Sunday, 21 September 2014

Mental and physical wellbeing

Hi Val
I run mindfulness hypnosis and meditation groups from home and one particular group focus on healing and cleaning the energy centres or Chakras of our body. These are part of our subtle body. Blocked energy in any one of our seven Chakras can lead to illness - emotional and physical - so it's important to understand what each Chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely. 

I have now created a one hour audio on “mental and physical wellbeing and relaxation” to support my clients. This audio download is also available on our website for €6.40. So if you are feeling tired and stressed, or have physical ailments that just won't shift, is audio download is specifically for you.
 If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
 Many thanks,
 Irena x

 Irena-Marie Makowska, Dip Hyp, GHR, GHSC
Clinical Hypnotherapist, Executive & Well-being Coach 

Another recipe from Martine

Hi Val,
Aubergine butter
From reading the various recipe using aubergines on Tag, I am offering you my favourite one.
As usual it is a very easy recipe: Cook a large aubergine whole in the microwave for 10 minutes ( 5mn+5mn) and make sure you make a few holes in it first with a knife so that it doesn’t explode. When it has cooled a bit get rid of the skin then put it in a jar with a little olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend. It is delicious on toast to serve with aperitif….
Martine Lewis

Printing out recipes

Dear Val,

I enjoy seeing the recipes that you post on TAG.  Are you able to advise me how to print them, because whenever/however I’ve tried I’ve ended up with pages of stuff I didn’t want to print and much of it is illegible.  I appreciate that I can sit in front of my computer and write them all down but…….  

This might be “a question too far” but if you can enlighten me (or suggest someone who can) I’d be very grateful.  Anyway - there might just be other people who would like to know how to do this so no harm in me asking!

Di xx   
Val says  your own folder of the recipes is a good idea. If you can highlight the recipe from TAG and just print the highlighted section that should work.
If you are using an ipad that might be more difficult as I think I have the same problem. Any ideas anyone?

Elderly age pointer

I agree with Malc: it has to be at least 80 years
Douglas Johnson (69 and 11 months)

Val says  Douglas is still middle aged.

Comments to

Jean Jaures written and researched by Gavin Porter


Gavin Porter gives an account of the life and achievements of the politician and writer Jean Jaures, the centenary of whose assassination was 31 July 1914.


Jaures was born at Castres in the Tarn in 1859. He came from a petit bourgeois background and had the highest marks of those seeking entry to the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris in 1878. He was third in the teacher training degree for philosophy in 1881. (Philosophy is widely taught in French secondary schools.) As a result he became a philosophy teacher in a lycee in Albi in 1881.

Val says This is a Frenchman who fascinates me. Gavin has researched him and his findings will be published in the patrimoine label. Enjoy reading 

A lovely new couple moved in yesterday to Najac

A French couple moved in to Najac yesterday opposite the boulangerie and next to the bar. What a delightful pair, he is called Frederick but I have forgotten the ladies name.
We were at the bar at Laguepie when I admired their little dog which then lead us into conversation. It worked out they had just moved in to Najac, had an English piano ( now I could have been stumped at that  a few years ago) but I knew they meant  a " piano de cuisine," which is a Falcon like ours.
They want to change their life style and will be opening a flat on the top floor for rent and an atelier for painting exhibitions and the like on the lower ground floor.
I suspect they will not speak English but their French unlike the accented South was very easy to understand.
TAG has many readers in Najac, I have promised to go and say hello and to all in Najac why not go and make yourselves known to new lovely neighbours.
There is a new, also lovely  English speaking couple in the village centre, hope you can all make friends.
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Parisot Literary festival

Dear all,
 If you haven’t already heard, and to remind you if you have, the 2nd Festival Littéraire de Parisot will take place from 10th to 12th October this year.
 This year’s line-up features 13 authors – 7 French and 6 Anglophone – and a varied programme that includes author talks and readings, workshops, a cookery demonstration by Robin Ellis (whom some of you will remember as Ross Poldark in the UK TV series), and a dinner with the authors on Saturday 11th Oct. This year, I’m on the other side of the fence and will be presenting my novel, The House at Zaronza, and talking about the inspiration behind it.
 You can see the programme here: - and also download a detailed programme if you wish.
 All the events, except the Saturday night dinner (for which booking is essential) are free of charge. No booking for the author sessions is required, except for the workshops.
 I’m not involved in the organisation this year, so if you have any questions please address them to and not to me, please.
 Venez nombreux. I look forward to seeing you there.
 Best wishes,

A trip down the Aveyron

Dear Val and Malcolm,
Long post on our canoe trip down the Aveyron with some pretty pictures too.

As proud owners of an inflatable canoe - gonflable to the native speakers - we thought it would be rather jolly to take it for a spin along the Aveyron.  So one morning, after walking the dog, we sped off to Varen, parking close to the Moulin for the start of the trip. The planned journey of around 13 miles would take us past Le Riols, Lexos, Montrosier, Feneyrols with the final stop at St Antonin.

We swapped "bonjours" with a local chap who was sitting on one of the benches and then carried on with the preparations.  A few pumps later the canoe was ready and after a quick look round to see that we had everything, we launched the canoe into the river.

As there has not been a a great deal of rain, the river was not particularly full of water, so when I jumped into my seat we promptly grounded.  I got out and dragged the canoe to a deeper section, reinserted myself and then we were truly on our way.   The river flows south away from the main road and shortly you enter a really peaceful area and we saw both Grey and Night Heron, Egrets and Kingfishers.  This is the first canoe trip that I had taken my camera as prior to this we had been prone to falling out, especially on the sluices.  But we still had a waterproof bag and the camera was tucked away just in case.

There is a technique that needs to be learned when using a canoe as a photographic platform, I am going to call it "owling" as when you stop paddling the canoe then wanders around on no specific tack and you end up twisting your head round in all directions just to maintain vision of the subject rather like an owl.  The first stop was at a weir just outside of Lexos where there is a spruced up mill house built over three levels.  The attached terrace has a great view over the river.

Passing Montrosier further downstream there were families playing in the river watching with amusement as we barrelled through the fast flowing section under the bridge, fortunately staying the right way up.  Just before we arrived at Feneyrols there was another section of rapids and in the middle of the river was a fisherman fly-fishing.  Of course, I wanted a picture but the challenge was stopping the canoe long enough. We managed to turn the canoe sideways and jammed the paddles into the riverbed thereby anchoring ourselves in one place.  I wanted to capture the fisherman in action flicking the line back and forth and after several shots I hoped that I had got what I wanted. We lifted the paddles and scooted down the rapids, steering around the fisherman.

Passing Feneyrols under the cyan coloured bridge we were on the last section of river.  There was more activity here as other people were out fishing in canoes and small boats.  On the banks we could still hear the sharp call of Kingfishers, then they would dart by barely above the surface of the water.  Suddenly there was one resting on a branch surrounded by leaves and I managed to take a shot as we drifted past. Then there were two on the other bank arguing with another bird and one of them flew off and landed on the end of a large branch sticking out of the water.  It was quite far away but the composition was really nice and it demonstrates how tiny these birds are.

So after six and half hours of paddling we arrived at our destination of St Antonin, nicely worn out from the day but what a lot we saw and I have added some of the pictures for your enjoyment.

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Click on the pictures to achieve a larger image

Folk'n'Jazz returns to Verfeil sur Seye

Folk'n'jazz returns to the salles des fêtes in Verfeil this Thursday 25th September for the start of the winter season.
Start . Free entry. Would be performers contact Trevor, this month's compere, at, phone 0563679335, or facebook at Folk'n'jazz
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France is happy that we have stayed together

France's rising star Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told radio broadcaster France Info she was “happy that Scotland stays” as part of Britain.
“A (vote) result to the contrary would have sent a negative signal," she said. "We’re at a time when we have to find ways to affirm our commitment to European unity."  
Her comments were echoed by Philip Cordery, a top member of France’s ruling Socialist Party, who said the vote results were “a relief”.
We have had emails from French friends congratulating us on the results of the Scottish referendum.
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"Don't publish my private life, I want to do it"

Valerie Trierweiler, erstwhile companion of President Hollande is well-known to take exception to the "presse people" (celebrity magazines) publishing details of her private life and asking the courts to ban publication or award her damages. Usually the basis is that there are lies in the stories. Now Closer magazine (which broke the story about Hollande and Julie Fayret) has asked the court to rule that Mme Trierweiler has no right to sue the "presse people" when she has laid bare her own private life, which may also include some untruths.
One imagines that the courts will refuse to rule on an apparently frivolous action, but gossip columnists say that "celebrities" are quaking in their boots at the prospect of the press having unfettered right to publish stories and rumours which they (the celebs) or their publicity agents have not planted themselves.
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Mist rising up from the valley

At eight thirty as I sit with Max the cat on my knee debating with Malc what is or is not worthy for TAG. I can see mist rising from the valley below changing the salon window from green to grey.
Whilst many of you will be getting ready for your trip to St. Antonin market we will be going to the smaller market at Laguepie were we can walk the dogs after shopping and then have our coffee.
Enjoy your morning readers.
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Mme Delfau, her son, grandson and Dolly

Dolly looking well after 120 people were mobilised to help
Both Malc and I felt this picture should be of the mamie, Dolly and the granddaughter and should not be introducing son and grandson who have not featured in the story, but can I teach the Depeche to suck eggs?
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175 exposants at a bio fair at Montauban today

If you are an eat bio person, you may be interested in a Fair today at Montauban where 175 producers will be displaying their wares including bread, cakes, vegetables, drinks, aromatic and medicinal plants and even cosmetics, textiles and art.  this is the 21 st faire of this type.

La 21e édition de la foire bio-synergie revient dimanche 21 septembre sur le site d'Eurythmie avec son grand marché bio et sa foire aux alternatives. À découvrir !

First day of Autumn in France was heralded with another storm

Wow! the skies were alight again last night and the storm did bring more rain. For three hours before the rain arrived the boys with their camera toys were out trying to shoot videos of the flashes. The pets were disturbed and Tudor went to bed checking his insurance for storms before settling down.
New renters arrived in the middle of it all and must have wondered what planet they were coming to.
This morning is calm and we appear to have all services, but  there is a cooler autumnal feel to the day.
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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Our old Presbytere for sale

The Belgian guy who bought the Presbytere at St. Vincent as a second home has passed many happy holidays there. He is now working in Germany and Italy more of the time and so  has decided it is time to sell. It is a lovely house near Varen and is being sold by Martine Ravily. The price is just over 300,000 euros.  It has good sized rooms with charm, secondary double glazing, oil fired radiators, a swimming pool with abri and lovely views.

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The young couples wishes are now respected

The young couple whose baby was born 3 months premature and then suffered a stroke has been the centre of a euthanasia debate. The couple wanted to withdraw the breathing machine and feeding tubes and Doctors refused, saying they needed to determine what quality of life the child would have.
It has now been established that the child would have a very poor quality of life and the parents wishes are now being put into operation.
What a terrible time for a young couple being the centre of media attention at such a distressing moment in their life. Sad though the decision is I personally think it is the right one. I hope in time they go on to have a family but I am sure this child will stay in their hearts and memories.
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On foreign policy Hollande can be brave, why does he dither on home territory?

Flying out of the United Arab Emirates, two French Rafale fighter jets fired four laser-guided bombs to destroy a weapons and fuel depot outside Iraq's second city of Mosul, which was seized by the militants in June, officials said.
French President François Hollande said the airstrikes were launched in support of Iraqi, US and Kurdish forces in the region with the objective of weakening theIslamic State “terrorist organisation and come to the aid of the Iraqi authorities”.
“I want to congratulate our soldiers, our pilots in this case, who successfully fulfilled this mission,” Hollande told reporters at the Elysée presidential palace.   News 24  
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An elderly man of Castres, lost in the woods for 2 months

A poor man, poor in all senses, had problems with no money, so he left his flat and went into the woods. A man of 61with fragile health both mentally and physically. He managed to survive on brambles, apples and mushrooms living like a hermit of the woods. Eventually deep in the woods he was lost but happily found by a chasseur who was searching for his hunting dog.
The man is now being cared for in hospital and one hopes service sociale will take over and manage his care from now.
Val says  there are questions here about me calling a man elderly at 61! Depends which side of the spectrum you are coming from. Can we decide you have to be over 70 to be elderly. Tudor thinks 70, Malc thinks 80. There is of course a further age group of "old"
Middle age we have decided is 50 to 70 and anything below that you are a young whippersnapper.
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Patrimoine week end

Lots happening this week end with churches and historic buildings open to the public, also lots of concerts taking place.
Enjoy the heritage of this proud country in which we are privileged to live  and enjoy. It is satisfying that so many of us expats are prepared to spend time aiding the restoration of buildings and churches. You know who you are and well done.
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Front page centre, the HAPPY story of Dolly

You do not often get a happy story in the news so I am delighting in this one. TAG reported after the Depeche the story of a little dog Dolly being run over and needing 1,000 euros worth of operations. The old mamie/ grandma who owned the dog was an old lady of little means. Her granddaughter launched an appeal to help her mamie, who loved the dog. This morning the Depeche reported 120 readers had all sent small cheques and the amounts were enough to cover the care needed for Dolly.
You and I all sent small cheques, as I know readers who have told me they did, so a spot of integration gone on here with an elderly mamie and her dog from Montauban.
Does your heart good and thanks go to those readers.
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Spectacular storms but we lose phone and internet connection.

Forget firework displays, last night here the sky blazed with light, later followed with crash, bang, wallop and not too much rain. The boys, well old chaps to some were out with cameras and then spent time together on the sofa discussing who had the best shots. They did pick a bunch out for TAG till I stopped them in their tracks saying, we have had our sky photos for this week!
This morning all the settings on the sound system had gone awry and the phone and internet were down, checking with neighbours we were all in the same boat.
We went off to Laga for coffee to discover Fifi had none of the connections either so Tag stories had to wait.
Comments to

Marches de potiers

Hi Val, 
I wished I could go because I love ceramics and pottery. Unfortunately leaving for UK,  but I know some of your readers might be interested. 
Love, Elly x
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Friday, 19 September 2014

Better together in Scotland

 Better together at  Mas del Sol.

Malc and I are used to being surrounded by pets, but Tudor thought it amusing to be in the middle of the clan.  The pets know my feelings of being "better together" and they show it by joining us in the grange (donkeys excepted).

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Air France remains on strike

French travellers were facing a weekend of travel disruption, as pilots at Air France announced Friday they were extending their strike until next Friday, their longest since 1998.
The company said it will have to scrap 55 percent of its flights on Saturday, when pilots' unions will also announce whether the strike will continue into a second week.
According to French daily Le Figaro, the pilots voted on Friday to carry on their strike for another week, which means it will last until at least September 26. 

Big news of the Sarkozy comeback

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy announced his return to French politics Friday, taking to Facebook to offer disenchanted voters a "new political choice" amid a deep political and economic crisis.
After several months of 'will he,won't he', France's ex-leader announced his return to the cut-throat political front-line despite being directly or indirectly involved in several graft investigations.
The energetic 59-year-old -- who inspires hate and adoration in roughly equal measure -- made the announcement in a very 21st century way, via a declaration on his Facebook page.

A day to remember

Hi Val and Malcolm
Having the experience of finding myself locked in the loo you would have
thought that my departure would now go smoothly but O'no.

Upon arrival at check-in I lifted my suit case onto the belt (it was now
6kgs lighter that my inbound journey!!)The girl at the desk pressed a button
to take the case but pressed it forward - so that my case shot towards me
and on into the passengers waiting to be checked in! Amid much laughter she
said she hoped the was nothing breakable inside - so did I !!!I then
proceeded to the security section and was asked to take off Shoes, Watch,
Necklace, Cardigan and my new scarf, these were placed in the plastic trays
to go through ex-ray whilst I underwent a body search.
The items came through the other side but my scarf was now caught up in the
rollers!!!! The staff were very apologetic and said they would send for a
mechanic, I wandered off and purchased a coffee which somehow was spilt onto
my hat!! I returned several times to be told they were still waiting for the
mechanic to arrive. I began to worry as departure time was looming. After
about 45mins they finally freed the scarf and I was free to escape France! I
think Tuesday 16th September will be a day I do not forget!!!!!
Love to you all
Val says and we thought Tudor was our most accident prone guest! and  I was a bit worried when you said you were body searched,  as when this happened to Tudor his pants fell down.
Glad you are home safely Therese.
Comments to

The pound on a high

Today it is trading at 1.27
If you move over £5, 000 you would make about 150 euros over last week's rate. You have got to need to do it for it  to be worthwhile. When I initially worked it out I thought it was 50 euros, now  I know it is 150 I have changed my tune.
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Yoga at Villefranche de Rouergue

Hi Val
 Just to let you know that the yoga class on Thursday morning in Villefranche de Rouergue has started up again. I am a qualified Iyengar yoga teacher and would like to encourage anyone with or without experience to come and try a class. Please contact me for more details

Aubergine recipe 3

Dear Val,

You could try this, it's called 'zaaluk':

In a hot oven roast whole aubergines, tomatoes, red peppers and garlic.  When they are blistered and a little bit blackened on the edges, take them out if the oven and let them cool till you can handle them.

Peel off the skins, no need to be careful about keeping the vegetables whole, but save all the juices.

Roughly chop all the veg.  Mince an onion, with some more garlic if you like, soften it in a little olive oil, add the chopped veg and their juices, cook down till the liquid has reduced and concentrated. While it's cooking  down, flavour with salt, pepper, paprika, lemon juice, cumin to taste.

It's very good with lamb.


Comments to

There is some relief

Dear Val,

I don't know who else to write to over this but I am just so relieved we
are all to stay together. As a passionate absolutely committed Welsh woman,I
would have found it very difficult to handle the break up of our union. I
think everyone in our poetry group felt the same. What will follow with
more devolution can only be a good thing for our four nations but with one
beating heart.
 All love Jacqui xxx
Val says  at the end of our poetry meeting we did discuss Scotland and we were all of one voice we wanted Scotland to stay in the United kingdom. a relief for many of us.
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The sky last night at Mas del Sol

Brother in law Tudor may not of thought much of the film but driving  back up our road to Mas del Sol we had this view from the car with the roof down and Tudor thought that was the highlight of the evening.

Looking at the number who have enjoyed this sunset taken by Tudor, as much as it is a good photo, I think part of the vote throws a reflection on how the film was received, but I could be wrong.

The Caussade lads and lasses delivered a baby in the pompiers van.

Well done you young pompiers delivering a 34 year old mother of her baby, a healthy baby boy. This happened on the Puylaroque road on the way to the hospital Pont de  Chaume at Montauban.
I always think it funny that these pompiers within half an hour will be back to their day jobs as electricians or plumbers... until their alarms go off again.
Comments to

Have you an interesting story?

I am glad that readers are finding the Laguepie bus story interesting. Have you a local story which may interest readers? If you have please send it to TAG for everyone to enjoy.
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1000 farmers and 200 tractors met last night in Albi and dumped manure at the Prefecture

And it is all about nitrates polluting rivers.
In certain areas agriculteurs by law cannot dress the fields with fresh manure which is full of nitrates which then pass into the rivers. The manure needs to be left 6 months before being spread. The farmers say they will be massively hit in their pockets with this ban but I think it is a very short sighted view. Nitrates in rivers kill fish, wild life and poison whole areas.
I know the life of an agriculteur is a hard one but the government is looking at the larger picture of the environment and I am with them on this one.
If they also have rallies about them using pesticides I would also be against them and could become  "a granny eco warrior"
Val says again  I see that 300 agriculteurs protested at Montauban as well.

Storms bring deaths in the Midi

5 deaths in L'Hérault the Gard  and l'Aveyron after the terrific night long storms. Three people were washed away by swollen rivers and "des flots" thrown up / trees, cars, benches all being dragged along by the river. Now the cleaning up begins

Nous restons ensemble

As reported on French TV, the UK is staying together. yippee!
A good solid win for the No vote. Now we hope we can all pull together to be members of the United Kingdom and Europeans.
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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Forgot to mention

There are still life jackets and equipment, possibly canoes for sale from the canoe centre at Najac. They like to start their new year, next year with sparkling equipment. It will not be for long as in a few days they will be all closed up for the end of season.
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Cake decorating workshops

Hi Val
Cake decorating workshops 
There are still places some places left

Thurs 2nd October  2pm  Vintage cupcakes    
 Tues 21st October    2pm  Wired sugar roses
 Sat 22nd November   2pm  Animal cupcakes 
 Tues 2nd December  2pm  Cover and decorate a small christmas cake
 Mon 22nd December 2pm  Christmas cupcakes 
It's still only 40€ per class (20€ deposit required) and places are limited

Go to for more information

Thanks Val, luv Glynis

That there film

Recettes du bonheur on at St. Antonin, was it good or what?
Malc is out playing bridge so brother in law Tudor and another friend met up to go and give our critical verdict.
Let us get Tudors review over first " well I would not see it again and at least no one was hurt"

Hmm! Whereas friend Lorraine and I thought it was a pleasant film which we enjoyed with a few smiles, a bit of romance and some wonderful scenery around the place we have grown to love so much.
 I felt pride in the bits we saw of St. Antonin, was not sure about the positioning of the two hotels but you cannot have everything and as another reader said at least St. Antonin was mentioned three times.
Would I go again? Well I have promised to go next week with Malc and although Tudor says he will stay at home, I will go again.
Comments to

No more worries about life jackets

Today we went for a ride out to Najac and whilst there popped in to the canoe centre near acro branch and the camp site.  We spoke to one of the associations leaders and bought 2 small life jackets and 2 medium large life jackets for 10 euros each. These we will keep for use with the canoes through the summer.
I asked about life jackets for the regatta next year and we agreed a deal where they would loan us as many life jackets as needed for the day if I would give them a free advert on TAG.
So what ever else happens we will have life jackets at no expense. yippee!
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Aubergine recipe, mark 2

Dear Val
I found this in a magazine some years ago and although I like the aubergines you can buy dripping in olive oil, this is how I always cook them.
Heat the oven to 200°C.

Cut a medium aubergine into 1 cm cubes and place in a bowl.
Sprinkle with salt and peppar and toss in about a dessert spoon of Olive Oil and half a teaspoon of crushed cumin seed.
Spread out into a single layer on a baking sheet
After 10 minutes turn the pieces over
Cook for another 10-15 minutes until crisp
Serve straught from the oven.  

The restoration of the Laguepie Guepe

Hi Val,
As you know, I have been photographing the restoration of the Citroen bus “La Guepe” since the beginning of the year. Progress is definitely being made and the wooden frame which will support the bodywork is almost complete. There is still a lot of work to do but the frame is now securely attached to the chassis and drivetrain, the electrics have been installed and it is starting to look like a real vehicle. I attach some recent photographs of the meticulous reconstruction work which might be interesting to some of your readers, together with a copy of a couple of pictures taken in April before the bodywork was attached – which shows the progress! The guys doing the work, who belong to he club “Rétro Véhicule de Rouergue" are all volunteers and are highly skilled and they love showing off the work they have done to visitors on Saturday mornings.
Best wishes
Val says   Gareth Brown photographer is yet another English speaker getting involved in the Laguepie bus project. Roger Bowen has been involved for quite some years. I love seeing nationalities working together on such a great project.
Very many thanks Gareth for giving us this photographic insight into the restoration of the bus.
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An idea for aubergines

hi Val
I hated aubergines, but we recently got a 'fat free deep fat fryer' - sounds odd, I know. If you sprinkle the sliced aubergines with salt and pepper and a tiny bit of oil, put them in the 'fryer' for 25 mins, they come out lovely and crispy and really tasty and even I love them. Not really a recipe, but I now buy an aubergine every week at the Market. Now, if only someone can teach me to like cucumber, something I really don't see the point of...

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Montalbanais de souche

 «Montalbanais de souche>> Just noticed this expression in the Depeche

Canadians on "political tourism"

The Parti Quebecois, a Canadian French speaking separatist party suffered a heavy defeat in elections earlier this year. Several friends and acquaintances living in Quebec have told us that the party is almost fanatical in its insistence on the use of French and its pursuit of independence, and now some of its leaders have come to Scotland to observe and help the Yes campaign. One leader observed that the campaigners on both sides have been quite free to advance whatever arguments they wished, whereas the PQ is very centralised, with a strict party line to be followed. Does that seem very French?
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Jour J today

Well today is the day Scotland decides, we could say "D Day" the French would say " le Jour J"
Please do not split up the United Kingdom, I want to stay united.
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Winter let needed

Hi Val 
I hope all is well with you both. Could you please post the below for me on Taglines.
Thank you

I am looking for a small Winter house to rent, (whilst I house hunt)  a minimum of 3 months but may be longer . I would prefer rural, with a garden and animal friendly. Preferably around the Najac, La Fouillade,Castanet ,Laguepie areas.
Thank you

Contact details
Mob no 0645833096

We were on the edge

Night owls may have noticed an almost continuous display of lightning in the southern sky during the night, but this was just the visual evidence of storms taking place in the southern Aveyron and Herault. Over 160mm (6 inches) of rain fell on the high ground leading to one woman being drowned in the river Dourdou (Aveyron) and 3 people in Lamalou les Bains (Herault), with two more disappeared.
See the post below for a picture by Gareth Brown taken above Laguepie.
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Lights in the sky

Hi Val,I’m sure lots of people saw the lights in the southern sky last night. Anyone know what the phenomenon is called?

Pics taken from the ridge above Laguepie. 135mm f2 lens, 0.5 sec at ISO 32000.

Gareth Brown

Val says We think it was lightning in the distance which went on most of the night, made quite an impression on us all. Find two more pics in " photos" 
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Lightning through the night

No rain but wind and lightning most of the night. Tudor went to the toilet at 3 am and as he touched the door handle there was a flash of lightning and he thought " My  God, Val has set up a warning system to remind you to put the red scarf on the toilet door when in use."
As we have no locking system I want us all to have some privacy in that tiny room, so one has to put Bonny's red occitan scarf on the handle when in use.
Tudor has been known to forget!
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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Need a document translating?

We have a very good translator called Jacynth at  Crozier Traductions listed in the side bar of TAG. If you need help with French or documents translating think of contacting Jacynth.
Comments to

Happy Donkeys at Liberte des Anes

Our local donkey sanctuary Liberte des Anes will be happy this week as I am sending cheques from adverts adding up to 90 euros.
 Kick up your heels, you happy donkeys.
Comments to

What is the point of aubergine?

Do you know I have decided aubergine is pointless. It is not I don't like it, I just cannot be bothered with it. It is OK in ratatouille but is it really needed? It is a lovely coloured tactile vegetable which I enjoy running my hands round,  but taste wise.. well in my opinion it has none. Maybe I just have not found a recipe to make it interesting, any recipes out there?
Comments to

Swimming pool cover needed

Dear Val,
I'm looking for a swimming pool cover for the Winter, any size above 4.5mx2.5m.
Has anybody got one for sale or for off loading? Tel Charlotte on 0635962334.

Please would you post this on tag?
With Thanks, Charlotte.

Fleurs de Terry open now all year

Terri's advert was not easy to read but Terri would like you to know that her market garden at Cornerave near Parisot is now open all year. The opening days are Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Terri is going to place a permanent advert on TAG but consider going now as she tells me she has lots of autumnal colourful plants and perennials  to be planted for next year.
tel 0602226459  / 0563242146   or
Comments to

Parisot Literary Festival

11, 12, 13 October 2013

I am writing to give you advance notice of an exciting literary event which will be held in Parisot over the second weekend in October.     Attached you will find the  website with full programme including English and French authors.  

The festival starts on Friday evening 11th October with a story teller and musician in the Salle de Fetes, and continues through Saturday with workshops,  English and French author presentations, a meal in the evening in La Castille restaurant with participating authors (including three English), and continues on Sunday with a cookery demonstration and tasting, and further author presentations both in English and French.
All of the events, except the meal on Saturday night (reservation required) are free and we do hope you will find something of interest to tempt you to come along.   
 I very much hope to see you there!

Gina Connolly
Mediatheque de Parisot
Val says - Gina has sent a link to the website with everything on

Now is the time you may need them.

Try out some French cheeses

Val says  Isabelle Bouvier has arranged this forth coming evening and will take into account the participation of English speakers. We are being offered lots of cheeses of France to try with accompanying wines. We will have cheese producers there to explain how their own speciality cheese gets its flavour and all will be interspersed with the odd poem or famous French sayings.
I did remind Isabelle that her daughter the  medecin was always telling us " pas trop de fromage" but I think we are allowed the odd exception.
You are always guaranteed a good evening at Sautou, why not come and join us all.
Comments to

Objet : " la diversité fromagère s'expose au SAUTOU ! "
Chers tous,
Si vous voulez entrer dans le monde étonnant de la transformation du lait en fromage ; 
approcher les mystères de la diversité des formes, goûts, odeurs, textures, couleurs... ; 
découvrir le rôle des micro-organismes -bactéries et moisissures- dans toutes ces transformations ; 
avoir un autre regard sur les produits fromagers ; 

Rejoingnez-nous le samedi 4 octobre à 19h00 au Domaine de SAUTOU pour une soirée 
où nous vous livrerons tous ces secrets de fabrication !!! 

Un exposé simple à la portée de tout public (y compris nos amis anglais) sera agrémenté de quelques lectures et d'une dégustation. 
Il sera suivi d'un repas convivial autour du fromage.

Soirée au bénéfice des enfants du Mali
Réservation très vivement souhaitée au 05 63 65 72 64 ou au 07 50 36 54 95

Merci de diffuser autour de vous...

Riding with Terri

Hi Val,
Please find attached ad as we discussed and many thanks.
Also can you please mention that I’m looking for someone who is an experienced rider and  has some spare time to help me exercise my horses.  Just hacking out a couple of times a week nothing serious or over lively!
Thanks again,
Terry T x

We will roll up our sleeves and be up for the challenge for France.

France's crisis-hit government on Tuesday narrowly won a crunch parliamentary vote of confidence in its economic reform path, in a rare respite for the deeply unpopular President Francois Hollande.
French deputies voted 269 to 244 in favour of the government's policies, after an impassioned speech by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who vowed to press ahead with controversial spending cuts and tax breaks for companies.
"We are going to continue this path until the end of the five-year term, until the end of the parliamentary term, because the French people want us to roll up our sleeves and for us to be up to the challenge, for them and for France," said Valls to loud cheers.
Valls says roll up your sleeves and Malc thought when I told him it was me saying it. 
He did not fancy it at all wanting a quiet day !

Reservoir works not illegal

The Association France Nature Environment (FNE) asked the courts in Albi and Toulouse to rule the works undertaken to clear the site of the Sivens reservoir were illegal. But both courts ruled that they had the appropriate authorisations and the work continues amid protests, both legal and otherwise.
comments to

Breaking your hip when elderly is painful but can be dangerous

The third cause of death in the elderly is breaking your hip. It is 5 times more likely in women than men. A conference took place yesterday in Toulouse where surgeons met to discuss the best ways of dealing with repairs.
Comments to

This reopens the euthanasia debate

A baby was born three months premature in Poitiers and suffered a stroke. The child needs machines to keep him breathing and is fed intravenously. The prospects for an anywhere near a normal life look bleak. The parents have decided that they want medication and machines to be withdrawn but Doctors think it is too early to know exactly what quality of life the child will have.
Every parent wants a perfect child but sometimes it just does not happen and I can think of many people with handicaps who live very rewarding lives. On the other hand I hate the idea of people being kept alive on machines for years and really do not agree with this. 
Should the parents have the right to decide seems to be this particular issue?

Les parents d'un bébé grand prématuré, soigné au Centre hospitalier universitaire (CHU) de Poitiers, réclament de mettre fin aux soins prodigués à leur enfant. Une affaire qui relance le débat sur l'euthanasie en France.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The AGM at Sautou for Via Sahel

At the last minute Bonny our retriever decided to go on a rabbit chase making us late for setting off to the Domaine de Sautou. We arrived practically at the end of the meeting and just in time for supper. We felt dreadful but Jean Marie and Winnie said they were just pleased we were there.

Very quickly the accounts look good. The best news is another association in Toulouse wishes to join with Via Sahel to help children in Mali. This association has money already raised for the children  but have  no project arranged,   so are keen to join with Jean Marie who knows everyone in Bamako. He knows how to go about things in the city after working there for 40 years and has a big project of building a new school.
The 120 femmes as now 102 femmes and it was felt a further push could soon gain the extra "marraines" needed.
The disabled children who had been disrupting teaching in the main school had been rehabilitated in a more suitable building and this was working well. Imagine being a disabled child in Bamako, with no parents, no food, no clothing, no education, what a God-send Jean Marie has been to these terribly deprived children.
We had a lovely evening chatting to like minded French people and to someone who said to me a few weeks ago  there are no French in this region worth bothering with"  I can honestly say if you speak the language you meet all sorts of wonderful people, and we certainly did tonight. Interestingly we met Sophie Bouvier's parents ( Sophie has been our Doctor in Varen for 13 years) and Mme Bouvier will be giving a talk on "policiers/ crime novels" at the Parisot Literary festival. She is also arranging an evening on the 4th of October at Sautou feteing French cheeses. More info on that later.
We came home exhausted from chatting in French but exhilarated after a very positive evening.
Malc says "and overfull".
Comments to

Fleurs de Terry

Concert at Puylaroque

Hi Val! 
We had an opera singer in our team for the elections earlier this year in our village and she was such a lovely young woman. She will be singing on the 27th in Puylaroque and I can't wait to hear her. Her poster is attached. Could you please put it in Tag?
What is new for us? Bijou who we thought had ring worms had in fact some parasites and had created bald patches on his coat from biting. I could not improve on his condition and after a couple of months called the vet and  things go straighened up at last and we can all relax....We had 4 lambs born in July that make us a flock of 7and  it's such a lovely sight in the woods...We are now hoping the good weather will hold on a bit longer.
I hope you're both well,
Martine and Geoff

Nadia YERMANI soprano dramatique
Micheline PINONCELY pianiste 
Programme varié : de l’opéra à l’opérette

à  20 H 30
Suivi du Pot de l’amitié

Follow up to the locked toilet door scenario

The  locksmith came from Lez, quite near to us ( the hameau where the donkeys escaped to)  He walked in surveyed the situation, went to his van brought a key and unlocked the door!
Tudor  if not held back was talking about knocking the door off its hinges, cutting through the lock etc. etc. anything with a bit of swash buckling!
The right man, the right tools and the job was done for ten euros.
We are now going to change the  locking system on the door.
Comments to

Who makes loose covers?

Hi Val
It's me again, can you ask on Tag if there is anyone around who makes loose

covers .I have 2 armchairs that need doing. Back in the day I would have

done them myself, those were the days!


Oh dear, what can the matter be?

Therese has signed a witness statement that she is happy to have this story related on TAG
She appeared at the toilet window as we were sitting outside enjoying coffee and croissant. she said "I am locked in"
We told her how to unlock the door but she held up a key with the head broken off! We all then went into panic mode as she was preparing to leave for her flight home. There was no way we could unlock the door and now we do have a locksmith arriving this afternoon. Looking at the window we thought Therese could squeeze through but too much good eating and holiday croissants had taken their toll and try which ever way she could it just did not seem possible. Tudor who has just arrived on his holiday had a brilliant idea. " Take off all your clothes, we will rub you down with duck fat and you will just pop out" I think this prospect had the desired affect and Therese climbed up and slid out on her back. We were all laughing so much it did slow the operation up and visits needed to be made to the only available toilet in the dependance.
We are discussing if you will tick sympathise or enjoyed?
Comments to

Neonicotinoids and bees

Hi Val
You can read in more detail about this issue on this website:
Also here is part of an article published earlier this year by my brother in Canada.  He was a bee “farmer” in Canada until he retired a few years ago.
John Dawson

The chemical companies put out endless advertising about their ‘harmless’ products: the bureaucrats who approve them and the farmers who use them are sucked in by the continual propaganda, and we, the general public are left to live in a chemical soup.  A few people are concerned and are trying hard to spread the word to a generally apathetic public, but the majority of the population doesn’t seem to care.  For many years the tobacco companies told us lung cancer had nothing to do with the chemicals in their cigarettes.  Now we know otherwise.  Do you really think the huge increase in many other types of cancer has nothing to do with the agricultural chemicals we are exposed to every day?  And do you really think that the huge decline in insects and insect eating birds has nothing to do with the widespread use of insecticides, most notably the nicotine based ‘neonicotinoid’ type?  If you do think that, you are living in dreamland.

Just a note and reminder about the neonicotinoid class of insecticides: almost all corn seeds, all canola seeds and all soybean seeds are coated with this insecticide at the time of planting.  About 20% of the insecticide is absorbed into the plant through the roots where it protects against possiblepests, and the other 80% remains in the soil.  It takes about 12 years for that 80% to break down in the soil but during that time more crops are grown in the same field and with each successive crop the amount of chemical in the soil builds up higher and higher.  Research by University of Saskatchewan biologist, Professor Christy Morrissey has shown that “upwards of 80 to 90 per cent of the wetlands are contaminated,” and “in some cases we have peak concentrations that are 100 times or more higher than those benchmarks of safe levels”.  If it takes 12 years for the chemical to break down in the soil, how long does it take to break down in the plant?  I suspect that the silage fed to cows and the grain fed to pigs and chickens must contain significant amounts of the chemical, but no one likes to talk about that possibility.

To give readers an idea how strong this neonicotinoid insecticide is, there is enough of the chemical on one single grain of corn seed to kill 80,000 bees.  In two years of studies by Health Canada the majority of samples of dead bees, pollen, soil and nearby vegetation was contaminated with neonicotinoid insecticide, and Health Canada itself has said, “current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable”.  However, in spite of all the negative research, approval has just been extended until the end of 2015 and possibly 2018.