Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Male member exposed at a Fifi meeting.

With rumblings of discontent amongst the male of the species in Tarn and Garonne,recently the level of angst rose to a new high. A plot has been unmasked of a plan to infiltrate meetings of the ladies group Fifi by men masquerading in ladies clothes and wigs to participate and join in the fun the ladies are obviously having. TAGlines will not divulge details of the members but feels it is time to consider proposals for mixed groups having get togethers and forming clubs.I have heard requests for gardening, photography, bird-watching and book  clubs all of which could be all embracing, men, women, French, English etc.
Taglines would be happy to promote these groups in the way I am happy to promote Fifi.As there are lots of women on their own and others who delight in a bit of 'own time' there are also couples who enjoy spending time together.If any one would like to consider the above mentioned groups or indeed have ideas for other groups please contact:
Kathleen and Glen Bloomfield to formulate battle plans. email  glenkath85@gmail.com
There are also some Fifi meetings which are all embracing such as the Quiz nights and some outings .Check out the Fifi website.  http://www.fifi82.org/
Boules /petanque on  Friday afternoons in Varen in the winter ,Verfeil in the summer. This  is a mixed group of ladies and gents of  all ages from 10 years old to 88 years old. [or is it 87 David?].Contact Malcolm on tel. 05 63 06 46 73 or mail@bromlea.com
Bridge at Caylus Thursday evening 5.30pm start.    Please contact Vanessa Ainsworth either by phone on 0563 671419 or by email at johnandness@wanadoo.fr.  Alternatively, if you can’t get hold of me, try Alan Fawcett on
0563 318713 or june.fawcett@orange.fr.
Various walking groups in the area. If you want your walking group promoting let Taglines know.
Please send information on any group to Taglines if you wish it to be promoted.

Organic food shop

"I am trying to find a good organic food shop in the Tarn area. Can anyone advise?

Please email Carol and Steven on

Support children with brain tumours and be 'a la mode' at the same time

Spring/summer preview of Captain Tortue ladies clothes at LaSalle Fitness
 studio in LaSalle on Sat March 3rd from14:00. Captain Tortue help support a
 charity called Camille’s Appeal for children under the age of five suffering
 from brain tumours. There will be 2 ladies lines;  she will have samples to
 try on in both  the younger, everyday Miss Captain & the more sophisticated
 Lady Captain. You can place an order for the pieces you would like for later
 delivery. For more info (in english - french site also available via google
search) www.captaintortuegroup.com.
  Directions to LaSalle Fitness Studio;
On d926 from Caylus to Septfonds, turn right at Miramond roundabout towards
 Puylaroque. Continue for 5 mins until the sign on the right to the Camp de
 Caylus & Les Espiemonts. Directly opposite on the left you turn to LaSalle.
 About 1km on the left there are some rubbish bins. Turn left directly after
 into the driveway. Park on the grass outside the gates. Walk through the
 gates & follow the short driveway to the barn on the right.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Good dentist needed

Does anyone know of a good dentist in the area? James Sweeting's regular dentist has 
retired and he needs to have some of his teeth sorted and hopes not to have to pay too
much for the pleasure.
Contact James on

Selling TV's on the Market

Roger Bowen would like to thank every one who has phoned, sent or offered a replacement TV. He has now settled with a Phillips 21" with stand. Rather than having a stall on the market  he will be sorting out the various TV's stacked in his lounge and has asked me  to pass on his thanks to the many Tagline readers who offered help.

On the Borrow

Has anyone got a lightweight sleeping bag that Wally Mears who lives near Cordes 
can borrow or hire for one week in mid June.Wally can be contacted by email at

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Galgos Need Your Help

One of our readers Anne Grose has a Galgos as an adorable family pet and has asked me to put this info.on Taglines.
This coming weekend sees the end of the hunting season in Spain.This is the time when Spanish sighthounds,Galgos are abandoned ,tortured and starved because they are no longer wanted.At Galgos de Sol, a rescue centre in Spain they have been asked to take 70 dogs that are no longer needed and they are skeletal. Donations are urgently needed. Click  on  http://www.perrosdelsol.es/galgo-rescue-missions.html

 To make a donation direct banking donations Lloyds TSB Galgos del Sol Sort code 30-90-54 Account no. 40152868 or paypal galgosdelsol@hotmail.com

A Further tip for IPad users

Doreen Porter has added some extra information when using the IPad.There is a link to watch TV channels from all over the world called 'Filmon.com'. It is free to join and it is live TV with all the UK channels.

Next Book Swap at the Gazpacho

I propose the next book swap being Tuesday morning 10.30am  28th of February. If you cannot make this date but need some books I have a quantity left after each swap which you can always browse through.
I gave away 3 boxes of books  to the Donkey Sanctuary,which I thought had been around for a few swaps and not picked up.
 So put the date in your diary and I will give a reminder nearer the time.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

How an IPad is helping me by Sue Gray Smith

As I spend a lot of time backwards & forwards to hospital where the only entertainment option is French television  I purchased  my I Pad.
There are copious amounts of functions available and you have the ability to download the following:
Books - you can purchase your favourite titles, authors  and there are numerous free books available.
Games - again, old favourites are available, like solitaire, scrabble and catch phrase. Some games are not expensive and some are free.
 The main reason for my purchase is the ability to download my favourite TV programmes and  films. All  are in English and for a low price, once downloaded, they are yours to keep forever. ( you can link your I Pad to your home PC or Laptop by cable or Wi-Fi and transfer all your purchases so you never lose them, then add more to your I Pad )
There is the facility to access the Internet, use your emails and to add Skype to your I Pad, so you can talk to loved ones and friends, using the integrated microphone, speakers and even the webcam if you are feeling brave!
With the email facility, you can, upon setting up your I Pad,set your usual email address as the default one, this will then appear as a shortcut on the I Pad and your emails will update each time you access the email icon.
Often my hands don't function properly and cause extreme pain, whereupon, I can't use a keyboard.  The I Pad is fantastic for this, as it is touch screen.  One problem I did find though is that when my hands are really swollen,painful or numb, I can't use the touch pad, so a handy little I Pad accessory which I use every time with my I Pad is a 'Stylus Pen'.  These cost only about 4-5 Euros, although you can get some double packs for 6 Euros or even less.  The Stylus Pen is fashioned like a normal pen, but at the tip it is a dome of soft rubber.  This product is an absolute Godsend for me as you don't have to move your wrist or fingers much
I can tap out emails with virtually no movement from my wrist or fingers, except to actually hold the Stylus when tapping out an email.  With the I Pad, if you wish to use it away from your home WiFi or if you don't have an Internet connection, you must purchase a sim card in order to access the Internet.
If you plan like me to use  emails, Internet and Skype etc. away from home I found it easier to buy a sim card on a yearly contract.
I got an excellent deal for my I Pad from Orange France, but I believe the same deals are available from a number of other providers.
If you just plan to use your downloaded material away from your home, it is not worth buying a sim card, just download everything you wish to watch onto your I Pad  before you leave.
There is so much to tell you about this amazing piece of technology. Mine has given me back the ability to type emails, use the Internet and  be occupied in hospital and away from home.
You can even access bbc I player from it. To do this in France, you need to visit a website called 'expattelly.com', where they give you the information on how to do this, for a small charge, of course!
 Make sure when you purchase it that you register it to a UK address otherwise all your TV, films, books etc will be from French providers, which defeats the object of the I Pad .
There are some more bits & pieces of useful  information  when setting up your I Pad, that I could pass to you and I will keep Val updated with anything else I find out, but  if you need to know anything, more I can be contacted through Val at Taglines or directly at suegray36@hotmail.com and I will try to help.   

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Childrens books needed

Children books in French and English.

I gather french and english childrenbooks for a Dutch organisation read to grow.http://www.readtogrow.eu/nl/
Read to GrowIn Europe we find it obvious that books are available to us. We read books for our study, to obtain information and for entertainment. Therefore we have many opportunities to develop ourselves. For most people in developing countries, access to books is a lot less obvious. To give these people a chance to use their potential qualities, we donate books to small-scale projects in developing areas. Read to Grow works with over 80 partner organizations in 27 developing countries.

I take care that the books you give to me, I deliver to the organisation in Holland. I am part of the walkingclub, so we could easily arrange something. My tel nr 0563648084.  Riet Okken

Fifi, Friends in France International

Just a reminder to check out Fifi. A group of ladies who organise a range of activities in the Tarn and Garonne area. Photography, gardening, sewing, singing groups and much more. For details check out their website below.


In the Spirit of Recycling

Roger Bowen's TV has given up the ghost and he wondered if there is any one with an old TV he could buy at a 'petit prix'
Contact Roger on tel. 05 63 02 75 70

Friday, 20 January 2012

Roof tiles for sale

I'd really like to put a smile on my neighbour's face by finding a good home for a stack of old roof tiles, which I have stored in his barn next door. There are about 300 or so, maybe more, in good condition, for sale and collection at 30 centimes each, or nearest offer. Anyone repairing an old roof?
I also have a solid pine TV unit, in excellent condition, with CD/DVD drawer storage for sale at 170 euros. There are also a number of items of furniture left over from the hangar sale in November, if anyone is looking for a few inexpensive bits and pieces for a gite maybe.
Please contact Lizzie Jewels on 0563 40 13 46 or lizziejewels333@btinternet.com

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Free piano recitals

Jean-Louis on the walk gave me a flyer for free piano recitals in Arnac every friday at 21h
Have a look at their website for more info and piano lessons
sent by James Sweeting

Monday, 16 January 2012

Hairdresser recommended

For those looking for a good hair salon in the local area, 'Actuel' in Septfonds offers a professional and competitively priced service.  A unisex salon, they provide the full range of hair care services and both Alexandra and Marjorie are highly competent.
Open Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and on Saturday from 9am to 5pm, appointments can be made on 05 63 31 64 07.  You will need to speak basic French.  They are located just off the main road to Caussade (diagonally opposite the boulangerie and public car park)
We have found them to be cost effective and friendly, and would recommend them to anyone looking for a good local hairdresser.
Sent by Kathleen and Glen Bloomfield of St. Antonin.

We also find Beatrice in Varen is very good,unisex and  once again basic French needed.tel 05 63 30 69 97
When it comes to hairdressers, Philippe Coletta in Caussade is hard to beat
He is excellent.French needed. Sent by The Grahams of St. Antonin

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Great aid to speaking French

Watching French TV is one of the best ways to improve your French. You can buy a little weekly booklet called Tele Z at the Presse for 40 centimes or The Depeche on Sunday has the  programmes for that week.On a morning we tend to switch from English to French news and are always surprised how often  France tells English news but not the other way around.
We watch the local news at 7pm France3 Albi with 'sous titres,'[ sub titles] annoyingly always one step behind. Then I tend to watch a film or TV drama at 8.30pm . I try to stay away from dubbed American films of which there are a lot. If you find a french film and use the sous titres which go at the same speed as the film that works well. Keep a notebook next to you for words you did not understand and check them later. Happy viewing.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Not only gardening but cooking as well.

I am informed by the animatrice of our gardening group of "Agir Ensemble.." that on Wednesday 18th of January at 2pm at The Salle des Fetes at Verfeil there is an 'Atelier Cuisine' where a ''recette de pate vegetal'' will be proposed by Florence.
Every one welcomed.
The gardening group meeting has been brought forward to 23rd of January at 2pm and directions to the garden to visit are below. If you are planning on coming let me know and I will pass on our numbers to Laurence.

Prochaine réunion de travail:

Lundi 23 janvier 2012
à 14h a Verfeil
chez Anaïs :

"Pour les gens qui arrivent de Saint Antonin, prendre direction Verfeil,
tourner direction Verfeil sur le plateau,
et apres quelques kms, on arrive au carrefour les Estaules/ Verfeil, continuer direction Verfeil sur 500 metres et tourner à gauche dans le chemin de la Vaysse, avec une ruche comme point de repère en haut du chemin. on est en bas!

Pour les gens qui arrivent de Verfeil, prendre direction Arnac et tourner à droite direction Carrendier sur la D114, monter 3kms
et tourner dans le chemin à droite à la ruche."

The website for the MSA which both the activities are organised by is below. It gives you an idea of the aims of the association which are to encourage local activities  in rural areas which will help to preserve our health and happiness.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

ADMR, what it does and how to go about it.

If we were in England it would be much easier to know what is available in the Health and Social Services and how we would go about accessing care and help. It is much more difficult knowing what is available here in France and then how to go about getting help.
ADMR stands for Aide a Domicile en Milieu Rural.It is a benevolent  association formed to help people at home if they are disabled, elderly or have severe health or family problems. The link to the ADMR website is below and from it you can see that there are people to help you with housework, small garden jobs and small 'bricolage' jobs around the house.The forms to fill in are available at your local ADMR office and they will decide if assistance can be provided and at what cost. Whether the cost can be covered by government benefits or tax credits depends on individual circumstances.The forms are complicated if your level of French is not very good so getting help from some one who speaks good French is worth thinking about. The girls on the ADMR team are  a really professional bunch and can whizz through your house in no time [they are younger]. We have discovered that they much prefer being referred to as 'aides domicile' than 'femmes de menage'
Click the link below for more info.


For people aged over 65 the Departments may provide assistance at home on the same lines as above, but with reimbursement of costs dependent on income (less than about 1200 euros per month maximum for a couple).

See the link below


''Agir ensemble pour un mieux vivre sur le theme du jardin''

The heading had to be in French as for the afternoon we were thrown headlong in to french life and I loved it. Basically it was an arranged get together for a better life in the Cantons of Caylus and St. Antonin Noble Val. We had an animatrice who is being paid till the end of 2012 to organise rural activities to enrich our lives and this meeting was on the theme of gardening. About 20 French country folk and 2 English met in the Salle de Fete at Verfeil to discuss 'manure' We sat in a ring and introduced ourselves and what an eclectic and diverse bunch we were. Many were farmers or farmers wives, many were ladies with potagers who liked cooking, some grew flowers,even a couple of us had donkeys, so could talk passionately about manure.After introductions we discussed the aims of the group and along with arranging to visit each others gardens and have fetes with the produce a bold plan was formed. Verfeil in the past had a Fete de la Soupe in September and we are hoping to resurrect this old tradition. We then walked off to view Olivier Bonifaces vegetable garden which was a very  imaginatively planned vegetable patch, well manured with donkey poo..He was one of the chaps pushing for the Soup Festival and as he seemed to be growing peas there were many jokes that we would be having 'pea soup' Our aims for the year are
1. To share our passion
2. To be in contact with other passionate gardeners
3. To promote solidarity
4 To know better our close envirnoment
5 To know and value our local producers
6 To be inclusive
Then we have a list of 7 people who have agreed to open their gardens. The first being Mr Montauban at Arnac, a producer of bio salad.We have had contact with him before as we bought our last bales of hay from him for the donkeys. Our visit there reminded me of  the H.E. Bates novel The Darling Buds of May.
If you have a  half decent level of French and are interested in gardening come and join us. The next meeting is on the 30th of January in the afternoon  and the contact for more information is
mail du secretariat:
tel 0563216106
Or contact me at TAGlines

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Health and Cuisine

Watching English TV news I heard a dietician saying if you have problems with digestion it can affect and make arthritis much worse. One of her suggestions was to start to steam your food. I took this on board suffering with both problems and can you believe I visited a friend that very day  {that's you Sue] who had just received by post a new very smart looking Russell Hobbs steamer 'Cuiseur vapeur 2 etages base inox. She had ordered it from French Amazon for around 39 euros including post. Needless to say I took the details and ordered one and  hey presto to-night we are sampling a range of steamed vegetables.There is a handbook with the steamer which gives recipes for a week but we may be a bit stuck after the 7 days are up so if anyone has a good recipe book covering steaming please let me know and I will order one.

Be Guided around Paris by Sabine

Sabine  Le Duault who has had a home in Varen since childhood [sister of Bertrand Dezes of the Chateau at Laguepie] takes visitors around Paris and shows them as she says 'Paris authentique' Although we have not been on one of her guided trips we have spent time with her here in Varen. She is the most intelligent, bubbly, interesting person you could meet so I am sure she makes the visit interesting. If a trip to Paris is envisaged check out her website below

Monday, 9 January 2012

House sitter needed for 4 days in February

A ncie young French couple , the son of a family from Espinas  well known by the walking group have offered to come for the 4 days. For the person who asked for more information please contact us as there may be other times we may wish to go away.
Fabulous location with stunning views yet 5 minutes from Varen,a village with every thing you need. Very warm centrally heated, double glazed house with lovely views and you get paid for holidaying here for 4 days Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th of February. Why is there always a catch, this one being cats, dogs and hens to baby sit.The donkeys would not be your responsibility.We have our daughter and grandchildren coming and we fancied a few days in Spain.The property is well fenced so the 2 friendly dogs can play in the garden after their walk. We need to find someone who we could rely on from time to time to house sit so if you have any friends or even fancy it yourself contact us for remuneration package and more information.
Val or Malcolm Johnstone email mail@bromlea.com  or tel. 0563640673

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Readership is growing

342  viewers have read the last few articles in Taglines so keep on passing on news of Taglines to friends.
Many thanks everyone
Val Johnstone

House Swap in Georgian Bath

Would anyone who has a house here in France like to spend some of next summer (school holiday time) in beautiful Georgian Bath?  A friend who has a large very elegant house overlooking the city but with country walks possible from the end of the garden and able to sleep 10 comfortably, would like to do a house swap and needs somewhere equally spacious here with a pool.  She could also offer use of a VW Polo providing insurance was covered.Contact is Clare Williams details below
clareclare2004@gmail.com and mobile +44 7974923303

Car sharing to Airports

James Sweeting has created a web site to look at if you are going to an airport and have spare seats in your car, or need a lift to save you taking the car.
If you are interested in this idea or have any ideas to improve the scheme contact James on james@rysuk.com
The list can be viewed by clicking the link below but it is still in the development stage at the moment so input of ideas to improve welcomed
I think this could be a really useful service and a section added for trips to England and back would also be useful. I could put a reminder to check on Taglines each month until every one has booked the site themselves.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Cockatiels with tufty heads and dabs of blusher

2 cockatiels about 9 months in moveable hexagonal cage about 1.8m high and 1.2m in
diameter. The birds get covered at night and once they are covered they sleep all night
without making a sound. They cost €50 each and the cage was about €90. I would be happy
with €80-100, or even less. They are very pretty with their tufty heads and they both look
like they have a dab of blusher on each cheek.The male also has a yellow tufty on his
head and the female is a more diluted colour.
Contact Sue Gray-Smith on

Chats du Quercy Sale cancelled

The clearance sale previewed  for the 7th and 8th of January has due to unforseen circumstances been cancelled. The shop will reopen with a
'Bubbly and Music event' in early February.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Furniture needed

A young French couple, who are horticultural and farming students and therefore living on a very small income, have been renting one of my gîtes as a temporary measure. Happily, they have just been offered a nice apartment owned by the commune of Milhars, which they can rent for several years and make it a home. However, it is unfurnished and they have virtually nothing to put in it and no spare money to buy anything. Can you help with donations of unwanted furniture, such as beds, bookcases, table & chairs, sofa or appliances such as fridge, washing machine etc. Please contact Gill Catterall – Tel 05 63 53 99 45 or gill@auxvoletsbleus.com

Tragedy for Anne Alassane, former Masterchef winner

Yesterday afternoon a tragedy struck former winner of the French  Masterchef competition Anne Alassane of Montauban. All the family were in the house when a fire started in the mattress of her two youngest children, age 2 and 4. The children were later found dead hiding in a cupboard suffocated by the fumes.
Forty pompiers were called to the blaze in the house behind the restaurant L'auberge la Pays -Anne off the Route de Fau in Montauban
Since winning the coveted prize and prize money that goes with it Anne's restaurant has attracted lots of customers including many friends from this region. A group of Tagline readers had an enjoyable day out with a lovely meal when she first opened and more recently, before Christmas, Fifi members had an outing there.We all send our sincere condolences to her and her family at this sad time.