Wednesday, 29 June 2016

clutching at straws

Hi Val
If like me you are clutching at straws – read this:

Just the board for a book seller

Incompetent burglars: dont we love them

Of course burglary is not pleasant, but when it goes so wrong that the perpetrators manage to trap themselves by their stupidity  it always makes us smile.
Two men drove their van into the confines of a monastery in Blagnac during a prayer time for the monks. They started to steal IT equipment and load the van when they were surprised by a vigilant monk. But what they had not considered was that the doors could be locked and no means of exit was available. Police were called and the men were arrested and taken into custody. Nothing was stolen.
Monastery les Beatitudes, Blagnac. Pic Google  
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Marine le Pen supports Nigel

Depending on your point of view, Nigel Farage's performance in the European parliament yesterday was either "telling them how it is" or an embarrassing display of arrogance from a party leader who couldn't even win a seat in last year's general election.
But at least Marine le Pen spoke up for him, praising the British people's courage against the "elite".
It is odd that neither of these politicians is exactly of the rank and file, one a millionaire lawyer (in a dynastic party), the other a millionaire public schoolboy investment banker.
These attributes do not disqualify them from speaking for the so-called "people", but one wonders at their real motivation. One supposes that UKIP will now disband having achieved its purpose, or at least change its name to EIP (English etc).
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Monday 4 th of July is the book swap

The book and DVD swap starts 10.30 am at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin, bring books you have read and take away others, all for free. Choose your books and then stay, introduce yourselves and stop to chat and coffee.
A great morning if you are an avid reader.
Penny Smith cannot make this time but will be there at the next one.
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Labour law discussions today

Those of us who live in France have noticed the disruptions caused by protests against the government's proposed new Loi de Travail (labour laws). The government has watered down several proposals but is sticking to its position on Article 2, which puts work place agreements on hours ahead of industry wide union agreements. Meetings with unions and employers (separately) will be held in Paris today.
But just to spice things up, the right wing dominated Senate passed the Bill yesterday, but in a substantially hardened version. Abolition of the 35 hour week; inversion of national union agreements so that they are now the last element to consider in negotiations; restriction to compensation for dismissal. And they warned that if they (Les Republicans and UDI) win a majority in next year's elections this will be what they propose.
Manuel Valls and Myriam El Khomri will remove the amendments when the Bill comes back to the Assembly at the end of the week and may need, again, to use a parliamentary procedure to push their version through. We may be looking at a lot more protests over the next 12 months.
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Second referendum once the terms are known

From: "Miriam Margolyes" 
Something you can do about brexit
If, like me, you’re APPALLED by BREXIT result, here’s a sensible Petition which just might save us.

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt neuf

If you have not yet booked your table contact us
Bookings are doing really well for this fab. music event near Parisot.
Come and join the picnic and the great music night in a great location. Your chance of a "Glastonbury style " evening without the mud.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Blagnac run tomorrow

Hi Val
I will be going to Blagnac tomorrow leaving St Antonin at 13.15 if anyone wants a lift.
Best regards

DOn't panic

To quote Corporal Jones  “don’t panic” (yet). The pound has not yet sunk to the levels of 2008 (0.97) and this morning the FTSE 250 (the more important index for UK companies working in the UK) has risen 3%, the pound has stabilised (for now) at 0.83  the sun is shining and it’s going to be a sunny day. Think of your compatriots in the UK, Brexit, football, miserable weather, the possibility of only one political party and the price of a drink very likely to go up in the forthcoming weeks.
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Waxing Lyrical

Our next show, on Saturday 16th July, is Waxing Lyrical, the fascinating story of Mme Tussaud and how she survived the French Revolution and toured England with her travelling wax cabinet for 33 years before creating her now legendary museum in London's Baker Street.

It is written and performed by 
Judith Paris (who brought us A Fine Line last year), who gives us another tour-de-force performance as the tough and talented woman who arrived in England in 1802 as a single parent to her four-year-old son and without a word of English.
Described as "sophisticated, compelling and unusual" (What's On Stage), this production was originally directed by Gillian Lynne, whose credits include Cats and Phantom of the Opera, and is sure to provide a memorable theatrical experience.

The performance begins at the later time of 8pm and you are welcome to join us for a picnic in the garden (or in the foyer if the weather is bad) before the show. Please bring your own picnic basket (including cutlery, plates etc). The usual selection of drinks will be available at the bar from 6pm(Please don't bring your own wine because we rely on bar sales to ensure we break even!)
To book your tickets, please email

€ 15 Non-Members € 20
N.B. your reservation will only be confirmed on receipt of your cheque

Julie Pearson FET Bookings and Membership Secretary
Belle Combe, 81170 Frausseilles. Tarn

a summing up

Hi Val,
this one neatly sums it all up I think, sad eh?

Nous sommes le mardi vingt huit juin

The sun is shining, Malc is feeling blue about the football. We are both feeling blue at the drop of the pound at an all time low, the lowest in 31 years. Well done all those who voted leave and did not listen to economists, banks and financial institutions around the world.
Racial attacks happening all over the UK, and many voters are saying " we voted leave but did not think it would happen and now I wish I had thought more"
One person delighted in the downfall of Cameron as if this was even in the debate, the debate was about our place in the world in a strong Europe. Oh! the fools, the racists, the downright out of touch with the real world. No patience with any one who voted leave, I work too hard helping others to encourage the downright nasty uncaring attitudes of selfish folks.
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Monday, 27 June 2016

On at Milhars


Pour la prochaine séance ciné à Milhars, nous vous donnons rendez-vous le

pour découvrir le dernier film de Bruno Dumont :

« Ma Loute » 
Avec Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche et Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi.

Ce film a été présenté au dernier Festival de Cannes.

This is very funny, unfortunately.

If you haven't seen this click to play and see the truth about Britain and the EU. And laugh at its so apt explanation.
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On becoming French

Ann sent me an email reminding us that although people can help with the simple French forms and you will not have an exam, you will still need to have an "oral chat" with the prefecture and the gendarmes, so a competent level of French will be needed.
But surely after the 5 years living here, everyone will of course have conversational French!
Malc read the email Ann, told me about it but I cannot find it anywhere.(found it, and it says much the same as above).
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A good thought from Ginny

Dear Val

Your reader who does not want to get their French citizenship because they are British should rest assured that they will have dual nationality - we would not have take French citizenship otherwise. No one who has British citizenship through right of birth can loose it, it is only those who have aquired it that can have it removed from them and that is only for specific offenses against the state such as terrorism.

So continue with the Yorkshire tea, tomato ketchup, marmite and fish and chips as now but have a right to vote in the elections in the country you live in and complain in a way that only a national can


A lovely garden

Dear Val,
Would you be able to include this invitation on taglines ?
Just in case anyone is struggling with an optimistic vision of the future ……and a wander around our mad, colourful garden and gallery  would help to restore just a little equilibrium,  please feel free to call in over the weekend.  We would be glad to see you.
Details below.
Many thanks,

Quiet start for the sales

The summer sales (soldes) opened this weekend and traders reported a quiet start. In Toulouse shops were able to open on Sunday in exception to the usual rules, but only about 40% of the shops took advantage and most of the large supermarkets remained closed.
Perhaps the fact that the weather was good, making stay-at-home barbecues a more attractive proposition, had a bearing, but also the Euro 2016 fixtures with France playing at 3pm and also in Toulouse the Belgium-Hungary match live attracting thousands of supporters may have contributed.
The sales will continue for the next couple of weeks.
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"We will not accept the referendum result"

Not another bunch of Remainers fed up with the Brexit result, but a spokesman for the Zadists at the site of the proposed new Nantes airport. A referendum was held in the Loire-Atlantique department yesterday to gauge public opinion in the area on the airport project. In a turn-out of 52% the plan was accepted by 55% to 45%.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that work will start in the autumn and that the protestors must leave the site before that. They, on the other hand, will continue to occupy the site and do not accept that the referendum has validity.
Perhaps we should follow their lead and occupy Nigel Farage's garden.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt sept

Greeted by a lovely sunny morning, I went out singing , pushing worries about the EU temporarily behind me.
The donkeys started twitching their ears and then all started noisily heehawing, it was amazing.
 What a wonderful chorus.
I just wish I knew if they were joining in or in pain with my singing.
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This is where we live.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A sad note

Anyone who is serving on a French council at the moment from the Uk will not be able to stand for election again. I have just read a post where a councillor of 10 years has been told by her Mayor that she would not be eligible to stand at the next election.
Maybe that is why Mimi, your Mayor is suggesting you take out French nationality, he would not want to lose Kevin.
There are going to be more repercussions of this vote for us.

Applying for French citizenship
For those who worry their French is not up to the mark, apparently over 60 years old and your language skills are not tested.
If you need help filling in the forms Jacynth Crozier mentioned in the side bar will give help translating etc.
You can also keep your English passport and have dual nationality.
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Seen in a book shop window in St. Antonin

Can it be reversed?

Hi Val
I don't think we should throw in the towel & look to becoming French as yet, not until article 50 has been invoked. We must fight for the rights that have been potentially denied us from votes cast on lies & misinformation. Sign the petition today & pass it on. We must call for a second referendum, with positivity & intelligence we can make it happen.

Val says personally I think Boris and co. have picked up a poisoned chalice and now I think they must drink from it. I would love it to be different but fear we are on the brink.
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A bleak future without French nationality?

Hi Val
The Mayor of Verfeil has told us that he will wholeheartedly support our application for French citizenship, how lovely of him, the trouble is we don't want to be French citizens, we like being British, but he knows that when all the dust has settled we will not be able to continue here and remain British.
I can't imagine what actual positive effect leaving the EU will have on the average person in the UK, but I hope it has been worth it, because it is potentially devastating for us.
I think there were a lot of people who voted out as if it were X Factor and they were just supporting the underdog, now they are shocked that their vote actually meant something real and important.
They fell for the line that 300 million a week would go to the NHS, now Farage is distancing himself from that statement.
What other promises were made to be broken?
The Mayor of Calais is dropping the border to allow the Refugees at Sangatte into the UK, so the anti immigration promises look a bit flimsy now.
Say goodbye to cheap European travel, extra airport taxes, visas, exchange rates, its all going to add to the cost.
In return it's going to hit the British tourist industry the same way, Europeans will no longer be able to travel to Britain on Identity cards, therefore they will have to get passports, they are not going to bother with that so they will stick to Europe.
All in all it's a balls up, good and proper.

Val says we were happy to be European, our birthright was British... but we have lived here in France 15 years full time. Our grandchildren call me " French Grandma" perhaps now it is time to become French. At least then we will be able to fight the war against Marine Le Pen and racisist attitudes here and in the ballot box.
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BAC 2016: is it too hard?

Students have been complaining that some of the papers are too hard. To make things worse the Ministry of Education pointed out that a printing error in the maths paper made one question impossible.
In the French paper they were asked to comment on Anatole France's work; they did not have to have studied the works of the Edwardian period author, but comment on a text. Many could not decide whether Anatole France's gender influenced the opinion as they had no idea if the author was a man or woman. One student commented that "Anatole - France" sounded like a football match.
The English comprehension passage described Manhattan in the pre-WWI era. Students were asked to say in which city the events took place and describe how it has changed in the time since. The problems were that the passage contained many architectural words and although they were not being asked for a translation many students could not understand. Nor did many know that Manhattan is in New York, United States.
An on-line petition has been set up to call for the cancellation of the paper.
One teacher was amazed that they could watch "CSI Manhattan" and not grasp that it was set in NY.
French lyceens have been protesting against the new labour laws - perhaps a bit more time studying might have helped - or is that just old-fogeyness?
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What to do with old mining sites

At Cagnes les Mines, just north of Albi, old open cast mines have been turned into a open air leisure and water sports complex; others have been turned into nature reserves; here in Varen the vast quarry now houses thousands of photovoltaic panels producing electricity for the grid. The inhabitants of Rayssac. a Tarn village to the south east of Albi, imagined that when the mines closed 10 years ago they would have a tranquil life away from the noise and dirt of open cast mining. The loss of jobs is always a concern, but no enterprise came forward to exploit the site. Until now.
A British couple living in the village for some years revealed plans to open a military style training camp. Specialising in teaching private security firms, especially in marine protection, the company called Solgarde has won approval for its plans to start training in small and assault weapons. The Ministry for the Environment is not opposed and local gendarmeries may use the facility. The local maire has given the green light.
But all of this was without the knowledge of local inhabitants, who were informed at a public meeting a couple of weeks ago. The ex-marine in charge of the operation has refused to comment and local villagers are concerned that the proximity of such weapons will be a danger to them, their children and animals, as well as the noise and traffic implications. They have formed an association to take action in the courts.
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Nous sommes le dimanche vingt six juin

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Asylum granted, never ending forms

Malc and I went to see Malik and Hussain this morning. The pair had all their asylum documents on the table and we spent time discussing a few documents they did not understand.
We left with smiles after seeing these lovely lads but smiles between each other as we said, "our next job is filling in all these forms and going for similar interviews."
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Just signed Tony

Hi Val
For those out there disgusted, annoyed, upset, embarrassed or anything else by the result of the recent referendum, you could always vent your spleen by joining the petition for a second referendum by going on the link below.
It has no chance of succeeding but it might just make you feel a little better!!!

Another from Laura

Hi Val

As we said ... the xenophobes never thought this one out did they?!!! x
Val says
Well it is only fair!

A petition worth signing, if nothing else to show our disapproval and despair

Hi Val
This is worth a shot in our hour of despair.
Laura x

I have just signed Laura
Laura says again
Just watch those figures going up it's incredible. We are so utterly gutted as I'm sure you are too that communication has been impossible, just stunned into silence as if a dearest friend has died. xx

Perceptions from around the World

Poundland ?

A letter in today's Times
"It is now surely unthinkable that we can continue to call our country the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The only thing uniting us is our currency. Perhaps Poundland would be more appropriate."
David Jones, London W11
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Dear Val,
Having read some of the posts on the appalling decision to leave the EU, can I just point out that there seems to be extreme confusion about which part of the UK is actually involved?
We have had 'England' - completely forgetting about the Welsh, the Scots and the Northern Irish; we have had 'Great Britain', which is the geographical description of the island that is England, Wales and Scotland (including islands); and finally we have the United Kingdom, which is the political entity comprising the above, plus Northern Ireland
It is the United Kingdom which is currently part of the European Union. However, the Scots and the Northern Irish did not vote to leave. This disastrous outcome may well lead to the fragmentation of the union of our kingdom, which we have had in place since 1800.
I object to the description of people who voted to leave as 'the great unwashed'! Statistics show that actually it was the over 65s who had a greater proportion of 'BREXITERS'. The younger generation, whom it most affects, were more likely to vote to remain. They feel betrayed today, as do the Scots and the Irish. 
The whole exercise was misguided and poorly thought out by Cameron, who is probably ruing the day he ever instigated this sorry affair and its unexpected outcome.
We shall see what the future brings.

and another from M

Hi Val & Mal, with all the concern regarding expats including employed or retired over here, do you think it would be helpful to suggest a meeting to discuss the situation. Maybe the British Consul in Montauban/Toulouse could attend to answer any questions that people might have. I am sure many are worried about the future over here in France and a meeting such as this might help. What do you think about a meeting?     I would rather you not put my name to this suggestion.  Regards, M

Drop the dead donkey

Remember that ?
Drop the Dead Donkey is a situation comedy that first aired on Channel 4in the United Kingdom between 1990 and 1998. It is set in the offices of "GlobeLink News", a fictional TV news company. Recorded close to transmission, it made use of contemporary news events to give the programme a greater sense of realism. It was created by Andy Hamiltonand Guy Jenkin. The series had an ensemble cast, making stars of Haydn GwynneStephen Tompkinson and Neil Pearson.
Val says you will be relieved to hear that Filou, the big ugly chap is just resting, but he gives you a turn as he goes so completely flat out.

Baroque concert today in Varen

16h15 this afternoon in the lovely parish church of Varen is the rendez-vous for a concert by the students of Diane Charriere-Latour's baroque music classes.
The choir includes local singers and judging from previous years' performances it is a date not to miss.
Choir members
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Nous sommes le samedi vingt cinq juin

Trying to be positive but it is not easy.
It is not just our position here in France that is at risk but our Great Britain is no more great. Scotland will want a referendum and they will want to stay in Europe and why not.( and possibly even Northern Ireland)
Receiving lots of messages from French friends who are also very upset with the result. Many welcoming our idea to take out French nationality and offering help if needed.
Facebooks friends, many talking of taking out French nationality.
Thinking positive?? how can we, it is a disaster for the UK.
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Friday, 24 June 2016

Occitanie, we like it

One good thing on this sad day friends in France. It has been agreed that Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrenees will now be called Occitanie, which I think sounds rather nice.
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Sad day indeed

Hi val,
The great unwashed have made their decision,the right wingers ,and racists are gleeful.The people who will suffer the most from this are the very majority who voted out.sad day indeed.
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Latest pictures from the channel tunnel

brocante tomorrow

In the streets of St. Antonin tomorrow, vide grenier / brocante
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Even the birds have quit

Having followed the progress of our baby kestrels over the last few weeks we have now seen them quit the nest and take their freedom. (kexit?)
It seems that there were only two fledglings this time rather the usual four or five. It has been suggested that the mother was a young bird leading to a smaller brood, but this is conjecture.
Equally unusually we have not seen the fledged birds. Normally they stay around a few days in the acacia tree by the house or in a dead chestnut in the woods, but this time we have not seen them about, so we hope they are OK.
checking the world outside

Trying out the flight gear
This is the way to do it
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt quatre juin

Friday 24th of June and a very sad day for the UK.
Today the UK have voted to part from the European Union.
The pound falls and we are all left wondering where we stand in the future here in France. Children at school, people with work and business here, many elderly worried about future health care.
The small minded and fearful won the day.
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Do not forget this one in the halle at St. Antonin

Late news on the Nicaragua circus is that there is a performance in St Antonin, in the market hall, at 18.30 in  the evening of Sunday 26th. 

Ideas and useful numbers for the holidays

Canoë Loisirs
1 Place de Pradel

Evasion Canoë
Chemin de Fontalès

Les Vélos de Josette
Location de velo, stepper, velo electrique
tel 0627420610

Parc accrobranche
tel 0760355314
new in 2016
10 euros children, 20 euros adults

Grotte du bosc

Château de Penne
tel 0563557109  ou 0623829422

Memories linger on

Hi Val
talking about Henk the man with the bikes.
He was a babe in his mother's  arms when they fled Singapore. He has a book (in Dutch) written by one of the nurses ( I think) who was also in the camp. I don't read Dutch but I am sure that he has early memories of those days. .
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Train strike here today

... and possibly another on Tuesday.
The sales start in the shops this week end.
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt trois juin

A big day for us all today, will we stay or will we go.
Through the night there was quite a wind, of the three flags in the grange it was the European flag which blew down... symbolic or what?
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