Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Return to the canicule tomorrow Thursday

Going to be hot again tomorrow with a vent d'autan getting stronger through the day.( that wind depends on which meteo you read)
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Monday 12 th of August, raising money for refuge donkeys.

Here at Mas del Sol we are hosting an evening of music with ''Charles and Anna'' playing banjo and violin, all to raise money for Liberte des Anes. Starting at 7.30pm we have just  a few seats left so if you fancy coming let us know.In the interval we will be serving sausage baguettes all  in the price of 10 euros, just contact us at We are really pleased that Jan and Gerrit from the donkey sanctuary are coming and also supporting the evening are Jean Marie and Winnie Nosal from the Domaine de Sautou.[ as well as all those children they keep donkeys!] We are looking forward to a good night.

The Sloe Queen, not the Snow Queen

Many thanks Dear Val thank you for the kind wishes. I'm devastated that I won't be able to pick my sloes this year. If any TAG reader is able to gather together about 6pounds and freeze them for me I will repay them with a suitable number of bottles of the resultant tipple when I have made it xx

Val says  We were lucky enough to be given a bottle of Di's sloe gin and it was GOOD. So if anyone out there has sloe bushes in their patch get gathering those sloes.
We had some bushes in the donkey field but the donkeys eat them!

Bernard Mages has a new website

Bernard Mages has a new web site

Tel 09 77 54 06 30 (non surtaxé)

nouveau site plus complet (photos, textes, vidéos etc...)
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The Sterndale Singers from Sheffield are coming

Sterndale Singers

 Friday 23rd August in La Vigerie, Varen and  20.30h

Saturday 24th August in Domaine de Sautou, Castanet  19.30hr

Chansons folkloriques de

                   Holst, Vaughan Williams, Seiber, Warlock 

Two evenings you may wish to mark in your diaries, more information soon.

TOF ratings are rolling in

Ginny gives it a 5,  but was not sure if she wanted us to know about it. Read about this restaurant at Puycelsi in TOF's.
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News of the youngsters of Sautou

Not only do the Nosals look after African children but they care for children and young people from around the world, caring for them in a safe loving environment at the Domaine in Castanet. I have met a few of the young people there.  Fredo who has been there a long time  and could not be a happier soul. He loves to work, it is hard to stop him doing jobs about the place and in the evening his pleasure is painting. Mamadou from Mali will leave school this summer and start an apprenticeship with a local firm. Ahad from Bengal will also move on to Montauban in September where he has got a place for two years training in hotel management. Ahad is a very bright lad who when he came to the Nosals 6 months ago could speak no French. His languages being Bengali and English. He is now very fluent in French but is worried that he is losing his English which he rightly thinks is the language of the world. I have offered when our nephews come on holiday to have him over here to talk to the boys but what he will make of their northern accents I am not sure.We do not want to invite him before the 10th of August as he explained as his duty to his God  Allah,he is in the middle of Ramadan. He eats and drinks nothing from 4 in the morning till 10 at night. He said near ten at night he spends a lot of time looking at his watch ready for the moment to tuck in.
I really love seeing these youngsters whose life so far have been so deprived and affected by circumstances beyond their control getting back on course to be happy and integrated in society. Well done again to Winnie and Jean Marie, and these are a mere sample of children who in their lives the couple have helped.
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Mali ,so far the elections went well

French President François Hollande on Monday welcomed the smooth running of the 2013 Malian presidential election. “This election marks Mali’s return to constitutional order after the victory over the terrorists and the liberation of the country," said Hollande, adding that "the unprecedented turnout" demonstrated “the commitment of the Malian people to democratic values”.
His prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, also hailed the vote. "Congratulations are in order,” said Ayrault. “The Mali elections went off well…for France, it is a great success," he added.
Val says  As readers know one of our charities is based at Castanet, run by a French couple who have spent many years of their life raising money for deprived children in Mali. The charity is called " Via Sahel enfants d' Afrique" Because of this connection TAG keeps a close eye on news from Mali.
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Sunday 4th of Aug. at St. Antonin is la fête des battages

Dès 15 heures, sur la place du Pradel, le battage débutera avec tous les modèles de batteuses qui ont autrefois sillonné les campagnes. Les plus petites seront entraînées à la main ou par des chevaux, tandis que les plus grosses, avec leur monte-paille ou leur presse, nécessiteront la puissance des gros tracteurs d’époque.

Valery Orlov, sings at St.Antonin

The Russian singer will give a concert in the church at St Antonin Noble Val 2nd 21hrs. Free entry.
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David makes barbecued pizza

Check out David's recipe in Cook's
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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

''Oi'll give it foive'' as Janice Nicholls used to say

If you are under 60 years old, you will not understand the heading but I am saying 'I will give it 5'' talking about the Belle Rive at Najac, check out the latest TOF's report.
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Spiderman wanted

Here are three photos that I took of a spider in my potager this afternoon. Can any body help me identify him or her, please?
Click on pictures for larger image

Magnificent grand piano for sale

For sale: magnificent grand piano (150 x 210 mtrs)  by C.Bechstein. Built in 1907 and minitiously revised in  2000 by an officially recognized Bechstein agent. Beautiful sound, in perfect state. € 13.000,-. Tel: 0563654312

Walking Tours in English cancelled for August

Dear Val
 The St Antonin Walking Tours in English have unfortunately had to be cancelled for August because I have broken my leg and will be in plaster for at least 6 weeks.  All being well, I might be able to do some in September if people have visitors then.
 What a b…….. nuisance!
 Kind regards
Francis Hansom
81140 St Michel de Vax

Photographers like those 'copters

Dear Val, How low is too low? its just like a personal air show without the travellingqueuing and parking.  The jets are fun too but I do not think they are based at Caylus.
Val says  you could ask them in for tea on the lawns as they pass!
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David Hatfield , this weeks cook

I want to give a bit of praise to one of our resident cooks [ lucky Linda, she has him as a resident cook] David Hatfield.  has a problem with his computer at the moment but rather than let TAG down he is sending emails on his phone struggling he says with ''chubby fingers and small buttons'' David,  I am sure readers will appreciate your recipe for today and all will thank you.
Check for the recipe in ''Cooks''.
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Cordes sur Ciel , concert of medieval music

Jeudi 1er Août, le groupe «Aux Couleurs du Moyen Age» donnera un concert à 21 heures dans l’église Saint-Michel de Cordes. Quatre musiciens réunis autour de la soprano Myriam Krivine pour un voyage dans le temps mais aussi hors du temps.
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Association against the army camp at Caylus

The complaint made in 2012 against noise and low helicopters has been thrown out for lack of evidence. Interestingly whenever I mention the camp at Caylus TAG gets lots of hits so it is a subject that interests many.
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Restaurant reviews, some are terrible.

After our experience at Les Deux Rivieres my daughter looked up " trip adviser" which she apparently looks at whenever she goes away. It was very interesting to read their reviews of Restaurants of the area, some have reviews ranging from wonderful to terrible all for the same restaurant. Coming out top appears to be at St. Andre de Najac  the Relais Mont le Viaur . Interestingly we have a super review in TOF's about this restaurant. Both the Belle Rive and Les Deux Rivieres are in the group from wonderful to terrible and it makes you realise that you can be lucky on the day or not!
I have picked this review as it made me smile after our experience at Les Deux Rivieres  but there were better for this restaurant.
Je n'ai jamais recu un acceuil aussi froid et sec de la part d'un commercant.
Nourriture fade et insipide.
On a vraiment passé un mauvais moment , il me tardait que le repas se termine pour vite choisir un autre restaurant la prochaine fois.
Acceuil vraiment très desagreable

Val says A bit harsh on the food which is never too bad but the welcome '' vraiment très desagreable'' says it all for me.

Dangers of the beaches in France

One must respect the rules of the beaches which are made for our safety. If the red flags are out  the seas are dangerous and many have found out sadly in the worst possible way. We watched a life guard on TV telling swimmers the sea was dangerous with currents and best not to swim that day and yet the holidaymakers totally ignored his warnings and the lifeguard shrugged his shoulders and said "what can I do"
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Monday, 29 July 2013

Binge drinking in France is on the rise.

Le binge drinking here in France is on the rise and in the past has been called "le binge drinking" but no more. The new French approved name for drinkers  consuming vast quantities of alcohol in a short space of time has of now its very own expression for the phenomenon: “beuverie express”. Not quite  as catchy is it ?
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Spanghero at Castelnaudary changes its name

After the horsemeat scandal Laurent Spanghero one of the original brother owners has managed to get the company up and running again giving 95 workers their jobs back. A change of name trying to draw a line under the disgrace of the company by former owners who had not many years before bought the Spaghero brothers out. The new name is "La Lauragaise", we wish this new venture every success and hope that as this company grows again more of the redundant work force will be able to be employed.
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The Belle Rive at Najac

We were in Najac today for coffee and so we went off for a chat and to book in to the Belle Rive for tomorrow night.
Whilst chatting we discovered what a difficult night Saturday, the night of the storm was for them. They had a terrace full of diners when the electricity went off and the rain came  out of the blue yonder suddenly  pelting down. They quickly got all the diners inside and lit candles, a feat in itself and then proceeded to cook with the gas in the kitchen! With a lot of diners, what a logistical nightmare. One forgets how restaurants must have to cope with all these contingencies.
Anyway there will be aTOF report coming up and in 12 years we have been fortunate enough to have eaten there many times, always had great friendly service and never once had a bad meal. Let us see if they can live up to their reputation .
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Balades et animations at Espinas

2013  Balades et
 nuit des étoiles vendredi 9 à 21h30 RDV sur la place. 2€ adultes ; gratuit scolaires.

B- dimanche 18 : FENAISON A L’ANCIENNE PROGRAMME DANS LA PRESSE. Entrée gratuite sur le site

C-BALADES: tous les mercredis à 9h précises; départ place de l'église à Espinas; GRATUIT et sans inscription; durée 2h30 à 3h.Possibilité de s'inscrire pour une collation en salle au retour, menu simple mais de qualité, à 11€; s'inscrire au plus tard le lundi.Réservations ci-dessous

1 - le mercredi 
7 : balade à Flouquet ; courte mais toujours exceptionnelle. Toujours quelque surprise…

2- le 14: abbaye de Beaulieu. Covoiturage pour église de Ginals. Retour par Mas de Rouby et hameau de Ginals. 7km.

3- mercredi 21 :3ème et dernière étape de nos balades occitanes avec Paul Burgan, à la recherche du sens des noms de lieu sur le hameau de Saint Amans + une belle promenade 

le 28 :Verfeil/Seye, le sentier « du geai des chênes » avec desvariantes. Environ 6km.RDV monument aux morts de Verfeil.

Avertissements usuels : respecter l’horaire ; toujours bonnes chaussures, chapeau et boisson; chiens bienvenus mais en laisse. Le S.I décline toute responsabilité, vérifiez la validité de votre assurance en responsabilité civile.

Caylus, in the Place de la Halle

A free concert on the 1st of August in La place de la Halle at 22hrs
Alain Llorca a été le bassiste-chanteur du groupe Gold de 1983 à 2004. Il a, bien sûr, coécrit et réalisé avec ses camarades l’ensemble des chansons du groupe durant toutes ces années.
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Nine drowned in one week, in the Herault

In the Depeche the number is seven on the TV nine, all drowned whilst holidaying in the Languedoc region. Many of the beaches are controlled but swimmers do not really understand the strength of the sea and where the currents are and many swim outside  the controlled areas. In Landes a 15 year old boy on the first day of his holiday was drowned off the camp site where they had arrived the day previously, his body has yet to be found. Why do we all take excessive risks on holiday?

And another small child drowned whilst being looked after by grandparents
Samedi soir à Rieumes, un petit de garçon a échappé à la vigilance de ses grands-parents. Il a été retrouvé dans la piscine. L’enfant n’a pas pu être ranimé.

Paris’ fire and rescue services have warned revellers not to swim in the city’s canals, saying three people have lost their lives since the beginning of the summer.

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

John and Debbie offer this service for free

Plant Identification
When we go out to customers’ gardens we find lots of people who say: “I really like this, but I’m not sure what it is,” or “I’d like to get some more of these, but I don’t know what to ask for.”  
To be honest, we think that the most important thing is knowing whether you like it or not, but it can be useful to know the names of the plants in your garden. This helps with plant care as well as future plant selection, and really, it’s just nice to know.
So, do you have any plants in your garden that you’d like to know the names of? Love them and would like to know what they are? Not sure if they’re flowers or weeds? Email us a photo of them and we’ll do plant ID for you.
Debbie and John from Le Jardins des Espiemonts
Val says  I am putting this in the gardening section and here for maximum exposure.

Would you take your jewellery to the Hotel Carlton at Cannes?

I certainly would not, not that I have jewellery worth millions but if I did I would want to keep it.
Another robbery with 40 millions of jewels stolen that were meant to be on display. This is the Hotel at Cannes where there was a jewel heist at the Cannes Film Festival. I am amazed they got any supplier to loan jewels to them. I'd be loath to leave a rubber duck in my bathroom ... if I had a rubber duck.
Annabel says " Grandma you are too old for a rubber duck in the bath"
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Another warning, water and children

I may pick out these stories to report but they are there in the newspapers sometimes a different one every other day. A small three year old child died in the Var at a water park at St. Maxime trapped in a canalisation system under the slide. A few moments distraction for the parents followed by a lifetime of heart ache. Watch your small children around water.
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Sally has singers but has space for a few more

September singing course at Najac
Calling all singing enthusiasts!

Sally Bradshaw is running two days of classes for lovers of singing on Saturday and Sunday 7th and 8th September 2013. Philip Collin will come over from London specially to accompany the classes and solos. There will be classes on breathing, a song masterclass, choral singing and troubleshooting for amateur singers. Classes will run from 10am - 5pm with lunch provided. You can read about Sally on her website at Sally teaches singing locally too. Contact her on to discuss your vocal needs and to enrol for the weekend. Weekend course, 175 euros, one day only, 100 euros.

A song class doing a Spiritual
during the last course I ran in my barn.

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They have gone, our feathered friends

We spent weeks living alongside our kestrel family and watched the initial fight between two pairs for the nesting area, then the mating, sitting on the eggs and then the  frantic feeding. The five chicks fledged and stayed in a tree at the bottom of the donkey field for about a week but now they have gone. Not to be seen so closely by us till next year. It would be lovely to know how many of the five survive but I am told that the chances are only that one or two will survive till next Spring. I cannot help thinking that number 5 ( no, I did not give them names ) who was so much smaller than the rest does not stand a good chance but I wish him or her well.
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Festival at Lez

Art and music at the little hameau of Lez near Laguepie from 31 st to the 2nd of August.
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Caylus, a base of the military

Yesterday saw a military presentation of the flag in the Place de Halle  where the 11e parachust regiment  presented the emblem and initiated young people in to the regiment.

Présidée par le lieutenant-colonel Richard Fauveau, commandant le CFIM 11, en présence de Christian Maffre, maire de Caylus, ainsi que des élus locaux, d’autorités civiles et militaires, d’associations patriotiques et de leurs porte-drapeaux, la cérémonie a mis à l’honneur quatre sections (d’environ 40 hommes et quelques femmes).
La section du sergent-chef Condomines du 1er régiment de chasseurs parachutistes stationnée à Pamiers (09), la section du lieutenant Maurin du 3e régiment de parachutistes d’infanterie de Marine stationné à Carcassonne (11), la section du lieutenant Hugou du 8e régiment de parachutistes d’infanterie de Marine stationné à Castres (81), la section de l’adjudant Barc du 17e régiment du génie parachutiste stationné à Montauban (82).
Après la présentation du drapeau tenu par deux militaires et deux civils (un employé de mairie et une élue Marthe Delefosse), le maire a rappelé le sens des couleurs et de la devise de la République. La Marseillaise a été entonnée par les engagés.
Report from the Depeche

Gros dégâts et orages et rafales de vent.

Says it all the heading, throughout the region the storm hit with strong wind, giving cuts in electricity, bringing down trees and in certain instances causing flooding. Some festivals were cancelled as at Cahors , and the Festival at Rodez came to an end with strong winds,  trees came down and crushed cars at Molieres in the Tarn and Garonne and the Lot suffered " degats" with hail. In the Haute Marne 30 people were injured when a huge tent/ marquee lifted from the ground and then crashed down again with the crowds still inside.
Phew! Everyone here people and pets were safe and dry, hens ran home, donkeys galloped to their dry shed, dogs and cats hid in the house, all except Bonny the golden retriever who thought running about spashing in the puddles was much better than all that sunny weather.
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Saturday, 27 July 2013

It came, we saw and it was "impressionant"

We were sitting in the grange with candles lit quite expecting a storm, when it came. The electricity went off and the rain lashed horizontally in to the grange. Our new flood defences stood no chance as the rain lashed in, never even touching the ground where we had spent many days laying drains. The two houses remained dry but the dependance that is normally used for storage is underwater ... again. Back to the drawing board on that one.
Our German neighbours who sold and who went back to live in Munich left bedding and household goods that they could not fit in the car when they left and we are storing  them till the end of Sept. They will be pleased to read by a stroke of pure genius on my part I had carried all the things in to the nearby pigeonnier to be on the safe side only a few days ago.
The storm may not be completely past as there are still rumblings and the meteo says there could be more before midnight.
Our youngsters found it quite exciting and were very helpful dashing around with candles.
The new French neighbours came to tell us their electricity was off and it is hard not to smile. They will get used to it and become more accepting as we are.
Hope everyone else is OK and not had damage.
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Le bouton rouge

Dear Val,

I wondered if you might be interested in our current project for inclusion in taglines. We would be delighted if you felt able to include something about our association and current project. We are an association based in Caylus. Here is a little information about us:

Le Bouton Rouge is an association created in France by Kathryn Humphries and Ankie de Jager. The aim of our association is to promote mutual understanding and appreciation of the different cultures who live together here through creative activities and events.

12 x 12 Project

Le Bouton Rouge sent people in a variety of countries an invitation to participate in the creation of a small work using a square of material which measured just 12cm by 12cm. The choice of technique, approach and image was left entirely open to enable each person to respond in their own way. The only criteria was that the finished piece must measure approximately 12cm by 12cm.

We have now received more than 250 completed squares which will be exhibited from the 11th of August to the 25th August at the Studio de L'Olm in Caylus. We will also be holding further exhibitions in other galleries later in the year.

The pieces are all completely original. Sometimes amusing, sometimes touching, often very artistic and thoughtful. Each square shows something very personal about the person who made it as do the little stories which accompany them. 

From the date of the Private View, images of a selection of pieces will be available for sale in the form of postcards. All the proceeds from the sale of these cards will be donated to a project to support women in India in becoming more self-sufficient by creating their own small business.

Kath and Ankie will be at the gallery throughout the exhibition in Caylus and would be delighted to welcome you to the exhibition. You will see work from people here in France, in Scotland , in England, Israel, Holland, Australia and the USA.

The Private View (by invitation) will take place on Saturday 10th August at the Gallery Studio de L'Olm in Caylus (near the church)

The exhibition opens on Sunday the 11th August until the 25th August. Mondays to Fridays from 10am onwards and Sundays from 2pm onwards.
For more information about us please visit:

You can also contact Kath on 05 63 67 26 99 and Ankie on 05 63 24 08 45

I hope this is useful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wihes
Kath Humphries

If there is a storm unplug your computer -weather warning

Rafals( gusts) of 85 kms an hour and storms forecast for tonight. Being on the top of a hill I always check out the strength of the wind in any storm. We have been lucky so far with storms skirting all around to the West, but tonight could be a night to check out Peter' s photography tips ready to catch those lightening strikes. I have promised the kids I will take them to the Fair in Varen as long as nobody asks to go on the bumper cars ( we have witnessed accidents every year with small children getting hurt) but we all fancy having a rifle or darts shot at the balloons.

Dear Val,
Just had a phone call from the Marie in Verfeil to say the Prefecture have issued a weather warning to all local farmers. They are expecting hail and very heavy rain to hit us at some point this evening. It could come to nothing but then again .......

Mimi x

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Culinaro Jazz Band Sunday 28th at Michel de Vax

Good morning Val,

Sunday 28th July at St Michel de Vax The Culinaro Jazz Band perform en plein air.

Entry is free and refreshments available.This was a great night last year,a very talented group of musicians and a female vocalist. Fingers crossed it does not come to an abrupt end with thunder and lightening as it did last year!

Val says  Who knows more, someone must
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Check out Jeans pudding recipe

Look in Cook's for Jean's pudding recipe, just arrived this morning.
Look in Gardening for Debbie and John's taming of the garden stories
Look in Wild photos for tips on photography and super photos
Look in Face to face for Doreen' s interviews
Look in Tripping about for David's travel tips
Look in TOF's for restaurant ideas
and do not just look but contribute, why not, TAG is for you.
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70th birthday at his home in France, Malc and Mick hard to spot the difference!

Mick Jagger is busy celebrating his 70th birthday at his Chateau in the Loire which he has owned for more than 30 years. Mick loves his French retreat with hectares of surrounding land, rivers and streams. Here he plays cricket, mountain bikes, fishes and cycles sometimes with his seven children and four grandchildren. He calls this chateau on the banks of the Loire near Amboise his " haven of peace" He must have bought his chateau at the time when we, as a family had our holiday camping at Amboise in a tent that leaked - happy days. In fact a lot of similarities with Jagger and Malc who also will be celebrating his seventieth in France and although Malc can sing, it is just a different style!
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DSK will face charges of pimping

Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be judged by a French criminal court on charges of pimping in the Carlton Hotel prostitutes’ scandal, his lawyer said on Friday.
Twelve other people will be tried along with Strauss-Kahn in connection with the alleged prostitution ring at the northern city of Lille’s Carlton hotel, the local prosecutors' office confirmed.
Known in France as the "Carlton affair", the charges centre around allegations that high-flying business leaders and police officials in Lille operated a vice ring supplying girls for sex parties, some of which are said to have taken place at the city's Carlton Hotel. The affair broke in late 2011.
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A big fire at Castelsarrasin

A fire on a farm which took 40 sapier pompiers to get under control wearing masks because of the fumes. Yesterday morning a huge barn on the farm full of hay caught fire and dense smoke covered the road and surrounding area which was quickly evacuated .
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Friday, 26 July 2013

Happening throughout SW France

We all have visitors at this time of year, well we would living in this most beautiful part of France and it is lovely having family and friends to visit. Here at Mas del Sol  we are all in the middle of having democratic votes on everything, from which balcony we should sit on, in the sun, in the shade, with the best view, away from hens, away from dogs. Once that is voted upon and we have enjoyed the meal a democratic vote to see who does the washing up. I managed to slip out of the voting system as I had made the evening meal  [needs must sometimes!] Never quite sure how, but Malc often manages to win these votes but manages to extricate himself by cunning plans of suggesting a game of boules just at the right minute to slope off. As I said these dilemmas of sondage / polls are happening all over the region for the next few weeks and I can bet that you and I and other Mums  are the ones left holding  the metaphorical tea towel!.[ We have two dishwashers but those dishes do not load and unload themselves.]
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des chiens, encore des chiens et pas de solution / Dogs and more dogs but no solution!

voila les photos des chiens abandonnés qui sont à l'adoption!!!
si vous souhaitez adopter, accueillir temporairement ou juste avoir des infos contactez moi au 06 77 35 28 30!
merci  Maeva

Savage looking beasts

We both love a cuddle
What sweet gentle dogs, friends to all
but would you break in to the courtyard with dogs looking like this?
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Dogs play fighting,  photo taken by Annabel

Folk'n'Jazz at Parisot Chateau

After a blisteringly hot day it was wonderful to take our seats in the shade of the courtyard on the edge of the hill under the chateau at Parisot with a gentle breeze to keep us cool. There was a great turnout (I counted 60 people at one point) for folk'n'jazz's first birthday with lots of new faces and the beautiful location was a perfect setting.

From the outset we knew we were in for a good evening. It was clear from the opening chorus song that the audience were in good voice and ready to join in ,All the regular singers were on top form too and kept in good order by compere Trevor. We always like to see new performers and last night we welcomed our youngest so far, 11 year old Thomas, who sang to us in Dutch accompanied by friends and family. Well done to Thomas, please come to sing to us again on your next visit here. There wasn't much room for dancing this month but my clogs got their first airing for two years and my feet nearly remembered what to do!

As the chorus of Trevor's final parting song put it we certainly "didn't have a bad time after all"

Many thanks to our hosts Ruve and Michael for making everyone so welcome and even agreeing to have us back in October.  Next month, 29th August, the venue is at Le Conte near Najac and the hosts will be Brian and Lorna Green. Watch this space for further details.

A generous donation to Sautou

Holiday makers so touched by the stories of the work of Jean Marie and Winnie Nosal at the Domaine de Sautou, raising money for the street children of Mali have given a donation to be passed to the Nosals of 250 euros. TAG thanks these generous benefactors.
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Need an extra room for visitors, do not extend, buy this deluxe caravan.

For sale Swift Classic Coronette 2 Berth caravan, large end bathroom, complete with full Bradcote awning,
auqa roll and waste water tanks, electric cable, this caravan is French registered and is ready to use,
very good condition for age and price. 1600 Euros tel 0563 306850 or e-mail

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Two far right groups dissolved by the government

The French government on Wednesday announced it was banning two far-right militant groups after outlawing three others earlier this month, in a move one expert on far right movements said was a direct response to growing Islamist radicalism.
“There is no place in our country for hate, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim
Taken from France 24

Bridge at Caylus in the Bar Bascule

Fourteen bridge players enjoyed the last evening before a break restarting on Thursday Sept. 5th. Relative newcomers Gill Catterall and Alan Palmer were the winners of this last session, with two equal seconds Malc Johnstone and David Atkins and Suzanne and David Coates.
Think of joining this friendly and active group in September. Play starts at 5.30pm
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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Cheap fuel at Leclerc this week end

Anne Grose has sent an email to let us know that there is a cheap fuel offer at Leclerc this week end.
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Carpetman has his first enquiry.

Carpetman says, minutes later after placing the advert

and we've just had our first enquiry !!!!

Many thanks
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June, the unemployment figures the highest yet

A blow for President Hollande when he has vowed to lower the jobless total, the figures for June are the highest yet. Not an easy task I fear.
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Capturing lightning on film

See the Wild Photos page for spectacular photos of the lightning over Verfeil on Tuesday and advice on how to shoot them successfully.

Comments to Peter at

A cyclist killed at Figeac by a drunken driver

So sad, one person dead, one person for a moments stupidity ruined their life.  Over the holiday period more than ever with young families about, do not drink and drive. ( and hope you do not meet some one who has been drinking)
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Wednesday morning saw a violent explosion in the Halle at Cordes

Fortunately no one was hurt but this explosion in the heart of this beautiful site caused extensive damage to L'Auberge de la cité on the ground floor, the area  was evacuated till the site was made safe.
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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Louis , sounds a bit French

A report by a commoner on English TV, who liked George Alexander but was not sure about Louis, sounded a bit French for his liking. We are talking about our new Prince George.
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The Carpetman cometh

Martyn Cox has told Steve about TAG, a big thank you Martyn and I think Steve is the sort of business that TAG readers will be interested in knowing about. He is giving our advertising a try so if you contact him or go and see him please mention TAG then he knows his money has been well spent.

" Carpetman France are based in Montauban, Tarn et Garonne. We specialize in the installation of floor, wall and ceiling coverings.
Expertise is what we offer you on all levels. We have a huge variety of solutions to suit all your requirements:  wall-to-wall carpets and underlay, laminate, parquet flooring, artificial grass, vinyl,   decorative stretched fabric, paint and wallpapers.
If you're not sure where to start with your floor and wall covering choices, make Carpetman France your source for the very best personal service. Our friendly expert team is here to help. 
Visit our 350 m² showroom, ask for our collection of samples or book an in-home appointment. We offer free no-obligation estimates."
Steve Micklethwaite
Our address and contact details are as below.

Lot 5b, Voltaire 2
2 Rue Voltaire
82000 Montauban

Tel : 05 63 20 51 59

Mail :

Two more TOF reviews in

Another two TOF reviews in and nothing but good news in these two reports
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Recurring theme on TOF ratings

Slow service we could cope with and understand but miserable verging on rude service, has to be improved. Check out the new TOF rating on the Deux Rivieres at Laguepie.
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A perfect storm in our coin

In the Varen area the storm hit around 10 pm with the most spectacular lightning display, not too much wind and just enough rain not to flood but to give the garden a good watering. Not however the same in the Caylus area which saw stronger winds totally damaging a readers gazebo. If you have other storm stories let TAG know.
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One of my little stories

I was well enough to go last night to our new neighbours for a, well we were not too sure what. We were invited for 8pm and we appeared to be invited to a "mini spectacle" All the family got ourselves spruced up in best shorts and went over the road wondering what to expect. There was only us invited and one of the young people's friends. We had chairs arranged in a semi circle in the traditional courtyard of a farmhouse. Two young people, one girl playing the cello and a young rather handsome actor gave  us a rendition of    " Autobiography of a radiator" written by  Christian Bobin with musical accompaniment. It was totally charming and not at all pretentious. The couple are from Marseille and play at events around the country, last year being in the Festival at Aix. Malc  said it reminded him of  an " Edinburgh fringe" event. Even our girls who only had the odd word of French enjoyed it. Afterwards we laughed about their story of Bonny our golden retriever making a visit last week to steal Kenza's ( their dogs) food. She found her food bag, eat the lot and ended up with the bag stuck on her head wandering round the yard bumping into things. Funny though it was I must buy them another bag to replace it. It must have been the night I thought Bonny was ill as she did not want her tea!
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The double banking works

Look at the headings now, we even have room for more. Malc says no knitting please!
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" un peu bloke" heard on French TV

Bloke must be a word not often used to describe men now. In bookselling there was a " Book of blokes" illustrated by William Nicholson which I remember was published around 1903. So the word has been around some time. I know I use blokes when I talk of  the working class man and chaps when I talk of middle or  upper class. The description " un peu bloke"used in the context "a bit manly" seems unusual. Few European countries guard their linguistic heritage  as do the French so it seems an odd one to slip in.
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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Life is pretty good section, it is for.

Hi Val
 Not sure whether this is one for the food or the gardening section.

Today's recolte from the potager included the first cucumber and the first three tomatoes of 2 different varieties.

What to do avec? But of course, thinking of things royal today, lunch in HM's garden. So...

Sandwiches and a crisp cold bottle of champers. I wouldn't be so crass as to 'wash my food down' with wine so I'll savour the food and drink side by side.

Prepare the tomato sandwiches as one would do normally, ie with butter and the tiniest pinch of salt taking care not to mix the two varieties in the same sandwich. Serve, cut into oblongs with freshly cut cress from the windowsill or basil if you must.

The cucumber needs more careful preparation. Peel and slice thinly then lay in between two slices of buttered bread. Breton butter is best.

Luckily I had prepared for the cucumber coming on stream by buying a sliced white crustless loaf.

Cut the cucumber sandwiches into triangles (of course), arrange carefully on a plate allowing no cross contamination with the tomatoes, sit in the shade and enjoy pretentiously whilst singing "Who needs to be a millionare.......not me!"
Val says " Tchin, tchin " Charles

Maybe in the future, but could be near future.

Hi val, well I couldn't find his car.  Perhaps you should have a normal for sale section, it is very tiring scrolling down endless pages just in case something has not sold.
 x K
Val says   It is so simple, down to the bottom of the page 3 times and there it is, but for those who fail I have put it on again below. It is also in the For sale section,  on which you just click.I do not get enough items to make a ''for sale'' page yet, when I do I will think about it then.

Val rethinks at 2.30am
I can see K' s point about scrolling through pages you have already read to refind something and I should take readers points on board. When advertising our neighbours house contents he was concerned that they kept disappearing off the front page. I will try and scrunch up the headings even more to fit in " For sale" and check with Malc if blogger would allow further headings perhaps double banked. 
So hot, I am having trouble sleeping!

Here it is again, that elusive car

Citroen C5 LX HDI 1997 CC for sale

For sale
Citroen C5 LX HDI 1997CC 
 Very low mileage Diesel estate

Built 2002 Only 85.000 km!!must see!  
French registered right hand drive 
EUR 2,000

 The car is in good condition 
Spacious 5 door model
, Reliable, Economic-46 mpg
Sold with CD player with USB input which plays your music 
while charging your phone! 
From non-smoking family
Ideal runaround, airport runs, brico etc

Controle technique until 10/14
FSH, last service 07/12 included timing belt and water pump
New clutch in 2012
Minor chips and wear on body commensurate with age
Only Two owners

Features - Manual transmission, Isofix system, colour bumper skirts and door handles, 2 cupholders, 12V Accessory socket, Coolant level warning indicator, Trafficmaster oracle, Variable power assisted steering, Ignition key in warning chime, Electric heated exterior mirrors, Integral foglights, 5 inertial reel seatbelts, Air recirculation system, Driver's seat height adjustment, Forehead seatback pockets, Hydractive triple suspensions with Suspension height indicator, Aluminum effect interior door handles, External temperature gauge, central Remote locking + High security door locks, Emergency brake assist, Child safety lock indicator, Side impact protection, Forward and rear door pockets, Audible lights on warning, Twin rear foglights, Multi Function Display, Passenger airbag deactivation system, Air conditioning, Height/reach adjust steering wheel, Automatic boot locking, Anti lock brake. 
Viewings welcome, the car is in castanet 82160
Call ian for more information on 
05 63 67 76 02 or
 06 04 18 25 64

David's recipe for Open faced apricot tarte, made by Malc

Malc is the cook here, but even then he tends to stick to what we in the north would call dinners. No pastries or cakes for him yet... until he tried David's recipe.I was very busy typing TAG [ what else] when I heard expletives coming from the kitchen and Malc said ''well he never said take the paper off !! '' Elementary my dear Malcolm,  with bought pastry, should not need to be told that [ she says]
Anyway the proof of the pudding was going to be in the eating, sadly my tummy bug made it not possible for me to have any , my daughter tells us she does not like apricots [never knew that] the children prefered ice cream on its own and Malcolm and son in law thought it delicious. Hard life being a chef.
I, on the other hand did make Glynis's salad twice and it was well received all round. Check all these recipes out in Cooks.
Next week Malc is doing it all again with plums as he has enough of the ground almonds left to do another.
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Violent ''orage'' /storm floods Caen

This morning a violent storm causing flooding  brought Caen to a halt and it brings the strong possibility of storms travelling down to us for tonight or the next couple of days. So batten down the hatches me mateys.
I want some lovely rain for the garden but not the plant destruction a really violent storm can bring and I certainly do not want ''grele'' ever again.
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Please prosecute Giles Bourdelouleix

A French MP has caused outrage after he allegedly said''Hitler did not kill enough of the Roma people''
Interior Minister Manuel Valls has asked for Giles Bordelouleix to be prosecuted for praising crimes against humanity.
Needless to say this gentleman [ applied loosely] is a member of the UDI centre right party.
France has 250,000 or slightly more itinerant Roma people who are  actually  mostly French citizens who have a special status by law to park their caravans in specially selected areas.
Val says how can an intelligent man in a position of authority make such a statement .We should all abhor his words and he should be made to know it is not acceptable. Racist comments in any form should be picked up and stamped on.
Malc says  He is now saying he repeated what a reporter said to him! wiggle away Giles.
Val says  If any reporter said that to me I would not just repeat it.  I would stop outraged and give him a piece of my mind.
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Citroen estate for sale

hello Val,
I am looking for my ad for the Citroen estate on Taglines and can't find it-what section is it in?
kind regards
Right this is a test for you all
TAG has many pages, not just this front page. You read to the bottom and you turn the page by clicking older posts. Then you read that page and once again click ''older posts'' and keep on that way till you are up to date with all the news. I think 3 clicks brings you to Valerie's super Citroen car which is for sale. Every bit of information is there but it might be in the middle section of the newspaper. Only the latest news hits the front page. If you think of it like a newspaper you will soon get the idea.
Try finding the car as today's exercise and even better for Valerie try buying it!
If very computer literate readers think I am being patronising believe me I get asked this sort of question a lot.
There is also a label of things for sale but to be fair to Val I notice I had forgotten to put this in ... oops!
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The testing time for advertisers

I have asked with trepidation some of the present advertisers 'do you want to renew your adverts?' all the replies so far have been positive and I await one more.With over 700 views each day for a week now it must mean advertisers catch many local customers and we want the people who advertise on the site to do well, local people trying hard to make a living deserve some credit here in rural France.
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Crickets make that noise with their wings

The sound emitted by crickets is commonly referred to as chirping; the scientific name is stridulation. Only the male crickets chirp. The sound is emitted by the stridulatory organ, a large vein running along the bottom of each wing, covered with "teeth" (serration) much like a comb. The chirping sound is created by running the top of one wing along the teeth at the bottom of the other wing. As he does this, the cricket also holds the wings up and open, so that the wing membranes can act as acoustical sails. It is a popular myth that the cricket chirps by rubbing its legs together.

Les Fantaisies du Chateau

At the Chateau Marcel Lenoir at Monticoux 11th  to 14th August, Theatre, concerts, spectacles de rue, stage de cirque. A lovely leaflet available on it all.
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The second big story is still the sadness and loss at the death of Pierre Fabre

A book of condolences has been opened at Castres,  which  is in the town hall at Castres. The town where this man was so highly thought of  and many hold  good memories of this benevolent man.
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Hot photos not wild happened again

Clicked on the Depeche and as the page came up it rapidly disappeared to be replaced by " hot sex photos" really not what most of us want whilst having your morning bowl of cereal. I had not clicked anything or touched anything so I am going to get on my high horse, it is a disgrace, this ipad is available to young children. Some organisation will have hacked in to the Depeche site  to get these photos flashing up saying pay 3 euros 50 to see more.
Malc jokingly says ''did I give the link'' No Idid not and I can only assuming once having inadvertantly clicked on the site they think they have an interested customer, not recognising mild aged  fumbly fingers were the cause.
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Union jack baby shoes amongst other things

On the French news this morning, all the talk is of the royal baby. They showed a selection of baby articles you could buy all with union jacks printed on. I think it is probably " cool" to be British at the moment. Our French  neighbours have invited us and our family to a soiree with music and poesie tonight. Not sure if I will be recovered enough from the tummy bug to go but I know all the family will be congratulated on the babies arrival when they arrive.
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Monday, 22 July 2013

It is a boy, a future King

Wondered if I could report English news but as the French newspapers probably have more about the birth in them than the English felt I could make the announcement. A baby boy has been born to Kate and William, at some point in time a future King.
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Make a copy of important things

Hi Val
I think that everyone should be interested in making sure their digital photos (and everything else of value) on their computers is secure.
This means that there needs to be a backup - in other words a copy that is not kept in the same place as the computer.
The reasons for this could be computer fault (your harddrive dies and all the files are lost or virus), your computer gets stolen, or even worse fire.
I know it is boring and hard to do, I am not very good at it myself but I do have two external harddrives that don't live in the study that periodically I copy all my and Karen's important documents, photos and MP3s onto - mainly it is photos though.
If people have solutions to this problem maybe they would like to discuss them ..
Here are someone elses thoughts:
On another subject - if you want to buy a new digital camera online from Hong Kong they are MUCH cheaper and seem to be reliable and quick - 
bonne soirée
James Sweeting

Book sale at Puylaroque

Sunday 28th is the book sale in my garden here in Puylaroque, it starts at 3 pm (15h) and we will be selling second hand books in good condition, no DVD’s I am afraid.  We shall be doing lovely afternoon teas for 5€ and the books on sale will be 1€.  Larry and I will be supplying the tea and some wine so come along and bring the family.  You are welcome to swim.
Sent by Susan Hunt, if you need directions contact her on

Frogs are the theme of the day

Hello All,

I have wanted to get a picture of a red squirrel for ages mostly I see them running away from me on the road or high up in the trees but I do have a hazel nut tree so maybe I will be lucky this year.  I see that we have another budding photographer, la Sharki, well we have a few frogs in our "golden pond", this is a shot of a Marsh Frog which is the largest frog native to Europe and can reach up to 13cm in length.  The other is a Common tree frog which will reach a maximum length of 50mm so quite small in comparison.  These tree frogs have sticky pads which enables them to climb almost anything and we do find those in the strangest of places, tops of doors, inside of the watering can and under leaves.



Val says
Why is the pond golden Neville, Is it the light?
Nev saysIt was the sun shining through some clouds, like a misty morning (but it was 17:20) and it created a golden glow reflecting on the pond, the frog just popped up and the ripples were caused by the frog breathing.


Marsh Frog  / click on pictures for larger images

Common [me!] tree frog