probably had, as we English and Dutch do now,  to work hard to make themselves accepted.
Walter and Renata proved to me last night that it can be done.( but it might take twenty years)
I left the evening with my arm in Palmyre's ( Malc had been playing bridge) a very elderly lady who takes some getting round but I seem to be getting there and she complimented me on my improved French as we bisoued goodnight
Comments to

Those who do not like my caring for all people, give this post a miss.

Bardot’s support of National Front head Marine Le Pen hasn’t wavered a bit since backing her in the 2012 presidential election, if anything it’s grown stronger.
In an interview with Paris Match that hit the web this week, the 1960s fashion and cinema icon who's since become an animal rights activist said: “I hope she saves France, she is the Joan of Arc of the 21st century.”
Val says sorry to those who do not like my politics, but I despair that anyone could agree with the policies of hate and racists and anti-Semitic views put forward by the FN party and Marine Le Pen.
What am I saying, I am not sorry at all and will continue to fight  any degrading of status of any human being, whatever the colour or religious persuasion. 
Is this a rant?

Cayriech, a pretty village near Caussade, and a near murder

Yesterday a man was found 200 yards from the edge of the camping ground at the pretty village of Cayriech. He had been shot in the arm with a hunting rifle, and apparently the aggressor was trying to kill him. 
The victim was found by a passer by, taken to hospital where he has had his arm amputated. The aggressor has been caught and is being held.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

70 years ago yesterday there was a victory dance at Mas del Sol

Tonight we were invited for aperos to the young  neighbours over the road. They had also invited all the French people who lived in the vicinity.
A previous owner of Mas del Sol  was there. He said he had been told by very elderly people in the  coin / corner, that on the day the Germans left the area, a  celebration dance was held in the courtyard of Mas del Sol.
 All the farmers and agriculteurs from round about came and celebrated, singing and dancing Oh! how I would have loved photos of that. I will try and delve more into this story.
Val says again I have just agreed with Malc in 10 years time we will have a victory celebration in the courtyard as a commemoration. Malc says " but I will be 80" not to worry say I, you've never been able to dance but you can sing. Book your celebration dance tickets now !!! ( joke)
Comments to

Life jackets and right of way.

Life jackets; we have two you can have on loan for next year. We can leave them with Val and Malcolm in advance of the Regatta (we're second homers), and return them to us after please.

Right of way; where was M le Maire in all this? Would guarantee if it happened in Le Riols, small commune though it is, informed, sensible discussion and advice would have been available.


Val says thanks Liz. 
On the right of way, it is amazing that the notaire did not make the servitude clear but how often do people just not understand even if they are told.
Comments to

Autumn plant swap and charity gardening book sale

September 15th
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Debbie's (Metse, Les Espiemonts, Caylus 82160)
 Autumn plant swap plus charity book sale, which includes 100 gardening books in English.

For more details contact Debbie of LeJardins des Espiemonts.
Comments to

Ça bouge à Verfeil

TAG has reported on the eco village in Verfeil before. An interesting idea where a small community of eco houses are being built to form an interesting eco commune.
The site is over 3 hectares and is 500 metres from the village. There are currently 5 families living there, 8 adults ( aged from 30 to 60 ) and 5 children. There are 2 hectares still available to join in with this collective management scheme, with a community hall, a collective garden and organic sewage. The rules of life are made up as and when, as the project and the groups advance. To know more look at
Comments to

A relaxed lunch at Charley's at Verfeil

Poor old Charley, he is actually not old and is such a nice fellow. He is a TAG reader and was so upset by Jeannine's comment about his unfriendly looking establishment.
He did have a terrible trouble with village dogs which all us regulars knew about, so he put up the notice in the street which he thought was a non aggressive way to solve the situation. He is a " stay cool " person and I think he would get on very well with Jeannine and her dog on the lead if they ever met. ( I have never met Jeannine but she sounds nice as she rescued 3 horses)
I notice the poster has been removed and there was a lovely golden retriever with owners having lunch with no concerns.
Keep up the good work Charley and ladies, yours is a well loved restaurant of the area and with no hint of unfriendliness.
Comments to

At least 8 life jackets needed for next year.

At the regatta at anyone time we have 8 people on the water 2 to each of 4 canoes.
We have two life jackets which I could not find for yesterday but have found now.
We have a year to find others. There must be TAG readers who have them and could loan us them for the day and perhaps others who no longer need them.
Why am I asking?
Today we met the retired postmaster at Varen who is now a reporter for the Depeche (a grand title which he thrives on) He said he was concerned that if he sent his photos to the Depeche next year the Gendarmes would come and close down the event as no one was wearing life jackets.
I thought there is an easy answer to this which is to get life jackets for everyone. A good safety measure which will  also save any trouble.
So get looking readers, search the attics for serviceable life jackets.
Life jackets to

One of Davina's rams which are for sale

A new twist to the bricked-up neighbours story

You may have read the story below villagers support harassed couple; it seems that it was even more shocking than we thought. I imagine that many would have simply thought, trouble with French neighbours, nothing new there. But in fact the litigious neighbours are British. The couple, called Dunlop, bought their house after the Dysons and probably should have known that the Dysons house has a right of passage to its own front door, as it has had for 150 years.
It seems that an increasingly bitter legal battle has ensued, including appeals by the Dunlops to the Scottish courts (not sure what jurisdiction they would have) and the European Court of Human Rights. Eventually they took their own action and bricked up the Dyson's door and windows!
The villagers have set up a support committee "for as long as necessary" and tore down the offending bricks. The Dunlops have not been available for comment.
comments to

4 Mouton Ouessant lawnmowers for sale

4 Mouton Ouessant lawnmowers for Sale.
I have four ouessant sheep for sale. The ouessant breed is an old rare french breed who are the smallest breed of sheep in the world. Generally black with a small percentage of white.
I have 4 black rams for sale who are good friends. I am unable to sell them for breeding as they stand 52cm tall rather than the standard 50cm.
They are very hardy and will eat everything and anything you give them and as long as they have access to shelter they will be happy!
Very friendly, easy to handle, will come and eat out of your hand. Used to dogs and cats and very easy to look after.
They are also used to being on harnesses during the daytime to graze those areas hard to fence.
Comments to

Should I have stayed at home ?

After a busy, if not responsible, morning at the Regatta, the sub editor accepted an invitation to play in the nocturne de petanque at Varen. Teaming up with Andy Clench, the no 1 son of David and Joyce, I was not surprised to find only about 20 competitors as these events seem to have lost popularity in the last few years. In the hey days of the Verfeil nocturnes when I was assistant secretary, we would have 50-60 players taking part under the floodlights. Sadly Vefeil petanque club is defunct and Varen may be going the same way.
That said, we had a very convivial evening. Andy is very integrated into the village life and all the players know him, whereas I have only played there rarely (and not at all this year) and was only recognised by the old regulars. I was especially gratified that the maire of Varen said how impressed he was with the regatta participation and especially how much he had enjoyed the Picnic in the Park at Mas del Sol - "je me suis régalé", he said.
What about the petanque, you ask. Frankly, we (meaning me) were rubbish, losing all 3 parties fairly comprehensively. So, should I have stayed at home? Andy may think so, but I enjoyed the evening, even the ribbing that les anglais traditionally endure. If readers like to play petanque I urge you to try an evening at a nocturne, it can be fun and you could end up with French friends and a few euros in winnings.
Malc sub editor
comments to

Another 10 euros needed, we are nearly there.

Dear Malcolm and Val,
Please add another 10 euros to the canoe fund from us. We are also looking for a megaphone or tannoy for next year. If anyone has one perhaps they could get in touch. 

Val and Peter
We can be contacted at
Val says
For those who have offered money towards the canoe please send it direct to Sautou care of 
Jean Marie and Winnie Nosal
Via Sahel Enfants d' Afrique
Domaine de Sautou 
and make out the cheque to  Via Sahel Enfants d' Afrique
Many thanks
Comments to

Ram pump for sale

RAM PUMP for sale
This amazing little pump will lift water uphill a huge distance without any electrity.
Can be used to lift water from a river or source upto a 1km.

It is fully automated and once primmed will continue working and will deliver upto 3000lts of water per day until stopped.
I used it to deliver water from a source uphill 300m into a resevoir and it worked beautifully. Not complicated to set up; I am a woman and did it myself!
Price is 250€. Also have pipework to go with.
Thanks Val.
Comments to

Another 10 euros towards the canoe for the regatta

Hi Val,
Read the posts and saw pics of the Varen Regatta which I enjoyed. Reminded me of the fact that I sold my son's kayak via TagonLine  to one of your readers. Would like to donate € 10 to the canoe you intend to buy. Please tell me to whom cheque should be made out to and where to send it. By the way, it was lovely to meet you at the Festival d'Art International de Parisot. 
Elly Wright

Alzheimer 82

Bonjour Mme JOHNSTONE,
Je vous prie de trouver ci-joint la nouvelle lettre trimestrielle de France Alzheimer 82.
Vous voudrez bien la transmettre à Mme WALSH et Messieurs TIPETT,CURTIS, HONEY, SWEETING qui ont généreusement effectué des dons à notre association par votre intermédiaire.
Si vous le voulez, vous pouvez me communiquer l’adresse mel de ces personnes, afin que nous puissions leur adresser directement des informations.
Bien cordialement,
Président de FRANCE ALZHEIMER 82
Val says I am delighted to receive this communication from Alzheimers 82( the first one) and I will pass on email addresses as requested.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Mas del Sol in the Midi Pyrenees is the best place to live in France, I told you so.

THE MIDI-PYRENEES is the best place to live in France, according to the fourth annual “Better Life Index”, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The region scored 7.82 out of 10 across a range of 11 “well-being criteria”, including employment, health, the environment, education, civic engagement, access to services, and public safety.

The score puts the Midi-Pyrenees on a par with southern Sweden, Umbria in Italy and Madrid.

The full list of French regions is as follows:

1 Midi-Pyrenees (7.82/10)
2 Limousin (7.77/10)
3 Pays de la Loire (7.71/10)
4 Bretagne (7.70/10)
5 Poitou-Charentes (7.56/10)
6 Île-de-France (7.55/10)
7 Aquitaine (7.54/10)
8 Rhône-Alpes (7.47/10)
9 Auvergne (7.46/10)
10 Basse Normandie (7.42/10)
11 Centre (7.30/10)
12 Bourgogne (7.22/10)
13 Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (7.10/10)
14 Franche-Comté (7.05/10)
15 Alsace (6.99/10)
16 Languedoc-Roussillon (6.91/10)
17 Lorraine (6.85/10)
18 Haute Normandie (6.84/10)
19 Champagne-Ardenne (6.68/10)
20 Picardie (6.49/10)
21 Nord-Pas-de-Calais (6.01/10)
22 Corsica (5.66/10)
 - See more in the 
Val says  We all know it is true, what better place could we live. In the list they have missed out BEAUTY of the region. The Midi Pyrenees is beautiful.
Malc says and the OECD is an important organisation
Comments to

Indian poolside candlelit dinner

Dear all

We will be hosting an Indian Poolside/Candlelit Dinner as a prelude to the Fireworks at Peyrusse Le Roc on Saturday 6thSeptember 2014. Please see the attached invitation.

Please note that this event will be held outside on the decking by the pool unless the weather is inclement and it will be held inside.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon.  More information to follow

Sara & Sharon
Spiced Cuisine

Musique a Milhars

Dear Malcolm & Valerie-
When you have a (comparatively )quiet  moment will you please put the attached announcement on Taglines. Le Tinal is the old vaulted wine cellar underneath the chateau . The accoustic is ideal for chamber music  but the parking is not exactly handy. The parking  is well-marked and on the left  as one drives up to the chateau. Le Tinal is a short but steep road climb from there.
Thanks and love,

I think these ladies also enjoyed it.

Hi Val,
 Thanks to both you and Malcolm for helping us through our initiation period, I hope we performed well.
 I will contribute 10 euros for your new canoe.
 The extra carambars and packets of sweets were shared around with the French campers. How is that for "integration"?. The four girls took them around.
 Good day had by all,
 Do you know when the article will be in the papers?
 ps we have the young man, Tony working in the garden at the moment. A good find. Pity he is leaving soon.

Celia Berry

Val says - you were both brilliant and the organisation was as good if not better than when we ran it, and  a lovely gesture to the French campers.
Thanks for the 10 euro donation, only another 30 to go. Remember the grandchildren will be able to use the canoes when they are here on holiday.
Finally we had a reporter from the Depeche there on the day so I will let you all know when the article is in that paper.

Happy memories of the day in photographs, taken by Malc

Junior heat starts
Tired finalists

Greg abandons ship and does a victory splash
Comments to

Save the Varenly Regatta

We need 4 canoes to keep the Regatta afloat. Malc and I own two and are in charge of a third belonging to Roger. The fourth was put up for sale this morning with a proviso that whoever bought it had to let it be used for the regatta.
This worried me as three others bought when we got ours originally over 11 years ago have gradually disappeared from the scene for various reasons.
So no messing about,  I said we would buy it at a cost of 50 euros to be given to Via Sahel.( thanks to Alan and Caroline for thinking of that)
I will put in 10 euros and am asking for contributions towards the canoe, which can then be used by any of the contributors to practise for the regatta.
We will then safely have the canoes all of the same handicap for this very popular annual event.
There were more than 100 people on the day  cheering on teams, having picnics or eating at the Moulin.
Donations however small to
Stealing the show, Geoff and Frank, photograph by Peter Hughes

Winners of the Junior race

Abigail Rust and Ed Mannion were winners of the Junior racing and are this years 2014 winners.
Well done.
Comments to
Abagail and Ed  photographed by Peter Hughes

The winners of the 2014 Varenly Regatta

Fun is curtailed for dog owners Val and Peter Hughes and myself leaving after the event to get home to see to our pets.
The day still goes on after lunch with children playing in canoes.
A very exciting morning with thrills and spills as promised.
Picture below this years Regatta winners. Sharon Maslin is a friend of last years winner Jenni, so these two ex- air hostesses will be celebrating when they are next together. Greg Rust was a strong contender last year and was a popular winner this year.
Malc tells me that Sharon had her Mum here on holiday, so I bet she was a proud lady.
Comments to
Sharon told me, it was the first time she had ever won anything, but this trophy won alongside handsome Greg
was well deserved. Photographed by Peter Hughes

The Regatta from the lips of the Commodores

Dear Malcolm and Valerie,

Well the sun didn't shine but it didn't rain. Thank you to everyone that came and supported the regatta this morning. It was great fun and the competitors took part in good humour and friendly competitive spirit. Frank and Geoff, we hope you have dried out and thank you for making us all laugh!

Our gratitude to the guys who set the course, man the safety boat and organise the canoes. We could not manage without you Pat, John and Dave.

To the winners well done and to everyone else next year might be your year!

Val and Malcolm what a great tradition you started and thank you for providing the canoes and supporting everyone.

We look forward to next year 

Val Hughes and Celia Berry
Comments to

Wrong way up lads

Three times they capsized, Frank McCarthy and Mai's husband Geoff. They were under the water more than they were on top of it but ended up winning a special mention and cups for amusing the crowds.
Comments to
Great photo taken by Peter Hughes

Dancing in the streets of Paris

When the French and American troops entered Paris 70 years ago this week there was a spontaneous bal in the streets of the capital. To mark the liberation a more organised dance will be held in front of the City Hall on Saturday. Many revellers may be in 1944 costume.
Prime Minister Valls delivered a fairly back-handed compliment to the Paris police force yesterday when he praised them for being the first group to rebel against the occupiers and take over their HQ, saying that they restored "republican values, which they should never have surrendered" - a reference to the close collaboration of the police with the Germans, especially in rounding up Jews for deportation.
comments to

A ceremony this evening at Montauban

11 novembre 1942 : La Wehrmacht entre dans Montauban et occupe les points stratégiques de la ville.

6 avril 1944 : La division SS das Reich s'installe à Montauban.
24 juillet 1944 : 4 corps de résistants sont retrouvés pendus aux acacias de la place du Maréchal Pétain (future Place des Martyrs).
16 et 17 août 1944 : La milice française et la Gestapo quitte Montauban dans la précipitation.
19 août 1944 : Une colonne allemande tente de traverser Montauban pour rejoindre Toulouse, ils échouent suite aux combats du Rond.
24 août 1944 : Les forces de Libération entrent à Montauban.
3 septembre 1944 : La libération est fêtée et la nouvelle municipalité se met en place.
This day 70 years ago Montauban was liberated.  tonight there will be a commemoration meeting with 3 of the original survivors going.

More good luck wishes

Dear Val,
Having heard about Varenly regatta only last year (from TAG) I was hoping we would all be there tomorrow but sadly we have to be at the airport to see our last visitors arrive. So, I am writing to wish everyone good luck and hope that the beastly weather holds fine!
Have a lovely day!
Debra x

Val says Debra and Toyin are the parents of Andrew and Becky Brown ( Media Man fame ) all from Parisot.
Comments to

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Two concerts at St Antonin

Bonjour à tous, 
Je reviens vers vous pour vous annoncer deux Concerts en cette fin d'été 2014:

- Mercredi 27 Août à la guinguette à St Antonin(82140), à 21H.
- Jeudi 28 Août à l'église de St Michel de Vax(81140), à 20H30.

Pour ces concerts j'ai invité Manuela Bucher. Nous jouerons en duo alto/piano.
En plus de l'alto Manuela joue de la vièle à archet mais aussi de la flûte à bec.

Nous vous proposons de venir découvrir des pièces de musiques anciennes, 
romantiques et d'aujourd'hui. Ces petits tableaux, miniatures provenant d'époques 
et de pays différents, nous tenterons de les assembler et de dessiner une sorte de 
fresque, dans une forme fragile et éphémère de construction d'un soir partagée 
avec vous. Fresque qui nous fera voyager en Europe, France, Angleterre, Hongrie...
avec un petit détour par les Etats-Unis, avec des sauts de le temps puisque nous 
nous promènerons de la période médiévale à nos jours.

Nous serons très heureuses de vous retrouver à l'un de ces deux concerts, à la 
guinguette ou à l'église de St Michel de Vax.

Entrée à St Michel: 10€/7€
gratuit pour les moins de 12 ans
(à la guinguette, un chapeau vous sera proposé)
Merci d'avance de faire passer l'annonce auprès de vos amis, 
ça nous aiderait beaucoup !!!

Si vous souhaitez plus d'information, n'hésitez pas à demander par 
email ou par tél.
Bien amicalement,
Geneviève Foccroulle
Tél  05 63 56 34 06
Comments to

An inept President perhaps, but let him relax by the pool

A celebrity magazine has published pictures of Francois Hollande sunbathing ( surely not in France! )
He looks as we all do after a certain age, wrinkled, plump and tired, not a pretty sight, but would any of us want poolside photos taken and shown to the world .
However badly he is seen to be managing France, and it does not look good at the moment, I really do not want to see him when someone has taken illicit shots. He should be allowed some privacy and dignity shouldn't  he?
Comments to

Riviera penthouse goes on sale next year for an unbelievable amount.

Costing 300 million euros.
To me it looks horrendous, why would that be worth more than Mas del Sol?
I think what I am saying is I would not change this for that.
There are some wonderful houses along the Riviera coast, who would be foolhardy enough to buy into this monstrosity?
You pays your money and you takes your choice but  there isn't even anywhere to keep your donkeys, cats, dogs or hen!
There are some foolish rich folk about.
Comments to

Good luck says Chris

Sorry I am not there for the 'Big Day' but I send my best wishes for another very successful 'Regatta' tomorrow ,
Chris Gee
Val says Chris will be missed 

House for sale Arnac in the commune of Varen


Est-il possible de diffuser une annonce pour une maison à vendre à Arnac sur la commune de Varen ?

C'est une maison avec 3 chambres, un séjour salon avec cuisine aménagée, une salle de bains et WC neufs, une buanderie et un garage, un jardin arboré avec une piscine sur terrasse.

Prix : 97 000 €

lien sur le Bon Coin avec plus de photos :

Merci d'avance,


Thrills and spills promised tomorrow.

Will Iga Rewse Davies strip down to her underwear and dive in to perform unnecessary rescues? She has done it twice before to popular acclaim, winning a medal for it one year.
Will the racing be hard and tough, will some go round in ever decreasing circles? All will be revealed tomorrow morning and remember being in it is more fun than standing on the bank.
The Commodores Val Hughes and Celia Berry were down inspecting the course yesterday and pronounced everything at the ready.
Today Malc and I went down, had a word with Gerard to make sure his rescue boat would be in place,  and it will.
The ladies had been to see the Mayor and the site was tidy and he has even had some benches delivered for the use of spectators..
This year as the Regatta has been in numerous French holiday publications we are hoping for a greater French presence and we have certainly had phone calls from a few french people asking about the day.
Many of the people coming to the regatta picnic but the Moulin tells me they have 40 booked in for fish and chips.
A word of advice
GET there early to sign on, then the Commodores know how many are racing, early is well before 10.30 and before 10 is even better.
The ladies may need help with rescue boat manners (people manning the rescue boat) could be competent ladies or men. Please offer to help if you can and the canoes need lifting in and out at the beginning and end of the day and help is always appreciated.
 Pat Liley is the Sailing Secretary on the day and will put out buoys and man the rescue boat for a short period.
Bon chance mes braves and may the best man, lady and child win.
Ps Malc thinks Iga had a bather on not underwear ... but why spoil the story.
After the lunch those who want to why not stay for a game of boules
Comments to

Septembers meal at Liberte des Anes

dear everyone
our next lunch for the donkeys will be on thursday 11th september here at lavolvene at 1 pm.   please put this in your diary, we have no menu as yet so will send out another e mail when we know the exciting menu we have decided upon ............

the bare foot trimmer is coming on wednesday and he will give Venus her first trim, her hooves will be perfect again after two visits and as long as i call him regularly for her she will continue to walk comfortably instead of the terrible pain she has been having up to now with her long awkward hooves.
We hope to have two more old boys with us for you to see by the time of your next visit.
thanks again to you all.

Hard working young man

Hi Val -

just to let you know that Tony (he told me his nom de famille, but I've forgotten it already) has just left.  What I won't forget is how hard he worked for me - all kinds of horrible jobs, quickly, uncomplainingly and neatly carried out. He put all the tools away neatly - even the law mower cable.

And very courteous and pleasant company for a morning.  I hope his notice on TAG will bring him lots more jobs.


Val says Jill is refering to the young lad who needs 2 weeks work before going off around the world
He can be contacted on   0612743239
Comments to

Ever heard of Cellfish, or Blinkogold?

We certainly haven't, yet we have abbonnements with them and BlueBayMedia as well. It seems that certain "apps" on mobile phones and tablets, or SMS messages received pretty well make it impossible not to sign up to these mobile phone or game sites, especially if the reader is a child or someone who doesn't understand French (here in France - in the UK the same things happen in English). So our internet bill, normally 39.40 euros for box, line and telephone from SFR, was 109 euros for June and 89 euros for July.
The fault almost certainly lies with renters and their children who have access to our wifi when they stay here. With their smartphones and tablets in seemingly constant use it is no surprise that these "purchases" as SFR class them have started to appear. Apparently Internet+ is a newish way of paying for downloads of games, music etc in which the suppliers of the content bill SFR (and Orange, Free etc) for the downloads and abbonnements, and they in turn charge you.
It looks as if SFR are well aware that services of this type, though legal, are often scams as you need to tell them not to bill you a standing charge, rather than paying for downloads as you use them. It is easy to resile via your SFR site and you can set your preferences to refuse purchases or require a password. But they say that as such purchases require "deliberate choices" they are not liable for any losses. I have suggested that as their default settings are lax and they did not inform me about Internet+ they are negligent and should take the blame.
No doubt this will get nowhere, and so I will try to follow up Cellfish (via and Blinkogold and see what happens there.
Val says   Malc has written the above and I am glad he has now blocked all downloads.
comments to

Assumption of the Virgin Mary is also Napoleon's birthday

Dear Val,

I was just reading the article in TAG about August the 15th.
The true reason is not the ones written but.....after to be crowned,  Napoleon the first wished to recover the support of the strong catholic Church and all the French catholics, indeed, so he suggested to celebrate Mary, Jesus'mother, once a year in the Empire. He choosed ,( I guess, it's in 1805), the day: August the 15th...and why ? Because it was his own birthday ! Such kind of good joke ! Doesn't it ?
Best regards

Val says  Deddy is from Martin's Jazz Band in Toulouse and how well he has come on with his English. Here is the article that Deddy was referring to

Today is a national holiday to mark the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, ie the day that Christians believe Christ's mother ascended to Heaven, but also it marks the day that French and Allied troops landed in the south of France as part of the liberation in 1944. Some two months after the Normandy landings the beaches of the Var were pounded by bombs then followed the troops in their landing craft. The generals had reckoned that it would take about 2 months to complete the operation, but in fact only 13 days were needed to secure the ports of Marseille and Toulon. Ceremonies will be held in various cities to mark the invasion, in which some 4000 soldiers were killed.

comments to

Pedestrian crossing story follow up

Hi Val
 As you can see from this photo I took yesterday in St Antonin, pedestrian crossings in France are not designed to be safe places for pedestrians to cross the road!

Val says   glad to see you are out and about John after your accident. Pedestrian crossings never seem to have as  high a priority as in the UK.
comments to

Rebecca Allen, in the Depeche

Le vernisage 18h le Jeudi 22 Aout
Comments to

Definitely the silly season / irate driver story

This non story in the Depeche even includes a non relevant picture of Villefranche, where the incident happened.
A car stopped to let a walker use the pedestrian crossing, a white van behind started shouting using very bad language  ( Mais voilà, que le conducteur se met à l'invectiver de tous les noms d'oiseaux de passage que l'on peut croiser en ce bas monde.)   and hooting his horn, disturbing the lunchtime torpor of the season estivale.
Val says I imagine he called him all the names under the sun!
Is this enough to take up pages in a local newspaper or even TAG.!
Comments to

A Friend of the Earth

Just browsing through the EU proposals on climate change (as you do) I noticed that the Brussels representative of Friends of the Earth is a one Brook Riley. Many readers will say "who?" but longer time residents will remember the son of Marion and Paul Riley, both of whom lived here for many years. Marion sadly died a few years ago and as far as we know Paul continues his new life in the area. Both were passionate about conservation and it is pleasing to see this carried on.
BTW the proposals envisage a reduction in greenhouse gasses of 40%, renewables up to 27% and an energy saving of 30% by 2030. FotE as well as other ecology movements say this does not go far enough and perpetuates EU dependence on Russian oil and gas.
comments to

The village came out in support to stop the harassment.

This is a " neighbours from hell" story. An elderly English couple in their seventies Fay and John Dyson moved into a house in a small village. Their doors and windows overlooked a neighbours courtyard and the French neighbours did not like this. So they came at night to breeze block up the windows and door. John who is seriously ill  and Fay were devastated by this awful act of unkindness and the whole village including the Mayor rallied to their support, taking down the blocks and then holding a protest outside the two houses.
The situation is now in the hands of the courts and this happened at de Brugairolles, petite commune proche de Limoux, dans l’Aude
Val adds that tall man in the pink shorts has got to be a Brit or Anglo Saxon surely? Malc and I looked at the photo Brit spotting.
Comments to

The French do not like having their lunch or Sundays disturbed

It is against the law to put out your lawnmower or do noisy bricolage over lunchtime. 

We know the 2 hours  over lunch is sacred.

Also on a Sunday after 12, that is it . You could disturb a long lunch and a sieste.
All very civilised. 
I am glad we do not have close neighbours as I do mow the lawns when it is convenient with no concerns. 
In the Depeche there had been a dispute with neighbours over the noise of a tondeuse.
Farmers and official enterprises are excluded from this law.

Ce que dit l'arrêté préfectoral

Un arrêté préfectoral portant réglementation des bruits de voisinage est en vigueur dans le département de Tarn-et-Garonne comme partout ailleurs. Il stipule précisément dans son article 15 : «Les travaux de bricolage et de jardinage réalisés par des particuliers à l'aide d'outils ou d'appareils susceptibles de causer une gêne en raison de leur intensité sonore, tels que tondeuses à gazon, tronçonneuses, perceuses, raboteuses, scies mécaniques, ne sont autorisés qu'aux horaires suivants : les jours ouvrables de 8 à 12 heures et de 14 à 20 heures ; les dimanches et jours fériés : de 10 à 12 heures. Les services de police et de gendarmerie et le maire de la commune sont chargés de l'application de cet arrêté.

Monday, 18 August 2014

France's largest gathering of twins

Turning our backs on the Maily Dail for a moment, today's Telegraph reports that twins have been gathering in mid-August each year since 1994, and this year's event at Pleucadeuc exceeded all others. Enjoy the pictures of these lovely youngsters. How clever nature is! 

Varenly chums

Hello everybody
Sorry not to be on the water with you this year but hopefully the sun will shine, Val and Malcolm can relax and Kevin and his lucky partner will retain the trophies.  I'm sure it will be a grand and exciting day out......go Kevin....., and Caroline.

I had a great time working as a volunteer medic in the Athlete's Village Polyclinic and met some wonderful people with amazing bodies........ that was just the Clydesiders!   Glasgow is a marvellous and cultured city and really embraced the event - Scotland at it's very best, we even had sunshine.  I thought of the Varen boules events during the bowls competition at Kelvingrove, how lovely it looked on a smooth velvet playing surface.

Good luck to the new Management.  Have a great day. A bientot.
Jenni Davies

Comments to

The question on everyone's lips, will he be there?

The year before last he was second, last year with local Varen villager Jenni he was first, does Kevin Scragg have a chance of being on the podium this year. Will he even take time off from  farming and using his mini pele or digger for digging drives, fosses etc?

We are agog to know!

His wife Mimi says

Hi Val,
Of course he will be there, but without his Jenni, I think he will be a broken man.

See you there

Comments to

Reputable upholsterer

Morning Val,
No idea about cleaning  but does anyone know of reputable upholsterer - I have two Gainsborough chairs which need re-upholstering after dog chewing !

Val says and I do know the very person for these. At St. Antonin Maison Noble Val there is a couple, she runs the shop and also teaches French and the husband does upholstery. She is called Michelle Jones, so I suppose you want Mr Jones.
I will look up their contact details   and here is the contact for Michelle

Lorraine says  
Hi Val,
I would hiighly recommend Gareth Jones,he upholstered our Ercol chairs earlier this year and made a fantastic job of them,they look brand new again.
lorraine x

Comments to

Rosie, Rosie, you are a little madame.

I have just asked Malc what the old gentleman yesterday  laughingly called Rosie our naughty donkey.
I did not know the meaning of the word but the man said " they are all gentils but that one is a little salaud."  Malc tells me it means " bastard"
He was about right but I do wonder what she had been up to before we arrived there. She is  easy for people who know her to catch but I cannot see her responding kindly to being caught or chased  by just anyone, a quick  flip of her  back heels in a high spirited way is not unknown.
... and I thought he was being complimentary!
Comments to

Cleaning upholstery?

Hi Val
Do you know anyone who does upholstery cleaning in the area .?
Jean B
Val says  I don't as I always wash or clean my sofa covers with vanish.
Any ideas readers?
Comments to

Camping car for sale

Malc says: unless this is a very unusual camper, I think the "longueur" and "largeur" are inverted. 

Kevin and Jenni were the 2013 Regatta winners

Will the well known celebrity councillor, farmer and last years Regatta winner  Kevin be there to defend his title?
 Jenni sadly won't be as she has been working at  the Commonwealth games in her medical role, you will be missed Jenni.
Comments to

Debby and Poppy in last years regatta

The fun regatta day is Wednesday, join us all at Varen for " The Varenly Regatta"
Comments to

Private eye left in the gite, what a laugh.

Private Eye is a satire on  political events edited by Ian Hislop. He and I have a lot in common, does he slag off the Daily Mail? He certainly does and no holds barred with Ian, and he makes a lot of money in doing it.
He does also pick on most other papers, although not quite as much.
Comments to

Grapes, peche de vigne and blackberries are doing well.

The grapes we have growing are protected from the hens, sorry hen, with some netting and another week and I think I will be able to cut the first bunches.
The Peche de vigne which  has only been planted here for 3 years is laden with the most delicious peaches.
The hedgerows are covered in big swollen  blackberry fruits which we from the North of England called brambles, even though we know the briars are the brambles and the fruit are blackberries. The French call them mures and this year with all the rain pumping them up they are huge and plentiful. A bramble tart is on the cards tonight Malc.
Norbert the French neighbour comes home with paniers of girolles and cepes every morning, a good year for them also.
Wild apple trees in the donkey fields have not done so well this year, although last year there were masses, they seem to have a two year cycle.
What is doing well in your garden ?  do not tell me courgettes!
Comments to

Calm on the farm

The donkeys were in their field this morning, not allowed in the woods today or the foreseeable future. At 2 .30 am I heard heehaws and went out with a torch to check they were not up to mischief. I think they were just telling me of the injustice of the situation, they love their night time "balades"
Well girls and boys, fun is curtailed for now... hopefully.

Malc says  hardly a farm with a lot of useless pets and one chicken that is too old to lay! He was off pets yesterday.
Comments to

A dry week forecast

Seems funny that we can be so pleased to be forecasting a dry week, temperatures between 22 and 26 degrees rising next Sunday to 28.
The day of the Regatta Wednesday is forecast to  a be sunny 22 degrees.
Comments to

Big money prizes if you win at Petanque

Look at the prize money put up 2,250 euros for one match plus engagements ( engagements is the money extra if lots of people play.)
The last tournament is today. 
Malc says he and partner Roger sometimes win 10 euros in the evening petanque sessions at Varen
La Pétanque montéchoise est sur le pont depuis quelques jours pour préparer ce grand prix de la ville de Montech.
Commencé hier en soirée par le tête à tête, les concours se poursuivent aujourd'hui vendredi avec, dès 14 h 30, le concours régional doublettes (1 500 € plus engagements) et doublettes féminines départementales (310 € plus engagements). Les samedis après-midi et dimanche matin seront réservés au fameux concours amical réservé aux associations montéchoises, aux partenaires du club, artisans et commerçants. Ce concours accepte les déguisements les plus fous, et tous les ans, des prix sont décernés aux meilleurs. Le sérieux reprendra sa place dimanche après-midi avec le concours régional triplettes (2 250€ plus engagements) et le lundi 18 avec le concours promotion doublettes (750 € plus engagements).

Blue/ bouille bordelaise, to use or not?

Many French people have told us that we needed to spray our tomatoes with bouille bordelaise. 
One lady told us she uses it every year but she covers herself from head to toe with mask and protection. Malc is just reading an article which says it can damage your fingers if not careful when using. You often see vines against house walls sprayed bleu.
It is meant to be a bio product but it can affect livestock and earthworms (essential to the gardener) and in the past workers in the fields have died from using it.
Do I really want to advocate its use?
Bordeaux mixture (also called Bordo Mix) is a mixture of copper(II) sulfate (CuSO4) and slaked lime (Ca(OH)2) used as afungicide. It is used in vineyards, fruit-farms and gardens to prevent infestations of downy mildewpowdery mildew and other fungi. It is sprayed on plants as a preventative; its mode of action is ineffective after a fungus has become established. It was invented in the Bordeaux region of France in the late 19th century. If it is applied in large quantities annually for many years, the copper in the mixture eventually becomes a pollutant.
Bordeaux mixture has been found to be harmful to fish, livestock and—due to potential build up of copper in the soil—earthworms.
The chemical started to be used by the United Fruit Company throughout Latin America around 1922. The mixture was nicknamed perico, or "parakeet", because it would turn workers completely blue. Many workers would get sick or die of poisoning due to the toxic chemical.