Friday, 20 October 2017

These books could be useful

Elderly text books seeking good home with  hypochondriac, budding doctor or amateur botanist in return for 25 Euros donation to Taglines charities.

Gray’s Anatomy. 31st edition

The Essentials of Materia Medica, Pharmacology & Therapeutics. (Mick’s) 7th edition.

Rehabilitation Medicine (Howard Rusk)3rd printing

Animal Biology (Grove & Newell) 8th edition.

Gray’s Manual of Botany (Fenald) 8th edition.

Introductory Botany (Conquist) 1st edition.

 These are classic text books whose content has  and will  stand the test of time. New owner to  collect please in  Milhars or a meeting can be arranged in St Antonin or Septfonds.

Snow in the mountains

Picture from webcam at Le Pic du Midi
Yesterday saw fairly widespread snow over the highest ground in the Pyrenees. This was the first snowfall of the autumn/winter period and the ski resorts will be hoping for more. It seems unlikely that the Toussaint holiday starting next week will, however, be attracting many skiers.

We didn't know they were still going

Every morning for probably 40 years now we have poured our breakfast cereal from a plastic container bought at a Tupperware party. Those occasions were quite fashionable in the '70s as agents, usually stay at home mums, invited their friends to tea and cakes as they presented the latest range of plastic containers. Our breakfast box is testimony to the good quality of the products and though supermarkets and Ikea offer lots of choice, we don't reckon they will last 40+ years.
In a sad reminder of the decline of the brand Tupperware announced it will close its French site in 2018. Having gone from 55 machines to just 8 in recent years there is not enough demand in France to keep the factory open. Some 235 employees will be affected, though the firm says it will actively seek a "repreneur" for the factory.
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Christmas lights going up in Toulouse

No doubt our secular authorities will deny that the illuminations in the principal streets and squares are for Christmas, but our traditions will tell us otherwise. Anyway, at a cost of 700000 euros entirely met from the city budget the lights are being installed now, some two months prior to the festival. The mairie explains that starting early allows all the work to be carried out by its own staff and subcontractors working at night and this is apparently saving over 100000 euros compared with earlier years. Neither is any contribution asked for from local businesses as before. The mairie considers that the investment will attract many shoppers and visitors to the city and away from the out-of-town and on-line outlets for Christmas celebrations.
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Parking fines to double

Motorists' associations in Toulouse are protesting that plans to increase fines for overstaying parking time are unfair. On January 1st 2018 the fine will increase from 17 euros to 30 euros, though no change is proposed to the actual tarifs, which in the city centre are from 20 cents for 8 minutes up to 3 euros for 2 hours.
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt octobre

What a funny day yesterday, a warm and drizzly morning. Still warm enough for us to sit outside at the Gazpacho for lunch. We had soggy dogs with us, we were invited in but under the awning we were happy. We just love being outside.
How different the afternoon, warm and sunny " ciel de traine" the meteo called it./ sunny and cloudy.
The evening light on the trees was wonderful with the golden leaves lit up.
This morning heavy fog even up here at Mas del Sol.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Fishing tackle for sale

Hi Val.
I have some fishing tackle for sale.3 rods,2 fly 1 spinning/general use.2 fly reels,3 spinning reels .lots of flies hooks and things.Also a catch net.2 pairs of waders size 11 and 6.Asking price 100 euros.ono.
Kind regards Derek

Candelabra for sale

For sale: Genuine pewter candelabra, diameter 35cms, height 28cms. Makes a spectacular centrepiece dressed for special occasions such as Weddings or Christmas etc. 75.00€

Nice little wash stand

For sale:

French chestnut wood marble topped wash stand  with three lockable drawers. Excellent condition. Dimensions: 96 x 78 x 46 cms. 200.00€

many thanks,

Sally contact

Vignerons "en colere"

Some 2000 vignerons from the Aude demonstrated in Carcassonne to give notice that their industry has been severely hit in 2017. We reported below that harvests were down by about 20% due to frost in the spring and to some extent the summer drought and the vintners want to add unfair foreign competition to that. There have been several manifestations during the year, including thousands of litres of Spanish wine being poured away by militants.
No doubt little can be done about the weather to soothe the anger, apart from some compensation or insurance, and it remains to be seen whether the government could restrict foreign imports, given EU free trade rules.

If you want to sign against the chasse

Hi Val, 

Hope this works......

With very best wishes,

Nous sommes le jeudi dix neuf octobre

It may rain today but what a super start to autumn we have had.
Today people are collecting things they have bought on the TAG facebook site, monies from things I have sold going to the refugee fund. 
Check out the TAG facebook site it is a brilliant selling tool, selling to local people. I put things on and think I will copy it to the blogspot but often if the item is priced to sell, it goes before I can copy it.
The link is in the bar at the top.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tour de France 2018

Photo Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
Next year's Tour de France will have six stages in our region, though mainly in the south and Pyrenees. The riders have stages from Millau,  Carcassonne and then four stages in the mountains. The Tour will spend a rest day at Carcassonne as well as ending a stage there and starting there three days later, coinciding with the city's celebration of 20 years inscribed as a world heritage site.
After that four mountain stages to end the Tour before riders fly to Paris for the last stage.


The Brussels branch of Delirium
Originally opened in 2000 the super bar Delirium in Brussels offers over 3000 brands of bottled beer, plus dozens of draught brews.
Now a branch is to be opened in Toulouse at the end of next month. They are promising 500 beers and 45 draughts and to avoid queues and struggles at the bars you can order your drinks via a smartphone app. Proposed in the Alles Jean Jaures this will be part of the plan to reanimate that area in its original "Las Ramblas" feel.
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Nous sommes le mercredi dix huit octobre

What a marvellous week weather wise. I have had a swim every day, got loads of gardening done and made the week so far as much as a holiday as we can.
Pet cuddling around the pool has made dogs and cats happy.

Today we will be in Montauban to say our goodbyes to David Clench. A 94 year old who certainly made an excellent impression on our area in his years here with fellow painter Joyce. Well known in Verfeil and here in Varen, not just for his art work but for his love of petanque and his warm personality.
David on his 90th birthday
David will leave us feeling sad but after the memories, all so good, will keep him alive in all our hearts.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Tragic accident near Montauban

A couple of octogenarians were out for an evening walk with their dog around a disused gravel pit on Sunday when it turned to tragedy.
The wife slipped into the water and was unable to climb out, so her husband jumped in and managed to get her to the bank, but then he fell back into the lake and was unable to rescue himself, eventually drowning in the water.
Having no means of calling for help the woman lay on the bank all night until a morning passer-by discovered her and the body of her dead husband. Rescue services eventually took the unfortunate couple to hospitals in Montauban, where a post mortem examination will be carried out on the deceased body. The woman is said to be in a state of shock.
Emergency services suggest that if you are walking alone it is very advisable to carry a mobile phone as accidents can happen anywhere.
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Grape harvest badly hit

France's signature industry, wine making, is set to have the poorest vendange since the war, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Vintners are expected to make around 37.2 million hectolitres (hectolitre = 100 litres), which may still seem a lot of wine, but is about 18% down on 2016.
The major culprit as usual is the weather, especially some hard frosts in April which severely affected many southern vineyards. The report does not indicate what the quality of the wine will be; many wine makers will be hoping quality will compensate for quantity.
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Nous sommes le mardi dix sept octobre

Tony Smith who lives in Montauban riles amongst other things about these hoardings spoiling the roads. I think he is right to work to stop this " board pollution"

Monday, 16 October 2017

Sports massage on offer

Caroline  Trender says
For the months of October and November, I will be offering sports massage, myofascial cupping, deep tissue massage and swedish massage (relaxing) for the very special price of Euros 35 an hour. All money raised will be to fund the repair of suitable second hand bikes for the refugee boys at Verfeil. For further information, please see my website or to make a booking please email me at

Register your car on-line

Hi, Val and Malcolm.

Further to last week’s report on the new procedure for immatriculating cars, the changeover for Tarn et Garonne is Monday 6th November 2017. From that date onwards, Montauban Préfecture will not process the paperwork and you will be required to do it on-line or via an authorised agent (who presumably does exactly the same as you would do, but for a fee). Until the changeover the Préfecture will be providing the service on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8.30 to 12.00.

For those of us with cars registered overseas who are intending to immatriculate them here, you will still need a "quitus fiscal" as proof from the taxman that TVA/VAT has been paid on the car. In Tarn et Garonne this cannot be done on-line or by post, and requires a trip to the Centre des Impôts office in Montauban (now 30 rue du Danemark). Although you are probably an individual rather than a business, you need to go to the 1st floor, following the sign for Service des Impôts des Entreprises as this is the office which deals with TVA/VAT. 

Bon courage, anyone embarking on the process!


Well done Fripaffaires at Parisot

On Friday 13th October M. Mesnier from Medicins Sans Frontiers came and gave a presentation at Fripaffaires about the work Medicins Sans Frontiers does around the world. Glynis Robinson, the treasurer of Fripaffaires, presented a cheque for 5000 euros. The talk was followed by an apéro and a chance to put questions to M. Mesnier. Fripaffaires would like to say a big thank you to all who helped make the evening a success and of course to you, all our wonderful supporters who helped make this donation possible!

Every household should have one

Interesting Christmas or wedding present ?  Original 1912 edition in good condition  with coloured illustrations. A fascinating read-especially if you need to know (for example) the duties of the second footman. or the ladies’ maid.  50 euros o.n.o.
1912 edition

Macron "not convincing"

President Macron was interviewed live on TV last night by journalists for the first time since his election. It seemed strange that a major line of questioning (and the reports) was about  his use of language when referring to workers and managers who do nothing to improve the position other than demonstrate. "Faineants" (shirkers), ""foutre le bordel" (create chaos) are words he says are in common parlance and not insulting. We are used to politicians just mincing their words rather than engaging in proper debate.
Apart from defending his use of language he was also accused of "favouring the rich". By cutting wealth tax he does not believe in "trickle down", but in encouraging enterprise. "Taxing the rich will not make us all better off" as he claims the popular politicians are arguing. But taxing pensioners more by increasing social charges will, he claims, only affect wealthy pensioners, 80% of pensioners will benefit from abolishing taxe d'habitation.
He refuses to make any hostages to fortune as did Hollande by claiming he would reverse the upward trend of unemployment. It will take up to two years before any real gains are seen, but many other programmes other than the new labour laws will be introduced.
His only comment on the migrant situation was to ensure that illegal immigrants who committed crimes would be thrown out. He considers that France has become used to the idea that it is difficult to send people back to other countries, so nothing is done. "This will change".
Some 61% of people questioned afterwards were not convinced by the president's interview.
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Nous sommes le lundi seize octobre

Lots of talk about the terrible chasse incident on facebook.
Naomi Westbury who raises pigs near Caylus is off to the Marie to complain, worried about her children and the pigs in her local countryside.
Discussion seems to want the shooter charged for manslaughter and I agree with that.
Lots of discussion about the chasse drinking alcohol at lunch and if this is a factor in " wild shooting."
Sadly this year already with many deaths, most have been killing each other, but much more shock when a woman aged either 60 or 69 depending on which paper you read, is killed in her own garden. The shooter taking the shot through a dense hedge,( so he must have heard rather than saw, could have been anything a dog, donkey but it was an elderly lady)
I see the old hunters on our road, they are all elderly but they can certainly put their foot on the accelerater when the hunting horn sounds to tell of a kill. The speed they drive those white vans up our little rutted tarmaced road has to be seen to be believed.
Are they a law unto themselves?

PACS at the mairie

The French equivalent of civil partnerships called "le Pacte Civile de Solidarité" or PACS is 18 years old this year and normally couples wishing to Pacser must apply to the tribunal d'instance responsible for their department. From 1st November the responsibility is transferred to local Mairies. This brings it into line with marriages, which must all be celebrated at the mairie.
Couples applying for PACS are reminded that they should prepare an agreement and provide various documents, so presumably it will still be necessary to involve a notaire or avocat.
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Sunday, 15 October 2017

A pastel museum

"Pastel" is the plant which made Albi and Toulouse rich. The blue dye made from the leaves of the plant was the best source of that colour (used as woad by us northerners) and in the XVth century the golden triangle formed by Albi, Toulouse and Carcassonne produced 60000 tons of the dye. The leaves are rolled into balls, called "cocagnes" (see them on many door knockers), dried then ground into powder. It is the length of the process which gave the product its value, and which eventually led to its demise when cheaper indigo was imported from the indies. Nothing new then about world trade competition affecting western industries.
Chateau-musee de Magrin
The Chateau of Magrin, between Puylaurens and Lavaur, in the Tarn, presents the whole history of the rise and fall of pastel. Created by journalist and historian Patrick Rufino the museum is housed in the chateau he restored in the 1970s and details are available on its website

Heavy lorries racing at Albi

Not some nightmare scenario on the A68, but the French Grand Prix Camions at the Albi race circuit.
All this weekend, including Sunday. Big crowds expected for the 100mph monsters as they compete for the title.
Noise, smell of burning oil and tyres guaranteed.

Killed by a hunter whilst enjoying her garden

In the Aveyron yesterday
A 60 year old woman has been killed by a hunter in her garden. The hunter was behind a hedge and mistook her for a stag target.

Une femme de 60 ans a perdu la vie, samedi 14 octobre, à Taussac, dans le nord de l'Aveyron. Elle a été prise pour cible par un chasseur alors qu'elle se touvait dans son jardin.

Nous sommes le dimanche quinze octobre

Fabulous weather at the moment, we are spending every moment outside, eating, walking, drinks outside as the sun sets.
I think it must be my favourite time of year, pleasant temperatures and beginning with the autumn colours.
The markets are full of bright coloured fruit and vegetables. The donkeys are getting regular apple treats. I love it as they crunch the apples and juice runs from their lips, a cider press at work.
Fortunately the figs are nearly finished, the dogs have developed a taste for them which means they need to get up through the night for " doggy business"
The cats spend the evenings mousing under the warm starry nights so we get the bed to ourselves.
Win, win situations all round.

Message from David Clench's family

David Clench
All those who would like to join us (David's family) at his house in Varen after his funeral on Wednesday 18th (1:30pm onwards) would be most welcome.  Any plate of food to contribute to the buffet would also be much appreciated.
We look forward to seeing you all.
The Clench Family

Reminder for trailer and sewing machine

Hi Val,
We have forsale an : old singer sawing machine €  100
                                    remorque/trailer   € 100
Will you put these on the taglines.
Riet Gerrits
Le Bosc
82140 Saint Antonin NV

Saturday, 14 October 2017


All weekend at Caussade. A huge assembly of old cars, tractors and other agricultural machines, engines and entertainments. Everything you expect at an old vehicle show, plus food, exhibitions and parades. Free entry in the streets of Caussade.
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This evening at 6pm

Yours for 1.4 million euros

Original artwork for "Tour de Gaule", an Asterix album from 1963 was sold in Paris yesterday for a record sum of 1.4 million euros. The piece was signed and dedicated by Goscinny and Uderzo to their friend Pierre Tchernia, who died recently. A second cover from the same collection made 1.2 million euros, and the whole sale just under 3 million euros.
The Asterix BDs (bandes dessinées) have sold millions of copies and Asterix and Obelix are the world's most famous Gauls. These covers were estimated at 200000 euros and easily broke the records for BD artwork.
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Nous sommes le samedi quatorze octobre