Sunday, 4 December 2016

Off to bed on a high

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Thank you all for your messages of support, much appreciated, ended up today with the result above.
Book swap tomorrow, hope it is sunny, get wrapped up warm whatever, it is St. Antonin.

I am not giving up


Catherine Smedley will be open

Dear Val,
 One million readers is an impressive milestone.  Thank you for seven years of keeping us so well informed on events both near and far.
Catherine  If you would like to see my recent paintings, handmade Christmas cards and gifts…………or just call in for a cup of tea and a mince pie……….the gallery will be open on :


Feel free to pass this invitation on to anyone who might like to come  and if none of these times suit you then I’m sure we can make another date.
best wishes,
Catherine 
The gallery is at La Barriere,
Lacapelle-Livron.  We are on the main D 19 road that goes from Caylus to St Projet. Tel. 05 63 24 00 05

It is a bald eagle

The mascot of the 17th parachute regiment at Montauban today for the Telethon.
A bald eagle / pygargue presented to the regiment by the Princess of Monaco.
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The Christmas market at Laguepie

I deliberately  trimmed off the little girl Santa was discussing Christmas with, one cannot be too careful with children and posting photos without parental permission.
A lovely morning in the sun, the normal market in the streets and the Christmas market under the halle.( well Laga has more a 50's roof!)
Having our morning coffee we commented how the cafe was full of English residents, not holiday makers but families who have made their home and their life here in Europe.
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Done it, a million views

Now dashing to the market at Laguepie but we did want to see it click over to a million.
9.48 on Sunday the 4th of December.
Malc tells me I started over 6 years ago  now and before long pulled him in to help, every morning for all the time we have searched the French news. Gosh, it has given us some laughs and fun.
must dash but  a million and five now.

Marche de Noel tonight in Montauban

tonight-montauban.fr/montauban-ouverture-du-marche-de-noel-le-2-decembre-2016/

Bingo wars

The commune of Garric near Albi (Tarn) suffered a number of fires and break-ins to buildings where loto entertainments and fund raisers are regularly held. Loto is the French version of bingo and is a very popular way for local associations to raise funds and the prizes are electronic items such as TV sets or in rural areas there is often a ham or other locally produced food.
Lotos are often organised by professional promoters and in recent years there have been several prosecutions for tax evasion. The fires in Garric are said to be the work of a gang trying to create a monopoly and gendarmes have arrested ten people from as far away as Marseille as well as the "mastermind" from Albi.
Clearly the loto organised by a seemingly helpful retired person to raise funds for your local football team is a source of good profit to the organiser as well the club.
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Clink your glasses for TAG

One million, yes one million views of TAG over the years will happen at any moment, we stand at
999.946 when I last checked. 54 views will be achieved in no time.
I hope Malc and I over the years have given you lots of local information, lots of laughs. Given others a boost to their local business. TAG made it possible to arrange the book swap and remind readers of the date. Rehomed many dogs, supported local good causes and in the last year aided refugees in our area and around the world.
And all from sitting in our armchairs on a morning.
Malc and I as in life are a good team and our happiness and joy in life, I hope we transfer to all.
As it is for us a happy day and getting near Christmas raise your glasses to TAG.
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Nous sommes le dimanche quatre decembre

A beautiful building, this is the town hall at Caylus. It has a certain style I think.
Christmas markets at Caylus and Laguepie today
Good news for 10 children at Realville. On Monday they will be allowed to go to the UK to be with their family as I might say is their legal right. So pleased for those youngsters but so sad for the other 19 who are still waiting.
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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Christmas Fayre


All in aid of Telethon, this morning at Laguepie

Our second yearly clean, a cold morning saw the young pompiers with the cold water sprays. The more mature pompiers enjoying the coffee and cake on offer and giving instructions... just as it should be!
Well done all.
There is a Christmas market at Laguepie tomorrow.
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Posting cards and parcels

Taken from the magazine " Living France"

Bird flu hits the Tarn again

Three elevages of ducks and geese have been diagnosed with the H5N8 stain of bird flu in the Tarn this week. Over 7500 birds have been destroyed in a bid to stop the disease spreading and a cordon sanitaire has been placed around sixty or so elevages around Almayrac. The prefecture says no source of the infection has yet been found.
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Sethi: petit prince

Sethi and mum Azizah
Taglines has featured the story of Sethi many times over the years. The little boy suffers from a rare condition which attacks the production of bone marrow and hence healthy blood and readers have followed his story and offered help where possible. At four years old in a Paris clinic his marrow was removed then he was treated with chemo-therapy and kept in a sterile bubble before the marrow was replaced. Now six he has started at normal school and loves being a pupil. But Sethi is not cured and needs blood transfusions every three weeks, but his life is transformed. This weekend he is an ambassador for the Telethon which raises money for research into such rare conditions and provides help where it is needed.
We will be contributing by having our car washed by the Laguepie pompiers (provided their karchers are not frozen). There are opportunities to contribute at an event near you.
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I like cats

Little Whisky only 6 kilos, age about a year and a half.
He is fine with everyone and everything even cats ... but not pigeons or hens.
Sadly Whisky was allowed to roam when with his previous owner and he killed the neighbours pigeons.
Instead of in my view training him about birds or fencing their garden they decided they no longer wanted him.
He is a lovely little boy full of fun and loves a cuddle.
He does need a fenced garden and is being rehomed by the Assoc. des Truffes et des Moustache who I can put you in touch with.
As an aside, all our dogs would have chased hens or birds till we taught them it was not a good idea.
Eldo is still in training!
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On today and tomorrow


Nous sommes le samedi trois decembre

Seen over St. Antonin.
Photo by Yves Bertand
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Friday, 2 December 2016

Laguepie Salon du Livre - Sunday 4 December 9am - 5pm

Hello,
A reminder that I am at the Salon du Livre, Laguepie, this Sunday selling my new book - and the others. Please do forward to anyone on your mailing list who might like to come along.
Coming up soon:
Sat 25 March 10.30am Parisot Library
I am giving a talk on historical fiction and my new novel, followed by aperitifs
Fri 21 April 5.30pm The English Library, Villefranche-en-Rouergue
I will be giving a talk on my new novel, alongside local thriller writer Stephen Goldenberg, who will talk about his latest novel (Venue to be confirmed).
best wishes
Tracey Warr

Book and DVD swap Monday 5 th at the Gazpacho in Saint Antonin

Once again the book swap, DVD's, Penny Smith is going if you need sewing done, Spiced Cuisine taking delicious ordered curries... and Caroline Mills and I taking in donations and Christmas boxes ready to be delivered to the refugees in our area.
Busy morning it will be but as always great to chose new books and meet friends for a coffee and chat.
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A frosty llama up on the Bosc

hi Val
Arn't we lucky!

Frosty llama up on the Bosc
Val says and frosty donkeys at Mas del Sol, but the sun was quickly up to give a glorious day.

Christmas at Fripaffaires


No more President Hollande

Probably to nobody's surprise Francois Hollande announced yesterday (Thursday 1st December) that he would not run again for President next year. His popularity ratings have been so low that it is unlikely he would win even his own party's nomination as candidate.
His win 5 years ago was a reaction to the previous 5 years of Nicholas Sarkozy who was blamed as so many other leaders were at that time for the 2008 banking crisis. But Sarkozy was also branded as too "bling bling", a man whose pursuit of personal glory and love of showiness was deemed "unpresidential".
The election of Hollande as a "normal president" had certain echoes, but he was undone by his failure to reduce unemployment as promised. In late 2016 there are more than 500000 extra unemployed compared to 2012. Added to that his faintly ridiculous amorous activities, including visiting his mistress Julie Gayet on the back of a scooter (having already split with his long time partner for Valerie Trierweiler) suggested he was not to be taken seriously.
The battle for succession in the PS is far from clear. Several former ministers have already declared they will run in a left primary and it is now likely that Prime Minister Manuel Valls will be a candidate. It is likely to be academic and they probably will be looking to 2022 after 5 years of either Francois Fillon or Marine le Pen.
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Nous sommes le vendredi deux decembre

Walking in the sun yesterday afternoon along our lanes. A bit of foraging went on as I collected some chestnuts, a bag full and Malc collected some fallen apples for the donkeys from a wild apple tree
A wonderful  afternoon, the silence and beauty here  overwhelms you

A Happy Christmas planned

Christmas present appeal

Cheques and parcels arriving daily for our Christmas present appeal for the refugee youngsters and now all our refugee young men.
We have extended the number of presents needed to 70 and then we leave no one out.
I received this message this morning

"Hi Val, I have a growing mountain of empty shoeboxes and the local shoeshop has promised to give me 200 pairs of brand new ( old stock )  shoes !!!!
Apparently 50/ 50 mens, womens and children"
This lady has also been to her local Lindt factory and came away with lots of chocolates.
On passing this news on to Caroline Mills she thought these may need quality testing!
I am shopping again today for a few more items needed and someone is donating wrapping paper.
We are having a morning packing planned with Caroline, Lindy Gander and myself on Wednesday the 14th.
The presents will be delivered to be opened on Christmas morning....  when Father Christmas has delivered of course.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Head on collision this morning

Two cars collided head on travelling on the Moissac-Castelsarrasin main road this morning (Thursday 1st December). In fairly misty conditions it seems a car overtaking a lorry hit a car coming the other way.
Miraculously nobody has been seriously hurt, though at 8h30 one driver was still trapped in his car. Traffic is seriously disturbed on this road at present.
Photo : M-France Guiseppin

Time to wash the car again

From Friday evening until Sunday morning French TV stations will hold their annual Telethon, a 30 hour transmission to raise awareness of and raise funds for research into rare medical conditions. There will be community efforts in over 100 towns and cities and Montauban is one of the flagship venues.
Last year the combined efforts raised a staggering 94 million euros and this year the number to call will be displayed on the Eiffel Tower. Many local villages will also hold fund raising events and as usual we will take our cars for their annual wash by the pompiers at Laguepie on Saturday.
To donate direct call 3637 or visit the Telethon website Give to Telethon
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And the real little chap up on the bosc

Hi Val
i have just started filling the feeders this week.  The birds are happy.  Probably won't see this little chap though.
Don't you just love nature and rural France?
k
Val says   delightful picture 

Nous sommes le jeudi premier decembre

A frosty start to the morning, crunching over the grass to give hay to my donkeys. A cold start but the sky is now blue and I think we are in for a lovely day... stay in the sun.
The first day of December, the start of the run up to Christmas.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus.
I am told that in Islam Christ is an important prophet.
Donkeys and sheep, animals that surrounded baby Jesus in the manger when he was born.
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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

TOF report on the Renaissance at Caylus

The Renaissance at Caylus
We went for lunch today, to say hi to Martine and Alain in their new venue at Caylus.
The couple with their son closed the doors on the Moulin in Varen  at the end of September and took over the bigger concern on the main road in Caylus.
Alain who has a heart condition is hoping for a life out of the kitchen and the restaurant new to them has two chefs.
We knew initially the chefs were on holiday so left it till now to go and try it.
The menu of the day was 12 euros for 4 courses.
Vegetable soup
quiche and salad
Sausage,  rice in a tomato sauce
dessert.
It was all delicious, too much perhaps for me, but great value.
Martine and son Louie were as always charming and the perfect host and waiter.
Good Luck to you all, we will be back.
Out of 5 - we would give it slightly less than 4
a good score for us.
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This is especially for k on the Bosc


An interesting lunch at Bruniquel


Eye sore in Gaillac

Hi val:

This article doesn't surprise me...in 2009, my house in Cordes had a major fire; the entire center of the house collapsed...it was an electrical fire caused by bad work but when my assurance claimed against the artisan, his assurance resisted and my assurance didn't pay for over 2 years.  The house just sat there in a damaged state...and when it did finally pay, it wasn't enough to pay for the 2nd renovation and there went the rest of my funds.  Anyway, the point is:  assurance in France is a very tricky path to trod...
carolyn
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Joyeux Noble Val


Having your cake and eating it

The indiscreet notes of a parliamentary aide which suggested that with Brexit we could aim to "have our cake and eat it" - a phrase first used by Boris in this context - has an equivalent in French, to have "le beurre et l'argent du beurre" literally to have one's butter and the money to pay for it.
An EU official did point out that having eaten your cake, you are left with - nothing but crumbs.
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Do not worry if your washing machine breaks down


Insurance battle in Gaillac

The owner of a pub in Gaillac is embroiled in a battle with various insurance companies and individuals after  the building collapsed in May. He was insured, but the builder and architect he used for renovations were not. Having paid 45000 euros to demolish the dangerous parts and facing a further bill of 40000 euros for re-building the party walls, he has received no reimbursement from his insurer who hold the third parties responsible. Even his neighbour was affected, his building being empty since that time and now the mayor has weighed in complaining that the site is an eyesore and harms the town's image (not forgetting that they are also paying the cost of safety barriers). A lesson to us all to make sure all parties are properly insured when undertaking major works.
Eyesore in Gaillac: but who pays?

Nous sommes le mercredi trente novembre

Still seems like autumn to me but tomorrow is the first day of the meterological winter in the UK.
Malc thinks in France it is the 21 st of December but I will check that up.
The Winter solstice occurs on the first day of the season (21 December). 
Our walks and views are just superb at the moment and most days we have the sun and the fabulous blue skies. Hard to understand why the world and some people are so mad and bad when you commune with nature.
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A turkey is for Christmas

Hi Val
Christmas time is a time for celebration, a chance to spend quality time with family friends and your loved ones; an opportunity to entertain, indulge and enjoy. 
So what better way to do that than with a:
Traditional Christmas Turkey Dinner!  
Again this year we have slowly matured Norfolk Blacks and Bronze turkeys.
Norfolk Blacks 
These are small turkeys, originally thought to have come from Spain and aregenerally considered the oldest turkey breed in Europe the nearest thing to a wild bird. They have long narrow tender breast and a slight gamey flavour .€12/kilo
Norfolk Bronze
The name (Bronze) refers to its plumage, which bears an iridescent bronze-like sheen. The Norfolk Bronze is plumper and heavier than the Norfolk Black, but they have the added bonus of cooking much more quickly than the traditional white turkey as they have a natural fat layering in the meat which leaves the meat tender and full of flavour. €12/kilo
We have started reserving the turkeys already! 
So as a past and happy (we hope) customer we did not want you to miss out!
Over the last 4 years our turkeys have all been sold out before the last reservation date (21.12.2016).
To reserve a turkey please email me, sarah.meakin@orange.fr or call me on my mobile  tel : 0033 61 60 77 539
Thanking You
Take Care
Sarah 

David Bowie in Toulouse

Toulouse is intimately linked with aeronautic and space exploration and David Bowie in his 1970s incarnation of Ziggy Stardust presented himself as an extra-terrestrial and his song "Space Oddity" (despite its sad story) has appealed to astronauts of all generations - the current French astronaut in the space station, Thomas Pesquet, was called "Major Tom" by his brother.
David Bowie prepares to be Ziggy. Photo by Mike Rock
Now an exposition of 40 images by the celebrated star photographer Mike Rock is being held in a gallery called Multiple in Toulouse. All the photographs date from that time and show Bowie in various situations, preparing for concerts or with other rock stars. All are signed and numbered and for sale for prices from 1650 euros to 3300 euros.
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Gas prices to rise

The price of gas will rise between 0.9% and 2.6% in December according to the regulator. This follows a rise in October and is due to higher import and production costs.
Overall in 2016 the regulator points out that prices have fallen by an average of 3.4%. With the weather due to become much colder by the end of this week it may be prudent to get a top-up now.
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Toulouse Christmas market opens

With over 120 stalls the Place du Capitole has been transformed into the place to go for the pre-Christmas shopping experience. A great choice of artisan and artist made gifts; decorations; mulled wine; aligot; maybe a Santa or two. All in the setting of Toulouse's most impressive architecture, the market is open every day until Christmas.
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt neuf novembre

A sunny Sunday morning brought out the crowds in the market at St. Antonin.
A lovely morning it  certainly was.
Photo by Sophie Hautefeuilles
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Logs delivered to the Verfeil area?

Hi
I will do a box and drop it up poss next weekend. Could you put on Tag for me 
Does anyone know where I can buy logs that can be delivered.
Thank you
Jo x
Val says Will Kevin know?
Donnadieu  from Verfeil delivers logs. 
Any other ideas readers?

3 Rocs trail inscriptions open


Good morning Val, I'm sure some readers will be interested in this, run

or walk, it's great fun.
The 2017 edition is on Ascension Day, Thursday 25th May and inscriptions are open at
K of the Bosc

Christmas cakes; yum, yum

Christmas cakes for sale 
These are not just any old Christmas cake, these handcrafted cakes have been made using a tried and tested recipe which involves infusing the fruit in brandy until it is soft and plump. They have been covered with a layer of marzipan which is then painted with a coat of brandy before being topped with sugarpaste. Each cake has been thoughtfully and carefully decorated by hand.
3" square 12€
4" square 17€
A few other sizes available
Glynis Howgego
cakelady@orange.fr


Fillon wins primary

The primary election to choose a candidate to represent the centre right parties in next year's presidential election has been won by Francois Fillon. The former prime minister beat his rival Alain Juppé by almost two to one, obtaining 66% of the second round vote.
With the left wing vote completely divided, the Parti Socialiste having no candidate at present, the latest sondage suggests that Fillon will win both the first and second round next April and May with Marine le Pen second.
A poll this morning puts Fillon at 32%, le Pen at 22% in the first round and 71% to 29% in the second round. Another poll gives a similar result in the second round, though closer in the first round.
On the left Emmanuel Macron with 13% is just ahead of Jean-Luc Melenchon on 12% with Francois Hollande trailing on 8%.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt huit novembre

Another lovely photo of autumn in St. Antonin, taken by Sophie Hautefeuilles.
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