Thursday, 31 January 2013

Last year 52 "chasse " deaths

Just out of interest I wondered how many deaths were caused by chasseurs in France 2011 to 2012, I googled it and was amazed to see in the year there were 52 deaths, and that is not even mentioning the accidents not ending in death.
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David Beckham joins Paris Saint- Germain

Malc says  " is it definite?" Yes, he signed today according to the big media sources. Becks in Paris, I am sure there will be some stories in this booking. Paris Saint - Germain are top of the French  football league.
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When we first came to France...

I had a routine Hospital visit, I was reminded of this today after another routine visit. There was a form to fill in with your details, name, address, tel. no. and   " nom de jeune fille"  My French  was not very good and amazingly I had a young daughter, how did they know and why did they want to know her name ? I duly filled in Samantha, came back home and said to Malc, why would they want to know our Sam's name? Malc explained they wanted my name before marriage and we had a bit of a "titter " about it. Two years later when I went for another check up and I got a form saying my maiden name was Samantha, I laughingly explained it to the clerk. The harridan was not amused and told me in no uncertain terms these were serious forms, and strangely  enough I was the last one in the long queue to be seen by the Doctor that day. I could imagine her saying " that took the smile off her face"
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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Snowdrops at Beaulieu

On our walk today a French lady who was single handedly clearing the drainage ditch on the hill towards Espinas assured us the "Grand hiver" was over ( though lots of gel to come) . Before that the snowdrops at Beaulieu had been well worth a visit especially if you like a bit of photography - we saw one keen lady lying prostrate with some very impressive equipment!

The lady might have had impressive equipment but she could not have taken two better pictures
well done, Sue Carter.
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Pesticides are becoming a real threat

Another post sent by a reader , this time showing bees are under threat. When will we ever learn.
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Former Master Beekeeper ask us to sign to save Bees

Thanks for taking action to save bees sent by David Atkins
Thank you for signing the petition to get the EU to ban the deadly pesticides that are killing off bees. Let's build our call before the meeting in 48 hours!The more people join this campaign, the more powerful our call will be. Forward this link to friends and family, and post it on Facebook:
Dear friends,
Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But in 48 hours the European Union could move to ban the most poisonous pesticides, and pave the way to a global ban that would save bees from extinction.
Four EU countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. Days ago the official European food safety watchdog stated for the first time that certain pesticides are fatally harming bees. Now legal experts and European politicians are calling for an immediate ban. But Bayer and other giant pesticide producers are lobbying hard to keep them on the market. If we build a huge swarm of public outrage now, we can push the European Commission to put our health and our environment before the profit of a few.
We know our voices count! Last year, our 1.2 million strong petition forced US authorities to open a formal consultation on pesticides -- now if we reach 2 million, we can persuade the EU to get rid of these crazy poisons and pave the way for a ban worldwide. Sign the urgent petition and send this to everyone -- Avaaz and leading MEPs will deliver our message ahead of this week's key meeting in Brussels:
Bees don't just make honey, they are vital to life on earth, every year pollinating 90% of plants and crops -- with an estimated $40bn value and over one-third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees, many of our favourite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves.
Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations -- some bee species are already extinct and some US species are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers and now the European Food Safety Authority is saying that toxic chemicals called neonicotinoid pesticides could be responsible for the bee deaths. France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, have banned one of these bee-killing pesticides. But Bayer continues to export its poison across the world.
Now the issue is coming to a boil. EU parliamentarians are stepping up their pressure on the European Commission and key governments to push new legislation to ban the deadly pesticides, and we can offer them the public support they need to counter the powerful pesticide lobby. Sign the urgent petition to Europe’s leaders, then forward this email widely:
Our world is beset with threats to what makes it habitable, and to what fills it with wonder. The Avaaz community comes together to defend both -- large or small. Whether winning a battle to keep the International Whaling Commission from sanctioning the murder of these giants, or saving bees, the tiny creatures upon which so much depends, we will come together and stand up for the world we all want.
Pesticides pose danger to bees (European Voice)

Crop pesticides are 'killing our bees' - says MEP (Public Service Europe)

Death knell for nerve agent pesticides in move to save bees (Independent)

Give Bees a Chance! (The Greens European Free Alliance)

Studies fault Bayer in bee die-off (Christian Science Monitor)

Newcastle United Football team have at least 5 French players so...

Newcastle United have successfully applied to the council to have the City renamed "Chateau Neuf sur Tyne", in honour of our new arrivals.

Let's hope Pards can parlez le francais un peu.

To help the crowd make the newbies feel at home, we have taken the liberty to translate the Blaydon Races to "Le Blaydon Races". Please laarn ye'sel it and come prepared to sing.

Je suis allé aux Blaydon Races, c’était le neuf juin,
Mille huit-cent soixante-deux, une après-midi d’été,
J’ai pris le bus de Balmbra, et elle était bien chargée,
Nous sommes allés au long de la rue de Collingwood, sur la chemin qui mène à Blaydon.

Ah, les gars, il fallait que vous nous auriez vus aller,
On passait des gens sur la route qui se tenaient là,
Il y avait beaucoup des gars et des filles, tous avec un mine souriante,
Val says , after checking the Magpies have 14 French speaking team members.
Sent by Eileen Davidson who has a home in Varen and is a Geordie!
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Forget your worries and enjoy the sun

Another lovely sunny day, the Pyrenees were so clear and visible this morning, topped with snow. Leisurely lunch on the terrace,  the sun being so bright I needed to put out the sun blind. What is the weather like in England, you second homers?
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And now French troops in position to take Kidal

The last town in the North of Mali to be held by terrorists Kidal, is on the point of being taken back under control of Malian and French fighters.
I have kept looking at The Connexion on line and wondering why they have not covered the War in Mali at all. Infact I have sent them an email to ask them that question. The English newspapers and French  are all full of  the story. Does the Connexion think we expats do not care, or am I wrong in thinking that we are interested ?
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Imams set to be deported

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has said France is set to deport a handful of Imams who are foreign born preachers who refer to the need to fight against France.
I say good. Malc says they will never manage it as they will say their human rights are being  violated or infringed. We shall have to wait and see how it plays out.
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Marius In Concert at St. Antonin Noble Val

Marius in Concert at St. Antonin on Friday 21h in the Salle des Thernes. Chanteur / guitariste, organised by L' Association Culturelle.  5 euros.
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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Always interesting, accents.

If you have an accent from the North and talk Ch'tis or are from Marseille you are thought drole /funny. If from Brittany you are thought intelligent and if from Toulouse sexy. oh, la, la.
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How awful, possibly killed by one of us

The poor lady jogger killed at Nimes, who if you know the story had a young child waiting at school for Mum to arrive, and of course never did, could  have been killed by a Brit. The suspect taken into custody lived only 300 metres away  from the body in a gated house and his DNA has been matched to that found on the body. The suspect is a 32 year old British man, living with his Mother in a luxury villa. Report  in the Depeche and I am sure it will be on French news tonight.
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Laguepie Circus leaves deposits behind!

Malc went out with the dogs this morning to Laguepie, walking along what we call ''the beach'' the grass down to the river. As always Malc had the bag and scoop at the ready in case the dogs ''faire une betise'' After walking gingerly around the beach he wondered why he bothered as the Circus had obviously tethered BIG animals there, as was evident from the size of the '' cannabis resin'' everywhere. I wonder if the Mairie has any come back on making them tidy up the mess, I do hope so.
Val says. For those who have not understood the cannabis resin please read again earlier post!
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The dog with no name and soulful eyes, has a home.

I am sure like me, readers will be pleased to hear  that the poor dog chained and left in his own excrement has found a home. He will be cared for initially by Terri Tippett of Parisot and then in a few weeks will be moving to his permanent home in England. Well done Terry.
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L'Isard decimated in the Pyrenees

L'Isard which is like a mountain goat is struggling to survive in its habitat at the moment. The goat the symbol of the Pyrenees has difficulty raising its "faunes" and the culprit is thought to be toxic pesticides.  This seems in my mind to tie in to another story, " Our children will accuse us " That post by the way has had the most  hits from google.
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"Shit in his boot"

105 kg of  " shit  dans le coffre " resin of cannabis found in a car around the Perpignan  area. Our rude word means cannabis. The man got 3 years in Prison.
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Monday, 28 January 2013

Happily driving along and then shot in the head

Just been on French news, a 76 year old chasseur has shot a passing driver whilst out hunting sanglier... and they have all passed the  safety tests, these chasseurs. How long is it since I reported the last death, just before Christmas
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Architect or Artist who wants this book?

Sedad Eldem  Architect in Turkey Published in 1989 by Butterworth Architecture. For over  50 years Sedad Eldem had practised, taught and researched Architecture in Turkey. He was the country's most important architectural figure and has played a major role in reshaping Turkish architecture. A book with lots of plans and drawings and 170 colour photographs and the text in English. Worth 10 euros and probably more to the right person.  Just checked prices on the net, they  range depending on condition from  £24 to  £40  The condition of this is mint so save yourself  £30 by buying from TAG   Val

Ceilidh at the Folk /Jazz Club Thursday evening

With Charles Ketteringham having something akin to a face lift this week [Good Luck Charles] the Thursday evening 31st will be hosted by regular performer Trevor Carter. A Ceilidh with Occitane dancing is on the menu we are told. From now on the evenings are free as the Salle des Fetes in Le Riols is now paid for up till the end of May.Venez nombreux for a fun evening of song and dancing. 8 pm sharp start.
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Two donations for donkeys and one for Via Sahel

Just sent 30 euros off to Liberte des Anes, thanks to Anouk and Franz and Spiced Cuisine. Received another 10 euros today from Leila Mclelland and with books sales on TAG running at 25 euros, that is another 35 euros for Via Sahel. Every little helps.
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Timbuktu airport secured and later Timbuktu itself

Just heard the  Mayor of Timbuktu  on French radio saying  Francois Hollande is our Messiah. (bet he does not hear that  often ) There are real fears that a very important, ancient library  of Timbuktu may have been torched.
A reporter on France 24 says  in Timbuktu there are scenes of jubilation, men, women and children are out in the streets  shouting God save Mali, God save France and God save Francois Hollande.
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Martyn Cox, Oral Historian and his talk

Martyn Cox is giving a talk on '' The Real Charlotte Grays''. Martyn who was Associate Producer on the Channel 4 documentary ''Behind Enemy Lines'' will now be giving the talk in the Salle des Fetes at Le Riols just outside Varen. This now means all those who could not get in at our house are now able to come. There will have to be a 2 euro charge to cover the cost of the Hall but I think everyone will think this is worth it.
The talk is at 6.30pm on Tuesday 5th of February. The Salle des Fetes is in the middle of Le Riols with easy parking, car park at the side and if needed spaces in the village. 25 people had booked in but as I say now there is no limit. . The Hall is heated and intimate, a good venue.
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How to find the Salle des Fetes at Le Riols

Coming from St Antonin direction, after the station at Lexos and the dechetterie take the right fork (ie instead of bearing left to Varen), keep on and cross over the railway and river, then turn right underneath the railway bridge. Take the first left into the village centre and the salle des fetes is behind the church.
From Varen exit the village and take the first left to Le Riols, then left again at the stop sign, then as above.

Record amounts of rain in January

The region is on " vigilance orange " alert after record rainfall in January. The good news is that in  the next few days the weather is forecast to be " doux and sec."
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Somethings got to give.

Malc had a valuable comment on blood analysis. He has a blood test every two years and the results come back the next day or certainly day after. This is not an urgent test and perhaps should not be given priority. Tests that are urgent could go to the front of the queue, and others could take a bit longer.  This might happen anyway if the little centres close.
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Rana also gives art classes

Rana (see profile below) is now giving art tuition to adults and children in the area either in her studio or in the comfort of your own home.
The classes are fun and ideal for beginners or those lacking in confidence in their artistic abilities. Rana gives encouragement and you can experiment with a vast range of different paints and media to find your particular style.
' There is an artist within each of us just waiting to be expressed ' and this is exactly what Rana encourages.
Price 12 euros per hour
Contact her on

Sunday, 27 January 2013

All is not well, with the Sante.

I was sent this piece by Ginny Jenkins who asked if I was following the story, I had to admit I was not .For those with limited French, it is asking if we want to sign a petition against the closure of small, sometimes local laboratories of blood analysis. Apparently these small labs. are more costly and each sample costs more to process in these smaller concerns. [Although the piece does not say that.] For example the one at Caussade would close and say Montauban  would be the nearest. As I know little about it I emailed my French friend married to a Dr. for her take on it all
This is the piece Ginny sent
 Dès 2014vous devrez parcourir 10, 20, 50, 100  km ou plus pour faire vos prises de sang, et ce au mépris de plus de 500 000 signatures sur cette pétition : .
 En effet, c'est en 2013 que seront FERMÉS l'immense majorité des laboratoires d'analyses médicales de proximité en France, à l'instar des maternités et avec les mêmes dangers pour votre santé (en particulier pour les analyses urgentes), conformément à l'ordonnance n°2010-49 du 13 janvier 2010 relative à la biologie médicale qui devrait être ratifiée en procédure accélérée - donc sans véritable débat - fin janvier 2013; et ceci au plus grand profit de quelques grands groupes financiers.
 Patrick LEPREUX, biologiste marseillais, est en GRÈVE DE LA FAIM depuis le 15 janvier pour protester contre cette réforme.
  Contre ce nouveau massacre d'un service de proximité, vous pouvez signer ici :
 C'est parce que très peu de gens sont au  courant que cette réforme peut passer; il faut donc la REVELER au grand  jour : DIFFUSEZ CE MESSAGE, DIFFUSEZ LE LIEN DE LA PETITION !
  La proposition de loi en procédure accélérée :
This is the piece from my French friend.


dANS LE MéDICAL AU NIVEAU DES MEDECINS généralistes, beaucoup de choses viennent de changer au 1er janv 2013, mais on n'en parle pas , mais il est de + en + sure que les jeunes ne viendront pas dans nos campagnes et que dans 5 à 10 ans , il n'y aura plus de médecins ..!

Val says
If you feel strongly that we need local lab. analysis and quick returns,  then maybe think of putting your name to the petition.Personally I think in these times of cut backs as with the Post Offices closing and Banks leaving villages, it is going to happen. Money is not elastic and if we choose to live in the hinterland, services are not going to be the same as living in Toulouse. I am always amazed how quickly reports on blood samples come back, sometimes the next day . I would not want that to change but maybe costs dictate it must. Sometimes the fight is lost before it starts, but that is only my perhaps negative  feeling.
The desertification of medics in the country is another problem which will have to be faced, which relates to  the second part of the email and I will discuss another time. Perhaps we ex pats are all a bit complacent about what is going to happen with the Sante and perhaps we need at least to be more aware. I know Malc and I  have only good experiences with Doctors and Hospitals   '' but  times they are a changing''
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Profile on Rana J. Rodger

When the boats come in by Rana J.Rodger
My work has varied and changed considerably over the last years.
I started my career specialising in architectural portraiture back in the 1970 s. ( ) This then led to greeting card designs and illustrations for posters and children’s books and many commissions in the commercial field.

However I still feel that my best paintings were the first ones that I did aged three and four.

My mother has kept all these paintings and I sometimes look at them and connect to the magic that I felt at that time...the smell of the fat wax crayon as it slid across the page… the wonderful surprise when pink met blue... or blue met green… the excitement I felt as the paper began to fill with circles and lines and dots.....

In the late 80 s I decided to concentrate solely on my own personal artistic journey. There was a whole year when I spent practically everyday experimenting with texture, colour and hue. There were days when I felt that I was just making a load of mess and not getting anywhere....but where is there to get to anyway?
I discovered a wonderful blue pigment in France called "Blue mineral" and spent an entire year just playing with "blue."
I couldn’t stop...."blue" took me on a voyage. I never imagined that there could be so many facets to "blue " (see Blue Gallery )

I was deeply moved by a trip to Australia and when I returned I started to make my own paints from natural pigments and began to experiment with different media...rolling inks onto paper and working with gesso and oil pastel.

I had refound the delight and satisfaction that I had found as a small child, and as a result my paintings started to take me on a voyage of discovery.

My studio is a roundhouse built of limestone and wood high up on a plateau of SW France.
I choose to live close to nature, for it is from here that I gain the inspiration for my inner work.
My paintings are inspired from the earth...the source...the mother of all things.

I listen to the silence my dreams and intuitions and paint from my heart.

Major inspirations for my paintings have been from travels in Australia, dry arid landscapes such as The Painted Desert in Arizona, New Mexico and Southern Spain, N Africa and the traditional art of all these regions.

I’m now starting to pass on the gifts and knowledge that I have gathered over these years to children and to adults wishing to connect with their own artist within.

French and Malian troops in Timbuktu

The latest gain in a fast moving offensive appears to be Timbuktu. The rebels seem to have retreated North after relentless air strikes. The advancing French and Malian troops are working on securing the town. The rebels that were holding the town have provoked international outrage by destroying ancient shrines. Report from the Guardian
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Three good places in St. Antonin Noble Val for Gifts

Not wishing to stereotype but there are three shops when you visit the market on a Sunday, and you are a " girlie", you should think of visiting.
Maison Noble Val is just next to the Halle and they are continuing their sale till the middle of Feb. Some lovely things to buy for the house and also  some very nice fashion jewellery.
Bazar Curieux, a new venture and a bit more difficult to find, but persevere. Huge ceramic garden pots for 10 euros, lovely arabesque lamps, little gifts for 2 euros. Find it by The Auberge Lion d' Or, towards the gendarmerie type area.
Another new venture finding its feet is just at the side of the immobilier Disc. Lots of small presents, mirrors and the like, very charming gift ideas.
No need to travel further afield now for pressies.
If I could make a suggestion, I think a range of cards by local artists would sell well. Rachel Pennington has some lovely cards I noticed when I checked her website. ( loved the cats, like our Max) Why not talk to local artists and stock a range of cards.
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Vendee Globe, the end is nigh.

Day 78 and we are waiting for the winner Francois Gabart to sail in as race winner this morning ETA 12.30.  Second will be Armet le Cleac'h and third Alex Thomson. Single handed without stopping , takes a bit of doing!
French Francois Gabart is now the youngest ever race winner at 29 years old.
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US extends support to the French in Mali

The US has extended its support to the French and Malians by providing vital refuelling facilities to France's air offensive. Washington's decision to step up its role helping refuel warplanes is a vital boost. US military has an unparalleled fleet of more than 400 tankers equipped to refuel fighters and war planes in mid air.
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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Bazar Curieux Open tomorrow

Bazar Curieux selling Pottery, Decoration and Gifts will be open at St. Antonin tomorrow from 10 to 14h Find it on the Rue del Pebre at the side of the Auberge Lion D'Or
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Profile on Rachel Pennington

Pushka by Rachel Pennington

Her current work is concerned with describing the molecular structure of light and the results have created some extremely beautiful abstract paintings that have an indefinable quality of the infinite.

She is an English Artist who was born in London. She studied on a Foundation in Art & Design at Camberwell College of Art & Design and gained her BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University.

She has always maintained her studio practice and has contributed to many group exhibitions including shows at The Macintosh Museum, Glasgow, The Beardsmoore Gallery, London, the Millennium Project at the Milton Keynes Gallery and local galleries in South West France.
abstract illustrationShe has completed two illustration commissions for John Lewis PLC as well as numerous other illustration commissions and design projects. She is extremely capable of understanding and fulfilling a design brief and working to deadline.Most recently she has completed two private commissions for large abstract oil paintings, now installed in London and Marrakech. She has travelled widely in the USA, India, Thailand and Europe and has lived in France for the last 10 yearsIn the past, she has worked for a variety of Arts organisations including The Open College of the Arts and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Art Awards. She was office administrator to Unclassified Mime, who continue to tour widely in Europe; PA to publisher Paul Hamlyn, and creative assistant at Signature, a specialist gift presentation company. She was the personal assistant to the director of an Anglo-French estate agency for five years and during the last two years has become a full time practising artist.

                 05 63 67 36 45
                 06 46 56 73 88

Uranium mines in Niger protected

Jean Yves le Drian ( said you would be hearing his name ) has given the go ahead for an elite team of France's armed forces to reinforce security in Niger, a former Colony. They will be protecting the Uranium mines.  A report in 2008 showed 18% of raw material used in power in France's 58 nuclear reactors came from Niger.
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Gao Airport and key bridge taken, and later Gao itself

Malian and French troops  seize Gao airport and a key bridge, making significant  inroad into the heart of territory held by al -Qaeda linked extremists. There is no word as yet on possible casualties.
Two hours later and we hear that Gao itself has been liberated.
Jean Marc Ayrault says troops are currently around Gao and will soon be near Timbuktu, a fabled caravan town on the edge of the Sahara Desert which for centuries was a key centre of Islamic learning.
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Snow returns for the third time, c'est l'Hiver

Woke up this morning to another fall of snow, the third since Christmas. Listened to English news where people were whinging about snow and how the authorities were not prepared for it, unlike other countries. When you get  " exceptional " weather it is hard to be prepared. We have had "exceptional" weather ever since arriving in France. If it is cold it's  " exceptional" if it is hot  "exceptional" or have you noticed if you mention the snow  or cold  to the French, the reply "Madame c'est l'Hiver"
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Now 70 dolphins dead on the beaches of the Landes

Reports show they did not die from natural causes but by fishing, not just a fisherman with a line but the big net fisherman and also low frequency sonar. This is reported in French newspapers every day, on beaches along the coast from Arcachon to St. Jean de Luz dozens of dead dolphins are found.
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Friday, 25 January 2013

Complete French Learning Suite / SOLD

A complete French learning Suite with 3 Audio DVds in pristine state. Expand your vocabularly, immerse yourself in French conversations and all for 5 euros. Not sure how much these boxed sets would cost but they are not cheap. Money of course going to Malian children.  SOLD
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Art teacher, mini bus, catering all wanted

I have a group of 6 budding art students interested in renting our gite in June. Unfortunately their tutor can't come due to a family crisis.
Does anyone know of any locally based English speaking art teachers that could run a weeks 'out door' art course please?
I'm also searching for cheap minibus hire, catering (French food) and recommendations for wine tasting in a Gaillac vineyard. Any ideas?
Other types of art, sculpture, pottery or photography tutor contacts would be greatly received.
Thank you for any help you can offer!
Leila McLelland. 0565658483

Val says reply to Leila, not TAGlines thanks. I have forwarded emails that came to TAG
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The Circus comes to town

At Laguepie this weekend, there will be performances Sat. And Sun. at 15 hrs of  a Circus. The circus is encamped now in the centre of Laguepie with three huge trucks  each pulling two huge trucks. This seems to be a larger circus than last years small family one, which was basically a one man act with wife handing equipment and children doing gymnastic tricks. Quite charming really apart from the seedy looking llama, who you felt sorry for.
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Caught by his DNA, ten years after the event.

Ten years  ago in Montauban an old lady of 86 was attacked in her home with a knife, killed and then robbed. A young 17 year old plumber was questioned at the time but lack of evidence let him evade the law. Now ten years on when he is 27, DNA evidence has linked him to the crime.
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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Two more bears to be released

In the Western  Pyrennes two more bears are due to be released into the wild. I do hope this programme works but there is so much opposition from local farmers and the odd "loony" hunter wanting to bag a bear that one does not have great hopes. When we were last in the Pyrennes many of the roads were defaced with signs in paint  " non aux ourses " so I do not have great faith in a long life expectancy for them.
Comments to    taglines82@

I am excited, I am doing a Book Fair

Malcolm says, calm down Val, you are doing a vide grenier. Well it is a similar thing, at Sautou on the 16th and 17th of Feb. I am having a stall selling  English books for one euro and I want you all to come and support me and who knows what other bargains will be there. If you have books you wish to donate let me know and I will pick them up. I have a good stock already which are the  " have been twice to the book swap" ones and others of our own I am happy to donate. If you want a stall or have anything you would sell for the children of Mali also let me know. Gosh, I love a good rummage.
Contact me  Val
Alan Palmer says  Sounds like you're going back to your roots. Hope we'll see a photo of you in front of the stall with a sign " No book over a euro".
Val says
The vide grenier is the same time as the San Francisco Book Fair, where a few years ago we would be exhibiting selling thousand of pound books to the likes of Brad Pitt. I am sure we will have as much fun at Sautou and our efforts will be rewarded for the Malian children, and you never know who will turn up on the day ( although Brad Pitt will be unlikely 
 Not sure which more you are interested in, for those who say tell me more. If it is Brad Pitt I can vouch for his lovely eyes and the fact that he owns some of our better books. Imagine he came into our booth and kept piling the books up, he did insist on a 20% discount but hey ! it was worth it.
 If it is the vide grenier at Sautou which interests you it is over two days and  I can repeat you must come and get a bargain.

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A merry go round of bar owners

In Villefranche de Rouergue there has been a change of bar and cafe owners around the town, so expect some changes. One of the owners complained of a " morosity" in the town, but the truth is all " enterprises" are suffering at the moment. The Restaurant with the young Chef Quentin Boundy is closed till March as the building is undergoing a serious " relooking"
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Florence Cassez released from Mexico

This is the big news of the day in France, the release from a 60 year sentence in Mexico of a 38 year old, Florence Cassez. Seven years in prison on a charge with her boyfriend and his gang of kidnappers, in  which she has always denied any involvement. In court yesterday she was released as there was a violation of her fundamental rights in the original trial, with many irregularties in the prosecution's case. There was some suggestion that her case was helped by new heads of Government in France and Mexico, contributing to a normalisation of relations between the two countries.
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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Save a dog and give him a home, he looks so sweet    I HAVE FOUND A HOME< THANK YOU
I’m looking for help with a dog that I came across where Frankie’s boyfriend has started working. The poor thing is kept on a five foot long leash, permanently, no walks & no time off the leash. Quite evident this was as he is living in his own excrement & can’t even get in his kennel, yes lucky thing he has a kennel!!! Due to it being filled with dog pooh too.
He is possibly 4/5 years old, medium size, ginger in colour, I have photos but will send them when Rich can attach it for me…. He has no name & apart from being scared seems very happy to receive human affection. 
I have approached the owner who offered me the dog there & then which I cannot possibly have as my continuing marriage depends on me not bringing home any more strays! I have asked the owner if he can at least clean the pooh & this has been done by the handy man who works there. He says he has also called the local dogs home but they can’t take him as they are full.
If I do a poster type ad with photo & send it out could you help by passing it on? & put the word out?
I know there are thousands of dogs kept like this but believe I met him for a reason & giving a new life to 1 of them is a worthy thing to do.
 Contact Terry Tippett at Parisot email address above.
I am a boy with no name,  look into my eyes and see love.
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Petit marché aux puces de Sautou

Petit marché aux puces de Sautou.                Manifestation organisée par Jane et Colin au
16 et 17 février 2013                                           Domaine de Sautou
Journée conviviale De 10h à 18h.                        82160 CASTANET/CAYLUS
Venez tous vendre vos objets que                        Réservation au : 06 74 70 41 66
vous ne voulez plus garder.                                  Ou au 05 63 65 72 64.
Au profit de l’Association Via Sahel           
Enfants d’Afrique, vous pourrez verser
totalement ou partiellement le montant de
vos ventes.
Déjeuner partagé, amenez tous quelque
chose à manger .
Vin chaud, café, thé, et pâtisseries sur place.

2,000 French soldiers in Mali

2,000 French soldiers are now in Mali with another 500 waiting to go. The US  have five C17 planes flying in to Bamako with heavy equipment, armoured tanks etc. flying out from a base at Istres in the South of France. The UK, Belgium,  Canada, Denmark, Italy are all providing transport services.
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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Show someone you love them.

Are there any romantics out there interested in ordering a decadent cake for valentines day?
The cakes will be 3" - 4" square, round or heart shaped and made from a rich chocolate and irish cream
and beautifully decorated. The price is €12 each
Please let me have any orders by Tuesday 5th Feb
05 63 24 23 58
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An International Global Survey shows we are happy

Lloyds TSB has done an International Global  Survey to discover we expats are all pretty content with our quality of life. 79% of expats do not plan to return to Britain. French expats were the most content and lifestyle was decisive in us choosing to live and stay in France.
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Anyone coming back from the UK in a car.

We are wondering if there is anyone who is likely to be driving back from
the UK any time soon who would be willing to bring back an item for us. The
item in question is a Vax Steam Cleaner, which is lightweight and not
bulky. We cannot find any supplier who will deliver to France and France
Vax doesn't stock the cleaner, so we are rather stumped at the moment.
David and Helen Graham
Val says George White who has a sister living in the area will bring back small items so it may be worth contacting him if really stuck. He can be found in the  Transport label
Helen says
Thanks to Taglines we have managed to order the item we wanted off the
 internet. We had several offers of help with tranpsorting it from the UK but
 one reader pointed us in the right direction and our order includes
 Many thanks again.
 Wow, Val says reader power!

Poules pondeuses reformes

Now I think I am right on this one , poules pondeuses, plein air a retirer from 26 Jan to 2nd of Feb. 2.50 euros each. At Najac tel 0611600959 or  0565297106 [ not sure if the last  6 was 0]
I think these are laying hens which you can go and pick up between those dates and cost 2 euros 50 each
This was an ''affiche'' on the window in RAGT  Not quite sure about the 'reforme' but I imagine they have been some sort of production hen that is still laying.If you wanted hens these are a good price, I paid 9 euros for mine from Unicor.
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How is this for a giraffe ?

Bernard Mages  lives and has his atelier just off the road to Laguepie at Puech Mignon. He is an artist, garden deco designer and he felt his giraffe fitted in well with our Mali pictures.I have given his website details and there are lots of ideas for decoration for gardens, fountains, lights etc. all made in metal by him in his forge. I know he welcomes visitors in the Spring and summer and it is always a delight to go and visit.

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A name we will hear often over the next few months

Jean - Yves Le Drain born in Lorient in Morbihan in 1947. He was an active member of the young Christian Workers and studied at Rennes University. He joined the Socialist Party in 1947 and at 30 became a member of the French National Assembly. He served as " Minister of the Sea" and in 2004 he was top of the list in  "Bretagne a Gauche" and then became  Regional President of Brittany. In Oct. 2010 he became President of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions  of Europe.
He now works under Jean Marc Ayrault as Minister of Defence.
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fnac, my favourite store in Toulouse comes to Blagnac.

In Hall B at Blagnac, Toulouse Airport, they have done a spot of  "relooking" and new additions are the retailer fnac. fnac have a huge store in Toulouse where you can lose yourself for an afternoon. They sell electric goods, books, DVDs, CDs,computers, mobile phones etc. Opposite fnac there is going to be  a Casino and also a swatch shop.
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Monday, 21 January 2013

Varen hairdresser open

The hairdresser in Varen appears to be open with the young girl assitant who normally washes your hair in control.
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They have still retained their sense of humour.

Just had a phone call from Toulouse airport from the friends who had the nasty car accident. Just phoning me to say " We must be alright, we have just read it on TAG"  ... and they are OK apart from bumps and bruises. They were kept in hospital for observation but now a couple grateful to be alive are on their way back to London.
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Do not doubt it, France is at war.

No two ways about it we, the French are at war in Mali. French Defence Minister Jean - Yves Le Drain says  " We will not leave any pockets of resistance, the goal is the total conquest of Mali. We have retaken the strategic town of Diably", this was with French and Malian troops working together. Ousting the militant Islamist rebels  is the aim.
Having lived here full time for more than eleven years I am feeling French, thinking of them as our lads, just as I do with the British boys.
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Friends have dreadful accident at Penne

Yesterday I reported an accident with out mentioning names but today there is a big report in the Depeche with a picture of the car turned upside down, ready at any moment to fall in to the Aveyron. Stuart and Michaela who have a second home in Varen were on their way back to Toulouse in a hire car when just around Cazals near Penne, Stuart hit a patch of ice and lost control of the car. The car shot through bushes and down a bank and then flipped over. Stuart managed to get out and phone the Pompiers 18, but Michaela was trapped in the car with the worry that the car would slide down in to the Aveyron. It was at this time being held upside down by a bush. Pompiers and Grimpe 82 eventually released Michaela after 2 hours and  she was taken to Montauban hospital with a suspected fractured leg.
All your friends here in Varen send their best wishes to you both and it will be champagne all round  on your next visit - says Roger Bowen
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Ask an Expert

Do you need help with Planning Permission?
Having trouble with French planning application forms? In need of architectural drawings or need help envisaging a future building project?MCL Design is the solution.

Whether for renovations, extensions, new houses, pools or garden buildings, MCL Design will tailor to your budget with no hidden costs.
Based near Najac, Leila McLelland is offering architectural services for medium sized projects (less than 170m2) as follows:
-New-Build or Renovation, Traditional or Contemporary styles
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-Loft Conversions (Velux, Roof lights, Dormer Windows)
-Swimming Pools, Garages, Garden Buildings
-Septic Tank Applications
Leila is an English trained architect with 8 years professional experience working in both the UK and France. 
Now registered as an independent draftswoman, Leila can offer the services of an architect at a fraction of the cost!
Tel: 05 65 65 84 83, Mobile: 06 24 89 79 60
, E-mail : Blog :

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''Non si uccide la poesia''

''You can't kill poetry'' in Italian, sent by an old bookseller colleague Paoli Tonini. Sent to us today with a fragment of poetry by Giovanna Bemporad. Any one interested in poetry do not forgot we have a very active poetry group in Fifi which you are welcome to come and join. Malcolm speaks Italian and he has just read it out, sounds divine. We have to clean the shelves in the kitchen this afternoon so I will keep asking him to repeat it to me to spur me on.
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Thinking of ordering from Spiced Cuisine?

I have heard on the grapevine that Spiced Cuisine are planning on making deliveries to St. Antonin on the morning of the book and DVD swap, the next  one being Monday March 4th at the Gazpacho.
Check out their website if you are thinking of giving them a try,    and  email    
Their initial advert and website details with link can be found in the label " food"
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Our children will accuse us / Nous enfants nous accuseront.

At the foot of the Cevennes, a little village has taken a stance against pesticides used in agriculture and the meals at the local school are now all BIO.
Watch the film which is being shown in schools in France,and if you are like me, you will cry. Please pass on the link to others.
Pouvez-vous faire Suivre SVP  ? Merci
Voici une affaire qui nous concerne tous, SANS EXCEPTION ! La sortie en salle du film : "Nos enfants nous accuseront".
Pour que ce film soit en salle (film qui dénonce les méfaits de la mauvaise alimentation et des pesticides), il faut qu'un maximum de personnes regardent la bande annonce dans les 2 jours qui suivent.
C'est le nombre de visites dans les 2 jours qui fera emporter la décision de sa mise en distribution grandes salles.
Faites le suivre rapidement, s'il vous plaît, à tous vos contacts,
merci par avance. 
Voici la bande annonce à visionner et à transmettre : 
Thank you to Marcia Scott for informing us
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In the SW 25,000 homes without electricity

With all the disruptions on the road, for some people keeping warm is more of a challenge as 25,000 homes are with out electricity. Another problem in the region is the risk of flooding ( inondation ) as water runs over the top of sodden ground and rivers keep filling.
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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Three stalls in the market today in St. Antonin

Can you believe that ? Hardly anybody there and no traffic on the roads in. One of two people we know who went had an accident and the car is badly damaged. Weather like this, stay in if you can, cars and snow just do not add up.
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Watch out for Quentin Boundy !

Will he become " Topchef " 2013 He has just been selected for the programme on M6. Find him cooking now in the restaurant famille in the Place de Republique in  Villefranche de Rouergue, called L'Universe.  This 23 year old is the  grandson  and son of local chefs.
And according to the reporter in the Depeche  " les resultats faisant mouche aupres des papilles"
Now that has taken me some time and effort to understand, I think it means it hits the target with your taste buds!
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Concert at Caylus Dimanche 3rd Feb 17h.

Janet Emmelkamp mezzo-soprana
Micheline Pinoncely   piano
Robert Schumann
Charles Ives
Vincenzo Bellini
Gaetano Donizetti

Les Poncets, Caylus
[direct. Caussaude- Caylus, avant le Garage Renault, a gauche, l'avant derniere maison]
Reservation necessaire    tel 0563648084
Participation aux frais    10 euros.
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Getting cupboards stocked was a good idea.

Woke up this morning to another carpet of snow, and yet another orange alert through most of France,  53 Departments  Looking at the meteo it will be snowing all morning. Cannot think there will be the usual throng at St. Antonin Marche this morning.
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Saturday, 19 January 2013

It is over, but at least 7 hostages dead, 5mins later 19 confirmed dead

William Hague has warned us all to expect the worst for the ten British hostages at The Gas installation in Algeria. The Algerian Army stormed the facility and it is known that at least 7 hostages have been killed and also 11 militants. I hope the rescued Brit no longer finds the situation exciting and something to be enjoyed and hope he contemplates what uncaring comments he made. We all send our sincere condolences to the poor families  of everyone involved
The dead hostage count is now 23... and that kept rising to 35
Comments  to

6 deaths on the roads because of snow and icy conditions.

Six people have died and numerous others have been injured in the North of France.
Five people and others injured in an accident at Lozere, and then more deaths at Buisson in the North of France. Three men who died were soldiers in an army vehicle who had been posted  to Mali.
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No French hostages in Algeria

No Frenchmen left in the terrible hostage situation, one French man was killed and one escaped. Ten British men are still known to be held. I despair about you men sometimes though. I have just listened to a released Brit hostage who was rescued by the Algerian Forces saying " I enjoyed it, it was very exciting !" As if it was a computer game, fortunately two other Brits had the decency to express their fears for their work colleagues left behind. I could never imagine a woman coming out with a statement like that.
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We are all at the shops and markets stocking up

We have not been  able to get out for 3 days  and I am sure others in country locations were in the same boat ( so to speak.) The Dutch will be off again, saying "why is she talking of boats?" Everybody will  be using this chance to restock, with predications of more snow on the way tonight and later next week.
A big thank you to neighbours in  St.Vincent de Varen with a 4x4 who were able to make a mercy run to us with a bag of chicken food. Their first reaction was " just eat the bloody chickens" but Henny and Penny  are family pets now, so that was not an option. Malc says " No we feed them to the b..... foxes !"
comments to

Dave Brubeck, Friday 25th

I spotted this entry in the tv guide this morning..Fri 10 45pm BBC4 ..portrait of Dave Brubeck on his
90th birthday. Its been a bad week for news so I thought it might just give  readers a lift
love both
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New style driving licence comes in today throughout EU

A credit card style licence with your photograph, points will be readable in the countries they are accrued but presumably able to be viewed throughout the EU system eventually.
France cannot roll this out till Sept 2013 and if you want to change your licence from English to French for the new style or just change from the old style French one you will have to wait till  2014. This driving licence will then be renewable every 15 years.
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Cercle des Amis de Bourdelle

Pourrais-tu s'il te plaît annoncer auprès de ton réseau la soirée "Emile Antoine Bourdelle" qui sera animée par Patrick Fonzes, Président du "Cercle des Amis de Bourdelle".
 Ce rendez-vous sera l'occasion de découvrir ou redécouvrir ce grand sculpteur montalbanais.
 Dans l'attente de vous retrouver mardi 22 janvier à 20 h 30 à la salle de conférences de l'immeuble des Récollets à Caussade.
 Estelle DESMARD
Communauté de Communes
du Quercy Caussadais
05 63 93 28 66
Val says Such a shame they have sent a lovely poster with sculptures by Emile Antoine Bourdelle shown but I cannot post it on TAG, wrong format.
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Shakira continues her work for Unicef

Quite a lot in the French newspapers about the  beautiful, young singer Shakira, who works tirelessly for UNICEF. She has launched a series of photos of herself with her handsome young partner Gerard Pique ( who plays football for Barcelona ) showing off her form in pregnancy. The photos are launched with proceeds going to Unicef. The singer sings songs like " Esta Navidad" and the latest "Santa Baby" An enterprising young lady who has also launched the first virtual baby shower on her internet site. Good Luck  and well done Shakira with your money raising. How many young people doing well in their careers also think of others. I also wondered if this couple are going to become the new "Posh and Becks"
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Friday, 18 January 2013

Armstrong cheated in all 7 races

He has now admitted he did it,  Lance Armstrong did cheat in all seven races. What I cannot understand is how with all the doping tests did he get away with it for so long. The Tour de France officials need to explain I think.
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Who would you recommend as an advocat?

Have you had the need to use an advocat in the area and if so could you say you were pleased with their service ? A TAG reader has asked if we know of a good one . Replies in confidence if needed  to
Comments to

Very good reporting by David Blair in the Telegraph

For up to date news on Mali I have been reading the reports by David Blair  in the Telegraph.  " Armoured cars towered over homes made of sun baked mud and a tricolour flew on the banks of the Niger yesterday as French soldiers deployed in the vast  Savannah of  Central Mali"
David Blair writing in the Telegraph from  Markala and there is another report from him written in Bamako.
David Blair was born in Malawi to British parents and is Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. His descriptive passages are so well written if he wrote a novel I would be first  on the list to buy it.
For people who asked for more info. David was  the reporter who discovered documents that the Telegraph  felt needed airing on the " George Galloway" affair. Google it, as it cost the Telegraph a lot of money in libel and lawyers fees
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It is all about perception.

75%  of French people backed the surprise military offensive to stop  al Qaeda troops advancing on to Bamako in Mali.
The move was judged morally right and analysts say it has transformed Francois Hollande from the nick name "Mr Flamby" ( had to google Flamby, it is apparently a kind of caramel pudding ) a wobbly ditherer into a strong and decisive Commander in Chief.
Not sure of the spelling of "flamby or flanby" as Henry Samuel went for the "n" but lots of other reports go for "m"    Pays your money and takes your choice?
Report by Henry Samuel in the Telegraph.
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Mentioning no names ...

When we came looking around the area 12 years ago we had no idea what the winter would be like here in South West France. We asked the immobilier what we should expect. We remember the reply with smiles now." All you need to do in winter is "throw a sweater around your shoulders" I am sitting here with warm woolly socks, thermal vest, 2 sweaters and this is in a house with under floor heating and double glazing. I think in retrospect this gent was a little economic with the truth. To be fair it is a decision moving here, we have never regretted for one moment.  Even so if anyone says  "a sweater around the shoulders " now  Malc and I give each other knowing smiles.
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In two days 38 dolphins found dead

On the beaches at and around Biscarrosse in the Landes 48 dolphins have been found dead. Their deaths are so far unexplained.
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Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly

A new film starring Nicole Kidman playing that beautiful lady, Princess Grace of Monaco. Prince Albert and Princess Caroline and Stephanie are not happy saying the film is " needlessly glamourised and historically inaccurate."
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French women like their under garments

French women buy more under garments than women in other European countries. The report did not say if they bought "little black sexy numbers" or the  type of under garments seen on Laguepie market stall, the most amazing pink  huge bloomers and pink corsets. Some ladies must strap themselves in.
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Just for your interest

508 people read TAG yesterday.
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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Do you like quizzes?

Martin Mackenzie not only has he created a very professional site for The DVDs but he has added a " quiz " section. If you like such things, think about having a look!
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News from around the World

This is wonderful, you can read the newspapers from all over the world.
Newspaper Map - BRILLIANT!!
Just put your mouse on a city, almost anywhere in the world, and the newspaper headlines pop up... Double click and the page gets larger ... you can read the entire paper on some if you click on the right place. You can spend forever here.
Also, if you look at the European papers, the far left side of Germany will pop up as The Stars & Stripes (European edition, of course).AND, this site changes every day with the publication of new editions of the paper. 
Sent by Alice Smee [ have not tried it yet. ]
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