Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Nous sommes mardi, le vingt trois

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.
Virginia Woolf
Val says  this was printed on our napkin at todays restaurant.
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Monday, 22 December 2014

Killing for pleasure, what sport is that.

We are not vegetarians but killing animals for a so call sport we do not understand!!
Saying I do not connect at any level is too strong, of course we have
friends who hunt, but we agree to disagree.
Nev shooting them with his camera... now that we understand.
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Consumerism and eye tests

We kept saying yesterday, Sunday  but will the shops be open? Open everyday, open all hours it seems. We are used to nothing being open Sunday or Monday and the range of quality items to be bought, well the mind boggles. But surely there are only so many jumpers I need or smart shirts Malc wants. So easy to get carried away on a spend, spend spend, but I do not need anymore clothes, nor does Malc. Our lives have changed in the last 13 years, as I might add has our bank balance. But give me a pair of jeans a clean sweater and where we live in the country with all our animals who needs more. I know it is Henley and it is slightly different to many UK towns but the flow of consumerism now shocks me.
On a different theme I had arranged to have my eyes tested as it is so difficult and one waits so long in France. I was told I was the second English person at Boots the Optician who lived in France and had been in for an eye test that day. For me good job I did as after spending months saying" there is nothing wrong with my eye sight Malc, I have always had great long distance vision" Today I was told that I would not pass a driving eye sight test in the UK or in France.  New glasses are being made as we speak.
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We just love those donkeys at TAG

Dear Val and MalcolmI just saw this in the Times, and thought you would enjoy it!
Have a lovely Christmas, amd best wishes for an excellent 2015
Love from Anthony and me
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New book out on St. Antonin

Hi Val,
Here is the information about the Saint Antonin book. Thank you, Linnea BarnesThis book features the recent adventures of two Americans living in Saint Antonin.  It can be found at www.Amazon.com.  The author is TD Lake.  It comes out in paperback and Kindle.

T D Lake's book, A Baguette a Day is loaded with anecdotes that will enlighten every reader about life in France and how the French live it. It makes Peter Mayle's book A Year in Provence look like a lightweight. This book is the heavyweight champion, in size (565 pages) and scope, for helping people understand what their first year of living in France might be like. It's also a fun read about many of the residents of Saint Antonin.
Val says how intriguing- hope it is not a " kiss and tell" mind if it was think how well Valerie T did with hers.
 Look forward to reading it

Happening at Verfeil Library

Hello Val and Malcolm
Would you be kind enough to publish information below about Abbi Patrix at Verfeil Library 28 December. 
Thank you
Happy Christmas
Cette année, pour le festival Alors raconte organisé par les amis de la médiathèque en partenariat avec le Conseil Général et la médiathèque départemental, le conteur Abbi Patrix nous fait l'honneur de venir présenter à Verfeil sur seye"Voyages immobiles"  le mercredi 28 janvier  à 20h30 à la salle des fêtes.
Abbi Patrix nous invite à un voyage à travers les contes, les légendes, les mythes africains, fantastiques chinois, merveilleux sans jamais oublier que ces histoires parlent avant tout de nous!
Entrée Gratuite.....
A la fin du spectacle, le verre de l'amitié vous sera offert.
Vous êtes les bienvenues pour partager avec nous cet instant magique d'évasion et de convivialité.
Merci de diffuser auprés de votre public cette manifestation.
A trés bientôt
L'équipe de la Médiathèque de Verfeil
Médiathèque de verfeil Dame Henriette d'Aguilhon
Rue principale 82330 Verfeil sur seye
Horaires d'ouverture lundi au vendredi 9h30 12h

Cordes sur ciel lost in the mist this morning

Photographed by Linda Walsh

News coming on Sri Lanka

Hello Gerard
Excuse my writing in English - feel free to reply in French
We were reminded of the efforts you and your partner made to raise funds to rebuild a school in Sri Lanka 10 years ago.
 I remember conducting an auction at Mike and Chris Burrows's house to raise a few euros
Can you let us have a report on what happened - when was the school built and opened, and how are things today, 10 years later.
Taglines was briefly involved in the story and I think many of the on-line readers would be interested to read the follow-up.
The event was shocking and moved many people to action and to those of us who did little more than give money - useful though that was - the human stories and the efforts made on the ground are of great interest.
Best wishes for Christmas and New Year.
Malcolm & Valerie Johnstone

Bonjour Malcolm et ValerieHeureux hasard ! je pensais envoyer un petit message aux personnes qui nous avaient apporté leur soutien à l'époque; je me souviens très bien de la soirée animée par Malcom. 
Je suis un peu débordé en ce moment avec les fêtes ...les petits enfants. 
Si je t'envoie une copie avec quelques photos jeudi , au plus tard vendredi , cela vous convient-il ?
amitiés Gérard
Val says  we will await with anticipation the hopefully good news of progress in Sri Lanka.
Gerard will send news and photos at the end of the week. He is rather occupied with small children, as are we all. The evening hosting an auction  mentioned was organised by Chris  and Mike Burrows who this week having sold their home at Verfeil leave for the UK. We wish them well.
 Malc on that night acted as auctioneer.

Frost this morning up on the Bosc above St. Antonin

Merry Christmas to you, your family and TAG  readers
K&J up on the cold Bosc x

The Maitrise of Toulouse choir sings for Christmas

Mark Opstad's choir the Maitrise of Toulouse sang in Toulouse joined by local singer and choir master Geof Cryer of St. Antonin. The children of the conservatoire are aged between eleven and eighteen and are fast gaining an excellent reputation here in France.
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The standard of our choirs

Last night we went to a very nice candlelight carol service in Henley church. Apart from the worry of our seven your old granddaughter being in the pew behind me with a lit candle hovering dangerously near my best coat, we enjoyed it. We discussed afterwards the quality of our local choirs and felt we were more than lucky with the standards and coming up on the 23rd at the Church at St. Antonin will be the  Restoration Consort
Restoration Consort is performing a Christmas concert in L'Eglise Saint-Antonin on 23rd Dec at 18:00.
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Christmas without foie gras

    Almost one out of every two French people now favour banning the force-feeding of geese and ducks to produce the national delicacy, foie gras, a survey showed.
    A public opinion poll released Saturday by OpinionWay for animal rights group L214 showed 47 percent against force-feeding, three points more than last year, and 56 percent of women opposed to the practice.Only 29 percent of the 1,032 people polled this month said they would refuse to buy foie gras in protest against the ill-treatment of animals, but this was 10 points higher than a poll in 2009.In all, consumption of foie gras dropped three percent last year. Its production is banned in Denmark, Finland and Germany.                      Taken from the Local     Comments to taglines82@gmail.com

    Nous sommes lundi, le vingt deux

    “The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.” ― Jay Leno         Comments to taglines82@gmail.com

    Sunday, 21 December 2014

    The Pressure is on

    Pageviews yesterday

    Consistently getting these sorts of viewing figures, the pressure is on to keep the French news and views coming. A long day today makes for jaded stories but tomorrow Malc and I will be back at our desks, although in Henley.
    A bit disconcerting to read you have had a sunny 17 degrees!

    Dire shortage of holly in SW France

    Maree complains of the dire shortage of holly in the SW of France and you are right Maree, but we do have plenty of mistletoe.
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    Cordes sur ciel awash with lights

    Passing first  through Laguepie and then Cordes at 5 in the morning, the Christmas lights were brilliant as in shining, dripping with light in fact. It did make us feel very Christmassy and thats from someone who dislikes light pollution.
    On the flight British Airways  from Toulouse to Heathrow we were suprised the plane was packed... with French folk and I was suprised that  so many  French people were Christmasing in London. Malc spoke to someone on the plane who was going on to Canada and at the carousel we discovered only six couples were not going on onward journeys.
    Malc and I are now going to be challenged for the week sticking to French news when we want to say "  Waitrose is amazing with fresh strawberries, raspberries, fruits of all seasons, everything you ever   want to eat is there" oops back to French news.
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    Cake decorating classes

    Hi Val
    I've put together some dates for cake decorating and sugarcraft workshops for next year and it
    seems a good time to let people know in case they're looking for last minute Christmas gift ideas.  
    They're all the website www.cakesinfrance.com
    Wishing you a very happy christmas, love Glynis
    Workshop Dates  45€ per class
    20€ deposit required to secure place

    Thursday 15th January, 2pm              Disney
    We'll cover 6 cupcakes and we'll create Donald duck, daisy duck, Pluto, Minnie Mouse, Micky Mouse and Goofy

    Friday 13th February, 2pm              Valentine
    For this I will provide you with a 6" cake that you will cover and decorate in the way you choose for someone special. 
    I will help you with techniques, provide equipment and explain how to use it.

    Wenesday 25th March   2pm           Teddy Bears picnic
    We are going to cover a cake board, create a blanket and make 2 or 3 teddy bears and some food for them to eat.
    You will be able to display this as a topper on it's own and I will also show you how to display it on a cake

    Thursday 2nd April, 2pm                  Easter
    We're going to make easter chicks, easter bunnies, pretty easter eggs and surround them with some small flowers

    Wednesday 29th April  2pm             Lilly of the Valley
    We are going to decorate 6 cupcakes, all with lilly of the valley that you can give away 1st May

    Onesie,or as the French say "unesie"

    Long have the French looked down their noses (and over their champagne glasses) at British culture. Whilst they boast haute cuisine, Marion Cotillard, and the word “chic”, we Brits, they say, have terrible weather, bad roast beef and no sense of style. But finally everything is changing. The French are falling in love with our things, including an unlikely product that makes no claims on good taste:the onesie.According to the latest figures, shoppers in Paris are snapping up the adult romper suits like never before, and are calling it the “unesie”. Debenhams says demand for adult-sized onesies in France is up 272 per cent from last year. The department sells more of them online to French customers than to shoppers in any of its other overseas shopping destinations.
    The onesie – so British that even Boris Johnson admitted to owning one with the Union Jack on it – is just one of many things being pinched by the French. 

    Purr, purrr, me in my Eartha Kitt onesie
    really scares the donkeys but I cannot tell you what is does for Malc.
    He is too busy laughing to know. A pressie from good friends

    All closed up

    Another thing you see more in winter, houses with well painted shutters all closed up. These are mainly summer residents - lots of houses have shutters closed all year round, but they are usually abandoned or unsold properties and are generally scruffier. This pretty medieval street is well preserved and its residents are in Paris, Spain or London.
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    Nous somes dimanche le vingt et un

    Henry James

    Saturday, 20 December 2014

    More on the Tsunami

    Hi Val
    We were in Kerala, southern India on the day of the Tsunami, having decided to go there instead of Sri Lanka where we'd been the previous two years! Luckily we were travelling inland, but realised something dreadful had happened when we saw crowds of people gathered round TVs in shop windows on the journey, then we started getting texts from people in the UK asking if we were OK. It was only the next day that we were able to get hold of an English paper and realised the enormity of what had happened and tragically people we knew in Sri Lanka had died. 
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    Two Christmas concerts

    A reminder for these concerts by Choeur de Parisot
    Don't forget Xmas carols with the Choeur de Parisot: today (Sat 20th) at Limogne (Lot) at 4 pm; tomorrow (Sun 21st) at Parisot (Tarn-et-Garonne), also at 4pm. Venez nombreux!

    What an amazing insect - a Scorpion Spider

    Dear Val and Malcolm,

    Festive challenge for the kids go and find a Scorpion Spider.
    Scorpion Spider 
    Imagine if you will, sitting down reading a book with a nice cup of tea after a hard day of doing nothing and this alien is coming toward you along the arm of the settee.  At first I thought it was a tick but aftercloser inspection I saw it was a Pseudoscorpion, or False Scorpion (identity thanks to project noah) 
    These are extremely tiny, ranging from 2 to 8 millimetres in size.  I tried to put a tape measure next to this one, but as it never stopped moving it I never managed to get both in focus, so I drew the lines in afterwards.  I think this is about 6mm in length including the pincers, the other picture it is using a 4mm high tile spacer as a climbing frame.
    The pincers are armed with poison to subdue their prey and are also used for fighting. Pseudoscorpions are roughly tick-shaped, hence my initial confusion, but they're not ticks and are harmless (and even beneficial) to humans.  They are small enough to eat bookworms, dust mites, ants and bed-bugs so an all round terminator.

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    Ten years on from that terrible disaster

    This deadliest tsunami 2004 caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, killing more than 250,000   people in a single day is the most devastating tsunami in modern times, traveled 375 miles (600 km) in a mere 75 min. That’s 300 miles (480 km) per hour, leaving more than 1.7 million homeless affecting 18 countries. 
    I am sure you all remember when we heard this story unfold how shocked we were. All around the world people raised money for the aid and then the rebuilding programme. 
    We remember here in France being motivated by Gerard Narjoux of Espinas who had a partner from Sri Lanka, so was even more affected by it and campaigned to raise money to build a school. All these efforts went on  in around St. Antonin area. So many readers who were here at the time will remember this. We have contacted Gerard to find out ten years on how things have improved and we hope to give that update soon.
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    Coquilles St Jacques dearer this year

    These delicious shellfish (scallops in English) are part of every traditional Christmas Eve and New Years Day meal in France. But fishmongers are warning that they will be between 50% and 100% dearer this year then last. The repeated storms prevented the Normandy beds (producing two thirds of French consumption) from maturing this year. Added to that some beds have been infected by micro-algae not suitable to human consumption as a result of warmer water - said to be the result of "urban activity". The demand is being met with scallops imported from Scotland and Norway, which are more expensive. Perhaps the thing to do is just have a couple rather than a plateful; in a year of two fishermen think stocks will be OK again.
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    Malc says: I like to remove the coral then fry the white flesh in butter for just a couple of minutes with a dusting of curry powder. Then flash fry the corals for a minute or less in the same pan. How do you like to prepare your Coquilles St Jacques?

    Christmas crackers at Blagnac

    A pyrotechnic display was to be seen at Blagnac on Friday afternoon (yesterday 19th December). The airport used a Perpignan company to mount the a firework extravaganza to mark the start of the big Christmas departure. The airport claims to be first to do this without disturbing the air traffic. A 49% stake in Toulouse airport was sold to a Chinese consortium recently; were these Chinese crackers?
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    27 families adopt hens at Montech

    Hens eat your  household scraps and so the commune of Montech, commune along the Garonne canal have been giving poules and poulaillers/ hen houses to the residents of the communes. All to reduce dechets/  all the rubbish that a family has from the kitchen. Great initiative and you get fresh eggs. Unless like us you have an aged hen who is past her egg laying. She does eat kitchen waste and look very pretty.
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    Easyjet strike at Christmas and Toulouse tramway?

    Cabin staff of Easyjet France will strike on December 25th and 26th. As there are no flights on Christmas Day the effects will be felt more on Boxing Day (26th) and the days before and after as planes are brought to the right position. Presumably details will be on the airline's website.
    As for the Toulouse tramway, a strike notice ("préavis de grève") has been served to last until 31st January, but with lightning withdrawals of service already leading to some disturbances Tisseo (who operate Toulouse public transport) warn that there could be problems.
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    Disney on ice at Toulouse


    Nous sommes samedi, le vingt

    Aw, gawd, I have forgotten to look for a quote and  I have an appointment at 9 , anyone got a quote?

    Good morning. You called the quotation line....
    "The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up" - Mark Twain.Love

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    Friday, 19 December 2014

    A Christmas Robbin' by Carol Ann Hunter

    Money's tight, times are hard
    Here's your flaming Christmas card
    This sorry tale I have to tell
    Is written from a prison cell
    I lost my job and then to boot
    Got mugged by a geezer in a big red suit
    The Mastercard was on the brink
    I had no food nor drop of drink
    The  Royal Bank had shut me down
    No way then could I go to town
    What Mum would want to tell her kids
    " Christmas, guys?  it's on the skids'
    I had a choice - to sit there sobbin'
    Or get myself some Christmas robbin'
    So all my festive needs I nicked
    'Til Santa got her booty kicked
    They hobbled me in M&S
    Blagging Mum a brand new dress
    A Christmas pudding up my dukes
    And in my bag two frozen chooks
    Mince pies and chocolates down my nix
    Alongside nuts and jungle mix
    A Stollen log tucked in my bra
    ( that was perhaps a cake too far)
    But when they found the turkey crown
    The magistrate,he sent me down

    Christmas comes but once a year
    I' d thought mine would be full of tears
    But now I' ll get a four course lunch
    With Christmas cake and prison punch
    Free of charge in Cell block C
    Courtesy of HMP
    The food, I' m sure, will be delish
    And I won't have to wash one dish
    No ' wrap those gifts' no trim that tree'
    My plan has worked out to a T
    And so from me and my new pal Steph
    Who shares with me in 14F
    Greetings from the dining hall
    And Merry Christmas one and all

    Carol Ann Hunter is a writer with crooked Cat Publishing  and has given TAG permission to print it. Crooked Cat Publishing is also Vanessa Couchman's publisher
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    Gastro enteritis and the grippe / flu on the rise

    Excellent advice, have your flu jab and wash your hands often and certainly before eating. The local news on TV is just warning us that cases of the gastro are on the rise a the moment.
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    So many friends out there but I want more

    I  can sound a bit more knowing now, I do facebook! Not totally happily as I now realise there are loads of people I will never know. Their pictures pop up, beautiful faces, some with pet faces as their signature picture, you might guess I have donkeys. Some with intriguing names and the pop up  tells me we have mutual friends. I want to know who the mutual friends are often vaguely linked and why don't I know them all? I want to know more about these people but the rules of facebook say you can only befriend friends.
    People and their lives and  their children's lives are flashed tantalisingly in front of you making you seem like a  old voyeur, but it is compulsive. Who is doing what, making what, going where, the problem is when do I get time to do exciting things stuck avidly viewing my ipad ? People tell me the novelty wears off and I can see there are only so many inane posts you could take but for the time being I am looking forward to Christmas voyeurism.

    Taglines 82 can be found at          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Taglines82/848173775234447

    A later reply

    Hi Val
     I'm 32 live in Varen with my mum and only have one friend here but no one my age or anyone close by, I really could use a friend or too. I love baking, crafts, drinking heehee and mostly chatting and laughing. Xx ella    ellabellabingbong@live.co.uk

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    More snow in the Pyrenees than the Alps

    AS THE ski season starts with the Christmas holidays, the majority of French ski resorts do not have enough snow for a decent snowball fight.  After one of the warmest years on record, two leading ski events have already had to be called off, with the season-opening Critérium de la Première Neige at Val d'Isère and the Women’s World Cup at Courchevel, and there are only about 40 resorts are open. 
    The Pyrenees resorts are in best position with most expecting to open at least 50% of their pistes, but skis are redundant in the northern Alps and fleeces could be the No1 buy in the ski stores. In the extreme south, Isola has claimed the title of “snowiest” resort in France, with 1.4m of snow on higher slopes – and it is the only resort 100% open. Neighbouring Auron has 10 pistes open but there is no snow at nearby Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage or Valberg. Most of the snow is above 2,000m. - See the Connexion for more.          Comments to taglines82@gmail.com  

    From Liberte des Anes

    Dear Everyone
    We would like to announce that John Massey has won the 50 euros for choosing the correct donkey name for our new baby donkey, it is Clarabelle MELISSA, a grand name for a very grand donkey!  
    The lovely Christmas Hamper has been won by Ann-Marie Sayle.  I am sure they are both delighted with their prizes as i know the donkeys are with the success of our competitions.
    Congratulations to you both and thank you to everyone who took part.
    Hoping you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Help for cancer problems is at your fingertips

    If you have had or still have ongoing cancer problems there is now an English speaking helpline in the area. We hear all the time about the excellent, efficient and swift medical care one gets in hospital. We also hear about the lack of follow up  care in having someone to talk to, voicing your fears, asking about aids; generally in the UK the Macmillan nurses would help you with this.
    Now some residents in the area have had extensive training to help listen, give advice etc.  Many have experienced cancer first hand and understand the emotional effects of the disease and its treatment. There is a line for you to speak to knowledgeable  English speakers.
    The aims are to offer telephone support to you, your family and your carers.
    Offer support through visits at home or in hospital.
    Help you ask the right questions.
    Guide you to other sources of appropriate advice.
    Provide access to written information about cancer and its treatment.
    HOW you can help them
    Tell your friends and contacts about Cancer Support.
    Join as a member and be kept informed of their work and upcoming events.
    Support those with cancer ot their carers by becoming a trained volunteer.
    LOCAL HELPLINE  04  68 69 01 37
    or email us at


    All calls will be taken on an answering machine and you will be contacted as soon as possible, normally within 24hrs

    Happy Christmas everyone

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    A great picture of a salamander

    Mia Cryer spotted this salamander whilst out on her walk with the dogs. Geof/ husband instantly thought yellow - toxic and after googling realised he was right, not a good thing to make into " salamander soup" We generally find these slow moving creatures squashed on the roads so have been hoping for a good picture of one. Now with the colder weather they will bury underground and hibernate but they have obviously been out enjoying the mild autumn weather.
    Geof adds Apparently not toxic to the touch (though personally I wouldn’t take the risk), but ingestion of even a small piece of skin will kill you.
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    Election promise kept

    The maire of La Salvetat-Saint-Gilles, a commune west of Toulouse, promised to help local young people to get a driving licence if elected last May. The "divers gauche" (DVG) group has saved 30000 euros by reducing the number of assistant mayors (adjoints) from 8 to 6 and the rest foregoing 10% of their expenses. Now 12 young people having driving lessons, which cost around 1200 euros are the first to benefit. As compensation the youngsters are asked to contribute 70 hours of useful community work. Sounds like a win/win idea.
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    Indoor bike trials at Toulouse

    So popular they are taking bookings now for the end of January

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    On Brad Pitt

    Hello Val
    When you knew him as a book collector????!!!!! We need more.......Love
    Sally from N
    Val says Brad trained as an architect so was interested in design. We met him in Los Angeles just after he had made the film Seven Years in Tibet. He was at that time collecting books of "Glasgow School" being an admirer of Rennie Mackintosh, Jessie M. King, etc. We specialised amongst other things in Jessie M King, so he liked our  stock. As we exhibited in the US and film directors and film stars are often keen book collectors we had quite a starry list.
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    Lucy wishes you Merry Christmas

    Lucy one of our donkeys shouts Merry Christmas to you all. I think she thinks she is a horse. Please do not tell her that her ears are too long to be a horse, she would be so upset. When you see her prancing round her field doing  donkey dressage you would never know the difference... if she could just hide her ears.
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    Five terror plots foiled

    In the last 18 months, French intelligence services have prevented as many as five terrorism plots from taking place on French soil, according the country’s interior minister, who warned that jihadists returning from Syria continue to pose the biggest threat. 
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    Thursday, 18 December 2014

    Nous sommes vendredi, le dix neuf

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    A new name for our region

    Val says parliament have confirmed the 13 new regions will go ahead but what will we call our new region?  The  depeche had a sondage / poll and this is what they came up with.

    Vos préférences

    Quel nom choisiriez-vous pour la nouvelle région issue de la fusion entre Midi-Pyrénées et Languedoc-Roussillon ? Les internautes de la Dépêche ont voté ainsi : Occitanie-Pyrénées : 15 %, Midi-Languedoc : 13 %, Pyrénées-Languedoc : 13 %, Midi-Roussillon : 10 %, Midi-d'Oc : 8 %
    Languedoc : 7 %, Pyrénées-Méditerranée : 7 %
    Languedoc-Pyrénées : 7 %, Sud de France : 5 %, Sud-Pyrénées : 5 %, Autres : 9 % (17 881 votants)

    Brad Pitt and Angelina might like their French village but what do the villagers think of them?

    Brad and Angelina are always declaring their love of France and their life in a 45 million euro estate in the Var. Saddly the feeling is not reciprocated by the local villagers. They say the couple helicopter in, bringing all their food from the USA. They do not use the services of the village, eat the local produce or use local workmen. The villagers called them snobs.
    Sad really as with the couples level of popularity I can see why they cannot go out and about but why cannot their kitchen staff buy local products and do they not have local staff ? Once again even with film stars integration is important. I am suprised as Brad Pitt when we knew him as a book collector was a really intelligent nice guy. Maybe the article in Vanity Fair will make the couple think about integrating more.

    Mark Opstad and the Maitrise of Toulouse Concert

    Five dogs, wow! infact bow wow!

    Just got back from the kine / pysiotherapist in Varen and the talk was of Coco the abandoned donkey. The kine tells me he has 5 dogs all that were adandonned in St. Antonin. I said " you must know Maeva" and of course he did. Maeva always has a dog that needs rehoming.
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    Smoke alarms before March 2015

    Smoke alarms need to be fitted in each house before March 2015 say gendarmes bringing the calendar. People with gites should already have alarms fitted.
    Val says   - it makes sense. This was a discussion on TAG many months ago and a reader gave this info. On the back of this we bought a double pack of CO  detector and smoke alarm and it was the cheapest place.
    Reader says
    We just bought two CO detectors - including P&P they came to £27.50.
    Each was on special offer, reduced from £19.99 to £11.06 at Amazon.co.uk.   
    They work like smoke alarms, but ignore smoke and detect carbon monoxide.
    A detector will tell you if CO is present, and help prioritise any building work...Comments to taglines82@gmail.com

    Photovoltaic panels at Lexos

    Hi Val,

    As you know, I started taking pictures of the construction works in Varen to build a photovoltaic power station. Yesterday, the site manager told me that they only started the work in October but expect the site to be producing electricity by mid-January. I have been there on two days now and the speed of work is incredible. When I visited on Monday they were installing the solar panels in one zone at the highest point on the site and on Wednesday they were at the lowest point and making speedy progress. I’m sure there is a lot of technical stuff to do yet but they are certainly moving quickly. Unfortunately the weather has been atrocious for the last few days and this is reflected in the pictures I have taken so far. The land around the site is a sea of mud more reminiscent of Flanders in 1914 than S. West France in 2014. I was loaned a pair of Wellington (?) boots to wear around the site and was glad of these as the mud  nearly came up to the top of the boots when walking around. when the works are finished, the site will be cleaned up and landscaped. I’m not sure how much you will actually see from your house as two of the four zones seem to be shielded by the terrain. The solar panels all face south so you might see some strips of aluminium frame but that is all.  I am still stunned that an 8.18 Megawatt power station can be built in three months in the middle of nowhere using about 30 people. 
    Best wishes
    Val says many thanks Gareth, I am sure this will interest readers. The panels are laid in the land of the old cement factory Lafarge. We welcomed the idea but wondered if they would affect our stunning views. Because they are quite low they are hidden by folds in the landscape. Malc says they are not connected yet but from what Gareth says by mid January will be in operation.

    One of the funny things about face book

      Have just read a notification sent to Malc from one of his friends from way back in his University days at Sheffield it says   "I remember one time being sick on Sheffield Station..but could not remember why I was there..Now I remember..I was visiting you!!"
     It did make me laugh.
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    Christmas party tonight and you are invited

    Fifi and Folk and Jazz have once again got together and will be partying tonight at Verfeil sur Seye in the salle des fetes. An earlier start than the normal F&J nights, 7 pm and it is an auberge espagnole, take some food to share. A good night is promised by the singers and great to hear so many of the French villagers and local French people are participating.
    Enjoy the night, wish I could be there but as we leave this week -end, we have our pet sitters are coming to get to grips with everything and moving into the gite.
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    Living happily in France

    The headline says it all, living happily in France, and that is what TAG is about. The more we know about French life, politics, what the French eat and drink, the language etc. the happier we will all be. Malc and I do not know it all which is why we need your help. We can research the news but what is happening is for us all to pass on.

    Do you all remember to look in labels? For example the work done by Chris Robinson on the medical list we personally find helpful and I often check out how to say something before visiting the medecin. I have copied a section to refresh your memories but the list covers general illness as well and is given in French, dutch and English

    To begin with, here is a list of essential medical questions and terms according to the type of condition and/or symptoms.  More words and phrases like these can be found at the web site used by many of the French medical services to help foreign callers - www.dicomed.venez.fr
    Remember the services to phone are Samu 15 and Pompiers 18 and from a mobile 112. For evening, weekend or holiday advice when your GP is not open ring 3966 .
    The Samu you phone for medical help and the Pompiers for accidents, not just fires and if someone needs to get to hospital quickly. 3966 will advise you on non-emergency situations or pass you on tp a medecin de garde or advise you to ring 15 or 18 as necessary.

    When you phone say your own tel. number in the French way for example our number is 05 63 64 06 73. You would say zero cing,soixante trois, soixante quatre, zero six, soixante trieze. Have your number in a place you will remember written down in case you forget in panic.

    Urgent matters

    - It's an emergency - C'est une urgence – Het is een spoedgeval
    - I need a doctor, an ambulance - Il me faut un médécin, une ambulance – Ik heb een dokter nodig , een ambulance
    - Allergy to bee/wasp stings - Allergie aux piqûres d'insectes – Allergie voor bijen/wespensteek
    - Insect bites/stings - Piqûres d'insectes – Insectenbeet/steek
    - Nut allergy, dust allergy - Allergie aux cacahuettes, allergie a la poussière – Notenallergie, stofallergie
    - Overdose of medication - Surdosage de médicaments – Overdosis van medicijnen
    - Chest pain - Douleur dans la poitrine – Pijn op de borst
    - Appendicitis – Appendicite – Blindedarmontsteking
    - Recent surgical procedure - Opération chirurgicale récente – Recente chirurgische ingreep
    - Loss of vision, sudden blindness - Perte de vision, cecité brutale- Verlies van gezichtsvermogen, plotselinge blindheid
    - He fell all the way down the stairs - Il a dégringolé jusqu'en bas de l'escalier – Hij viel van de trap
    - She fell from a height of 3 metres - Elle a fait une chute de trois metres – Hij viel van een hoogte van 3 meter
    - He fell in the river and practically drowned - Il est tombé dans la rivière et il a presque noyé – Hij viel in de rivier en is bijna verdronken
    - He has broken his arm, leg, wrist, pelvis - Il s'est cassé le bras, la jambe, le poignet, le bassin – Zij heeft zijn arm, been, pols, bekken gebroken
    - Hip, shoulder blade, spine, clavicle, ribs - Hanche, omoplate, colonne vertebrale, clavicule, côtes – Heup schouderblad, wervelkolom, sleutelbeen, ribben
    - Stroke - AVC (accident vasculaire cérébrale) – CVA (herseninfarct)
    - Mini stroke (TIA = transient ischaemic attack) - Ischémie transitoire - TIA
    - Interrupted circulation, gangrene - Arrêt de la circulation sanguine, gangrène – Trombose, gangreen
    - Choking, he was choked by fumes - étouffement, la fumee l'a fait suffoqué – Verstikking, hij werd verstikt door de rook
    - She choked on a fish bone - Elle s'est étranglée avec une arête – Zij stikte in een visgraat
    - Injured – Blessé - Gewond
    - Burn - Brûlure - Brandwond
    - He has been electrocuted - Il s'est electrocute – Hij is geëlectrocuteerd
    - Knife wound, bullet wound - Blessure causée par un couteau, une balle – Meswond, kogelwond

    All that glisters is not gold, but these coins are

    An English couple  the Whettons, restoring their hotel in Lot et  Garonne were knocking down a wall when they hit treasure. A cache of gold coins from the 15th century, 1492. The couple were being interviewed on Telematin and the lady spoke very good French, accented of course. The hotel 
    'Hôtel Du Cours de Thomazeau have a film of the find. Apart from the gold what a boost for the hotel's business
     Malc and I wondered what the procedure was after handing them in and perhaps someone on Columbus's voyage over the ocean blue hid the coins before setting off in 1492 (unlikely but it just shows that 1066 is not the only memorable date in history).
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    Not in Claridges, not in Notre Dame

    Last week a row in the UK when a woman was asked not to breast feed in Claridges Hotel in London and yesterday a French woman, former member of the feminist group Femen was sentenced to 6 months suspended imprisonment for a "shocking display" in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Admittedly Eloise Bouton had set out to make a display, unlike her London "co-condemned". But the dozen or so people in the church at the time (and the choir who were rehearsing) were duly shocked and the rest of the world regarded the pictures with more or less interest.
    The Femen have made many bare breast demonstrations in public without legal consequence, but in a church is a step too far it seems.
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    Hi Val,
    All sounds brilliant.  So pleased Coco travelled so well and hope he will be happy with us.  We will do our best for him.  Sheep certainly looked interested !
    Thank you to everyone.

    Val says  we are all so happy as we know from all the animals you have cared for in the past that Coco has found a good home. You need a strong bristled brush to give him a good brush when he is dry... and then he can go and roll in the mud again!! Coco showed initial interest in the sheep but he was  so overwhelmed by  all the grass that he felt that needed his attention.
    See you soon 
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    Nous sommes jeudi, le dix huit

    I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
    ― Charles Dickens

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    Wednesday, 17 December 2014

    A mutual admiration society

    Hi Val,
    Thank you for getting so involved and getting everybody organised to help poor CoCo. There are a lot of animals ( and humans) who owe you a big cuddle for caring enough to motivate change in their lives.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.
    Lots of love
    Mimi x, Kev x & Tilly x

     Val says such a lovely happy  family Mimi, Kevin and Tilly, who all do their bit for people and pets. So glad you feel like that Mimi, I do try, when you get older and have time,  giving something back makes you feel good. Not always appreciated but probably a great chance to say to anyone I have upset it is not intentional. I would hate to upset anyone and if my views are not yours then why not just respect that we have different views but as people we try.
    Malc says  I can confirm you are very trying Val !  then adds seriously, Val with such a huge readership not everyone will agree with you, why worry?
    Back to Mimi who at the moment is pounding the streets building up to run the Barcelona marathon. I have asked if Mimi will run us through her training schedule in the build up to the event. 
    Malc again: you can "run through" Mimi's training schedule; I will follow in the car.
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    Some like it hot!

    After carrying out experiments with 114 men and some red hot chili sauce French scientists have concluded there is a clear link between testosterone levels and an appetite for all things hot and spicy. Men with high testosterone are said to have a higher sex drive, take more risks and apparently also love to indulge in spicy food.The French study carried out by scientists at the University of Grenoble titled “Some like it hot” concluded that the higher a man's testosterone level is the more spice he adds to his food.

    This is one for Victoria and Nicholas

    People who care about Coco

    From the Sidmouth Donkey  sanctuary
    Hello Val
    so pleased you have found a home for this poor donkey. Thanks for the update
    Sue Gooding
    Secretary to Andrew Judge
    Head of European Operations.

    Hi Val
    Lovely news re the donkey but please assure me he is not on his own and that he has a companion as you know they are really not good on there own.
    Have a great Christmas and Happy 2015

    Mission accomplished on the moving tale

    Today was the big day, the day to move Coco to his new home where he will be cared for by Victoria and Nicholas. It was very mild but the drizzle continued all morning, so the group of helpers did end up getting rather damp. Malc and I had a trailor/ remorque full of straw attached, followed by my donkey guru Anke and Dirk ex partner  who had offered to come incase we needed muscle.
    We were going to meet Jeannine the artist and horse rescuer who had spotted the plight of Coco. The marechal Yves and Jacynth arrived and Yves did his stuff. Victoria sadly had to be in England but Nicholas was there, looking fondly I felt on his new member of the family.
    Karen had arrived at this point with the horse box and so Coco very placidly walked with us all up to the road and along to be loaded into the box. With the knowing expertise of Karen, who tells me she does not know donkeys, she soon took charge and realised " I can manage this donkey  just like my horses"
    Coco was up into the box with out any problem with only a slight distraction of someone coming to see if we had permission to take the donkey. Fortunately we had the release papers which we did not need to produce. We had thought of this as the previous owner told us she would not be there.
    The convoy set of and in a short time we had Coco unloaded and in to his field with his future friends the sheep in the adjoining field. It was a pleasure to see the boy with his new " Clarks  startrite" shoes.
    Remember those  shoes at school Clarks startrite knockabouts?
    The story ends with a happy conclusion with thanks to :-

    Jeannine for spotting poor Coco's plight,
    Victoria and Nicholas for offering him a home
    Anke and Dirk for offering advice and helping
    Jacynth and Yves for trimming badly deformed hooves,
    M and K local farmers for giving 3 bales of hay.
    A local vet who offered a years supply of vermifuge / wormer
    and lastly but certainly not least Karen for transporting Coco with style and expertise.
    Well done to all you animal lovers, giving Coco another and better chance of a good life.
    ... and don't I just look like a flower pot man?
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    Coco is grateful to Yves

    A busy couple Jacynth  Crozier, translator, French teacher, traductions and her partner Yves a blacksmith. When they heard of the plight of Coco they immediately offered their services  for free and dropped everything to sort out the boys hooves.
    If you live in the TAG area think of using this lovely competent man if you have horses or donkeys
    Yves Rotte
    Diplome de Gourdan - Polignan
    Testas 12200 Sanvensa
    tel 06 73 446351
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    English setter loses master overboard and now needs a new home

    Hi Val
    please refer to Alba O'Nill for more info.
     À: "Alba O'Neill"         <alba_oneill@hotmail.com>
    Date: Mercredi 17 décembre 2014, 9h05
    Qui veut adopter un setter anglais retrouvé à bord d'un bateau à la
    dérive, son maître s'étant noyé?
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    Psst -want to buy some oysters?

    Next time you are down the pub and a type in a stripy jersey and "bonnet" offers you a basket of oysters going cheap - just say no. (how many cliches and stereotypes can you have in one sentence?)
    Gendarmes in Charente are mounting 24 hour guard on the oyster beds as theft is a big problem at this time of year. One ostreiculteur wanting to short cut the market and strict hygiene regulations was caught with over 40 baskets of the molluscs bought on the black market from a local fisherman. The seller had simply stolen them from another producer.
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