Thursday, 18 January 2018

A head for heights needed

Climbers attack the ramparts: pic France 3
The task of keeping the walls of Carcassonne free of invasive plants and checking for damaged joints is a continual process. Over the course of three years the skilled climbers check every part of the 1000 year old walls. With over 2 million visitors each year keeping the walls safe is a paramount exercise.
Readers may recall that the intrepid climbers donned their harnesses and ropes to stabilise the cliff side at Laguepie last year, safeguarding houses below and enabling the footpath up to the chateau to be re-opened.
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Ryanair hub at Toulouse?

The Irish airline announced that it wants to create four hubs in France in a bid to double its passengers from 10 million to 20 million by 2020. Amongst the centres under consideration is Toulouse (Lyon the other southern candidate). The airline has moved several of its flights to Toulouse in recent years from other regional airports such as Rodez, but has no planes based in France. Staff, including pilots, will be employed on local contracts and decisions are likely to be made at the end of 2018.
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Nous sommes le jeudi dix huit janvier

Weather for ducks !
Yet another drizzly damp morning. I supposed we should not complain, it is fairly mild when there is no wind and the snow in the UK makes us glad we are not there.
We have the blacksmith coming this morning and I see one of our boys has been out clearing donkey pooh in preparation for his visit.
Thanks to the two friends who are doing trips to Caussade and back to take the other two of our boys to the Prefecture. They get the train from Caussade to Montauban.
Apart from the marechal ferrant we have an easy day, yippee!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

To help a young family from Syria

A new Syrian family at Penne, the second Syrian family at Penne
Today Veronique came for some of or treaures for this new family
We do not just sell things to make money for Mains Tendues 82, we help support refugees set up homes
Keep up the good work Veronique

Bosch under threat at Rodez

The Bosch factory at Onet le Chateau, Rodez, employs 1500 workers and supports about 10000 other businesses in the area. The factory manufactures diesel injectors and the downturn in demand for diesel vehicles has put the factory in danger of closing.
A delegation met officials of the Economy Minister yesterday to press for some recognition of the problems.
They proposed three lines of action: 1) a reversal of the "diesel-bashing" by government, 2) a campaign of "buy French made parts" to protect their output, 3) a longer term study of the options to safeguard employment on the site if Bosch invests in a new generation of injectors or decides to centralise production elsewhere.
Bosch has been active on the Rodez site since 1962 and is an important player in the industrial life of the area.
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Wood and food parcels

It is looking very unlikely that the 3 young men staying in our gite and applying for asylum will find a centre d'accueil anytime soon. They have had their 4 months right to stay renewed but told that there are no places free at the moment. We are not prepared to throw them out on to the streets in this weather, they have suffered enough. So a concentrated effort needed to continue their welfare.
We have used our winter supply of wood and another amount donated by someone who was leaving.
If you have wood you no longer use or you are leaving and we could have your wood we could come for it with a trailer.
Also if you wanted to donate a food parcel, rice, tomatoes, eggs, orange juice, milk etc. that would be gratefully received.
They have not yet received any government money, that takes some time to come so we are still buying toiletries etc. along with everything else. Cheques can be made to Main Tendues 82 if you wanted to help us support them.
We can be contacted for our address via

Pieces Jaunes

In the Post Office yesterday we spotted the little "Pieces Jaunes" money boxes and wondered what the money went to. You can get envelopes to hand in your little brass coins (10c, 20c, 50c) or pop them into collecting boxes. As ever these days there is an on-line giving option.
The sums collected are used to support children and adolescents during their stays in hospital. A hospital on the outskirts of Paris has seen its children's ward transformed from "glass boxes" to comfortable rooms, with bathrooms and space for a reclining chair for parents wishing the spend the night with their children.
The cost of 410000 euros was aided by a gift of 290000 euros from the Pieces Jaunes collection, which has now been in operation for 30 years.
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Is this justfiable?

Young farmers in the Tarn cut down four plane trees on the Lautrec/Realmont road in a protest against plans to change the boundaries of the special economic zone which provides them with assistance. They claim some 300 exploitations will be affected and it will lead to more destruction of hedgerows as bigger enterprises turn the land over to cereal production instead of the diverse production of the small farmers.
Their action was designed to shock, and although three of the trees were dead or diseased, they waved away disruption to local travellers, saying protection of their livelihood and farming methods were of benefit to all.
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Nous sommes le mercredi dix sept janvier

I love the idea of recycling and someone has given this address of a recycling station in Villefranche de Rouergue.

Cancer Support meeting

Want to brave the stormy Weather?? Cancer Support France coffee morning, Gazpacho, St Antonin, today, Wednesday 17th January 2018, 10-11.30am. Come see what we are about.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Working bikes needed

Bruniquel and Verfeil refugee centres are moving to a site outside Parisot. A twenty minute walk from the village, they are used to living in a village and making friends. So we want to try and get more bikes for them as I am sure Parisot will welcome the boys to all their facilities, library, shops, bar with music.
There cannot be many left with bikes to give away but if you have a bike in good condition then please contact us. As bikes in good condition are now getting scarce Mains Tendues would like to raise money to buy at least 5 cheap bikes from somewhere like Decathalon. So a donation or cheque made to Mains Tendues 82 would be appreciated. 
If you have an advert in the side bar now might be the time to send your cheque made payable to Mains Tendues82
Contact for correct address.

An interesting outing perhaps

Nous sommes le mardi seize janvier

Werner Braun showing photographs at Laguepie at the moment, next to the Bar du Viaur I think

Monday, 15 January 2018

Our finished new logo

Thanks to Helen Thomas for the design for our new logo and to Andrew Trender for the finished design.
We have a lot to do this year, raising money and working to change hearts, minds and attitudes.
Together we will be helping with our local refugees to improve lives in the area not just for our newly arrived refugees but for local villagers.
Some one asked last week why do Malc and I do it, why just not enjoy retirement?
Both of us are united in wanting to improve the world and attitudes being shown and expressed at the moment. If we can help do that and have some fun at the same time, we are up for it. Young people are such fun, it does not matter which country they are from, we are all the same species and the hideous remarks being expressed now, even against a new soon to be member of the Royal family shows how much work there is to be done.

Nous sommes le lundi quinze janvier

I am so often grateful for the monthly book swap, reading is a joy and recently Malc and I have enjoyed watching the odd DVD / film 
Malc says every spare moment my nose is in a book and that is thanks to the book swap I can relish reading. I will add that it is only evenings that I have a spare minute.
Just enjoyed William Boyd's Sweet Caress, a really good read and our latest film watched was Man of Fire both will be back at the next book swap.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

We love our " soupes"

Holy flash!

Vandalism of the detested "radars" (speed cameras) is not uncommon, but is mainly confined to insulting tags. But the author of the "degradation" of the camera near Sauveterre, Gers, obviously planned his or her work carefully. The machine was spayed all over in black, then a superhero Batman logo added and finally a pair of bat ears and eyes appended to the top.
Facebook capture
Gendarmes admitted that the perpetrator showed artistic imagination, but remind us that such "degradation de bien public" could entail a 45000 euro fine and 3 years in prison!
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Doggy walks in Toulouse

Walkers assemble in the Place du Capitole :pic.ML Lejeune
Dozens of dogs of all sizes and breeds assembled in Toulouse for the city's first free dog walk on Saturday (Jan 13). Designed to educate owners on the need for "responsible" behaviour, by them and their canine companions, the walk was accompanied by trainers. The authorities also hoped that the dogs would become socialised and get on together in the city streets.
The ville rose is home to some 50000 dogs and spends a good proportion of its cleaning budget on picking up crottes deposited by dogs. The exercise will be repeated each second and third Saturday in an urban park.
Sadly, these events tend to be preaching to the converted, but the maire hopes the publicity will bring the message home to the city's residents.
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Nous sommes le dimanche quatorze janvier

Last night we hosted a cinema evening for some Africans and an Afghan young man. A group of us had seen a couple of weeks ago Paddington 2 in the cinema in St. Antonin, so last night we watched the first Paddington here. 
What pleasure that little bear has given generations from initially the books by Michael Bond and now the films. I love hearing our boys laugh and at both evenings we all laughed and laughed together.
It was interesting to hear one young man telling others about the cinema in St. Antonin, " it has a big screen, huge, " He had never been to a cinema, I did wonder what he would think of a multi plex.
Some of the other boys who also had never been to one,  I must arrange to find a film that they would enjoy and take them. Infact with 50 refugees soon at Parisot and some families, if any one has some time taking a couple of refugees to the cinema would be a lovely thing to do.
With films they love comic action or things with a bit of glamour and excitement, James Bond is a favourite. 
If you see a film coming up that may fit the bill please let me know.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Albi world champion hangs up his bike

After setting two cycling world records in the last 5 years, Robert Marchand has decided on medical advice to retire from serious cycling. He had successively set the world best distance covered in one hour: 20 kms. Cyclists amongst you will say "what, only 20 km", but as Robert set his records aged 100 and 105 it's a fair achievement. He is the only cyclist to be acknowledged in those age brackets, but we guess his records will stand for some time.

Nous sommes le samedi treize janvier

Well what a change, a frosty morning but a lovely blue sky and the sun is up. I will go with that.

This is news in France and around the world

L'Afrique entière réclame des excuses. Les ambassadeurs du groupe africain (54 pays) à l'ONU ont publié, vendredi 12 janvier, un communiqué au langage d'une rare dureté, après les propos de Donald Trump, qui s'est emporté sur l'immigration qualifiant, selon plusieurs sources, des nations africaines et Haïti de "pays de merde".
Après une réunion d'urgence qui a duré quatre heures, le groupe de 54 ambassadeurs s'est dit "extrêmement choqué" et "condamne les remarques scandaleuses, racistes et xénophobes" de Donald Trump "telles que rapportées par les médias". Le groupe exige ainsi "rétractation et excuses". Il se dit "préoccupé par la tendance continue et grandissante de l'administration américaine vis-à-vis de l'Afrique et des personnes d'origine africaine à dénigrer le continent, et les gens de couleur."
Donald Trump, the American President embarrasses himself but in truth he embarrasses  the world. He brings the USA into disrepute, he brings us all who sit quietly listening into disrepute.
I am determined to fight racisim, cruelty, unkindness. Speak out wherever you are in the world. Fight for a decent world. This is the news today around the world, what a disgrace.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Varen to Caussade aller / retour

Many of you will know we have three refugees staying with us. They need to go each week to the train station at Caussade to catch a train to Montauban to get to the Prefecture for 9.30 am. Often with rdv's on different days.
Is there any one who could help us get them there or pick them up in the afternoon when they come back?

Vous savez peut-être que nous avons trois réfugiés chez nous qui vivaient  dans les rues de Toulouse. Leurs papiers d'asile ont été transférés à Montauban.
Chaque semaine, nous devons les prendre souvent trois jours  pour prendre le train de Caussade à Montauban, dans un train qui les emmène à la préfecture entre 9h et 10h.
Nous faisons autant Malc et moi pour le moment et aucun d'entre nous n'est au top le matin tôt trois fois par semaine.
Y at-il quelqu'un qui pourrait offrir de prendre le relais de temps en temps pour nous aider.
Le but est de leurs aider à entrer dans un centre d'acceuil bientôt.

Seville oranges / marmalade time

Hi Val,

I thought I saw a post on tag asking for the where abouts of Seville oranges (but then i could of imagined it) anyway if you did have a reader asking they have them at Le Comptoir Des Saveurs - the new fruit &veg shop at La Fouillade

Run by the young couple, Cedric and Sabrina who had l'air du temp restaurant at Najac can highly recommend them for fresh produce, bio grocery items etc Cedric also cooks on the premises offering fresh and frozen meals to take away (think you can eat them there as well).

have a good (wet) weekend


Martin Malvy to retire

The former president of Midi Pyrenees region, government minister, MP for the Lot and maire of Figeac for 30 years is to step down from his last political post as president of the Community of Communes of greater Figeac.
An active member of the Parti Socialist, Malvy was a towering figure for over 35 years in the south west. It is not known why he has made his decision at this time.

Caught on the not so merry-go-round

A motorist (aged 73, as if that had a significance) was flagged down by gendarmes in Brittany, but claimed he did not see them nor hear the sirens. Entering a roundabout in the town centre  he allegedly tried to confuse his pursuers by going round more than once. Seventeen times. Successively braking and accelerating he tried to shake off the gendarmes, but eventually they managed to stop him.
Charged driving in a dangerous manner, refusing to submit to a breath test and without a licence, which had been suspended in a previous incident, he was fined 7 euros per day for 90 days, plus 150 euro fine.
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Taking the......?

Taglines does not normally publish pictures from people's holidays, but local Verfeil residents Jean Donies and Alain Herremann sent us this with their new year greetings. They were in Australia.
Only a mild contrast with our morning views below!

Hi Val
 Also not a French story but my brother phoned today.  He lives in southern Manitoba in Canada, actually quite a “French” part of Canada.
This morning it was -32°C when he got up !

Nous sommes le vendredi douze janvier

Looking out this morning to see another wet and muddy day. The drive is full of puddles, the fields are wet and muddy. The donkeys move from one field hut to another escaping the showers. They do have soft beds of sraw in each hut but I dread when it gets wet and needs mucking out.
 A job for young men with new wellies.
The afternoons have been dry but these constant wet mornings have swollen the rivers many breaking their banks.
Roll on Spring please.