Thursday, 31 December 2015

All good wishes for the New Year everyone

Becoming one of the most photographed houses in St Antonin

Such a pretty house on the river, this one of Val and Alan Palmer.
Photo by Sophie Hautefeuille
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Burns Supper in Penne?

The poster below is an agenda of things happening in and around Cordes next month.
On the 27th there is a Burns Supper in Penne *- doesn't say if in French or Scots. How will they translate "sleekit" etc?
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We live and learn

Hi Val

Well we live and learn! No matter how long you have studied French and lived
in France there are always things to learn. Having been gaily wishing
everyone Bonne Annee for several days now, I find that the French have a
little superstition which reminds me of my mum’s horror if anyone put up
their new calendar before January 1st. Apparently, it is bad luck to wish
anyone Bonne Annee until midnight tonight. So for the rest of the day it is
still Bonnes Fetes and nothing more.
So we will stay in English to wish you and Malc a Very Happy New Year 2016.
Hope you have a great time with your adopted family tonight
L & S
Val says,  yes we now say  " bonne  fin d'année" till tomorrow.
Happy New year to you both for tomorrow!
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Glynis " cake lady" is a grandma

Glynis Howgego  has become a Grandma, delivered her grand daughter on the bathroom floor, well done Glynis.
Glynis wants to say that if anyone wants the flat offered they could have it for free.
See earlier post.
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Not sure who donated this computer...

... but it is being put to good use.
Thank you  whoever it was.
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France is on high security for the New Year

Prefectures up and down France are on high security against threats of terror. Cars around Toulouse are being searched on motorways and there are calls for vigilance.  One reason I think fireworks may not be a good idea up on the heights of the Bosc. One can imagine bangs being heard by a local farmers wife, who would then be on the phone to the gendarmes saying " gun shots have been heard up at Rehoboth.
The guys have had enough problems to handle and we certainly do not want anymore. Just let me tell you one night Gareth, Laura, Sid, Malc and I will be arranging a big fête with fireworks, but at a calmer time!
Unless the pompiers give us the go ahead.

A spike in readers numbers

1,389 readers yesterday. What caused the spike?
I think it was the heading from  Ann in New Zealand  " photos of dead babies"
There are some sick people in the world.
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Diego, is now Dougal

Hi Val
On Dougal
We can't really fault him. He is very affectionate and very intelligent and is
quickly learning to respect traffic and to walk on a lead in a disciplined
way in the village. He says he supports Wales for the Rugby and Histon for
soccer but he hopes Boro do well too.
Better photos to follow we hope.
Certain you will see in 2016 very memorably, will be thinking of you all.
Valerie Maxwell
Val says another dog who has fallen on his paws (an explanation for the French, we say when someone is lucky they have fallen on their feet)
Comments to

Cahors museum to close

The Musee Henri-Martin was opened in 1929 to house the works of the eponymous artist, housed in a former episcopal palace. But given the nature of the building and the number of reserve collections only a third of the space is used to show art works. The museum is to close for several years for a basement to attic remodelling, plus a new entrance more easily accessible from the town.
The work should cost about 6 million euros.

comments to

Nous sommes le jeudi trente et un decembre

Unhappy girls at Mas del Sol
Early morning hee haws as the girls called for their partners the boys, all to no avail.
As with us all usually the ladies call and the men come running ( ha! ha! if only) but that is how it normally works with donkeys. Then when the males arrive they often get a good kicking from Rosie for not being there to protect them. Filou took his role as protector of the herd seriously, no hunting dogs allowed in his field.
We must spend more time with them today brushing and cuddling to settle them down.

I was asked to go and help with food shopping for the boys today and it probably sounded a lame excuse, I need to brush the donkeys!!
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Seeing in the New Year on a dry note

Watching BBC news the meteo/ weather forecast has said the UK will be bringing in the New Year on a dry note, no rain forecast.
Well for the happy band of revellers up at Rehoboth will also be bringing in the New Year on a dry note.
We have been warned alcohol is banned in a CADA, a welcome centre for refugees.
 The young men generally do not drink alcohol but we Brits and French certainly do.
We have talked about it and decided we can show restraint and still have a good time, so the happy group will be there with the boys helping them celebrate.
Then it is unlikely we will be allowed to have fireworks, the Prefecture advised against it but we are checking with the pompiers to ask their advice... but fireworks are not looking good.

Regardles of this we are determined the boys will have a New Year to remember and they are excited for a party. Lovely things to eat, song and dance and a welcome for the young men to their new country France.
ps you can see why the TAG office was in turmoil yesterday.
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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

You wonder how they are getting on !

You know how we all fell in love with shy Diego and could not bear for him to go to a refuge.
Brother in law St. Tudor paid to have him castrated to give him a better chance of being rehomed, but still a big dog is hard to place.
The Maxwell's wanted to give him a chance and I have been wondering how he was doing.
Well what do you think of this?
Does it look like one happy dog and one happy family?
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A warning that you and your family will be killed

As I sit with my ipad up at Rehoboth,  one young man after another comes to talk.
Mateen who was beaten and tortured before he arrived has had two hospital visits for headaches and is now feeling much better with medication.
Shazeb has shown me letters he received from the Taliban saying if he continued working with the World Health Organisation he would be killed and then they would kill his family. If he went to the Police they would be killed straight away. The  terror document is stamped as official.
When they shot at him, his Mother said he must leave quickly. That is why he is here.
Malik has just been with pictures of his Father who he last saw 5 years ago and now believes must be dead. He is very proud of him and is so pleased I am interested.
I am now facebook friends with numerous teachers at Universities  around the world, all thanking us here for helping the young men and hoping we can get them to be able to continue their sudies.

How can any of us deny the suffering of these young men and if we can help them we will.
Malc has been talking football and cricket and they all know about Middlesbrough.
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Bye bye Filou and Coco

Tears in our eyes as after two years the male donkeys we have looked after went off to pastures new at Espinas, with owner Julia. They loaded into the cattle truck without any problem which amazed us all. The pile of hay waiting for them in the truck did the trick.
Both Malc and I feel sad and I am sure the donkeys will be unsettled for a few days. I told Rosie and Lucy "look at it this way, more hay for you" Rosie flicked her tail and hee hawed but I was not sure if it was in agreement.
Comments to

First outing with Naz

Hi Val
We completed a slow 12km this morning.  He is not used to our lovely hilly countryside!! He kept telling me Sudan is flat. I told him that here is not, so he needs to get out more & quit smoking.
Hoping for a longer run on Sunday if he can keep up.

K on the Bosc who runs faster than a runner from Sudan (for now anyway!!)

2 nights at Ax Les Thermes

Hi val
My daughter has gone into labour - can you put this up please

New Years Eve in Ax Les Thermes
2 nights at domaine de Vallee d'ax
Studio apartment for 2 people
Check in 4 - 7
Check out 8 -11
Bargain 100€ or make us an offer
Val say how exciting for Glynis... anyone up for the offer?
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We pass this everytime we drive to St. Antonin

The old Feneyrols station, some of these stations have a real charm.
Photo by Sophie Hautefeuille
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Evening for women of Mali

You may remember that we supported a scheme "120 Femmes" to enable women in Mali to establish a communal garden, where they grow their own produce, selling the surplus. So successful was this that a second garden is planned and an evening of music from soprano Catherine Mayoly and Jean Louis Delage, plus a Malian meal has been arranged at the Domaine de Sautou to support this.
To reserve telephone or email Winnie Nosal.

Lost dog found

A family in the Tarn lost their dog, Fanny, in December last year and despite widespread searches were unable to trace her. In Trebes, Aude, the gendarmes were called this week to a commercial centre where a dog had taken refuge from the noise of Christmas fireworks and because Fanny is tattooed they were able to trace her owners.
picture from Aude gendarmerie
She spent a comfortable night at the home of a gendarme, even "squatting" the agent's own dog's basket. A tearful reunion was held the next day.
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Nous sommes le mercredi trente decembre

Wonderful red sky, wondered about taking a picture but we have so many pictures now of beautiful skies.
 Today Coco and Filou leave us, so feel a bit sad.
Just discovered we have no phone line.. just when you need it urgently.
A bit of a flap on in the TAG  office.
Thanks to Rob for pointing out I had written Novembre.. had a bit of a morning!!
Comments to

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Sonny Bill Williams tweets graphic images of dead children after visiting Syrian refugee camps

Hi Val

I thought you would be interested in this story I found on MSN: Sonny Bill Williams tweets graphic images of dead children after visiting Syrian refugee camps

New Zealand
Val says I like hearing from Ann but I do not know if I can cope with graphic images of dead children. Having clicked the link, there are no such pictures although there has been. It is the rugby players story of helping UNICEF in a camp.
Comments to

Book and Dvd swap Monday 10.30 am

First Monday of January 2016  is the 4 th, so the book swap will be as usual at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin starting at 10.30 am.
Look forward to seeing you all there.
Comments to

Saint Antonin, Quercy Rouergue

 Two sites on facebook you may enjoy looking at
Varen: un village en images    and
Saint Antonin, Quercy- Rouergue
Lovely photos of the area by local photographers.
Comments to

It could be his granny

We are informed by a well travelled friend that Pashtuns are excellent gardeners, but whilst out in the fields the gardeners all have guns on their backs. This photo sent from a young man from Iran which at first I assumed to be his granny. It is was sent to me however to show how people on the Iran Afghanistan borders are always fearful for their lives so stay armed.
We know we condemn the US for its gun culture but how sad a country peasant needs such protection.
Be grateful for the life we lead.
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New Years Eve and New Years Day

A New Years Eve party up at Rehoboth kicking off at 8.30 pm.
Everyone welcome to celebrate a truly multi national start to the New Year.
France, Britain, Holland, Belguim, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan,Ireland, and probably many more nationalities united as one.
Make the new year start in the right way and with Gareth Brown in charge of fireworks and Sid making a bonfire it should all go with a bang.
You need to bring a dish to share (no pork please)
Come join in and make this the start of a year that 17 young men will remember, their start in a new country, soon to be their country France.
Vive la France.

New Year's Day starting at 2.30 will be the international Cricket Match, where as I speak the new cricket ball will be being thrown in practise. As the boys rolled the ball in their hands I heard " great ball for spinning" So expect another foreign language coming up, people with short square legs, and googlies, silly mid offs and the like.
For the French reading and trying to translate please do not ask!
How about bringing some cakes for tea, and then tea in the pavilion afterwards.
Very British and apparently very Pakistani and very Afghan.
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French postal charges

Hi Val

French postal charges go up again on 1st January by another 3-4% (after 7% last year), but at least letter pricing become less random.  If you can weigh your letters at home, you'll have less need of the counter at La Poste in the new year.  However the very useful category for letters 20-50g is no more - above 20g we'll now pay for 100g.

Here are the new letter charges:

Within France:  <20g 70c for lettre verte or 80c for prioritaire.  <100g use 2 stamps, <250g use 4 stamps, <500g use 6 stamps, <3kg use 8 stamps.
EU destination: < 20g €1, <100g use 2 stamps, <250g use 5 stamps, <500g use 8 stamps, <3kg use 14 stamps
Rest of World:   <20g €1,25, <100g use 2 stamps, <250g use 5 stamps, <500g use 8 stamps, <3kg use 14 stamps

Packets and parcels outside France but within the EU:

<100g can go as a letter for €2,00 if less than 3cm thick, otherwise €12,15. <250g €5,00 if less than 3cm thick, otherwise €12,15, <500g €8,00 if less than 3cm thick, otherwise €12,15, <1kg €14,00 if less than 3cm thick, otherwise €14,85, <2kg €14,00 if less than 3cm thick, otherwise €16,50. <5kg no letter option available, so €21,20, <10kg €35,00, <30kg €58,00.

The good news is there's still time to buy stamps at 2015 prices!
Comments to

So much to learn about other cultures

More pictures sent to me today, the mother of those small children, and a beautiful picture of Konar, their land.
Interesting the meal and how it is eaten.
 All the boys when they came followed our rules and eat at tables with knives and forks as we do.
Now feeling more relaxed they are starting to do what they are most comfortable with. The boys all cooked their own highly spiced  meal last night put it into great big bowls, some knelt on the floor in a circle, others sat around a bowl at a table and with fingers, all shared the meal. We had eaten but they insisted we join in, "a man eating on his own is a very unhappy man" they said.
They are now rejecting the food sent in and want to be more independent, which is as it should be.
Comments to

Forest fires in December

The departments of Ariege and Haute Pyrenees have both been affected by numerous fires in wooded areas, with over 900 hectares destroyed. The prefectures have forbidden the traditional practice of "ecobuage", burning fields to rid the land of vegetation, clearing weeds and bushes and providing a form of enrichment to the soil.
Pompiers have warned that with dry vegetation and forecasts of strong winds in the mountains there is a high risk that ecobuages will be uncontrollable.
comments to

Martin Malvy leaves after 16 years

On the 1st of January Martin Malvy will quit his post as head of the region Midi Pyrenees. After 16 years he has made his positive mark on the region. A new era commences on the first of January

Rain through the night and donkey news

Well that has got to be headline news, how long is it since we had rain?
It is still warm and at the moment it is hard to tell what the day will do, blue sky with massing grey clouds to the West.
Looking out on the donkeys happily grazing little knowing that tomorrow after two years Julia has found a farm to rent and the two boys Filou and Coco will be leaving for Espinas. Thank goodness we are now well fenced so the girls cannot go on walkabout looking for their boyfriends. I hope Julia is also well fenced as the couple of times we have put them in different fields it was always Filou who broke out looking for the girls.
Comments to

Nous sommes le mardi vingt neuf decembre

Can you remember the big dog Gitane we rehomed, now called Hettie? She has a big labrador friend Rasta but her owners have just adopted this puppy. The puppy is being mothered by Hettie and all three are getting on so well. I love hearing good stories of dogs we have managed to get adopted.
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Monday, 28 December 2015

Anne Claire teaches Ayman petanque

Anne Claire and friend teaching Ayman the principles and tactics of the game.
Anne Claire, we have never seen stances quite like that whilst playing.
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Three little children without their father

Here I am sitting in France listening to stories which sadden my heart. Misbahullah from Pakistan has been telling me why he spent 7 months coming to France. Leaving behind his wife and two children, whilst he was in Turkey he heard that his third child a precious boy had been born.
Why did you leave your wife and children I asked ?
My village was all Taliban and I had to leave or be killed. I was a student of medicine and the Taliban did not like that.
Yesterday he spoke to his young wife on the phone who was crying and sad.
What is the future for this family.
Well at least they are all alive and in time we hope his wife and children will be able to join him here in his new adopted country France.
We wish them well, and hope the New Year brings them safety and a life back together.
I also spoke  on the phone to and became a facebook friend of Misbahullah's Professor of English in Pakistan. He wanted to thank me for taking care of his pupil and friend,it makes one feel so humble.
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Bread being sold in Pakistan

What design do you want on your bread today Sir?
A photo sent to me as interesting, and it is.
Comments to

A young boxer cross needs a home

A 4 year old girl needs a home tather urgently. She is very good on walks and will walk beside you without a lead, not running off.
She does not like other female dogs but is fine with males. She would chase cats so best not with a cat family.
Contact me if you would like more information.

Misbahullah Jalili enjoys the sun

Malc and I are on duty tonight so will see the boys then. We are getting messages and photos. This young man had nearly finished his training as a Doctor before he was forced to leave. Last night he tells me he went to a "discu" in St. Antonin which was very good.
Comments to

Art with Rana

Hi Val
The art project I wish to create with the lads is a World Peace Collage using positive images and words in French and English.
With my English teaching I have discovered that people tend to learn a language faster if they are working with images and colours.
Please can you ask people to donate any French or English magazines that they may be throwing out and to bring them to Réhoboth if they can.
Also if the lads have fotos of their loved ones and family it will be good to get fotocopies of them that they can add to the collage surrounded by blessings and positive words.
Is there a colour printer that works?
The first session is next wednesday evening grace to my car getting me there
Also we will need more scissors if any one can spare them for cutting out words and images

Val says we have not got a colour printer there but if  you ask around maybe people can copy some for them.

Doing well the Boro but, can I live with this?

Our neice, new husband and their boys, want shooting!!
Not only do I have to live with the real thing which admitledy has its pleasant moments but for Christmas as well as a donation for the refugees they have sent Malc a Middlesbrough statue. Malc for a laugh has superimposed his photographic likeness.
Not only that but in the parcel a pink bobble hat with Boro on the front,  ...  actually I look quite fetching in it.
Malc has stood the dare I call it monstrosity,  in pride of place in the salon, as a constant reminder of his team.
Comments to

Lovely memories of Christmas 2015

The dining room at the Llevant at Llafranc, Jill and I by the window looking out over the traffic free pavement to the sea. Malc had been admiring artwork.
Now a lovely memory stored away of our three night break. The cost for each of us around  330 euros including wines and champagne cocktails, lovely interesting meals and the dogs happy with sandy paws. Bonny did say digging on the beach was a waste of time, just no mice to be found!
But that was the only complaint.
Comments to

"Racists of Corsica, remember who freed you in 1944"

Attacks on a Muslim prayer room in Corsica, including injuries to pompiers and police, have led to much indignation and anger these last few days. The leader of the Muslim council of France reminded Corsicans that in the liberation of France in 1944 it was a brigade of Muslim soldiers drawn from the Mahgreb who actually freed the island from the German occupation.
It is well known that soldiers from African and Asian countries were an important part of the Allied effort to free Europe from the Nazis, but these facts are conveniently overlooked by the racists. Perhaps those Corsican Muslim haters would have preferred the Petain regime to have survived! (see below).
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Protect songbirds

A petition worth signing.... 400,000 songbirds killed every year in Europe....
Where is the anti chasse petition you gave details of Val ( a while back) we wanted to sign & never got around to it... nice to have you back xx

Val says I will look for it later, I know we signed.

Comments to

But why did she do it?

Marie-France Esteve was known well beyond the little town in Haute Pyrenees where she died on Saturday aged just 62. She had been suffering from breast cancer for some years and the knowledge had increased her desire - to become the most tattooed woman in France.
Her first tattoo was when she was 15 and since then she has had hundreds of designs inked by over 40 artists, including, apparently many of the country's best. The designs often reflected some incident in her life, which was described in her autobiography as "brutal". She did ensure that the areas treated with radiotherapy were left uncoloured.
comments to

Petain meeting Hitler, a picture to illustrate Nazi collaboration

Starting on Monday,  the archives can be "freely consulted" by the civil service, citizens and researchers "subject to the declassification of documents covered by national defence secrecy rules," according to a decree.

The Vichy regime, led by World War I hero Philippe Petain, collaborated with the invading German army from 1940-1944.
   France has a painful relationship with this portion of its past, when the government helped the Nazis deport 76,000 Jews from its territory during the war.

Val says   if you have ever read about Petain you will know that he was a Fascist hater of Jews and it was a period in France that you dread ever arriving again. Which is why we must speak out before people like this gain footholds again. I imagine the documents will throw even more light on this terrible period.

Famiiar voice says goodbye

Joel Collado. Pic MaxPPP
Those of you who listen regularly listen to France radios Inter and Info will recognise the voice of "M. Meteo" the Toulousain Joel Collado, who has presented weather bulletins live in the early morning (and often at other times) for more than 20 years. But no more as the distinctive tones were heard for the last time yesterday. M. Collado has not seen his contract renewed, without explanation he says. He remains an employee of Meteo France but others will be reading the bulletins.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt huit decembre

Back home to lovely weather still forecast and the sky is blue at 8am
Malc tells me it is the second warmest winter on record in the SW of France.
We got home to a post box with the cheques from supporters of our boys.
I do not know how much has been taken into the centre yet but here we have about 1,000 euros.
I have given some money to cover administration costs to Anais and tonight when Malc and I have our shift, we will know how much our appeals have taken overall.
We have 3 laptops coming which need cleaning and we have still have clothes coming in.
Whilst we have been away people who work normally have been holding the fort and the boys have had meals and trips out.
The boys have been downloading the French National anthem to learn and are having French lessons twice a day. They are young and bright and will learn quickly and they will soon be filling in applications to continue University courses or further study. Even  the young man with the MBA in Finance wants to continue his studies here in France.
As the new year approaches we can see for them at last a bright future.
 Our hopes that in other centres through out France, similar groups are settling in.
Comments to

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Hunting is not a game or a sport.

An emotional Facebook message from the widow of a man killed when he was accidentally shot by a hunter while running in the French Alps has given renewed weight to those calling for a crackdown on the sport.
The grieving widow of a man killed by a shot to the head in a hunting accident in the French Alps has spoken out accusing the hunters of “killing” her loved one.In a moving message that has been shared nearly 30,000 times on Facebook, the woman named Mélanie described the moment her husband, the father of their two children, was killed while they were out for an afternoon jog.The pair were trail running on Saturday December 5th on the slopes of Mount Semnoz in the French Alps.
Her husband Gael Lavy, was shot in the head by a 20-year-old hunter, who apparently mistook him for a boar.But in her Facebook message Mélanie slams those responsible for her husband’s death, in a message that will further enhance the arguments of those calling for a crackdown on the sport.
Here’s her message:
“It has been many year’s since I have written anything on Facebook, but now it’s different…“It was me who held him in my arms for 15 minutes before the paramedics came, his head blown apart.“On this Saturday December 5th, we did not come across any sign on the paths we took.“We did however cross paths with a hunter around 100 metres before the shot was fired. We said hello to him but he did not respond, instead he turned his back, rather than making us aware that there were six or seven hunters higher up the track.“We were speaking loudly, I was dressed in pink and blue, the ground was open and we were about 10 metres from the road that goes up to Semnoz.“One minute later, I heard a terrible shot and I turned around to see my husband was on the ground, the bullet had blown his jaw apart“On that day, we followed the rules, not them. On that day, my husband was not the victim of an accident, he was killed. On that day, we came across murderers.
“Hunting is not a game.“My husband was 1.82m tall and weighed 83 kilograms, and looked nothing like a wild boar.“He was handsome, he had two little girls. We were happy.
“What are we meant to do now?”
Val says yet another hunting death that will be classed as an accident. If it was Malc I would feel like that lady, it is a crime.
Taken from the Local

The trees have gone and the initial plan is definitively abandoned.

An agreement has been reached between the state and the conseil generale: the initial project has been abandonned at the barrage of Sivens.
Sad that so many trees were cut down and a young man Rémi Fraisse a young ecologist was killed protesting against it.

A collage from Rana

Hola, Val y Malcolm

It sounds like you had a good time in Spain. Sète was great, too, and all
three of us thoroughly enjoyed the first time Athos was really able to run
free on the beach. A great relief that he came back, too!!

Rana is really keen on doing weekly collage classes using global images and

French and English words cut out of newspapers. Could you please put out a
request on TAG for old magazines for the guys to cut up, and as you can see
she is also after a large round picture of Earth?
Comments to

Setting off back home

TAG will be continued later in the day when we arrive home.
Our French neighbour has emailed to tell us the donkeys and cats have been well looked after so now
it is " home James"
Comments to

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt sept decembre

Oooh, oll people in hwouse miss you Mamy Val
they say where Mamy Val
We miss you Mamy Val
We miss you Mamy Val
and Malcom
Val says my first message this morning, what a lovely thing to wake up to.
Actually when I think about it, it could be Malik's birthday today.
His father missing 5 years presumed killed along with his then 13 year old brother. His mother and sister no longer contactable after 8 months. Malik I think will not be happy today.
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Saturday, 26 December 2015

Boxing day delight

We have had lovely day finished off by a lovely evening meal where each course we discussed with interest.
Malc had decided he would go a là carte just for a change but we were told there was just one meal. What a meal!
Cod fish marinated with bitter orange and olive
Two colour squid tagliatelle
Light consummé with baby vegetables
Roasted meat cannelloni with truffle sauce

Croquant aux pommes et à la vanille
Amusements douces a noel

Sadly we are going home tomorrow.
We have recommended this family hotel to others who are now  aficionados, but there is a  point where you  think, let us keep it to ourselves. Jill is now as keen as we are and is planning her next visit  here.
What a lucky find we made when we  first booked this hotel years ago.
Comments to

At the house of Dali

We liked the man on the wall but did wonder about the double, dare I say penis or would it be penis's
or may be better, double appendages.
The lip sofa, we liked but were not sure about the four swans Dali had as pets and stuffed them when they died.
All very interesting though.
Comments to

We can change the world, let us try for 2016

Hi Val
Some seasonally good (enough, all things considered) news. Things less awful for the Calais refugees than they might otherwise be thanks to so many of you. Thought you may like to read about it. 

Val says - a great article which had me in tears. These people, thousands of them should be dealt a better hand than living in a muddy cesspit being helped by hundreds of us all , but not by governments.
 Governments who are so scared to show their humanity at the cost of losing votes to the  fanatical extreme right.
At some point one has to stand up and be counted;  on the side of humanity or not. 

I was brought up a Christian, in my case  C of E. I attended a church school and I went every Sunday to Sunday school. My first ever  glowing reference was from Canon Parks our vicar.
I do not know now  if I believe in a GOD or Allah or any other religious being but I do know and respect the ten commandments and all the lessons I was taught at Church and sunday school.
 Do not walk on the other side of the road if you see a beggar...  go to him and help him.
Love your neighbour as yourself.. be he of another colour or creed.

Now I know most of us at my age or even younger Cof E or RC were taught and told these lessons.
Did we listen and understand? I certainly did and know what is right and wrong.
What did politicians learn at school and Sunday school?
Surely the vast majority of us must  remember. If you take a moment to think back you will understand much more and help us all that are working to help other people less fortunate.. does not matter who, could be Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Pakistani, Iranian, Welsh man etc.
JUST get out and help and if you cannot think how contact me and I will point you in the right direction.
No complaining  letters please about being lectured, just think of how your parents would have wanted you to behave and help ( unless of course your parents were also uncaring sh***s)
We all have a chance to right wrongs and let us improve 2016 for humanity.

Also thanks to Liz and Robert for sending 8 new Arabic / French dictionaries for
 the boys

Salvador Dali's coastal home is at Port Lligat

Now if we three holidaymakers had studied enough we would have know that and not spent wasted time driving round the miniscule back streets of Cadaques, going deeper and deeper into the maze.
Bear this in mind if you go.
Also when you do leave if you want a tapas lunch in Cadaques, park on the big car park on the edge of the town, you will not find parking in the town itself.
All that apart it is defintely worth a visit and is really interesting. All three of us have fancied going for some time so it was a long felt wish fulfilled.
It could be done from TAGland in an overnight stay, but take another day if you have not visited the Dali musuem at Figueras.

The dogs have been good all day so far after fitting in many beach walks, they are also happy.
We should have photos later.
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Boxing day 2015

We all enjoyed a Christmas day in Spain, the Catalan food is quite different to French food but very enjoyable. We went for coffee at the Parador at Aquablava, which is very smart and in super position looking out to sea. Got back to the Llevant at Llfranc and Jill like us prefers this hotel. Wonderful artwork on the walls, worth climbing the stairs to see even more, lovely persian rugs everywhere giving a homely touch. The beginning of this year they had a "relooking" and although at first I liked it the way we remembered it I am begin to like the look.
It is the only hotel full and busy in Llafranc and people round about in apartments booked their Christmas dinner here.
Dogs are allowed but not in the restaurant and by the time dogs have had runs on the beach  and play fights they are happy to collapse on their own beds in the room.
Today we are off to Cadaques to the sea side home of Salvador Dali. We have been to the Dali musuem at Figueras but this will be  first, for one of his houses.
Enjoy your boxing day everyone. How benevoles will explain boxing day to the lads I  do not know.
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Friday, 25 December 2015

Lovely Christmas day in Llafranc

Friend Jill and Bonny and Eldo, before our  cliff top walk.
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Athos on his first visit to the seaside

Our dog Eldo is having his first visit to the seaside as is Athos the dog of Sarah and Gareth Brown the photographer. Athos seems to be considering flying lessons by flapping his ears. He certainly likes the sea side.
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Christmas Day with the lads, Laura, Sid and new puppy Lilou

Hi Val,

 some Christmas day pics, we had a lovely picnic at the Lac de la Lere in Caussade, warm sun & blue on blue. All but 3 of the boys came along - Malik has a bad stomach, too much chocolate I suspect, Hossam stayed at home to look after him, Mateen was also absent but for the rest lots of laughs, one awful pic of Sheer though you might like to crop it.... Now for our family supper....

Love Laura xxx

Val says Super heroes Laura and Sid, what more can I say.
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A Spanish Christmas Dinner

The Hotel was packed giving a very festive atmosphere. The traditional Christmas dinner was anything but, we all enjoyed it, viva le difference.  Christmas meals Spanish style.
Salted almonds coated with anise and lime
Anchovies with gorgonzola cheese and truffle
Iberian ham air  bag ( not surewhere the air bag came in)
Clam in cava sauce
Traditional Christmas soup
Turkey stuffed the Catalan way
Choclate and hazelnut liquid bon bon
Christmas sweets.
We are now stuffed and fortunately the dogs are fast asleep and not demanding " walkies"
The runs on the sand and across the cliff tops  this morning have worked a treat.
Hope you have all had a good day.
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Our little Princess Annie, ready for the ball

Our Annabel loves clothes, so here she is wearing her Christmas present from us.
All she needs now is a Prince and a ball
As she is mad on tennis, a tennis ball would do.
You and your sister Sharki have a great day darling
Love  French Grandma and Grandad.
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A new country Mamival

Hi Val, 
Last night was great, the buche de noel were cut into HUGE slices, sugar lovers one & all, the food was very good, various people dropped in with chocolates, Naomie bought along her brood for a half hour & Anais & Timothee stayed for the evening...
Kerwan was insistent that we immediately sent the photo's to Mamival, Mamival..... whilst making aeroplane motions with his arms, where on earth is Mamival i wondered, somewhere i've never heard of, a new country? I said well I can send them to Val hoping that this would suffice, hence the urgency & with no text, "good, good they said & Mamival" "well Mamival will have to wait until i've found out where or what it is because I don't know", it wasn't until many hours later that his request sank in Mamie Val!!! it did make us laugh. 
Happy Christmas, have a lovely day.
Love Laura xx

A donkey for Christmas

No, do not worry, we have not got a baby donkey. It is just a lovely picture. That is of course if you like donkeys, but who does not?  hmm Ginny perhaps?
Happy Christmas Ginny.
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On Christmas day, on Christmas day, good tidings all

The dogs woke us as usual at seven, so I quickly dressed and took them out for toilet duty.
Horror of horrors Eldo did a wee in the hall on the way out. He has never done that before. I gave them a run on the beach debating what I should do? Own up and ask for a cloth seemed the best way. When I came back  the hotel owner was about and I explained what had happened... but then could not find the wet patch which as it was only small must either of dried or already been swept up by the cleaners mop.
They can  mortify you dogs.
The owner having a dog of their own was so lovely about it,we know why we enjoy staying here.

 Gosh it is Christmas Day, must wake Malc who has slept through it all and wish him good tidings.
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Thursday, 24 December 2015