Monday, 31 December 2012

Wondered if it would work.

Have you noticed the date counting down to the book swap and DVD loan day, on Mac on-line DVD site? I wondered yesterday if it would count down ... and it does. Well done Martin.
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Reasons for hope

Francois Hollande is giving us his reasons for hope and I am hopeful with "hope" on both sides of the Channel things will improve. We have a pretty charmed life here as we all know but speaking to French neighbours before Christmas we realized the depths of the French people's despondancy. Lack of jobs is an ever growing problem, cut backs in services, less money in your pocket, but hey! we are looking on the bright side of life. Good wishes from Malc and me for a happy and healthy New Year.


The Queen popular in France

In the Depeche is a  list of things the French have enjoyed in the year  2012, in the list  was the Queens Jubilee Celebrations. The top person in the list was the Intouchables star Omar Sy. Just noticed Omar Sy is on the  Cinema, La Querlys 18th to 21st of Janvier in De l'autre cote du periph, a comedy.
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Sunday, 30 December 2012

DVD loan scheme and library

2013 will see the start of TAG-on-line's DVD Loan Scheme, which will take place along with the bi-monthly Book Swap Event — at 10.30am on Monday 14th January at the Gaspacho, St.Antonin.
We welcome all of you to embrace this scheme, and register with me, Martin Mackenzie, by contributing  a DVD or two. This will allow me to enter your details along with the DVDs you have for loan and ensure that all the library's content is logged correctly and can therefore be returned to each owner at any point in the future. 
So you needn't fear that your favourite DVD will disappear for ever. 
Take a look at the site, sort out some DVDs you can spare for a few months, and then please CONTACT ME from the site to register. It may sound a little dictatorial when I say that without doing this, it becomes problematic should you want to borrow any DVDs — I DO need your details to track each and every disc.
Hoping to hear from you — go to the DVD loan scheme tab above, next to Restaurants and click the link.
Wishing you Very Good Viewing,
Martin.
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It' all about having fun.

The Folk / Jazz Club was held in a warm hall, yippee. Thirty of the hardy regulars came for a lovely evening with lots of songs to sing along to. We have now taken enough money to cover the cost of the Salle des Fetes until May, so it will be free from now on. We have 10 euros extra, so if Charles is in agreement we will give that to Mark, the caretaker to say thanks for his help. Not worried about the depleted numbers as so many regulars were away and that continues in January when there is a migration of some to Spain
For the January 31st Folk / Jazz night, a Ceilidh / Burns Night is being planned and the  MD at this event will be Trevor Carter. We were sorry to hear that the present MD Charles has to have an operation on his jaw and will not be available for that meeting. We wish him a speedy recovery. Still to make bookings for a slot to sing or for the Ceilidh perhaps a recital contact Charles who will liaise with Trevor.
Click on the pictures to increase size.
Charles -  chas5strings@orange.fr
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Trevor and Betsy

Gavin

Linda and John

Max and John

Anna and Charles

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Big news this !

The Constitutional Council, France's highest legal body has overturned the Socialists Government 's flagship 75 % income tax on high earners, making an embarrassing setback for Francois Hollande. Hope this does not mean the return of Depardieu.
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Young lady needs a lift to Toulouse

Monday morning from Milhars, there is a young lady who could do with a lift to the Airport at Blagnac Toulouse, needing to be there for midday. Anyone who is going on Monday 31st and is happy to give a lift please contact Sally on tel 05 63 53 97 62
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''Is that a monkey '' says the Giraffe?

Annabel Jonkers age 6
Annabel as well as liking to paint, loves playing games and cross country running, winning her last three races.Her work here displays her interest in animals.
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Under African Skies

An exotic bird under African skies. A mixed media collage by Charlotte Jonkers, a frequent visitor to Varen. Charlotte age 12 is a keen artist, is learning to play the violin and  was a cross country runner but now prefers sprinting..
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Christmas pressie from the Taxman

Malc had filled our tax return on line so we think that may be a reason why we did not get our tax demand till the 22nd of  Dec.  We have 80 euros back and the social charge was slightly less than last year. We can only think that they had realised their blunders with the earlier tranches and adjusted later bills and we have profited from all your work, so  many thanks.
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Heating tonight

Just been to see the caretaker of the Salle des Fetes at Le Riols to be told the hall should be warm as the heating will have been on all day, due to there being a childrens party this afternoon. Also he is going to show us how to have the other heaters on with out the noisy front one. See you tonight for the Folk / Jazz evening with your goodies and wine and singing voices at 8pm.
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DVDs titles to Martin please

Christmas day over, a time now to relax and choose a couple of DVDs to lend to the scheme for a while. Send the titles to Martin Mackenzie for the 15th of January so he can put on the specially created site linked to TAGlines. I cannot keep a secret, Martin has spent time creating an amazing site which you will see in the next few days. We have come back with cases full of DVDs which after viewing can add to the pool, so there is going to be plenty of choice. To join is free but Martin wants your details so he can instantly know who has each disc. To contact Martin  - Martin.Mackenzie@orange.fr
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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Flu epidemic hits the South West

Hope you have all had your vaccinations as The South West of France is experiencing the worst of France's winter flu epidemic.
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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Colin Castell Exposition

Colin Castell, Caylus artist is holding an exhibition at the Library at Caylus at the moment. Sorry I do not have details of library opening hours.
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President Hollande on TV

President Hollande will give us his Presidential good wishes on TV on the 31st of Dec, and no doubt his thoughts and aspirations for the New Year, should be interesting listening.
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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Reminder for the 29th Sat Folk / Jazz Club

Le Riols  Sat. 29th  8pm for the Christmassy Folk / Jazz Club Evening. Charles reminds me to remind you to take cups and plates and plenty of wine and finger food to pass around. Look forward to seeing you there to hear all your Christmas stories in the interval. Started the Christmas  festivities here  with the children teaching us to sing everything "Gangnam Style" then One Pound Fish, then Eton style till we made up our own "donkey style" Bet Charles has not a clue what I am talking about! Prizes to those who know.
Sue Carter claims the " one fish prize" Apparently President Obama dances round the White House Gangnam style! ( Sunday Times )
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Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas Everyone

Happy Christmas to all TAG readers and a very healthy New year to you all.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Le Mot du President / Via Sahel Dec 2012

I have just spent 10 days in Mali but this time I cut short my visit because of the worsening even dangerous situation.  The situation at Bamako is becoming more difficult with most of the hotels  and restaurants closed for of lack of tourists. Business and commerce carry on slowly among numerous daily demonstrations and marches in the streets, some demanding immediate war, others seeking peace. Food becomes more and more scarce, coups d'etat multiply and everybody is waiting either worried or pleased at the prospect of massive armament arrivals. The absence of political stability  and authority is the norm and it is difficult to see what lies ahead.
In this  new and difficult context I returned to the Nursery where there has been a rise in the number of infants, alongside a new law  whereby children cannot be adopted by foreigners. There is also a worry that the presence of handicapped children considerably disturbs the running of the nursery. To find a place more adapted to their needs I went to Sangha, ten miles from Bamako, where we took up our negociations with a centre likely to receive them.  I proposed a provision of water which did not exist in the village  at that time and I saw to the provisioning of a communal grocery shop in the village as until now no shops.existed

Joined in Bamako by the managers of our operations in Sangha, we went over our present  activities: the maternity ward; the hospital; the laboratory  for analyses; the children of the streets and the school. With the National  Centre for blood  transfusion I arranged a reduction in cost and thanks to an added donation and bought another refrigerator for storing blood.In exchange the Centre agreed to supply an annual allowance of blood and transfusers, according to availability. I have asked  my colleague and permanent member of staff, Alain Vallet  to move with his family nearer to Bamako, as he lives currently  in a very dangerous zone.
Also at Bamako I checked up on the progress of Amadoun Dolo  who in the past we had brought to Toulouse to be operated on  and now a few years later with the aid of medication we supply is doing marvellously well. We have also designated Mme Nafitou Konare as our permanent representative in Bamako.
For all these reasons it is necessary  more than ever to continue  with our activities to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable  in society in this period of crisis, the children and old people.
I take this opportunity to wish you all best wishes for the end of the year and plenty of joy and happiness in 2013.
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Vetiguepie at Laguepie

Some of you may  know there is a charity shop at Laguepie called  "Vetiguepie" selling clothes and shoes, with the money taken going to various charities. They are having a promotion at the moment, for 3 euros, a pot of bio jam, a little peluche ( I choose a teddybear) and a packet of sweets. The money from this is going towards sterilising a cat of the village which has had numerous litters.
In the summer our little grandaughter  age 6 bought herself a dress in this shop for 3 euros, which she proceeded to wear all holiday ( much to Mummy's dismay, designer clothes staying in the suit case!) This girl is like her Grandma, she knows a bargain.
A shop even if you do not buy, you can donate clothes to.
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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sterndale Singers find venues

A Summer season where we already anticipate blue sky and sun is looking good for concerts with " a choeur speciale" the Sterndale Singers, who are firming up on their dates for a Concert at  La Domaine de Sautou near Parisot / Castanet  on Sat 24th of August followed by a Fete  and repas around the pool area. A concert at La Vigerie in Varen held in the marvellous courtyard and another concert at L'Eglise in Lacapelle Livron. We are surely the lucky ones. 2012 has been good but 2013 is going to have its high points.
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Resi and Ambert send Greetings

Resi and Ambert are supporting our Cinema evenings to raise money for children in Africa.The painting is one by Resi and looking at her site she also makes very nice jewellery.  www.residenceambert.com
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Another donation to those donkeys

Best Christmas ever for those rescue donkeys at the donkey rescue sanctuary in the Lot, Liberte des Anes. We have received another donation to be passed on to them from someone who decided to do that rather than send cards. The more help they receive the more donkeys that can be saved and rescued from sometimes appalling conditions.
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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Now is the time for presents.

Je vous invite à regarder et si vous voulez faire passer l'information.. le site est : www.grenier-deco.fr. (ce sont des articles de bonne  qualité)

My French friend Martine asked me to highlight her new venture, looks interesting 
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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

David Clench submits his art and his profile.

A very graphic image of a fractured  divided Africa, surrounded by barbed wire, the children try to survive, and looking longer,is the hand a severed hand...  all will be revealed
When David delivered his profile I asked him for an explanation  of the picture but as I suspected it is for you the viewer to decide. The hand is not severed though but could be asking or giving. David is a follower of  Graham Sutherland  who also studied at  Goldsmith's.
David studied at Goldsmith's College School of Art, London
Taught in England and regularly exhibited and sold his work there.
Arriving in France in 1991, he continued to work, and has had his pieces shown in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montauban, Moissac and regularly around Tarn et Garonne.
His pictures are produced using ''mixed media'', silk screen, collage, wax and water resists etc.
Always starting fom direct or remembered or observed material, the receiving surface takes on progressive developments to reach the final image.
David is presently moving house and studio to Varen but till he has new contact details can be contacted at
Atelier Mailgnac
Tel 05 63 65 49 37
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From TAG readers to Jean Marie Nosal

Jean Marie Nosal thanks us all for the donation of 550 euros, for the children of Mali.He has just come back from 10 days in Bamako where for the first time in all his years of visiting he admitted to being frightened. One day he was having  positive talks with the Prime Minister about the children, the next day the PM was arrested and made to resign under duress.His report will be winging its way to us quite soon and should make interesting reading.
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Bazar Curieux in St. Antonin

Dear Val,
 I've received your email address from Bregtje Backx. Last week I opened a little (poterie) shop called "Bazar Curieux" in the basement of my house. I did an opening "Fête des Poterie" last Saturday and it was really succesfull! 
I didn't know your blog, but Bregtje told me about it and my shop might be a nice little newsitem for the blog. I've attached some pictures that you can use.

In general I'll be opening 'on demand', so it's best if people call me a bit in advance, so I can simply open the shop for them (06 04 162397). But I will also be open most weekends.
Please also spread the word I'm opening this weekend aswell, so for last-minute Christmas shopping it's perfect. My prices are very 'sympa' (€ 2,- / € 3,- / € 5,- and for the really big pots € 10,-). Opening hours this saturday & sunday: 10.00h - 17.00h.

Thank you in advance for publishing this and I hope to see you one day in "Bazar Curieux"
.Warm regards & happy holidays!
 Margot Landeweerd

 BAZAR CURIEUX / poterie, deco etc.
6, Rue Del Pebre (entree coté cave)
82140 St. Antonin Noble Val
 tel 06 04162397
 Val says Looks my sort of shop. If you go in and buy please mention that you saw the info on TAG and then TAG may get a donation to our charity.
Well how kind, Margot is sending a donation any way -  mille merci Margot 
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We are all learning under instruction, DVD scheme.

Here is my list. I have put a lot in to give it a decent start. Are we limiting the amount each 2 months to say 5, otherwise it may get complicated. what do you think.?
Val Johnstone's list that I have sent to Martin. Rember Marin's email address for you is in the label DVD swap
Tel 0563 46 06 73   mail@bromlea.com
Le Pianiste                                                 
The Roy Orbison Story
Madame Butterfly
Black Swan
There's something about Mary
Gladiator
Amelie
American Beauty
In Bruges
The Quiet American
Chocolat
La Vie comme elle va [ about Najac]
Key Largo
Gone With the Wind
Sense and Sensibility
Cape Fear
Bridget Jones Diary
La Boheme
War Horse
Le Guepard [ the leopard]
Petits Meurtres entre Amis
Les silence des Agneaux
Ladies in Lavender
Les Choristes
Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis
Martha meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence
Titanic
The Phantom of the Opera
Nine
Frida
Tout Peut Arriver
Wimbledon
The Gingerbread Man
The Trip
Moulin Rouge
Minority Report
Bend it like Beckham
Seigneur des Anneaux 3 vols [ Lord of the Rings trilogy]
That is 37 titles, should set us off to a good start.[ hmm, maybe 38]

Now I have done that Martin, do you need them  before the 14th of Jan to put stickers on. I have also physically checked each box to verify the disc is there.
Love Val
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Beatrice, hairdresser in Varen ill

Beatrice the Varen hairdresser has had a thrombosis in her leg and is in Hospital at Toulouse. As well as the thrombosis she has an infection in her leg which is quite serious. Malc and I were both there last Wednesday and the poor girl was struggling then with a walking stick , looking pale and saying she thought it was sciatica. Our best wishes go to her
Val says popped in this morning, Beatrice is improving and being moved to Albi this evening. The hairdressers  is open as normal with the young girl assistant. When I asked how it was going she rolled her eyes. Glad I had mine cut last week!
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Maire Adjoint of Varen ill.

Michou Cere, Maire Adjoint of Varen is in hospital , we discovered today talking to his wife Nicole at the Foire in Laguepie. He has a rare blood disorder which has flared up many times over the last few years and is suffering with low morale because of this. He lives in the middle of Varen in the street between the Halle and the source, La  Rue Basse. His house has lots of very blue shutters. If you know Michou why not think of sending a card to cheer him up, as he will be in Hospital over Christmas.
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120th Anniversary of the Nutcracker

Hi Val, thank you for last night, we thoroughly enjoyed it! If you have
Googled today, you will have seen that it's the 120th anniversary of The
Nutcracker, so perfect timing!
Liz

Surprises even me.

The lovely couple who filled the vacant seats at the ballet  Neville ( can we cope with more Neville's)    and Louise had found TAG initially when searching the net for local French lessons. So the labels with your services in gets used not only in the main body of TAG but by people searching the net.  Neville and Louise moved to France about 6 months ago and are rapidly finding their feet and fitting in. They live  at Pech Menal near Septfonds in the Puylaroque type area. So glad you came to the evening even though you had a country ride to get here.
Neville says not only did he enjoy the evening but he was able to have a lesson in French talking to French lady Martine, sitting next to him.
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Monday, 17 December 2012

Job done and hay is delivered.

Hi Val,
We delivered the hay on Saturday. We stayed for lunch with Jan & Gerrit and had a cuddle with the donkeys.

You are right, they have a super set up there and work so hard to give the donkeys a warm secure home. 

It's a shame we are so far away as their open days and special lunches sound fab. We will try and get over there again in the New Year.
Mimi and Kevin Scragg
Val says Well done both. 
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New DVD loan scheme

INVITATION - NEW FOR 2013 - COME AND JOIN IN OUR NEW DVD LOAN SCHEME

Instead of just going away after the next Book Swop at the Gazpacho with your usual armful of new titles to read, why not include a few film titles as well!  All you need to do is JOIN the scheme. Membership is free - but you do need to register with Martin Mackenzie via email — martin.mackenzie@orange.fr

Martin  will need your

1. NAME
2. Tel.N°
3. email
4. A list of your DVDs that you will loan. (If the DVD is a boxed set, please add the N° of discs in the set).

Each DVD will carry a small sticky label showing the Taglines Loan Logo, the Owners Name, and the DVD reference N° and N° of discs. 

This is a great opportunity to catch up on some of the great films you just happened to miss out on, and discover some hidden gems maybe! So go and sort out some of your collection and email Martin with the details. 

AND DON'T WORRY - THIS IS A LOAN SCHEME - YOUR PRECIOUS DVDs CAN BE RETURNED TO YOU AT ANY OF THE FUTURE LOAN EVENTS AS AND WHEN NECESSARY. Martin will have all titles indexed at all times. If you want to know where your DVDs are, you can email him for the info.

The next "Book-Swop" is scheduled for  Monday Jan  14th 2013.  Martin will need details of your DVDs as soon as possible so don't delay. We will post peoples contributions to the "loan-pool" as they are made available. 

And because this is a LOAN scheme and NOT a Swop, you Taggers need to register and contribute at least one DVD in order to BORROW! 

Your comments will be welcome - any hints, tips and advice to make this scheme work well will be much appreciated.

Martin Mackenzie

Val says
Martin will also be the holder of the reserve stock whilst DVDs are not being loaned. Brilliant Martin, I will get cracking on my list for you tomorrow.
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Illness causes two cancellations

We have two seats available for tonights production of  "The Nutcracker" Ballet from  the Royal Opera House. Starts at 6.30pm and the cost is 10 euros to charity. Email asap if you would like to fill one or both of those seats.  Val  mail@bromlea.com      Seats sold within minutes of putting on TAG

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Greetings from Christchurch NZ

greetings from Christchurch on a beautiful sunny morning - heading for 28 degs.   Hope it cools  down a little before this evening as I have been invited to a preview of Les Miserables.    
 Unfortunately my hard drive gave up and I did not have a computer for a short while and only opened your email over the weekend and I was very touched to receive it.   I, too was very disappointed when Alison and Ian had to call off their visit.
I love all the animal stories on Tag, glad the donkeys got some Xmas Hay and I have been aware of the tremendous work of the Pheonix for many years.    My Thai friend cannot say his Rs so rats become Latties and I enjoyed telling him the story of your rat - hope the smell is diminishing.     Sadly my beautiful tabby boy Freddie had to be put to sleep a month ago 2 days after his 16th birthday   and I am not coping too well.    He was my emotional support through 12000+ quakes.    After the 1st big quake in Sept 2010 I rehomed another lovely tabby boy and he was killed during 2nd big quake in Feb 2011.

I am busy selling the bits I salvaged after big quakes, had to leave my home and friends  let me live in their seaside bach(albeit in the most affected area) but now this too is one of the 413  beach properties due for demolition and I have to move at the end of Jan.      With this and Freddie's death I have decided to take a long trip and will be visiting Europe and would hope that I could spend a day in your area and meet up with you and Malcolm and Alison and Ian for a face to face.
 Thank you for your notes it means a lot to communicate with people who are not directly affected by the quakes -  it will be years before CHCH will be be rebuilt  parts are utterly devastated and parts untouched.

Regards to Alison & Ian and Tag on line  is so enjoyable and I love the Bergerie comments.
Keep up the good work for the children - that was my career - more another time.
Give the cats a cuddle from me and Twister sounds fun.

Love Ann
 Val says  Can you remember how touched we were to receive Ann's first letter ? Well I am sure if Ann makes a visit  to Tarn and Garonne, there will be many friends here to welcome her. We all wish her a Very Happy Christmas and a trouble free new year.
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Interesting statistics

The most up to date survey  ( another expected in 2013)  shows that there are 140,000 British ex pats living full time  in France , or there were two years ago. The most populated areas are Midi Pyrenees, Ile de France, Aquitaine and Poitou Charente.  The Dordogne has more second homers.
Now in London, sometimes called France's 6th biggest City there were in May 2012, 300,000 to 400,000 according to the French Consulate. There are more French in London than in Bordeaux, Nantes or Strasbourg.
In Spain there are 400,000 British ex pats.
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All the way from Laos

Hello Val,
 thanks for keeping me advised of cultural events in our district with TAG; you maybe amused to learn that in my ricefield I cannot catch the Laos National radio, but I perfectly receive Radio Aveyron, Sud Radio , CFM Cahors, and other exotic sounds, through internet....
Regrettably The Met did not reach me yet though..
As would say our polyglot President: " Friendly "
Bertrand
Val says ''The friendly'' refers to the now well reported letter that Hollande sent to Obama signing himself off with ''Friendly  Francois Hollande'' substituting the ''Amities'' for friendly, oops!
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Parisot tonight Carol Concert

At the church at Parisot, a Carol Concert with the choir under the direction of Peter Nowfel  17hr. Just a reminder.
Reports tell me that there was  standing room only left in a packed Church for a wonderful evening of music.
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Laguepie loves Laguepie

Christmas trees all around the village with two rivers. The trees all have large Christmas ball decorations with the message on  " J'aime Laguepie " with a heart for love. That is one of the reasons I love Laguepie and would defend it from criticism, it is a village with a big heart. Pride in the community, that's what it has, and it welcomes us all in to enjoy. Walking the dogs along the river yesterday with mist rising from the River Viaur, was just beautiful.


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Saturday, 15 December 2012

A dog is not just for Christmas.

If you want to enlarge your family and have even more fun in your life, and were thinking of adopting a dog  - think of Poor Paws in the Dordogne . Sue Gibbery works hard to rehome dogs of all ages and has some'' Christmas crackers'' at the moment.
A bit further away but may be worth the drive for a super companion is Phoenix also in the Dordogne. Our black labrador Twister came from there, needing a home at 8 years old, and he has been a delight.
For both type in Poor Paws, Dordogne or Phoenix Dog Rescue Dordogne and the sites will come up.
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Dog sitter needed

Looking for a dogsitter for a friends' very sweet young border collie for one week; 23rd-30th
He is offering 20 euros a day, but it needs to be a safely fenced place, without intact male dogs (she is in heat).
Please contact anke.terbruggen@orange.fr

Does anyone want a lift?

I am driving to Holland (Utrecht) either the 23rd or the 24th and wouldn't mind some company for the long ride. Does anybody want a lift in that direction (to Paris for exemple)?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Donkey dinners

Hello Val, can you pass this on

dear everyone
a very happy christmas to you all. 
to celebrate with us this year would you like to come to a special christmas lunch on wednesday 19th december,
 this will be a 15 euro menu as its a bit special.
or why not come along inbetween christmas and new year with your visitors on sunday 30th december,
 this is a 10 euro menu.  vegetarians for both events are easily catered for.  reservations
are necessary for both of these events.
please come to support our fundraising efforts for the donkeys here at lavolvene this month to help us with our
enormous feeding bills, normally we'd say for during the winter months, but this year due to a total lack of rain we
have been feeding the same hay rations throughout the summer aswell !
 thanks to all our regular supporters, without you we could not continue our work to help these loving creatures to
be happy and healthy and continue to be spoilt and warm here at lavolvene.
jan lemmy and helpers at liberte des anes     libertedesanes@gmail.com

Mr Rat has friends

Did you know that you're never more than 6 ft away from a rat? On Radio 4
now.
Gill x

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Let us find them a concert venue.

I sing with a choir in UK, Sterndale Singers, which has visited France 3 times since 2007 staying in Villefranche and giving free concerts round the area.  We usually have a collection afterwards and have been able to give a decent donation to our hosts.

We have sung in Loc Dieu, Chapelle aux Penitents Noirs, St Antonin etc.  I am in the middle of arranging a fourth visit for 2013, but am struggling to find churches for concerts as I am rather late this time and several venues are booked.  I wonder if you could ask via tag-on-line whether anyone has suggestions for where we would be welcome and whom I should contact?
We are looking for the evenings of 23 and 24 August and the choir has about 24 singers. We  might well bring a string quartet to enhance the offering- as we did in 2011. I have contacted the Mairie at Najac and asked a friend in St Antonin for possible contacts there but have not had replies yet.
Any help would be much appreciated.  I will of course be in T &G in the spring? summer to follow up arrangements properly.
Thanks   Angela Rees    angela@garees.eclipse.co.uk

Just googled Sterndale Singers, it appears they are based in Sheffield, with a pretty busy concert programme through out England. Look them up , looks like a good choir.

An enchanted evening of seasonal songs and verse

At L'Eglise Salvetat des Carts    22nd Dec   16hrs. Stay for mulled wine afterwards
Le concert aura pour titre "Les Milles Annees de Noel". Les artistes:
Sally Bradshaw soprano
Janet Emmelkamp alto
Micheline Pinoncely piano
Michael Fontes flute a bec 
Martine Buffard lectrice
Marion Wilson lectrice
Nous allons interpreter des chants de Noel de l'Occitan du moyen age, des chants traditionnaux, des "carols" anglais, et il y aura aussi des poemes, et de la lecture tiree de la Sainte Bible. 

This concert sounds lovely, sadly we travel to England that day so will miss it. I strongly recommend if you can go, do.
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Two more added to my " cauchemar" list

Strauss Kahn has made an out of court settlement with the NY maid reported to be around 6 million. Well she deserves it after ( allegedly) having been made  to have oral sex with him.
The alleged drunk Depardieu is selling his home in Paris for 50 million and moving a few steps away from France in to Belgium. Nothing to do with taxes of course, just prettier scenery  ... and he is still thought of as a  National icon !
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The bells, the bells

For the 850th Anniversary of the Parisien Cathedral "Notre Dame", the Cathedral is getting a new set of bells. Wonder what Quasimodo would think about that?
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Should you drink a little, take medicines and drive?

Wednesday evening a young lady from Villefranche  expecting a baby and with her 7 year  old daughter and  small son left her friends  house to drive home at 10.30 pm. There was a collision with a driver who has been arrested,  with a small amount of alchol in his blood but also  becuse he had taken " medicaments" one which caused drowsiness. In the crash the girl of 7 was killed, the small boy hurt but not seriously but the Mother also lost her unborn child.
So you do not just have to worry about drinking a lot, but perhaps check what effects your medicines might have on your  driving. Not having a driving licence living here would make life impossible.
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Thursday, 13 December 2012

I smell a rat !

In the summer we noticed a very big handsome rat running over the roof tiles. A bit embarrassing really as we were wining and dining our Fifi Lady President at the time, (and David ) outside high up on the wooden terrace. ( Our house is upside down , bedrooms downstairs, kitchen and salon up)  Mr Rat must have made friends with our 4 cats and 2 dogs as he became a regular passing dinner guest. When it turned cold we could hear him entertaining in the loft, having a merry old time.
I hate poison especially with so many pets about but other  than  sticking one of the cats up through the loft entrance , we could not think of another alternative.
Well the poison has worked and fine dining invitations to rats in the area will happen no more. Mr Rat though has had a bit of a last laugh. He has obviously drawn his last breath and died in the stone cavity wall. Tomorrow I go to buy pine scented candles until his body has dried up and nothing but his skeleton remains
Adieu  and rest in peace smelly  Mr Rat.
So far I have told you about our exploding fosse, now rats, some one else  must have tales of horror.
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Chris Patten needs his TV fix

Hi Val
I have followed the speculation regarding the possible loss of BBC TV with interest and, being somewhat untechnical, not a little difficulty.

But I can't help wondering if there is not a human dimension to the whole matter. The chairman of the BBC governors spends time at his French house outside Laguepie. Should he really be denied access to the British electronic media, especially during what one might term the "Savile Row"?
Sent by  Philip Bargery
 Val says    That had me confused  for a minute   " suits you Sir "
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Say ''No way Nigel''

Nigel Farage MEP summons up dread for expats. Poll ratings and the mood in the UK means that the UKIP Party is set to win the 2014 European Elections, this  according to his website ! Might seem a long time off but one can see that the mood in the UK is not forwarding thinking enough to keep on embracing Europe. I think Nigel goes on to my list of  ''cauchemars'' along with Marine le Pen.
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Carol singing in St Antonin in the Halle

Hi Val,
The carol singing will take place under the Halle in Saint Antonin this
week-end and not in the church as stated in your post. This event is
organised by the PTA for the primary schools in Saint Antonin. Sunday 16th
December, 5.30-7.30p.m. Free mulled wine and hot chocolate- all welcome to
come and sing along. Father Christmas will also be making an appearance.
Kind regards and yuletide greetings to all!
Michelle Jones
Val says Have altered the earlier post so no one gets confused.
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Do you have the best Internet offer?

 Recently the prices of most Internet contracts have been going down dramatically. And the quality and the possibilities are even improved. But since most providers don’t inform their customers about this, many of us can still have the old contracts with high prices. Usually an Internet contract can be changed easily after 1 year. When you check the offers of your Internet provider, it can be a big surprise when you see the costs, compared to what you pay now. But it is also advisable to take a look at the possible speed. In the town of St Antonin for instance SFR is offering a high speed, but usually doesn’t give more than 8 Mbps down. In the same case Orange is giving almost 20 Mbps for the same price.
Another thing is the use of a normal land line (ligne fixe) of France Telecom. In most cases it is possible to ask for “dégroupage”, which means that you don’t use the land line for making calls, you can make calls via your Livebox or Neufbox etc. But don’t forget to ask that your land line number is placed on your box. And the calls then are even free to land lines of about 100 destinations including all Europe countries. It saves you the costs of the land line of about € 17 (usually an extra charge of about € 5 is added to your Internet subscription). Another thing is the possibility – only for Orange – to have a television decoder which gives you all the French television channels via the Internet, so without the use of an aerial or satellite dish and without any extra monthly costs.
Most providers also have combinations of the Internet subscription with mobile phones for very low prices.
At the moment I have very good experiences with Orange, who now have a very good and accurate help desk with short waiting times. I am sorry to say that I hear that the English help desk is less professional, I prefer the French help desk (3900). Good Orange offers are the Livebox-ZEN or the Livebox-Star (which gives free calls to French mobile phones). The Livebox-Open Start package includes a subscription for a mobile phone.
Hans Buijserd, VIDEPC
Val says Have other readers good or bad information about their internet providers?

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Return of " le loup"

Wolves are returning to France. I have read posts recently about wolves coming over into the Alps from Italy, and then into  high areas in the Aveyron. Now one has been seen and photographed in the Gers at Troncens
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The BBC have today updated their information here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/posts/Changes-to-BBC-Satellite-transponders-in-2013

to explain that BBC channels will, for the most part, not be broadcast using the tighter distribution pattern (which could jeopardise reception in southern Europe) until the summer of 2013.

After that, the BBC accepts that some non-UK viewers could lose the ability to receive services intended for the domestic BBC audience, but they blame this on changes made by SES, the Luxembourg-based company operating the Astra satellite fleet.

However, the fact that the Channel 5 family, Channel 4HD, 4Seven and some ITV 1 channels are now using the tighter distribution pattern and remain viewable in the Midi-Pyrenees (we've had no reports of loss of reception hereabouts) does bode quite well for next year's BBC switch-over.
Hope this is helpful.
Chris
PS  Sky News is indeed now openly available on Freesat - previously you had to search for it separately.  
Also sent by David Hatfield
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Do you suddenly have a high bill form Orange?

Recently several people noticed that they had a much higher bill from Orange Internet as they normally would expect. Looking at the bill (usually readable as a PDF-file on the Orange personal page under Espace Client, Suivi Conso) you sometimes see that a certain amount is charged for the use of Minitel or for Internet+ or Contact+. This is the charge for the use of certain pages on the Internet which require payment, like some pages of Météo France or the Yellow Pages. Unfortunately you don’t get a good visible warning at all while watching these pages. It is advisable to disable this possibility. On the Suivi Conso page go to “modifier mes services internet” and disable both Internet+ and Contact+ by clicking modifier and then désactiver. Confirm with Valider. One of my clients (age 85) had a bill of more than € 55 extra last month, so it is worthwhile to carefully check your bill and your settings.
Some of us also have there the possibility for deactivating Wifi Partagé. My advice is not to do so and leave that activated.
Hans Buijserd, VIDEPC.
 Val says Lorraine Dowson has also mentioned this problem. so thanks for bringing it to TAG's attention Hans
Have just googled VIDEPC to find below
VIDEPC is a small company in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val (Tarn et Garonne - 82) for support on computers. We give this support on installation and repairs on the computers. We are experts in Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7) and also have much experience with Windows servers, networking, ADSL and WiFi. We can give you advice on all aspects of Information and Communication Technology.

What can we do for you

All aspects of ICT are possible, from advice to repairs.
  • Windows computers
  • ADSL
  • WiFi
  • Ethernet networks
  • Internet networks
  • Windows servers
  • Websites (HTML, PHP-MySQL)
  • Satellite and TNT television
  • Personal Consultancy
  • Hans Buijserd   tel 0563263934
  • Mobile0643734697
Lorraine Dowson says
In relation to large bills we were refunded from Orange after calling the English helpline (0969363900)
They have blocked from my email address any sites that would incur costs.
They were very helpful.
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Next book swap will be January 14th

A date for your diary Monday January 14th  at 10 .30 am will be the next book swap at the Gazpacho. We are hoping to also organize a DVD swap with Martin Mackenzie being the DVD Librarian. More on that at a later date.
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Toulouse / Blagnac, the best in France

Toulouse Blagnac Aeroport has come out the tops , the best in France. Information from Skyscanner taking into account 18 different criteria  put Toulouse at the top.  A noter egalement les mauvais scores des aeroports Parisiens.  And I bet even you non French speakers can guess the gist of that.
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Douze, douze, douze

A lucky date for the Chinese, with many young couples choosing to get married, some even choosing the time douze, douze.
Talking dates, the Gazpacho at St. Antonin is offering a last supper ( before the end of the world ) on the  evening of the 20th for 55 euros. What is money if you believe you will not be here to spend it the next day!
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Eric catches a ''brochet''

Eric Savignac of Varen has just caught an enormous brochet [ pike] 50 cms in length. A picture of him proudly displaying it is in the Depeche Tarn et Garonne. He is also President of the local fishing club which will be meeting on Friday 14th of Dec in the Mairie in Varen at 20hr30
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Think about having your chimney /flue cleaned.

Has your chimney been swept recently? Does your wood burner burn as well as it should?
I just spent a couple of hours helping someone sweep their chimney because their ramoneur was un contactable and I was glad I did because I really saw why chimneys need sweeping. The chimney had become so restricted that it was not possible to light the wood burner properly. It was full of lumps of tar all they way up - an ideal medium for a chimney fire. I broke most of the plastic bristles off two chimney brushes cleaning most of the tar out. My hand would just fit into the top of the flue evn though the tube was 150mm 
I am glad to say that we do not have that problem at home as most of the residue coats the chimney flue and then falls off into the T peice at the bottom as dry 'leaves'. I think the reason it does that is that I try to burn the wood hot and then let it die down, I believe the wood burner works most efficiently when it has an air flow, sadly ours are too powerful for the rooms so it is tempting to have them ticking over at full restriction. If the glass is getting coated then the chimney is probably the same.
Something for everyone to think about whilst they are keeping warm
Sent by James Sweeting
Val says   We had the same problem a few years ago with a wood burning stove and were told by the ramoneur  that it was caused by burning wood that was not properly dry and aged. Wood  needs to be 3 years old before burning. Another point is your insurance will only pay out if you have a fire, if you have a current certificate saying you have had your chimney cleaned.
James Says   The wood burned by the previously mentioned wood burner was definitely dry - well stored and over three years old so that wasn't the cause of the problem.
If you know your chimney is in a good state you don't need a certificate from a ramoneur because it won't catch fire.
Neville says    Neville agreed that wood should be dry before burning to avoid a build of tar in the chimney,however what happens with your insurance company if you have swept the chimney yourself and do not have a certificate to prove it?

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Hard to leave your past behind.

An elderly man in his late 60's living in Castres with his wife was obviously loathe to give up his memories of his exciting days when a young " legionnaire" After a violent dispute with his wife where she got shot in the hand, gendarmes searched their house to find a veritable arsenal of weapons. Rifles, pistols, grenades, machettes, detonaters were all on display. Makes you think and look twice  at your neighbours.
Malc says " that is a gun toting peasant if ever you saw one" Quote from a much earlier post where  an  Englishman going back to England  had described his neighbours as " gun toting peasants"
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Worrying times in Mali

Mali's PM Cheick Modiba Diarra announced his resignation and that of his Government on National TV yesterday, only hours after he was arrested by the military.
Antoine Glasser, a French specialist on Mali said the new power grab was undoubtedly a result of differences over a future military offensive to take back the Northern regions controlled by al Qaeda linked Islamists fighters.
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Donkey with the ''gummy'' smile is well, after a cold

Hi val
 just got the 2 cheques from you, hope you got the xmas cards in the post.
 Thank you so much for all your support, its quite cold now and they are eating loads so all of these donations help us so much and give me good feelings to know there is some support out there when I am sometimes a bit down with the continuing problems with some of  the donkeys.
 Yes we still have Savanne the big Poitou cross with Babouche the old white one her best friend, and all of them, just had the vet over as one of them got a cold although they are in most of the time eating hay !  We are seeing Mimi and Kevin next Sunday, so kind of them to bring us hay.
 Thanks for your Tag lines, talk soon,
Jan Lemmy

Monday, 10 December 2012

Annual Candle lighting and Carols at St. Antonin

Sunday Dec. 16th there will be the Annual Candle lighting and Carol Celebration at St. Antonin. The Carols will start at 17 hr in the Halle.
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Please can anyone help Anne?

Can any good samaritan help me.  I need someone without cats who could look after Barty and Chloe (my two non cat friendly dogs) from about 11am until 9pm next Sunday 16th December. I can drop off and collect but does anyone know anyone who could look after them during the day. They have been left so much recently as my husband is in hospital having a bone marrow transplant and I can't leave them alone again and would like to be able to visit Nick in hospital and then do the St Antonin carol concert in the evening.

If anyone can help please give me a call on 05 63 31 13 24 or 06 04 03 29 39

Anne Grose 
Val says Anne lives near Castanet.Wish I could help but we have 4 cats and we have been invited out to lunch on Sunday.I am sure we must have a reader with out cats who could mind two very friendly dogs.
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Sains et saufs

Two skiers were found on a high piste in the Ariege and the French report says "sains et saufs," well and safe. Where as our saying would be "safe and sound", not dissimiliar.
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Line gives massages.

Have you got ideas for Christmas presents for all your loved ones ?
How about an enjoyable and relaxing massage for a change ? 
Massages are particular energising at this time of the year.

Please check this video with neurobiologist Lucy Vincent to know why:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cUxEL90NzQs 

Book early your massage gift-vouchers and maybe one for yourself as well.

For more information, check my website: www.bienetre-massage.fr
Warm regards,
Line Leroy
line.leroy7@gmail.com
06 29 86 91 67
www.bienetre-massage.fr
Val says  we have good reports of Line, and she has donated 10 euros to the children of Mali
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Ryanair flights through the winter.

Ryanair has announced it will stay flying from Rodez to Stansted,  through the winter with flights on Thursdays and Sundays.
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The English library at Villefranche

Readers may be interested in looking at the website of the English Library at Villefranche de Rouergue It has a lot of local information on and publishes a bi monthly newsletter. Just looked at the link and it costs to join but you can read the newsletters for free.
www.theenglishlibrary.net
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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Couronne making at La Mothe

I received a post for TAG which invited readers to a Christmas wreath making afternoon on Sat or Sunday 8th or 9th.at  ''Le Jardin de la Mothe at Salles Courbatiers. A group of  us ladies decided to go and an added incentive was the money paid for the afternoon was for the Domaine de Sautou. The day was dry and sunny and so we were lucky to be able to have a guided tour around the beautiful gardens before lunch. As we were expecting sandwiches the delightful lunch that was served was a real bonus.
Everything was on hand to make the wreaths and a large group of ladies [ not a group of large ladies] soon got winding ivy , flinging moss about [ was that just me!] and generally creating masterpieces under instruction.
We all had a great afternoon and came away feeling satisfied and happy with our creations. Mine is a bit dodgy to be honest but I did enjoy it. Thanks to Marion and Mollis and Milla and I hope you have raised a goodly sum for the children of Mali
Val
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Latest news from Mali

As we are raising money for the children of Mali, keeping our eye on the political situation there is important. The latest news tells us of a march through the streets of Bamako on Saturday. One thousand people were marching to demand a swift international intervention to reclaim Northern Mali, which armed Islamists groups have been occupying for 8 months.
Jean Marie Nosal is in Bamako at the moment supervising school and hospital and we await more news on his return.
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Anne Alassane expecting a baby in February

La Pays'Anne and Anne Alassane
Many of us now have sampled the delights of the former Masterchef's  Restaurant at Montauban. After winning Masterchef and setting up her own Restaurant, Anne suffered a terrible tragedy when two of her small children were killed in a fire. We are happy to hear life is moving on for her and she is expecting another baby in February. For those who have not been to the ''Auberge paysanne''  a bit of information below, grace a la Depeche.
Situé à 5 kilomètres de Montauban, en pleine campagne, la ferme-auberge «La Pays'anne» propose de savoureuses recettes concoctées à partir de produits de qualité issus du terroir. Aux fourneaux, Anne Alassane mitonne des gratins de volaille au potiron, des ravioles de chèvre, du foie gras poêlé, des grenadins de veau, de la volaille roulée aux fruits secs…
Ouvert tous les jours, sauf mercredi et jeudi. Ouvert le 24 et 25 décembre à midi, le 1er janvier à midi. Menu : 18 € le midi (entrée + plat ou plat + dessert, apéritif et café compris), formule Pays'Anne à 28 €, formule dégustation à 45€. Tel. 06 87 39 17 72.
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Marine Lorphelin, Miss Bourgogne becomes Miss France

Last night televised was the final of Miss France. Marine Lorphelin of Bourgogne, a 19 year old medical student was crowned Miss France. From the photos, a very pretty lass.[ could be a quiz answer, and you would know it]
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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Lift to Rodez for Richard 23 / 12

Hi Val, 
hope you're well, 
thought I'd drop you a line, as I'm wondering if you know of anyone heading to Rodez, 23/12.
I'm heading to the airport..need to be there around 12 afternoon, and willing to pay petrol costs if necessary, 
many thanks, 
richard      Contact Richard on      elixirix@gmail.com
Richard is the young student at Citrus in Laguepie
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The night Fifi became truly International

Well girls, what a night.
Judith Reynolds key organiser of  the Fifi Christmas Carol Concert held at Verfeil Sur Seye  deserves a "medaille d'or" Last year the first of these events was very good but lacked the international feel, well this year  that was put right. We had the children of Verfeil singing " Jingle bells",  a number of  village children being taught English by a group of dedicated ladies, all wanting to offer their services to the local community and the children are loving it. The choir of St. Antonin ... and Caylus sang French Carols, Fifi ladies sang English and there were readings in French and English. The  residents of the village of Verfeil had a reminder  from the Mairie that very morning and the village turned out, " nombreux". Mulled wine and mince pies were plentiful and there was not a " mouse pie" in sight. I am sure everyone had the same feeling that in such a warm ambience celebrating the coming of Christmas could not have been better


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