Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hey Jude, this puppy won't let you down.

Hi Val
I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself.
You and your lovely readers have christened me Tag or Taggy. Now, that is very nice but after much consideration ( see photo Jude 1) I have decided that as it is the year of the letter ‘J’ for animal names in France that I will now be known as Jude.
I heard Hey Jude on the radio and my foster mum appeared to enjoy that song so I thought ‘what the heck, may as well try and please her’
I can’t believe I have only here for 3 days but have to admit that the surroundings are rather more palatial than with my poor mum, Candy. I am warm and cosy and have regular meals, admittedly not as many as I feel I need but enough to keep body and soul together! The foster mother is slowly being trained to recognise my many requirements and seems to be a quick learner. I have also picked up a trick or two of my own and have fooled them into thinking that I fully understand the use of newspaper for bodily functions – she has had to put out an appeal for more papers and I am starting to appreciate the finer points of the British press ( photo Jude 2)
I would like to say a big thank you to Val for setting me on the road to stardom, to Terri Tippett for her generous offer, to Judy Kent for all her newspapers and of course a very big thank you to my wonderful mum, Candy for giving me the chance of life in exchange for hers.
I miss her.
I look forward to writing more as I become more expert with the keyboard – my foster mum complains that my claws scratch the keys – she keeps threatening clippers – sounds terrible!
Anyone who thinks they would like to offer me a ‘for ever’ home can come and visit us near Cordes just call my secretary, Jane on 06 24 09 87 30 or 05 63 53 95 57
Many thanks, Val

A smart looking car this one

For Sale:
Volvo S40 Saloon, Metallic blue
Right hand drive.  Registered in France
2.0 liter diesel.  Year 2006
Leather upholstery, tow bar
One owner and fully serviced by Volvo with MOT until 2016

Who says we do not integrate and add our skills to the local communities?

A  sample of filled in questionaires have been received and I can tell you that without fail the participating readers are offering something back to the community English And French. Makes you feel proud to be British ( or Welsh, or Scottish etc,) reading some of the replies It also makes you  realise we do care about our French neighbours and friends and our skills and talents are adding something  to their lives. It is gratifying to see how many people are on committees or helping with church building restoration, religious or not.
 The  10 question and answers roll out  tomorrow with Geof Cryer. There might be readers who say "who?" Well tomorrow you will know all.
If you feel you give something back to the community or want to promote something exceptional fill in the 10 questions for an opportunity to promote yourselves.
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Plus ça change

In the 1880's Paris newspapers were speculating that the immigrants to the capital came from poor areas and were predominantly "assassins, thieves, criminals, pimps etc" who would never assimilate. Who were these feared incomers? People from the Auvergne. And even today, six generations on who do they support when Racing Metro take on rugby rivals Clermont Auvergne - Clermont of course!
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Top French businessman killed

Christophe de Marjerie the 63 year old managing director of Total, the French multi-national oil company, was killed last night when his private jet collided with a snow plough when trying to take off from a small airfield near Moscow.
Paris based Total is one of the few oil companies not American owned or controlled and de Marjerie spent his whole career making Total one of the top 20 companies in the world and France's richest enterprise. He had important links with the Russian oil producers and government and was returning from a visit to Medvedev's country dacha.
Renowned for his ex-Raj like moustache ( he looked like a trombone player in a brass band, one paper said) and affable manner, de Marjerie was the product of the French upper middle class, privately educated and from a family that included the founder of the Taittinger champagne house. He said coming from a privileged background entailed certain responsibilities to give back to society the opportunities he had been afforded.
In 2006 he was arrested, handcuffed and humiliated ("without belt or glasses")  during the so-called Total affair when the company was suspected of subverting the "oil for aid" programme of the United Nations.  All charges were thrown out by the courts after 8 years of investigation and a court hearing in 2013.
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A new Museum in Paris shaped like a glass ship

Emerging from the woods at the edge of Paris like a glass ship, the hyper-modern Louis Vuitton art museum was inaugurated on Monday, kicking off an art-filled week in the French capital.
A flurry of cultural activity ending with the highly-anticipated reopening of the Picasso museum after an extensive five-year renovation has been hailed by the city as proof that Paris still has an edge among the world's art capitals.   More on this story in The Local
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Flu jabs at the chemists in discussion

The HEALTH minister  Marisol Touraine wishes to make a law giving the possibility of vaccination by a  chemist. The chemist would be happy with this. The general doctors would not be happy and their unions are calling for a strike over the Christmas period.
Another controversial measure includes the capping of the consultation fee which has stayed at €23 since 2011, which the union describes as “unworthy of the required skills and insufficient”.

Val says I agree that  GP' s are underpaid, all that study, responsibility and long hours for a measly 23 euros consultation fee. Some unskilled workers demand more than that.

Nous sommes Mardi, le vingt et un

Fortunately we have given the donkeys a bit of pasture over by the swings and slide, an area we have not mowed in the last few weeks. At 7.30 am it is dark and very foggy and as the donkeys were happily in that area I can go out after breakfast and top up their water. The little outside cats needed feeding, a minutes job and then back for breakfast.
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Monday, 20 October 2014

Another seven cuties

Wanted good homes for 7 adorable puppies. Now 3 weeks old, 2 bigger boys and
5 little girls. Father unknown, ran off in the night! Mother beautiful brown
and white border collie with lovely temperament and loyal nature. Believe
the father to be black and Labrador size, still looking!
If you or anyone you know may be interested in these pups and for more info
please call Terry on or drop me an e mail,

Val says  are you thinking what I am thinking, lactating mum for TAGGY. I have put Terri and Jane together to see what can come of that. Whatever we now have eight little puppies needing good homes.
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Église Saint Corneille at Puycelsi and that concert

Dear Val
We missed you at the concert on Saturday but had time to speak briefly to Malc - as I read you were too busy talking to proud Mums and Dads! it was nice to see them coming this distance from Toulouse to hear their children sing so magnificently. For six it was their first concert as they had only joined the Maîtrisse in Septembre.

We felt it was a wonderful experience and as always the exhaustion of doing it all was worth the effort. However we were lucky in some senses as the Pizza for the childrens lunch was provided by our wonderful bakers so it was  just cake for tea that had to be provided. The costs were higher than usual so the surplus was too but as you may have noticed the baptismal chapel has now been stripped for work to start early next year.

In the meantime we are taking a winter break from organising concerts and after I have the grape jelly, jam making too. At last we will be able to have a summer holiday and recover in time to start to make marmalade after Christmas and prepare for the next concert after easter. Boy talk about forward planning
Val says I wonder how many people list this church as their favourite and seeing it slowly restored is a wonder and relief. In the parts where there has been damp ingress you are saddened to see it.
Readers take and send your visitors to see this church and leave some money in the box for the privilege. Even better if you can get tickets for these concerts count your lucky stars that Ross, Ginny and Mark came together at the same moment in time to give us pleasure and restore that wonderful building. As I have said before these concerts are the highlight of our cultural calendar.
Gosh, I wonder what they will plan for next year?

The British Embassy in Paris

You might enjoy this link in the meantime to a BBC article on the British Embassy in Paris http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29643065
Till later. 

The Concert at Puycelsi

Hi Val and Malc
Thanks so much for coming to support the Maîtrise concert.  It was a real pleasure to finally bring my own choir to one of my favourite places! Attached is a photo.
Val says the pleasure was ours

Hunky men with a bar of chocolate!

The below is in relation to my post in " gossip" where I demand ( perhaps too strong  demand) ask, for male nudes alongside female. ( well not actually together. I think I should stop there.)

Hi, Val.
G is always happy to take pictures of men in the buff, but they usually prefer that he keeps his clothes on!
By the way, I love the fact that hunky men in the UK have a "six-pack" and French men have a "tablette de chocolat". 

Foire à la châtaigne at Laguepie

Want to know all there is to know about chestnuts, then next Sunday the 26th Laguepie will be the place.
Lots of entertainments and dining, bags of hot chestnuts. Go early to get parking, it will be busy.
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Brocantes and vide greniers are still happening

If you like a rummage look at the site below which gives you the information about local vide greniers etc.
Cauzac sur Vère has a bourse des vetements/ clothes sale in the salle des fetes, Sat 25th Oct
Montauban has a brocante on the 25th alée du Conul Dupuy
Montauban also has a vide grenier on the 26th in the car park at Geant Casino
Caussade has a brocante on the 26th Les promenades boulevard Didier Rey.


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Sweet beet

France is Europe's biggest producer of sugar beet and this summer, even if bad for tourists and holidaymakers, has been ideal for beet growers. The wet summer and warm sunny early autumn have led to an abundance of beet. Refiners are now working 24 hours a day to make the most of the bumper crop.
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Un salon de l'habitat at Montauban

The 17th edition of this salon focusing on houses, interiors and gardens of the future, held in the salon Eurythmie from 24th to 27th Oct. On display and stands include house sales, interiors, energies, swimming pools and gardens.
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Nous sommes Lundi, le vingt

Another lovely sunny morning. One knows it is holiday time if you watch France 2 morning news as the presenter William always takes holidays. When William is away it is the holls and when over he always comes back tanned.
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Lovely weather, you got to the beach, the sea looks calm, but...

Swimming in the sea in the Landes can be dangerous st this time of year, even though the sea appears calm. There have been numerous accidents and one man drowned at Contis in the Landes. Life guards are not around in October as normally there are few swimmers but the " estivale" weather has sent more people to the seaside.
Take care in situations you are unsure of, especially near the sea.
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Young girls as well as boys radicalised in France and England.

Similar numbers of young people in France and England are known to have left their home countries to fight for jihad in Syria. It is a continuing problem as a report shows 1,000 young boys and girls have been radicalised.
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Sunday, 19 October 2014

The TEN TAG questions

I  have chosen people who are prominent in the community and asked the following 10 questions. Replies should be interesting.

1.What is your name and profession past or present ?
2.Do you have other family members here?
3.How long have you lived in France and are you here full or part year?
4. Do you have an activity or profession you wish to promote?
5. Would you say you are enjoying integrating, give examples?
6. Do you think you will stay in France for some time or forever.?
7.What activities do you enjoy?
8.Do you enjoy travel ?
9. Have you got pets?
10.Is there anything you miss living in France?
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Try Mini Monde

Dear Val,
I need to borrow, or buy if the price is right, a baby-walker for my
grandson who will be six months old in December and is coming to spend his
first Christmas in France!
Please contact Stephanie or Wally: stephaniemears1@gmail.com
Many thanks, in hope,
Val says maybe a good time to remind everyone that Mini Monde advertising in the side panel has all sorts of baby equipment for hire at very reasonable rates. If the number does not work, contact Andrew Media Man, same firm.
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Tractormania at Caussade draws the crowds

Gareth Brown who sent the photos was like a child on the day, just up his street old vehicles. The photos came with a note from Gareth Brown  age 56 and three quarters
More in photos later.
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La Guepe, the Laguepie bus being restored

Lactating bitch or motherly bitch needed for TAGGY

Sally Clegg, breeder of dalmations says the puppy needs a mother. Is there anyone with a lactating bitch or motherly bitch that could pop this puppy in with the others in the brood for 6 weeks?

Do you know if TAG could pull this one off I would be "made up,"  it is a shot in the dark, but miracles happen.
It would be the story of the year.
Contact Jane at near Cordes if you are in a position to help.  tel 06 24 09 87 30
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We are going to find a home for TAG

Hi Val
If the pup has not found a home by the time she is off the bottle (!)  I
will happily take her here at Poorpaws and find her a good home. Please
don't let the elderly lady take another poor dog to be miserable all its' life
Sue at Poor Paws

Val says  that is great for Jane to know she has a fall back plan but that little girly bundle TAG or TAGGY needs to find a home asap, if only to get a proper name.
We have  had a black lab, our Twister for four years. He was from a refuge and we cannot get over what an adorable nature labradors have. Getting a puppy that has been hand reared I should imagine is going to become very attached to people and make a great companion. 
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This little mite, lets call her TAG till we find her a home

Mum was a cross lab and Dad is a pure golden lab.
I am near Cordes and am happy for people to come and see her, just give me a call on 06 24 09 87 30
Read her sad start to life in an earlier  post in the blog

Bits of gossip

There is a new Catholic priest at St. Antonin and shock horror he is young with a beard. He lives in the Presbytere at St. Antonin and  TAG  is receiving favourable feedback. Not being religious ( OK Alex) I was surprised how many Catholic friends  we have and how the talk has all been about the new Priest whom everyone seems very happy with.
Conversely nothing to do with religion unless it is the adoration of the female form, a certain book of photographs being passed around has caused quite a talking point. As the photographer, mentioning no names said to me " a book with 120 pages and only 9 of the female form, why is there no comment about the other photos?"    I have yet to admire the photos and  I am no prude but I personally find the male nude much more interesting.
Malc said " surely the male body is not interesting?" Well darling said I " it depends on your point of view, what about the statue of David in Florence or even some of David Hockneys sketches of the male body and Robert Mapplethorpe's male nudes, much more interesting to me than female nudes, although they all can have a beauty? "
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A great service for 13 years

For 13 years we have been going to the Saturday market at Varen or the Sunday market at Laguepie and have been served by these three smiling ladies, come rain or shine. The lady in blue "T" shirt is the "chef" Marjorie Chaudesaigues, her mother  called  Marielle helps  and Nathalie Marre is the other constant helper. Great team ladies, keep up the good work, well done.
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Patio heaters wanted

Dear Friends of English Theatre,
The nights are getting colder and the clocks will have changed by the time of the next show. Do any of you have a patio heater that we could borrow and use for the outside area on Saturday 15th November ? 
We can collect the heater if necessary. Thanking you in advance, if the answer is yes please reply to this email. 
Best regards, 
Deirdre Honey         
To: fetatlecolombier@gmail.com
Deirdre Honey FET Secretary

Mission orphan, we will not fail helping Jane and this dog.

Hi Val
 I have a two and a half week orphan black lab puppy!
Usual sort of story – 86 year old french lady moves to live next door at the beginning of the year. Keeps her elderly black lab cross on a chain 24/7.
Old lady falls and breaks her hip and elbow in June and has a two moth stay in hospital. Her family are quite happy that the dog is chained 24/7 with perhaps one visit a day.
Dog of course is upset to be alone and barks – we get upset as the barking drives us mad so have to intervene ( on humanitarian as well as barking grounds!!)
I walk and feed the dog for the next three months and the family are of course very happy that a daft étrangère has taken on the job.
Two weeks ago the morning after having had a marvellous 5km evening walk with my daughter, Candy the dog produces with great pride, one puppy.
We assumed like the 6 puppies she had in March and the 8 last year that this one would disappear but it didn’t – the lady’s grandson had decided that it would be nice for Granny ( who was by now back home and twice as frail) to have something to take an interest in .......she of course didn’t and neither did the family – leaving it once again to the voisine to do the necessary.
Two or three days after the birth I noticed that Candy had difficulty in walking and discovered that she had a massive tumour under her front leg and into the muscle.
“ Ah, yes well she is old” ( too old to be spayed but not too old to have puppies obviously!)
Eventually as I watched things get worse with Candy doing her utmost to care for her special puppy I became the neighbour from hell and insisted that she be taken to the vet ...
This was on friday but her suffering was too great and last night, again the neighbour from hell insisted that the vet be called -inconvenient for the grandson as he was going to football.....
I stayed with Candy until the very end – a brave and courageous dog.
I now have a two week old puppy that has taken to the bottle like a fish to water BUT I need to find her a home – the family think it will be “nice” for Granny to keep the puppy but as I have pointed out Granny can walk only with difficulty and a puppy cannot be chained24/7 and the nice voisine can not take on the care of a puppy which is going to be allowed to start the whole breeding cycle off again.
So can I please ask through your fantastic blog if there is anyone out there who can help. I am happy to carry on with the weaning process until someone could take her and give her the sort of home she deserves.
Mum was a cross lab and Dad is a pure golden lab.
I am near Cordes and am happy for people to come and see her, just give me a call on 06 24 09 87 30
Many thanks, Val and here’s hoping.
Jane Wallace
Val says I do not know Jane,in the same way I could not know all of TAG' s many readers 
 but I do have no qualms in saying what a kind thoughtful act Jane is performing. TAG will get this puppy rehomed by hook or by crook. There must be someone out there who would love a labrador puppy and I will keep on posting about it until a home is found. I have also asked Jane to supply a photo.
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Nous sommes dimanche, le dix neuf

The 19th of October already and another sunny one.
You will have noticed a little French creeping into TAG, hopefully you can cope. I mention it as two people have said to me but we do not read French. I have to say I do not read it well but have a dictionary to hand whilst I check the newspapers and it is amazing how much you learn by looking things up.
Now if you can retain it! well that is another matter.
On the date each day we will all learn the way the French say it, nous sommes le dix neuf.
Well I am sure till recently I would have said  aujourd' hui c'est le dix neuf
Enjoy your day and keep learning the language of our adopted country, bit by bit, every little helps and we are told learning French (or languages) helps to keep alzheimers at bay.
You could be groaning " what a right clever dick she is" but if I was, my French would be much better.
Malc has just asked me " if you wanted to ask the date what would you say?"
I replied " qu'est que c'est la date aujourd hui"  
He told  me to  say  " nous sommes le .. ?"  so much more the French way.
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He has designed cars since he was small

Frédéric Soubirou age 40 now is the director of design for  the exterior of Citroen cars.
A local man villeneuvois, he created the recent DS model. There is a Face to face with him in the Depeche which includes a picture and if I can be so bold as to say, a very handsome man.

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Toulouse has changed little in a hundred years

A book of photographs has been published on that lovely city Toulouse. The photographer says it has changed little in a 100 years. 
The guide book is written by Patricia Salic and the photographs are by a Toulouse photographer Didier Taillefer.

Toulouse. Hier & aujourd'hui», 70 pages. Éditions Wartberg. 16 €.
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A case for the bomb squad

Yesterday the cente of Toulouse was blocked around la rue Metz, imagine that on a busy Saturday. A suitcase had been left, an alarm was raised and the emergency bomb team were called in. After three hours the suitcase was found to be full of clothes and the people who had forgotten their suitcase returned.
I wonder if the people were charged with an offence, " forgetfull in charge of a suitcase?"
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Beams for sale

Here is an advert from our neighbours at Mas del Sol
They have a large number of beams in douglas pine left over from their house renovation.
15mmx25mm and in long lengths, the wood is stocked under cover and is available for 14€ per metre. Ideal for a professional builder wanting stock or a diy restorer needing to replace some beams.
Contact Magali or Luc
Tèl : 06 62 90 88 45       Mail : magalebel@gmail.com

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Everything was right on the night.

In our car going, Malc, Therese ( the French lady of Selgues church fame ) and I met at 4.30pm to drive to Puycelsi for the concert at Eglise Saint Corneille. We arrived got our tickets, left our jackets on our seats and went for a drink. We got back at 6 ready for the concert.
It was divine.
Mark Opstad the Director of the Maitrise Choir at the Conservatoire of  Toulouse had brought his young choir to sing the  Requiem Gabriel Fauré and the Requiem Tomas Luis Victoria. The church was packed and I whispered to Therese, it is full of the proud Mums and Dads.
The first half was really wonderful and Malc followed the choir out for the interval. Therese did not want to go so I felt I needed to stay with her.  (we had both been sniffling and drying our eyes seeing and hearing the cherubic children)
The two couples who were on the front row directly in front of us stayed in also. I tapped  both  couples on the shoulder and asked if they were parents. both couples were. They then told us which were their children, how old they were, one was only eleven and how proud they were. Mark Opstad they said was a hard task master and very strict but the youngsters loved him. Both parents felt lucky to have Mark at Toulouse and all felt it was something the children would remember all their lives regardless of going on to musical careers or not.
The second half was equally good and a young boy and girl soloist, delighted us all. I had asked a man taking photos if he would email a couple to TAG and he said he would.  I told the parents about TAG and gave them a card and they said they would look to see the photos. One man said he spoke a little English which would help. Both sets of parents were delighted with Therese and I being so beguiled by their talented children.
All in all another great early evening at Puycelsi. A big thank you once again to Ross and Ginny and the team for setting it all up and to Mark and his choir for leaving Toulouse for the night and coming to Puycelsi.
The beautiful church at Puycelsi will benefit with the funds raised going to church restoration.
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2nd Parisot Literary Festival

The little literary festival that thinks big!
And, nothing was bigger than Poldark on the BBC in 1974, so it was a real coup to have Robin Ellis, who was the handsome lead, to do a cooking demonstration on Sunday morning, the third day of the festival. After his very interesting demonstration and fascinating talk about his acting career, when he worked with all the big names of the theatre and TV, there was a long queue of mainly women of a certain age asking for photos with him and signed copies of his two successful cookery books. Even some younger women, probably not even born back in the day, were having photos taken and I heard them saying, “it’s for my mum”. Not only is Robin’s food very simple and easy to cook, it is healthy and seasonal and avoids carbohydrates, or as he calls them “the whites”, as far as possible, mainly because he is a diabetic and has developed a healthy regime which suits him very well.
After a very good lunch at the Renaissance in Caylus, the afternoon continued with acrowded talk by Clive Ponting on the origins, causes and impacts of the First World War.Always a controversial figure since the days of the Falkland War, some of his ideas arecontentious and there was much discussion afterwards. I am looking forward to his talk on “Who killed JFK?” on November 22nd, also at Parisot Library.
My third talk of the day was by a local writer, Tracey Warr, who has now published two novels based on local Occitan history in the first instance, and incidents in France, Scandinavia and Wales in the second. It was very interesting to hear how she does her researchfound a publishing contract and how the smallest thing can give her the basis for a character or theme in a story. Almodis although a real person, looks like a statue in Albi Cathedral. I look forward to reading both her books.
The festival included both English and French writers and was very well organised. A lot of volunteers provided wonderful cakes and tea in lovely china cups, during the afternoon breaks. A room in the Mairie was stacked with 2nd hand books for sale, in both English and French which were sold by the bagful, the proceeds going towards the cost of next year’s festival.
I was only able to attend on the Sunday, but the other two days were equally well-attendedand lively. There was no fear of becoming bored, as there was such a variety of talks and workshops, from a creative writing workshop, to Arab calligraphy and illustration for the local children and of course the cooking demonstration and tasting. About half the events were in French and the others in English. It was a great success with the numbers attending up on last year and I am sure that everyone is looking forward to the next one.
Gill Catterall

Tractor mad, you need to be at Caussade today

If you love old tractors you need to be at Tractormania taking place at Caussade today. No doubt one of our photographers will be there catching a flavour of the day with its tractors.Not only tractors but all kinds of old vehicles.
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No more "H Cup"

French advertising rules have meant that Heineken's sponsorship of the European rugby cup has always been a bit muted here, unlike in the other nations. But after long and bitter negotiations the Heineken Cup, or "H Cup" here, has been re-baptised The European Champions Cup and the celtic and Italian representation has been reduced by 3 clubs, plus one lost from England or France, giving 5 pools of 4 teams, 20 in all.
With TV rights up by nearly 20 million euros, to around 60 million in total, the 20 clubs and the Unions are looking to a cash bonanza this season.
Rights are now divided between Sky and BT in the UK and BeIN Sports in France, all on subscription channels; so no more France 3 coverage. The tourney started last night (Friday) with Harlequins defeating Castres.
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An Indian summer being forecast for Toussaint

Plus de 30° en Midi-Pyrénées et au Pays Basque ce week-end. 

That is what the Depeche are saying today, a period " estivale" for the Toussaint period, thanks to high pressure coming from Africa.
Great for the children, many are off school for a two week holiday period.
Enjoy the weather, we deserve it after the summer we had.
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France starts ebola airport checks today

The main Paris airport at Roissy will screen passengers from west Africa from this morning (Saturday). There are few flights from the ebola hit area and Health Minister Marisol Touraine said that checks would be stepped up in the departure points to reduce the risks.
Passengers will complete questionnaires to help contacts be traced if necessary.
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Nous sommes Samedi le dix huit and this was our view at 8am

The pets did not wake us till 7.30am, so lovely getting a lie in. Another lovely warm morning out in the fields. Lucy was walking better and the donkeys were all calm whilst being fed.
The kestrel pair who did not nest with us this year are about all the time now, flying to their previous nest other years in the wall of the gite. They fly fast into the wall screeching and chattering as they go. We think they are marking it again for the spring, but a lot will depend on the gite being free from renters if they end up staying.
Back to the house to find Malc taking photographs on the balcony leading from the kitchen and this view this morning looking down to Varen in the mist was just beautiful.
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Friday, 17 October 2014

Lucy Johnstone is on the mend

Our Lucy is an " ange" sometimes, and today with the vet Charles from Laguepie she showed what a calm donkey she can be. She had her hoof cleaned and pared, an  antibiotic injection  all without batting an eye. The vets opinion is the stones in her hoof (which we found yesterday) had punctured the corium which as she is showing a bit of fourmiliere (a type of fungal infection)  is causing her pain.
I have some powders to give one a day with a compote but as I have never given her a compote I will probably stick it in half an apple. If any donkey or horse  people know of a compote, please let me know.

She should be walking better in a few days and even today one can see a difference after removing the stones yesterday.
All the donkeys are due a tetanus injection which lasts 3 years but is obligatory to have in France as is being puced.( having their identifying number in their neck)
People ask " are they cheap to keep donkeys, I suppose you stick them in the field and they eat the grass."
 If only it was that simple.
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Poulet farci, stuffed chicken

These southerners know now't
Last night at bridge there were flyers on the chairs for an evening at Lacapelle Livron with poule farcie (sorry no more details)  A lady from the south of England said " what are those leaflets?"  Malc replied  "an evening with poulet farci, well it is a bit like having   pie and peas, the French often have it at " do's"
The lady replied "pie and peas, what on earth is that"? Meat pie, usually pork, and mushy peas - quelle delice!

People from Wigan were known as " pie eaters" to those from Bolton. (who were called trotters)
We were from North Yorkshire originally  where we had pease pudding.
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The Wurlitzer for sale

Contact Yvonne    yvonyoyo@gmail.com

Two outings roundabout

Two connections at least to France with that horse race

Aidan O'Brien's juvenile passed the post in front in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp almost a fortnight ago, but was demoted to third after the French stewards deemed he had interfered with his two nearest rivals.

Favourite Cirrus Des Aigles has been drawn widest of all in stall nine, with last year's Investec Derby hero Ruler Of The World having the inside berth.
This relates to an early post -    Happy racing         Comments to taglines82@gmail.com

Un poulailler et des poules

This is a great story, at Montech they are making poulaillers to offer to residents. The hen houses will be made out of old pallets and the like but there is a picture in the Depeche and they look great, much better that the one we bought for 270 euros which if a fox blew on it would probably crumble like a pack of cards. ( I will huff and puff and blow your house down)
Anyway to save mountains of waste food going to the decheterie the idea is for it to go in to a chicken. In that town/ village you can buy a poulailler and two hens for 100 euros. Not a bad offer and one I would take up if undertaken in our village.
We still have old  non laying, past her prime Penny and we do not want to introduce her now to a new lively hen. Sharing her poulailler with a youngster, playing loud music, hustling her for food, no, no she is better on her own in her dotage.
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Varsity Horse Race

The UK's Channel 4 is today breaking new ground by showing the first ever Oxford v. Cambridge University horse race.  

Set up along the lines of the annual Boat Race on the Thames, this year for the first time 10 riders will compete on Newmarket's mile long course, the event being the feature last event in an action-packed 7 race card.  14 riders, 7 from each university, have been in serious training at the town's British Racing School and at Oaksey House in Lambourn, to prepare them for the rigours of this afternoon's race over 8 furlongs.

The start time is 4pm (UK time), the previous race being run at 3.25, so there should be a reasonable build-up to what's happening - and a chance to phone in (or click on) the odd wager... 

Hi Val
Hope the above will fill a corner on TAG this morning. 
Val says  quite how it fits into French life I struggle to see, but perhaps there is a French horse running and C and K do so much for TAG and the readers I would put it on regardless and it is interesting to quite a few readers.
Malc says there maybe a French student riding.

Vowel trouble

A media polemic has broken out because a Deputy (ie MP) called the president of an organisation "Madame LE president" and not Mme LA presidente as she demanded. Even the Academie Francaise, the custodian of the French language, has given an opinion, saying that job titles may be feminised, but not offices.
This story has been in all the written and broadcast media, including overseas. The MP concerned, Julien Aubert, has written an open letter to all "citoyens" - though not "citoyennes" - condemning what he sees as Orwellian "newspeak" invading the right of freedom of expression in traditional ways. Aubert seems to be prolonging what many see as a waste of time and effort over a minor point of grammar. His argument is that he put forward hundreds of amendments to proposed laws and virtually no media bothered to report it, but one little non-pc use of grammar and he is all over the papers.
Perhaps his amendments were just too boring, but he is having his 15 minutes of fame with a little "voyelle" (vowel) as he puts it.
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Vibrant bookshop at St. Antonin

 A taste of books for children at this bookshop in St. Antonin Librairie du tractuer savant at St. Antonin.
Wed22nd Oct " Atelier gouter pour enfants"  more info on 0782557227
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This is tomorrow night, I think you would want to be there.

When we decided to put on this concert, there are so many villages and hamlets which we wanted to remember in this area like ours. Puycelsi had a population of over 1000 people in the last pre war census but in the first post war one it had already dropped to 800. This was due in a large part to the death of over 90 men of reproductive age, nearly 5% of the population, in the war. During the battle of Verdun in 1915, Puycelsi lost 5 men with the same surname. Were they brothers, father and sons or cousins?. Today the commune's population is under 450 and only 90 of us live in the village all the year. We have ceased being a village with two schools and hamlets with schools of their own and become a commune with one which is at threat, 7 churches all of which had Sunday services  to none with services and the village with many shops and each hamlet having some to shops in the village which only survive because of the tourists;  

So in memory of those who have died we are mounting this very special concert. The Maitrise of Toulouse, a choir of the Conservatoire and the nearest thing France has to a cathedral choir will be coming to sing extracts from the Requiem of Tomas Luis de Silva Victoria and Gabriel Fauré's Requiem  and a couple of surprises especially if people clap hard enough. The choir's singing is extraordinary and the soloists in the Fauré are a ten year old boy soprano and an eighteen year old baritone. So please come and remember those of every nation who gave their lives during the First World War and especially those known to each and none of us.

Tickets are as usual €15 for adults, €12 for those under 18 and free for those under 10. Reservations are by email to arcpuycelsi@.gmail.com (prefered) or telephone 05 63 33 15 84.

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A taste of monks at L'Abbaye de Beaulieu at Ginals

This sounds interesting, I have always wondered about the lives of monks at this Abbey.Well from 22nd to the 26th  Oct. you can go for " visites d' autumne avec le gouter des moines"
more info on  0563245010.
 Interesting I would have thought for grandparents to take visiting schoolchildren on their half term holidays.
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Nous sommes vendredi, le dix sept

Every morning I hear William on  TV France 2  giving us the date, and I thought at the beginning of each day, when I write the first post it would be a useful thing for me to do. The first post already has the date but stating it in French will perhaps put our French heads on.
When I get the date or spelling wrong I am sure some vigilant reader will let me know
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Le Riols swings

At Le Riols near Varen there is a danse Sat 25th Oct. " Bal des Chataîgnes" avec Jean- François Mezy and his orchestra. 21h There are leaflets about this all over the area but give no contact details. So I cannot tell you how much the evening costs or if you will be fed.If anyone has these details let TAG know.
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Thursday, 16 October 2014

La fête des restaurants demain

The association of restaurants in Tarn and Garonne organise a special menu with the theme of chestnuts, foie gras, local pig and cheeses and all washed down with local wine. The price is 45 euros for this festive menu in all the restaurants.

Dans le cadre de la semaine du goût, l'association des restaurateurs du Tarn-et-Garonne organise une journée gastronomique, demain sur le thème de la châtaigne, du foie gras, du cochon du Tarn-et-Garonne, du fromage et de la pomme. Demain, ces ingrédients figureront au menu (avec les vins du Tarn-et-Garonne), accommodés selon la créativité des chefs. Tous les établissements afficheront ce menu au même prix de 45 € (vins du T & G compris), à midi ou le soir. Participeront à cette fête des produits du terroir les restaurants suivants : «5 Sens à la Toque» à Albias, «Chez Terrassier» à Vaïssac ; Le «Saint Marcel» à Réalville ; «Les Boissières à Bioule», «Auberge de Bardigues» à Bardigues ; «Auberge du Moulin» à Castelsarrasin ; «La Grange» à Vazerac ; «Auberge de la Castille» à Parizot ; «Le Carré des Gourmets à Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val ; «Au Fil de l'eau» à Montauban ; «Les Deux Rivières» à Laguépie ; «Ancre Marine» à Canals ; «Les Templiers» à Dunes ; «L'Hôtel du Quercy» à Lauzerte ; La Table du Cardinal à Montpezat du Quercy.
Pour plus de renseignements sur les menus, téléphoner à l'association des restaurateurs du Tarn-et-Garonne au 05 63 39 05 58 ou au 05 63 94 66 36.

A good butchers shop at Laguepie

We really like the butchers at Laguepie.  this morning we wanted some paté and chose a couple of our usual ones, when the owner suggested we try "le foie de porc" pork liver paté. She gave us  some to sample and it was really delicious, so now along with paté de campagne and mousse  de canard, we will be serving foie de porc for a starter.
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The next Opera is the 12th of Nov.

Wednesday 12th of Nov is the date of the next Opera, Madame Butterfly.
The production is from the Met. and starrs Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani and Dwayne Croft and the production is from 2009
We only have 2 places left if you were thinking of coming.
Someone has just said of last night it was "inoubliable" / unforgetable.
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sshush, I am whispering this.

Malc ordered a couple of pairs of chinos in our M&S order. When he looked yesterday he realised he had ordered the size he was from being 20 to 50 years old.
He is one size larger now but forgot! wishfull thinking perhaps, but he looked so sweet as he stood rubbing his head in amazement at his error!
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Malc says: I am vindicated because the size guide on the M&S site ( French) gives size 42, as ordered as waist 34' my size. But when said trousers arrived they were 32'. But they fit fine! M&S "generous" sizing still alive.

Clean your plates

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll has urged parents to ensure that they and their children finish up their meals leaving clean plates in a bid to reduce the 20 kilos of food wasted (gaspillé) each year per person in France. Reminds us of a holiday in Provence years ago when in a restaurant we were astonished to see a family of Anglo Saxon origin (though not Brits) actually pick up their plates and lick them clean - to be fair the food was delicious.
Here at Mas del Sol we have a very effective waste disposal system, known as Bonny and Twister - and occasionally Max- who ensure nothing is wasted.
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Figaro no

Nothing to do with opera to all of you who sang the headline - but the newspaper is missing today due to a strike. The on-line version is available free whereas normally it is a truncated version for non-abonnes such as us. The site is normally very slow and full of stories with the legend "ni internet ni donnees" presumably stories only available to internauts with subscriptions.
So if you want a look go to www.lefigaro.fr
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Thoughts of David as I write this post

An Indian company  Indigo has yesterday official ordered 250 Airbus A320 for an estimated 25 billion dollars.
I  used to write millions of dollars rather than billions and I was always swiftly corrected by David Hatfield. Sadly it is a year since David  our then cookery editor died. He is remembered by us all at TAG and our thoughts are with Linda at this time of remembrance.

La compagnie indienne Indigo a officialisé hier un protocole d'accord pour l'achat de 250 Airbus A320 Neo pour un montant catalogue de 25 milliards de dollars.

Not like our own dear Querlys

Several French cinemas have experienced violent outbreaks during the showing of an American horror film "Annabelle". One Marseille cinema owner said a gang of 14 year olds had "invaded" the cinema and exhibited all manner of anti-social behaviour: "it was like a zoo" he said. Screenings have been halted in some big cities and owners have cancelled showings indefinitely, or are bringing in security measures. Reminds one of "Rock around the Clock" - but that was mainly dancing in the aisles that outraged the middle aged press of the day.
Our lovely little St Antonin cinema never has indecorous behaviour - unless it's the queue for the loo. Yannick and Lilliane are far too nice to have to put up with such customers.
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Lucy has a limp, elle boite

The first time in 6 years we will need the vet to look at poor limping Lucy. Yesterday I noticed her not standing on her right front sabot so tied her up and cleaned out the hoof. There was a small stone which came out but this morning she is still limping quite markedly. Limping in French is the verb boiter, elle boite, I think if  I had not put the " e" elle boit, it would mean she drinks. So complicated the French language!
I will let you know how she progresses.
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There they are, the Pyrenees

They are very clear this morning the Pyrenees, not snow covered yet but still a clear line of mountains on the horizon.
The weather is warm and dry which is good for most of us coming up to Toussaint the week end after next.
A small percentage of us here will be hoping for a cold blast and a fall of snow in the Pyrenees. Snow at Toussaint  gives a profitable start to the ski resorts giving the season a longer spell.
Malc tells me the barometer is high and the meteo is showing high temperatures for the next week with no rain forecast so skiers may be disappointed.
We have ground work to be done around the donkey hut, replacing soil around the stable with hard core and sand so that the winter mud does not pull off my boots with the yucking sucking noise, so we are glad of the fine weather.
Today I will spend cutting of flowers and dead leaves on the geraniums and then taking them in to a cool but frost free room for the winter. They will be on their fourth year next year.
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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

What a fabulous opera, Tosca.

Does it get better, a comfy seat amongst friends, a glass of wine or two and aperos before going into a production of Puccini' s Tosca with Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufman and Bryn Terfel at the Royal Opera House.
We clapped along with the audience in the interval and at the end, some cried. Just a lovely evening with a good mix of nationalities.
One French man said but I am so sad. I asked if he was coming to the next which is Madame Butterfly, he is.  I said if you thought that sad bring your " mouchoirs" for the next. In fact mouchoirs may be supplied.
Lots of money now going to Sautou.
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Great success for Parisot Literary Festival

What a successful event this appears to have been. To find out more read one of the writers at the events blog, Vanessa Couchmans Life on the Lune gives you an insiders view.
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Can you believe our third Opera season?

Our third Opera season starts tonight. Chairs are in place, brushed to remove dog and cat hairs, floors mopped, flies smashed with the tapette.
 We learnt that the biggest distraction on the night was flies landing on the screen and the very first night of the first season a huge fly took a liking to Placido Domingo's nose, very distracting following the movements of that fly.
So with lessons learnt we go into our third season. Wish us well, the night as well as being for enjoyment  has a serious purpose which is raising money to support those little African children who have nothing.( when we have so much)
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Another story about shopping on line

Gosh, I do feel special, a cashmere and silk jumper has just arrived from Marks and Spencer, it is so soft. I tried it on and asked Malc for a cuddle so he could  feel how cuddly it made me  (some might say I need more than a cashmere sweater!)
Ordered only 3 days ago and delivered to the door in the French countryside,  developments  and technology certainly have moved on. When we arrived we could get nothing delivered being out in the country and we always had to pay an excess on having washers and fridges delivered.
And as we had ordered a few items adding up to over 200 euros postage was free.
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The Wurlitzer awaits

The Wurlitzer with records from the sixties is still waiting for a new owner, not working at the moment but has worked till fairly recently. What fun that could be for Christmas.
Contact Yvonne for more information.     yvonyoyo@gmail.com
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Is British Corner Shop threatening Leclerc?

The major supermarket chains are asking for the right to open all day Sunday, in certain towns and for certain stores. The distributers say that new forms of retailing are threatening their market share, such as chilled food distributers Inpost (from Poland), Uber Corner Store (San Francisco) and Amazon Fresh which will launch soon in Europe. The on-line stores are available 24/7 and will develop local networks to ensure swift delivery. "Depannage" - ie emergency supplies - is often the aim of such retailers, but it can soon become a habit. Here in France the growth of Drive (click and collect) centres shows how the big retailers are using on-line methods to grow business, but there is little of the home delivery service we see in the UK.
Leclerc say that the shopping basket on Sunday morning where they are open is 25% more than on a weekday and that opening all day would level the playing field with the on-line sellers.
Many of us know how useful British Corner Shop is to "depanne" those essential British goodies so perhaps they have a point.
By the way, Chris Robinson will be happy to take orders for a group buy from BCS at the November book swap (Monday 3rd November 10.30 at the Gazpacho).
A comment from Doreen
hi Val
Intermarche will deliver to your home. We've used them a few times and they've been very good - timed delivery slots, helpful driver and you pay on delivery. A really good service if you can't get to the shops yourself for any reason.

There's also a company called Graines de Terroir, which is a cooperative of local produces, that delivers to pick-up points around the region - fresh fruit and vegetables in season, a large range of flour, plus jams, yoghurts, cream etc, and you're supporting local farmers: www.grainesdeterroir.com

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Caught in the waters of the Tarn

A silure of 2m 25 caught by two fishermen in the Tarn. There was just time to take this photo before they let it go.. they explained they are not very good to eat.
More on this story in the Depeche for those of you who are fishermen.
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A touching story of a couple still happily together

Bull fight protesters fined

Eight French and Belgian protesters were fined between 1500 and 3000 euros for illegally disrupting a corrida in the south west town of Rion.
One man was fined 3000 euros in a separate case for using social networks to organise an illegal protest at Rion. A lawyer for the bull-ring said, in an inappropriate phrase, that it would discourage "wild cat" action by anti bull fight protesters. On verra.

Val says on reading this post found by Malc. I think that is a disgrace, how do you show your disproval of something if you cannot write about it and make protests. I hope some rich anti cruelty campaigner steps forward and pays the protesters fines. On certain issues strongly felt speaking out is the only way, equality, liberty, fraternity after all and for all, in my mind including bulls.
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DNA solves a series of murders at Perpignan

From the middle of  the nineties to 2011 at least 4 girls went missing in Perpignan, some bodies were found dismembered but no perpetrator was caught. Now after all these years a 54 year old man caught for another offence and found by his DNA to be  involved in the murders. The prosecutors say evidence is concrete and they are expecting a conviction.
I was a bit confused by the Depeche saying in the first sentence that the man was 24 making him a baby when the first murder was committed. They did later in the article say he was 54 and was a warehouse packer (il exercerait la profession de manutentionnaire) 
That was a word I did not know  "manutentionnaire"but will I ever need it again? Could be interesting trying to get it into a conversation!
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