Monday, 3 August 2015

An alert from Allianz

Orages violents accompagnés de grêle sur le department 82
Received an email from our assurance company that there is a threat
 of storms with hailstones.
I was also stopped by French neighbour Norbert whilst with the donkeys
( they are in a field near his house at the moment) telling me a violent
storm was on the way., and he is often right.
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The best brambles are at Mas del Sol

Evie's third bramble crumble his week, made by  Aunty Val.  Brambles is what we call them in the North although Southerners say blackberries.
Nice to have your cooking appreciated!
Comments to

Just a few tickets left

Super book swap in the sun.

Lots of books, lots of people, all enjoying the book swap relaxing in the sun. By the time we left the temperature was 36 degrees, admittedly we stayed for lunch.
Lunch for nine with the family.
I did go around explaining to all, that the left over books this time would be sent to help Festilit, the Parisot literary festival. They have attracted really well known authors to come to this event but this comes at a cost. Gina Connolly is hoping that they can raise a fair amount from their book sale at the end of October.
I also went around saying that the book swap would be cancelled in Sept. and October,so we could support the festival.
No one was happy.
I did not tell the Gazpacho we would not be going as I have suggested to book borrowers that we all meet for a coffee as usual the first Monday of the month,( keeping the Gazpacho happy) and if anyone wants to swap books it is up to them.
I do not want to be a dictator.( Malc says thank God, can I have that in writing)
Spiced cuisine would not be affected in September as they are on holiday but are back in October.
I think I  will write to Gina, saying all our books left today and there are boxes of good stuff will be donated to them. Next swap I will encourage people to go and buy at the book sale in October and perhaps give donations to Festilit.
As many said "we enjoy the conviviality, picking up a book or two for free, why disrupt things."
Comments to

Never judge a book by its cover says Terri

Or in this case a restaurant! The exterior of L'Ozone on the forecourt of the Carrefour supermarket and petrol station looks uninviting. It conjures up Formica, fast food and greasy chips. This first impression could not be further from the real experience. The interior is comfortable, well designed and leads to a covered tranquil terrace at the rear. The menus are well priced, home cooked and vary from week to week. The portions are generous and the customer service is friendly and attentive. One can eat much better here than at the mid-range prettier and atmospheric eateries in the town and the cloakroom facilities are far superior! I have recommended this place to friends who have been equally impressed and I support the views and score of a previous TOF reviewer. Five out of five.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It's our favourite - let's go there

More than 3 million viewers saw the Breton village of Ploumanac'h elected France's favourite for 2015. Since then more than 70000 extra visitors have enquired or booked to go there and it is expected to reach 100000 extra - 15% more than normal.
The maire of Cordes sur Ciel, last year's winner, reports a smaller rise but points out that places which are already well known are attractive to visitors and have the infrastructure to cope. He says that visitors stop to be photographed in front of the plaque erected by France 2 TV. But he says that there are so many plaques that people become confused: "Un des plus Beaux Villages de France", "Grand Site du Midi Pyrenees" , "Village Prefere des Francais" etc.  Many visitors think it is "Le plus Beau Village de France" he says ironically.
We wonder if the same effect works for the village which was placed third - St Antonin.
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Art exhibition all summer in the town hall

In the town hall at St.  Antonin all summer is an art exhibition, why not go for a browse?
Comments to

Chenils are overflowing but...

at Castres seven dogs have been stolen from the municipal kennels. Why would anyone steal lost and ownerless dogs from a refuge! cutting into the fence to get in and taking little cages with them in. The thieves must have chosen small dogs and what on earth where they planning on doing with them? Katy at the municipal chenil in St. Antonin would have been distraught if she lost dogs in her care.
Comments to

Nous sommes le lundi trois août

Lovely sunny morning making family happy, we are all off to the book swap this morning, some to wander round the town some to change books. I love it when the books are on the tables outside, such a relaxing morning, chatting, choosing books or DVDs and having a coffee in the sun.
Comments to

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Book swap tomorrow

Creeps up,on you before you know it.
See you at the swap.
The Gazpacho at 10.30am St. Antonin Noble Val
If anyone can take the left over books to Gina at Parisot for the book sale to raise funds for the literary festival, that would be good.
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Lovely evening with Folk'n'Jazz

H i Val

Over 100 people joined Folk'n'Jazz in the Jardins de Quercy last Thursday.
A beautiful evening in every sense of the word, with music in French,
English,and Occitan. The real bonus of the night was the 500 euros we were able to
donate to 'Touts a l'école', the charity supported by Jean and Alain who own and
run the gardens. The money provides girls in Cambodia with an education they
would not otherwise receive.
We hope to have similar support when Folk'n'Jazz does Music Hall at le Vigerie,
St Vincent de Varen on August 27th., this time in aid of Medicins sans
Thanks John
Comments to

Another happy one from K

... but you need to twist your head!

A happy picture from Karen

Sent by K from the Bosc
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If by any chance we did sell, what would we buy?

Bit scary when you really love where you live to consider moving. If by any remote possibility we did sell, where would we go?
Somewhere in the TAGland vicinity, size about 175 sq metres, give or take, new or old, with a bit of land for the donkeys.  If we sell quickly I want to take them, if in a few years we have not sold, I will rehome them, but cannot bear the thought of not having them. A view, we could not live with out a view.
The price !! well depends on what we get for this but up to 380,000 euros.
Now if any TAG readers has a property like this for sale, why not let us know, without the agents fee you can afford to knock off " a few bob"
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Some kind people about

How is this for a kind act.
 Spotted in a field near to where they live,  a limping donkey with slipper feet. You know the sort of sabots I mean where they curl up at the ends, giving the donkey excruciating pain.
They contacted me to ask the name of a blacksmith and they are going to check it is alright with their farming neighbour/ friend and pay for a visit from Yves Rotte the blacksmith.
Now that is a donkey story I am happy to write and read about.
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I love the tranquility and the silence here

Tudor had one of his morning walks taking fabulous photos as he went. The artist in him spots the shots. When he arrived back he said " but I have only seen one van and that was the post lady who waved. No cars, no sounds but the birds"
I checked to see he had his hearing aids in!  but he is right and we have got used to the silence and small noises of animals, the frogs, the birds etc.
Then the evening comes and guests say " but look at the moon and the stars how clear the sky is"
We take all of this for granted here, but from time to time, we do pinch ourselves and say
" We are SO lucky"
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The second day of Festi'lac

Eric and his donkey Hector

Even the Depeche gives us donkey stories and today we have the story of Eric walking 1,200 km with his  âne Hector. Eric retired last April and left his mothers home in Normandy in April in the direction of the Pyrenees. A great way to celebrate his " retraite"and he called in on old friends along the way.
They both look very well on it.
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The news is passed round and round

We reported this story about a week ago, David Pujadas loves Najac and has a village home there. The France 2 anchor man who reads the news at 8 am,  holidays at the home of his grandfather who used to be the post master before his death.  We love having the stories first .. but this photo is from the Depeche.
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Unfortunate displaced humans


Brian appears to be acting as an internet troll, all advice says they should be ignored and that their inflammatory comments should not be shared. 
Of course it is always possible that his ipad auto corrected "unfortunate displaced humans"  and accidentally replaced it with miscreants.
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Nous sommes le dimanche deux août

The summer market is a big draw to tourists here at St. Antonin, and our family are no exception.
Our advice to visitors is always go early.
We love the market but not in the summer.
 comments to

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Exciting evening at the moto cross

Our little group at the dusty corner

Mad, bad, loud and dangerous, not me, the moto cross

Brrm, brrm, the noise of the bikes revving at the line up start is unbelievable, at the moto cross at Laguepie. We decided that the young lads on bikes must spend hours practicing to achieve the levels of skill we saw tonight. The moto cross was packed, very well organised with parking attendants directing us in and attendants all around the course. The excitable voice on the tannoy ratcheted up the levels of adrenalin  as we rushed to find a gap in the crowds. We found a great spot where we could clearly see one of the jumps but discovered why there was a gap when the bikes hurtling round threw up dust on the corner.
It was really an exciting way to entertain teenage boys, finish up with a nutella crepe and another evening spent with happy boys.
Their Mum and stepdad stayed home with baby and grandad Tudor and empty wine bottles were in evidence on our return, eliciting the cries of  " we are on holiday"
Great night, Malc has photos to follow.
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This is it boys, where we are going tonight

Au programme ce samedi

Essais à partir de 13 h 30. Première course dès 17 h 30 pour les jeunes pilotes 50 et 65 cc (championnat de Ligue Midi-Pyrénées). Dès 20 h 30, les autres courses s'enchaîneront : championnat de ligue 125 cc, épreuve open 250-450 cc, épreuve MX2 125-250 cc, course Prestige (pilotes internationaux et nationaux).

Festival d'Art at Parisot

Foreign Legion invades Aveyron

The famous 13th brigade of the French Foreign Legion was founded in 1940 in Sidi-Bel Abbes (Algeria) and became the nucleus for de Gaulle's Free French troops and was based in Djbouti for nearly 50 years, moving to the Gulf in 2011. From next year 450 legionnaires will be based at Larzac, near Millau, rising to 1000 over the next few years.
The site was notorious in the 70's when a plan to expand the camp was opposed vehemently by local farmers, including Jose Bove, who managed to obtain 100 year leases with the camp confined to its 3000 hectares. Current occupants stationed there are infantry who will be re-deployed to allow the Legion to occupy the land.
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Moto cross at Laguepie tonight

Our boys here are looking forward tonight to the "moto cross nocturne " at Laguepie. An exciting night for youngsters here on holiday.
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Wash all bought fruit and vegetables

Black day on autoroutes

The first weekend in August is the traditional "chassé/croisé" on the roads when the July holidaymakers cross over with the August departures. Usually this means huge traffic jams at the main peage areas. We reported earlier that fake gendarmes are operating on some autoroutes and now the Nord police have warned of a similar scam on the Lille/Paris and other northern motorways.
Generally they have an unmarked car with a blue gyrophare and target foreigners in the "aires de repos" especially around Cambrai. They try to dish out spurious fines and will accept jewellery in lieu of cash.
Police remind us that

-  Gendarmes on motorways usually are in marked cars and always in uniform. They do not stop cars on the carriageway unless for safety reasons. They will not accept payment other than cash (and if you have a French registered car and a French address, ask for a PV to be paid later).

- They will ask you to hand them your documents, not your bags.

If in doubt, telephone 17

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Becoming the centre of everything Toulouse

The wing of the possible Malaysia Airlines missing plane has been sent to Toulouse all the way from the Indian Ocean to be identified.
Toulouse has cancer and medical research forging forward in the world.
Toulouse is the beautiful ville rose which is now the head of the new region which we still need a name for.
If I was on facebook I would say "feeling proud of Toulouse"

Nous sommes le samedi premier août.

One thousand six hundred and one views yesterday. Just checked it is the "û" that has the circumflex in Août.
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Friday, 31 July 2015

It was interesting Professor

Dear TAGlines,

Thank you for covering my talk, it is always nice to have feedback. One little point: I am a Professor (ie. Personal chair), not a lecturer, so not Dr but Prof. (see my webpage at

And the audience photo was taken after the talk ended, so while I wholly understand your reporter's expression of their boredom, maybe the entertainment value of the photo led to a bit of exaggeration...

All the very best,

Val says the talk was very well received and talked about, so many thanks Catherine. The photo was actually taken before the talk, and it was more a silly expression to the photographer than a expression of boredom. We are always grateful for more knowledge of the area and your talk was in fact unmissable.
Many thanks

Gaze de cheveaux et Gaze de taureaux

Dear Val,
Herewith a link to a Youtube video. I don’t for a moment suggest you post it on TAG. However I think you’d like to know that it is more than just herding the animal and I am sure taureaux, cheveaux and people could be hurt.

 Val says I had a feeling it might be some fêtes I would not approve of.

Toulouse is the choice

Toulouse is confirmed as the capital of the new huge region.
Well done Toulouse, to me ( but what do I know) it seemed the obvious choice.

The concert at Puycelsi is tonight

Dear Val

I am sorry that sending something off to you late at night has meant confusion! Our last concert is tonight, not Sunday and instead of our choir competing with the heat it will be will possibly be with a thunderstorm!

Either way it will start at 7.30pm


Has anyone been to this festival ?

Photos published by the Office du Tourisme du Pays du Sommières. Festival Sat 1 st of Aug. 11.30 am. Gaze de Cheveaux et Gaze de Taureaux.
The reason I ask " Are any animals hurt in the making of this festival or is it just a round up ?"
Comments to

Such a good read TAG

Hi Val.

Now you understand why I started off my earlier piece that your blog makes for a good read. I gave a nudge in the direction of being bigoted and controversial and look at what I started.

To all you who have commented, I must apologise for being mischievous in my aims to get you fired up and typing: but you must agree, it worked beautifully and I’ve yet again had a thoroughly good read.

With regard to the residents of the Sangatte commune and in fact all of those fleeing from unsafe homes.

In truth my heart goes out to them.What must life be like living in such conditions. I completely agree with the comments that these people have left their homes in search of the Utopia that I am lucky enough to have found: and yes, a new fence costing millions is not the answer.

I also agree that the problem is Europe wide and all EU countries stricken with the problem need to get their combined heads together to solve this.

I will add one further comment.

Throwing millions of pounds/Euro's at the corrupt governments these people are fleeing from is not the answer.

I thank all you contributors for making my life more enjoyable and I say keep up with the fired up input.


Val says-  well it certainly worked Brian, but do just tell me you do not REALLY hold Enoch Powell in great esteem ?

Hi Val.

In response to your request.

I truly believe Enoch was a genius: just like Spike Milligan. But then of course there is the old adage, genius borders on insanity.

Spike spent years in sanitariums and even on his grave stone it reads, “ I told you I was ill”.

Enoch had his moments of genius, and then his moments of lunatic rants.

Thankfully, and as you pointed out, we live in a world of free speech and each is entitled to their opinion.

For my part I neither support or reject Enoch. Some of what he said holds merit, other contributions from him nothing but lunacy designed to whip up a frenzy of hatred. But. As in all these instances, one persons interpretation can be the opposite to another.

There are those that think Blair and Brown were the best thing that happened to Great Britain Plc. And that’s a different ‘nudge’ altogether.

Kind regards


No need to sunbathe marry an Indian

We are not here escaping England and I do not believe people who say that, that  is not why they are here.
We are here being able to afford a beautiful property in beautiful contryside with lovely weather most of the year, and I believe most of us are the same. We like the French, but then we like any one who is friendly of any nationality.
I hate this idea that people leave the UK for reasons other than this. Please do not knock the UK which had given us a great life till we left for a great life in retirement here.
I do not believe ANYONE who says they left the UK because of all the foriegners, and infact would laugh!!
The sad underlying fact is it foreigners or is it coloured faces that scares people?

We are all people of the world,  open up your mind and enjoy the mix. In my opinion the sooner we are totally integrated, all being brown skinned the better life will be for all.
Comments to

Which city?

The decisions on which cities will become the "capital" of the new combined regions is to be announced today.
In the Midi-languedoc (or whatever name is chosen) region the choice will be either Toulouse or Montpellier with the elected (and presumably paid) officials of each city vying to have their city chosen. The prefect of the new region may be making the announcement in Carcassonne, nicely equidistant.
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J' ai mal au dents, mais j' ai un peur irrationelle des dentistes

I  have added a French heading so I could include it!

Marché Gourmand

Nous sommes le vendredi trente et un juillet

Can I suggest "Black Maria" a card game which we played last night with young teenagers and Grandad Tudor.
Mum and step dad had gone off for a couple of days to see friends in Montpellier and we were left in charge of boys.
We were out on the terrace well after the sunset playing with happy shrieks and the queen of spades and hearts being passed on to the person sitting next to you.
The last time the boys played cards was when they were here last time but they certainly enjoyed it, sitting out in shorts and tee shirts, warm and happy.
We may be getting on but we sent teenagers off to bed happy, and overall George age 13 was the winner on the evening.
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No longer sitting on the fence

Hi Val and Malcolm,

Just wanted  to  give you my reactions to the contributions  on the refugees which have gathered around Calais. Must say I found the term 'miscreants' quite inaccurate and inflammatory. 
I've seen the shanty-town like settlements of blue tents in the Calais dunes and the young  men and some old ones and some very young ones, almost children still, walking in  little groups or alone along the motorway to the ferries. All I could see were people who had left their family, their home and the very little they might have possessed, behind. They must  have   travelled far in terrible circumstances not to mention the crossings of the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats. Seeing them there in the cold, no luggage and only the clothes they stood up in made me cry.
I agree with Val and Sarah that there is a problem for Europe and that as Europeans we have to  sort it out together, with humanity, compassion and honesty. These qualities are often hard to find among the people who govern us. I think the media have a lot to answer for too feeding the public selective information which  plays on their fears, We should all be careful not to take what we read in the newspapers for gospel.  Calling people names, feeling superior to them, the 'Them and Us' approach have no place in finding answers.
Comments to

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Le Bouton Rouge at Caylus

Puycelsi tonight sounds good

Dear Val

The final concert of the festival of Puycelsi will be tomorrow (31 July) at 19.30. The choir which has been working so hard for the last 10 days will be singing works by well known nineteenth century French and German composers. After the extra-ordinary sucess of the concert on Sunday why not come and join us again and listen to some magical music. 

All three of Puycelsi's restaurants will be open so why not have a meal in one of them afterwards or it the wait is too long a drink and a snack before and a dessert afterwards


Miscreants, oh come on!

depraved, villainous, or base.
Archaic. holding a false or unorthodox religiousbelief; heretical.
a vicious or depraved person; villain.
Archaic. a heretic or infidel.
How Brian describes immigrants in the UK

Enoch et al

Brian's comments may well have some basis in that we English have elected a series of governments which have perpetuated policies with which he disagrees, but I do take exception to his use of the word "miscreants" to describe the immigrants to the UK. The vast majority are people who come to look for work and usually find it.
The great Enoch when he was  Health Minister,  encouraged a large number of Commonwealth immigrants into the understaffed National Health Service. Powell was vehemently opposed by the Trade Union movement (who feared that immigrants were being used by capitalists to keep wages low by artificially increasing competition for jobs).
Now that sounds familiar in Cameron's Britain.
Enoch Powell was a complex character, but seemed to derive his political thinking from his studies of classical authors - often resulting in ideas which were fine for the Roman Empire, but too simplistic for the 20th century.
Powell was not reticent about migrating himself to find work, though admittedly Australia is pretty British.
He  had early ambitions to be Vice Roy of India - a vast country of largely black people to be ruled over by a white minority. He also wanted to scrap Britain's nuclear weapons. He was implacably opposed to the EEC (or EU nowadays). He urged people to vote Labour in order to punish Ted Heath. He was very anti-American. In short he seems to have been an opportunist whose own ambitions were thwarted by his cussedness.
Brian also asks "why are so many people leaving Britain?" How many of them were immigrants in the first place? He paints a picture of Brits fleeing to other places where there are no foreigners and being replaced by Afghans and Syrians, or Bulgarians, Poles etc.
In 1066 the previous immigrant waves of Anglo Saxons and Vikings was followed by Normans from France, all of whom threatened to engulf the previous lot. But they grew to like the place and make it what it became, a powerhouse of culture and liberal prosperity. Long may it continue.

Yours in dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood,

Hi, Val.

Re the numbers of migrants to and from the UK, following earlier posts on your blog: 
From a personal perspective, I feel lucky that I left the UK, the country in which I grew up, knowing that I could go back whenever I wanted and that my family wouldn’t face reprisals because I’ve left. My journey here was straightforward and safe without fear that I would drown, and now that I’m here I enjoy equal treatment with nationals in terms of access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages. I can use the very efficient health service and I live in safety. I don’t have to worry about persecution because of race, nationality, religion or because I hold a particular political opinion, and I can rely on the government to protect me from persecution. It is a shame that others don’t have such a benefit.
I was lucky because I was born after the Second World War, the lessons of which led to the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I was born in a country belonging to the European Union, thereby giving me a right to work and live in other European countries. I was born in the UK, which has such a reputation for tolerance and diversity that people want to make their home there. Some will even face life-threatening journeys to get there.
The latest census showed that 13% of UK residents were born outside the UK, and the vast majority of them make a significant contribution to the UK and the British way of life, whether they are workers in the NHS, baristas in Costa Coffee, internationally renowned architects, wife of Nigel Farage, etc., etc. There are immigrants arriving in France all the time too, including British people, most of whom make a valuable contribution to life here, either by working or by otherwise paying into the system. At what point will your correspondent feel that France is too full of foreigners and where will he go to find his Utopia?
Calais is just one of the places that migrants are congregating. Italy has had more than its share of "boat people" arriving via Lampedusa, and I’m sure that there are many other places throughout Europe that are struggling to welcome people seeking asylum, for whatever reason. The problem is Europe-wide and the solution needs to be agreed by all European governments. One thing is certain, some new fencing in Calais is not the answer. 

Yours in dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood,
Comments to

Sold at last but now we need help

Hi Valerie,
could you place this little note of us in tagonline? Thanks! Riet and Janet

Finally we have sold our house( beware the sollicitors between notaire and seller!. it was a nightmare of delays). The planning is that the 7th or 8 th of september the mover comes to empty our house. We need some helpers. Who knows people who would like to help and earn some money? please contact us by phone or email.0563648084 and
Riet and Janet

comments to

7 million on fencing, it beggars belief!

Seven million pounds to be spent on fencing, can you believe that. If only  it was going to help those poor people, or even to  stretched welfare services in the UK.
Seven million pounds... am I losing touch with reality or is the government potty?
The problem is there is not an easy solution but EU governments have got to work something out, blaming the French and throwing money at fencing is just ridiculous. Anyone in the business of selling fence cutters in the Calais area... money to be made there.
Comments to

Thrills and spills at the Regatta

Come and join in the summer fun on the river. Many prizes to be won.
This year's regatta will take place on Tuesday 18th August at the Moulin de
Varen. Races will start at 10.30am so you will need to be registered by
Everyone is welcome, names will go into a hat and be drawn at random. Canoes
will be mixed teams. Children welcome, those aged from 5 to 12 must be
accompanied by an adult in the special childrens race.

Fish and chips or moules frites available at the Moulin restaurant for 12.50 but must be booked if you want these options. You can of course have the menu if you wish.. 
Martine at the Moulin would like the bookings to come via Val so
please contact Val Johnstone via TAG lines.

If you wish to picnic, then bring tables, chairs etc.
Dogs – are welcome but only on a lead. This is a public camp site and so
owners are requested to ensure that their dogs do not foul the area.

Life jackets of all sizes will be available if competitors wish to wear them.
Celia Berry
Mobile +33 (0) 671878927
Fixe +33 (0) 563309929
Comments to

For those too young to remember, it was 1968 after all

Enoch Powell's April 20, 1968 address to the General Meeting of the West Midlands Area Conservative Political Centre (commonly called "Rivers of Blood") was a speech criticisingCommonwealth immigration, and anti-discrimination legislation that had been proposed in the United Kingdom. Powell (1912–1998) was the Conservative Member of Parliament forWolverhampton South West. Though Powell referred to the speech as "the Birmingham speech", it is otherwise known as the "Rivers of Blood" speech, a title derived from its allusion to a line from Virgil's Aeneid.[1] Although the phrase "rivers of blood" does not appear in the speech, the name alludes to the line, "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'"

Val says this man became a symbol of racist attitudes in the UK, a bit like Jean Marie and Marine le Pen here in France. Someone who whipped up hatred against minority groups, not the sort of person TAG would ever glamorize. 
Comments to

Tonight and the weather is looking good

Caylus at night

I f you need a cat.. think the refuge at Carcassonne

The refuge at Carcassonne has a cat astrophe. more than 200cats and kittens needing homes. If you want a cat - think Carcassonne.
Comments to

Dog help

Hello Val, 

I was wondering if you could ask your readers if anyone knows of and can recommend a dog behaviorist / whisperer /psychologist or trainer preferably in the area around Najac for my 2 year old rescue dog who is suffering from her lack of socialization as a puppy and needs help to overcome fears and anxiety and maybe dog classes at a later date.

many thanks

Ali Stickler 

Rivers of blood... indeed

Hi Val.
Since being introduced to your blog I find a lot of the comments very interesting.
I write in this instance reference to the situation of the strikes at Calais and the ‘harsh’ words being spoken.
I see and read reports of a lot of resentment from our fellow English toward our French compatriots and threats of vengeful acts of retribution.
In my mind the basic issue here is not how the French are reacting, but why?  What is it that makes England so attractive?
I recall a recent news report that GB had allowed 670,000 foreign citizens in, and 320,000 Brits had left.
What has Great Britain become? It’s certainly no longer a land of British people! My 86 year old mother lives in Coventry where the resident population has now exceeded 50% foreign origin. And Coventry is now one of many Cities in the same position.
Why are so many Brits leaving? 
So back to the strikes.
The real culprits here are we silly English: with our poor memories, who consistently vote in and allow politicians who make mistake after mistake and usually the same mistake, with no culpability. Just look at Blair and Brown and their weapons of mass destruction mistake: and the terror threat that we all now live with in Europe because of their stupidity*. 
For those readers old enough to remember Enoch Powell, I suggest you go read his famous, Rivers of Blood’ speech and remind yourselves of his predictions: and then send a copy to your children and their friends.  This brilliant man was predicting, all those years ago, what is taking place today. And what have his successors learned from this. Absolutely NOTHING!
Bit like politicians erecting costly wind farms that do nothing when there’s no wind and forgetting that rivers run and produce water power 24/7.
So I say to all my fellow English living here in France, go tell your families that the problem at Calais is NOT of French origination, It’s 100% the fault of the British politicians for allowing these miscreants in in the first place.
Who was is it that voted the idiots into power?
By the way. Will the last Brit leaving GB remember to turn off the light please.
*Je suis Charlie
Val says I will reply to this later but I want readers to give their views, we are after all interested in free speech.
Tudor says " what is he doing in France? Tell him he is a foreigner here.

Garage wanted to rent in or around St. Antonin

WANTED: Garage to rent for my car  ( smallish car)
Garage can be anywhere within 1 km of Center of St Antonin

Bien Cordialement,
Jon Allerton Purcell
Place des CapucinsRue Droite - Trente Cinq 
Tarn et Garonne
France  82140

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Que faire cet été ? Cliquez, trouvez sur :

Profitez des réductions de l'été, trouvez une activité à faire en famille, à deux ou entre amis. Consultez l'agenda des manifestations en ligne... Bref, tout ce qu'il faut pour passer de bons moments chez nous !

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Lot of inspiration

Scottish author Peter May found his home in St Cere in the Lot the ideal place to write his "Scottish trilogy", a series of thrillers set in his native land. As is so often the case the tales were rejected by various UK publishers, but were picked up a local publisher, Editions de Quercy and have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
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Strong words in the Telegraph against France

The response of the French authorities to growing disorder around Calais has been inadequate. Only yesterday, long after these problems became apparent, did the French promise to deploy more police to the area. Even when the officers arrive, there are grave doubts about their effectiveness, since in many instances, the police response to illegal attempts to enter the tunnel is merely to drive the immigrants a short distance from the tunnel before releasing them, inevitably to return and try again.
Equally extraordinarily, Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister has written to Eurotunnel, a private company, seemingly blaming the firm for not doing enough to secure the tunnel entrance. That will not do. SecuringFrench borders is the job of the French state.
That state is not known for either inefficiency or restraint in enforcing the will of the country’s politicians. It is extremely hard to imagine that illegal immigrants congregating in such numbers elsewhere in France would be treated with such apparently leniency.
There are strong grounds to suspect that the French government has deliberately taken a relaxed approach to detaining and removing immigrants near the tunnel because it regards permitting their departure to the UK as a cheaper and easier option than returning them to their countries of origin.
Frankly, the French are attempting to shirk their responsibilities and transfer their problems to Britain. Faced with a crisis that is international in nature, such national selfishness is simply unacceptable.
Val says  and all I see are sad displaced people, with nowhere to go. I worry about all the dogs in overflowing refuges but I also have concern for people in a similar situation, nowhere to go, no one seems to care. 
With dogs the final answer is euthanasia,( with many staying in their own countries this could happen)  with people surely we need all countries to find a solution and a place for these poor people, who want a chance at life. Had you been born in Syria or Africa, it could be you.
You can send your comment if you disagree .. but I hope we all have some humanity and feel their pain.

Mickey mouse prices for French

Pic. Damien Meyer/AFP
When you are booking a package for your family to visit the premier European "parc d'attractions" do it from France, because booking from Britain or Germany can be considerably dearer. According to the Financial Times a French family will pay 1346 euros, a British family 1870 euros and a family from Germany a whopping 2447 euros. Since the packages are for hotels and entry to the park and not for travel the prices are simply related to the place where one books. The EU has received complaints, but say it is for the French government to ensure that customers are all treated fairly. It is also possible that intermediary agents use their websites to set prices.
Best practice seems to be to book direct using the French Disneyland website, using a French address.
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Cordes in the sky

Manuel Valls in the Gers

The Prime minister Manual Valls has been visiting agriculteurs in the Gers. Last week in the Gers was Johnny Halliday, much better received I suspect. I would hate to meet a barrage of angry farmers wherever I stop and try and pass the message " the government cares about la ruralitè"
"Farmers have the right to be treated like everyone else." He says
I would say stop harassing people and you will get treated like everyone else. 
It is the supermarkets who need to pay the farmers decent prices for milk and beef.

Le Premier ministre a profité des différentes étapes d'une visite dans le Gers pour célébrer une ruralité en marche. Reconnaissant le «malaise» des ruraux, il a insisté sur l'égalité de tous les citoyens en République.

Nous sommes le jeudi trente juillet

Summer in the south of France would not be complete without a glass of pastis and a game of pétanque.
The clink of metal boule on metal boule accompanied by the chirp of a thousand cicadas is to the French what the thwack of leather on willow is to the season’s cricketers the other side of the Channel.
Now, pétanque fans – including a growing number of players in Britain – are relaunching the campaign to have the game recognised as an Olympic sport and included in the 2024 summer games, which Paris is bidding to host.   Report in the Guardian
     Val says we certainly play pétanque with family and friends, the game last night Malc won with James but I came a close second with George. Malc, Tudor and the boys will be on the boules pitch on Friday afternoon at Verfeil sur  seye at 2.30pm Why not join them? None are probably up to Olympic standard... yet.            Comments to

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Scan of Ruby's heart

Today Trevor took Ruby to have her heart checked at the vets where he lives.

Hi guys 

After an X-ray Ruby has congenital cardiomyopathy. 
She is on nearly double the dose of vet median now.. 
She is fine as long as she does not start coughing. But then we will have to look at a new treatment. 
I  was so scared for her but vet says let her carry on as normal. I love that little furry friend.       Trevor x
 Val says and  we all love her too. We had her for 3 weeks and a very special dog she is" the dog that tries to catch ripples on the river"
I am sure with Trevor's love and care she will lead a good life, and finding Trevor has made her a very lucky dog.
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A good day for blackberrying

In the North of England, we call it brambling. Our lads, their Mum and Tudor know how it is done. A big plastic container full of black gems now waiting to be made into a bramble crumble. Country living in France or the UK, reaps rewards. We are all out round our lanes, Dutch, French, English and Welsh, we are all out "blackberrying"
Would it be " mure ing" in French?

 Young George asked me today" why move Aunty Val, it is wonderful here"
Tudor has been dreaming about buying the gite and running painting holidays, his 80 years being a factor in holding him back.
When we do sell,  promises have been made to find somewhere with views and space for everyone.
But Mas del Sol will be impossible to beat.
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Now that is a worry

Even certain sections of family will vote to bring us out of Europe... but why we asked.
Too much power in Europe, we want the UK to be able to make their own decisions. It has all got out of hand.
Malc and I looked at each other and said " French citizenship for us"
Ask your relatives out on holiday what they would vote and let TAG know.
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Give us a lift and identify your pooch

Dear Val, 
Many thanks for putting the lift out there, hopefully someone can help. I should've updated you on the lost dog who we picked up from Les Abriols, (miles away between Penne & Vaour,) when his micro chip was checked & his owner contacted we found he'd been missing for a month... a lesson to all to have their dogs chipped, this was an uncastrated beagle who resides (when he's at home) in Laguepie - he's probably off again by now!! lovely boy i will say.
very best Laura

Lift to England

Dear Val,
I'm hoping that someone could help my son & his girlfriend who are trying to find a lift share to England around the 6th of August.
Many thanks Laura
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A disaster was averted.

Dear Val and Malcolm,

Firstly a belated thankyou for your organisation of a wonderful evening last week in your garden. We all enjoyed the music and the boys loved their splash in your pool. Thank you for that. They all left early the next day to return to the UK with lovely memories. I left too to go to Bayonne for some golf and rest and recup.

However, I am back and I have just learned from Chris G that our table caught fire, due to the mosquito candles which we left for the comfort of the surrounding tables. Can't imagine how they would have caused the table cloth to catch fire. How scarey. So many apologies for that and hope there was no lasting damage. If I need to pay for any damage then please let me know. Very, very sorry for that.

Will see you soon for the regatta if not before.

Val says 
no probs C, well done for diverting a disaster Chris G. We found the next morning a burnt chair cushion and scorched plastic seat but nothing worse. With all those people a small disaster like that being averted was not too bad. Glad all the family enjoyed it.

Jazz in Marciac - if farmers agree

The "agriculteurs en colere" have featured in our columns recently and now they have been blockading entrances to the Jazz in Marciac festival. This is France's foremost jazz festival, attracting musicians of world stature to the small town in the Gers. But farmers were "controlling" cars as they enter the site in case the Minister of Agriculture tried to get in during his visit to the region yesterday. They also checked restaurants to ensure that their meat is French, pasting up posters indicating "French meat" or "meat from anywhere" as appropriate.
Farmers may have a legitimate case for the price they are paid for  their produce, but that is between them, the customers and the government and it seems wrong to deprive the general public of the right to free movement and consumers to the freedom of choice. Price is not the only criterion, perhaps consumers would pay more for better quality. French consumers will be shocked to know that many British expats find their meat to be inferior. Notices that said "Scotch beef" or "Welsh lamb" might have Anglo-Saxons flocking to the restaurants.
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Mousse party for the children

At Caylus, Lac de Labarthe and the place du lavoir, there will be " gonflables"/ inflatables and then a dance with music and mousse. contact 0563670028 or contact Caylus tourisme.
Mousse is foam!
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Fête des Battages at St. Antonin on Sunday 2nd

Machines and tractors from times past in the Place du Pradel, demonstrations given.
Also stands with local regional products. It is basically a fete a bit like our harvest festival.
Remember going to church for harvest festival and taking something as a donation?
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New link at the side

We have included a link to Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise and their website in the side panel. The group works to raise funds for cancer research and provides support through their various activities. We met some of them recently and were impressed by their enthusiasm. If you are interested in their activities click on the logo to go to the website.
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A serious problem with fires

OK, so Malc and I both reported it but the reason we would chose that story is the papers are full of the fires and the damage. Remember as well as as thousand of hectares been made into waste land there is also the destroying and killing of wild animals and habitat. For those who can read French I have copied a piece from the Depeche for you.

Avec la sécheresse, 2015 est une année à risques pour les feux de forêts. En Gironde, l'incendie a détruit 580 hectares de pinède depuis son déclenchement vendredi. Des départements comme le Lot, le Tarn-et-Garonne, l'Aude ou l'Aveyron sont particulièrement vigilants.
Les pompiers français sont sur le qui-vive : les risques de feux de forêt sont élevés cet été en France en raison de la sécheresse qui touche le pays, après deux années très clémentes en matière d'incendies.
Cette année, 3 000 hectares ont brûlé dans le Sud-Ouest depuis le 1er janvier et 1 500 hectares dans les 15 départements de la zone Méditerranée, selon les derniers chiffres de la DGSC.

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt neuf juillet

Cannot believe how quickly July has flashed past. Just checked and the next book swap is on Monday the 3rd of August. Once again at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin starting at 10.30 am
If you remember I talked lots of you in to taking bags of books away for me,  to return this time. I had weeded them out before hand.
 Spiced cuisine will be making deliveries.
See you all there.
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Where do you buy goats milk?

Hi Val, 
we still buy fresh milk every week, as I can't stand the taste
of UHT. It does mean going into Villefranche once a week and freezing
it so that we have a constant supply.

One thing I am looking for if any other readers know of where I can find
it is fresh goats milk. Raw would be fantastic but pasteurised is OK too.

Anne in Castanet

Hi Val
We recommend Quercy Frais near Caussade. Delicious milk from Castelnau Montratier. We freeze enough to keep us going. A little more to pay perhaps but we like to feel we are supporting local agriculture.

Hi Val
Try the Laiterie above Intermarché in La Fouillade.   They have pasteurised milk from a local Najac farm in the upright fridge on the right - I think I have seen un-pasteurised and goats milk as well - it's worth a try.  You pay a deposit on the glass bottles which is reimbursed on their return.    It is owned by the daughter of one of the GP's in La Fouillade and I am sure they would know where one can get these things even if they don't stock them.


Dear Val

leClerc Gaillac, possibly because of the significant muslem and british population has a wide range of milks. We can buy fresh milk from local farmers, two brands of whole, semi skimmed as well as skimmed cows pasturised milk, sheep and goats milk and various cultured milks. 

If Gaillac is too far to come, try your local franchised shop  and tell them that it is available here and who knows what might happen.


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