Saturday, 22 October 2016

Tuesday afternoon ladies

Halloween Book sale

Hi Val,
Could you give a mention to our Halloween Book Sale, Saturday 29th October, St. Pantaleon (Lot) Salle de Fetes from 10 am.  Usual format, thousands of books and dvd’s at one euro, plenty of home made cakes, tea, coffee and light lunch.  We don’t need any more books, thankfully, so if anyone fancies a trip over the border into the Lot, passports not needed as yet (!).
Sue from Poorpaws

Aaargh, forgot to say proceeds from sale go to Dog Rescue and Cancer Support France !

Our valiant two always caring for others

Hi Val,
If people want to drop stuff with us for the refugees expected in Realville we are happy to take it onwards. Our trailer is out of action so really big stuff is difficult but we have the van & of course the trusty bus! 
Lovely to see you all the other day, I'm so glad I was passing. Xxx
Val says great offer and Laura lives beyond St. Antonin towards Bruniquel

What is needed for refugees going to Realville

APPEL A DONS (mis à jour)

Bonjour !

Dans la perspective d'organiser au mieux notre centre d'accueil de Réalville, nous serions ravis d'accueillir les objets indiqués ci-dessous, dont vous n'auriez plus l'utilité.
Voici la liste des objets dont nous aurions besoin :

1. Chambres: Tables de chevet, lampes de chevet, housses de couette pour lit de 90cm
2. Salle de bain: Tapis/descentes de bain, poubelles, trousses de toilette
3. Salon: Lampes, abats-jours, poufs/gros coussins, tapis (petites et grandes tailles),
4. Cuisine: Casseroles, passoires, poêles, cuillères en bois, cafetières, théières (métalliques ou autres), bouilloires électriques, tasses, mugs, égouttoirs vaisselle
5. Produits de toilette et hygiène : savons, dentifrices, peignes, brosses à dents, etc.
6. Divers : Cahiers/stylos, valises, vestes hommes, chaussons adultes
7. Sport, musique, lecture : Vélos adultes/gilets fluos/casques/chaînes-cadenas, matériel de sport (ballons, pétanques, chasubles, raquettes/balles), instruments de musique (guitare, percussions, flûtes etc.), livres en anglais et français...
6. Décorations diverses pour la maison.

Vos dons seront à apporter au Centre Équestre 'Les Écuries des Elfes Blancs' à Réalville

Nous vous remercions de votre générosité !

D'autre part, nous serions heureux d'accueillir toute bonne volonté pour l'aménagement des lieux, la décoration des logements et l'animation d’ateliers éventuels (français, métiers, animation sportive ou culturelle).  

Pour toute question relative à cet appel à dons et l'animation du CAO à venir , n'hésitez pas à me contacter :
Marie-Claude LAFITOLE – Animatrice UDAF82 au Centre d'Accueil et d'Orientation de Réalville - 06 84 18 86 35 -

Nous sommes le samedi vingt deux octobre

Morning Val,

After seeing all your photos of hard work at Mas del Sol, I have been inspired to do a lot of cutting back in my garden.

You say the the clocks change on Sunday 25th October

Did you mean SUNDAY 30th as there is NO Sunday 25th !!!
PS my English diary agrees with the 30th. 
Hi both, its a pity we cant put it back a year as per your adv.  Max

That was last year.

Val says just a few of the many who spotted the mistake! Once again I should never trust facebook and also try and rush out. Oh. well great reminder for all, and if only we could go back a year and change brexshit

Searching for fungi

A walk in the company of the President of the Perigord Mycological Society (Perigord being famous for fungi - especially truffles) is being proposed for next Saturday, 29th October, around Laguepie. Meeting at the railway station at 9.30 am then co-voiturage the start of the walk.
The walk is free and no reservations are needed. Bring a basket (or a camera - or both) and a packed lunch. After the walk an identification session will be held indoors.
No dogs or pushchairs please.
More details if needed from Gaelle Matura , the environmental educatrice of the association Al Pais de Boneta on 0563 240626
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NB on Sunday 30th October the Chestnut Fair in Laguepie normally has a display of fungi, showing which you can eat and which not.

"Easy to learn French"

Internet users will be familiar with those little "click bait" panels telling us how people learned 7 languages in 5 days or whatever. It seems that British Brexit negotiators will be clicking through to brush up their French because the chief EU negotiator is French and has suggested that he would like the talks to be in his native language. UK press has suggested that Michel Barnier wants the talks in French "to put the British at a disadvantage". Sounds a bit unsporting. He should surely put himself at a disadvantage by speaking English.
Until now EU politicians and bureaucrats have relied on a system of simultaneous translation from skilled and impartial interpreters to keep each other informed, and documents are issued in various languages. So perhaps this could be used in the talks rather than relying on M Barnier's grasp of a non-native language or expecting Boris's boys to understand the nuances of the language of Moliere.
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Friday, 21 October 2016

New DIY superstore at Montauban

Crowds thronged to a new Leroy Merlin store in Montauban on Thursday. The group is well known in the north of France and there is a branch in Colomiers, near Toulouse.
The store offers a wide range of DIY products as well as advice on home improvements.
Other DIY superstores are available.
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Toulouse marathon Sunday

The whole weekend will be taken up with the 10th Toulouse marathon, starting with a mini-marathon at 11am on Saturday. On Sunday some 10500 runners will take part in a full marathon, a half distance or a 10k run.
The route will be entirely in central Toulouse, in an effort to increase spectator interest. On the down side, residents and visitors may find traffic difficult on Sunday from 5am until 16h00.

Carmen Jones still has two places left

Here at Mas del Sol next Wednesday evening 26 th gathering at 6 pm
Starting with an apero dinatoire followed by the show.
10 euros for the assoc. Via Sahel Enfants d'afrique.
Very convivial evenings.
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Giant fish caught at Gaillac

Daniel Lopez Morcillo, a Gaillac fisherman (the Depeche helpfully points out that he is of Spanish origin) landed a huge silure (catfish) when fishing by the Saint Michel bridge on Sunday. Measuring 2.6 metres the catch is thought to be a local record. These carnivorous fish are not uncommon in the Tarn and were reported to be killing and eating ducks last year.
Daniel with his huge catch
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New guided walks in QRGA

The Communité des Communes Quercy Rouergue Gorges d'Aveyron (QRGA) has published a guide to 35 walks in the area.  With IGN maps and photographs pointing out places of interest, the publication is 6 euros from all tourist information offices in QRGA, of 0.50 centimes for one walk.
Various accompanied walks are also proposed, details from the tourist information centres.
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt et un octobre

A very slight frost this morning making for " crunchy grass" as I went to see the donkeys. The sky was predominately blue with swirls of pink, but it was 8 am and was probably more dramatic earlier.
Yesterday we had a discussion with the boys about place names, when they read my posts they had not understood our houses were at Mas del Sol. They had understood we get more sun than most places, morning after morning being in the sun whilst villages in the valley are covered in the cold mist or " brouillard"  They liked the occitan explanation for Mas del Sol - house in the sun.
It was also interesting explaining road signs. They wondered why they kept seeing signs with Varen 4 or Varen 12. I explained they were directional signs telling you how many kms it was. Such a simple thing, it never dawned on me they would not know and also that one of them could not yet read French.
What a learning curve.
The agenda today, boules this afternoon.
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Design a logo

Art students and designers are to be invited to submit proposals for logo for the new region "Occitanie". Certain elements must be included, such as the colours red and gold, which are common to both the Catalan and Occitan communities.
Occitan flag: pic DDM

A prize of 8000€ is available, plus runner up prizes of 5000€ and 3000€.
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Found along the Baye at Verfeil

A friend saw this whilst walking his dog along the Baye in Verfeil sur Seye, what a wonderful colour. Anyone know the name?

This is so wonderful , you have got to love nature.
Daniël saw this whilst walking along the Baye.

Trouvé  par Daniël Bruijsters pendant un promenade à côte de la Baie, Verfeil sur Seye.
Stropharia aeruginosa'!
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Thursday, 20 October 2016

New at Laguepie

Bal tradavec le groupe Carabal Trio 
 ou ? 
​La Distillerie des Arts
Route de Varen  
Une balade à travers des paysages aux sonorités tziganes et aux accents slaves, sur des rythmes de danses occitanes et d’Europe centrale, des teintes celtiques à l'horizon ...
Entrée: 7€ plein tarif 5€ tarif réduit 
Buvette et collation sur place
A diffuser et distiller sans modération !
L'équipe de la distillerie des Arts 
Distillerie des Arts

Celebrating with Misbah

After a week doing lots of very physical gardening work, today was the day we celebrated Misbah getting his 10 year asylum here in France.
Well done Misbah, we hope you will be very happy in the next ten years and in all of your life.
Laura came along at the end of the meal and was able to celebrate with us.
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Get close to nature at Beaulieu

Saturday and Sunday 22/23 October at the Abbaye de Beaulieu. Workshops to create works of art in autumn motifs using natural materials, as with the original Cistercian inhabitants of this beautiful location.

Les moines cisterciens édifiaient des bâtiments épurés, sobrement agrémentés de motifs inspirés du monde végétal. Venez vous prendre au jeu de composer avec l’aide de la Nature de nouveaux motifs!  Des ateliers de land art pour décorer le cloître, des paysages en papier vitrail, des feuilles en couleur… Jusqu’à l’heure du goûter, les animations se placeront sous le signe de l’automne !
Abbaye de Beaulieu-en-Rouergue
82330 Ginals
Renseignements 05 63 24 50 10/13

Baby without papers, because he was born on Friday

The importance of getting things done according to the law has been underlined in the case of a baby born in the Var on a Friday. Parents have three days to register a birth and these parents went to the mairie the following Tuesday - a day too late. So it was not permissible to register the birth. Consequently the baby has no legal identity - so no entitlement to child benefit or birth gratuity designed to help mothers with a new-born.
Eight months of wrangling to be decided in court, with legal representation before baby Nolan can even be enrolled for a crèche. The law, from 1919, is said to be from a time when infant mortality was high and it was important to give a child a legal identity as soon as possible. Probably also a time when the mairie was always open on Saturday. One would have thought Sunday would not count, but apparently not so. Heaven help a baby born just before a bank holiday (with pont).
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Police "en colere"

Demo outside hospital where an injured colleague is treated

The last three nights have seen demonstrations in the Champs Elysees in Paris by police. The "manifestations" have also spread to other cities, including Toulouse. The policemen are angry that the government has not provided the conditions or equipment needed to combat a shortage of staff needed to confront an increasingly hostile criminal milieu.
The trouble started when a patrol was petrol bombed by presumed drug dealers in the outskirts of the capital. Four officers had a "Molotov cocktail" thrown at their car and were forced to abandon it with their clothes on fire. Passers-by helped to douse the flames, but one officer is still in hospital with serious burns. Police union spokesmen claim that the officers were merely on surveillance and that such attacks, even shootings and rockets have become almost commonplace - "they are no longer afraid to kill a cop".
Demands include better pay and conditions to attract more recruits, better body armour and flame proof clothing and better sentencing of offenders, who the police claim are mainly recidivists.
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt octobre

What wonderful days we are having here in SW France, you have to love autumn.
In between gardening and walking the dogs,  being outside all day long is what we can enjoy here.
The air is fresh and clean, no factories round about, the lichen on the trees and branches a sign of the pure air.
We are also in a pesticide free area with the fields around being cut for the grass for the animals.
After a holiday in Italy where ( apart from the earthquake) our rented house was next to vineyards, where the constant spraying of the vines with old squeaky machinery was a real distraction to the peace, we are grateful here for the silence.
Another sunny morning where nothing is right with the world seemingly full of Donald Trumps but blocking them out, at Mas del Sol we have a  life as near perfection as you could get.
Assuming you are happy with dogs barking, donkeys hee hawing, and the odd chain saw!!
Enjoy your golden autumn days everyone... and be happy.
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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Mission accomplished

no words needed, infact we are all too tired for words... but the job is done.

Elly says
Just wanted to say what a lovely photo of Misbah and Malcolm. Great job done. Bet you'll all sleep well tonight. 
Shaban says
Malc is amazing, he is an old man, 72! with one leg and he has done all that work.
Val says
Pats on the back all round.
Tomorrow a day of rest
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Open at Christmas?

Hi Val
Sorry, here comes the dreaded C……… word already!  Can anyone tell me of any restaurants which tend to open over Christmas? Particularly evening of 24th or 25th lunchtime? 
Thank you
L xXx

Remember Ruby

Hi Guys

Just a quick pic of herself after her new hairdo!. I don't think she appreciated it somewhat.

Settling in rather well.

I hope this finds you all well.

Trevor Gliddon
NCTJ  NCE (Senior Photo Journalist) LRPS (Deja Views Photography)
0033 06 30 67 87 67 (Portable)

Nous sommes le mercredi dix neuf octobre

Wonderful skies as we worked away at Mas del Sol yesterday.
A new project around the pool hopefully to make life easier.
Four of us worked away yesterday and collapsed early in to bed, the sleep of the righteous.
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Halloween in St. Antonin Noble Val

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Drop in for cancer support

Cancer Support France drop in coffee morning, Gazpacho, Saint Antonin, every third Wednesday of the month, 10am to 11.30am. Next one, tomorrow morning Wednesday 19th October 2016. For anyone whose life has been touched by cancer, in any way, is welcome to come. There will be a trained volunteer available to offer advice or assistance.

Are you looking at me?

A visitor at Mas del.Sol with the water tower of Lez in the distance

Photos of Bali at St. Antonin

Hi Val
This Friday 21st October at 6.00 p.m. is the vernissage for the exhibition of  Canadian photographer Lyn Avery’s wonderful colourful photos of Bali.
The exhibition will be open for 12 days until 1st November in the Mairie of St Antonin.
Recommended !
Best wishes

Pressure to close a peage

The most expensive peage in France
The péage at L'Union on the A68, where one pays 1.50€, is thought to be one of the most expensive in France for the short distance travelled. A collection of local maires is calling for the abolition of the pay station in an effort speed up the access to the Toulouse rocade. All local maires are in favour, including Toulouse city and the Haute Garonne department. But only the government can decide the suppression, so tomorrow (Wednesday 19th October) the maires will mount a "free passage" operation from 8am in order to put pressure on the minister for transport.
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A little train which disappeared

We know well that the main road from Lexos (Varen) to Montauban via the Gorge de l'Aveyron used to be a railway line. The many disused station and signalling buildings en route - often now private homes - are a simple indication of this former use. It seems France had its own Beeching era in the 60's and one line from Castres to Murat is fondly remembered for its little steam trains which ran from 1905-1962. Indeed so important was it for a hidden corner of the Tarn that it is now surrounded by stories and myths which are the subject of a documentary made by well-known Tarn film maker Jean-Louis Cros.
The train was turned at each end.

It can be seen on France 3 catch-up TV or the website. Cros walked the 70 km line discovering what has happened to the track, the buildings and tunnels (the last sometimes now used to mature cheese).
In the UK such lines have often been re-instated by steam enthusiasts, does anyone know of such initiatives here?.
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Nearer to the stars

The observatory on the Pic du Midi, at 2877 metres the highest in the Pyrenees, is a well known site for visitors, affording incomparable views of the mountains as well as other astronomical attractions. It is undergoing a 4.5 million euro renovation, the first part of which will offer a planetarium allowing daytime visitors to see the universe beyond and should open before the year's end. The auditorium will house 45 visitors in special inclined seats and offers as well as the star view a film showing how the scientist Serge Brunier photographed the entire visible galaxy.

Other improvements envisaged include an interactive astronomical activity, improved access and transport as well as restauration. Most of the works will be finished in 2017.
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Nous sommes le mardi dix huit octobre

A golden retriever cross with, looks like labrador, a 5 month old girl in the care of des Truffes et des moustaches, our local dog rehomer. Such fun dogs, who love their walks, cuddles and digging!!
Let us find him a home quickly, my sort of dog.Contact me to see this cutie. You will need a fenced area to have a two week trial and rehome.
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Monday, 17 October 2016

Line Dancing comes to Le Riols! Venez Nombreux!

So why not come along and give it a go
It’s good fun and good exercise for body and mind

A free trial run in English/French will be held at

La Salle des Fetes
Le Riols 81170
just over the river from Varen

except some calories!

To reserve your free trial session
please email: or ring 0652029968
The free offer is for you first lesson so if you can’t make that date
 let us know and we’ll carry the offer forward for you

This little chap was OK

Coming into the house we found a tiny bird dazed on the ground. Probably he flew into a window as so many do. We picked him up
Nestles in Malc's hand
and carried him to a safe looking post in the field (away from cats) where he/she rested for 10 minutes before flying away. He may be a chiffchaff or similar warbler No doubt some ornithological expert will let s know. 
Tiny chap, now safe.

Collectable Noddy book shelf for sale

About 25 years old, once used in our book shop. A fabulous book shelf for the children or for the Noddy collector to display Noddy items.Noddy is called  Oui oui in French.
30 euros to the refugee fund.
Contact Val

One last lap top needed

Shaban our latest refugee friend is such a hard worker helping Malc and I in the gardening and fields all for free. He would just rather be helping someone than sitting idle.
As he was not one of the Rehoboth boys who we helped with clothes and shoes  and getting them laptops, Shaban has nothing.
He has got another pair of sneakers and a French lady at Lauzerte has found him a couple of good
 "t "shirts.
I have promised him I will try to find him a laptop. I know everyone came up trumps last time, will I have any luck  ?  I will let you know.
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They are called Harlequins, these ladybirds from Asia

Hi Val
The same yesterday around our house... these ladybirds come from Asia (like the frelon asiatique) and this is time for them to find somewhere to hibernate !
They were imported to combat aphids ... but now they "eat " our european ladybirds and maybe they are more than of aphids
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Nous sommes le lundi dix sept octobre

Look at me, such a beautiful outfit.
Misbah asked his family to send it over and it fits.
I am so excited, I love new clothes.
Misbah thank you so much it was a lovely thought.
Misbah who is in the gite at the moment with Shaban
has been promised we will all go out to celebrate his getting 10 years asylum.... and I will wear my new outfit.
Misbah is very excited as in 3 months when he has done his 3 months learning French will be able to ask to bring his wife and three children over here to be with him. Bringing them to safety is what he has been dreaming of... and he will see his young son he has never yet seen.
I should add it may take some months after for all the paperwork for his family to come.

Wow! 76 likes and favourable comments from friends on facebook, I have missed my calling I should have been a model!!!!

Walkers attacked by hornets

14 randonneurs near Agen (Lot et Garonne) were obliged to call for assistance when they disturbed a nest of hornets (frelons) . The pompiers arrived on scene expecting to treat one person, but soon discovered that reinforcements were needed and three more vehicles were called, including an ambulance. In all 12 adults and two children were attacked, one person stung five times. Two people were taken to hospital in Agen, where they are said not to be in danger.
At this time of year it is not uncommon to be stung by wasps, but frelons are normally considered to be non-agressive, unless you kick over a hornet's nest.
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Balcony collapsed during house-warming

Four guests at a house-warming party (pendaison de cremaillere) in Angers this weekend  were killed and 14 seriously injured when the balcony of the apartment gave way. The apartment block was built about 12 years ago and experts are investigating the cause of the collapse.
Apparently the current norms have a 60% overload margin built in (ie a structure designed to support 1000 kgs should support 1600 kgs) so the fact that the balcony was crowded should not of itself have caused the accident. More likely is that it was not properly constructed, or that the steel reinforcement has corroded. It is concerning that such a recent structure should fail so catastrophically despite stringent safety rules.
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School is IN

Many readers have contributed over the last couple of years to building a new school in Bamako, Mali. The local charity Via Sahel Enfants d'Afrique raised over 30000 euros to replace a school built from cardboard and corrugated iron.
The school founded and run alone and without payment by a local woman provided education for hundreds of poor children each week, inspired Jean Marie Nosal and many supporters of Via Sahel to find a design, money and materials for the new school. Now it has opened and the children crowded in for the first day. Thank you all.
Classes will not normally be this crowded!
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Sunday, 16 October 2016

How smart / sold

Hi Val, 

I'm currently installing a new bathroom for Ginny & Ross Jenkins in Puycelsi. 
The toilet and bath are damaged and only fit for the dechetterie, but the hand basin and mirror unit has come out intact. Wondering if it could be of any use to the refugees or, if not, any Tag readers who would like to make a donation to Ross's fund raising for Puycelsi Church restoration. Buyer to collect. The handbasin can be seen in the mirror both items for sale.
Val says  not needed by the refugees so anyone up for a bargain contact    Simon

An Autumn Serenade

A small but appreciative audience gathered in the Mairie at St Antonin last night to hear a recital of songs and settings by some of the 20th century's finest French and British  composers: Britten, Finzi, Ireland and Quilter setting Yeates, Hardy and Shakespeare for the anglophones; Faure, Ravel, Debussy, Saint-Saens and Massenet setting Louys and Leconte de Lisle entre autres in the language of Moliere.
Maybe it's just cultural, but this reviewer thinks the poems used by the British composers, who are perhaps best known for this art (Britten aside), were of a quality unmatched by the French and therefore easier to set and sing. And the French composers are best known for their instrumental compositions and chose more difficult texts.
Nevertheless Sally Bradshaw and Geof Cryer produced performances which were moving and lyrical and Genevieve Foccroulle accompanied them with her usual sympathetic unobtrusiveness.
We were treated to two "Causeries de mains" played by Genevieve in the presence of composer Michel Karsky. M Karsky, who lives in Caylus, explained to me that he wrote the pieces 60 years ago and was pleased to hear them played live again. Genevieve and Geof also played together a couple of pieces from Ravel's "Mother Goose" with evident humour and enjoyment.
A recital which was thoroughly enjoyed by those present, but we could almost have fitted the audience into Sally's music room. Perhaps the organisers need to look at the programming, timing and price when planning these concerts. It must be disappointing not to have a full house and many "melomanes" are missing out.
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Tractormania at Caussade

Apparently you need to be at Caussade at 8 am to get parked and be able to take good photos. I was there at 3 pm yesterday afternoon and the crowds were thronging. Impossible to get near a tractor so I settled for an old fire engine.
It is on again today, get there early or be prepared to park outside the town.
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Red sky in the morning should be a warning

As I went to feed the outside cat the wonderful sky made me dash back in for my camera. As always the red sky started to fade before I took the photos. Being out with my camera I wandered around taking photos. Only when I got in with soggy slippers and pyjamas did I realise the poor donkeys never got fed.
Back I have to go.
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