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.

Monday, 24 October 2011

French girl seeks au pair position in England

A young French girl - the daughter of Corrine, my Tai Chi teacher - is looking for an au pair position preferably in London for a year. She is 21 and wants to learn English. If anyone has any friends or family who might be able to help please let me know.
Thanks James

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Couple need help

A bit of information and a plea for help!

Anyone who has passed my house recently will have observed the 'abri jardin' constructed on the next plot. Having visited the Direction Departmental des Territoires (the former DDE) I learned that whilst they had refused the Permis de Construire , our Maire had over-ruled their decision, hence the construction. It now appears that the empty plot on the other side has been given a permis for (for me) an even greater disaster, as I will be facing a 20 square metre blank wall of black corrugated iron/steel. I still have the opportunity to protest but only under the Code Civile. 

I will probably need to engage an Huissier and a notaire if I am to challenge this, if anyone has experience of any of these preferably English speaking, I would be very greatful for their names.
Please contact Sheila or John Taylor
Tel. 0563276492

Friday, 21 October 2011

Contact email address for Pauline at the Jardin des Paradis

For those who wish to contact Pauline direct by email click below

Fire folly at Verfeil earlier this week.

Thank God it was a Frenchman! After a sprinkling of rain assuming one can burn a bit of crop off your fields after months of dry weather is nothing but madness as one French agricultor discovered [too late!] managing to burn 12 hectares of fields and woods and a hangar full of hay stored for winter. The fire was deemed so potentially serious that 71 pompiers from all local departments were deployed and 22 fire department vehicles.
We saw the flames  and smoke here in Varen and the next day our French cleaner who is married to a pompier was full of the tales of horror. There were no injuries however though 3 houses were narrowly missed by the flames which were being swept along by the wind.
The unfortunate or foolish farmer has now been presented with a bill from the fire department for 6,260 euros. So beware of burning that bit of rubbish as you may end up with the bill even if you don't burn your house down.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

La pétanque: pastime or passion

For many years now a dedicated group of boulistes, mainly Brits but with regular assistance of some French, occasional Dutch players and often supplemented by summer visitors, have met on Friday afternoon to indulge in this most French of pastimes.
 Numbers vary from 10 to 20+, all ages, both men and women, plus many children in the holidays. In order to achieve some fairness in the teams players are generally seeded into “tireurs” (those who think they can knock out opponents’ boules) and “pointers” (the rest). Teams are always drawn at random to try and give some semblance of equal opportunities.

The game is usually played in either “doublettes” – teams of two players using 3 boules each - or “triplettes” – teams of three players using 2 boules each. Given the unknown number of people attending on any Friday we don’t usually know until we start how many doublettes and/or triplettes we will have. But we usually manage to sort something out.

We usually play 2 or three games, “parties”, up to 13 points. The afternoons last about 2 hours.

In summer the matches are at the Verfeil boulodrome, but in winter we find Varen is less likely to be cold as the sun remains on the “terrain” much longer.

All the matches are played in a serious but friendly spirit and the regulars would welcome any newcomers and will willingly help explain the rules and the tactics. You don’t need to become a regular; come as often or a little as you wish. Some of us have even become familiar on the French circuit of “amicales” – occasionally the very proud winners of a few euros! It’s a pastime or a passion, as you wish.

From Friday 4th November we will be meeting at Varen on the boules terrain by the little Vival supermarket, rain always permitting. So if you would like to come and play or just find out more we would love to see you.

For more details ring Malcolm 0563 64 06 73 or email

Monday, 17 October 2011

Hangar sale with lots to sell

Could we please advertise our hangar sale on the web site?
Come and browse! Pre Christmas Curiosity Sale in Campagnac, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November, 11am to 6.30pm each day. One weekend only, no sneaky previews!
Claire and Lizzie are both on the move and have a multitude of must have bits and pieces for sale...some large, some small in our joint vide grenier, hangar sale. Our for sale stock includes art deco as well as hand painted, shabby chic and other furniture, chests, mirrors, china, old LP's, household bric a brac, rugs, pictures and engravings, firewood and various farming antiques.
Lots of parking, mulled wine and a warm welcome for all visitors to Vieuresque, chez Claire de Soissons, two minutes from Campagnac on the D8 between Cordes and Le Verdier.
Contact Lizzie Jewels for more info: 0563 401346

Jardin des Paradis needs financial and physical help

A letter from Pauline at the Jardin des Paradis
It's a rare thing that I send out a begging letter but I'm having to do so now.

 As most of you know, I'm a volunteer at the Jardin des Paradis in Cordes.
 This is an educational garden open to the public which manages to cram
different ideas and events in an area of only 2500 sq metres.

The garden costs over 100,000 euros a year to run and our subvention is a
 measly 8000 euros from the Government.
We manage to run with a staff of one full timer, two part timers and
whatever time the volunteers can give. Basically if we don't get more
 funding and more physical help we are going to have to close which would
a pity not only for the 3 youngsters employed there, but also for the parties of kids and disabled people we welcome every year.  At our recent Conseil d'Administration meeting we decided to launch a 
membership scheme and we are now looking for "adhérents" - basically
 people who help support the garden financially (and physically if they
and are then given free access to the garden whenever they want and a free
 invitation to all the social events. The cost is just 10 euros a year per

So…... would any of you be prepared to help us out please? I'm not asking
 for money now, just a promise to support us. If we can get enough
 it will give us the means and the encouragement to continue next year. For
your 10 euros, you'll get free access whenever you wish to visit and for
many of you who have to cart visitors around during the summer and rack
their brains what to do with them, it could be very useful, even if you
 sit in the garden with a cold beer while your visitors walk around. If you
want to you can also join us on our volunteer days or just come along to
potter in the garden - great for anyone who wants to practise French or
 learn anything about gardening. You'll also get free entry to our annual
plant sale (we sell our surplus perennial and shrub stock in October each
year - everything priced at between one and four euros) and our proposed
 vegetable plant exchange (in spring everyone comes with their surplus
plants and swaps them with others).

If anyone is prepared to help us out by becoming an "adhérent", I'd be
 really grateful. Just let me know and I'll add your name to the list and
when the time comes, arrange to collect your money and have a card printed
with your photo.
 Many thanks for taking the time to read this and for those of you who
 know the garden please have a look at our website


Best wishes, Pauline

Meteo Passion

If you are avid followers of weather and weather predications in France a TAGlines  reader Howard Williams of Chez Phillipe in Varen has suggested you look at
I now know I will have to fight for the computer as Malcolm has marked it up on favourites and is very interested having kept his own weather measurements in past years.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Organic/bio farm near Najac

Jamie Stickler runs an organic/ bio farm ''La Singlarie' near Najac. He has for sale beef, pork, sausages, bacon,chickens,eggs and  you can order your Turkey for Christmas.
Click below for more information.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sapeurs/pompiers need new blood.

At the moment the local Pompiers are asking for new recruits and this article for Taglines written 6 years ago by Malcolm Johnstone  shows why it is such a rewarding job.

''Sauver une vie, c'est genial''

Saving a life would please any of us, but to the sapeurs/pompiers it can be a regular but still rewarding experience.
No sooner had I arrived for my appointment with  Laguépie chef de service, Yves Farjounel, than his bleeper went off and he left for the caserne – the fire station. Fortunately, an adequate replacement in the shape of  pompier Emmanuel Cros, arrived to take over. [Emmanuel, son in law of Yves Farjounel has now taken over the position of Chef]. A typical cameo in the life of village sapeurs/pompiers (don’t ask what the difference is – it’s philosophical).

I had wanted to find out what the men – and women – who make up the fire service in our region thought about their mission and how they were organised. Under their chef, the 24 personnel based at Laguépie offer a service to us all on a basis so different to the paid professionals that we are used to, that it is almost unbelievable.
Over 90% of France’s pompiers are volunteers, paid professionals being reserved for the major population centres. And we are not talking about the system of retained firefighters as in the UK, but out and out unpaid volunteers. In villages it is not uncommon for sons to continue the work of their fathers, whether in the butcher’s shop, the farm or indeed the pompiers.
Anyone aged 17 – 55 can train to be a pompier. Around 200/300 hours of training at the beginning. then many refresher and up-date courses.
Dialling 18 (for the pompiers) or 15 (for a medical emergency) will connect you to a centre in Montauban or Albi and they will give you advice or pass the call to a local caserne. Laguépie covers nine communes, three in each of the departments adjoining the village, although the over-riding authority is in the home department.
Laguépie gets an average of around 300 interventions a year, over 80% being assistance to people in some kind of distress. In 2003, when there were floods on two separate occasions in the year, over 500 interventions were needed.

We are all used to the pompiers’ loto , the Bal on the 14th July and of course the calendar at Christmas, all ways of boosting the income of the caserne.  But major funding is provided from a departmental budget, which whilst never enough, provides for a very well equipped station, with several specialist vehicles designed to fight fires in buildings or forests, provide water-borne rescue, get cats out of pot holes or hornets out of trees….
No permanent staff is maintained at the station, but an up-to-date radio system enables the watch to be called out at any time. Be prepared for your plumber to down tools not for a tea break but to answer his bleep.
I wondered if the influx of foreign residents had made things more difficult as often they have a poor grasp of the language. It can cause problems when an emergency arises and the person is unable to respond clearly to the pompiers’ questions and it was suggested to me that one of the best ways to overcome this (apart from learning to speak French of course) would be for some of our younger compatriots to consider becoming pompiers. That way they would integrate wonderfully into village life and provide a service to all the residents.

At the end of February the pompiers celebrate the feast of St Barbe, their patron saint. Best uniforms and medals are worn, speeches and presentations made. And being true to their traditions it is likely that all will be celebrated with a repas. These men and women offer a valuable and professional service, but with a dash of humour and joie de vivre. I asked what advice would be of most use to our readers and was told “do not be afraid to dial 18 (or 15).” The operators will decide what help is needed and take the necessary steps. I know this to be true from several interventions I have seen over the recent years, so don’t be afraid.
When I wondered why the sapeurs/pompiers devoted so much time and energy to such a demanding past-time, M. Cros  explained that it was just a public service to their fellow villagers. And to any pompier, “sauver une vie, c’est genial”.

If you or your friends/family would like more details on how to become a pompier contact your local caserne in St Antonin, Laguepie or Caylus.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Cardboard from Ikea

I make my own boxes to send our photo frames all over the world and have found the best cardboard to use is the type Ikea use for their flat pack kitchen units - it's not too thick and not too thin! I have nearly used up my own supply from the kitchen units we installed last year, so I was wondering if anyone in the St. Antonin area has any of this type of cardboard lurking in their garage, or perhaps you are about to buy some new kitchen units soon. If so, I would love to take the cardboard packaging, so don't throw it away!

I can come and collect, or meet up in St Antonin Noble Val if that is more convenient.

My email is:

Thanks so much.
Denise Mackenzie
Fabre de Lagrange
81140 Penne

Discounted art collection

3 years ago, I inherited my fathers art collection. Part of this collection my father bought as an investment; high quality art by a young Italian painter who is already quite established in italy, as is his father. I planned to keep this collection for some years, but my financial situation is such that I need to sell it sooner, unfortunately!
The collections consists of about 55 oil paintings, mixed techniques and drawings, all in high quality frames. Gallery prices ranged from 1000 to 25.000 euros (original bills on demand). I might take the entire collection to Italy, to have it sold there, but before I do so, I would like to know if anybody around here is interested in buying the collection as a whole, as an investment, or to decorate several houses in the same style,. Information about the artist can be found here: or

For more information, contact me at 05-63682551 (please leave a message) or

Monday, 10 October 2011

Old sofa wanted

Has anyone got an old sofa they are thinking of getting rid of. I want something I can let my dogs climb on with me with out worrying about damage.Can collect.
Thanks in advance
Anke tel. 0563682551

What a whopper !

Can any of our readers beat this?
A pumpkin weighing in at 22 kilos
It is the largest of my crop and at 2 euros a kilo on the market- worth its weight in er! pumpkin.

Dumped dog needs a loving home NOW REHOMED

A message from Jo Stephens

Tressor is a 7 year old castrated German Shephard cross Border Collie. I was asked to look after him for 2 weeks whilst his owner returned to England, yes you have guessed the rest ............. 4 months later he is still with me.
I cannot afford to keep him and in fact as lovely as he is I dont want another dog , I have 3 of my own and a foster dog.
He is a real gentle boy although does bark when people arrive. He has been excellent with all my other dogs and dogs he meets on walks. He has met and been fine with children of all ages, cats, horses and chickens. He in the typical french fashion loves to chase cars, however with discipline this has really improved . He is perhaps one of the least demanding dogs I have met but he does love a cuddle and a walk. He has been a really good boy with me and just enjoys being part of our family however I really can't afford to keep him.  Please think of  Tressor if you are considering adopting a dog.
I am really desperate to rehome him and would be loath to put him into a rescue centre.

tel Jo Stephens 0565 298856

Friday, 7 October 2011

Telescopic roller and heavy iron gate for sale

For sale a telescopic roller for a swimming pool summer cover in very good condition at 160 euros and also a heavy, iron gate which is 1.36m wide and 1.9m high for 150 euros, please contact  Lizzie Jewels 0563 40 13 46 or by email on

Foire a la Chataigne Laguepie

Sunday 30th October Laguepie hosts a day of celebration for the sweet chestnuts .Once very important in this region and even though that importance has declined the day of celebration has expanded beyond belief. When we first came over 10 years ago there was a very sedate repas in a small tent in the square. Now as well as the lunch  priced at 17 euros there is a market of local products featuring guess what ? In the salle de Fetes there is an exhibition of patchwork. A display of mushrooms/champignons all labelled as to their various states of toxicity. Lots of singing and dancing performed by various groups and marching bands and loads of roasted chestnut and crepe sellers. Get there early for a good parking spot otherwise you may end up at the top of the bank [all right if you are fit to walk down] The place will be packed like you have never seen Laguepie but it is a great day. For more information tel. Office du Tourisme 0563302034

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Pit bike championships

If you like your moto cross with a bit of bite why not try the French National finals of the pit bike championships. This weekend (8th and 9th) at the Laguepie moto cross circuit many leading riders will be trying their luck. The circuit has hosted many prestigious events, including major international meets between the wars and in the 1950's.
The track is well signposted on the Laguepie/Najac road with ample parking and on-site refreshments.

Adorable mouse destroyers

We have two kittens aged 8 weeks. One is a beautiful ginger and white female and the other a pale golden male with blue eyes. House trained, clean, and adorable! We leave for the UK this month and cannot leave them – a neighbouring farmer shoots  cats.
We can deliver anywhere (almost) to a good home.
NB this could be an easy answer to your mouse problem.

If you can help please contact us asap.
Polly 0563 67 06 40
Or mail

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Well done Fifi

Friends in France Fifi have raised 2,000 euros for Macmillan Cancer Relief at their recent coffee day. Well done to every one who put in so much work and a lovely convivial day it seemed to be.

Washing machine and single bed free to a good home. NOW GONE

We're giving away a couple of items we no longer need :-
Firstly, a 90cm wide adult length divan single bed in good condition - sound timber construction, on castors, comes complete with interior sprung mattress and 2 large drawers (150 litre total capacity) built into the base. We don't want anything for it if the new owner can collect from Caylus.
Also a French Arthur Martin top-loading washing machine (50cm wide, 60cm deep, 85cm tall), easy to operate, works perfectly and produces good results. Ideal for a gite or a maison secondaire. Similarly, free to a good home as long as the new owner collects from Caylus.
For anyone interested we can forward pictures of the above. Email for more information or ring Karen and Chris on 05 63 31 70 84. If it would help, we could deliver for a small, distance-related charge.