Sunday, 31 March 2013

84 years old and driving at 176 kms an hour

Flashed on the road from Moissac to Castelsarrasin an 84 year old grandad with his granddaughter in the car with him was flashed on a 90 kms an hour stretch on the RD 813 going 176 kms. No wisdom with age for this man. Please readers no comments about  me being an ageist, although I do think some of us older drivers should think at least about having eye tests. The trouble with getting older is your reactions are much slower so driving at speeds well above the limit is dangerous for everyone, plain foolish, silly man.

 It is quite right to question the sanity of anyone who drives at that spead on any road whether they are motorway or single carrigeway but speading is in no way related to age
Val says I disagree about speed, sorry.
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What a surprise and could be useful.

Went to the post box  today to discover a postcard from our old bookbinder from Preston called Bob Porter. We knew he had moved to France slightly after us but never really knew where. Well he appears to be living in a Moulin in the Gers. Thought you might like his website in case you need  to have a book bound.
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Black BMW' s and drug smuggling

Please, please nobody take offence about this story. When we first came to France my French was virtually non existant  so this did not help  speaking with our neighbours ( our old house) A couple of lads had learning difficulties and one of them told us that our Dutch neighbours were drug smugglers. I left it for a few weeks till the conversation came up again and then asked , what evidence did he have for this statement. The lad replied , " a black BMW often goes up their lane " and that was the sum total of  his evidence. Ever since then Malc and I have exchanged knowing glances about black BMW's
Comments to

Final Production of the season, Mamma Mia

Our last evening of Opera and Music will be on Tuesday16th of April at 6.30pm. As it was before Christmas when some of you put your names on the list I would appreciate it if you would all email to confirm your booking. Val    This will be a riotous evening of singalong to bring a rousing finish to the season.
Comments to

There are no ticks on me

We have found four ticks on Bonny our Golden Retriever today after our walk, tick time is upon us so be vigilant with your pets.
Comments to

Oh! dear.

Some of my best friends drive black BMWs.  Will you encourage your readers not to incite prejudice based on a person's car.
Comments to

Two Years on line for TAG

When we arrived in France I had the idea of a way of letting English people know what was happening and started to produce TAG, Tarn ,Aveyron and Garonne in a paper edition which we left in shops and handed out in the Sunday market. We had our own superb printer so it seemed a shame not to use a facility in our hands. After 3 years the costs of printing and paper became a bit expensive as we wound down our own business. So I left it for  a few years till the idea came to me, I could do the same thing on line.
Nothing comes easy and I can tell you if  I was not a person who perseveres I would have stopped many times. My first big disaster was sending round TAG before we sent blind copies, so that anyone who replied to the address replied to everyone on the mailing list. So ''round robins'' went around time after time , with people emailing me saying I have had 6 emails for you which then went to everyone else. So then everyone else sent me an email, you can see how it went. At least three people asked to be removed from my mailing list, all of which were sent to everyone, but I am pleased to say two of them are now avid readers.
That hurdle over, there have been many others along the way but overall lots of joys, meeting many new people, finding out about events, and lastly being able to do some good for charities close to my heart.
When I started I had if I was lucky 50 people a week looking  now I am disappointed if I only get 300 a day and more normally it is between 350 and 600.
The strength of TAG depends on you the reader and of course my  editorial skill as a diffuser of information. I need your posts, I need you to tell me what is happening and where and I would like to keep your support on TAG fund raising efforts.
My philosophy behind TAG, is it is for everyone, totally inclusive, so if an event is promoted any reader would be able to go. If it is just for a clique group it will not be reported [are there such groups here!]
The recent letter from Ann hurt because there was the slightest possibility that someone had picked up on a slant that was never meant to be there .I will certainly be more assiduous in future.
I need also to thank Martin Mackenzie for taking on the DVD scheme and Doreen Porter for her Face to Face articles, have you read this months? and Charles and Anna for the Folk /Jazz club. The Book swap has a bi-monthly life of its own and I think that morning of the swap is just the best thing.
Wish me well over the next year, and let us make TAG a really useful tool for living in our beautiful part of France.
Comments to

Enjoyed the exhibition

Went yesterday afternoon to Catherine Smedleys exhibition at La Barriere, Lacapelle Livron. Some lovely art on display and lots of tasteful cards to chose from. I bought this little display of framed paper butterflies which has given me the idea to make butterflies with the grandchildren at the end of the week.The exhibition is open today 10 till 18h
Comments to

We want to do the decent thing.

Flagging down on road. Sad that we can't have confidence in just doing the decent thing because of these selfish people. Ages ago we stopped at night on the Gaillac/Cordes road when we were flagged down. Chap on way home from working at Chateau de Bouscaillous  who had a flat tyre and no jack. Everyone else was driving past so we stopped, ours didn't work for him so we set off to take him to Cordes so he could phone his girlfriend (that tells you how long ago it was!). On way discovered that he lived above Le Rodier so we took him to his front door - and got half a case of wine as a reward!  I do think though that now there are mobiles people aren't stranded in the same way so less in desperate need of our kindness unless something really obvious.
Comments to

Please leave in an orderly fashion

Yesterday the Eiffel Tower was evacuated after a bomb threat. Around 1,400 people were asked to leave whilst the area  was searched by sniffer dogs. This happens to the Eiffel Tower at least once a year. Counter terrorism has been stepped up in France in recent months after the threats from Al Qaeda, coming after the French troops went into Mali.
Commemts to

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Parisot choir at Limogne church

Comments to

Small country house with gite and land wanted

Hi Val
Could you please add me to your taglines mailing list? Thank you.
 I have just sold my house in UK and am now ready to buy in SW France. Nothing suitable seems to
be available from the estate agents, so I wondered if any of your readers may be thinking of selling a
small country property with  land and possibly a gite? Would be interested to hear from them if so.
 Thank you
Kind regards
 Linda Walsh   -
Comments to  

I am in trouble, now I am probably sexist !

As well as not being racist, could you not mention that this person is a man because I think that is probably sexist.
Comments to

Fight Racism in every corner.

Email from Ann
I love reading tag on-line as it keeps me up to date and informed while we are away in frozen England!
But please could you temper some of the recent comments which, in my opinion, are bordering on racist! I appreciate that there is need to alert people of a motoring scam and people should always be aware that there are highway robbers who will try any trick to get you to stop. But the 'mixed race' comments seem to be designed to put fear into people that by implication of his colour, he must be a criminal.

The fact is that he appears to be the driver of a black BMW. That would suffice! And  to say 'run him over' or 'roll on by' are just plain unpleasantness! Are you saying that if we see a person of any colour other than white in an accident we should ignore them, just in case? Apart from the inhumanity, it is against French law not to stop.

I don't mean to sound 'precious' in all this, as I realise there are many real dangers out there and this guy is one of them, black, white, or mixed race!!But I think you should stop escalating the situation and making ordinary drivers to scared to stop in a case of genuine need.

The gendarmes will have been alerted to him in any case.


Val says 
Anyone who knows me knows that the very last thing I would allow is a racist comment. I have fallen out with many  friends who I have discovered to be racist and I will continue to fight racism in every form. I am pleased Ann has raised the awareness of the fact that the potential robber in the car stopping saga  is of mixed race. When I received the first email with that description I was saddened that the man was of mixed race and did discuss with Malc if we should take out mention of his race. We decided that for the best description, the sort you would give to the gendarmes, it needed to be in. We cannot  and must not tar every mixed race person with the same brush but if the man was white or black or had long hair, we would have put that in. This was a very specific threat from this one individual.
Believe me working so hard for the street children of Mali I know about racism and I know I have lost readers because of my close associations with this group. Those readers who are racist I do not want, so it does not matter to me.
Ann,  I applaud your concerns and please  keep on fighting perceived  or real racist remarks or comments but in this instance I still think my editorial decision was correct.
My comment on the roll on by was meant to mean do not stop whatever for this particular individual, but rereading it might have been better not to say in that way,and sounded a bit uncaring, so I have deleted that comment. If readers keep sending problems with this individual, I will keep on printing them. Thank you for bringing your concerns to me. I appreciate your comments. 
Comments to
I might have my eyes closed on this, but I never close them to racism

Spiced Cuisine reminder

“Don’t miss out! This is your last chance to place your orders for curries and sausages to be delivered to the Friperie in Verfeil on Saturday 6th April. All orders must be received by the end of Sunday 31st March. See the website or ‘phone us on 06 27 72 01 07”.

Great day out at the Transhumance

We went last year to join in the transhumance at Rocamadour - great spectacle and a fun if energetic walk - those sheep can't half move! We walked half way up to the lunch stop where there was a fabulous atmosphere as everyone had their picnics. Then we walked back to Rocamadour on our own as we were not intending to go to the repas in the evening. It was a great day out.
Sue Carter

Comments to

Famous, our kestrels

Val & Malcolm
Re your report of the Kestrels coming back to nest,
here are two sketches that I drew of the kestrels at Mas del Sol in 2010, including the black hole.
Tudor Powell
Tudor says    Exhibited at MIMA and 'live on line' in TAG, can it get any better??

Comments to

Choeur de Parisot

Comments to

Will they or won' t they nest this year?

For at least 15 years the most beautiful kestrel pairs have been nesting in the walls of our gite. When we had the gite pointed we got the builder to leave a square opening high up in the walls. From our house we get a magnificent view of the birds sweeping into the hole and nest.
Sadly last year the many magpies round about, who can be very aggressive saw the pair off and we think they may have been the pair who ended up nesting at The Moulin of Varen.
This year they are back checking out the hole in the wall, swooping past our salon window which is on the second floor. We are remembering two years ago when we had our family in the gite and a large group of us were eating on the terrace in the evening, in the tree alongside were 6 baby kestrels being fed.
Grub for the chicks

Take away  lizard
Comments to

The ''transhumance'' at Figeac

Le troupeau de 700 brebis et chevres, 700 sheep and goats will be moved on June 1st and arrive at Figeac on Monday 3rd June  at 11h going via St. Jean, Mirabel,Espagnac, Boussac, Lissac and then Figeac. The idea of the transhumance is to move the sheep to higher grazing areas for the summer. These ancient customs now atract hordes of followers, often ending in a repas.If you google transhumance you will find lots of these happenings in and around the Spring.
Comments to

French troops in Mali till the end of the year

French troops are to remain in Mali for the year. Some troops will leave in April and by July 2,000 troops will be left. French troops will then be part of a UN peacekeeping force. Francois Hollande wants to encourage elections in July.
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La Fouillade and Le Vieux Chene

Young Remi Mazieres is entering his second year in Le Vieux Chene at La Fouillade. His first season went so well he is building on that and is pursuing his " carte Aveyronnais " I wonder if he is a relative of the Mazieres at the Belle Rive and  Insurance man of Laguepie ?
As well as Aveyron products there will be lots of fish on the menu and the ice cream and patisseries are "fait maison"
Closed Monday and Tuesday evening. For reservations  tel 0565817612 or 0017692524
Comments to

Friday, 29 March 2013

Summer time and the living is easy

Easy that is if you remember to alter your clocks between Saturday and Sunday, from 2am Sunday morning put your clock forward an hour ( just do not tell the dogs )
Comments to

Book crossing at St. Antonin tomorrow

Oyé! Oyé!
à 11h demain samedi; lancement du "passe-livre" sous la Halle de Saint Antonin Noble Val.
Les livres sortent de vos étagères pour vivre leur vie. Venez les aider à vivre !!
Hark ! Hark !
Tomorrow morning, 11 o'clock, launching of a book-crossing action in Saint Antonin, under the Halle.
Your books are going to flee from their shelves and live their own life. Come and help them start a new life, whatever language they're written in.
Nadette and the Mosaïque en Val team.
Comments to  

Gender, but do not quote me.

I think the answer to the gender question is that Le Belle Rive is masculine because it is a hotel (masculine).  A feminine noun which is an adjunct of a masculine noun loses its female gender.  For example the area 'the Camargue' is feminine ie. la Camargue.   BUT if a boat (masculine) is given the name la Camargue it becomes Le Camargue!  I was on the boat 'Le Camargue' looking at a map which called the area 'La Camargue', so I asked a French man who gave me this answer.  BUT don't quote me on this - I could have been a hapless tourist who got conned.
Peter Caborn.
Comments to

Nothing left but the head of the donkey.

In the Pyrenees Oriental an agriculteur went to check out his animals in the field. Everything had gone, 12 hens, 3 ducks, 1 rabbit, 15 pigeons and all that was left of the donkey was the head. The gendarmes are looking into it.
Comments to

A new face for Doreen Porter

Doreen in conversation with Muriel Vernieres about the current revival of the Occitan language. To read the article click on ''Face to Face'' at the top of the page. Va plat means ca va, the extent of my occitan. Enjoy the article and thanks Doreen.
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A Good Night was had

Charles played the fiddle with Anna on banjo and got the evening off to a lively start, after that the only problem was fitting everyone in. 

Stalwarts of the dark winter months Betsy, Gavin and Trevor were there and there was the welcome return of Ian, John and Linda. We had songs in English, Dutch and Occitan ranging from blues to folk and jazz. My personal favourite songs last night were the spinning wheel and poverty knock sung by Ian and John respectively. I haven't heard either of these for a few years and it took me back to our folk club in England where they were sung regularly. The audience is coming on well too - not quite raising the roof yet but we had some good choruses last night.

It is also really gratifying to see the folk club is increasingly getting people together between events to work on music and songs to perform together. Last night Linda had joined up with Brian, Betsy played recorder and sang with Boris the young French guitarist, and Trevor had his new "band" (only kidding Charles and Anna!).

Talking of Charles - he is back playing the fiddle and clearly loving it - possibly ignoring medical advice but having fun - in fact his only complaint last night was that he hadn't been able to play enough! My advice though is to always leave the audience wanting more so they come back next time - hope you do.

The next club night is Thursday 25th April- hope to see lots of you there and if you want to entertain us contact Charles well in advance at   New performers are always very welcome but Charles does need to know who is going to be there so that he can arrange the programme.

(Oh and by the way, we do still need to hear your thoughts on summer venues, and any other ideas /suggestions you have about how the club should develop.)

Sue Carter
Val says liked the lights out at the back of the room and stage lit, worked well I thought. Thanks to Celia Berry for that idea.

The new neighbour story

The deed is done, come June we will have young French neighbours, quite a group. I had a visit from them again yesterday as they came to introduce one of the group I had not met. A girl of about 28 who expects her baby in June, I have met the one with the little baby. These girls are going to continue their petite enterprise up here, which is growing medicinal herbs, wonder if it includes cannabis which is known as a medicine for MS and athritic complaints. At the moment I can see all the positive benefits of young people and children around, and who knows they may pet sit so we can get away sometime. Building work will be involved but I think the house is  far enough away not to intrude too much on our lives.  I have visions of having the most tremendous herb garden which was on my list of to do things and speaking French like a native ( I can live in hopes )
Comments to

Check out James's site

Broadband by satellite or WIMAX
I have been collecting information from my clients (and others) who have broadband by satellite so we can compare what people are getting and what they pay for it.
If you want to have a look it is here:
(look under user's contracts)
If you have any comments or want to add you data please let me know.
James Sweeting
Comments to

They won't catch us!

I have also been informed of instances where eggs have been thrown at the windscreen to impede vision. It calls for resistance in putting on the wipers which only smears it further and truly restricts your view to the point when stopping is necessary. The advice is to just keep driving until you are well clear of the perpetrators, then deal with it. Not sure whether this is old news but always feel it better to be prepared on the off-chance.
Di Tornai

The Gendarmes need to go in an unmarked car.

This “Gentleman” was at the Septfonds/St. Antonin junction yesterday (28.3.13) touting for victims. We stopped to offer assistance a couple of years back, he claims to have run out of petrol and has no money on him. In return he offers you a large gold ring off of his finger. We said no and drove off. If you see him don’t stop, better still run him over.
George Reid
Comments to

Le Belle Rive at Najac

Thought it would be  "la" but it is  "le Belle Rive", back to the story, the Hotel now has 3 stars after " relooking" the bedrooms and kitchens. Jacques Mazieres the Chef ( who also happens to be a relative of our insurance man with offices at Laguepie)  wants to play the food of Aveyron card, Aveyron beef, lamb, cheese and wine. I am happy to go along with that, for me, cannot do much wrong this restaurant. I love the views from the terrace up to the chateau, lovely in the sun but equally lovely at night when the chateau is lit.  I usually enjoy the vegetarian menu , not that I am one , it is just nice for a change.
(We know he is a relative of our insurance man as before long Mr Mazieres will be up our road collecting the Responchons, like wild asparagus,  and he tells us how many recipes his cousin, the chef at Belle Rive has for these.)

Le or la.
L’hotel Belle Rive is where it comes from. Masculine.

Comments to

La chasse aux oeufs de Paques

Easter Sunday will see many children here in France enjoying an Easter egg hunt. The hunt for hidden eggs seems to be more of a tradition than in England. Families I have spoken to with children will be planning hunts, even in the rain.
Comments to

What news on the Rialto?

An expression Malc and I often use "What news on the Rialto". The Rialto is the Rialto Bridge in Venice and the expression is from Shakespeare's  Merchant of Venice Act 3, scene 1. If you ever go to Venice it is a must to stand on the bridge and say it. We have a lovely memory of no one being around in the streets of Venice, one night in January, with mist swirling round us as we shouted out "what news",  unforgettable.
So in future if I ask about news on the Rialto you know what I am on about.
Omments to

Nearly 600 people will not be flagged down

All the people who read TAG yesterday will think twice about stopping for a smart mixed race man in a black car. I am sure those people will have passed the warning on to a friend, so now TAG becomes a crime stopper!
Comments to

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Being flagged down on the road

Happened to us last September outside Cordes on the Albi road, up on the top straights. There'd been quite a bit in the press about such things and we sped past. Can't recall what sort of car it was but it 'wasn't right'.... We'd also read about cars being flagged down on autoroutes, implication of something wrong with car, and led off onto sortie slip. If we have one we may well have the other...
Take care everyone! Liz and Robert
Comments to

Catherine Smedley, Gallery open Sat and Sun.

A brief reminder that Caherine Smedley is holding an expo at her Gallery at La Barriere, Lacapelle Livron Sat 30th and Sun 31st. 10 to 18 h.  Check earlier post for more details.
Comments to

Vernissage and expo at l'Abbaye de Beaulieu

Prochain événement organisé par l'association Vallée et co :
Gens de la terre
Exposition photographique, installation sonore et vidéo
par Virginie Dagault Revel
à l’Abbaye de Beaulieu-en-Rouergue (Ginals, 82)
Du 4 avril au 2 juin 2013
Vernissage samedi 6 avril à 17h
Gens de la terre fait suite au vécu personnel de la photographe sur ce territoire rural et à un travail de collecte de souvenirs réalisé par l’association Vallée et co auprès d’anciens habitants ou ayant habité dans la vallée de la Baye. Il s’articule autour d’une exposition/installation vidéo, photographique et sonore. Elle met en perspective des prises de vue, des témoignages sonores, une captation vidéo et des sculptures en plâtre afin de croiser 2 regards liés à la terre : celui des natifs de la vallée de la Baye et de la Seye et celui des non-natifs.
Vous  trouverez en pièce jointe le carton d'invitation.
Au plaisir,
Association Vallée et co
82330 GINALS
Renseignements : 06 63 16 79


Hi Val,
Same thing happened to us on Monday,we were coming back from Caussade on the long stretch of road from Septfonds when we noticed ahead a man and black car(I think a BMW)He flagged us down so we stopped only to asked by a man of mixed race for money for gazole,I was in the drivers seat and noticed another young man get out of the car and started to walk towards our car,Neville politely told him no,We drove off before the other man reached our car.
Malc says. If without compromising yourself you could take a picture on your mobile phone and send it to the gendarmes that might help to stop them. Personally I would try and take their car number and put my foot down.
Comments to

Sometimes you just get a feeling things are not right.

Hi Val...just come back from Villefranche and a very smart man of mixed race in a black expensive-looking car tried to make us stop. At first we slowed down but then I remembered a potentially dangerous situation being written about last year. Don't they lure you out of the car and then steal or even mug you? Just thought this looked mighty it worth a warning?
Chris xx
Val says  I know this happens in Spain but never heard of it here, but if you are ladies on your own why risk it.
Malc now tells me last year a French friend warned us about this.
comments to

First cuckoo, first orchid

Walking the dogs Malc spotted along our road the first orchid of the season, later on the walk he heard the sound of a cuckoo.
Last year when we said it was an 'early purple' someone queried that. So it may be, or it may not, but it is purple and it is early.
Comments to

Safety Fence for Pool

Hi, Val.
 We want to put up a safety fence round the pool and were wondering if any of your readers had recommendations for a good company/person to do the work.  I’d be grateful for suggestions
 Many thanks.  Sarah Brown
Val says
Have just checked with Lawence Hunt , does he do pool fencing , and yes he does, email and tel. in earlier post. or tel 0563312753
Comments to

If you are offered a bottle of Substance blanc de blanc , beware

Normally selling at 112 euros a bottle, this champagne from the Jacques Selasse cellar at Reims may not be what it seems. A break in by thieves who took 16,000 labels along with 300, 000 euros worth of champagne will cause difficulties for this vineyard  but will not endanger their business. Their fears are the spawning of fake bottles which obviously could affect their reputation. The bottles were stacked on pallets ready to be shipped around the world (smacks of an inside job) The family vineyard started to produce champagne in 1949 and currently produce 57,000 bottles a year.
Comments to

Inspiration, aspirations, I have them all for the garden

Our courtyard looks lovely in the summer  with all my pot plants, but spring and winter looks less green and colourful. I have planted 3 Sapin de Florence in spots in the corps and an area up the steps to the pigeonnier I planted last year lots of rockery plants. How do you think I am coming on? The sheep are to stop Bonny jumping from the wall and they have stopped her, much more fun than a fence.

As always click on picture to enlarge
Comments to

Another artisan forgeron

Visited Sylvie Gravier's Jardin des Bastides at Milhars where a nice selection of plants were on display for customers. Sylvie mentioned her son is now working nearby as an artisan forgeron, his enterprise is called " le Marteau et l'Enclume"  tel 06 77 82 94 34  Le Segalar 81170 Milhars,
Comments to

VIllefranche de Rouergue under video protection

Around Villefranche de Rouergue from the Spring through the Summer, 24 video surveillance cameras will be in place for shoppers protection. Is Villefranche a hot bed  of crime ?
Comments to

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Some readers like stats.

Tonight at 10.30pm TAG had 443 readers looking, should on current figures end up around 500 by midnight. Always seem to be a lot of late night views. Had a busy day so excuse any mistakes, I am off to bed.
Comments to

Prize pool in 2005 , all down to Larry

Click on picture for a bigger image
Here is another this one is straighter.  I must stop using that vin rose mouth wash in the mornings!!!!

Might just add that Larry won Gold for this pool at the pool show in 2005.



I don't know but I know a man who does.

 Recently, I came upon your delightful blog, "TAG on-line", and a post regarding the war heroine Nancy Wake. I've been quite interested in Ms. Wake's wartime exploits, particularly her time as a member of Britian's Special Operations Executive. As your blog entry mentions, as per her request, Ms Wake's ashes were buried on the grounds of the Chateau de Fragne, just outside of Montlucon. From what I understand, this was the headquarters of the local Maquis, the chateau iitself apparently found "abandoned" by the Resistance.

Now, there's one thing that baffles me. I was under the impression that nearly all  grand estates in wartime France were commandeered by the Germans at some point. So why was the Chateau de Fragne left abandoned? I believe the Chateau is now a hotel. But, who were its original owners before the war?

If you any information that could shed some light on these questions, I would greatly appreciate it.
 Thank you for your time.

 Alix Kensit
Val says Martyn Cox may be able to answer this question. His email is
Comments to

Rachel Shamash says watch this if you are thinking of eating a " mac"

Chinese tourists robbed in Paris

Seeing this in the news and realising how Paris like any big city can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing and which areas are safer not to go to, I remembered this post.

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

Nez a nez with a chevreuil

This morning at Negrepellise as Raymond Margues got up at 7am and as he looked in to his garden he came nose to nose with a young deer. A quick telephone call to the societe de chasse and the young male deer was caught and transported back to his brothers in a nearby wood.
Une adventure qui se termine bien pour ce jeune male qui a retrouve sa liberte sain et sauf sans aucune blessure.
I do love a happy story
Comments to

Crematorium at Montauban, do we want to know this?

Now open 6 years  and in 2012 there were 860 cremations. The number has risen by 10%e each year and 25 people are employed there. As crematoriums go it is actually quite nice, good parking facilities, tasteful waiting rooms and halls  and has always seemed very efficient.
Comments to

Pope Gregory's Legacy

Val - I hesitate to tell you, but the world outside Najac is due to celebrate Easter the weekend before...   xx Chris

Sylvie Sallet who has a shop and workshop at Najac will be open 5, 6 and 7th of April from 11h till 19h and will be giving demonstrations in her workshop.
Comments to
Val says  oops! Changed the earlier post to after Easter.
Comments to

Folk /Jazz tomorrow

A quick reminder for the Folk /Jazz club at le Riols tomorrow night, 8pm. see you there.
Comments to

Hold me back, Malc says no to small dog,ducks or bantams.

For Sale Bantum house and run and small dog (duck house) only purchased last Spring.  €50 and €20 euros respectively.

Honest, hardworking does a good job!

What more can you ask for in a pool installer?
Malc says a straight picture

Potter at Najac open after Easter

Sylvie Sallet who has a shop and workshop at Najac will be open 5, 6 and 7th of April from 11h till 19h and will be giving demonstrations in her workshop.
Comments to

An interesting menu at Paques

At Monastere in the Aveyron you can go along on Easter Sunday for " tripous et tete de veau"  I will not be there, hate the look of tripe and the thought of eating head of a young cow, even though I am sure it will be tasty is not one of my preferences. I bet loads of you are already booking.
Comments to

La Seye et vous offers concert and Mac' Seye

Bonjour à tous,
Vendredi 29 mars pour célébrer le retour du printemps nous accueillerons à La Seye et vous le groupe TWO NEW FRIENDS.
3 instruments : Guitare, basse, cajon. Des voix qui chantent en amerlock avec l'accent de chez nous.
A partir de 19H30 Gilles Carles, Patrice Cazaux et Marc Dechaumont nous baladerons dans leur univers, entre blues et rock, de Wim Wenders à Jim Jarmusch.
Et pour cette occasion, nous vous proposerons le MAC'SEYE à déguster dans vos assiettes !
Renseignement : 05 63 65 22 18.
A bientôt.

Those Spicey ladies are coming again

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Now a happy dog story, "un handi chien"

Fabien of Castres, age 32 has a genetic illness which means he spends his life now in a wheelchair. Last October he was brought together with his life saving friend Flag. Flag is a dog who is trained to help his handicapped owner called in France a " handi chien" Flag is a cross between a labrador and a golden retriever and is 3 years old. He has spent his short life under training and responds to 52 commands, his training has cost between 15,000 to 20,000. The couple are becoming stars of news and will appear on France Television soon.
We think our golden retriever knows at least 100 words, many of them French, not saying she responds to all but you cannot have a conversation without her picking up on certain words, " lets go" is her favourite expression and " teatime" is probably the favourite of both dogs!
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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

It is happening on your doorstep and mine

Not another one I thought as I read this story in the Depeche. At Loze between Loze and Lacapelle Livron on the Causse at Caylus a dog refuge is up in the courts for animal cruelty. These are some of the expressions used " un elevage canin dans une situation lamentable et inadmissible", " scandaluse mauvais traitments a animaux"  The judgement will be on 23rd April
Some readers may remember my experiences with another dog refuge where I used to go and help walk dogs that otherwise would be stuck in a small pen for life, some of the dogs being there from puppies to old age and driven mad (literally) by being locked up day after day, week after week, till in terrible conditions they died. I do not even want to remember the poor caged cats in a cage covered in faeces and being told they mainly had cat flu, so no one was keen to go in. Certain friends were in a position to save dogs and chose the oldest and most helpless to rescue.  A group of us did try to improve conditions but in truth we did not achieve much.
A refuge needs to be run by the SPA, Societe Protectrice des Animaux which is a bit like the RSPCA in England.
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News after the Antiques Roadshow

Dear Val and co

Many thanks for the great effort yesterday. Please will you thank Ann for her  help and suggestions and pass on the developments to her. 

I searched the internet for the Blue and White ironstone china. I came up with the nearly identical thing on sale on an American site. So it is in the Humphries Clock Pattern by Ridgeway of England. Now they wanted $410 for 6 large sized plates, one meat ashette, one vegetable terrine and a gravy boat which like mine had no stand.  Now the big question is, is it that as with a pair of vases it is worth more than just one since I have 4 large and 4 small plates 3 ashettes and 2 terrines as well as the gravy boat.

I think I may ask the V&A about my chest and maybe the National Portrait Gallery about the portrait. I tried both Bohnams and Sothebys and neither had records of having sold a Collier Smithers but at least there is more information about him on the internet now


PS cannot wait for the next one!
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Look forward to the Sterndale Singers in the Summer.

I am itching to come out to France and your blog makes it all the more enticing.

Val says. We are looking forward to you coming with your choir " The Sterndale Singers "

Inspired again and enthused

Just come back from the Domain de Sautou where we were handing over a cheque for 200 euros from our last Opera evening. Jean Marie and Winnie Nosal over a coffee told us of their   ''soucis'' concerning the street children of Bamako. Recently a decree came in to place stopping adoptions out of the country. A proportion of the children lacking parents were in the past adopted and given new lives off the streets, not an ideal situation to be adopted out of your birth country but if it was that or starving on the streets, it is obviously preferable.So the couple are having high level meetings with politicians trying to get this decree repealed; they know of many couples ready and waiting to adopt.
Add to this the fact that each day since the war the number of children going to the school to be fed has risen by 30 a day,  that gives you an idea of the problem. When you have not got the budget for that many children, what do you do. As Jean Marie says ''how can you turn a hungry child away ''
Malc and I thought we had one more Music evening and then practically a quiet summer ahead of us... now we know the work must not stop.
If I can by writing TAG raise awareness  of the work going on here at The Domaine de Sautou near
Castanet and  feed starving children, I will go on.
If as some one has said to me I like reading TAG but not all the charity bits, all I can say is skip through those bits. Some of you DO CARE and it is to those people I tell our plans to.
The Nosals know a chap called Gilles who makes huge marionettes. He is well known in France and the couple thought we might of heard of him. He is coming to Sautou on 18th of May to give a show. Not sure of the time yet but that will be announced nearer the time. Just for your interest check out the website
As well as the show there will be a tombola for one of the huge  wooden marionettes.
Malc is arranging a bridge afternoon in June and along with quite a few of the Caylus Bridge players, French and Dutch friends, and any other bridge players out there, that could be an interesting afternoon with afternoon tea in the middle of play. More of this as dates are firmed up.
Jean Marie fancies arranging a walk through the countryside inviting all local rambling groups ending up with a meal which he will prepare and serve in his '' catering kitchen'' I think this is previewed at the end of May.
If you are interested in helping or have ideas for any event or could put an event into operation be in touch with Malc or myself or Jean Marie and Winnie.
Val or Malc
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Inspired by Les Jardins de Quercy

Went out and bought the two gardening magazines which have articles in  about our local gardens "Les Jardins de Quercy" which are open every year on the outskirts of Varen in Spring and Summer. In fact directly opposite us up on a hill near Cambou. So near and yet so far in gardening terms, mind they do not have Henny and Penny the two scratching hens, or Bonny and Twister, dogs racing around the garden or even 4 cats who like to dig holes to deposit their business, to contend with.
( I am not even going to mention escaping donkeys charging about.)  Never mind if Jean and Alain can achieve a garden like that in 20 years I am going to keep on working away. 
In the past there has been a little honesty box where you pay, I think it is about 5  euros to look around, you can ask for a guided tour which is a little more and is interesting with a group. The gardens are wonderful with little secret places, spashes of colour everywhere, a maze, oriental gardens and if you have the time take a picnic as a lovely picnic area has appeared at the bottom of the garden. The monies taken over the season are all donated to various charities, one of which  is close to my heart, Via Sahel, Enfants d' Afrique. Wonder if they will be busier this year with so much publicity.
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I did, yes I did, hear the golden oriole this morning

Very distinctive whistle and there it was at 8am as I was in the field feeding donkeys and letting out hens. He is often difficult to see even though biggish and yellow [ like a large stuffed canary] but Kath who lives on the river bank in Varen sees and hears them often. Infact as she reads this she is probably saying ''saw one a couple of weeks ago''
Malc says  Kath sounds like Ratty or Mole living along the river bank!
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Bernard Mages on twice

Click on image for a bigger version
Bernard Mages image has a second viewing, why? I like him and his work so much, worthy of a visit, 5th,6th and 7th of April
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