Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A quick donkey story for the chums fans.

Every morning Julia, Malc and I, are walking the donkeys down the road for them to clear an area of field of grass and brambles. I love it that  they are are being useful and also that they are getting out and walked each day. The little darlings run up to have their head collars and leads put on, they know full well that means a walk.
It is just like the dogs, who get excited when you say " walkies".
In the evening we go and collect them and they are delighted again to come home. As soon as they are back in their field they go into the stable, lay down and sleep. They are so calm on the walk that Malc managed our two donkeys Rosie and Lucy on his own tonight and I walked with Filou and Coco. When Julia came to help, we were proud to say " all done and dusted" well actually as she is French, I think I might have said " c'est fait"
Comments to

Anniversaire de la liberation


2014- 68ème Anniversaire de la libération de la France
le 08 MAI 1945

Monsieur le Maire et son Conseil Municipal invitent les administrés ainsi que les Anciens Combattants de toutes les guerres, à assister à la commémoration du 08 mai 1945, qui aura lieu le jeudi            08 mai 2014.
Rassemblement au stade à 11h15 pour les 2 stèles : stade etDocteur Ringuet.
Rassemblement dans la cour du doyenné, devant la Mairie, à 11h45.
Formation du cortège à 11h45. Dépôt de gerbe au monument aux Morts, avec sonnerie aux Morts et Marseillaise.

 Cordialement  le Maire,

Hush a bye divan for sale

Hi Val, can you please put this on TAG for sale items, thankyou.

4'0 Hush a bye divan - Pocket 1000.  Barely used .

Really useful, luxurious sized single, or useful small double if you have tiny space or only occasional need.  Very comfortable.

100 € or near offer.

Also slatted single bed frame and light mattress - 40€ ono

Contact 06 74 646 647 evenings please.

May, the month of holidays and brocantes

Vide greniers and brocantes start on the bank holiday tomorrow. A list below you might like to visit, but check with Tourist offices nothing has changed since going to press.
Thurs 1st of May
Montauban, Parisot, Septfonds, Villefranche de Rouerque

Sunday 4th of May
Castelnau de Montmiral, Negrepelisse, Limogne de Quercy and the plant fair at Bruniquel.

Thursday 8th of May
Lacapelle Livron, Cayreich

Sunday 11th of May

Sat 17th
Montauban, Albi, Carmaux,Monesties, Negrepelisse, Septfonds
Sunday 25th
Albi, Caussade, Montech, Negrepelisse,

Thursday 29th
Blaye le Mines, Caussade

Sunday June 1st
Castelnau de Montmiral, St. Antonin Noble Val, Septfonds
If you know of others I have missed out please let me know
Happy hunting
Comments to

A man enjoying life and happy to share his knowledge

We met with Michael Fontes of Najac this afternoon. The sun shone as we took Michael to our secret places to show him  the orchids we knew about. The places are secret only because no one is ever there but us and this special place Cazelles Cross has special meaning to us.
The fields were teeming with insects and butterflies enjoying all the colourful flowers in the meadows and we found orchids a plenty, but nothing that  Michael had not already photographed.
We spent a lovely hour or so browsing often on hands and knees and Michael has promised to send a couple of photos. To see more look at his website or visit his shop in Najac, he is a mine of information on wild flowers not just orchids.
Comments to

It is in your diary I am sure

Fifi Friperie coming up, Saturday at Verfeil sur Seye, 10 till 2pm
A new wardrobe, lovely cakes, free entry. Go early and spend, spend, spend.

A touch of sarcasm in this post.

Hi Val!
 Reading your post about pesticides I wonder how many TAG readers use 'products' in their gardens and their houses,. However, I am sure these products are completely harmless, like the label says! And there is of course now way these chemicals could end up in the water or in any plants or animals we are not aiming to destroy. No bird would be stupid enough to eat a poisened snail, like no owl would ever consider itself lucky to find the mouse that crawled out of our houses to die after eating the little surprise we left for it. So, even if we do use 'products', it is indeed very different from what all these ignorants farmers do to provide us with the cheap cereals and vegetables we like so much.. besides, who could stand to see bugs or weeds in the garden, that's not why we came to live in the country is it???
 Feel free to post this on TAG while I put my bulletproof vest on ;-)
 Gros bisous,
Val says  Anke does have a point.
Comments to

Things seem to happen at Lourdes, apart from miracles

Last year it was severe flooding, this year an earth tremble "Le séisme de magnitude 4,7"
It was the largest tremble seen or heard in the last few years in the exposed area of the massive Pyrenees. The tremble could be felt all the way to Toulose.
Trembles are of course tremors.
Comments to

From Jean to Lucas in 60 years

A study of first names published by INSEE (the government statistics service), broken down by Region, shows how names have changed with fashions being quite evident, over the years since the end of the war.
In Midi-Pyrennees back in the 40's and 50's boys were called Jean, then a few years of Philippe but from about 1980 the names have changed more often. Nicholas, Sebastien and Julien were popular for a decade, a few years of Kevins around 1990 and nearly a decade of Thomas in the 90's. Since 2000 only two names have dominated, with 8 years of Lucas interrupted by three years of Enzo.
For girls the pattern is similar: Marie for 20 years, then Sylvie, Nathalie and Stephanie up to the mid 70's. Up to the mid 90's a succession of Celines, Elodies, Manons, Laura and Julies, but from 1997 to 2003 it was Lea and ever since Emma tops the list.
comments to

Early morning sun today and a bit of orchid spotting on the horizon

Not sure how the day is going to go but this morning the sun is shining, the sky is only a watery blue, the trees and grass are still that bright lush, greenest of green. The fields and meadows are full of flowers, the best we remember seeing, the orchids are prolific. We heard someone saying yesterday, "you know there are wild orchids here". Walk out into the countryside and you cannot miss them, they are everywhere and you can identify them easily now with all the various orchid sites.
This brings me to a visit we are having today from orchid expert of Najac called Michael Fontes.
He was surprised a week ago we had found a clutch of pyramid orchids in our lanes. We sent a photo and he agreed that is what they were. They are very common here but these particular ones obviously arrive earlier than those at Najac. More on Michael's visit and orchid talk later.
Comments to

We have them in the Aveyron, but what are they?

La loutre est un animal particulièrement discret et craintif. Aussi, il est bien difficile de l'apercevoir. Comme pour d'autres mammifères, les connaisseurs détectent sa présence par ses excréments, composés des restitutions de son menu.

We have otters  that have returned to  the Aveyron. Last year we spotted one near the Moulin in Varen and its presence was confirmed by others. Worth knowing the French name is " La Loutre"

At Perpignan, a wife shoots her husband

Perpignan. Elle lui met une balle dans la tête pour son anniversaire

It was their wedding anniversary, they were drunk, the wife had suffered many attacks by her husband over the years. The husband an old army man was also in a gun club so had guns. At 68 years old the battered woman shot her husband in the head with a 357 Magnum. Sad story.

And yet another pesticide story.

Children in agricultural areas are being exposed to a dangerous cocktail of pesticides, some of which are banned substances, a French health and environment group has claimed.
Générations Futures did independent analysis of the hair of young people living or studying near farms and vineyards after parents expressed worries about their children being exposed to poisons that could disrupt their endocrine system.
The group, a non-profit organisation specialising in the use and effects of pesticides on humans and the environment, says its findings confirmed their fears.
Researchers took hair samples from a selected group of children aged between three and 10 living or attending schools between 50 and 200 metres from different agricultural zones. It sent the samples to an independent laboratory in Luxembourg that used methods similar to those employed by detectives investigating poisoning cases.
In 29 samples tested 624 pesticide traces were found, suggesting that 80% of the children had been exposed to agricultural pesticides in the previous three months. The laboratory found traces of 53 pesticides believed to affect mammals' hormone systems and capable of causing cancerous tumours, birth defects, developmental disorders and learning disabilities in humans.
An average of 21.52 distinct pesticides were found in each child; 35 endocrine disruptor pesticides were found at least once, while 13 types of pesticides were discovered in all the hair samples.
Just under three-quarters of the children ate organic food regularly, so the contamination likely came from an outside source, not their food.
Val says  I am so fed up of these stories, what does it take for everyone to take pesticides seriously?
This story in the Guardian

Protecting the bees

FARMERS in France will be banned from spraying pesticides during daylight hours to protect bees, under plans unveiled by agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll.

Spraying is already technically banned in the early morning, but many farmers have waivers, protecting them from sanction if they ignore the regulations. The new law will prevent spraying during daylight hours and there will be no exceptions. 

Val says  thank heavens for a little sanity
Comments to

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

La Seye et Vous at Verfeil

  Bonjour à toutes et à tous,
 Vendredi 2 mai sous la halle de Verfeil nous vous proposons un concert exceptionnel !
Le duo GILLES CARLES (guitare) et JEAN LUC AMESTOY (accordéon).

Ces deux atypiques, à la tension au moins égale à leur douceur, produisent une musique d’étals de marché, de randonnées pédestres, de pêche à la ligne…qui nous fait voyager dans une proximité évidente mais peut aussi, d’une cavalcade sur le manche ou d’un galop sur le clavier, nous téléporter à l’autre bout de l’empire européen de l’imaginaire ou même dans la campagne américaine, bien nommée « country » .
Ne tombons pas dans le piège : un accordéon et une guitare n’appellent pas obligatoirement des flonflons et un bal.
Oui, la musique de  Jean-Luc AMESTOY et Gilles CARLES s’entend où on l’attend pas !

Et si vous avez faim, nous vous aurons mijoté :
- Poulet korma
- Tajine végétarien
- Assiette mixte charcuterie-fromage
- Dessert maison

 Le service des repas se fera à partir de 19h jusqu'à 20h30.         
               Renseignements : 05 63 65 22 18.
   Comments to

Going Greek at Liberte des Anes

dear everyone
 our next lunch will be on thursday 8th may.  the menu this time will be Greek, so please come along and support the donkeys here at la volvene.
 we start with MEZZE, followed by
 LEMON & HONEY CHEESECAKE from the island of Siphnos, or
 You know our food will be delicious so we hope to hear back from you as soon as possible giving us your desert choices aswell. Thursday the 8th is only next week ......
 Thank you so much for your continued support.
 Liberte des Anes

Book and DVD swap Monday 5th of May

Hard to believe it is coming around again, book and DVD swap at St. Antonin Noble Val. As always at the Gazpacho 10.30am.
Comments to

Beautiful Puycelsi

Cup of tea tour - from Nev and Louise
We recently visited the fortified village of Puycelsi, where we were invited over for a cup of tea.  We later had the opportunity to wander around with a local expert on the village and take some pictures......Puycelsi is listed as one of  "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" and while meandering around the streets it is clear to see why as there has been extensive renovation works to many of the old properties here.  There are also some great views over the Grésigne Forest and Vère valley from the village as it is perched high up on a rocky plateau.

There is a walk around the ramparts where you can discover places such as Château des Capitaines Gouverneurs or the St Roch chapel with a statue of St Roch outside, complete with his dog which is also holding a baguette in its mouth, rumour has it that is why they bake French bread with such a hard crust.  Please note the date on the plinth of the statue refers to the age of the Chapel and not the birth date and death of St Roch as that really would be a miracle.  For the energetic you can extend your walk into the Grésigne Forest viewing the regional centre for ancient fruit trees on the way.  This centre has 750 varieties of fruit tree and over 100 grape varieties from all over the world.

Another location I wanted to see was the Church of St Corneille which has recently held a concert to raise funds for its renovation.  Typical for a medieval church, is the blue ceiling which is ornately decorated, I believe the colour blue symbolises the sky and the Gothic designs of this church do draw the eye upwards.  The pictures included are one of the ceiling and the other is of the interior. You might think that there are ghosts on the right but these are other visitors to the church and the ghostly effect is due to the long exposure of the shot and them moving around.

 Regards Nev.

Varen Post Office stays open, but we must use it

The Maire tells us the Post Office will remain open and the hours are
 Les heures d'ouverture sont inchangées en semaine :Lundi a vendredi de 9 heures à 12 heures et de 13 h 30 à 16 heures ; le samedi de 9 heures à 12 heures. Le départ des lettres et des colis déposés au guichet est fixé à 15 heures en semaine et à 12 heures le samedi.
Malc says: given the shortage of cash dispensers I opened a post office bank account so I do have access to cash during all the hours above, at all post offices and I often use Laguepie, which has slightly different hours.
Comments to

Our local chateau / landmark for sale

Belpech at St. Vincent de Varen is for sale. A 16 piece chateau with small grounds and another house in the grounds of 300sm. all with commanding views down along the valley of the Aveyron. When we came 12 years ago we often walked around the grounds admiring the derelict chateau, it was a stones throw from our then presbytere.
I was always led to believe there was nothing inside as it had been sacked by locals many years before. Looking at photos on an estate agents site, the salon certainly has its tremendous stone fireplace and floors and ceilings. I know that the outside has been cared for over the years.
The problem with the chateau is lack of grounds and privacy, which if you were paying nearly
700, 000 I think you would want. The owner in our mind was pretty foolish not buying a very close small ruin which was peanuts to buy. He waited for the price to be less than peanuts and the house was sold on to others. If I wanted to buy I would try and buy the very close property out, but these are only my views.
view of Belpech in autumn

Comments to

Concert at Cajarc with Peter Nowfel conducting

de l’ ORCHESTRE départemental d’ HARMONIE du LOT

à la salle des Fêtes de CAJARC

Au cours duquel seront données les œuvres travaillées pendant son stage annuel :    

  • L’Ouverture de GUILLAUME TELL de G. ROSSINI
  • Le Concerto de trompette de J.N. HUMMEL
  • La 1ère suite de l’ ARLESIENNE de G. BIZET
  • La musique du dessin animé « Chicken Run » 
  • La fantaisie « MOSCOU NIGHT » et un final surprise

En première partie nous entendrons l’ Harmonie des « Artisans Réunis » de FIGEAC que dirige Peter NOWFEL, dans son répertoire dynamique : 

  • Musiques de films d’ Ennio MORRICONE
  • 633è SQUADRON de Ron GOODWIN
  • Astor PIAZZOLA
  • Glenn MILLER
  • Paul BOUGON (jeune musicien et compositeur de l’Orchestre
  • « Birdland » jazzy de Joe ZAWINAL

Bonne Humeur de rigueur !                                                                                                                                                    
Entrée Libre     Peter Nowfel

Comments to

Cancer Support now having coffee and chat at Gaillac

Dear Val
Could you put a message onto Taglines please to say that we at CSF (Cancer Support France) are meeting for coffee and offering chat and  information  at the cafe des Sports in Gaillac on the 2nd Tues of alternate months.  Our first meeting will beon May 13th, then July 8th and Sept 9th.  Anyone is welcome to come and join us. Come and have a coffee and chat.   We will be there from 10 - 11.30 am.  

I am an Active Listener with the group and am organising these events along with the other members.  
many thanks
Jenny Harris

Val says  Such a good idea. I hope this idea grows and comes to St. Antonin and other local towns.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Fairing le pont / forget work from your mason in May

May is going to be a nice month of extra long weekends for most French workers, but it's not going to be of much help to the country’s limping economy.
Over the four and a half weeks of May, there were will be three public holidays and each happens to fall on a Thursday. That makes them prime candidates for what the French call ‘ponts’ or bridges in English, which are simply extended weekends and give workers the chance to head to the coast or into the country.

Country dancing in Les Halles

Our young neighbour Magali and young friend Anne Claire are organising these bals. They will start by teaching you the dances and then into the dance, fabulous music, young people,families, children all enjoying the danse.

Najac again

Dear Val,
As a Najacoise of nearly 25 years (not my age, rather the time I've lived here in the nearby countryside mi-temps) I like to hear and share people's positive views of Najac. However every time I drive to or past Cordes-Sur-Ciel I get goosebumps.  Such a wonderful sight to behold.  Still, there can be a place in our hearts for all these lovely villages/towns, St Antonin de Noble Val very much included!
Best wiahes,
Elly xxxx

Comments to

Becky and family love Najac

Hi Val, in response to your Najac posts we are huge fans of Najac! The hilltop town takes my breath away everytime on the drive up from Parisot, it's definitely my favourite view in the area. We took the kids there last year and made the steep journey up to the castle at the top. They loved exploring the ruin and although in previous years we've only visited in the summer, it will be nice to spend more time there 'out of season'. We're going to try out the canoeing there this year and take the kids along to a fun mini golf place in the nearby St-Andre-de-Najac!

Becky x

Champignons de printemps

Malc spotted  our elderly neighbour  Norbert , furtively going home with a bag. Malc stopped for a chat and asked what was in the sack. Norbert is "very canny" in letting you know what he has "ramassed " and he would certainly never tell you where he had ramassed them from.
He had a bag full of spring mushrooms, normal for this time of year, he told Malc and they are apparently delicious.
Comments to

We are planning something BIG, for the summer.

I cannot keep secrets but it will not be long before we can unveil our cunning plan.
 I will give you some clues but do not on pain of death mention to Malc that I have started talking about the event.
Think lovely outfits, think style, think chic, think jazz, think naked and unashamed fun.
Think the odd drink or two, think laughter, think friends, think sunsets.
Think is this going to cost me a fortune ?
The answer is no,  but pure unadultered pleasure on a summers eve is forecast.
Think Midsummer nights, think fairies, think love and romance.
We are going to take you swinging back to your youth ( remember that)   well watch this space!
Gosh, I get so excited.
Malc used to have one of those cool moustaches when he was young, the night we are planning will make us all remember those wonderful times, when you sported a moustache.
Comments to

Najac is magical

Apart from the first view of Saint Antonin on the drive from the airport, Najac is the most magical sight, we still visit every time we are here.
Kind regards
Pam Oakes

Comments to

Pub Quiz at Salvagnac

Signs we are becoming French

Signs that we are becoming French:  Saying 'bonjour' to strangers.  Stepping over dog poo outside shop doorways.
Comments to

Hat stand located: TAG works

Dear Val,

Thank you so much for putting my request on taglines and needless to say it
has worked brilliantly and a hat stand has been located.

Many thanks.
Love Judy XX

Last nights concert at Puycelsi

dear Val
Thank you for the lovely remarks about last nights concert.  We always appreciate your comments but this year I would really like to add my thanks to all who took part and as well as those who were to listen there in the less than perfect weather conditions. It was so cold during the rehearsal that Nicolas O'Neill wore a 'beany' to keep his now sparsely haired head warm and contemplated wearing it during the concert. Zena Baker had had a really nasty throat infection which made her soaring voice during Oh for the Wings of a Dove even more wonderful.

This year Mark Opstad has given us his organ on permanent loan and we have invested in very high quality speakers which will repay themselves soon by no longer having to rent an organ every time. So our commitment to continuing these concerts is there but nothing would be worth doing without the singers and audience so many of whom come to every concert we hold. Many of them arrive as a result of the publicity that TAG gives us so many thanks to you too for that.


Suddenly a sea of green before my eyes

As I sit writing TAG occasionally looking out of the window as the kestrel flies past, the view is just "too" green.
The vibrancy of  the colours and shades of green is overwhelming. I feel I need a knob to turn down the brightness, all the rain is just making everything shoot up and it feels in another few days as if we will be surrounded  by trees and long grass, as if in an enchanted castle, lost for ever.
Malc says " you and your vivid imagination!"
Comments to

Looking out for deer

Most of us see deer in the fields and lanes around our homes, but it is not just the "chasse" (hunters) which threatens these elegant, if destructive, creatures. Apparently they often give birth to their young in tall grassland and the fawns are programmed to remain inert to avoid predators. Fortunately there are not too many natural predators around here, but it seems that combine harvesters can be lethal as the babies just dont run away.
Many farmers have different methods of finding where the fawns are but German farmers are being helped by animal protection groups using drones to spot the deer, which can then be fitted with warning beacons.
Perhaps the chasseurs can be fitted with them so the deer know when they are coming...
comments to

Cordes sur ciel, a special place

700 000 touristes each year visit Cordes sur Ciel 

I wonder how many Najac gets. Although Cordes is wonderful, for me I love  Najac. Both magical villages in the sky.

Tax Return time again

Several people asked about the "official" rate for changing your GB pound income into euros when filling in your 2014 Declaration de Revenu. We are informed that it is 1:1.775 - though we have no confirmation of that from a Tax Office.
comments to

"That will give you something to write about"

The comment above was made by organiser Ross Jenkins as we left Puycelsi church last night.
He was right, it was a lovely evening, great choice of music in that unbeatable setting. Interested people know that the input of Mark Opstad, Nicholas O' Neill, Zena Baker and the Puycelsi choir make these concerts exceptional.
Many probably do not know that Ross and Ginny Jenkins have raised over 50,000 euros for restoration of the Church, by organising these concerts.
Well done to all concerned.
Comments to

Two local programmes of the area we love.

We have managed to download Escape to the Continent featuring Laguepie, Castanet and the area and also we are looking forward to seeing "Causses et Gorges de l'Aveyron" which we have copied.
If anyone does not have the knowledge or possibility of downloading let us know if you want to see them and we will arrange a viewing. Two friends have already asked to come.
We will see if we can project them on the big screen.
Comments to

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Wood, wood, wood and more wood.

Dear Rachel,
You could call Emile Bert (on behalf of Etienne in Salvagnac) at 0563670184. He lives between Caylus and Parisot.
All the best,
Comments to

Replay TV

Hello Val and Malc,French TV addicts
It is possible to use a program called Captvty which is available from (  to download French TV programmes to view on a computer.  When captvty is started it will list the available programs for download for each station, you can order on date aired or program type culture, sport etc. If a particular program is not visible there is an option to put that URL into the search function of Captvty and it will find the program if it is available.  There is also a facility to record live programs and even set up a future recording from the built in TV Guide. 
As it is for French TV then the program only supports French language but it is quite intuitive to use, it might even make French TV interesting.
Happy Viewing

Hi back Val,
I tried the link again and yes it has changed.  But I found this link.  Just scroll down and you'll see the video.

Hi again,
I also became friend with the show on facebook and here's a link to all the shows.
Malc says: the last two certainly work so we will be looking at the programme soon. You can also download a Pluzz TV app to do most of what Nev says above with Captvty, but to use a simple "iPlayer" like system is difficult as most programmes are only available for 7 days. But it seems there are ways round this (legitimately).
So we are looking forward to seeing "Causses et Gorges de l'Aveyron"
comments to

This lovely house for sale with superb views

Further information can be found by following this link: House for sale in Castelnau Montratier

Many thanks,

Steve & Liz Matthews

Expo at Abbaye de Beaulieu

Another Paon de nuit / Emperor Moth

What a surprise on our return to the house yesterday evening! A giant moth

sitting on the doorpost to the kitchen. And it hasn't moved at all, despite

being continually

 disturbed. I looked it up and it is the largest moth in

Europe. Shame that I am not an expert photographer - but thought it well

worth recording on the ipad.

No luck with the bed I'm afraid - people don't seem to want double beds

anymore - too small. Thanks for posting it anyway. I will see if Emmaus want it.

(Val says Shame about the bed, it is so pretty)
Kind Regards
Terri Lumb
Terry thinks it is a Great peacock moth and she may be right?  Gosh - how quick was that! Still think it's a Great Peacock Moth though

 because of its brown hairy head!     Comments to

Vernissage and exhibition

vernissage le samedi 3 mai à 18h
au PONT des ARTS  - 12330 Marcillac-Vallon 

EXPOSITION du 3 au 28 mai 2014
Nicole PFUND peintures, Didier SABY peintures, Gilles BONNIN, sculptures 

Concerts this evening

If you are not going to the choral concert at Puycelsi (and you will probably miss a treat), remember that the Ecole de Piano at Arnac has its weekly Vesperales concert at 6pm (18h). This week's programme is Bach, presumably Johan Sebastian and Malc wishes that could be downloaded for later!
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Techie thing

Wanting to watch the Laguepie programme we missed we decided to try via BBC iPlayer. Some of you know how all this is done, so look away now (or suggest something easier).
iPlayer is not available to most of us either via our satellite box or computer because the Beeb knows we are not in the UK and there are problems with broadcasting rights. So you need a VPN (virtual private network). This you download to your computer from the internet. We use Expat Shield (google it). Once you connect to it, it assigns an internet address that looks like a UK address and so fools the Beeb into allowing you to access iPlayer.
Having done this we found that our internet connection was too slow to "stream" the programme, which kept stopping to "buffer" and eventually gave up, telling us we had insufficient "bandwidth".
But iPlayer suggested we install the iPlayer Download app and then download the programme to be watched later without problems. So we did that and hey presto, "escape to the continent" was there to be watched at leisure. Many iPlayer programmes are now available for 30 days.
Please note that in an earlier post it was advised that you only use a VPN for these purposes and disconnect it for normal internet use.
Unfortunately the French programme "Causses et Gorges de L'Aveyron" on France 3 catch-up was only there for 7 days and gone by the time we wanted to look yesterday evening - nor does there appear to be a download facility to keep the programme for later.
comments to

Damp morning for the Laguepie Plant Fair

Normally one of the best days of the year in Laguepie, slightly marred this morning by a damp start.
We arrived at 8.30am quick off the mark for the pick  of those best plants. Actually we go early to avoid the queues and enjoy a coffee and croissant in relative calm.  We got our two Ikea sacks full of flowering plants ready for my hanging baskets and then installed ourselves at the Troubadour cafe. We were joined by other early birds whilst there, and one handed over 10 euros for a doggy charity, many thanks for that Sylvia.
Nearly at the car we met the couple from Norway,  Roger and Eileen now moved to Le Riols. They have been reading TAG for a year whilst in Norway and planning to come.
 Roger has been a professional gardener all his life and has worked for and with some starry names, Richard Branson, Elton John and the like. He was asked this morning about how he would feel judging a flower show and said he would happily accept the challenge. So with John and Debbie from Les Jardins des Espiemonts we will have no problem with judging.
We meet at last: Roger and Eileen

Programme change at Le Colombier

Important Update: Programme change for 10th May

Michael Lunts’ award-winning one-man show, A Meeting of Minds
will be our first event for FET at Le Colombier 
on 10th May (doors open at 6.30 )

This extraordinary blend of music and drama recreates the remarkable encounters

between Sergei Rachmaninov and his hypnotist, Dr. Dahl,
which led to the creation of the Second Piano Concerto.
Rachmaninov’s best-loved composition, forever associated with the film Brief Encounter,
will be played live by Michael Lunts as the intriguing story unfolds.
We already have 60 bookings, so if you are interested please contact us soon and don’t forget, there are only 120 seats at Le Colombier…
The show originally scheduled for May 10th, Kemp’s Jig, unfortunately had to be cancelled.
Sadly, Chris Harris is seriously ill and is unable to be here.
Many of you have already bought your tickets and of course if you prefer not to attend,
we will either refund your tickets or hold them for a further event. If so please contact.....Nigel Baillie  Tickets are 15 euros for members,20 euros for non members
We are sure you will not be disappointed;
Michael Lunts has an enormous following and has taken his many one-man shows around the world to great acclaim.

Friends of English Theatre at Le Colombier
Le Chevalier Noir

Wonderful mornings in South West France

Oh, to be in South West France,
Now that April's here
And whoever wakes in South West France
Sees some morning unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the oak treebole are in tiny leaf,
While the nightingale sings on the orchard bough
In South West France now.
Plagerised from Home-Thoughts, from Abroad is a poem by Robert Browning. It was written in 1845 while Browning was on a visit to northern Italy.
Val says  We are rushing to get off to the plant fair, getting parked as near as possible to the plants is useful for us. So the above is a TAG filler.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Making a show of ourselves

You will remember me putting on information on TAG about our village  flower show in England, Binfield Heath  Flower Show just outside Henley. Malc and I were very pleased in our first entries to win the prize for chutney with my Mother's prize winning recipe, and also the first prize for our apples and second prize for our plums.  We were very impressed with the whole event and really fancy doing the same thing here in our village in Varen.
Martine Lyon at Puylaroque also fancied doing a similar thing in their village, as does Debbie from Les Jardins des Espiemonts.
Having talked about it one can see quite a bit of thought and preparation would be needed to get it "just right"
Martine and I both agreed we would like to do it in our villages using salle des fetes and outside space around those areas and we have to arrange it for everyone not just our compatriots.
My plan now is to talk to all the French organisers of the summer activities and alert them to what I am planning  and then get  a mixed  nationality team  ready for for next summer and
A friend has given me information about their summer fete near Canterbury and it is really useful info. to work with. Below is a dish of prize winning runner beans, on a white plate, the right number and equal length, well done Liz. I have just noticed it was the novice class!
Prize winning beans

Early next Spring I will give details of plant and flower categories, cakes and flower arranging etc. That will give you time to grow your exceptional leeks or sweet peas.
Comments to

Firewood ... please

Dear Val,
My name is Rachel Wright , over the past 7 years bought a ruin and renovated it, completing in 3 years ago.I am currently staying at our house in St Grat, Vailhourles for three months.
I am running out fire wood from our log store from last year, due to the current weather! Could you please let me know of a reliable source of fire wood for my 2 wood burners. I don't have any extra heating yet as that still has to be put in later this year.
Hope you can help,
Many thanks,

Val says  Can anyone help Rachel find a wood man ?
Comments to

Plant Fair in Bruniquel

comments to

Guided tours of Penne Chateau in May

La Forteresse médiévale de Penne et les guides de l’AGIT vous proposent des visites guidées afin de découvrir le site, son architecture, les travaux de restaurations engagés pour sa sauvegarde, son évolution.

Dates: Dimanche 1er mai, 8 mai, 29 mai
Horaires: 15h et 16h30
Durée: 1h environ
Horaires du site: En semaine de 14h à 18h
Les week-ends et jours fériés de 10h30 à 12h30 et 14h à 19h
comments to

English books tomorrow in the Salle des fetes, St. Antonin

please could you announce the "vide-bibliothèque" on the blog a second time as we forgot to specify that English books will also be proposed.
The salle des fêtes will host the sale : it appears that rain will be our lot tomorrow.*:( Tristesse
Many thanks
Comments to

Albi marathon tomorrow

Hi ValJust in case anyone was thinking about going to Albi tomorrow for a jolly day out. It's the marathon/half marathon and 10k.  So if anyone is going, give the runners a cheer.
Comments to

Wine tasting and Food at Relais Mont Le Viaur St Andre De Najac

Hi Val and Malcolm
Thank you for a delightful lunch yesterday, good food and wine with the added pleasure of meeting some new people.
The wine tasting went well; last night, 38euro for Formule Vins et Repas which we considered good value, the wine was from Chateau Grezan  who are based near Fougeres, some of the reds were very good. I am not sure if you know the Relais Mont Le Viaur in St Andre, its about our third visit , we certainly rate it 4 out of 5, they apparently hold the wine tastings regularly , I believe each month ...definately worth watching out for.
thanks once again
c u soon
joan and frank xx
Val says  The restaurant in TOFs has got reviews, one from us I think.

Laguepie on BBC2

Morning Val,
Tried to have a look at this, but of course i am not set up with a dish or whatever is needed. However, I did bookmark it to Favourites, just to see whether it still works when I am back in UK. Sent the info to my son, however, so that he can have a peep at one of his favourite haunts.  By the way, if the rain stays off, I'll pop into the real life Laguepie tomorrow for the garden and produce (Foire de Printemps?) market.
Happy gardening,
Val says
You can now only watch it on your computer by putting on a VPN, whatever that is. Fortunately Malc  knows how.
We are Laga fans, got the "T" shirts and will also be at the best plant fair in the area .... bar none. We find those big blue Ikea bags are great for carrying away your plant purchases.
Comments to

You prefer reading the news than making it

All our friends now say "don't put this on TAG" when we are talking to them, as if I would be that indiscreet!
Now yesterday's friends over lunch told us ;
M&S have no plans to come to Toulouse at the moment, even though the Paris outlet is doing better than English ones.  One of Frank and Joan's sons works for the company in Paris.
Frank plays trombone here in a big band at Albi,  17 piece. It is called Monday Jazz Band and the contact is Gilbert Petit  and website details are
Sally Bradshaw the lady with a beautiful voice could after negotiations be thinking of  "a night of song" at the Theatre at Les Cabannes . Sally  classical soprano has the most beautiful voice and if this comes off I will be in the front row. ( if possible)
Bonny has fractured bones in her nose  from digging, giving her a little dent. It has reset itself and is not painful. I had wondered what the dinge was but it was confirmed by a lunching vet who will remain unnamed . As he is retired now,  with all the pets about he could be constantly pestered if he was not careful.
Val Hughes who is taking over as Commodore at the Regatta will work with Malc this year to continue making this such a special day. A couple of Val's friends will also be helpers, the date for the Regatta will be Wed. 20 th of Aug. It was decided that the boules game will be brought back in after the picnic.
Now how was all that for tactful!
To get the best news plying with a little wine gives me the best stories. Sadly yesterday' friends were circumspect.
Comments to

Signs to show you are becoming French

Lower down is a post about a new book " 90+ ways of being French"  I thought we could think between us of at least 10 ways can't we?
1.  Eating cheese and salad course before dessert ... definitely French but we do it now.
2. Calling your trailer  a remorque, or a betonnier  a betonnier..  what is a bettonnier in English? (cement mixer)
3. Our renters are " locateurs" not renters. They rent our gite,  not as they say  when they write, a villa.
4. Saying bonjour Messieurs,dames  when you go into the doctors
There are 4 to get you started, bet you can come up with more.

Hi Val
 Signs that show you're becoming French:
 You have loyalty cards for Simply Market, Carrefour Contact, Leclerc and every DIY shop within a 50km radius.
 You no longer take any notice of No Parking signs.
 You take your dog into a restaurant.
 You have learnt to say ‘Re-bonjour’ with confidence when you meet someone for the second time in a day.
 You don’t worry about holding up the traffic when you spot a friend as you’re driving along and fancy a chat.
 You actually fill in the Orange customer satisfaction questionnaire.
 You no longer need a dictionary when visiting the doctor, dentist or hairdresser (on second thoughts, the latter might be a bit rash…).
 You keep your shutters closed to keep the heat in in winter and out in summer (apart from a couple of weeks in early May and mid-September).
 You say “Ce n’est pas grave’ automatically whenever anyone apologises to you for anything.
 You buy three apples and a banana in the market and pay by cheque.
 You take a large carrier bag with you every time you visit the pharmacy.
 You wait happily and patiently while the shop assistant gift wraps a biro for the customer in front of you.

Bonjour Val
tu es bien francophone maintenant : tu emploies le mot "bisous". Bravo!

Val says  at this rate we will be able to write our own book!