Thursday, 29 December 2011

Savane, lovely lady with a gummy smile

Taglines readers and Fifi members, 18 of us in all had a really super day out visiting and supporting a donkey sanctuary based in the Lot. After a lovely drive through the country lanes, more lanes than we needed to visit, we arrived at Lavolvene . An association called 'Liberte des Anes' looks after the welfare of 26 donkeys and horses which would otherwise have suffered or gone to the knacker's yard. In fact many were saved at that very place. Savane the donkey pictured is a 35 years old part Poitou donkey with no top teeth, just shiny gums which she was happy to show us with a gummy smile.Many of the donkeys saved were on their way to be transported to Italy for meat. Lots of sad stories but for the donkeys now nothing but happy grazing and good care.The sun shone as we looked around and were introduced to some of the donkey characters by owner Jan Lemy.
Then into the pretty stone farmhouse for a splendid meal where the courses were as promised 1 euro each . We left at 10am and got back at 5pm and  it was one of the nicest days out we have had for ages.
Some of the donkeys are supported by The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary but costs are high with hay , medical and farrier bills so any contributions are welcome.
Also there are 6 donkeys at the moment waiting to find loving caring homes. You would need a couple of acres, a field shelter or barn and a love of donkeys of course.
For more information on the sanctuary check out

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas and Good Wishes for 2012

Many thanks to all TAGlines readers for so many kind words and positive feed back. I am hoping to keep on increasing readership with your help in 2012 so keep sending email addresses - once you have checked with the individual of course. More readers, more chance to find out things happening in the area and also selling those unwanted items.Do not worry about me considering those awful advertising pop ups  on screen that some one suggested I consider. TAG is free for adverts,  to submit articles to and participate in and is not a money making scheme but done purely for enjoyment.To those I have corrected sharply when sending information to Malcolm, my apologies and then my apologies to Malc for so fiercely guarding my baby when at the first sign of a technical problem I pull him in.
Happy Christmas to you all and good health and happiness in 2012  from Malcolm and myself
Val Johnstone

Three replies now posted

Apologies to people who left messages- forgot to check the dash board where they appear. I have now posted them and one is really useful, one is interesting and the other plain daft [ very funny really Sue] You may decide which is which.

Chats du Quercy Clearance Sale

Chats du Quercy Clearance Sale

Andrea is holding a Grand Clearance Sale at the Chats du Quercy charity

shop, 12 rue de la Treille, St Antonin, on Saturday 7, January from 14h00 to

17h00 and on

Sunday, 8 January from 10h00 to 15h00.

The shop will then be closed for reorganisation and restocking from 9 to 31

January. There will be a pre-St Valentine’s Day event with live music and

free bubbly on

Saturday, 4 February from 14h00 to 17h00 and on Sunday, 5 February from

10h00 to 15h00.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Marche de Noel - the big one!

Reminder from Arnoud Budelman for the Marche de Noel at St. Antonin Town Hall on Sunday 18th of December. Lots to see, lots to buy and scrummy food on offer.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Open day at the Donkey Sanctuary

We are getting a group to go to the Donkey Sanctuary about an hour and ten minutes away at Montaigu de Quercy  on Thursday 29th of December. They are trying to raise funds as they have 26 donkeys in their care, so a lot of hooves to be trimmed and hay to be bought. They are offering us lunch at 1 euro each course and I do hope they have got that right -it seems so cheap. They assure us that the chef is a really professional cook and makes delicious food.
The lady who runs the Sanctuary worked for many years at the world renowned Sanctuary at Sidmouth in Devon and runs her establishment on similar lines.
If you have family staying especially youngsters or just oldies like me who love donkeys it should be an interesting day out after lazy Christmas days.
Let me know  quite quickly if you are interested then I can pass on numbers for the meal and sort out travel arrangements.
Val or tel 0563640673
If you want to look up the Sanctuary it can be found  at

Mobility scooter delivered safely

Just to say thank you for including my request.

I employed George White who was both reasonable and reliable.
Sylvia Gray

See post 11th November

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

La Maziere - Antiques at Cordes- Worth a browse

I went by chance, actually seeking a valuation in to 'La Maziere' at Cordes sur Ciel. It is the  blue  painted or shuttered antique shop on the right hand side as you leave Cordes for Albi. I really enjoyed rooting around and thought they had some delightful stuff and actual things of quality. The couple were very friendly and helpful and although I was keen as always to speak French , they were just as keen to practise their English. The shop was open as the board outside said [ now that is often a surprise in itself!] and not a 'conge annuel' in sight. I think they must live above the shop which always makes opening easier. They have been going 16 years and have really improved the quality of stock in that time. We went in when we first arrived here and although there were some nice pieces there was also quite a lot of mixed 'tat'. Well I could not say that now.  The chap said that they had developed in their time a knowledge of what the English and Dutch  customers like and that knowledge  seemed to be working. They say on a little 'affiche' they gave me that they buy and sell and give valuations. Their telephone number is 05 63 56 00 70 and mobile 06 19 32 18 20 email:
I did not buy anything on this instance so could not say what their after sales service is like so if any one has more info. let us know.

Spam detected

Just for the time being if you receive an email from Iga or Jeremy Rewse Davies do not open it with out checking with them that they have sent one. Emails have been sent out but not by them so take care.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Parcels being sent from England

 Di Coleman a former resident of St. Antonin now living in England informs us of  the cheapest possible way to send parcels from England

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Motorists-what's waiting for you in 2012

400 more cameras- without warning signs.

50 more ''radars mobiles'' i.e. installed in unmarked police cars.

55 ''average speed radars'' - which measure how long it takes a car from point A to B, and therefore the average speed.

Radar warning devices in cars to be illegal [ from now] with a fine of up to 3,750 euros and 6 points.

Obligatory breath test kits in your glove compartment. It is thought that 2 such kits will cost around 2 euros. The fine for not having one 17 euros.

Happy driving

Gardening tip from Iga Rewse Davies

When planting trees, after digging the hole put in a piece of flexible tubbing down below the roots.Fill in the soil leaving the tube sticking out above the ground. Have a funnel to stick in the tube and then when you are watering, the tree gets the water down at its roots rather than on the soil surface. Clever stuff.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cat who hates car journeys

Thank you for info. on travelling with pets and the new regulations, I had heard they had changed so that is helpful for me. Does anyone have any advice on travelling by car from the Tarn to London with a cat on board who loathes and gets distressed on car journeys?  I have had mixed reports about sedating cats.
Thank you and replies to
Ann Herdman  email at  
Ann Herdman-Smith <>      

Free to good home, extra, extra large boxer shorts - unused.

Men and shopping !
Malc has arrived back safely and having done a bit of shopping whilst in M&S in England proudly showed me his pack of 3 extra, extra large boxer short/briefs [ hardly brief] As he had already ripped apart the wrapping they cannot be returned so we are looking for a rather large man to give an extra Christmas present to.Someone suggested we wear a leg each which throws up some interesting pictures and could be fun, but on balance we would rather find them a new home.

Pet Passport Scheme

Changes to the Pet Passport Scheme have been finalised and from the 1st

January 2012 pets can travel 3 weeks after their rabies vaccination so no

longer the up to 8 month delay we had before. 

The other changes concern the tick and flea treatment which is

no longer required and the worming treatment which they have just confirmed

is still a requirement and will still involve a trip to the vets, however,

this is only needed for dogs and can now be done anytime between 1 and 5

days before you travel.  Check out the official UK government website for

the full story

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

TV's for sale

Toshiba 20inch flatscreen (LCD) TV for sale for 120 euros see the blog for photos and details:
Philips wireless TV  link for sale for 80 euros never used - see blog for details and photos
Let me know if you are interested or want further info
James Sweeting

Renovations of the Mairie in Saint Antonin

Please could we put something on Taglines concerning the renovations of the Mairie in Saint Antonin which although needs doing also needs a bit of input from the public.
The Amis de Vieux Saint Antonin contacted me concerning their fears for the renovations of the Mairie in Saint Antonin entitled:
Transformation du couvent des Génovéfains (Mairie) en "Maison des services publics"! (it is all in French)
For those who don't know the Mairie was once a convent of the Genov... (not sure!)
Here is a link to their website:
They outline what is going to be done and what they think should be done and have floor plans showing how the rooms in the Mairie will change:
If anyone has any comments there is a contact-us link on the website
Many thanks
James Sweeting

Timber Frames and Bespoke Joinery

We are lucky to have Marian Staal within our community, a lady with skills and  training as a timber framer.
She was born and brought up in South Africa where she lived till she was 21. From there she moved to London and worked for more than 15 years with The English National Opera touring with them as their lighting coordinator. Being very interested in building and joinery and wanting to improve her joinery skills she enrolled on a course and studied boat building. She is now a qualified timber framer and works with large section green oak timber making solid and aesthetic constructions.
She moved to France seven years ago and feels very well rooted in the community and has no plans to leave. I wondered what  reaction she has from other french artisans she comes in to contact with. Her answer 'I am used to working with difficult men and I find good humour and a bit of flirting works well. They may be puzzled to see a girl on site but they soon get over it and working relationships are good.' I asked how she managed all the heavy lifting work and she replied that her background in the theatre had taught her lifting methods. 'A useful item is a 'gin pole' a single point lifting device with a pulley on top. That and a digger and then gently, gently.'
I wondered what she considered her most interesting project and I was interested in her passionate reply. 'A frame takes on a personality as I work with it so I enjoy each project. I have just finished building a 17 metre frame kitchen extension , I enjoyed that. I am in the middle of building a whole house and that is  extremely exciting as I have carte blanche on the project. Along with the work I am in the middle of an MSC architecture course on sustainable and responsible building / architecture in energy and the environment focusing on low impact building. I get the feeling that this is one dedicated, hardworking lady with a lot of talent.
For new projects Marian's Company  GREENWOOD  can be contacted on mobile 06 74 17 68 93 or 0563276491  or

168 Brits did it last year.

168 Brits applied for French Nationality last  year. Does not seem a lot when you think how many expats we know.Sadly our plans to consider applying may be 'scuppered' as under the new regime new citizens must give up their old nationality.A new charter on rights and responsibilities has to be signed and it states you will not be able to claim other citizenship on French soil. I think few of us would be happy to give up our English passport so perhaps staying European citizens will be the best for us.
Thanks to Kath Airey for saving a piece she noticed in The Times headlined 'You like garlic and Piaf, you've got a gite and a beret. But do you know enough to be French?' Under the new rules that come into force in January, candidates for naturalisation will have to demonstrate a grasp of French history, culture and cuisine.Did you know for example that blanquette de veau, a veal stew with cream and egg yolks is cited as France's favourite dish? Who is Johnny Halliday? Well I know that one as at 13 years old on a french exchange I hung around a record stall in the local market swooning over Johnny and Sacha Distell and Johnny is still rocking.

Gosh ! It was good for me.

What a super book swap and I hope like me every one went away happy with their swaps. I found another Camilleri called The Patience Of the Spider. Not only do I like the stories but I love the art work design of the covers which are attributed to Jeff Fisher. I have promised to pass this one on to John Ainsworth as he missed out on the two I took. Gill Catterall the 'lucky jumper ' has promised to read the two and then pass on to two other people. So books do go around. We have one reader waiting for the return of some Jeffery Deaver he saw being snaffled last time and I am sure they will come around next time. I think the next swap will probably be towards the end of February but I will let you know nearer the time. Happy reading and Happy Christmas swappers.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Help with Holidays

I wondered if you would be kind enough to mention a friend on the BLOG

who is a Travel Consultant.  I know some people have used her before

(here in France) and were very happy with her services and prices.  I've

known her a long time, and would like to try and help her as much as

possible with bookings for any type of holiday.  Many thanks in advance.

Details are :


Company: Travel Counsellors

email :

tel: 0044 (0) 1787 880 288

0044 (0) 7739 394 289 mobile

She is very helpful, finding the best prices, all manner of information

for destinations;  I don't think there is a place she's not been to -

perks of the job I guess........  :-)  and if she hasn't been there, she

will certainly find out as much as possible for you.

So with folks thinking of their holidays in 2012, it may well be worth

an email to see what Sally can offer.  Please mention my name when

getting in touch with Sally.


Karen Sweeting

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Everything but the baby

Baby’s equipment. Bargain: 20 € each!
Please contact Ingrid at 05 63 64 94 67

1) “Deck chair” = un transat
- réglage sur plusieurs niveaux
- toile pour parer le soleil / lumière
- forme à bascule pour bercer le bébé
- anses de portage

2) Infant/child car seat = un siège auto évolutif
- de type 1 : 9-18kg
- coussinet amovible
- 3 niveaux réglage de la hauteur des sangles (au-dessus des épaules)
- rapide et facile à attacher
3) a babytrotter = un trotteur
- très stable
- avec volant et jeux sonores intégrés
- 3 niveaux de réglages de la hauteur
- pliable facile pour rangement compact
4) a pushchair with its baby’s cosy = une poussette + cosy
- poussette au pliage ultra rapide, avec rabat à fenêtre transparente pour voir le bébé dans le cosy, 3 positions possibles quand on enlève le cosy (allongé, demi-allongé, assis)
- filet intégré + spacieux étage de rangement sous le siège
- cosy à bascule (pour bercer bébé quand posé par terre), avec toile de protection contre la pluie / soleil
5) a table chair - une chaise haute
6) a playing park - un parc
7) playing rug - un tapis d’éveil

Isla the brave 3 legged dog needs a home for Christmas.

 I have been fostering Isla  for almost 6 months for a dog refuge but I just cannot keep her
 and she needs her forever home.
 Isla is about 3 years old and is learning to live and trust again.
She is house trained and good with people and other dogs and cats.
Yes ! she has a few hang ups but who would not after being chained by your leg,
 getting gangrene and ending up having your leg amputated!!! So Isla has 3 legs
but it does not stop her - she is amazing, keeps up with my terriers, swims
like a fish and adores the water and loves a cuddle.
 She is scared of brooms, mops etc. and is a bit anxious when you first try to
 put her on the lead but is now so much better. She has gained confidence, as you
can see loves my cats, has met a few children and is OK. Her  recall has
 improved greatly and in fact  she will make a great pet. 

 I am going back to the UK for 3 weeks and she cannot come with me so I would
 really like a forever home for Isla but if not someone who could care and
 love her whilst  I am away.
Photo to follow
Please contact me Jo Stephens on tel 05 65 29 88 56 or email fro more info. at      Joanne Stephens <>      

Donkey Refuge at Montaigue de Quercy

Liberte des Anes, a donkey refuge situated at La Sirence Montaigue de Quercy is holding an open day on Thursday 8th of Dec.Also on Wednesday 7th they are holding a fashion and jewellery sale in aid of funds. Click on their website below for more information.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Occitan Carols at Cazals

The Cazals Festivals Committee, the Saint Antonin Singing Workshop and the

Trio Nou Surres [We Sisters] invite you to a concert of Occitan Christmas

carols on Sunday,

11 December at 16h00 at the church in Cazals.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Who makes loose covers?

Does anyone know of someone who makes loose covers for chairs or sofas ? If so please contact Jill Spearman on tel. 05 63 26 45 57 or email
I have been asked this question before so I am sure we have other readers who would like to know . Someone suggested going to Ikea and buying  their covers as an option.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Marche de Noel at Laguepie

Laguepie hosts its Marche de Noel on Sunday 11th of December. Usually held in the streets around the town. At the same time there is a new book sale in the Salle de Fetes

25 years of the Telethon

Is your car dirty? The local Pompiers are offering to wash your car on Saturday 3rd of Dec. in exchange for your contribution to the Telethon appeal. The Telethon, a similar sort of money raising event to Children in Need is celebrating its 25 years of raising money. All the regions in  France participate in these money raising schemes and it is not unusual to see people in funny outfits rattling their collecting tins and others arranging tombolas etc.  All the monies collected go towards medical research.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Art at Bruniquel

Bienvenue aux Rencontres d'art de Bruniquel,
 Les 2, 3 et 4 décembre prochains, les Rencontres d'art aux châteaux de Bruniquel permettront de découvrir et d'apprécier le travail de 16 artistes  et artisans d'art de Bruniquel et du Pays Midi-Quercy. Installés dans les salles des deux étages du Château Vieux, souffleur de verre, céramistes, créatrice bijoux, peintre, sculpteurs, artiste plasticienne, tisserande, feutrière, mosaïste...exposeront leurs dernières oeuvres pour satisfaire votre curiosité. Cette 7ème édition, avec la venue de nouveaux créateurs, sera l'occasion d'affirmer une présence artistique talentueuse  sur Bruniquel et les environs.
Pour cet évènement, la variété des techniques et des matériaux, le savoir - faire et la créativité, la tradition et l'innovation seront au rendez-vous. Artistes et artisans d'art seront présents tout au long du week-end pour évoquer, partager leur passion et  vous permettre  de trouver des cadeaux originaux  à offrir pour les fêtes de fin d'année.  
Ouverture du château - le vendredi 2 décembre - 14h/18h/30 - samedi 3 et dimanche 4 décembre - 11 h/18h30.
Entrée libre et vin chaud.
Dans le village, les restaurants et salon de thé seront ouverts.
Pour plus d'infos, vous trouverez notre flyer recto/verso en pièces jointes.  
 Au plaisir de vous accueillir. Amicalement. Marieth
Marieth Creation
Tél. 05 63 30 44 01
Textile d'art tissé main
rue droite - 82800 BRUNIQUEL

Cast iron wood burner for sale, Easter egg and more

For Sale 
A cast iron Franco Belge wood burner in good condition 600 Euros, the price includes 2m of brown pipe and 2 bends which have been hardly used.
The handle on wood burner is not the original but it works.
Selling as moving.

Contact Ann on

Ann Herdman-Smith <>

  Wooden chair 15€
The beautiful egg that I made for the St Antonin Easter Festival offers 30€ or above?
An apple mac airport base station 20€.
Cast iron grate good for barbeques 10€.
Candlestick in the round 5€.
Wine rack 5€.
Bowls and dog leads free to a good home.
Ann has many more items for sale so why not contact her.

Packing up dreams...
Hey ho.

Marche de Noel and Salon de Noel

A Christmas market will be held on the 18th of Dec. in the Town Hall at St. Antonin.
Afterwards there will be a candle festival through the streets.
The Salon de Noel will be 10th-26th Dec. 10-18hrs.
For more info. on both contact Arnoud Budelman on tel. 0615380451

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Books to jump on

To the coming book swap on the 5th Dec. I will be taking two Detective stories by Andrea Camilleri from  the humourous  Inspector Montalbano series set in Sicily. They are beautifully written and the smells and colours and landscapes of Sicily come to life. We have seen two productions of them on BBC 4 in Italian with English subtitles which we enjoyed very much. Another which I think many will have read is A.S.Byatt's The Children's Book with some loose pages as it has been so well read. Going back in time but a book I have read more than once J. M. Coetzee's  Disgrace which was rightly a winner in 1999 of what was then just The Booker Prize. Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2003 Vernon God Little by D.B.C. Pierre. I picked this  up at the last book swap and many thanks to who ever took that one. In 2003 he was just starting his second novel Ludmilla's Broken English, it has not had good reviews but the man himself being interviewed by Andrew Denton sounds an interesting, oddball scoundrel. Read that interview on
Another I will be taking is Margaret Attwood's Amazing Grace, a novel I really enjoyed but it was brought over to France by my brother-in-law who had ploughed through it because he knew it was worthy.[so not everyone's cup of tea]
Tony Parsons Man and Boy must be a favourite of mine as I tend to pick it up at every brocante I go to and then remember I have read it and knew it was good.
I never used to read crime books but it seems to be such a popular genre that I have been coaxed  in and there will be lots of Patricia Cornwell's etc.coming. Last but not least Michele Giuttari The Death of a Mafia Don and yet another insight in to the world of the Mafia.If you have any 'Jump on books ' write and tell us all. Books cannot be reserved before the day.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

London calls

Diana Jackson writes 

gee thanks, Val!   Here in London it is cold, misty and drizzly for good

measure.   Can't wait for March when I can come back to La Taupiniere.......

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday 22nd November and still sunny

 Especially for those second home owners back in their native countries we have just had lunch on the balcony in our tee shirts. The exceptional  mild sunny weather continues totally confusing the plants and flowers in the garden.When we say 'this is why we came' never mind about cheaper house prices, wonderful French culture and food, it is the blue skies and the sun. Can't be entirely true though because on that basis we would have gone to Spain.
Malcolm on reading this thought it was all a bit 'smug' sounding.My apologies but it is a sunny 20 degrees!

Monday, 21 November 2011

A response about the poison

Helen Graham of St. Antonin has contacted us with more information... read on

"Just a couple of comments in relation to the article on Mop. As you may

know, David and I have a wealth of experience with dogs, having owned, bred

and judged them internationally for a great many years and having also been

involved with dog rescue organisations , canine health committees and much


Our bitch Dede was poisoned the day after Boxing Day last year and her life

was saved by the prompt action of the vet.The kind of poison used was

different to that which killed Mop as Dede suffered convulsions so severe

that she was literally at the point of death when the vet arrived.  He

believes the poison used was a rodenticide of the kind used to kill moles,

rats and mice.

However, the point I wish to make in relation to the piece on Mop is that a

Labrador would need to eat a pretty huge piece of very dark chocolate and

even more onions in order to be poisoned and the symptoms would be totally

different.  Moreover, it would have been most unlikely that she could have

ingested large enough quantities of either without her owners knowing.  If

it would be of any help, I can provide a full list of poisons affecting dogs

and the treatment they require.

Having said which, the nature of the poison that killed Mop doesn't appear

to fit any of the known categories of poison and by the time it was realised

that she was ill it was almost certainly too late to be able to help her.

This is what makes the recent cases of poisoning so alarming and why animal

owners should be backing James in his attempts to bring this to official


Huge Chandelier

HugeChandelier for sale 
500 euros or near offer
Really needs to be viewed
Contact Anke at

Beware Poison

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Mop - labrador empoisonnée

Mop died on Wedneday 9th November 2011,

On Tuesday she went for a walk with Bregtje on the field between the camping car site in Saint Antonin and the river (see map below) - she was off the lead. She did not want her food that evening and the following morning they decided to take her to the vets as she passed what appears to be blood. She died later that day. 

The poison didn't affect he mouth nor her throat and the vet came to the conclusion that it must have been packed in something edible. 

She was poisoned by some corrosive chemical agent hidden in food, according to the vet who dealt with her, Dr Gobet at Negrepelisse. 

She was 11, and a healthy, lazy, loving, ‘’slightly’’ overweight Labrador, who although she liked her food didn't just eat anything.
Having said that there are 'natural' things she could have eaten that might have the same effect such as anti-freeze, onions or chocolate.

En français:  Mop est morte le 09/11/2011 elle a mangé quelque chose pendant sa promenade sur le champ entre le site des camping -cars et la rivière. Le poison a détruit son estomac pendant 24 heurs. 

James Sweeting starts a campaign

If you read the article above and you have a pet you will be rightly worried by the story. About 6 weeks ago a van with a loudspeaker went round Varen saying  'Come to the Town Hall as the van is parked outside giving away free poison' When this has happened in previous years a lot of the village cats were poisoned and in truth if giving poison  is to get rid of vermin a much better way is by having a cat.
If you are not a cat lover consider your Grandchild playing by the river and consider the implications of that.
So let's support James in his campaign. Click on the link below.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Angus finds a new home

Angus the lost  black labrador met today with a lovely couple who fell in love with him and will take him to his new home at Figeac  next Friday. Good luck Angus, we wish you the best life possible.

Traditional Carol Service at Parisot

Traditional Carol Service, 9 Lessons and Carols.  Parisot Church : 17h00 Sunday 18th December, and afterwards wine and festive nibbles offered by the Mairie at the Salle des Fêtes.
Chants de Noel en Français et en Anglais, Eglise St Andéol, Parisot (82) : 17h00 dimanche 18 Décembre, et après une verre de l'amitié offert par la municipalité à la Salle des Fêtes.
Information from Karen and Chris Robinson

Friday, 18 November 2011

New Year's Eve

A group of mature 'Varenois' plan to hire the salle de fete in Arnac for New Year's Eve festivities. We have done this on previous occasions with some degree of success. Catering is DIY [ bring a dish] and entertainment is Ad Hoc [make it up as you go along]. If you have nothing better to do and would like to join us ring
Sylvia Gray on   0563 65 48 25   or
John Taylor on   0563 27 64 92
preferably before December 5th so that some planning and forethought can be applied.

Anyone with ferrets?

Do you have a dog, cat or a ferret, or feed the birds in your garden?

I have trouble finding sunflower hearts and niger seeds here and would like to order in bulk from this supplier, so if you are interested in placing a group order to take advantage of large bags, smaller prices and saving on delivery costs, have a look at their website and let me know what you want. I expect we could buy a large bag of sunflower hearts or niger seeds and split it into one or two kilo bags for example. You could also order cat litter, or food for dogs, cats & ferrets, not forgetting dog poo bags. The larger the order, the bigger the discount!
Gill Catterall
Email me -

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Victory for Common sense

John Taylor is pleased to report that the planning permission for the black tin shack proposed to be built near them on their lotissement has been overturned by the DDE. Something more in keeping and sympathetic to the neighbourhood is being requested. For those who have been supportive of John in his campaign please talk to him for details. Well done John and Sheila

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Reminder for Hangar sale

Hangar sale at Campagnac Sat 19th and Sunday 20th 11am to 6.30pm each day.
See earlier post for more info, directions etc.
Claire and I would like to add that Karine, our friend with the mobile restaurant (aka a food van!), will be with us during both days to serve home made chips, grillades and a  'plat du jour'!  The vin chaud is long as you buy something! Live music is expected on Sunday.....
Also available for sale is a stack of old roof 'tuiles' and seven white sunbeds...stored near to Claire's but space limited to display them at the weekend.

Christmas Carols and Aperos

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The sky at night above your house.

We are so lucky having such wonderfully clear skies here especially in winter with out any light pollution.Caroline Kirk has sent in some information for star gazers to know the stars above you.

To make it local to you you'll need the coordinates for your location which you can find on Google Earth, also the height of your house which again is on Google Earth.
The following site tells you when, & in which direction, you can see the International space stations (ISS) & other wonders of the universe:  again you need to put in your coordinates.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Old Freezer Wanted / TAGlines works, we have got one.

Is anyone changing their kitchen and wanting to get rid of their freezer. We don't mind it being scruffy if it works.We can pick it up.

Val or Malc on or tel 0563 640673

Satellite digi box for sale SOLD

FOR SALE 49 Euros

SAGEM DS186 HD freesat satellite digital box. Over 140 TV and radio channels, subscription free HD, full UK coverage, no contract, no bills.  

Contact Martin by email:
By telephone:

Emmaus at Villefranche de Rouergue

Emmaus is a charity in France set up by L'abbe Pierre [died last year I think] It is a charity which aids the poor and homeless. Someone told us about it when we first came here and since then I have been a sort of regular visitor at the branch at Carmaux. It is especially good for white linen beautifully embroidered sheets which I use on the beds or as tablecloths. It sells everything one has in the home and I have bought many a garden table and chair. All the goods are donated so it is a bit like a huge Oxfam. Often I go with things to donate and come back with other things. Generally men hate it but us ladies appear to love 'ferreting' about
I have just discovered a branch of Emmaus at Villefranche de Rouergue which is near HyperU, up past the roundabout and behind a funeral parlour.It is open Friday afternoons 2.30 to 6pm.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy is coming

The much talked about remake of the film Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy is coming to the Querlys Cinema in February. It's French title is 'La Taupe'

Book Swap at the Gazpacho

I have arranged  to hold the book swap with the Gazpacho for Monday morning  10.30 to11am ish  on 5th of Dec.I bought 5 books from the Chats de Quercy sale chosen without the benefit of my specs. All excellent reads but I had read them all before. I keep reminding myself it was a good cause and they will be coming to the swap. Malc and I have both read 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' what a funny, unusual but sad read that was. Karen Sweeting brought with her a fine selection of crime books last swap and I have really enjoyed those I came home with, all authors I would not necessarily have chosen before.So I look forward to the next swap and perhaps after the exchange we could all stay for a festive drink.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Gym extra douce

We have just joined our local 'gym' which is held for the over 60s in the village Salle de Fete. It is held twice a week in the mornings and is in French (so a free French lesson). Each session (séance) starts 20 minutes early so the participants can take coffee and cake before the ‘strenuous’ tai chi type exercises! The first session involved filling out 5 forms in French and meeting the other participants. It is a mixed class including the previous Maire and other local folk. Ages range from 89 to 60+.

Luckily, body-hugging, gold lame lycra suits or special sports clothing are not obligatory and, when we do foot exercises in our socks with a small ball, holes appear quite frequently! One man comes in his slippers and the others are wearing an assortment of comfy shoes. Ian and I get top marks for wearing joggers (trainers)!

The exercises are varied and everyone takes them seriously, including press-ups against the wall, walking on our heels, then toes, then along a taped straight line (best in the mornings!). There is much laughter and egging each other on. The lady who takes the class is professional and very supportive of aged people with less flexibility and fitness. When Ian is staggering around and not hearing, or understanding the instructions, she follows behind him saying ‘coucou, Yan, coucou’. Ian says ‘If you see yourself as an under training Clint Eastwood, this can be pretty hard to take!!’

Each week we get a short lecture on safety in the home, proper foot-ware, keeping healthy and the importance of exercising. The nicest part is greeting the local folk who attend, being accepted, kissed and, at times, gently teased when trying out a new exercise. There is a warmth and kindliness that is exceptional. No competitive or comparative aspects at all.

However, I don’t think we shall be entering for the Olympics next year though, despite our increasing flexibility and improved ‘equilibre’!

Alison Croft

Low cost transport from or to England

George White of Ripley has a transport company that is well known in this area [ his sister lives in the region]
He is apparently very reasonably priced and has a good reputation. He is willing to bring small or part loads and will transport anything that is legal.
His tel number here is   0563 33 25 59 and for his website details  click on.

Maybe a thought for the mobility scooter?

Mobility scooter

Sylvia Gray of Varen has been offered a mobility scooter but it is in Lancashire. Is there anybody going in a car to that area before Christmas who would have space in the boot for a fold down scooter?
Sylvia can be contacted on tel. 0563 65 48 25

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Opera from the Met

Margaret Atkins informs us that the Cinema at Gaillac is showing live opera from the Metropolitan Opera, New York, on various dates from now to February. Each showing is 25 euros, 100 euros for 5 showings.
 Rodelinda, by Handel on  Sat. 3rd Dec.18 30h
Faust by Gounod on  Sat 10th Dec 19h.00

Full details can be found at the link below.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Has anyone become a citizen?

We have lived here happily all year round now for more than 10 years. We have no plans to go back to England as we think even though costs have risen here it is balanced by the quality of life. It takes time to feel you can integrate into French life but it is rewarding when you feel you are getting there.When we have lived here 15 years we will no longer have a vote in England and in truth that means nothing to us now as French politics are what concerns us much more. I should imagine like all the rest of the bureaucratic stuff in France becoming a citizen will not be simple.We noticed in the newspaper Connexion that there is now a new language test as part of the procedure. It says candidates "should be able to tell  of an event, experience or dream:describe a wish or an ambition and outline briefly their reasons or explanations  for a project or idea".There is no written exam only oral. Previously candidates would be interviewed by an official from the Prefecture but now testing will be done by an  EU accredited  language organisation. As long as you have lived here for more than 5 years, have a permanent address, have no convictions, can speak enough of the language to get by and pay 55 euros you may be considered. Interestingly you are allowed to change to a French name if you would like to or 'frenchify' your present one. Can anyone see me as a Fifi Chantal?  The language test is not applied for under 15's or over 70's. Also if you are refused no reason is given.
So if any one has achieved becoming a French Citizen and can give us advice we would be grateful before we apply.
Val Johnstone
For more info check out the website below.

Man's bike for sale

Ann Herdman has 

Man's bike, 21speed, for sale 50 Euros

Please email to make an appointment.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Nintendo Wii Sports Resort Pack For sale SOLD

Every thing you need to have the family laughing at Christmas. Nintendo Wii with many additions. It came as the basic Sports Resort Pack and we added an extra handset. There are 12 different sports to enjoy including tennis  for which we bought the extra tennis raquets. Bowling a definite favourite, table tennis, canoeing, frisbee, sword play etc. We then added the pack of Formula I Racing which we found  as difficult as Hamilton this year  but  the youngsters were soon flying round the track like Vettel. All complete and looks as in new condition in box if wanted as a pressie. Initial cost exhorbitant  now a reasonable 75 euros. Tel Val or Malc on 0563 64 06 73 or email mail @

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Microchipping or tattooing your dog in France

In France it is compulsory now that dogs have a tattoo in the ear or have a microchip inserted beneath the skin around the neck called a puce. If a dog is being advertised one must gave the identification number with the advert [so after being told I have added that to Angus advert ] There are at this moment 300,000 lost dogs in France. 170,000 dogs are left at refuges each year. But the good news 100,000 dogs each year are returned to their owners because of their microchips.

Is Cassoulet really British?

British comic David Lowe living in France with his french wife decided as a joke to sell British Cassoulet in a french market at Castlenaudary. Click on the link to see how he gets on.
We did wonder what reaction he would get if he tried to sell French Yorkshire puddings in York.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Turkey for Christmas

Looking for a delicious turkey for Christmas?

Free-range Norfolk Blacks for sale.  Hand reared, all organic turkey raised on the south facing, sun-drenched slopes of the Causses National Park in the Valley of the Lot. The turkeys will be supplied plucked and eviscerated.

Cost is €10.50 euros per kilo. Contact Sarah Meakin on 05 63 64 97 21.  You must reserve your turkey in advance for collection just before Christmas.

Angus the black labrador

If any one needed another incentive to adopt Angus the black labrador, Malcolm and I are more than willing to have him for his holidays when his owners go away.Also dog trainer Anke Terbruggen will give up time to train him not to pull on the lead, We have also discovered  whilst walking him on a morning that he responds to french commands. See earlier post for more information.
Telephone us for more news about  Angus    contact Val on 0563 64 06 73 or mail

Monday, 31 October 2011

Remembrance day Poppies

If you would like to buy a Remembrance

Day poppy, please contact Dianne Hope on: or 05 63 63 26 04

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Free range bunnies for sale

Rabbits no longer fluffy ready for the table or freezer, 10 euros each for a good size and jointed.. They had a good life being well fed and kept in large runs until their time was up and the end was quick. 
For more information, contact Derek  at 05-63682551 (please leave a message) or

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Extra hour in bed tonight

Don't forget tonight (Saturday) to turn your clocks back an hour if you want to profit from that extra hour in bed. Unfortunately, if you have animals you may find that they dont understand and demand to be up as usual tomorrow...

Find yourself on the plan cadastral

Thanks to James Sweeting for the link to this very interesting site, a kind of Google earth (but newer round here) onto which you can overlay the plan cadastral if you want to check out what parcels are around you as well as lots of other overlays  (you can also see all those pools etc you may have added to your parcels).

The link below should take you to the geoportail,  from there you can navigate to wherever you want.

Adorable black labrador seeks loving home

Probably around 3 years old this black labrador was found a month ago wandering without any identifying marks, collar, tattoo or puce.Everything has been tried to find his former owners but to no avail. He is house trained, likes the car, does not bark, waits to eat his food when given and is very affectionate. He loves his walks and is used to walking on the lead but he does pull and will need some training on this. We have found he does respond to french commands. Although not used to living with cats he is now placed in a cat household and is accepting the cat without signs of aggression and does not bother about hens.He needs a loving home as soon as possible as after two moves already he is getting attached to the new carer. He has been seen by two vets with a clean bill of health and he has now been puced [ no. 250269801658928] and castrated. He is fine with other dogs and children. If you were thinking of a dog it would be difficult to imagine a better choice.
For more information speak to carer Jill Spearman on   tel. 0563 26 45 57  or email
He is currently in Varen  which is near Cordes and St. Antonin. in Tarn and Garonne

Les Hivernales du Documentaire

For 8 years now Beatrice Amiel and Jean-Michel Filiquier have put together a season of documentary films, with no underlying theme other than the desire of the directors to present their view of things that concern them and maybe should concern and interest us.
The thing that unites the films is the form (documentary) and the "fond" (content): the directors' use of the medium of film, their interest in cinematography and the ability to present their view in a new and arresting way.
The season started on Friday evening in the salle des fetes at Verfeil, with two short films "Ce que peut le lion", a story of the director's search for his childhood through observing his father and his baby son. Although I found it a bit self indulgent there was lots of "ahh" factor with the baby.
The second film "Une escroc tres discrete" was the director's search for details of an elderly woman con artist who spent much of her life in Nice conning local shopkeepers and businesses out of many thousands of francs, and the rest of her life in prison. A mixture of live interviews and excellent pencil drawings kept the audience interested and painted a bleak portrait of this anonymous woman (as well as making Nice in winter seem very unappealing).
The directors were both present and a lively discussion followed each screening. No doubt lots more questions were answered over the usual "pot d'amitie".
The series continues with more films from now until mid- February in various towns and villages in Tarn and Garonne - see your local library for details or visit
Malcolm Johnstone

Friday, 28 October 2011

Quercy du Chats Book Sale

There is a book sale this week end in aid of the cat charity which works so hard for our feline friends.
Book sale is from Friday 28th Oct. to Sunday 30th Oct. inclusive.For more info look on
Also lots of things in the shop for Christmas presents
For those who do not know the shop it is at   12 Rue de la treille in St.Antonin. At the far end of the large parking in Place Besserel.

Interest inTyres

Often asked question 'Where do I buy tyres?'
Kath and Glen sent this message
It would be useful to know if Chris gets any answers. Our VW will need tyres in the foreseeable future and it would be helpful to know the experience of others.   
Kath and Glen.
Glen and Kath Bloomfield <>  
Malc has posted a comment on our experience of where we buy tyres. Have you noticed a comment box under the posted article by Chris. Tick comment  to read .

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Peugeot Tyres

Our little Peugeot 206 needs 2 new tyres and I'm thinking I might buy them on-line from Allo-Pneu, and have them fitted by one of the 3,500 French garages tied in to their scheme. If anyone has any experience of buying tyres this way, good or bad, I'd really appreciate hearing from them at or on 05 63 31 70 84.   
The last time I put two tyres on this car, the local garagiste charged me an eye-watering €277. The car does take an uncommon size, admittedly, (205-45-16) and it seems the only ones the garagiste could source quickly were "ZR" speed rated - good for 240 kph - hence the price. My devis from Allo-Pneu is for €150 plus fitting: maybe €185 in total. Too big a difference to ignore...
Chris Robinson    

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Christmas Stocking pressie - proceeds to charity

Doreen Porter must be feeling very proud of herself- well done.
Her own blog is at

The 2011 anthology from Writers Abroad has just been published. 'Foreign Flavours' is based on the general theme of food, drink and cooking from around the world and contains articles, short stories and recipes. All profits from its sale will go to The Book Bus, a charity that aims to bring the joy of reading to children in the developing world. And one of my articles has been included.
Writers Abroad is an online community of expat writers from around the world. I'm a member, and every year they publish an anthology. Details are above. I have an article, "Cheese, Snails and Dandelion Jam" in the current one, which was published today.