Saturday, 31 August 2013

Parisot Literature festival

All the information on this link
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A good news story from David Hatfiled

Lost then found - a happy ending

This started this morning when Frankie, Terry Tippets daughter, spotted a small dog limping along just outside of Verfeil. She stopped and picked him up. Thinking he was injured she drove him straight to Huggette's veterinary clinic outside of Parisot.
Frankie called her Mom who called us as she knows we live in Verfeil and said Frankie had found the dog at the end of our road. Terry gave the story just as Linda came home from walking Rupert. We decided that she should go to the village shop to spread the news of a found dog while I went to Huggettes to take some pictures we could post up in the village. I must say he is a very cute & friendly little guy.
We did our tasks and before long got a call from the lady at the shop. The owner had come in. She was greatly relieved and headed straight for Huggettes. Reunited!!
We then got a call from the owner, could she come by to thanks us. Within a few minutes the whole family arrived. We were so pleased for them & they were so grateful even though Frankie is the heroine of this story. It turns out that he'd gone missing the previous evening, they'd searched until after dark. The poor owner got no sleep, but lots of tears. The search resumed this morning and ended when they went to the shop to ask if anything has been heard.
Just to top off this good news story it turns out the he wasn't injured at all, but has a congenital hip problem.

 Isn't it nice to have a good news animal story? Let's hope for more.
Val says what a cute dog, he looks like the dog that plays the piano in the Muppets... if he had longer ears.
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What are you two doing up there?

We are frightened Mum, we are hiding from the genets!
Malc says  Now readers will know you have flipped, when  you even think the hens call you Mum!
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The busiest single track line in France from Toulouse to Saint Sulpice

For this reason work is being undertaken to make it a double line, buses will transport you whilst work is underway, expected to finish in December. We are not sure how the line will be affected from Figeac to Toulouse, it sounds as if the buses will run from Gaillac to Toulouse. It may be worth checking out your line if you are working to a deadline for planes or an onward train journey.
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At least one Genet in the area, but I am sure there are more.

What is a genet?
All live exclusively in Africa except for the widespread Common Genet (Genetta genetta), which inhabits diverse habitats and can be found in Northwest Africa and Southwestern Europe (in the Mediterranean zone, from the Iberian Peninsula to France), parts of the Middle East, and the Balearic Islands. Habitat tolerance varies widely between species as different species prefer woodlands, savannas, and forests.They prefer to live in areas with dense vegetation, such as bushes, thickets, and evergreen oak forests.
In Europe, genets thrive in oak and pine forests, but also live in olive groves, riparian zonesash groves, rocky areas, and shrublands. The common genet is rare in open areas, marshes, and cereal croplands. Despite their abundance along watercourses, presence of water is not essential. Common genets prefer to live at low altitudes, especially in northern areas. Genets also prefer areas with high temperatures and low rainfall.Genets tolerate close proximity to humans.[
Why all this information on genets?
 One was seen coming back from La Contie the other evening and it was caught in the car headlights long enough for John and Sheila Taylor to note the identifying points, spots and a long curled tail.
This is the second sighting in the area as a friend reported to me a few months ago that all her chickens had been killed and she had seen a cat which on looking it up turned out to be a genet. She has now given up keeping chickens as they were becoming the food source for the genets.These cat like creatures can have a territory of many hectares so a run down from La Contie to Mas del Sol and then  Druilhe is a mere stroll for these cats. Watch out Henny and Penny not just for foxes but for the genet.Google them for pictures.Unless one of our photographers has one? [There has also been a sighting at le Riols]. I think the body shape is a bit like a ferret and further reading tells me in Europe they tend to catch chickens from farms with a quick bite to the neck.
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The new chief of Police is watching " our speed"

Le nouveau commandant du groupement de gendarmerie confiait hier dans nos colonnes sa surprise en constant le nombre de grands excès de vitesse relevé par les unités de l’EDSR 82
Flashed by the gendarmes at 227 km/h on the A62 . This appears to be the record for that departmental route... it is going some.
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Charles Aznavour hurt by the critics and his fans

In August "Charles hasnovoice "  as Malc tends to call him, participated in a fee paying concert at Narbonne singing 5 songs. The audience are demanding "en masse" their money back, from the organisers as they wanted more. Charles says he was not paid, the money was for his orchestra.
Charles had planned to do a tribute concert to Edith Piaf in September in NY but has now cancelled that performance.
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Le requin bites back

A Spanish fisherman who fishes regularly off the Landes coast for sharks / requin, got a bit or a bite more than he bargained for. He caught a  shark 1.5 metres long and thinking it was dead went to retrieve the line. The shark in one last desperate attempt to live attacked his arm. The man had to be helicoptered to hospital for stitches and he lost a litre and a half of blood, presumbly the shark did then die.
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Friday, 30 August 2013

Doreen Porter makes an example of herself!

Hi Val
I thought I had better set an example to all the budding writers out there and contribute a piece of my own. Please, do submit pieces. Not only are they going to be interesting, inspirational, humourous... they'll give all TAG readers an insight into our life in France.
I want one of those…
C’est simple comme bonjour — it’s as easy as ABC

How can you not love a country where you can buy illuminated salt and pepper pots and chocolate-flavoured postage stamps?

The big question, though, is why anyone would want illuminated salt and pepper pots. (For the technically minded among you, they are conventional salt and pepper mills that incorporate a torch.) Worried about seasoning your salad during a power cut? Concerned about putting pepper on your dessert during a candlelit dinner? Sadly, they’re not on my list of “must haves”, but I am pretty taken with a smart wooden box — complete with stylish knife — where you can store your dried saucisson. And, yes, the stamps really did smell of chocolate.
Val says  read on  ... in WiT

A 5 for the Deux Rivieres at Laguepie in TOF's

Read the review in TOF's for the Deux Rivieres,  Giselle has fans, she is very entertaining. ! Perhaps a career on the stage rather than a  waitress in a restaurant.
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Cinema Club a distinct possibility, but no payingI

Every Thursday Malc goes off to Caylus to play bridge, whilst I sit and watch a film of my choice, often  with a friend or two. As we will be setting up the salon as a ''theatre'' for the winter again I wondered if anyone would be interested in a ''cinema club'' twice a month on a Thursday, through out the winter.  It seems to work well having the opera starting at 6.30pm and having an apero dinatoire beforehand, so I think that could be the format. I am envisaging men or women coming, with partners or without, infact anyone who fancies watching a film on the big screen.
If anyone would be interested please contact me and we can arrange our first evening and then discuss what films we would like to see.
I would not want it to be  raising money, sometimes it is nice just to enjoy yourself for free. We could work out who does the aperos each time and I could sort out films [ we have a lot and so has Roger Bowen]
Contact me
Val   to express an interest.

Les anesses en chaleur

Why when you have other plans do the pets here come up with other ideas for the morning. I had finished watering the tubs and hanging baskets whilst Malc walked the dogs up the lane. I was  just planning my second cup of tea when Malc arrived back to say the girls had escaped from their field. My heart sang, it literally plummets into my tummy (well it feels like that) So on with my boots and off up the road with their loved grey buckets. Not so sure how much they love the grey buckets but they certainly love the donkey feed in them. We spotted them in a wood, a field away from their own and from where there were  no road worries.  We were able to get them trotting faster and faster behind us, after the buckets. A bit of a dangerous procedure this as both donkeys keep nudging you in the back. A gentle nudge from you and me is quite different from a donkey's gentle nudge, which can propel you flat on your face. Anyway the little darlings (I do not call them that, till they are safely back in their field) soon were munching contentedly from their buckets in the shade of a large oak  tree. Malc electrified the bit of fence they escaped through and we both stood admiring the view from that part of the field. Wonderful  morning, wonderful day.
They may try it again as they are in season and they really would like a bit of  love from the male donkey they have heard in the distance.
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Another new reader with a blog.

I just discovered your blog while researching the upcoming film production in St. Antonin. I have a summer house in Feneyrols & have a blog also ( )
I am here until the end of Sept. It would be nice to meet you sometime. In the meantime I am glad to have found your blog....& yes very exciting about the film!
Sally Rowles

Folk'n'Jazz at La Contie

"Nothing ever happens in La Contie", or so said compere and host Brian yesterday evening in an introduction to a song. Well he was certainly proved wrong last night as regular folk'n'jazz goers, plus it seemed at least half of the English population of Najac, poured into his garden to enjoy what turned out to be a definite "happening".
For the first time in the history of folk'n'jazz the regular core of performers were outnumbered by new faces. It made for a full and varied programme with Rana singing her own lyrical songs, foot tapping  Irish music and songs from Shauna, Des and Charlotte, poems from Lorna and Brian and also Didier ( his poems in French sounded lovely even though I had some problem translating) and also I suspect the highlight of the evening for most of the audience a set from Sara and Damien who perform as Keryda. They play celtic harp and double bass in many venues around the region, including the market in St Antonin, and we were fortunate that they agreed to come and play for us last night. Their music included Irish, jazzy celtic, and even Balkan material - absolutely brilliant it was too.
Together with the programme prepared by the regular singers/musicians it was a real feast of music and song. Eventually it had to end and several spots had to be shortened leaving many of us wishing we could hear more - but it was getting a little chilly ( is it just me or is Autumn coming a little early?) and so we will have to wait until next month. Talking of which the last Thursday in September (26th) folk'n'jazz returns to the beautiful courtyard of the Vigerie, a  small chateau at St Vincent near Varen and the MC for the night will be Linda Hatfield. Don't forget if you want to perform then contact Linda at or phone 05 63 67 93 35.

Click on pictures for a larger image
Val says  What a great evening, my favourite was Rana, thought her songs, self composed were brilliant and sung in French and English. I know Rana is a TAG reader, so Rana you must come again. Difficult to pick anyone out really as everyone was superb. Brian and Lorna had gone to a lot of trouble decorating the place for us and Lorna had even made some streamers[ you can see them in the bottom picture] from old material left in the house when they bought it. [When I shouted out  near the end ''does anyone know -  My tiny hand is frozen?'' my tiny hand was.]
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Winter pool cover for sale THIS ONE SOLD BUT OURS FOR SALE

We would  like to sell our wintercover for the swimming pool.
It is for a pool of 10 x 5 metres. It is in very good condition.
It is thick and it meets all the safety requirementsContact us for very reasonable price
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France says Yes, the UK says No

President François Hollande told a gathering of French ambassadors on Tuesday that France was ready to "punish" those responsible for a suspected poison gas attack outside Damascus last week, calling the move a "heinous decision to gas innocent people. France is ready to punish those who took the vile decision to gas innocent people," he said in a televised speech in Paris, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime was likely behind the attack.[ Perhaps it should read Francois Hollande says ''yes'']
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A new Commander for the Gendarmes at Montauban

Lt. Colonel Christophe Daniel has taken over command of the Gendarmerie at Montauban and Castelsarrasin. Married with two children he will take charge of 400 gendarmes. In the past he has been an instructor at a school for gendarmes. He is on a mission to sort out burglaries in the area. His passion is Rugby.
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French horses not fit for human consumption

French horses not raised to be eaten and having had chemicals injected, having been horses for sport have been found in the food chain. The racing horses past their best are transported to Belgium, slaughtered there and the meat sent back to France. It is another debate if we should eat horses or donkeys but in the fields near us we often have wonderful horses which a farmer raises for meat. They are fed well in the fields and are well cared for, but at a certain point they are taken to the abattoir, and their meat is fit for us to eat. Regardless of the morals or not of eating them they are at least well raised for the food chain. Just caught this story on the French TV news, so more details later when I have researched.
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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Kim wants you to get fit and keep fit.

 Lassalle Studio proudly
 Monday 9.45am Box, Bash and Blitz (stress relief with loads of fun)
 Tuesday 9.30 Sculpt (Bums Tums Legs Head Arms Brain with fab music)
 Tuesday 10.45 Pilates foam roller, mini ball and matt - a Zen moment with
 relaxing music
 Friday 9.30 Va Va Voom !!!!followed with 20 minutes Abdominals so you can
 stay or go
 Friday 10.45 Pilates galore (lets go mad)

 Please let me know if you want me to reserve you a place and also if you
know of anyone who would like to try the first class is free with no

 Remember the first month will be slow and gentle with a gradual increase
 help you achieve your goals. I hope you have had a fabbie summer and if
 have any questions please ask me or email me
Huge biz and cuddles
 kimx  Contact me

Please pass on to all your local friends here in france

We all have the sense not to light fires, haven't we?

A man in the Gers was used to burning his rubbish in the garden. With the warm weather we have had,  the grass is tinder dry. The man lit his fire and away it went burning his neighbour's fields. The neighbour was killed by the flames trying to put the fire out. We remember a few years ago an acquaitance in Varen lit a fire in the summer which got out of control. The Sapeurs pompiers came and used all the water in their swimming pool to put it out and then the couple got a big bill for the call out. Faites attention avec la feu!
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With a little help from our friends.

We have taken on board a few suggestions for our Winter Opera Season and have come up with the following programme.
Oct.    La Traviata from Aix en Provence 2011
Nov. Rigoletto with Pavarotti 1982
Dec    Hansel and Gretel Ballet from The Royal Opera House
Jan   The Mikado a production by the Australia Opera House ( supposed to be the best on DVD)
Feb    Marriage of Figaro from The Royal Opera House
Mar    Carmen from The Royal Opera House
The last one in April we have left  for more suggestions.
The dates are in an earlier post.
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Comte de Montalivet, a genuine patron of the arts and culture

Dear Val
A comment on the piece about the  Comte de Montalivet. 
I contacted him in 2007 as M de Montalivet ( not realising he was a Count) asking if the Sterndale Singers could sing in Loc Dieu one Sunday as a background to the visitors. He replied that the Abbaye is closed on Sundays, but we could come and sing anyway, which we did, and  he and his wife called in to listen.  We subsequently gave 2 concerts in Loc Dieu  in 2009 and 2011 and he was a charming host, giving us free use of the Abbaye and grounds, and helping to set out chairs etc. Once while visiting to arrange the concert  he had just finished  lunching with his family, to whom I was introduced and asked to join for coffee. There was no hint of snootiness at all and we gave him a Sheffield pewter tankard in thanks.  We didn't ask to sing there this year as we enjoy finding  new venues and singing  in different places. 
I had no idea until visiting Najac this week that he owns the Chateau too. I consider him a genuine patron of the arts and culture!
 Angela or Graham Rees
Val says  I did say the camera had caught him at an unkind angle ! What an interesting post Angela. I had a feeling someone would say he was their next door neighbour.

Simon Curtis for any handy jobs

Simon Curtis is the man you need for those jobs you do not have the time or skill to do, and with brilliant references I am amazed he has time to fit in more jobs.. but he does at the moment. So if there is a painting, cementing, etc. job about the house needing doing, give him a ring. Simon Curtis tel 0602295797 or  0652029968  Home maintenance service, Simon lives at St. Antonin and has an advert on TAG
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One forgets all the new readers

I had better explain our  winter Opera evenings. About a year ago there was an advert on TAG for a home cinema, which Malc and I decided to buy for winter entertainment. It was worth every penny, not only do we enjoy cinema evenings with friends and  ourselves but we ( as in I, Malc reminds me ) came up with the plan of having opera evenings which any TAG  reader or Fifi lady, so just about all of you who want to come, are invited. For a small sum of 10 euros you get a comfy seat or sofa, apero dinatoire, which is slightly more than apero, a glass of wine or two and a superb opera on the big screen with surround sound. All in convivial company with pets excluded.
The dates we are planning initially are
Wed 16th Oct
Wed 13th Nov
Wed 18th Dec
Wed 15th Jan
Wed 12th Feb
Wed 12th Mar
Wed 16th Apr.
We have already received some bookings and as seats are limited please get your seats booked asap.
Not only bookings but offers of help with apero dinatoire. That is the sort of gesture that makes doing events like this such a pleasure. The first two operas are in an earlier post.
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Book, DVD swap and take your purse to buy your Christmas cards

Dear Val, 

You commented recently on how hard it is to get Christmas cards in France.  How true!  And when you do find some the prices are sky high.  

We had the same thought earlier this year and, when cards arrrived in the UK wholesalers, we asked our son and daughter to go shopping for us at trade prices.  In fact they got a bit carried away and bought enough cards for us, our friends and more!

As a result, we have a good, broad range of cards, all colourful and attractive; some traditional, some more modern.  Many were designed and printed for Marks & Spencer, WH Smiths, Boots etc. so all are good quality but below retail prices.  Most packs contain 4-10 cards and cost between €1,50 and €4,00 per pack.  A good proportion are charity cards, where the makers already donated to a number of good causes.

We are going to bring a selection of our Christmas cards to the Book Swap on Monday 2nd September at the Gazpacho in St Antonin at 10h30.  So if TAG readers would like to stock up ahead of Christmas 2013, and save money at the same time, do please come and seek us out.  

Alternatively, drop us an email at and we'll arrange for you to see the cards separately, if possible.    

xx Chris & Karen   
Val says  Karen and Chris are also kindly going to make a contribution to our charities, many thanks both.

The swallows are massing on the lines

We thought yesterday there were more, today the sound of swallows massing on the lines shouting ''before long we are off to Africa'' can be heard. Yesterday we had the closest view of a golden oriole when one smashed into the salon window with a sickening thud. Fortunately it was dazed for a few minutes and then flew off leaving a trail of golden feathers.We never see our kestrels now, not even on the lines at '' kestrel corner'' All those pleaures to come again next spring and summer.
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Comte de Montalivet was at Najac

Now all I know about this story is the Comte's name was mentioned in the Depeche with a photo of him with guides looking at the chateau of Najac. Unkindly the camera had caught him with a very snooty, haughty look on his face and it made me wonder if he was someone "special" I googled to find the Comte de Montalivet had a very important past history but could find nothing of recent history. It also got me thinking how important is the title 
" comte" nowadays. I imagine there is some prestige in the title but no power.

Count (male) or Countess (female) is a title in European countries for a noble of varying status, but historically deemed to convey an approximate rank intermediate between the highest and lowest titles of nobility.[1] The word count came into English from the Frenchcomte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is "comital". The British and Irish equivalent is an earl (whose wife is a "countess", for lack of anEnglish term). Alternative names for the "Count" rank in the nobility structure are used in other countries, such as Graf in Germany and Hakushaku during the Japanese Imperial era.
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Making books at St. Antonin

Samedi 31 août, sur la place des Moines de 14 heures à 16 h 30, l’association Mosaïque en Val organise un atelier de livre d’artiste. Cet atelier s’adresse aux adultes et aux enfants à partir de 8 ans. Il sera consacré à la création du livre d’artiste: «Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val esquisse d’une géographie», dans le cadre de la résidence de l’artiste Arne Aullas, d’Avignon. Au cours de cet atelier, différentes créations de livres d’artiste seront abordés. Limité à 8 participants, l’inscription est obligatoire. You need to book in to the course by telephoning 0563671632 or 0683473386

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Natalie Dessay will start our Mas del Sol Winter Opera Season

Natalie Dessay made her first European appearances as Violetta in La traviata in a new production by the French director Jean-François Sivadier at the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival. This DVD captures her intense performance in the company of American tenor Charles Castronovo as Alfredo and French baritone Ludovic Tézier as his father, Giorgio Germont. “Her theatrical impact is devastating,” wrote the Financial Times.
With this new production of La traviata at the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival, Natalie Dessay made her first European appearances as Verdi’s Violetta, a pinnacle of the soprano repertoire. She made her debut in the role in 2009 at the Santa Fe Festival in the US, and subsequently sang Violetta in Japan. Dessay’s 2011-12 season will include La traviata at the Vienna State Opera (in this Aix-en-Provence production by French theatre and opera director Jean-François Sivadier) and the New York Metropolitan.
Violetta makes tremendous demands on a singer, both vocally and dramatically, and signals Dessay’s transition from lighter coloratura roles to the more full-blooded lyric repertoire. “I’m tired of playing weeping girls,” she told the French magazine Télé 7 Jours, “Violetta is a real woman. That makes a nice change!” The change was clearly successfully achieved: describing Dessay’s performance, the Financial Times wrote that “her theatrical impact is devastating”.
Sivadier’s production was staged in the open air, in Aix-en-Provence’s exquisite Théâtre de l'Archevêché with its huge spiral staircases, medieval arches and 18th-century wings. The stage décor was minimal, the simple costumes evoked the 1940s or 1950s, and the prime focus was on intense characterisation.

Val says  Malc and I have been giving thought to our winter Opera season. whichever evening we pick there will be someone keen to come who cannot make the night, so our apologies if that is the case.We are provisionally planning starting in October through to April, and we would like to commence on Wednesday 16th of Oct at 6.30 pm and in the same format with an apero dinatoire before the opera. If there is any glaringly obvious reason why Wednesdays are not good please let us know at this early planning stage
We thought it would be interesting to start with Natalie Dessay and at Aix en  Provence Festival in  2011
For the second evening a complete reversal with a 1982 production of Verdi's Rigoletto with a younger Pavarotti. The date for this would be Wed. 13th of Nov.
We would welcome your suggestions for the rest of the season and we would ideally like a good version of Carmen if anyone has ideas.  
The evenings will be as last year, 10 euros donation to help street children in Bamako, Mali
Please let us know if you will be planning on joining us
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Luciano Pavarotti (born 12th October 1935, died 6th September 2007), an Italian tenor, was one of the greatest and most famous singers of his time, not only in the world of opera, but across all genres. He was born in Modena (Emilia-Romagna), in northern Italy.
Pavarotti enjoyed a fortuitous introduction to British audiences in 1963 when his idol Giuseppe Di Stefano fell ill, and Pavarotti replaced him at the London Palladium. The performance was broadcast to 15 million viewers and the young star was signed by Decca, heralding the start of a prodigious recording career.
His La Scala debut took place in 1965, the same year he went on tour with Australian soprano Joan Sutherland. Pavarotti remained forever grateful for what he learned from her about vocal technique and breathing. He made his debut at his beloved Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1968, and was an international superstar within five years.


Staged and Directed by: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

Ingvar Wixell (Rigoletto/Monterone), Edita Gruberova (Gilda), Luciano Pavarotti (Il Duca), Victoria Vergara (Maddalena), Ferruccio Furlanetto (Sparafucile), Fedora Barbieri (Giovanna),Bernd Weikl (Marullo), Rémy Corazza (Borsa), Roland Bracht (Il Conte di Ceprano), Kathleen Kuhlmann (La Contessa di Ceprano)
Wiener Philharmoniker & Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Riccardo Chailly
Filmed in Mantua, Cremona, Sabionetta, Parma und Acquanegra in May 1982
“Not to be missed.” New York Times
“It is truly memorable, with Pavarotti a Bacchus-like figure in the orgy scene...He acts the part of the Count as believably as if the latter's philosophy was his very own, and he sings gloriously throughout. But Ingar Wixell's magnificently powerful Rigoletto still dominates the narrative...The production is traditional in the best sense; costumes are colourful, sets believable.” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ****

Book and DVD swap and last chance to order from Spiced Cuisine

The book  and dvd swap is Monday 2nd of Sept. at 10.30am. as always at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin. It is also your last chance to place your order  from Spiced Cuisine  tel 0627720107  or email
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Well done... again Martin and Linda Feeney

Supporter reference: 4407298       28 August 2013
Dear Linda, Martin and friends,
Thank you so much
Everyone at Macmillan Cancer Support would like to say a very big thank you for your donation of £225.00, which you raised at a car boot sale. I hope that you will pass our thanks on to everyone who contributed items to sell, and helped you to reach this brilliant total. We really appreciate it and it’ll help us do a lot of good, as we work to make sure no one faces cancer alone.
How donations help
The money you raised will help Macmillan to be there for people when they need us most, giving them all sorts of support. This could be anything from a chat with someone who understands, to providing expert cancer information they can trust.
If you’d like to know more about our work and how you can get further involved, please
Thank you again for choosing to support Macmillan. Without people like you in our team, we simply couldn’t do what we do.
With best wishes,
Helen Morgan
Supporter Donations Department Tel: 0300 1000 200Email:
Val says Did the sewing machine get sold ? Martin tells me this  beauty is still for sale.

Another good one Elly

Dear Val,
I should have checked about Marie Curie, sorry. What about Irène Némirovsky, French writer, born in Kiev 1903,  died in Auschwitz 1942? You probably have read her 'Suite Française' but might be worth a mention to your friends. Of course  burial at the Pantheon is an impossibility in her case. Nevertheless ....
PS always lovely to get your reactions.
Val says It is always lovely to get your contributions Elly, many thanks

Visible progress at last at Villefranche

Back in the winter the report in the paper assured us that the work in the market square would we finished in time for the tourist season - this  translates roughly from the French to "we'll make a start Easter week when the first lot arrive and it will be finished when the summer lot have all gone!"  I have taken "progress" pictures every week over the summer but it's been difficult to work out what exactly the progress was - obviously lots of the work has been installing the works for the fountain. But at last the end appears to be in sight and last week work was under way on laying the enormous stone setts. I'm still in two minds about the fountain as the square was lovely just as it was but the paving was in a terrible state and I am looking forward to seeing the finished result.
We were also told the former use of the square by the market and for parking would not be affected by the fountain - I just hope that this roughly translates from the French as " the market can return but not the cars," Villefranche really has no shortage of car parking space.
Sue Carter
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Good for them and even better for us. A report on the visit of the Sterndale Singers

Many thanks to all those who came to our concerts and supported us with enthusiasm. The choir had a wonderful time, despite a false start on the first evening when Le Globe at Villefranche refused to honour our booking for the evening meal (although they showed us the booking in the diary!) when we arrived to eat. The patron did arrange an alternative at Le France, but it was not the best beginning.  However lunch the next day at Relais de Mont Viaur, St Andre de Najac was superb and a great prelude to visiting Najac and the chateau. We then went on to La Vigerie and a magical concert in the courtyard.  It was a small but enthusiastic audience, well suited to the intimate setting, and as the sun set we sang a programme of light songs in the floodlit courtyard.
On Saturday we visited the spectacular village of Peyrusse-le-Roc, where the more intrepid climbed the ladders up to the towers on the rock, for photos and cheers. Then lunch at Brasserie le Tour in Villeneuve and a visit to the museum there which is a gem, packed with beautifully presented items including  300 walking sticks,special shoes for shelling chesnuts and hundreds of other fascinating objects from rural life.  The day finished with the concert at Domaine de Sautou, another beautiful venue overlooking the valley to Castanet. We sang to a large audience this time, filling thebarn/ gallery, who seemed to enjoy the selection of folk songs, sacred pieces and the choir's encore 'the Drunken Sailor'.  We were all then treated to a lovely buffet supper under the trees in the garden, giving the choir a chance to chat to the audience and relax before the coach back to Villefranche. 
The last day began with an excellent lunch at La Grange du Cros, following which the choir spent the afternoon chez nous, unfortunately cool and rainy, before the final concert in the Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Livron.  The acoustics there lend themselves to sacred music so we sang more early English church music, together with some of the folk songs from the earlier concerts. Once again we were well received by the audience, a mixture of French, English and Dutch.
This was the fourth visit by the choir, who love to come and visit the area. It is a great privilege for us to be able to sing in such magnificent settings to such appreciative audiences. We particularly  thank those who hosted the concerts, Jeremy  Rewse-Davies, Jean-marie and Winnie Nosal and Denis de Badereau, for their generosity and help in providing all we needed to make the concerts go well. And to Val and TAG without which 2 of the concerts would not have happened at all!

Angela or Graham Rees Les Tourrettes, St Projet, 82160
Tel.: 05 63 30 94 78 or 09 52 82 18 02

A lunch at the golf course

Check out the Cooks label

Dusty in the valley bottom

Yesterday morning was ethereal up here at Mas del Sol. The valley bottom was covered in mist and we were, as we often are poking out in the sun. The little 3 year old  boy on holiday in the gite said to his Dad '' it is all dusty down there''  Misty or dusty it looked like a  film set,  a scene  from the Lord of the Rings perhaps.
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Well done Ginny for catching Grochat and now trying to rehome him.

Please help as we urgently need a new home for this lovely, neutered, vacinated very timid male three year old cat.

Currently called Grochat, I think Percy might be a better name as he can purr so much, he has a sad story;

Grochat came here on holiday 6 weeks ago and escaped from his gite just as his owner was about to return to Paris where he and Grochat shared a tiny one roomed appartment. It has taken us 6 weeks to recapture the fugitive who has got considerably thinner and lost the lovely blue collar he is wearing in this photo. 

When we contacted the owner he had decided perhaps quite rightly that a studio appartment in Paris with him working long hours was not the right place to have a cat and has asked us to find another home.

Can Tagline do one of its miracle placements for us?
Ginny Jenkins
Contact Ginny to rescue Grochat to give him a better life

Young man of Castres found " sain et sauf"

I did not report this story which has been on every TV news and in all the newspapers as to me it seemed it would have a bad ending. The car of a young man age 26 was found totally burnt out by a lake near Castres, there was no sign or evidence of what had become of the man. Three days later the man has been found wandering in distress in the streets of Realmont, in shorts and shirt not having eaten for three days. He has been taken in to medical care and let us hope now the story can be unravelled and the disturbed man helped.
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Marseille now the second top tourist destination in the World

This post has now been moved into ''tripping about'' with a comment by David Hatfield.
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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Two good selections for the Pantheon,but Marie Curie is already there.

Hi Val,
Marie Curie springs to mind and Berthe Morisot.
Kind regards,
Elly xxxx

Val says Pantheon, place of all the Gods and  there are currently only two women to 71 men buried at the site: Marie Curie, whose scientific breakthroughs changed the face of modern medicine; and Sophie Berthelot, who was buried alongside her husband, the chemist and politician Marcellin Berthelot
I did google it Elly!
Malc says and Marie Curie was not even French, she was born in Poland
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We want ladies to be buried in the Pantheon

Feminist groups have been protesting that only two ladies have been buried in the Pantheon. Around one hundred women and a dozen men gathered outside the Pantheon mausoleum in Paris on Monday to demonstrate in favour of interring more women in the prestigious sanctuary, which is home to the remains of the country’s most treasured national figures. The list below is one favoured by the feminists for the government to consider. 
1. Olympe de Gouges, feminist pioneer (1748-1793).
2. Solitude, Guadeloupian freedom fighter (1772-1802).
3. Louise Michel, revolutionary (1830-1905).
4. Germaine Tillion, ethnologist and resistant (1907-2008).
5. Simone de Beauvoir, feminist philosopher (1908-1986).

I certainly think in the future great women should take their place beside men but can see how historically men have been chosen.
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Folk'n'Jazz is this Thursday

A reminder to all that the folk’n’jazz summer season continues on Thursday this week (29th) at Le Contie near Najac

Our hosts this month are Brian and Lorna Green and Brian, who is one of the regular singers at folk'n'jazz, will also be the MC for the evening. We have had some great evenings over the summer and this one promises to be no exception with some new performers joining the “regulars” and I am reliably informed there will be a generous helping of Irish and other celtic music.
New singers/musicians are always welcome especially if they contact Brian in advance at or phone 05 63 67 93 35.

The evening will start promptly at  8pm, and you need to bring your own chairs, drinks and 2euros entry. It may also be sensible to bring something warm to put on later in the evening as, although there will be shelter if it rains, the evenings have been a little cooler lately

Sue Carter

directions to La contie: take the D47 From Monteils or Laguepie turn at St Salvary signed St Martial and La Contie (there is an agricultural repair place on the corner).  After 2km or so, at St Martial turn right and then right again signed La Contie and Villevayre.  In La Contie on entering the village on a right hand corner opposite a house will be signs for parking and directions to FolknJazz.  Additional parking will be available just past the first barn on the left.

Trappes on the outskirts of Paris, a troubled area.

16-year-old girl, who filed charges against a pair of skinheads for what she said was an Islamophobic attack on August 12, attempted to commit suicide on Monday by jumping from a window in her apartment block.
According to a police report, the girl was assaulted on August 13 in the troubled town of Trappes, 35 kilometres west of Paris. Two men with shaved heads approached the Muslim girl with a “sharp object,” ripped off her headscarf, shouted Islamphobic insults and hit her on the shoulder before fleeing by car, a judicial source told French media.
A frightening attack on a young girl who is now seriously  injured. 
I actually agree with the ban on wearing full head and face masks as I find that quite threatening but why does anyone feel they can take the law into their own hands, injuring and scaring a young girl to near death. Controversial subject banning  the full veil in France, I wonder if it has been taken to the European courts of human rights?
And here is the answer
A human rights challenge to France’s burka ban will be dealt with by a panel of Grand Chamber judges, the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed.  May30th 2013
This report from News 24. 

Not just Christmas cards, gift cards, thank you notes.etc.

I emailed Robin, the church contact about the Christmas cards for sale to ask if they had messages written in. They do not, they are blank for you to write your own message. There are certainly some of the SW of France that I thought would make quite nice  cards to go with a gift or say thank you. [ just a thought ]
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Power surges, all too frequent.

Hi Val - at last got our computer back after massive power surge caused

an electronic meltdown throughout the house - the laptop I have been

using is painfully slow. I have a post almost ready which I will send -

our internet connection which is not broadband has also been affected

and I cannot rely on having a connection at any particular time until

Alsatis send us a new connection box- so I will send it to you while the

going is good(ish). I just have to transfer it to the main computer.


(ps thanks to Tag we were able to find James Sweeting who has rescued

the computer and also some small stereo equipment)
Val says Sue Carter sendS the information about the Folk 'n'Jazz Club which is coming up on Thursday evening at lA CONTIE. She really needs a working computer.

Chilli con carne and rice pudding, just the job.

60 covers a day throughout August and now Charlie needs a bit of a breather.Next week the ''La Seye et Vous'' in Verfeil sur Seye will be closed for the week for Charlie and the staff to recover. The week of ''rentrée'' he explained is always quiet so a good time to have a week on holiday.
We sneaked up there  for lunch  having our recovery week after weeks of  visitors have all left. Don't you just love the family coming but switching off when they all leave - bliss. Wonder why  I wrote we sneaked off, I think it was because after a good walk the dogs fell asleep in the courtyard and we had no one to consider but ourselves.
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More young people in the area, and the media man is called Andrew.

This summer my wife and I decided to take the leap and move to Parisot with our two young boys Ruben and Jacob. We have set up two businesses which we hope will be of interest to Tag on-line readers.
Media Man 82
I offer services for anyone needing help with their computer, phone, TV, internet, iPad or any multimedia device. This includes speeding up slow computers, repairs, setting up new computers or internet services, web design, tutorials and so much more.
The services I offer are honest, reliable and no nonsense. I will always personally ensure that what I'm providing is individual to your needs and will work tirelessly until the job is done.
I decided to use fixed rates for all of the services I offer because I want to provide a service that is honest, simple and straightforward. Hourly rates can create some confusion and uncertainty as some problems can take longer to diagnose and fix than others depending on the technician's areas of expertise. Fixed rates mean you know exactly what you’re getting and how much it will cost right from the start.  Tel:   Mob:

Mini Monde
Mini Monde is run by both my wife and I and offers services for families and children living in and travelling to the Tarn-et-Garonne.
Mini Hire is a baby equipment hire service. We have a range of car seats, cots, prams, toys and more which can be delivered to airports, holiday destinations or to your home if you have little ones coming to stay.
Mini Musique will be launching this autumn and is an English language music class for pre-school children. It will be a fun and stimulating class where babies and children will have the chance to learn popular nursery rhymes, discover an instrument and have fun and games in a relaxed atmosphere. Mini Play, also launching this autumn, will be a playgroup for pre-school children and their carers. Toys and games will be provided for the children to play with, seasonal art and craft activities, and light refreshments available.   Tel:   Mob:

Val says So lovely to have more young people in the area and we wish them well with their life here. I must stop writing as if we are ''oldie  TAG readers'' it is clearly not the case. The media man is called Andrew, I met him one evening supporting Sautou and he is clearly a very nice young man.

Christmas cards always hard to find here

Dear Valerie,
 I am going to send you the jpg files of the cards we produce and sell to raise money for the church and the charities it supports (many charities - you can find them on our website).
At our church services we sell the cards at €1 each, envelope included. If we are asked to mail them we add on for the cost of postage.
The cards have been professionally printed in Edinburgh. Their designer is Elise Johnston. This is her abbreviated biography.

Elise Johnston is a professional artist from Scotland.  She is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art and is a qualified art teacher.
She has lived and worked in Scotland, USA, France and Nigeria. The family has had a house in the Tarn since 1986 and now live there permanently.
As an artist and craftswoman, Elise has worked in the fields of fashion design (illustrated in Vogue), ceramics, book illustration, painting and mosaic. She has made over 50 mosaics, some very large, on buildings in three countries. One of the cards - "Peace on Earth"-  is an illustration of part of one of her mosaics.
Val says
 Hello Robin
I have added a selection of cards but when I  printed them all they took up all the front page. Can I suggest  readers if you would like to support the church by buying cards, you check them out on their website.
Printemps dans le Sud -Ouest




On the road to Bethlehem


Collecting syringes, la chasse aux seringues.

A story which was on TV last night on the local news and this morning is in the Depeche.  A little lock on the canal along the road by " la gare Matabiau", the station in Toulouse, is a dangerous place to fall in. The banks are littered with syringes tossed away by the SDF's ( sans domicile fixed - homeless people ) who congregate around that area on an evening. An operation is underway to clean up the banks and barriers will be put up to stop people falling in. Twice a week an assoc. AIDES, supplies users with sterile needles and last year between 200 and 300 people used the service. The whole area is trying to be cleaned up as being greeted by banks of needles as you leave the train station is not good for the City of Toulouse. It seems to me that providing special litter cans may help the problem, a sort of throw your needles here can. The trouble is if you are affected by the drug throwing a needle in a safe place may not be a top priority. Cleaning up the area is not a job you can ask the local scouts to help with!
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The drama in a snack bar in Carmaux

After a fete at Carmaux in the centre of the town at a snack bar "le Coq Carmausin" fun changed to a violent fight involving  a customer at 2am in the morning. A married man of 42 was stabbed by the owner or employee of the cafe, resulting in his death. The two men, owner and employee have both been arrested and will face charges of deliberate aggression with a weapon leading to a death.
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Views are different to number of readers, I know.

824 views yesterday to hear my news and views, I am very happy to read your news and views which could differ totally from mine, and in some friends cases I know differ on many points. Sometimes when I do a post on pets for example, I imagine people I know struggling to comprehend. Cats seem to bring out strong emotions for and against. Charity, another topic which is divisive, politics I would never discuss except to tell you news. Religion is another do not go there, but we all seem to enjoy concerts in historic church buildings.
The new labels are a great addition  to TAG and Cooks still gets the most hits. I hope writers are going to contribute to Doreen's wit, (writers in Tag) and any interesting holiday tips or stories can be sent for David' s " Tripping about". The photography of Peter Hughes,  Malc and I have both loved, those lovely foxes and squirrels. ( I will not be saying lovely foxes if they get my chickens!) Anyway keep on contributing, groaning, tutting sometimes enjoying but reading and supporting us all who contribute.
Malc says    not enough football and rugby.
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Monday, 26 August 2013

Too much force from Gendarmes against bull fighting protesters

In SW France at Rion des Landes, protesters entered the arena trying to disrupt the bullfight. Their action was met with extreme force by the gendarmes and bullfight organisers,leaving one protester in a coma with a serious head injury. The gendarmes were accused of " brutality and savagery" and looking at some video footage it certainly seems as if they went over the top.
Bullfighting, known as “corrida”, from the Spanish term, is illegal in France, but a cultural heritage loophole allows it to continue to take place in southern and south-western France.
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    Electronic cigarettes may be carcinogenic

    In three models out of ten, the levels of [carcinogenic compound] formaldehyde come close to those of a conventional cigarette, says a new report out.
    In May 2013, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine announced that the ban on smoking in public places would now be extended to cover electronic cigarettes.
    Some 73,000 people die from smoking-related illnesses in France each year.
    Unlike other European countries, the number of smokers has remained constant in the country despiteprice hikes on tobacco products and health-awareness campaigns.
    Val says  Malc is shocked that I did not know there were such things as  electronic cigarettes.
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