Thursday, 5 March 2015

quelle belle caselle

Tourism Lalbenque - Limogne posted this picture taken by Cyril Novello
I wonder what it was for, a sheep shelter perhaps?
Comments to

Maya still looking for a home

Someone asked why Maya is looking for a home.  she was found errant in St. Antonin and has never been claimed. Poor little girl she is in a foster home but now she needs her own family.

Maya (j'ai pas de photo mais elle est visible sur demande), border collie de moins d'un an, elle est pucé (250269810571550), stérilisé! Elle s'entend avec les chiens, les chats, les enfants! Elle est très douce, joueuse, et très intelligente! Elle vit très bien en intérieur comme en extérieur! C'est une super chienne, vous ne le regretterez pas croyez moi! 

The dog called Maya is a border collie about a year old. She is puced and sterilised. She is good with other dogs, cats and children. She is calm, full of joy and very intelligent. She learns very quickly in the house and outside. She is a super dog. I do not think you would regret anything if you adopted her  and the adoption is free, but a contibution to the puce will be appreciated   Contact Maeva

Comments to

Mission to Mali

Our good friend Jean Marie Nosal is founder and honorary president of Via Sahel Enfants d'Afrique, a small locally based charity dedicated to helping the children of Mali. Working with his wife Winnie and a small group of volunteers in France and professional staff in Mali, Jean Marie has dedicated over 30 years to this work and we at Mas del Sol do what little we can to raise funds to support them.
Last December, against all our wishes and the advice of the French Foreign Ministry, Jean Marie made his customary two week trip to Mali. Although confined to Bamako for security reasons, he was able to meet local representatives both of the charity's projects and the Malian government, including the wife of the President.
The current projects include a hospital and laboratory, an orphanage and maternity unit, a scheme to feed street children (over 400 per day), a communal market garden run by women and a primary school. Seeing 600 children being taught in cardboard and tin buildings Jean Marie set about getting a design for a pre-fabricated school, as a blue print for a replacement school and a template for further schools in due course. For 30000 euros this school can be open by September. Jean Marie is also pressing for the 47 handicapped children presently cared for in the orphanage to be re-located to more suitable premises and has obtained official backing for this - all that is needed is the money.
Mali being an ex-French colony the legacy of bureaucracy so beloved of his native land allied to a certain African way of doing things could be an obstacle to most of us, but Jean Marie has his own way of persuading people and refusing all corruption at the same time.
Via Sahel is appealing for contributions to the school project (66% tax relief for French taxpayers) and if anyone would like details contact me for details or a pdf copy of his report on the visit

comments to

World book day

In this lovely image by Honor Appleton we are reminded that today is World Book day.
Comments to

Renovation South West France

Richard Tippett has advertised on TAG for quite some time now. Renovations South West France is his business and I know from the number of friends who have used him that he has got lots of business from TAG readers. But the really great thing is all the feed back has been excellent. Richard is what I call a big job builder and if we had a big job Richard would be our man. Find his sdvert in the side bar.
Comment to

A photo from En route magazine of St. Antonin

A few years old this picture, you can just see the edge on the left hand side of the Pink Hotel and yes we still call it " the Pink Hotel"  but it is now "  Carré des gourmets"
Comments to

School uniforms in Toulouse

The famous/infamous disturbances of May 1968 had as one outcome many educational reforms, including abolition of school uniforms. Only a few private schools maintained this practice (so familiar to us old Anglo Saxons) but  parents at a public college in Toulouse have voted to adopt uniforms - or at least a blouson. There is a trend to try and improve the quality of education in France and one method is to eliminate the "race after clothes " as one mother put it. Teachers in favour say that uniforms promote an esprit de corps; those opposed say it is a gimmick and does not address the real issues. The students think it's boring.
comments to
Malc says: by chance I heard a report of a charity active in Malawi, providing secondary education for children, in a country where it is not mandatory. One young girl, who walked 90 minutes to school, even when hungry, said that her most proud possession was her red school uniform blazer.

85 years since the terrible flood

In all of our local villages there are marks and walls showing where the " cru of 1930" came to, and the rivers destroyed many houses and there were 25 deaths. I thought the piece in French below copied from the Depeche would take too long to translate but is simple to understand, 25 dead, 1,092 houses half ruined, 4,200 hectares inundated etc. etc.

25 morts et 1 092 maisons écroulées  ( I did not know écroulées was half ruined)

On compte environ 1.092 maisons écroulées, 4.200 hectares de rues inondées et 25 morts pour la cité d'Ingres et de Bourdelle. Aux 10.000 sans-abri montalbanais, il faut ajouter les petits villages avoisinants qui subirent des dégâts considérables. A Montbeton, village pourtant en hauteur, 46 maisons furent inondées et 25 détruites. L'eau s'approcha à moins de 200 mètres de l'église, distante pourtant de 3 kilomètres de la rivière. Des villages sont rasés de la carte : Albefeuille-Lagarde, Barry-d'Islemade submergé (5 morts, 50 maisons détruites), Les Barthes (tout le village est détruit, 8 morts), Villemade (1 mort, 164 maisons détruites). Dans ce dernier village complètement en ruines, le nombre de victimes demeure faible. L'intervention d'un groupe de sauveteurs, dans lequel figure Antonin Ver, permit de sauver de la noyade plus de 86 personnes. Moissac, qui clôture ce macabre décompte, est la commune la plus endeuillée ( lire notre édition d'hier). Laguépie, Saint-Antonin, Cazals, Penne, Bruniquel, Montricoux, Bioule, Nègrepelisse, Albias, sont aussi victimes des flots dévastateurs de l'Aveyron la nuit précédant l'inondation de Montauban

Who do you believe?

The courts believed the owner when a husky dog was shot and the body disposed of in the dechetterie. The owner says the dog was normally kept in but had got out into the village. He was a real softie, family pet and would not hurt anything or anybody and  children loved him.
The 80 year old man who shot him said that the dog had attacked and killed 5 goats in his fenced park. He explained to the judge he thought that type of dog was like a wolf and had the same instincts of a wolf.    The bodies of the  goats had mysteriously also disappeared and the man said he had disposed of them like the dog at the dechetterie. The courts say the old goat...    owner should have called the gendarmes before shooting the dog and so he was found guilty with a fine. The man is going to appeal to a higher court.
I think this proves that you cannot just shoot a dog roaming but there are obviously some people who will.
Comments to

Flu / grippe still raging

In the newspapers and on TV the reports are that the flu is still raging and the numbers suffering  are much  higher than other years. The flu vaccine has not been very effective this year, the virus having mutated. Over 65's are most at risk of complications
Comments to

Armando Curri, the best young apprentice, reported again with his photo

Armando Curri is France's best apprentice joiner and was due to receive his award at the Senate yesterday. But he is sans papiers having arrived in France from Albania 3 years ago as an unaccompanied minor. Now aged 19 he is obliged to leave France. The president of the Senate decreed that it was not appropriate to receive him in the Palais de Luxembourg. On reflection (and no doubt under pressure) that decision was reversed later in the day. Armando was cited as an example of how young immigrants should integrate - apprenticeships being an excellent way into work. So later in the day he took his place amongst the other meilleurs ouvriers receiving their awards. To cap what he describes as the best day of his life, the threat of expulsion was lifted as the prefect of Loire granted him a titre de sejour .
comments to
Val says I like the story of a young lad done good.

Armando Curri, un sans-papiers albanais de 19 ans
Comments to

Nous sommes jeudi, le cinq

Notre anniversaire de mariage
Quarante neuf ans, le plupart merveilleux
Malc romantically says  " what a year it was when we got married.
 England won the world cup, and this year  on our 49th the Boro are top of the second division with 11 games to play"

Two French friends have told us next year will be    les noces d'or pour les 50 ans de mariage 

Comments to

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The real Poldark Robin Ellis on the one show

Tonight any minute now Robin Ellis who lives in the Tarn will be on the One show. Robin who now holds cookery courses and writes cookery books  for diabetics has left his swash buckling behind but he has the memories and he told us on the show he still 40 years on gets " the Poldark perks.
Comments to

Do not settle for the ordinary life.

I sometimes think that my life isn't really exciting enough to write a blog. Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all (as the band Del Amitrimight have put it). If I'm to write anything, I generally have to stick to my interior life. You can do some clever things with your imagination.
A front door opening out onto a driveway
Safe in our bubble
When I look round at the comfortable existence I lead with my husband, our two children, the dog and the cat, I wonder if this is what we were striving for all those years ago. Hours of essay writing at university, playing office politics during our twenties, running drunk through Soho... it was all leading to up this: domestic humdrum in a Home Counties bubble.

But that is the trade-off when you have children. Any appetite for risk diminishes almost overnight. I love that scene in thePaddington film when groovy Mr Brown drives his pregnant wife to the maternity hospital on a motorbike and then picks her up the next day in a new Volvo estate. Safety first, wildly fulfilling life second.

The dynamic will shift eventually as our children turn into thrill-seeking teenagers (my seven-year son is already telling me that his life is too boring) and we parents make one last-ditch attempt to rediscover our youth. In a rather sad indictment of our current circumstances, both my husband and I admitted we were looking forward to retirement the other day, if only because of the freedom it promised us!
Val says
Emma Clarke  Lam writes beautifully she is an author as well as a blogger having had published " A sister for Margot" to great aclaim. I read this small piece of an article on her blog and thought " no " fight against playing safe". Do something dangerous take up sky diving, sailing, keeping donkeys,  find a family sport that keeps you all on the edge. One life, go for it. Retirement does give you the chance to do more exciting things but do not let the excitement slip from your life in your middle years. Have a challenge of doing something new, daring and exciting and then with all your wonderful skills write it into your next novel. Lots of young couples here gave up corporate jobs and moved to France, how exciting and scary is that... get living on the edge, fun is waiting just for you and the family but you need to bravely scoop it up.Think what would really challenge you and then fly with it.You might crash land but then you could regroup and think of the next adventure.
GO  go Emma
Comments to

What a night he had, he really had such a night.

A young man of 18 who lives in the Dordogne, did not have a driving licence but that did not stop him one night last week when he fancied going to a disco. He successively "dérobé " / stole six vehicles. With one he  could not drive it with another he ended up in a fosse / a ditch. Early in the morning after a night at the disco he tried to go home in the same way, by stealing  cars, stealing a lorry of 7.5 tonnes a Cherveix Cubas,  which the gendarmes later found intact. In total 3 cars were "endommagées" / damaged by the young would be driver that night. Needless to say he is now in a cell in Périgueux, awaiting his sentence for theft.
3 French words to learn there
dérobé / stole 
fosse / ditch    you knew that one.
endommagées  / damaged
I treat reading the newspapers as part of my devoirs / homework.

The show goes on

For all you gardeners who have been bemoaning the lack of the Salon du Jardin d'été  de  Varen gardening show, I am delighted to say it is now full steam ahead.
Because of family committments Malc and I did not want to head it this year but Marcia Scott who is very keen for this great event to go ahead has decided to pick up the reins. Malc and I will happily be consultants as and when needed. What Marcia needs is a good team around her so can I ask all those who were willing to help to send an email to Marcia.  at
We discussed the event this morning and Marcia feels it has so much promise it could be run over the whole of the week end, with entries being brought in on the Saturday morning, opening at 16 h to the public and then being open again on Sunday.
What a treat for gardeners, handicrafters and bakers this will be. If you have any ideas of categories you would like let us know at this stage and we will encorporate them into the show if possible. The dates will be announced next week.
Comments to

This morning certainly gets a rating

You have TOFs for restaurants, but how about recommendations for other services? We’ve recommended the electrical repairman in St Antonin a few times, but last week our fridge/freezer stopped working (it kept tripping the electrics), so we called him out. We all agreed it had come to the end of its useful life. He helped us choose a new one at a competitive price, lent us a fridge/freezer in the meantime, delivered the new one, installed it and took away the old one all free of charge. Service like that beats the internet (but I’ll always need M&S Online!).
Electro-Depannage 82


Today they assemble in Toulouse

Assembling in Toulouse, Place du  Capitole this morning and then marching on Albi. The zadistes of Sivens will be out in force today hoping it will somehow effect the decision which I cannot help but think should have already be made. That is not certain though and both sides will want to be pushing forward and highlighting their views.
Comments to

Malc is not happy with the modern way of shopping

I think it is progression shopping on line, but Malc thinks it aides desertification. The few  local shops we have will close down, people will lose jobs, elderly people who do not have internet access will struggle to shop?
Any other strong feelings for and against shopping on line?
Comments to

It's just not rugby!

Women rugby players excite different emotions with male readers, from outright hostility to grudging admiration. But what to make of the suggestion that the young women representing France on Friday night in Montauban passed on to their club colleagues the details of tactics proposed by the Sapiac club (USM) against Perpignan?
The tactics were posted on the dressing room walls during the week when the French XV trained at the ground ahead of their match against Wales (which they won). USM lost 48-17 to Perpignan and looking for excuses suggested skullduggery by the girls from the south.
Now you wouldn't get such cheating in the men's game, would you.
comments to

The modern way, shopping on line.

No longer wanting to trawl round shops when it is so much easier to buy on line, we along with millions of others are discovering arm chair shopping. So much more choice than one shop can offer.
We spent half an hour yesterday looking at lawnmowers, found one we both agreed did the job, ticked all the boxes and came to order. At the time of saying yes we noticed the delivery cost was 24 euros.  We thought at the price the mower was delivery should be free so further research from a supplier discovered on orders over 300 euros delivery was free and the same mower was only one euro more. We also found the same mower from another supplier for 60 euros more. Now the interesting thing was all the mowers although from 3 different suppliers were from Mr Bricolage. Just by checking before buying we saved 60 euros and 23 on postage.
Comments to

Armando's crazy day

Armando Curri is France's best apprentice joiner and was due to receive his award at the Senate yesterday. But he is sans papiers having arrived in France from Albania 3 years ago as an unaccompanied minor. Now aged 19 he is obliged to leave France. The president of the Senate decreed that it was not appropriate to receive him in the Palais de Luxembourg. On reflection (and no doubt under pressure) that decision was reversed later in the day. Armando was cited as an example of how young immigrants should integrate - apprenticeships being an excellent way into work. So later in the day he took his place amongst the other meilleurs ouvriers receiving their awards. To cap what he describes as the best day of his life, the threat of expulsion was lifted as the prefect of Loire granted him a titre de sejour .
comments to

One we can use and we all have to do in these difficult economic times.

So many times our sayings do not translate in French and here is an example of a saying we use which has the same meaning in French. Toulouse town hall are  " tightening their belts"  se serre la ceinture.

Plan d'économies : le Capitole se serre la ceinture

Malc says that is what we will have to do if we do not rent the gite in June and July! When I am enjoying the pool will I care? 

This is a terrible murder in Toulouse

Maureen the young girl murdered in her rez de chaussé  flat in Toulouse suffered 62 knife cuts, one cutting a major artery and another in the chest which was fatal. The flat was described as in " des conditions atroces" She was just 19 and a very good dedicated student at Airbus. Found by her father, he will have those images in his head forever.
Maureen missed a morning at work which was unusual and the time of death appears to be around 7 hours or more from her body being found. The investigation is looking at her relationships, including  one with a boyfriend. Whatever the outcome a young girl with a future has lost her life and a family have lost a daughter. I think it is a crime which will be solved with DNA and with the amount of blood loss there will be traces on the killer when he is found.Report and picture from the Depeche
Comments to

Nous sommes mercredi, le quatre

Giboulées de mars  -  spring showers
The meteo on the TV last night warned of " giboulées"
Comments to

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Who can tinkle the keys?

 Hi Val

 You know a lot of people ! Do you happen to know anyone who plays piano? 
 are stuck for a pianist to accompany a singer for a mini concert at a
 vernissage in Gaillac on the 7th May.  
Ideally jazz standards.Please contact Isla,
Best wishes
Comments to

Body found at Cirque de Bone

Hi Val
You might like to pick up on this for a story. I just noticed on La Depeche that the body of that person who went missing on the Cirque de Bone in March last year has just been found - by his brother.
The brother returned to area last weekend and spotted some fabric in the distance and there was the body wedged between some rocks and some vegetation.  That is 11 months on after all the searches by pompiers, military, helicopters, cavers, mountain rescue etc last year when nothing was found.
Your French is loads better than mine so you will be able to get the full story by searching on La Depeche.
Hope that helps
Best D
Vals says cannot find the story at the moment but I am sure your French is up to my standard D, which is not very high!
Off I go " à la recherche"
Val says Olivier Barbette age 42 was suffering from depression when he went missing in the area of Cirque de bone, 11 months ago. Everyone was out searching but the body was never found. Now nearly a year later his brother spotted some material which he recognised as his brothers shirt and from documents on the body and DNA it has been established it is Olivier. Finally giving closure to the family and especially the mans mother. Same as yours D I think.
Comments to

Nature is wonderful

Hi Val

A couple of pictures of Toads to amuse you
They appeared in the garden a couple of days ago and are having fun in the pond. It looks like there aren’t enough females to go around!
 Bonne soirée
 James Sweeting - 06 21 46 77 43 
Web creation, Computer support, Satellite Installations, general gardening , DIY & more!

Rock concert

Concert rock at La Maison Café bar, 4 Place du Foirail, Parisot. 21st of March at 22h
Comments to

Theatre in Milhars

A sky near Rodez

Christine from Midi Pyrenees tourism
Comments to

Still places left to see wonderful Natalie Dessay

The March production on Wed. 18th of March at 6 pm we will be showing this fabulous production of  Massenet's Manon with Natalie Dessay.  Get booking your seats now, I think this is going to be another popular one. In French already, so no worry the subtitles will be in English.
Comments to

Happening on Sunday at Caussade

comments to

Tuesday and there go the guns

We were talking to some friends who live in Laguepie who did not know there was an army camp at Caylus. They wondered why in the distance on a Tuesday they could hear what sounded like explosions from big guns. The camp which is at Caylus has manoevres  and exercises on Tuesdays.
In truth we are not bothered much by the noise in this sector but if gun noise bothered you it is worth knowing the camp is there if considering buying a property.
This conversation actually brought us to discussing knowing the area before buying. Road noise would bother Malc and I,  preferring bird noise anytime. Quarries blasting, if you have a quarry near the prospective house how often do they blast. Neighbours with dogs barking can also be a nuisance.
We came down on the theory you should rent in an area for 3 to 6 months before buying and gain some local knowledge.
Comments to

France 3 on Oradour

The film was followed up by two interesting documentaries, one about the Nuremburg prosecuter ( aged 95 in the film) who dedicated his life to establishing an International Criminal Court to try crimes against humanity, the second about the trial in Bordeaux of Das Reich soldiers. Much has been made of the presence of soldiers from Alsace in the German army at Oradour. There were some 40 Alsaciens there, mainly forcibly conscripted and many aged under 18. Their defence arguments (they were minors, forced conscripts, mainly occupied on guard duties around the perimeter) were dismissed one by one by the tribunal. Eventually they were condemned to 6-8 years hard labour; a decision that satisfied nobody. The Oradour families wanted their guilt punished, the Alsacien families wanted their innocence recognised. Bigger issues played a part in the eventual outcome as the French government wamted at all costs to avoid a cessation movement in Alsace, which felt it had been handed over to Germany by the Vichy regime. Parliament passed an amnesty law to ensure that the sentences were reduced. As one commentator said " the government had to choose betweeen Oradour and France, and chose France". The programmes are all likely to be available via Pluzz or France 3 replay TV on the internet
Comments to

No longer is it allowed to smack children in France

Gifles et fessées  / blows and smacking bottoms definitely no longer allowed according to the European courts. Just in case any one is in doubt the European courts have made it clear France has to fall in line on this rule and were issued a  veritable slap on the wrist.
Comments to

Just not cricket and they were condemned for it

The chasse association were in court for breaking rules, 162 infractions / rules broken were noted. The tribune of police at Castres condemned the association de chasse Sidobre Val d' Agout de Lacrouzette for creating practically an elevage in the forest by placing buckets  of maize in certain zones. Easy then to shoot and kill. The chasseurs were under surveillance for a few months before being caught performing their illegal clandestine operation... the rotters.
 Glad they were caught.
Comments to

200 gendarmes at Sivens: where are we up to?

Agriculters and protesters against the barrage have all wanted to be  in high profile this week before decisions are made on Friday.
The original plan to have a huge reservoir has now practically been shelved as being too expensive and unneccessary.
Segolene  Royale who is the minister of the environment and her committee favour a much smaller reservoir.
There is also the possibility of 3 small reservoirs.
The decision should be made on Friday and that is why the site at Sivens is " sous haute tension" this week.
Comments to

Now the whole road has gone

You remember the house and grange which disappeared at Gazost in the High Pyrenees, well now the whole road to the village has gone. The village is isolated and the road will be impossible to repair (even if they could find it down the slope!)
Comments to

Nous sommes mardi, le trois

a catastrophy  une catastrophe
a calamity  - une calamité
a tragedy - une tragédie
to run a risk - courir un risque
Comments to

Monday, 2 March 2015

RD 999 at Sivens, tractors need wheel clamping.

40 young agriculteurs were out at Sivens blocking the roads. Do the gendarmes point guns and arrest these protesters or is it just the anti barrage protesters?  both of the two sides should be expelled from the area and I would wheel clamp the tractors for causing this disturbance and make them have to pay to be released.The same laws apply to all.
Comments to

A retrospective by Niki de Saint Phalle at Bilbao

 Sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle at the entrance to the Guggenheim, Bilbao. Photograph: Miguel Tona/EPA

Those ticks again

Hi Val
Pets get Lyme's disease too not just people..but it is rarely diagnosed because the test is expensive.

À coeur vaillant rien d'impossible.

Val says We are happy to report  Bonny after three weeks of vitamin tablets is back to herself.. moles and rabbits beware, she is back to patroling our fields.
Comments to

It is not over yet: trouble at Sivens

Dear Val

This morning we drove into Gaillac via our favourite route through the forest of Sivens to find the road at Barat seething with  people and their gendarmes minders in heavy gear, guns drawn and helmets with all round protective visors. This evening at dusk it was even worse, with about 50 white vans and their occupants and at least 6 gendarme mini buses and some 40 gendarmes in the same protective gear 'keeping the peace'. So its back to the main road for us which is a real shame as we enjoyed the hare, two rabbits, and two cats who shared the dusk with us.

La Seye et vous in concert

 Bonsoir tout le monde,

Vendredi 6 mars, nous recevrons le duo " DOUBLE HAPAX " à La Seye et vous. 
Fusion organique de 2 on-man-show, DOUBLE HAPAX est composé de l'homme-orchestre KESTEKOP et de JIKABO l'homme-verbe.
Spectacle tenant à la fois du concert rock, avec le son, la sueur et les tripes, et de la performance poétique entre grandiloquence et autodérision douce-amère. Embarquement dés vendredi 6 mars à partir de 19h30 !

Voilà pour les yeux et les oreilles...

Dans l'assiette : Goulash de porc et son pain perdu salé ou goulash végétarien. Et des desserts bien sûr !
Renseignement : 05 63 65 22 18.
N'hésitez pas à diffuser l'info.
A trés bientôt !
Comments to

Varen in flood today

Malc walked Bonny whilst I had a lovely cup of tea with a friend. The river was flooding over the road and moving fast.The bottom picture is interesting. If you can find the large fir tree on the horizon that is us at Mas del Sol
Comments to

The Moulin of Varen next to the weir

Tow bar fitted

Hello Val
 please could you ask your knowledgeable readers if anyone can recommend somewhere for us to have a tow-bar fitted to our Ford and for a rough idea of what the cost would be here in France.Thank you very much
Anne -

Hi Val
Leclerc auto are pretty reliable.
Comments to

This happened last week in the Alps

Lucky no one was passing at the time. Malc saw it on French TV last week and I have just seen it in the Telegraph. This boulder fell on to an alpine road blocking traffic. Is boulder the right word for part of the mountainside?
The ski resorts of Val Thorens and Les Menuires were cut off after a 50-ton boulder came crashing down onto the road leading to the popular ski resorts

A good busy book swap

As we drove home we both agreed it is not just a book swap it is a friends meeting time and  also the time to make new friends. If you have the courage  to come along and chat to people, before you know it you can make friends. We are all here in the same boat and we are all happy to make new friends and  find a couple of books and a DVD.
Talking about DVD's  we thought we had lost forever our copy of the opera Madame Butterfly featuring a very young Placido Domingo. I have asked for it to be returned to no avail, it was lent at the beginning of the DVD  loaning period.  We lent a few of our favourites on the basis they would be marked and we would get them back. A year later and at the last swap we were not there, but then or today it was returned. It still has clearly on the back THIS DVD IS on loan from TAG on line!! and on the front now is a sticker with a borrower's name stuck on. Incriminating stuff eh!
Gosh, we are so pleased to have it returned and a lesson learned in lending something special to the masses.
Lots of interesting stories told to me today, I liked this one from Bretje.
She was in the street near the new street  free library box when an old French lady asked all about the box. Bretje explained it was for everyone to borrow a book when they wanted. She explained that there were books in French, Occitan, English and Dutch.
 The lady humphed and walked on saying "but I only read in Spanish"
You can please some of the people some of the time, comes to mind.
Comments to

Has Val gone mad? 8 donkeys!

A picture of friend Anke's 8 donkeys at feeding time. Imagine mucking all this lot out?
They are beautiful donkeys but all that work!
Comments to

Tagland has talent!

We've said it before and no doubt will say it again,  but there are some very talented people in our midst. Yesterday afternoon we eschewed the rugby on TV (a good choice as it turned out) to attend a concert of music by the "Great Romantics". In the intimate setting of Janet Emmelkamp's concert room an appreciative audience enjoyed songs from mezzo Janet, baritone Geof Cryer and piano solos and accompaniment by the indefatigable Geneviève Foccroulle. From Robert Schumann to George Gershwin via Faure, Ravel and Debussy the songs were sung in German, French and English with equal facility (and Janet is Dutch!) all accompanied sympathetically by Geneviève. The pianist also gave renditions of works by Liszt and Ravel (ably assisted by Geof in a charming piece from Ravel's Mother Goose ). The audience forgot about the horrible weather, enjoying the moving music and the tasty après concert aperos (not forgetting the carnival of the animals - you had to be there).
comments to

Maya is still waiting

Who loves border collies?

Maya (j'ai pas de photo mais elle est visible sur demande), border collie de moins d'un an, elle est pucé (250269810571550), stérilisé! Elle s'entend avec les chiens, les chats, les enfants! Elle est très douce, joueuse, et très intelligente! Elle vit très bien en intérieur comme en extérieur! C'est une super chienne, vous ne le regretterez pas croyez moi! 

The dog called Maya is a border collie about a year old. She is puced and sterilised. She is good with other dogs, cats and children. She is calm, full of joy and very intelligent. She learns very quickly in the house and outside. She is a super dog. I do not think you would regret anything if you adopted her  and the adoption is free, but a contibution to the puce will be appreciated

Comments to

Thanks to all who have sent cheques

A plethora of cheques last week and I have not had time to acknowledge them all. So a thank you now to all and we will do the admin. this week and get them sent off to the different charities.
Many thanks to all for your support.
Comments to

Damp day but the promise of spring at the end of the week.

Three dampish days forecast but by Thursday the promise of sun and temperatures around 14 / 15, that will do us nicely. Great for gardening but the problem is the muddy swathes of lawn. Our hall is constantly filled with muddy boots and I will not even mention the muddy cat and dog paw marks everywhere.
The work we did around the donkeys' hut has been worth every penny spent. It means the donkeys spend more time on the hard standing and in the hut but it is then easy to clean the " dechets" Today the " dechets" will have to wait till this afternoon as we are off to the book swap this morning.

Internet helps print works to re-open

The print works occupied by the Kouachi brothers after their attack on Charlie Hebdo was badly damaged during the assault by the armed forces. There followed arguments about who was responsible for recompensing the owner (Defence Dept or Interior Ministry).  Insurance paid 70000 euros, but with three print machines costing 80000 each damaged, as well as the damage to the building, the owner was being forced to cease trading. But the local chamber of commerce launched an appeal via the internet and raised 100000 euros in a few weeks enabling the business, and its employees to continue.
comments to

France 3 tonight, Das Reich

Montauban (82) - Ce soir sur france 3, michaël prazan revient sur les massacres de la ss dans le département ( report and photo were in the Depeche)

Val says it instills fear in me just looking at that photo, but I will watch this evening. The more you know of these horrors mean you will fight more against antisemitism, racist and attitudes prevalent at the moment against other races. Malc thinks it is on at 9pm but I cannot see the time mentioned, I will look it up. The time is 20.50 and it is a 90 minute programme.

nous sommes lundi, le deux, anniversaire de notre fille

A snowfall  - une chute de neige
snowflakes   -   des flocons de neige
a blizzard - une tempête de neige
Comments to

Sunday, 1 March 2015

If you are a cat owner you will appreciate this

Mas del Sol tourisme

Dear Val and Malcolm,

On good advice from the Mas de Sol tourist office we went to see the snowdrops at the Abbaye de Beaulieu.  They are on the edge of turning, but it was still splendid to see so many in one place and yes, the ground was very muddy and squelchy.  The weather was not the brightest so the photos do not really stand out, but it is the thought that counts and the camera does sulk a little if it is not taken out from time to time.

Comments to

Tomorrow is the book swap

Is it that time already?
Tomorrow is the book swap at St. Antonin. Meeting at the Gazpacho at 10.30am. I have got three bags of books all of which I have read and were page turners and then a fourth bag of bags which were rubbish... but I will not be telling you which is which as tastes differ!
Look forward to seeing you there and Chris will be taking orders for the British Corner shop if you have not already emailed him.
See you there, I cannot see us sitting in the sun but just having the choice of loads of books puts the smile on our faces.
Comments to

All for sale

We have started our Spring (dare I say it!) clear out and we have a few things to sell which people might be interested in. We have decided not to carry on with our Mini Hire business. We know that there is probably a demand for it but with all the other work we are doing now and over the summer we just feel we don’t have the time to dedicate to it properly. We therefore have a few baby and kids items available…

2 white wooden IKEA cots similar to one pictured 20€ each. 1 can be sold with a cot bumper thrown in free. 1 baby walker 10€. 1 toddler step FREE.
1 wooden high chair FREE. 1 Badabule booster seat 10€.1 Redkit mini gym 5€.
1 Maxi Cosi car seat with base 20€ (suitable from birth)
1 IKEA mobile FREE
2 adjustable lindam stairgates (similar to one pictured) 10€ each   SOLD

Offers accepted. Contact by email if interested

Becky x

Rue Du Belvedere – Family, France, Food, Craft

62 new cats to rehome, but Lynn Stone is not daunted

Hi Val,
I wonder if you could help us on Taglines.
We are trying to help a lady with a brain tumeur place her 62 cats!  yes I know 62 is very unreasonable but unfortunately not their fault!
They are all very friendly and sociable.  we have already taken in 16 and I'm about to place their details on our website, all are now sterilised, vacinated, microchipped and tested negative for FIV/FeLV and all are used to living with dogs.
When I've placed their details on our website and Facebook pages, would you be able to take a photo or two plus their details or perhaps redirect people to these pages?
Many thanks


Présidente de l'association Chats du Quercy et comportementaliste Féline
Chats du Quercy, Caussados, 82190 Miramont de Quercy

L’association Chats du Quercy est ouverte sur rdv les jours fériés, weekends, et bien-sûr dans la semaine.

Telephone : 05 63 94 73 97 Site Web :
Facebook :
Améliorer le bien-être des chats ; encourager l'identification et la stérilisation 

Faites de Chats du Quercy votre première action d'adoption
Comments to

The Lions at Caussade did well

Yesterday they sold 2 ton of apples all the proceeds for the guide dogs for the blind.
Well done to the Lions
Comments to

Pays' Art at Montauban

Renseignements : Association Pays'ART,  07 81 06 31 11

Laguepie news

We heard last night talking to villagers that M. Mazieres, the insurance man at Laguepie had  had his blue sporty Audi  stolen whilst it was left in the car park by the station, keys were in the ignition. I wonder if the insurance paid out? Also the vets had been broken into, presumably looking for drugs and also old Monsieur Vidaillac had been targeted by thieves. Another lady told us she had also left her keys in the car in the same car park at the same time and the car had not been taken, even though it had Cannabis in! We looked surprised till she explained Cannabis was the name of her dog.
The reason I am reporting these burglaries now is that in a few weeks work begins on the centre "base nautique" and the contract has gone to a firm with 50 to 80 muslim workers from Toulouse. The men are being lodged in and around Laguepie and in the centre itself. An elderly lady of the village has been tasked with buying halal meat from Gaillac for them.
So in case the burglaries continue remember they all started  happening before the arrival of the workmen.
Comments to

This afternoon is going to be wet, why not go and enjoy the concert

Hi Val, sorry this one is a bit late - this concert is this afternoon in the Salles des Fetes at Monteils (near to Castanet - not Caussade) at 4pm.

This concert brings together 20 musicians from different orchestras in the Aveyron, Lot and Tarn and Garonne to play under the direction of Jeremy Costes.  They will playing over two weekends in January and February the works of Ravel, Prokofiev and Rimski-Korsakov.  Attached is a flyer for the concert.

Bonsoir à toutes et à tous,
j'ai le plaisir de vous inviter au concert donné par "Résonances" le dimanche 1er mars à la salle des fêtes de  Monteils à 16h.
Ce concert rassemble 20 musiciens venus de différents ensembles de l'Aveyron, du Lot ou du Tarn et Garonne qui se sont réunis autour de Jérémy Costes pour un stage  d'orchestre pendant deux week-ends de janvier et février autour d'oeuvres de Ravel, Prokofiev et Rimski-Korsakov. 

Martin Bouygues is not dead

Not news you might think. But Agence France Presse (AFP), France's major press agency, did actually announce the death of the industrialist yesterday, based they said on information received from a neighbouring maire . The name is more familiar to most of us via the eponymous mobile telephone network, but Martin Bouygues is also head of a major BTP (batir, travaux publics) building firm and the premature announcement of his death could have had stock market implications. Happily it appears that "reports of his death are exaggerated" and he is alive and well (as is the boulanger of Laguepie).
comments to

Our kestrels, the year before last

The kestrels have been around all winter and as we are not booked in the gite we feel they may nest again. After at least 15 years of nesting, they have failed a couple of times in those years, generally when there has been too much activity here. Here is a reminder of when they have nested, photographed by Peter Hughes

This happened at Gazost in the High Pyrenees

On Friday a portion of the road to the village fell away taking a small uninhabited house and a grange. Fortunately no one was hurt but imagine coming out of your front door to meet... well nothing.
Comments to

Look away now if you do not like mice stories

My day yesterday was over run with mice!
I started early feeding Bonny, who has a plastic tub of croquettes. I put in my hand to find the plastic beaker I pour them out with and met something wiggly and furry. It was a shrew! but how did it find its way in to a plastic tub with a sealed lid?
Malc took it outside and set it free away from the house.
An hour later on our way back from our walk we found a dead mouse on the doorstep, definitely a mouse and not a shrew.
Last night in bed Nipolena outside cat who has become inside has decided she likes to bring in presents. We were woken out of our dreams with cat calls and bumps on the bed legs. I shook Malc and said " what is happening"  Looking under the bed a cat and mouse chase was in progress.
I went back to sleep and continued with mouse nightmares!
Comments to

A family horror

The parents and younger sister arrived as planned to spend the weekend with their daughter in Toulouse. The young nineteen year old was a graduate engineer employed by Airbus and had a rez de chaussée apartment. The door was not answered when they knocked so the father went to the back door and went in. To his horror he found his young daughter dead with blood everywhere.
Neighbours described later that they had heard a fight in the street. The inquiry is ongoing.

Nous sommes dimanche,le premier mars

Here is a good one
The wind was gusting up to 110 miles per hour - Le vent soufflait en bourrasques et atteignait 110 miles à  l' heure
Will we remember that?  naw, I doubt it
Comments to

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Not a laughing matter... but

This reminded me of our visit to the Dali museum in Figueres, where we stood looking at a fire hose from all angles wondering if it was an exhibit.

Kestrels nesting

These are not our kestrels. Kestrels though we certainly have " chez nous" and we now know they do regurgitate their food. Malc  whilst gardening heard all the little garden birds start cheeping, singing and calling  warnings each time the kestrels kept sweeping over. We have seen them take the odd little bird on the wing but they are not generally aggressive to small birds. Sitting in the salon they sweep past the window and we are now very used to these birds. They have been up at Mas del Sol for 15 years to our knowledge, they  now feel part of the family along with Penny the hen.
Comments to

Sunday is a special day in France for Grandma

Not a straight forward decorator

Dear Val,
As you know I've been working as a decorator here for many years; not only the straight forward decorating but also paint effects, trompe l'oeil, disguising cement or breeze-blocks to look like stone, faking marble, wood or anything else.
Here is a link to my website.
I can give advice on colours and wall finishes, and am an expert in making and applying lime paint.
Maybe there are readers who would be interested in my services?

Love Charlotte.

The house with amazing wall papers at Laguepie

Hi Val,

The new site for Varen is a great idea. I may well have some nice pics to put on there.
The link for 'old french houses' is  Soon there will be a website.
Love Charlotte
Val says just look at this site and find the house at Laguepie with amazing wallpapers.

Concert tomorrow - The Great Romantics

East to West – The Great Romantics – This Sunday at 17:00 – Janet Emmelkamp’s house

To reserve tickets visit

Concert invitation

Having had one success, can we have another?

Who loves border collies?

Maya (j'ai pas de photo mais elle est visible sur demande), border collie de moins d'un an, elle est pucé (250269810571550), stérilisé! Elle s'entend avec les chiens, les chats, les enfants! Elle est très douce, joueuse, et très intelligente! Elle vit très bien en intérieur comme en extérieur! C'est une super chienne, vous ne le regretterez pas croyez moi! l'adoption est gratuite!

The dog called Maya is a border collie about a year old. She is puced and sterilised. She is good with other dogs, cats and children. She is calm, full of joy and very intelligent. She learns very quickly in the house and outside. She is a super dog. I do not think you would regret anything if you adopted her  and the adoption is free.
Well personally I would think if you were a TAG reader adopting you would give a donation to Maeva to get other dogs puced when needed, but that is only my opinion.
Comments to

Great news Malabar is adopted by one of our readers

I do not know who you are but you have made me very happy today. That lovely golden labrador Malabar has been adopted. I have asked Malc three times if we could have him, even explaining the dog would feel at home as we have a similar carpet to the one he was photographed on. It might have got me out of a sticky marital situation as I had been planning a sneaky move , a sort of "once his feet were under the table move"
So whoever you are look after my lovely boy, he looks a real treasure. I have just told Malc and we have both had tears in our eyes for the happy ending.
Gosh! I am on a high, another dog off to a safe TAG home.
Comments to

Floralies at Caylus, why not book a table?

Theatre at Septfonds

Kiwi fruit microwave jam

Hi, Val.

I made some kiwifruit jam yesterday. It's really quick to make and tastes good, so if anyone else has a few kiwifruit going spare, the recipe I used which resulted in two jars-full is:

Ingredients: 1 large dessert apple, peeled, cored and diced, 5 kiwifruit, peeled and diced, 180g sugar, 2 tbsp. lime juice

To make: Cook all the ingredients in the microwave in a microwave-proof bowl for 10 minutes on High, removing and giving the mixture a little stir every 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a blender and pulse till solid parts are less chunky. How long you do this for is up to you - if you want it thick do it for less than if you want it like a purée. Bear in mind that the jam will thicken after it cools down. Pour the blended mixture back into the bowl and cook for another 2 minutes on High. Leave it to cool a bit before putting it in your sterilised jars.

Sterilising jars: Either put them through a dishwasher cycle or wash them in hot, soapy water, rinse them in hot water and drain them. Put them in a low oven 100-120C/210-250F for at least 20 minutes. Remove them about 10 minutes before use so that they are still warm when you bottle the jam. 
It was delicious this morning on hot, buttered toast and should also be good with fromage blanc or stirred into a yoghurt. 
Val says sounds yummy and even I could do that. I will have a go.


Hi Val

Is there anybody out there who knows of an English speaking telephone number for "Groupama assurance". We have just changed for all our insurances, although we saved money it is a nightmare. Although Sofie in the office in St Antonin is lovely she  is not there most of the time. It seems the same here in France you get penalised for  being loyal.
Regards Derek
comments to

Baby items for sale for comic relief/ ALL sold

Dear Val    ALL sold
We have some items for sale, proceeds going to Comic Relief 2015. Would it be possible to advertise them on Tag-online, please?
 We have car seat for a young baby, 10 Euros. A baby recliner seat, 5 Euros.  A travel cot, 8 Euros, or near offers. All in good condition. Photo attached of the two seats.
 Many thanks
 Linda and Martin