Sunday, 24 September 2017

Pigeon shoot banned

Each year the maire of Beaumont de Lomagne (T&G) has authorised selected chasseurs to shoot pigeons in the town as a method of reducing numbers. The commune even supplies the ammunition and up to 5000 birds have been eradicated this way.
Pic: Serge Dijan

Now the public prosecutor has warned that allowing guns to be fired in the town like this is a danger to the rest of the population and must end. The maire claims that pigeons cost the commune about 10000 euros a year in cleaning costs and without the cull it would be worse.
The production of cereal crops around the town is attracting the birds, giving rise to spectacular flight displays each morning and evening. The maire contends that the "other methods" advised by the procureuse simply will not work. And imagine how much the chasseurs enjoy a clay pigeon shoot - with real pigeons!
On the other hand some residents seem to be subverting the efforts by feeding the birds and allowing them to perch in their attics.
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Nous sommes le dimanche vingt quatre septembre

Mrs May does not speak for me. I am happy to live in the EU and be European and have always felt comfortable being European.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Galileo at FET

It seems obvious to us at the start of the 21st century that the Earth goes round the Sun and not vice versa. But only 400 years ago a man was put on trial in Rome for suggesting that the Sun was the centre of the universe, and not the Earth.

That man was Galileo, a Florentine mathematician and astronomer who proved (to his own satisfaction) that Copernicus was right when he asserted that the Sun was the centre of our universe. Others had claimed the same, though without “proof”. Oddly, to our view, proof was the last thing the church wanted. “Proof” was a human construct, whereas the church knew the opposite was true – the scriptures said so.

In a riveting FET production at the Colombier theatre last night, RSC actor Tim Hardy illuminated the trial of Galileo before an Inquisition court. Never really saying what the trial was for: not heresy; not spreading Copernican views; simply contradicting the edict (written post facto) that such views were heretical.

For an hour the actor displayed a range of emotions and reactions as Galileo tried to convince us and the court (even Pope Urban himself) that he had done nothing wrong, but had added to human knowledge of the world in which we live. One complaint the church had was that Galileo’s book was written in Italian, the language of the common people (the trial was of course in Latin) and the writer reflected that by putting Hardy’s lines in 21st century language, easier to spread the influence of the heretic, easier for us to grasp the argument in this essentially philosophical play.

This was a thought-provoking performance rightly praised throughout the theatrical universe – isn’t it a pity that such fundamentalist attitudes still persist in Christianity and Islam. The scriptures were a great basis for our values, but surely not to be swallowed wholesale because priests and imams say so.

A promising start to FET’s 2017/18 season.

Drill and grinder for sale

Hi Val.
Makita 2 speed hammer drill HP2051.65 euros.Angle grinder 220w 230mm.45euros.
Thanks again Derek
Email address on the post below

Framing equipment with better photos

If you look at an earlier post all this picture framing equipment is being offered for 200 euros, original cost was 700
There  are 17 sheets of Mountboard(815mm x 1200mm)and a full ream of backing board.
Contact Derek 
if interested, email address is

Elections tomorrow

Readers will probably not have noticed that tomorrow there will be elections for the French parliament's upper chamber, the Senate. There are 348 senators, elected for six years and half the senate is renewed every three years. But there are no public elections as candidates are voted for by "grands electeurs", ie holders of elected public office, such as maires and departmental councillors.
Voting is compulsory in those seats up for renewal and about 75000 officials will be voting.
The Senate has a role very similar to the House of Lords in the UK, examining laws proposed by the Assembly and in the case of  local issues (affecting communes, departments or regions) the Senate may propose laws itself. Whilst senators are usually members of political parties, the senate elections are not generally fought on party lines. President Macron will be hoping that some candidates from his party will be elected, but the majority held by the right leaning Les Republicans will probably be unchanged as more than half of their 142 seats are not up for re-election. The Front National will be hoping for some success in the north east seats where Macron failed to convince voters during earlier elections and the socialists will be grateful for any seats.
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Nous sommes le samedi vingt trois septembre

Friday, 22 September 2017

Anyone for bridge?

A group of mainly British card players (though other English speakers are more than welcome) meet each Thursday afternoon in Caylus to play duplicate bridge. The atmosphere is very informal, though we take it seriously. We welcome beginners and can arrange practice sessions if required. The most we can accommodate on any evening is about 20, though usually far fewer actually play.
Sessions usually run from 5pm until 9pm at the latest and there are often players looking for an occasional or permanent partner, especially in the winter months when many players return to the UK, or head to Spain. We play in the Bar Bascule so liquid refreshments are available, coffee only 1 euro a cup. Car sharing from St Antonin or Varen/Verfeil can be arranged.
So if you like the challenge of a good card game and one that stretches you mind more than gin rummy why not give us a try.
Contact Malcolm Johnstone on 0689 96 66 95 or email

T&G Senator prosecuted

Yves Collin is a Senator for Tarn and Garonne accused of using his position to get someone a job in exchange for 40000 euros, ostensibly to finance an election campaign. It is claimed that he did not honour the deal and even pocketed the money.
Yves Collin: photo Remi Gabalda/AFP

In a plot worthy of a Jeffrey Archer novel it is claimed that his rival, Jean-Michel Baylet (whom Collin beat in the 2014 Senatorial elections), used connections in the Montauban masonic lodge of which Collin and the supposed "corruptor" were both members to denounce the affair to the authorities.
The case is being heard in Lyon to avoid local bias and the prosecutor has demanded a sentence of 4 years in prison, with two suspended, and 30000 euro fine. The court has reserved judgement until 3rd November.
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Autumn equinox

Today is the last day which will be longer than the night. From today the nights will be "drawing in". Speaking to a postman yesterday he said it will soon be winter, and when Malc pointed out it was a beautiful sunny day the postie replied "it wont last". What a pessimist! We have a whole autumn to go which can often be beautiful before winter (which is not necessarily all bad). So no winter drawers on just yet, thank you.
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Rats in the belfry

We have a problem with rats in the grenier, the attic in the house. We sit on a night cringing at the scrapping and scratching with the cats interestedly looking up to the beams and wooden ceiling.
We cannot let the cats up there as it is stuffed with fibre glass insulation.
The only answer a we have tried traps without success is to put sachets of poison up there.
My big fear is that the rats die up there and smell terrible as they rot but even worse they come and die outside and make the cats ill by eating the rats carcasse.
Yesterday I found Fred starting to eat a rat on the grassy bank up to the house. Just in time I caught Fred, put him in the house whilst I disposed of the body. yuk! 
One of the joys of country living, but 3 cats and two dogs we should not have a rat problem, but the pets are too well fed to do their job properly.

Hi Val
Are you sure they are rats in the loft and not loirs ?
If you Google this PIÈGE À RAT 300 MM FIXMAN 196052  you will find suppliers of a suitable trap for Loirs (and rats) which you then release a few km away from the house.  No dead ones in the loft bringing flies and smells and no poison to risk the cats.  Set the trap with a piece of fruit such as apple.  Loirs don’t eat rat poison sachets as far as I understand.
Best regards

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt deux septembre

Ça bouge à Verfeil

Thursday, 21 September 2017

L'Oreal heiress dies

Liliane Bettencourt was France's richest woman, having inherited the cosmetic company founded by her father in 1909. L'Oreal has been the world's leading company in the cosmetic trade for the last 30 years and Mme Bettencourt has been the richest woman in the world for much of that time.
A controversial figure for most of her life, Ms Bettencourt has been embroiled in a legal battle with her daughter foe several years, her family considering that her state of mind was being exploited by unscrupulous advisers, who syphoned of billions of euros. Courts eventually granted her daughter guardianship and the heiress died today aged 94.
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Mist in the valley morning

A lovely morning walk in the sun with the mist swirling down below in the valley.

More things for sale

Hi Val.
Hope you both are well.Some more items for sale and free.The free items (I would like the persons taking them to contribute to your pet charity)include 3 tripods,2 office chairs.Also I would like to sell,2 angle poise lamps(brass finish)50 euros the 2.A slightly bizarre item,an escape ladder steel.We bought it for our son when he was at uni,the accomadation was a fire risk.Fortunatly it has never been used.25 euroes.An even more usual item,I used to frame all Barbara`s paintings but since she cannot paint anymore(she macular digeneration) i have no need of the equipment.I have everthing needed for framing and materials as well.It could be used commercialy or domesticly.Could be a new buisness for someone.The cost new for all the equipment and materials would be over 700euros my asking price is just 200euros.These 2 items are slightly unusual don`t you think.
Kind regards Derek

Split at top of Front National

Florian Phillipot, the vice president of the Front National, has resigned from the party. A couple of days after being relieved of his responsibilities for policy, he claims being "vice-president of nothing" leaves him open to ridicule, for which he has no taste.
After the debacle of the presidential election and humiliation of Marine le Pen, many supporters claimed the policy of "de-diabolisation" was going too far and his pro-EU stance was wrong. He formed his own think-tank to consider ideas and policies nearer to traditional Gaullism for the far right party in its aim to rid itself of its poisonous image.
The party, however, still has its core of hard nationalist and fascist leaning supporters, and Phillipot was recently pilloried on Twitter for choosing to eat couscous instead of choucroute when he was in Alsace. This kind of petty nationalism shows how far the party has to go to rid itself of its septic base.
And heaven forbid that there be any homophobic element of opposition to the party's gay ex vice-president.
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt et un septembre

This chilly, beautifully clear morning presages another "day of action", with many members of some unions taking to the streets against the government's new labour laws.
We at Mas del Sol are hoping for a day of "inaction". Naturally a few "taxi" journeys for boys, but a restaurant for lunch, a walk for the dogs, a bit of gardening, even an evening of playing cards for the sub-editor. With a warm sunny afternoon forecast maybe even a bit of sun-bathing.
Allez-y, enjoy your day despite the possible traffic jams and office closures.
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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Theatre and vide grenier at Espinas

Samedi 30 sept. à 20h30 théâtre à voir en famille, par la troupe amateur de Blaye Les Mines (titre " Quel weekend!");entrée 5€ à partir de 12 ans; soupe au fromage offerte après la pièce ( a treat!!! really).
Dimanche 1er oct. vide-grenier de particuliers dans le village ( 2€/mètre. contact /
tous nos remerciements
Nadette et Sami
et le Comité des fêtes

Many of the French do not like the chasse

Some lovely homes in the area

One thing about being invited to help clear houses as people leave for England is you do get to look at some beautiful French houses.
This morning it was a large village house not too far from Albi, with a small garden and swimming pool.
Perhaps too large for us when we do eventually  downsize but it certainly was a lovely house. It is odd how you look at each house and fancy living there, until you remember dogs, cats and donkeys.
One can see why in summer immobiliers get fed up of showing holiday makers around who have nointention of  buying, they just enjoy looking and perhaps getting ideas how to decorate their home to remind them of their French holiday.

Sebastien Bras to give up Michelin stars

Sebastien Bras
Le Suquet restaurant in Laguiole is the only 3 star Michelin establishment in the old Midi Pyrenees region. Established by Michel Bras in 1992 and with 3 Michelin stars since 1999, it is 10 years since Sebastien took over the reins.
Now he says he has asked Michelin not to include the restaurant in the 2018 guide. He considers that so much stress is placed on chefs and restaurants to maintain the standard that it distracts from the everyday job of providing fine food for their customers.
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An appeal to English speakers in and around the Gaillac area/region

Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise ( Surviving cancer is possible – but not without research, and not without YOU

Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise is a Gaillac-based (81) association that was founded with the single aim of raising money for cancer research at the Claudius Regaud Institute, Toulouse.  Every €Euro raised by us is given to the Centre, and every centime is used by them in fundamental research into the causes of, and treatments for, cancer.
We all know of someone who has been affected by this terrible illness: and if you would like to give a little time to help us raise money to fight cancer, please contact us.

The association has become out of balance of French/English participants.
This is due to a number of reasons but mainly health issues and so we are looking for more English people to help us and who might bring some fresh ideas for us too.

We are not a regimented association as such, we are very relaxed and easy about what we do, how often we meet and what events we put on.
Our main fund raiser is an event held at the Salle des Fetes in Gaillac usually in February. Next 2018 it's the 3rd February. We have a English garden Party in the summer.  We try to have a Xmas fair and an occasional English book selling event.
Think you can help?  Spare a little time?
In the first instance call Martin, 06 46 60 67 81;  just for a chat and to see if this is something that can tempt you to make some extra time out of your busy schedule.
If you could we would be most grateful.


Nous sommes " out this morning"

It is the 20th, Wednesday and Malc is taking one boy to the Drs, another afterwards for an RDV. 
I am going with another picking up furniture for apartments. 
More from us later.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Reports of death "exaggerated"

Famously Mark Twain said press reports of his death were exaggerated, but for an Albi man when the police said he was dead it led to more serious consequences. Pension payments suspended; bank account frozen; driving licence invalid; the whole panoply of administrative nightmares kicked in.
In fact Louis Palacios had allowed a homeless man to live in his caravan for some years and when his lifeless body was found neighbours assumed it was Louis and the police declared him to be deceased.
Now the late M Palacios has to go to court to overturn the death certificate, but it takes time and meantime he  has to try to get by pretending to be alive.
You may find that media reports of deaths are not always correct (the boulanger lives on) but if the police say you are dead - you are!
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Better be quick / SOLD

hi Val.
Hope you are both well.
Another item for you to sell.Singer Sewing Machine .Type Tradition 2273.Unwanted gift only used once.85 euros.
Kind Regards Derek

Repairing a reversible aircon

Is there anyone local who is qualified to repair a clim reversible? The house is in Saint Antonin. We have had two local people promise to turn up however haven’t.

If so can you email

Many thanks and much appreciated,


Ryanair flights

Amongst the 2000 flights cancelled by Ryanair from now until the end of October are just a few to Toulouse, mainly Saturday flights in October from Stansted. There are some Brussels/Toulouse flights affected, so best check with Ryanair if you are planning a trip. If you already have a flight booked Ryanair say they will contact you by email if it is cancelled but a full list is available on their website, which is currently difficult to access, but presumably will free up later.
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Is your printer really out of ink?

Those readers, as well as Taglines' editors, who regularly get messages indicating that their printer is out of ink may have noticed that by and large you can ignore it. In practice many printers continue to give good results long after they are supposed to be out of ink.
Perhaps it is like your car's fuel gauge which generally has fuel left when the warning light comes on (about 8 litres on our cars). But the printers dont say "you have 50 impressions left", simply "change your cartridge".
This is considered by a French association to be "planned obsolescence" and it is bringing a complaint against several companies under a law passed in 2015. Not only cartridges, but printers themselves are targetted, many considered to break down after a short time in order to boost sales of new products. The law provides for fines up to 300000 euros and two years imprisonment, but lawyers believe that proof will be very hard to find, so it will be interesting to see how the first case of its kind resolves.
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First aid: premiers secours

A day course of first aid will be given on Saturday 23rd September at the pompier centre in Laguepie.
Cost 60 euros, lunch not included (remember no restaurants open in Laguepie on Saturday lunchtime). Inscriptions with Marcia Scott at or 0563 02 18 02

Nous sommes le mardi dix neuf septembre

The weather is changing slowly this week, getting sunnier, Malc tells me.
Our two cats sit deciding if it is going to shower, in which case they will stay in. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Just the best news

One good story after another
That's my boy
Well actually he is everybodys' boy. 
We first met Rahim  when he made friends with one of our Rehoboth boys at a CADA beyond Montauban.
When one of our lads went there I thought " who do I know who lives close?" and by a stroke of luck  Jacky Malotaux lived nearby. She took both boys under her wing and when through  an error Rahim ended up on the streets in Toulouse, Jacky went with a tent, some provisions and a bike. We all wondered what we could do for him and were delighted when Anais Rondeau, head of the refugees arranged for him live with the young people of Verfeil, who run a commune.
This is now their story, they have housed him, fed him, got him back into the system, raised money for a lawyer and given regular French lessons.
Rahim on his part has become a darling of the village, helping where he can. From never going to a school he has learnt to speak and write French, no mean feat.
For my part I can rely on him when I am collecting furniture for boys apartments to meet me at 9 am and work hard for as long as I need him.
Last week he said to me " I love this village, I want to live here forever with my wife and kids The people here have been so kind and after all the terrible things in my life I am at last happy."
Those young people of Verfeil have worked miracles on his behalf and I can tell you this he will never forget what they have done for him.
The picture was a day we went out, none of the others turned up but Rahim insisted we could manage just the two of us and bear in my mind I only drive the car and trailer.
Encore une belle nouvelle
C’est mon garçon.
En fait, il est le garçon de tout le monde.
Nous avons rencontré Rahim quand il est devenu l’ami  d’un de nos garçons de Rehoboth dans une CADA près de Montauban.
Quand un de nos garçons est allé là-bas, j'ai pensé "qui connais-je qui vit à proximité?" et d'un coup de chance, Jacky Malotaux habitait à proximité. Elle a pris les deux garçons sous son aile et, quand par une erreur, Rahim a fini dans les rues de Toulouse, Jacky y est allé avec une tente, des provisions et un vélo. Nous nous sommes tous demandés ce que nous pourrions faire pour lui et nous avons été ravis quand Anaïs Rondeau, le responsable des réfugiés, a arrangé qu’il pourrait vivre parmi les jeunes de Verfeil, qui dirigent une communité.
La suite de l'histoire est là : ils l'ont logé, l'ont nourri, l'ont réinséré dans le système, recueilli de l'argent pour un avocat et donné des cours de français réguliers.
Rahim de sa part est devenu un chouchou du village, aidant où il peut.  Jamais scolarisé, il a appris à parler et à écrire le français, un exploit formidable.
Pour ma part, je peux compter sur lui lorsque je collectionne des meubles pour les appartements des garçons, à me rencontrer dès 9 heures et travailler dur aussi longtemps que j'ai besoin de lui.
La semaine dernière, il m'a dit:  « J'adore ce village, je veux vivre ici pour toujours avec ma femme et mes enfants. Les gens ici ont été si gentils et, après toutes les choses terribles dans ma vie,  je suis enfin heureux »
Ces jeunes de Verfeil ont fait des miracles de sa part et je peux vous dire qu'il n'oubliera jamais ce qu'ils ont fait pour lui.
La photo a été un jour où nous sommes sortis, aucun des autres n’étant se présenté, mais Rahim a insisté que nous puissions nous débrouiller nous deux et rendez-vous compte que moi je ne fais que conduire la voiture et remorque.

The "bilan" mounts

The latest hunting incident where a 13 year old boy was killed by  his grandfather in the Vendée.
In the same weekend an 11year old shot and seriously injured by his father. This time in the Var.
All chassing incidents.
There is a link to sign a petition against the chasse in the post.

[#CHASSE] Aujourd'hui dimanche 17 septembre, en Vendée, un garçon de 13 ans est mort d’un coup de fusil en pleine tête : son propre grand-père est à l'origine du tir !...
Dans le même temps dans le Var, un chasseur de 49 ans a été légèrement blessé, avec son fils de 11 ans, lui grièvement touché. Selon les premiers éléments de l’enquête, ils ont reçu "un projectile unique tiré par le chef de traque". Pour l'heure le pronostic vital du garçonnet est encore engagé.
La place des enfants n'est pas à la chasse !!! #AccidentdeChasse #Drame #InsécuritéLiéeÀLaChasse #DimancheSansChasse
Les Français ont peur de la chasse, et 8 sur 10 souhaitent son interdiction le dimanche.
✍ Signez et partagez la pétition
⛔ Libérez vos terrains de la chasse avec l'#ASPAS >>
💪 Rejoignez l'ASPAS >>
📒 Découvrez le livre "Comment se promener dans les bois sans se faire tirer dessus" >>

Autumn Fete at Espinas

Samedi 30 sept. à 20h30 théâtre à voir en famille, par la troupe amateur de Blaye Les Mines (titre "Quel weekend!");entrée 5€ à partir de 12 ans; soupe au fromage offerte après la pièce ( a treat!!! really).
Dimanche 1er oct. vide-grenier de particuliers dans le village ( 2€/mètre. contact /

Just a happy story

A happy story
For about two years the local dog assoc has been trying to rehome Happy
A lovely dog but with a problem that he gets so attached to his owner that he nips the odd visitor. A couple of people have tried with him but he has come back each time.
Ken lost his wife recently, then a month later his retriever died- which made him feel life was not worth living.
Today as I drove along I spotted Happy and stopped to introduce myself to Ken
Ken says he took on Happy and now his life has changed around, suddenly life is worth living again. The pair are devoted to each other. He did add Happy had given the odd nip or two to visitors but nothing serious. What a great story, made my day. Ken did invite me for coffee and I hope 
I can find time to go

Honey for tea

Talking to a young apiculteur this morning he said his normal yield was down by about 40%. He was about to start to prepare jars for the 3.5 tonnes of product, though much of it is sold wholesale in 300 litre containers.
The weather this year has been the main factor affecting yields and agriculteurs have planted crops which have limited amounts of useful pollen. The main crop is rape, which often produces a harder honey, but the wild sources (chestnut; lime and acacia) also seem to have produced less blossom.
All that, of course, coupled with bee-keepers' worries with industrial insecticides which may be responsible for decimating hives.
Many of you plant "bee friendly" gardens and meadows which must help - but we have no say in the weather.
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Going nuts in September

Apparently Gers and Tarn and Garonne are France's major producers of hazel nuts (noisettes). Grown industrially in France during the past 40 years, production is now the seventh highest in the world. And most are grown locally. They are harvested between August and November, preferably when the ground is dry because large machines sweep the ground to gather up the fallen fruits.
Different varieties are used either for confectionery or as edible nuts or ground for flour.
Here the Laguepie chestnut (chataigne) fair in October reminds us that this was once the most important area for that crop and the many walnut (noix) trees  planted in gardens are another sign that it is an important area for nuts.
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Nous sommes le lundi dix-huit septembre

A wet and dull morning, but meteo France reckons it will brighten later and the week could turn out fine.
Seems like a good time to be thinking of dancing classes, with classic and tap, line dancing and Lindy Hop classes all on offer these next couple of weeks.
For classic and tap courses are offered at Gaillac and St Antonin from Wednesday 20th September
For  details

A La salle de danse de St Antonin
Le Samedi 

- 15H30 / 17h: Danse Jazz (niveau intermediaire) 

- 17h15 / 18h15 : Claquettes débutant 

Un Dimanche matin sur deux de 10h à 12h : Claquettes (intermédiaire) 

A la MJC Gaillac

Le Mercredi

-18h15 /19h15 : Claquettes débutant

- 19h15 / 20h30 : Claquettes intermédiaire

Stage de Percussions corporelles les Dimanche 15 Octobre, 17 décembre, 17 Février, 14 Avril

Horaires: 10h30 /12h30

Début des cours le 20 sept a Gaillac et le 23 a St ANTONIN...
contact : rigou julie <>