Monday, 30 September 2013

A second exhibition at Parisot for Le Bouton Rouge

It is just over a month since our 12 x 12 exhibition finished in Caylus. During the exhibition period, we had a huge number of visitors coming in to see the show and they were, without exception, highly complimentary about what they saw. We sold around 700 cards, bookmarks and gift tags created from images of the 12 x 12 squares. We also sold a lot of original pieces too. Those which have been sold are marked with a red dot on our website. Go to the Gallery at
We are still selling both cards and originals. There will be a second exhibition at the Parisot Médiathèque between 23 and 29 November 2013. As in Caylus, both cards and original pieces will be an sale. The opening hours are as follows: Monday: 2pm-5pm; Tuesday: 9am-12pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm; Wednesday: 2pm-5pm; Thursday: 9am-12pm and 1pm-4.30pm; Friday: 9.30am-12pm; Saturday: 10am-12pm
The money raised will be again donated to support a further project to help women in India. We have already sent donations totalling 1,500 to two projects offering tailoring and embroidery training to women in a remote Indian villages. Go to:
Kath and Ankie Le Bouton Rouge 
Comments to

Susan Hunt has an at home Coffee morning for Cancer charities

Thursday is the At Home Coffee Morning here at my house in Puylaroque and I am combining it with my usual yearly Macmillan Coffee Morning, the proceeds of which this year I am going to split with a French cancer charity.
It starts at 10.30 and coffee and cake will be €5, if you stay for a ploughman's lunch and wine then it will be an extra €5.  I shall also have books for sale at €1 for three.  If you want to bring your husbands/partners or a friend then it will be great to see them.  Please could you also bring a cake or something nice, and any leftovers I will sell as you leave.
Directions to my house as follows:
In the centre of Septfonds take the turning down by the bar signposted Puylaroque, stay on this road for about 7k, you will come to a T junction, turn right and then left, it’s marked Monpezat/Belmont, there will now be a patisserie on your left, on this road take the SECOND turning on the left at the BOTTOM of the hill at the cross roads, it’s marked Lapenche/STADE.  Stay on this roads for 1k, then take the first drive you come to, and drive into the STADE, take the dirt track on the right by the river and we are in front of you.
It will be lovely to see you, but please let me know if you are coming it will help me to know numbers.     email
Comments to

Cinema Club at Mas del Sol

Hi, Val. I hope that you, Malcolm and your sub woofer are well.
Now that I've found the boxes of DVDs that we brought from the UK, I thought I'd submit a few suggestions for films to watch over the coming months.

One that I really enjoyed (although it's a bit bloody) is La Reine Margot, in French with English subtitles. The blurb on the DVD box say "She was the daughter of a King, the sister of a King, the wife of a King .....and the lover of an enemy." Being the daughter of Catherine de Medici would also be worth a mention in my eyes, but would spoil the rhythm of the sentence somewhat. The Wikipedia page is 
Val says to read more ideas from Sarah check out the label Cinema Club

The " he" man, made me smile

I received a mail from Jan at the donkey sanctuary, she has yet another small rescue donkey in to be cared for and needing her specialist ministrations. ( Jan for many years worked at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary)  In the mail she said she had been contacted by the "he" man about help with her website. I suddenly thought does she mean Andrew, the media man. It works out the letter "t" does not work properly on her computer key board so it was supposed to be "the man". In my mind now Andrew will always be a "he" man.
Becky replies
Hi Val, we had to laugh! Andrew is currently at work (on someone's computer) singing the 'He Man' theme tune!

Hope you have a good day!

Comments to

George White cometh

Hi Val
 Some of your readers may be interested to know that George White is coming to this area again next week.  He will be loading his truck this Friday latest.
 Best regards
 John Dawson

The French do not want the Roma gypsies

A new poll published on Saturday finds a whopping 77 percent of French people agreeing with a recent statement by Socialist Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who said that Roma immigrants are inherently “different” and “will have to return to Bulgaria and Romania” 
Val says If you were in politics and needed the votes, what line would you take?
Comments to

How to buy your raffle tickets

For those who live near St. Antonin I will be going to have a coffee at the Gazpacho next Sunday 6th of Oct. at 11am. So that will be a chance whilst  at the market to come and get your tickets.
Another way is to send a cheque made payable to "Via Sahel Enfants d' Afrique " or " Liberte des Anes" and post it to
Val Johnstone
Mas del Sol
Let me know then if I can write your name and contact details on your tickets and keep them in a box or I can post the tickets to you if you give me more your address and add 1 euro if you want them posted or send a stamp addressed envelope.
If you want to give there is always a way.
Comments to

Sunday, 29 September 2013

High praise for Steve and Carinne

Dear Val,
We are delighted to see Steve and Carinne's posting on TAG!
We were among his first customers and he has looked after our pool and garden while we are away for nearly seven years! Such is his dedication that, even on Christmas Day last year, he was in our pool up to his knees, in freezing water, trying to mend an unexplained tear in our liner! Had he not been so diligent in regular checking, the water leak would have never been discovered and our pool would have caved in. Our garden is always well cared for too and we can be sure of returning to cut grass, weed free drive and Autumn leaves gathered.
Steve and Carinne have been good friends ever since we arrived in St Antonin and I can only say we wish them all the very best of luck with their new office!
Have a Newkie on us Steve!
Ann and Brian

Help the operation to clean the banks of the Aveyron

Avis aux amoureux de la nature, l’opération nettoyage des berges de la rivière Aveyron a besoin de volontaires !

Participez à ce grand nettoyage à pied ou en canoë le samedi 5 octobre à partir de 11 h .
Départ à St Antonin Noble Val chez Acti Eaux vives au bord de la rivière.

Le Pays Midi-Quercy et ses nombreux partenaires de cette opération vous proposent  d’associer l’utile à l’agréable en vous faisant découvrir les habitats naturels et leurs espèces.
Renseignements :  CPIE Midi-Quercy 05 63 24 06 26

Venez nombreux !

Anybody got a chair for Yvonne?

Sofa Chair medium size clean  required for the Castelnau de Montmiral area.

Do we know anyone who can fix a sub woofer?

The storm appears to have affected our sub woofer, a piece of audio equipment . Does anyone know any one who could look at it or a firm we could take it to?
Val says Media man is coming to have a look at it and reader Lorraine has suggested
Try Hans Buijseld 0

Flexi ball class, what does she mean?

They are  here........................................ next Tuesday 10.40 a beginners flexi ball class will start at Lassalle.  A fantastic easy way to get fit fast,tone up and kick start your christmas party dress figure.   Very simple , low impact routines with meditational music to destress at the same time. Your body will thank you laterBiz Kx
Please pass on to those you think will benifit and if you have any questions just email me

Val says Kim is very fit and enthusiastic but I never have a clue what she is talking about. I know lots of you know better than me. 
Comments to

A business in St. Antonin Noble Val expands

We are very excited to tell you that our Holiday Rental and Property Management business “Le Cloup” is opening an office in Saint Antonin Noble Val. We are opposite the Bar Gazpacho and will be opening on Tuesday 1st October. Le Cloup is a French-registered and insured company established in 2010.  
Our family-owned company specialises in the marketing and the management of holiday rental properties, looking after second homes, swimming pools, gardens, and offering specialized services for people who either live here full-time or are on holiday in the region. We have an excellent record in achieving very high rental rates and fully-booked seasons. Importantly, and quite differently from the norm, we do not charge commission fees on bookings – we simply charge a low flat-rate booking fee. We have been working in the property and tourism industry for 10 years.
Whether you are considering renting out your property for the first time, or whether you are a seasoned renter who is simply looking to improve your bookings and reduce your fees, we can help. We are also happy to provide references from our existing clients.
We are here not only for you as property owners, but also to look after guests to ensure their stay is as enjoyable as possible.
We would be delighted to meet any interested property owners and discuss our business in person. If you think we may be able to help you, please pass by and see us, or contact us by phone or through our website.
Steve and Carinne Trinder
Le Cloup
Rental and Property Management
Mobile: 06 10 56 28 43
SIRET: 498 780 121 00014

The Trinder family

Within minutes of being posted a reader replies

Deidre Honey who lives in St.Antonin  will now be selling tickets for the TAG christmas raffle, many thanks Deidre.
I am really touched by all the donations and readers willing to help, and of course you can still order your tickets on line by contacting Val
Comments to

Useful links

Dear Val,
I have recently been asked for the Connexions Newsletter link on several occasions, so I thought that some of your readers may also find it of interest.

I have also put in a couple of other links that may be of interested :
To sign-up for the Connexions Newsletter (weekly e-mail) go to :

Click on the "Our Weekly Newsletter" - it's a blue panel at top-right of the web page.

In the current newsletter, the following two links may be of interest :

Article concerning UK Winter Fuel Payments : 

Extract from current Connexion Newsletter :A petition to introduce UK MPs for expats has been launched this week. You can sign the petition atExpat MPs petition Again it can be signed by British nationals wherever they live but, if you are not in Britain you may find the on-line form will not accept your postcode – in that case, leave the field blank.

To reduce Telephone Cold-calls go to
By signing up, your telephone number(s) will be put on a centralised database, which 'some' companies agree to abide by. It doesn't have the force of French Law, but it should help reduce nuisance call.

Greg Honey

Comments to

Six super prizes that you could win in the TAG CHRISTMAS RAFFLE.

As one starts to think about Christmas and presents often your mind turns to thinking how lucky we are and how there are so many people, children and animals less fortunate than ourselves.
This is not my initiative at all, it all comes directly from my readers and their desire to help children and animals. Fortunately TAG has the means to facilitate this venture and of course I am more than happy to help.
I think it will be easier if we sell tickets and the amount we raise will be divided equally between the two charities. The tickets will be 5 euros each and there will be at least 6 prizes. Any reader who would be willing to sell tickets please let me know by contacting me on giving your address if I am not likely to see you so I can post you a book of  tickets.
 The draw will be in the middle of November.
The two charities to benefit will be 
Via Sahel Enfants d' Afrique     and Liberte des Anes

Victoria China is offering two Christmas cakes, 

Janet Emmelkamp is offering a piece of original art of children around the world.

Linda from Pebble therapies is offering 

An hour of the treatment or combination of treatments of the winner's choice. Treatments include relaxing aromatherapy massage, deep tissue/lymphatic drainage massage, reiki healing, reflexology, Indian head and facial massage. 

Janet Emmelkamp is offering 
A singing lesson
 Riet Okken is offering  to donate a free personal horoscope session

If you win a prize for example a singing lesson and you cannot sing, that prize can be given to a family member or friend.
Val at

Comments to

Will France ever say "Yes" to Sunday shopping?

This debate has been ongoing for many years and recent polls (sondages) are in favour of opening. When we came 12 years ago it was so frustrating not being able to go to the brico type shops on a Sunday, but now we accept Sundays they are closed and many shops in rural area Monday too.
Indeed, those who support stores staying open on Sunday say it would provide a boost to employment at a time when France is dealing with a 10.5-percent jobless rate, feeble economic growth and stagnating consumer spending.
But Sunday has been legally protected as a day of rest since 1906, though there are exceptions for fishmongers, florists and other types of commerce, including those in designated tourist areas like Paris’s Montmartre.
Businesses that violate the law by operating on Sunday without authorisation face fines of up to 6,000 euros ($8,000).
Those who defend the notion of Sunday as largely commerce-free – including unions that have fought to keep France’s 35-hour work week, as well as Catholic churches – argue that it is important to uphold the tradition of one day a week devoted to rest and relaxation.
But recent polls suggest that public attitudes toward the issue have moved decisively in the other direction. An Ipsos survey in November 2012 found 63 percent of the French in favour of expanding Sunday shopping. Meanwhile, hundreds of store employees marched in May to demand the right to work on Sunday, using the slogan “Yes Week-End” – a tongue-in-cheek appropriation of US President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign mantra, “Yes We Can”.
France 24
Comments to

A lightning strike at Mas del Sol

Around the witching hour, (midnight) the storm was overhead, when suddenly there was an enormous flash followed by a bang, just near Malcolm at the bottom of the stairs. Strangely it was followed by a loud low pitched humming noise. It had affected "the sub woofer" on the cinema sound system. The real woofers also did a bit of excited barking and the cats shot under furniture. Malc sorted out the noise but it was only this morning we realised one circuit of sockets had blown a fuse. A  relief that we did not get too much rain but the storm and wind were quite severe. Hope it passed you all with out problem.
Comments to

Saturday, 28 September 2013

If you love fashion, you will love this blog covering the designers at Paris Fashion Week

Anybody selling any of these items contact, Linda

Our 'wanted' list is still growing so just in case any of your readers have items they wish to sell, we are looking for:
- 2 single beds
- a long ladder
- a large trailer
- old shelves suitable for a shed

Unwanted lettuce, [no please do not send it for my donkeys]

Gavin Porter has written a piece for ''Wit'' -  Writers in TAG and it has a very interesting start with a rather unusual finish which leaves you wondering about people and their actions or about unwanted lettuce. Go to the label at the top and make up your own minds about it.
Thank you Gavin for that well written piece.
Comments to

Clipper, we just love your ears

What a little cutie he is. Victoria China who has offered to bake two xmas cakes sent this picture of her dog Clipper.
comments to

Two Christmas cakes to be won

Hi Val,
I wondered if you might like me to make a traditional English rich fruit
Christmas Cake to perhaps raffle for your African charity ? I also thought
I could do the same for the donkey charity - what do you think ?
Victoria China

Val says what a splendid gesture Victoria, get busy baking and I will start organising a raffle. I do hope we win as Malc loves Xmas /fruit cake. It might seem like a fix though so probably better if some other deserving TAG reader won!

Comments to

Rural area Doctors will be paid to stay

In areas poorly served by Doctors because of desertification, to encourage Doctors to go and then stay they will be paid up to 3,640 euros more. Two hundred posts of " territorial practitioner" have been created to tackle the problem.
Val says  I know the problem in our area is getting cover if you are a Doctor and want a holiday. It does not  seem an easy life being a country doctor trying to find cover for evenings even. Often our friend a Dr. is "on guard" and even if not well or has special events planned has to do many evenings himself as finding a replacement is impossible.
Comments to / let out your garden

If you have a large garden or fields aroound the house why not in the spring and summer consider renting to campers? Check out the link, might be interesting for next year and costs nothing to put on your advert. If any of our return renters are reading this do not worry, it is not in our minds to do it.
Comments to

What they lacked in manners they made up for in generosity.

A few people have told me they like the stories about our time in the Presbytere. It was our first experience of French life and it was certainly not a normal one, but we did not know that at the time.
The family from the school house although all except one had pensions from the state as they were unfit for work, were very generous and in our time  at the Presbytere  often brought tomatoes they had grown, eggs from a farm that one son worked at, fish that another boy had caught and mushrooms found in those special places. We soon learned that the family had suffered many tragedies. The father now dead had been a violent man and a  drinker and the children had suffered through this. The men now in their thirties but still mentally boys hated drink and refused a glass of wine if offered,  telling you about the evils of drink. Another son had died on a farm accident just before we had arrived and whilst we lived there yet another son died who was a diabetic.
So many tragedies but still generous, but what  the family had in generosity they lacked in social graces.
We invited them all for aperos one evening and it was one of those lovely balmy nights where we were sitting on the balcony overlooking the fields beyond - heaven. When the old mother started farting, very loudly... nobody looked embarrassed  (except Malc and I)  and she made no apologies but conversation all evening was interrupted whilst she lifted cheeks and let rip.
Now what made this evening even more surreal was that earlier we had been to a concert in Varen with some Dutch people and we had come back thinking how lucky we were to  live among cultured people!
After they left, liberal amounts of scented airspray were used as we sat and discussed our new odd French life!
Comments to

A young French climber finds jewels in the Alps

Climbing Mount Blanc, a young man found a case full of precious jewels, all in bags stamped , made in India. He handed them in to the authorities who are now seeking the rightful inheritors. It is thought two planes crashed more than 50 years ago and the gems worth around 200,000 pounds  were found in the wreckage of one of these planes. If the owner is not found the sum of their worth will be split between the state and the finder.
Comments to

Hollande on the spot, does he support Valls ?

Contentious statements by Interior Minister Manuel Valls about Roma immigrants in France have sparked a feud within the Socialists-led government, threatening to destabilise President François Hollande’s party less than six months ahead of municipal elections.
Housing Minister Cécile Duflot, a member of the Green Party, is leading the charge against Valls, after he said this week that most Roma, also known as gypsies, were incapable of assimilating into French society and should be sent back to their home countries.
The president avoided commenting on the subject during a visit to a steel-plant in France’s north-east town of Florange on Thursday, despite being prodded repeatedly by reporters.
But he appeared to give tacit support to Valls. Government spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told reporters on Thursday that the interior minister was carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to him by the Hollande administration “firmly and humanely.”
 Val says Romas / gypies seem not to be wanted by any party

Friday, 27 September 2013

Sales only twice a year in the shops but what about on line?

For most retailers - who are forbidden to market goods for below the price paid for them - it’s a huge frustration, but for online discount fashion retailer, it has proved a golden opportunity.
The company, whose name means “private sale”, organises online flash sales for 2,000 brands ranging from Lacoste to Reebok and Fred Perry and, taking advantage of a twist in trading laws, has become a national sensation. Shops in the high street are watching in wonder, and probably thinking how unfair it is.
 Val says I have looked at the site and quite honestly I think you would have to be a shopaholic to be bothered.
Comments to

Toulouse to New York, would be good

L'aéroport de Toulouse-Blagnac a lancé lundi une opération "We love NY we want NY", destiné à convaincre une compagnie aérienne à créer une liaison directe entre Toulouse et New York City.
L'appel à la mobilisation de tous les voyageurs désirant voyager directement de la Ville rose à la grosse Pomme a été publié sur les réseaux sociaux. Pour montrer sa volonté que la ligne se crée, il suffit de se rendre sur la page Facebook de l'aéroport de Toulouse-Blagnac et de partager l'image "We love NY we want NY" un maximum de fois. Sur Twitter, il faut écrire un message de soutien comprenant le haschtag #ToulouseNewYork. Par cette mobilisation de tous les Toulousains, l'aéroport entend faire pression sur une compagnie aérienne pour qu'elle crée une ligne directe Toulouse-New York. Selon Marc Dupeyron, le chargé de communication de l'aéroport, des pourparlers seraient engagés  avec des compagnies aériennes. "C'est une initiative pour créer du buzz et montrer que le maximum de gens sont mobilisés", indique-t-il à France 3 MIdi-Pyrénées.

Our mole catcher, Bonny

Our beautiful Bonny, listening for moles
Taupes /  moles, for some reason Bonny loves tracking their movements underground and then pouncing, very effective she is to at catching them. As you can imagine I am straight in to make sure she lets them go, but often I am too late.So if you need a mole catcher perhaps you should think of having a golden retriever!
Comments to

Manuel Valls feels strongly about the Roma gypsies staying

The European Union has warned France it could face sanctions over the treatment of its Roma community after the interior minister said the majority should be deported and that France was "not here to welcome these populations".
The European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly warned France that "free circulation and the freedom to live in other countries" within the European Union were fundamental rights written into treaties and if they weren't respected the commission would use "all the means at its disposal to sanction violations".
He said: "Roma, like all EU citizens, have the freedom to circulate freely in all member states of the EU and to live in a country other than their country of origin."
The angry response from Brussels comes six months before local elections in which several political parties, ranging from the far-right to the Socialists in power, have seized on the issue of the Roma's illegal camps, portraying the ethnic minority's presence as threat to French people. The popular and outspoken interior minister Manuel Valls told the radio station France Inter on Tuesday that "these populations have lifestyles that are very different from ours, and are clearly in confrontation" with the lifestyle of the French. He said few Roma could integrate into French society.

He added that only a "few families" could be allowed to settle while there was "no other solution" than dismantling illegal Roma camps and repatriating individuals, he said.
His comments came a day after police swooped on two Roma camps outside Paris, arresting six people in relation to the theft of metal cables. They came in a week that saw a French judge sparked condemnation for exclaiming during a trial over stolen copper cables: "Don't you think France has had enough of thefts committed by Roma?"
Arnaud Montebourg, the industrial recovery minister said: "I think there exists no theory whereby a particular population, or a person of a given origin cannot integrate (into French society).
"They said that of Italians, they said that of Spanish, they said that of the Portugese, they said that of the Arabs." 
{ and  Val says some we know - mentioning no names, nudge,nudge, wink, wink,  may say that of the English.]
Report,  bits  from the Guardian and Telegraph
Comments to

Folk'n'Jazz went "moody blues"

Last night La Vigerie once again provided a wonderful venue for folk'n'jazz - this time in the magnificent barn. Many thanks to owners Jeremy and Iga for their hospitality and for providing chairs for everyone.
A few of the regular performers were unavailable this month so it was left to JLT ( not a new sandwich without bacon but John,Linda and Trevor) and Betsy to keep us entertained - and a great job they did too. They do work hard every month learning new material to sing/play individually and together and its always "good on the night". Its also good to see new faces on stage,and we are lucky that it seems that every month we do, yesterday newcomer Jared Coffin played guitar and sang, hopefully he will be back as he lives in the area.
Our special guest for the evening was John Stannard on a visit from England. John plays and sings mostly his own material in what he describes as a blues - based style. The audience really enjoyed his brilliant guitar playing. Lets hope he visits again too!
Next month we are returning to the chateau in Parisot for the last evening of our "tour" before we move into our winter venue the salle de fetes in Verfeil. John Taylor will be compere for the evening and performers wishing to contribute should contact him on or phone 05 63 65 93 35
important please note
The reminder flyers for the evening at Parisot distributed last night had the wrong date printed ( my blunder - I blame the poor lighting in our office - surely its not my age!)
Folk'njazz will be on the last Thursday on the month as usual which is 31st Octoberand NOT 24th
John Stannard plays the blues

Trevor,  Linda, John , ''JLT''

Comments to

Viola concert at Bruniquel

Cllick on the image to see it full size

Enjoy the sun and high temperatures today

For tomorrow... it is going to rain, with localised storms forecast. Although there is a chance of rain  some days next week,  the temperatures seem to be forecast at  well above  20C. Good gardening weather methinks.
Comments to

Francisco Benitez, now thought to be a serial killer

How many women has this chief in the French Foreign Legion killed. After his wife and daughter, two other women who have gone missing that he had relationships with are being linked to the investigation. Francisco Benitez committed suicide a few weeks ago, after the gendarmes started turning the heat up on their investigations against him.
Comments to

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mixed media and stitch textile artist

Isobel Hall is a mixed media and stitch textile artist who writes books and gives exhibitions around the world. You may be interested in looking at my sister's website if you are a  needlework fanatic.
Isobel celebrates very soon a special birthday so a ''Happy Birthday Issa'' from Malc and I

comments to

Funeral Services

Dear Val,

Today a lady called Bregtje Backx told me of your website.

Until 31 december last year I have had a funeral company for 3,5 years in Les Cabannes near Cordes sur Ciel. Amongst my clients there were some British and Dutch families for whom, without exception, it was a great relief to be able to organize the funeral for their loved one with somebody who spoke their language and who understood their wishes for the farewell meeting.

Today I my business is to help Dutch and British families to deal with the French funeral companies and to help organise their farewell meeting. I know the French funeral law and the habits and I can help to point out the possibilities whithin French law (and these possibilities are often much more than suspected).

I would like to make myself known amongst the British and Dutch population, because I think there is a great need for what I am doing. Would you be prepared to dedicate a space on your website to me, in which I can make myself known and where people can ask questions and exchange information about this subject?

I would be grateful if you would answer my e-mail or give me a phonecall on 05 63 56 20 43/ 07 81 63 20 77

Thank you in advance,

Marietta Kenkel
Val says I have written and suggested that Marietta pays 35 euros for an advert for 3 months
Comments to

Advice from John and Debbie at Jardin des Espiemonts

Dear Val,
We agree with Sally’s advice about the hard pruning twice a year. John’s a big fan of giving plants a severe pruning. Obviously, different plants have different requirements, but generally speaking, a thorough pruning keeps a plant under control while encouraging healthy new growth, so the plant will perform better and be much more vigorous. Another benefit, useful in this instance, is that with the re-growth, it gives you an opportunity to create the shape you want and train it in the desired direction. Of course you want to keep your customers happy, but effective pruning should mean that your gite guests can enjoy the view from the balcony, and still enjoy your beautiful plant. Train new growth along your straining wires and cut away any undesired, intrusive new growth and, rather than disrupting the view, your wisteria should frame and enhance it.

We wouldn’t recommend moving your wisteria - they do not like being moved, and the more established they are, the more likely it is that they will not respond well to being uprooted, and may die during the process.

If it’s not flowering well this year then maybe your pruning technique could do with a bit of enhancing. Did you cut past the buds, maybe? That’s good advice from Liz about checking out a video showing pruning in progress. And while you can get Alan Titchmarsh on You Tube, here in South West France we have the equally knowledgeable and infinitely better looking John from Le Jardin des Espiemonts! What do you think – I reckon I’ll volunteer him to run a gardening group workshop on pruning wisteria round at your place in January/February of next year!
Love Debbie
Val says Sounds like a good idea to me. I have  already butchered the white wisteria but I have another blue one we could work on.
Comments to

Local built guitars being ordered and sent around the world, made at Parisot

The new workshop is now open!!!!!!

My workshop is now located in the little village of Parisot (post code: 82160) in the departement of Tarn et Garonne, not far from Villefranche de Rouergue. If you would like to try my guitars, you are welcome to visit me in the south of France (Tel: (0033) (0)6 52 46 92 90) or you can visit one of my intermediaries in London:

Celine Camerlynck, Luthiers’ Corner, 3rd Floor, 21 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8NA, 0044 20 7836 0816,

Russell Pay, Islington, N1., 0044 20 7688 1722

Also, I now have a dealer in North America (Chicago). Please get in touch with Josh of Caravan Guitars for more information and to check availability.
Caravan Guitars, 4754 N. Rockwell St., Chicago, IL, 001-773-516-4699,
 MJS Guitars
For more than 10 years Godefroy Maruejouls (MJS) has been dedicated to the making of fine guitars

Aikido Club at St. Antonin Noble Val

Japanese martial arts Adults Monday 19h30 to 21h, also Wednesday same time , children and adults Sat 10h to 12h
Aikido club  0648176313
comments to

Lames a Najac

The first '' Salon de la Coutellerie'' 5 and 6th of Oct. and expo with items for sale , demonstrations, forgerons  blacksmiths, animations.  tel 0675845636
Comments to

On till 6 th October at Abbaye de Beaulieu

An exhibition called ''Supports Surfaces'' at L'Abbaye de Beaulieu en Rouergue until 6 th of Oct. with art by 5 different artistes.
comments to

A good idea, this.

Val, If you have never pruned one before, all you have to do is put 'Wisteria Pruning' into Google and second from top, after RHS,  is Alan Titchmarsh pruning one on   'you tube'.         Just don't fall off the ladder!   Liz Godfrey

Very troubled times in the centre of Villefranche late at night

The Maire of Villefranche is giving interviews trying to reassure locals that the trouble of thugs in balaclavas with baseball bats will be seen off, out of the centre of Villefranche. He admits at the moment the reputation of this proud town is being disturbed by these youths. Once again the drug culture is blamed and to stamp out this problem 36  gendarmes will be covering the town on a night. Also 24 street cameras are planned but a delay in the routing of lines has mean't they are not yet in operation. I thought the Maire's comment '' Villefranche is not ''the Wild West'' speaks for itself,  that there is a problem   ''faites attention la''
If you spot any major errors please let me know straight away as my normal sub editor may be on strike!
comments to

The difference in work ethics

As Malc and I  moved on from chatting about our different work roles over lunch, we started discussing the groups lunching around us, in our day they would be called hippies, people seeking an alternative life style. Odd hairstyles, some of them quite interesting, like the lad with shaved head with a thin ponytail sprouting from the middle, or the more normal dreadlocks type style. Some of these young people we know from '' the Vallee de bonnette'' They live in a tent commune and enjoy nature and bio growing and an alternative life style.
Malc and I then got to talking about our upbringing  many years ago now, where both our sets of parents would be appalled had we opted out and expecting to work in formal jobs was not just expected of us but we would not even have known of  any another way. Who's to say who is right or wrong, and as long as you are happy and do not hurt anyone if you can help it, ''che sera sera.''
Comments to

I have warned him to expect hate mail!

Thursday Malc goes off at 5 pm to play bridge at Caylus and the cleaner is here over lunchtime so it makes sense to eat our main meal of the day out. We like going to La Seye et Vous  at Verfeil as it is  nearby and relaxed and ''Charlie is a darling''  [ is that a folk song]
Anyway today we got to joking why I cleaned out the donkeys every morning, checked for dog pooh around the grounds, let the chickens out and cleaned the cage,  came in and washed the bedclothes, then did the ironing, watered the plants in tubs , etc, etc. It works out Malc  thinks I am better doing the unskilled jobs around the place, leaving the skilled work for him. So OK,  Malc what are your skilled jobs. Thinks Malc, '' well I check TAG over for errors''  and then he was stuck.
Comments to

A very perturbed history around the time of the Spanish Civil War

Hi Val
There is no doubt of the numbers of Spaniards that flooded into southern France in their pursuit of safety and to start a new life. In fact, one very brave man who spoke Spanish and also worked in the Mairie in Cabrerets (Lot) forged many documents for them so they could settle somewhat easier. Knowing something of this family (Labrousse) it's hard to imagine he would have acted unlawfully if resettlement/assimilation was as easy as claimed. This fine man continued to offer assistance to others under duress by forging papers for Jews during WWII. He was himself sent off and perished in a concentration camp.
Di Tornai

Strauss- Kahn becomes a bank boss

According to a  statement, a firm which was founded by French banker Thierry Leyne in 1994, will undergo a name change from its current Anatevka to LSK - Leyne, Strauss-Kahn and Partners. Strauss-Kahn will be responsible for developing its investment banking and debt-restructuring activities.
Would you want to change your business name to anything with " Strauss - Kahn " in?
Comments to

The man who fell off the barn roof at Monesties, died

The man who fell through the tiles and off the barn roof and was helicoptered to hospital, died yesterday and by coincidence it was his 61 st birthday. A sad event.
Comments to

A really good news story

Unemployment has dropped for the first time in two years here in France. Let us hope this trend continues and all President Hollande's actions are starting to work. The amount of aeroplanes being sold by Airbus must have a massive effect on employment statistics in the next few years and we will certainly see growth and prosperity in the area because of this factor.
Comments to

Little Fiona at Clermont Ferrand

This little 5 year old girl who has been on posters and been in the news was thought to have been taken in a park in Clermont Ferrond. It has now been discovered that this was an elaborate cover up by the mother and her drunken boyfriend. The partner / boyfriend was known to the gendarmes for his drinking and violent behaviour and in a drunken rage he hit and killed the little girl and then buried her in a grave in the woods.
Comments to

Nowzad needs only two clicks, sent by Sally Bradshaw

This charity rescues abused animals in Afghanistan and other places. It is well worth a mouse click to help them.....

Subject: Nowzad Dogs Needs Your Vote!
Reply-To: Nowzad Dogs  <>
Nowzad Dogs Needs Your Vote! 
A message from Pen Farthing – founder of Nowzad Dogs.
For once I am not asking you for money but two minutes of your time which could be worth £5,000 or nearly $8,000 to support the funding needed to make a difference for the dogs, cats and other animals of Afghanistan that so desperately need our help.  
Please could we ask you to visit the link here and to vote for Melissa's 2013 Dartmoor Challenge. All you need to do is submit your vote using your email address, then simply verify it in your email inbox otherwise it won't count. (Please also check your junk or spam folder). 
It only takes a second of your time and is absolutely free. Voting is open until Monday 30th September 2013
Please could we also kindly ask you to share this with all your family and friends, with only 5 days left to go every vote really does count! 
Help us to make that difference. I know you will. That is what makes the Nowzad family so special.
All the best
Pen and of course Nowzad and Tali 
*If you do not wish to continue to receive emails from Nowzad Dogs please reply to this email with the subject heading ‘REMOVE’

United Kingdom: “Nowzad Dogs is a registered charity in England and Wales 1119185”
United States: “Nowzad Dogs is a 501c3 tax exempt organisation in the USA”

To forward this email to a friend click here

This email has been sent to you by Nowzad Dogs

Nowzad Dogs PO Box 39 Plymouth PL2 9AU

To edit your details/unsubscribe click here : Right Person. Right Place. Right Time.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Fun Food Quiz at Verfeil

Fifi is holding a fun food quiz FRIDAY OCTOBER 18th    7.15pm
Salle de Fetes, Verfeil
It will be fun and entertaining - there are several elements to the quiz and that's all
I'm saying!
There's no charge and we're opening up to everyone
The idea is that you bring your own picnic wine etc and we'll stop mid evening for a bite to eat
It will be arranged in tables of 8 so you can either assemble 8 people or give me your names and
I'll add you to a table.
I need names and numbers by October 4th so send me an email if you want to come
I'm also looking for volunteers to help me man some of the stations and set up and clear up 

Comments to

Any other advice on wisteria?

Dear Val.
I don’t know what the head gardener had to say but I have had great  success with white wistiria in 3 different gardens, two in France, using the following method. Prune the wistiria  severely twice a year  and don’t give it any food and not much water. It will flower profusely. When pruning cut all new growth back to two buds in January and after flowering.This is usually in July. Do the same with any new unwanted shoots  which may appear later in the summer and get in the way. .
I am a great fan of this vine with it long graceful racemes and heavenly scent.  It seems such a shame to risk moving an established  beauty.
Val says     I have got it cut back Sally but looking at the thickness of the stem I doubt I will be able to move it successfully. I am considering putting a pergola or some such thing next to the terrace to train it up, so renters are not bothered by it. I have waited 5 years for it to flower so would hate to lose it. I am still unsure about your advice versus the head gardener of Versaille on cutting back.

When the Spanish came from Spain they were not welcomed

In 1936 to 1939 at the time of the Spanish Civil War, thousands of Spaniards fled their country to come to France. We have just watched a group who came at that time recalling their experiences on TV. They were not welcomed and it took them many years to integrate and be accepted. It made me think of the interview 12 years ago with the Mayor of Varen where he suggest the  Spaniards that came were culturally and linguistically more suited to settling here. Well go back 70 years Monsieur Le Maire and listen to the stories of these ''ressortissants''none of whom found a warm welcome or found it easy to fit in.They were thought to be republicans who murdered priests and nuns. If you watch Midi Pyrenees news France 3 at 7pm the story will be followed all week. It was interesting as the news feature came with old photos of the refugees at that time, lovely but sad.
Comments to

More and more UK nationals admitting to being extras in the Steven Spielberg film

We will all be awaiting this film next August with real interest and anticipation, and spotting local residents wandering around the set. The feeling seems to be that they film take after take which is very boring and you end up standing around doing nothing for most of the day. Think of the money you future ( possible) stars. St. Antonin Noble Val  has certainly had a buzz with the filmimg.
Comments to

[la-seye-et-vous] La compagnie du TOC à Verfeil

 Bonjour à tous,
  Samedi 28 septembre, nous aurons le plaisir d'accueillir la compagnie du TOC pour leur nouvelle création de café théatre.
   on savait où nous mènent nos petits compromis ordinaires....
Le spectacle aura lieu sous la halle de Verfeil à 21heure.
Nous vous proposerons de quoi vous restaurer à partir de 19h jusqu'à 20h30... Ensuite place au théatre !
Renseignements : 05 63 65 22 18.
A trés bientôt.
comments to

Cafe des Chats in Paris

Customers braving the rush at Paris's newest cafe to order their coffees and croissants are now able to enjoy them in the company of a dozen resident cats offering "purr therapy" to pet-starved patrons
Cafe des Chats, which is in the heart of the capital's chic Marais district, is home to a dozen felines who weave in between the tables or curl up on armchairs as diners tuck in.
The establishment is aimed at Parisians unable to keep pets in cramped city-centre apartments and though the idea may seem eccentric, cafe manager Margaux Gandelon says the potential health benefits of "purr therapy" are real.
"Purring produces vibrations which relieve arthritis and rheumatism, which lower your blood pressure and your heartbeat," Gandelon said.
This month's opening weekend saw queues snaking along the pavement and bookings taken from now until November. Around 300 potential customers had to be turned away.
 Val says  I know quite a few people who would not go, not being cat fans but I think the idea of "purr therapy" is a great one. This is why old people's homes are starting to keep the odd cat and have visits from dogs, stroking is so therapeutic. 
Report from the Guardian
Malc says  "What about the ginger moggy from the boulangerie at Lageupie"which badly scratched Malc when it got stuck in a pull tie on his trouser bottoms. He adds "I hope the patron has good insurance in case of such incidents."
Malc would like to let everyone know he is now healed and he still strokes the cat when it is there. Aah!

Traditional dancing at Caylus every Tuesday evening starting at 9pm in the salle de fetes.

The course started yesterday evening, there were several newcomers so now is a good time to have a go as there are lots of others who are beginners. The course is in French but Corrine, the tutor, speaks clear French and what better way to improve your French than by having fun.
We started going to these classes soon after moving here and they were the key to us building the social life we now have.
Next week is also a free taster session so why not have a go?
Sue C

Special guest at folk'n'jazz / starts at 8pm

Its that time again - last Thursday of the month is tomorrow - and folk'n'jazz has another great evening of music planned featuring this month a fine helping of blues thrown in and all for free! Just the sort of evening to celebrate the welcome return of the sunshine.
Our guest artist John Stannard plays his own blues based songs and has recently released an album "the Doob Doo Album". Fans of  blues music  are sure to enjoy his performance - no doubt he will keen to sell a few of his CDs too. (Val assures us it is very good)
Not to be outdone the usual suspects have been meeting up and practising hard  (I know, I've been there!) and as always the evening promises to have a great mix of traditional and contemporary music.

The venue this month is the Vigerie St. Vincent de Varen, the home of Iga and Jeremy Rewse Davies. Last year the beautiful courtyard of the chateau made a lovely setting on a warm summer's evening but despite the warm indian summer days we are enjoying the evenings have turned somewhat chilly so this year we will be inside in the barn. Our summer evenings touring the region have been a great success so far. Many new faces have enjoyed the variety of entertainment and a different compere each month means that each evening is individual.So I hope to see you all there tomorrow in huge numbers ready to raise the roof of the barn joining in the choruses, it should be a great evening and as I said its all for free!

New performers are, as always, welcome and anyone wishing to perform should contact Linda Hatfield,the compere for the evening at if they haven't already done so.
Sue Carter

Directions to The Vigerie:
Passing through Varen head towards Laguepie, turn left on to the D106 Najac road. Follow the road to the small church of St. Vincent and opposite this is a small chateau with  a large grass parking area. Park here and walk up a small road opposite to another chateau The Vigerie.

 Those people performing with instruments or people with walking difficulties  can take their cars up the small road to the chateau.. As parking area is small near the Vigerie if you are driving up please give a lift to others carrying chairs.

 For those we have not been before bring a bottle and a couple of glasses to have a drink whilst you listen, fold up chairs and your singing voices, to be in your seats for 7.45 pm

Comments to

Two films in version originale at Le Queryls

From 27th to 30 Sept , showing a science fiction film  ''The world's End'' and from 4th to 7 th Oct. ''Blue Jasmine'' the much talked film, Woody Allen directing Cate Blanchett.
I have added the Cinema to the top list as we are so lucky to have this couple running this cinema, let us all support them
Comments to