Wednesday, 23 April 2014

And in the agenda today...

Got up fed the inside pets, fed the outside pets, wrote a bit for TAG.
Julia, French young lady came to see if I would take my donkeys with hers down a couple of fields to "debarasse" a bit of their land. They have bought some fields over the road from our house and she has had one field ploughed and planted with strawberries and rhubarb. Along the hedge were lots of bushes and brambles which the donkeys will munch and clear. I had exactly one hour before we needed to go out. I donned  my boots, and the donkeys donned their " licols/ head harnesses" and we were off,  practically at the gallop.
Julia had told me that the path down was difficult, knee high with tall grass and what felt like a 90 degree slippery slope. ( Malc says that would make it vertical, but it felt like that!) Well when you are Julia's age you can cope but at my age with two donkeys on a lead on a slippery slope, it was all downhill! 
Julia said she would go first down the hill as she had done it before, but I forgot to say my girls are the lead donkeys. As she started in front my two took umbrage at the boys being first and rushed past them all  with me hanging on for grim death.  Death it would have been if I had not decided the better part of valour was to leave go and  think of safety.
We managed to get the boy donkeys down and into the fenced area. My two were having a whale of a time munching the long grass and no way were they "coming to Mummy"  It took a bit of a cunning trick to catch them in between a hedge and then into the fenced area. As we got mine in, Coco the little beggar got out and ran off. We caught him again and in he went.
 Julia was staying with them to work the fields so I then had to mount the incline to get back, even without the donkeys I struggled, puffing and panting, arriving home exhausted.
Straight off after a quick change into dry and cleaner clothes driving to the other side of Puylaroque. A really lovely lunch with French lady Martine and cuddly husband Geoff (can I say that) then straight back home as we were not sure if some other visitors were coming for 4 pm.
Dogs to feed and walk and I suddenly remembered a Doctor's appointment just to renew medicines.
If keeping active is good for you I must be full of goodness.
But by golly am I tired tonight.
Val says Malc thinks it sexist to call Geoff cuddly, so omit that bit please.
Comments to

300kg of cannabis driven by a Brit caught at a Toulouse péage.

A 40 year old British man was caught at Toulouse driving a lorry load of cannabis, nearly 300kg. The lorry was on its way from  Majorca in Spain and on its way to England. The value of the load is estimated at 2.3 millions and was discovered by a sniffer dog from the brigade de Frouzins.
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A tough reception given to the President at Carmaux today

Do you know I cannot think of many worse things than being in the Presidents shoes today at Carmaux. As soon as he appeared he was met with boos and hisses and ladies grapping his hand time and again to tell him they were out of work and what did he propose to do. How do I know all this?
I have watched a video clip in the Depeche( missed the evenings local news) He managed against the odds to keep his composure but it cannot be much fun at the moment if that is the reception he receives everywhere... and I am sure it will be.
Jobless fiqures need to improve before voters will be kinder.
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Fine furniture for sale

Antique Louis-Philippe side table.  Price: 150€

Solid oak "Belloubet" coffee table (used for a couple of months).  The two drawers open both sides of the table.   Price:  350€

Three Oriental figurines.  Price:  80€

 Antique Louis-Philippe round side table with tilting top.  Price: 200€

Regional buffet, two shelves, early 1700s.  Price:  600€ Contact details:  

Contact details  Yvonne Machin, 
Tel.  05 63 24 01 23

Learn about some of Varen's history

The Moulin through the ages and the spring. Plus a snack in the new Marriage Office at the Mairie

comments to

Folk'n'Jazz - when? Thursday

The last Thursday of the month is  once more imminent so :
it's Folk and jazz time
where? - salle des fetes at Verfeil Thursday 24th April
when? -8.00pm start ( arrive earlier to arrange your table)
with? - all your friends, a bottle, some nibbles

what? - music and song supplied free of charge by local "talent"
why? - a relaxing evening of free entertainment
woops? - forgot to contact or phone 05 63 75 93 35 - its not too late to offer to perform.
Sue Carter
comments to

Varen Aligot - Saucisse

On the 3rd of May a repas with Les 2 enchanteurs et ses danseuses, 19 h organised by the Comite des fetes in the Salle des fetes. Reservation imperative  056365  45 09  or  0563 654894
Soirée disco  19 euros
Comments to

Are you a restaurateur who wants fame?

Hi Val,
 How are you?
 I’ve recently been contacted by George Raid from Channel 4 about a new programme (see email below).  Do you know anyone who may be interested?
 Bye for now,
 Irena xx
I'm working on a new Gordon Ramsay series for Channel 4 and we are looking for British expats who own a Restaurant or hotel/B&B with a restaurant to take part. Would it be possible to circulate this with other expats to see if anyone owns a restaurant and would be interested in taking part?

I can be contacted on:

Irena-Marie Makowska, Dip Hyp, GHR, GHSC
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Certified Practitioner
Executive Coach | Business Trainer

A local orchid website

Dear Val, It seems I need to remind people again of the website which has up to date photographs and an archive etc. it is run by Michael Fontes and is arranged in English and French.....

Val says that is a really good site  Sally but I think if I wanted to copy pictures for TAG I would have to pay.
 Also I think Malc enjoys finding the orchids ( he tells me it is now 7 he has seen) and putting his pictures on, as do the other TAG photographers. Thanks for the reminder though.
Malc adds: there are many on-line sites and although not as up to date as Michael's (because it is not commercial?) I like Liliane Pessotto and Bernard Lemoine's site at
Comments to

Expatness and other mysteries and a chimney sweep needed

Hi Val
Born American, that polyg8t nation that tries to rule the world, where hardly anyone can truly be called "native", adopted Canadian, and part time French resident. How is that for a run-on sentence? The reality is that many like Maggie and me have fairly recent European roots. My most often trotted out by my Mother's snobish parents include Bakewells from Derbyshire, Coudroy d'Lauriels from Aquitane vis Guadaloupe and Hirts who are n8bodys from Dresden. So what! We put far too many lables on people. One day may we all jus4 live long and prosper together helping each other enjoy the brief time we have on this mortal coil and shed the greed that dominates and marginalises so many lives. Here endeth the lesson.
Bill McCarthy  who is onky on his first cup of coffee this morning

Val says to Malc
Do Canadian key boards use 8's and 4's and is " onky" an American expression or should it be "only"? 
Thanks Bill, are you back here now and Malc says will you be "bridging" tomorrow?

Yes Mal, we are indeed in residence in this paradise. My typing skills being less than stellar at best are now impared by the small tablet keypad and my big shakey fingers. We are looking for a chimney sweep willing to come to Promilhanes, english speaking would be a bonus but not required. See you on Thursday at bridge?


Comments to

Will we ever " get" French jokes?

Un clown dit à son médecin      Docteur, je me sens drôle …
A clown says to his doctor:   - Doctor, I feel funny…
  • Quel est l’animal le plus heureux? (What is the happiest animal?) Le hibou… (The male owl…) Car sa femme est chouette! (Because his wife is “a female owl”—Not too funny either, unless you know that “chouette” also means “great” in French slang!)
  • Un écureuil se gare devant un panneau de stationnement interdit (A squirrel parks in a non-parking spot.) Un policier le prévient (A policeman warns him): Dites donc, vous voulez une amende? (Hey there, do you want a “fining ticket”—but the word “amende” sounds like “amande“, meaning “an almond.”) Oh, si ça ne vous fait rien, répond l’écureuil (Oh, if it’s all the same to you, replied the squirrel), je préférerais une noisette (I’d rather have a nut!)
  • Comments to

Too sad and horrific for me to watch, this new film

In 2006, a 23-year-old Parisian Jew named Ilan Halimi was lured to a late-night rendez-vous by a young woman, then kidnapped, held for ransom, and tortured in a basement for three weeks by a gang known as the “Barbarians”. Finally, when his captors realised no money was coming their way, they doused him in acid and dumped him bound and naked by the side of a highway. Halimi was found alive, but died before reaching the hospital.
The grisly murder shocked France -- which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish population -- and made front-page headlines abroad.
Now, somewhat inevitably, the story is coming to the big screen: Alexandre Arcady’s “24 Jours: La vérité sur l’affaire Ilan Halimi” (which translates as “24 Days: The Truth about the Ilan Halimi Case”) will be released in France on April 30.   Taken from News 24    
Comments to

Photographer needed

Hi Val
Can anyone recommend a good photographer?
Thank you
Maree   contact

What a mix of nationalities here in rural France, and that is just the French

We are incomers, expat, etrangers, settlers in a European country, France. Talking to the French who live around us how many were born or had parents born in France?
 We are constantly amazed at the number of people whose family background is Spanish. Families came en masse during the Civil war, over and around the Pyrenees they flooded in, unwanted and jobless.
Then the influx from Algeria, so many families with roots in Algeria, roots torn up sometimes after numerous generations moving back to France. More welcomed than the Spanish as they were basically French, Algeria being a French department. When there was the memorial day to the end of the Algerian war over 200 people attended the church in Varen.
The French that have backgrounds here tend to be " paysan" ones who have never moved away, staying in their small enclaves even now, with jokes and grudges between local villages.
Parisiens classed as foreigners by the locals, and yet many Parisiens family homes in the area and many spent childhoods here.
How many generations will it be before we are part of the indigenous population.
For Malc and I,  never, without young here we, whatever we do will always be " les anglais" It would be nice to just be thought of as a group as Europeans but that will never happen either, the way Europe is going.
I wonder if the Dutch with their superior language skills integrate better, they tell me they do  and it is not often you see big groups of Dutch people eating out together or having their own clubs, or boule groups etc. Are they not as numerous as the Brits or do they just fit in better?
Citizens of the world with a rich cultural, mixed heritage, we are all people after all and brought up with different ideas, religions and degrees of prosperity, but under the skin we are all the same.
Malc and I were born Yorkshiremen, from the North of England now Europeans living in South West France. Proud of our heritage and background but happy to move on with  new labels always hoping for more.
I do after all have the label " French grandma " by the grandchildren! and that might have to satisfy me.
Val says  this is one of my musings  but I do wish YOU would put pen to paper ( or finger to ipad) and voice yours. If you are a second homer with toe in the UK in the winter do you relate to any of this?
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Sad news on one of the remaining hostages

French national Gilberto Rodrigues Leal, who was held hostage in Mali since being kidnapped in November 2012, has died, the MUJAO Islamist group said Tuesday.

Yoro Abdul Salam, a spokesman for the group, gave no details on the date or circumstances of his death during a brief telephone exchange.    Comments to

Orchid heaven in the lanes

Spotted just along our lane, 6 different orchids flowering at the moment, early purple, lady orchid, woodcock, serapia, monkey and man orchid. The flowers of each are quite different but all little treasures in their own right. When Malc gets time I will ask for small photos of each one. Unless in the meantime any other reader has pictures they would like to share.
Malc says: sorry, I forgot some newly appearing pyramid orchids - that's 7 already this year and without even leaving the road.
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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Mini Monde is at Parisot Library

Hi Val, hope everyone had a lovely Easter. The long weekend gave us a taste for the next school holiday which starts next week. The second week of the holidays I will be holding two workshops for children in the Parisot Mediatheque. They both have a Spring feel and in one we will be making butterfly bracelets and in the other painting wind chimes. They are suitable for French children wanting to learn English but there is no reason why English children can't come along as well as we'll be singing songs and playing games as well as getting creative! I have attached a poster which can be passed on to anyone with children who might be interested.

Thank you!

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings

Our daughter  when she was here was explaining they had also arranged another family holiday in Italy. "You see Mum it is not really like a holiday coming here, as we come often."
Our little seven year old Annie, piped up, " No,  not like a holiday, more like" and she thought for a minute  and then said  ... "it is more like coming home"
 Well Malc and I will settle for that!
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Musée / Centre d'Art Du Verre at Carmaux

Domaine de la Verriere,  contact  0563805290 /
"An Island of Eutopia,  Spirit of Jaures" exhibition in glass from Sat 19th April until Wed. 15th of Oct.
Comments to

A novel hen house, with shades of Wind in the Willows about it

Sent by an innovative reader, his hen house. I do like it, it has a real French rustic look, and I bet he has happy laying hens. The same reader enquires if anyone has any old electric fencing posts they longer need. contact Brian
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Rural French Life, so different to City Life

How safe do we feel in our rural French life, "very safe" would be my reply.
How safe do you feel living in Paris, "not at all safe" a French lady tells us.
Two different lives in one country.
Comments to

Rosé wine, on the up

Hi Val,
Reading you snippet on "Rosé  wine, on the up", this the just about coincides with when we moved to France, spooky.
Mark & Bean, Castanet.

Val and Malc say that has given us our mornings smile!

Don't call us Algerians!

Having lunch with friends yesterday (yes..lunching again) one of our company was born in Algeria. Naturally conversation turned to "pieds noir" and who was and who was not entitled to be called that. Apparently the original French settlers were called "pieds noirs" because unlike the Arabs they wore shoes. We thought it applied to almost any of the French who returned here in the 60's, but no you had to be born in Algeria and have a parent born there (and other north African countries such as Morocco don't count). So the sub said to the pied noir "so you are actually Algerian". The indignant reply was "Non, je suis de l'Algerie, non Algerienne". The lady is, of course, French, though in common with us other foreigners her social security number included the number"99" to show she was not born here (a position which has since been rectified).
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François Hollande in Carmaux tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon the President will be in Carmaux, the town centre of  Jaures will be full of gendarmes ( nombreuses forces de l' ordre) At 14.30 Francois Hollande will be in the Place Jean Jaures for a ceremony, laying a wreath and giving a speech later in the Salle Francois Mitterand.
Comments to

Sheltered housing - is it worth it?

We've all seen adverts for those "club med" style residences exclusively for "les seniors" with smiling, sun-tanned and fit looking 60 somethings enjoying swimming pools and communal restaurants. You buy or rent an apartment and are offered full facilities, with daytime activities and night-time surveillance. Medical care is often included, but it all comes at a cost; on average over 1000 euros per month. Many apartments now stand empty and there is no decent resale value of apartment or lease, but the charges continue. Families find that their elders are now "strangled by debt". Like many of these "co-ownership" schemes it seemed a good idea at the time, but what price now?
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Battered before her eyes

Carcassonne. Elle adopte le chien battu sous ses yeux

A  bad  doggy story in the Depeche  turned into a good story. A young lady councillor in Carcassone watched as a man took to savagely beating his dog in front of her eyes. She quickly phoned the brigade canine  and the brigade anticriminalité , who came. The man had by this time abandoned the dog who was left with a fractured paw.
The man was found and arrested with the help of the SPA  (an animal welfare organisation)
The dog  a cross border collie had to undergo surgery but to end on a happy note the young lady who had saved the dog, decided to adopt it as a family pet.
Val says  apart from being a doggy story I was interested by the phrase " battu sous ses yeux" -  "battered before her  very eyes."

Honours flood in for Noah

Yannick Noah is known to most of us as a tennis star and to the French as a pop singer. But his son Joakim is a star basketball player in the USA and has just been elected the NBA best defender with Chicago Bulls, the first Bulls player to win this since Michael Jordan in 1988. Noah, whose mother was a Miss Sweden, puts his work ethic down to his father's example.
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Attention if parking in Albi

An epidemic of broken windscreens in the parking area of L' esplanade des Partisans in Albi has been mentioned in the Depeche. Might be worth using the underground parking until the offenders are caught.
Comments to

Rosé wine, on the up.

Sales of rosé wine – once the object of contempt from connoisseurs who winced at the southern habit of drinking it with ice – have tripled in France in a decade.
Nine out of 10 French wine drinkers now enjoy the occasional glass of rosé, according to a recent survey.
And last year, for the first time, nearly a third of wine made in France was rosé. While more than half was red. white wines made up only about 17 per cent of the total.
From the  Telegraph   Comments to

Monday, 21 April 2014

Robin finds his English speaking electrician

Hi Val
 Many thanks for posting my request for an electrician and have contacted M Dubosc, who hopefully will be helping us when we come down next month.
 Keep up the good work and enjoyable inputs.

Learning another language

Hello Val,
Learning Another Language
For all those people out there who want to learn French (or any other language), but don't want to go to lessons, here are a couple of alternative methods to get started.

DOULINGO - this is a free language learning site on the internet that I found recently as I wanted to learn Spanish. Here is the link to their website and they also have an app for the ipad/iPhone: 

I found it very addictive - you are rewarded for your efforts, reminded by email every day to keep up the momentum (very important to do a bit everyday) and it's good fun especially if you get your friends involved - follow each other - then you can see how many points they are achieving each day - adds a bit of competition!

UNFORGETTABLE LANGUAGES is learning language by word association which might appeal to some people who find it difficult to remember vocabulary. Well over 20 years ago, Paul Daniels launched language learning cassettes using this method devised by Dr. M.M. Gruneberg which I found it very useful when a complete beginner in French. Last month I found the website which is now selling Dr. Grunberg's language learning method here:
so not free, but might be the best method of getting to know French for those less academically minded and have a vivid imagination!

Bye the way - I still have my cassette box of "Paul Daniels Magic Memory Method" for learning French. So if anyone wants to borrow it and then pass it on to some other needy person, you are very welcome to come and get it - but remember that it is about 24 years old AND you need an old fashioned cassette recorder!
Bon courage!
Denise Mackenzie

The Famous Fifi Friperie

Someone needs a lift

Is anyone coming from St. Antonin to the Folk' n' Jazz on Thursday at Verfeil, that could give a couple a lift ?
Contact Val  to make arrangements if you could do it.
Comments to

Puycelsi next Sunday

There are still some seats available for the first Puycelsi Spring Concert. So please dont be afraid to phone up and book some for next Sunday at 18.00hr. Tickets are 15€ for adults, 10€ for those between 12 and 18 and under 12 year olds are free.  Reservations can be made by email at  or telephone 05 63 33 15 84. Reserved tickets can be collected at the door from 17.15 and if paying by cheque please make it out in advance payable to ARC.

Posts on integration, have us all thinking... and doing.

Where ever I go, whoever I talk to someone mentions the posts on integration.
We all have ideas on how to go about it, most feel that the post from Hans got to the crux of the matter. Many people including myself are stepping up their French lessons. But you still get different ideas voiced. "The  French do not want us to integrate and in truth we are quite happy with our own groups, so why not just leave it like that", has been said to me.
My opinion is to live here happily and  be fulfilled we need to have these intertwined relationships and we all benefit by them. Learning about the different cultural aspects of our next door neighbour, being able to converse has got to be the best way.
Our neighbour Norbert with his thick Occitane country accent was impossible for me to communicate with when we arrived at Mas del Sol but now we can talk and laugh about "les histoires des anes"
Keep up the good work everyone on the language front.
 I like the idea  so many of you have told me about,  inviting neighbours in each week for conversation lessons.
We will get there in the end.
Comments to

Concert in the church at Selgues

We have some things to thank De Gaulle for.

Seventy years ago today De Gaulle signed the document giving French women the vote.

The Decree of Charles de Gaulle

  • In 1944, French women were finally granted voting rights by the special decree of General Charles de Gaulle. In a statement before the Provisional Consultative Assembly, General de Gaulle asserted that a new regime should be elected by all French people, both male and female. An amendment to that effect was drafted and passed by the Assembly in March of 1944. And, on October 21, 1945, French women participated for the first time in a national election.
    Val says Incredible to think that women who did so much for the war efforts in France were not even allowed a vote. The move for equality still goes on today, equality in the workplace comes next.
    Comments to 

Book fair at St Antonin this weekend

comments to

Château de Bournazel in the Aveyron opens this weekend.

Visite de 14h à 19h jusqu'au 21 avril et du 27 avril au 11 mai sauf le mardi. Tous les week-ends prolongés de mai et juin et tous les week-ends de Juin. Du 30 juin au 21 septembre de 14h à 19h sauf le mardi. Le 1er et 2 novembre.
Groupes sur réservation. Tel : 05 65 80 81 99 ou 06 21 56 06 90 ou 01 39 02 37 71. Mail : châ ou Adresse : Château de Bournazel 12390 Bournazel.
Tarif visite guidée incluse : 6,50 euros. Carte sourire : 5 euros. Groupe : 4,50 euros. Enfant de moins de 10 ans : gratuit. Site :
Val says We have never looked round this château, is there any reader who has?

Ravaged by fire, a local reptile centre.

20,000 to 30,000 of reptiles were kiled in a fire at Savannah Reptiles Planet on Sunday at Saint ,Sulpice - La Pointe. Thousands of reptiles killed ranged from boas, pythons, lizards, rabbits, rats. salamandres,insects all died. Only 8 large tortoises of 60 to 100 kilos were saved as the pompiers were able to cool them down with their water pumps. 
The estimation of the costs of the damage is estimated at 4 to 5 millions d' euros.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

France's silent tea revolution

I saw this story on the BBC News iPhone App and thought you should see it:
France's silent tea revolution
Tea-drinking is becoming ever more popular in France, although history shows
that the beverage has long been taken on the continent.
Read more:
Sent by Sue Stockham
Comments to

Serious house fire at Bruniquel, no one hurt.

Fortunately nobody was hurt in this family of three who live a Bruniquel. Yesterday morning neighbours heard an explosion and then plumes of black smoke above the area were seen. The fire started in the garage and quickly swept through the rest of the house.
The blaze needed 30 pompiers who came from Negrepelisse, St. Antonin noble Val, Caussade and Montauban to be contained.
The  house owner who works at the military gendarmerie of Tarn and Garonne has found an apartment to live in helped by the Maire.
Comments to

Donkey tales at Easter

A nice SMALL group of us were lunching when one of the party said " I love reading about your donkeys and their antics."
 A few minutes later there was a knock on the door and our older  French neighbour Norbert was there telling me our donkeys had escaped again and were in a field behind his house.
I shot off to tell the guests " keep enjoying the goose and Yorkshire puddings and I will be back soon." There were a couple of half hearted  "do you need a hand"  but with a blasé " no, only a minute's job," I was off.
I had quickly to change from black silky trousers and jewels into the brown donkey coat and wellies, Beatrix Potter brown hat pulled on and off  I went.
Firstly  I checked the stable to get the leads and was surprised my two girls were forlornly sheltering  from the rain in there.
The boys were missing.  I went running over to the neighbour's house. The donkeys had been spotted in his field. They were now  nowhere in sight so I thought " sod it, they are not even my donkeys, I am going back home to phone the owner"
It then transpired that the owner had decided to walk her two donkeys and she could not see Malc or I to let us know. At lunchtime they had  made a fenced area and then went home for lunch and thought they would come back for them later. This is when Norbert had seen them roaming about, as he thought  on their own.
So for the friend who  says she enjoys these stories, here you were involved in one, and you saw at first hand what a merry dance I have with those donkeys.
Comments to

Puycelsi Spring Concert

Hi Val
There are still some seats available for the first Puycelsi Spring Concert. So please dont be afraid to phone up and book some for next Sunday at 18.00hr. Tickets are 15€ for adults, 10€ for those between 12 and 18 and under 12 year olds are free.  Reservations can be made by email at arcpuycelsi@gmailcom or telephone 05 63 33 15 84. reserved tickets can be collected at the door from 17.15 and if paying by cheque please make it out in advance payable to ARC.

Anyone coming a little bit early might take the opportunity to visit Puycelsi's new epicierie. La Locale has a lovely range of home made biscuits, farmhouse cheeses and butter, local fruit and vegetables but most importantly a small range of British items including jams and marmalades, Bovril and Marmite, Yorkshire tea bags and golden syrup and black treacle. 

Becky loves Glynis' s workshops, well look at the results

Hi Val, just wanted to wish you and all TAG readers a very Happy Easter! I know lots of people have family down for the weekend and anyone with kids I'm sure will be Easter egg hunting. We will be working our way through these cupcakes after dinner which I decorated at a Cakes In France workshop with Glynis last week. My mum has already signed up for her workshop in June as we had a lovely time getting carried away with sugar flowers and piping on grass! We thoroughly recommend her workshops.
Happy Easter to all!
Becky x

Comments to

A post from Sue at Poor Paws in the Lot

Good morning everyone and Happy Easter,
We were so lucky with the weather yesterday and so lucky with our punters, you did us very proud.  We raised a fabulous 1,500 euros, give or take a euro or two.  Up on last Easter and an itsy bitsy bit down on the Autumn Sale.  Half of the money raised will go to Cancer Research and the other half will be split between Poorpaws,  Twilight retirement Home for Dogs and La Mere aux Betes refuge in Castelnau Montratier.
After running out of cakes last time, we doubled up this time and had ample.  Luckily, one of mine didn’t even see the light of day.  (Sad to report that my cooker Betsy was in Betsy Behaving Badly mood on my baking day !!!)
The raffle prize winners have been contacted, I’m not sure who were the runners up but Yoga Joke won first prize of the Gamm Vert voucher.
Many, many thanks to all who supported us, we thoroughly enjoyed the day and hope you did too.

Pavillion of death

A plumber carrying out renovations to a "pavillon" (small detached house) in a quiet Toulouse quarter was shocked to find the owner had shot himself. The man was a 39 year old IT technician, single and living quietly alone. But the house had many more secrets to reveal - it was a veritable arsenal of small arms, rifles and handguns, plus 10000 rounds of ammunition.
The deceased was a member of a gun club, but his "collection" was far from ordinary and police believe that he could have posed a serious risk to public safety.
comments to taglines@gmail,com

Kite flying at the sea side

Tens of thousands of people visited the northern French resort town of Berck-sur-Mer to attend the 28th International Kite Meeting which runs from the 12th and 21st of April.

Spectators gathered on the beach and in the dunes to watch a unique aerial ballet consisting of giant octopi, teddy bears, manta rays, or smiling lobsters. The annual festival in this northern French resort town has been drawing kite designers from all over the world for more than a quarter century.
Local authorities say that more than 500,000 people are expected to attend the free spectacular displays held daily between the 12th and 21st of April.  Comments to

Saint - Projet, Le Chateau de la reine Margot is open

Le château de la reine Margot sera ouvert à la visite tous les samedis et dimanches du mois d'avril de 14 heures à 19 heures, également ce week-end pascal tous les jours.
Les visites guidées comprennent 15 pièces meublées, deux magasins, gîtes et chambres d'hôtes. Renseignements : 05 63 65 74 85 ou 06 83 97 19 63.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Opel Astra Bertone convertible for sale

Opel Astra Bertone convertible.     2.2l petrol.   Black with black hood.    Removable wind break.   Cruise control and other computerised facilities.   Pristine condition, with new front tyres and battery in 2013.    Full service history from the date purchased by us - June 2006.    First registered Feb. 2002 but only 68,000km (42,500m).  Second car rarely used.     4000 euros. The car is left hand drive and already registered in France
The car is here in Larroque 81140 for viewing. We can be contacted on 05 63 33 25 59  Rosie Jennings


Votez pour Cordes ! Le Village Préféré des Français

Chers Amis,

Cordes sur Ciel a été choisie pour représenter la région Midi-Pyrénées dans le cadre de l’émission diffusée sur la chaîne France 2, et présentée par Stéphane Bern, "Le village préféré des français". 

Nous vous invitons à soutenir Cordes sur Ciel et sa région à partir du 17 avril sur le site de France 2 à l'adresse suivante :  

Merci de relayer largement à tous vos contacts (personnels, professionnels) et réseaux, afin d'augmenter nos chances de voir le Tarn en haut de l'affiche !

Vous trouverez également, en cliquant sur le lien ci-après, les documents de communication (affiche & flyer) que vous pourrez télécharger, imprimer et diffuser :

A noter :
- un seul vote par ordinateur
- vous avez jusqu'au jeudi 22 Mai, 10 h, pour soutenir le village de Cordes sur Ciel.
Fiers de notre magnifique village, partageons la beauté du site et la richesse de son histoire !

Nous comptons sur vous !

L'équipe de l'Office de Tourisme du Pays Cordais au Pays de Vaour

Val says  Come on everyone let us give Cordes a good chance, get voting. I have voted,  it is very simple and easy to do.
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French journalists released

Paris - Four French journalists held hostage in Syria for 10 months have been released, officials said Saturday, the latest batch of reporters to be freed in what has become the world's deadliest conflict for the media.
President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement on Saturday that he felt "immense relief" over the release of Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres — all said to be in good health despite the "very trying conditions" of their captivy.

Canapés in June, know a good caterer?

Dear Val,

We are looking for an experienced caterer to provide interesting canapés for
a lunch time buffet event for forty people in mid June. Cordes sur Ciel

Please contact Stephanie or Wally Mears, tel. 0565531258  or 0679790878.
Many thanks.
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Au Cabanon at Puycelsi, Top of TOF's

Au Cabanon, the tiny restaurant in Puycelsi village has reopened for the summer. Once again Stephan and Chloe are serving their limited but wonderful food - goats cheese fondue or steak in their basic menu and a more extensive one will start in June. As we sat having lunch there today it was difficult to believe that today is meant to be the last of this spell of magic weather;

This month they will be open bank holidays and 'les ponts' and weekends. They will be open everyday from June.

Like last year they scored a perfect 5 from us;
Ross and Ginny 

Val says  well if that report does not have the restaurant packed out... nothing will. For a TOF report getting a 5 score by a restaurant is not easy. Have you got a tel. number for booking  Ginny?
Ginny replies   tel 0563 331133

Giant Easter eggs and electrician

Hello Val and Malcolm, looks like you've been having lots of fun with your grandchildren!
Just a quick question, do you know if the giant eggs will be on display at Saint-Antonin this year?
Also, someone enquired for an English speaking electrician on TAG. I can recommend:
Sam Barnett, electrician at Saint-Antonin.
Tel: 06 19 34 41 31

Kind Regards, Leila. 

Val says  Sadly now Tim Grosvener / artist has moved away, the momentum of the Easter eggs has come to a halt. Let us hope another year it is started again by another artist. It was so much fun.
We bought one  of the eggs in the auction afterwards, perhaps in the first year. I still enjoy the artwork on it  by Tom King, who has also moved away.

Have you hugged a chicken today?

Morning Val,
Happy Easter to you both. I don't often share video clips, maar ik zag deze toevallig en dacht aan jou (en je kleindochter)

Val says  you really do not need a video clip of cuddling chickens, it happens all the time at Mas del Sol. Penny and Black Peck are not the best egg layers but they do like cuddling youngsters.
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Have a great holiday weekend

Sunny skies at the moment, lots happening this weekend if you have visitors. All the villages have a buzz at holiday time, with markets, cafes and restaurants all busy.
At Mas del Sol we have said goodbye to family and little Millie and baby Sam and parents from the gite have left, so a quiet day today. Lots of washing and tidying up to do ready for friends visiting tomorrow.
Whatever you are up to, have fun.
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Where is the Aveyron lamb?

At Rodez a group of Aveyron farmers are  "en colere" to discover that supermarket shelves are full of New Zealand lamb. Their message,  buy French, buy local Aveyron lamb. Reading more in the Depeche Tarn  farmers are " en colere" at the lack of local lamb on sale as well.
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The roads are going to be busy

Malc came back from Blagnac last night at 5pm and says the traffic was horrendous, building up for the Easter weekend. The gendarmes are warning of difficult driving conditions and are promising to be out along the roads with radar so take care.
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Who gets the puppy?

Who gets custody of a dog after a divorce? A French lawmaker has proposed a bill to create a legal framework to answer precisely that and other tricky questions surrounding pets.
Assembly member Frédéric Lefebvre, member of the centre-right UMP party, tells  why the bill is not as ridiculous as it could sound to those not enamored with four-legged friends. ( read more in the Local)
Val says  I often joke with Malc if he leaves, the pets are mine. He always says " thank God for that"
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Friday, 18 April 2014

Gabriel Garcia Márquez died today

The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who unleashed the worldwide boom in Spanish language literature and magical realism with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, died at the age of 87. He had been admitted to hospital in Mexico City on 3 April with pneumonia.
Barack Obama said the world had lost "one of its greatest visionary writers", adding that he cherished an inscribed copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, presented to him by the author on a visit to Mexico. "I offer my thoughts to his family and friends, whom I hope take solace in the fact that Gabo's work will live on for generations to come."
Val says we watched  "Love in the time of a cholera tonight" as a tribute. Nothing to do with France but as an ex bookseller I have an interest.

Foire de Printemps à Laguepie.

Dear Val,
Thank you for the reminder. I am delighted with this news as I shall actually be there! Cannot wait. Always pick up something to give me more work in the garden.
Spring greetings,

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Hello Kitty bike / Sold to a good home

A bike with happy memories, Annie learn't to ride this, without stabilisers, a lot of running up and down the lane needed.She has outgrown it now so it must go on  to a new home  for 5 euros to charity.Contact Val  just outside Varen
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Entertain the children

Just outside Najac an adventure park for  children with such exciting things as zip wire and high ropes. Remember the children do need to wear trainers.
Might have been a freudian slip but when I first wrote the post it said " trip wire" instead of zip wire, probably  would be just as good fun but more dangerous!

Foire de Printemps At Laguepie

The 27th of April, Sunday will be the annual plant fair at Laguepie. We always use this one as a guide as the locals always say after this date the tomatoes and geraniums can be put out.
Remember it is the plant fair at St. Antonin on Sunday.
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Motocross at Castelnau de Levis, 26th and 27th of April.
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Merci de poster cette annonce. Bonnes vacances à vos visiteurs
 Mosaïque en Val organise un "vide-bibliothèque" le dimanche 27 avril ; lieu: place des moines; horaire: à partir de 9h; tarif : 3€ le mètre linéaire; inscription à ou par téléphone au / ou auprès de Nadette Prévoir votre matériel d'exposition.

Concert at Figeac

Bonjour à tous,
J'ai le plaisir de vous informer que l'Harmonie des Artisans Réunis de Figeac présentera un concert de printemps ce lundi le 21 avril  à 16h00 dans l'Espace François Mitterrand à Figeac.
 Au programme :
Adèle - Skyfall
Zawinal - Birdland
Morricone - Moment pour Morricone etc etc 
et la création mondiale de 'Shimmering Fog' par Paul Bougon 
Votre présence serait un grand honneur pour nous tous.Bien cordialement,
Peter NOWFEL - Chef

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The prisons are full to bursting.

France's penal system has won the dubious distinction of having the most people in its prisons ever, soundly squashing the previous record high set just nine months before.
As of April 1st France’s total prisoner population stood at 68,859, which beat by 290 people the record of 68,569 set on July 1, 2013, according to statistics released on Thursday by the penal authority.
With an operational capacity set at 57,860 prisoners as of March, the new figures mean France’s prisons are holding nearly 20 percent more people than they are are made for.   Comments to

If you go down in the woods..

The bears will be pleased to hear that the court of appeal in Bordeaux has rejected an application by the Minister of Ecology (Nathalie Kociuscko Morizet at the time) and the Ariege chasseurs to allow hunting over the territories frequented by bears. The court deemed that the "battu" of sangliers (wild boar) would disturb the bears during their pre-hibernation period. The decision will mean that the ministry will need specifically to ban hunting at these times of year rather than advise a moratorium. The court was reminded that 3 bears had been shot over the last 20 years, but the number of bears in the Pyrenees has now reached 25.
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Jazz at Montauban in the summer

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Le château de Cas

Le lundi de Pâques, le château de Cas sera ouvert pour une visite gratuite tout l'après-midi (de 14 h à 18 h). 
Château de Cas (Espinas) au 05 63 67 07 40 ou 06 77 84 62 34.

St Antonin this week end

At le Querlys
  Vendredi 18 avril à 17 heures et à 20 h 30, samedi 19 avril à 17 heures, dimanche 20 avril à 20 h 30, lundi 21 avril à 17 heures et mardi 22 avril à 17 heures et à 20 h 30 (VO): «The grand Budapest hotel», de Wes Anderson avec Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori et F.M. Abraham.

Local Masses 


Semaine sainte: vendredi 18 avril à 17 heures, office de la Croix à Espinas. Samedi 19 avril à 21 heures, veillée pascale à Varen.
Pâques: dimanche 20 avril à 9 h 30, à Laguépie; à 11 heures, à l'église de Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.


The normal Sunday market with a  huge plant fair


Festival du livre d'artiste: vendredi 18 avril à 19 heures, soirée lecture et auberge espagnole; samedi 19 avril à 14 heures, atelier-réalisation d'un carnet personnalisé; dimanche 20 avril à 17 heures, remise du prix public du concours du livre d'artiste. Toujours samedi 19 à 18 h 15, départ des Transports culturels d'O'Babeltut pour le théâtre Garonne.

Arts et Peintures en Noble-Val.

Ouvert le lundi et le vendredi de 14 heures à 18 heures.

Le Tour Yorkshire - Grand depart

For more information about the Tour de France, starting in Yorkshire, click on the site below

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Cannes Film Festival

Two of the greats of British cinema, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, are to go head to head at this year's Cannes film festival, more than two decades since they first sparred for one of the most prestigious prizes in the film world.
The pair first competed at the premier European film festival in 1993, when Loach won the jury's prize for Raining Stones and Leigh walked away with the best director accolade for Naked.
This year, Leigh's biopic Mr Turner and Loach's Jimmy's Hall are among the 18 films selected to debut at the event, which opens on 14 May, and both will compete for the Palme d'Or.  Comments to

La Seye et Vous in concert

 Bonjour à tous,
 Changement de programme, le groupe Jasé ne pouvant venir comme prévu, nous accueillerons le duo "DAVK" en concert le vendredi 18 avril à partir de 19h30 à la Seye et vous.
DAVK, (guitare-chant, batterie),entre compos et reprises, un répertoire de chansons poétiques et festives.
Chansons qui nous amènent vers un ailleurs, un monde forcement meilleur...
Au menu : Hamburgers de la Seye.
D'autre part pour le week end de pâques nous proposons un menu à 26€ :
- Mise en bouche
- Tartare de saumon  ou  Tartine escargots
- Souris d'agneau  ou  agneau Korma  ou  Truites de la Seye
- Dessert maison
Prochaine date à retenir 
 Vendredi 2 maiGilles Carles et Jean Luc Amestoy en concert sous la halle.
Renseignements : 06 63 65 22 18.
A bientôt !

A Spring wedding at Mas del Sol

Bonny looking regal in her bridal ensemble, with Milly and Annie as bridesmaids

The groom Twister was less enthusiastic about proceedings but decided to go ahead after a biscuit.
The pair have been cohabiting for many years but decided with the help of Milly and Annie, it was time to tie the knot.
No animals were harmed in the production of this wedding.
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