Thursday, 30 April 2015

Suite Française

Dear Val

We have just been to the last of the incredible run on films at Le Quercy, which we have been seeing on a weekly basis throughout April. Everyone who has been there will have had their favourite but we all voted tonights the best even if the audience was by far and away the smallest.

Suite Française is a story loosely based on the novel written in 1942 by Irene Nemirosky who died shortly afterwards in Auchswitz about the German invasion of France. It was a wonderful film full of tension and amazing cinamatography. Indeed Ross said that the camera shots were some  of the best he had ever seen and the menace of the German soldiers entering the small town of Bussy where the film was set was vividly shown. 

We all sat slighty bemused over our meal after the film. It was not a film with a happy ending but one which we just have to recommend to all. Our only word of warning is if you have read the book dont expect the film to be too like it.


The Globe and l'Univers at Villefranche

A modern day photo sent by John
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Concert at the church in St. Antonin

We have booked our tickets.
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Turning green

Hi Val,

 Nice to know you're turning green (and hopefully not like the Incredible Hulk ;-)) , it's the only thing that makes sense, not just politically but also morally and spiritually.  It's also a path which is immensely rewarding on so many levels.
Vertement vôtre ( vertement as a double meaning in French I am only using the one meaning green )

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Happy to hug trees

I had never heard this expression, before a derogatory way of describing people who care about the environment. I want a label " happy to be a tree hugger," happy to love bees, happy to love the world and want it to thrive, not poison itself with pesticides. I believe there is a growing number of people who want more care taken with what we eat and how it is produced. Having voted liberal all my life I have now turned GREEN.
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Hard to believe stories like this.

Authorities in France are investigating claims that French peacekeepers sexually abused children in the Central African Republic, the government confirmed on Wednesday.
The French government "was made aware at the end of July 2014 by the UN's high commission for human rights of accusations by children that they had been sexually abused by French soldiers," the defence ministry said in a statement.
The leaked report detailed the rape and sodomy of starving and homeless boys by French peacekeeping troops. Some were as young as nine and many were orphans.

Your daily bread

Pic Veronique Haudebourg
A boulanger from Lannemezan (Haute Pyrenees) has won the regional best baguette award for Midi-Pyrenees, voted for by his fellow bakers.
Gregory Neveu opened his boulangerie in 2009 and has quickly earned a reputation for quality.
Now he will represent the region in the national contest to be held in May on the pavement in front of Notre Dame in Paris. Finalists will need to bake their bread in unfamiliar surroundings, using ingredients supplied - so it's the baker's skill which will decide. Do readers have their favourites?
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Do you know where this was taken?

Michel Cavaille's photo Villefranche de Rouergue, by the Bar Globe.
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T&G councillors' pay rise

The newly elected conseil départmental has voted by 23 to 7 to increase their pay by 23% as a result, they say, of the department's increasing population. Having crossed the threshold of 250000 inhabitants councillors are entitled to a higher rate of pay. Former president (millionaire) Jean Michel Baylet condemned the move at a time when the new councillors were elected on a pledge to cut costs and that council employees had had pay frozen since 2008.
Tarn councillors, par contre, have reduced their indemnities by 8%.
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The sun breaking through

How wonderful it is to wake on a morning, with the sun sending rays through the  bedroom window. We get the sunrise early up here at Mas del Sol. The dogs go for a snuffle round the garden, with the door held back by a 5 kilo weight, the sound of a cuckoo close by, the lark still singing, the kestrel whizzing past, already busy feeding young. Every tree full with opening buds, the fields with grass starting to ripple in the light breeze, the iris beds bursting in to colour. One needs to stand and breathe it all in... well unless you are Malc who is busy taking hay fever tablets.
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La violette de Toulouse

There was a report this morning on France 2 on Toulouse, not just the "ville rose" but the "ville violette" At this time of the year the banks of the Garonne are covered in violets, some cultivated. The presenter says " the first thoughts on thinking of Toulouse are violets" Sweets flavoured with violet, violet flavoured ice cream and every other product, even cheese.
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A physiotherapist needed

A reader in St. Antonin has asked for a good kinetherapeute. We have M. Rouzaud at Varen medical centre who is very good but does not speak English. Any other ideas for the reader?

Hello Val.  Both Nick and I can recommend the kine in the medical centre
at Parisot. Both Veronique and Pierre speak English and are excellent
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Nous sommes jeudi, le trente

Our little foster dog Eldo is a delight, we know he has to move on to his forever home but we are enjoying the little treasure in the meantime. So responsive and wanting to please all the time, someone will get a cracker with this one.
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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Another little one

A little girl of two months, will stay small, likes the world. Travels well in the car, is puced. There is an urgency to rehome her. She is a little puppy who you can train and shape, how lovely for some one.
En plus on a lulu, petite chienne de 2 mois, qui sera de petit gabarit! Elle s'entend avec tout le monde, aime faire de la voiture! Elle est pucée!! Y a aussi urgence pour elle!!!
 merci  Maeva   Contact Maeva  for  more information  or Val if you only speak English

We lost one bird but will be gaining more

No not more hens, at the moment, we have kestrel young. Passing under the hole in the wall of the gite where kestrels are flying in and out, I found today a broken eggshell.
On checking the bird books it is the shell of a kestrel. We thought there was so much activity things must be happening. Now we will await seeing little fluffy "Orville" type faces in the opening, probably a couple of weeks time. The nesting is so early this year it is not impossible the birds will have a second brood later.
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Where can Catharine get a linen basket?

Hi Val, 
Can anybody tell me where I can find something similar or a wooden chest it is for blankets  it needs to be a reasonable size..

many thanks
Hi Val
We got a large wooden chest from La online, about 2 or 3 years ago. We use it for linen. It came knocked-down and had to be put together. It was not expensive.


Kicking up their heels

Our four donkeys with super neat sabots/ hooves, and Coco the rescue donkey now with trimmed feet looking good. He was apart from our Lucy the easiest donkey for the marachal ferrant / blacksmith to do. Well done Coco.
On our way to Cambou, we had the ceremonial flinging of Penny inside a black bin liner in to a poubelle. Seems such an undignified way to go for a respected member of the family!!
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A resident water salamander

Elly Wright has a resident water salamander in her pool, laying eggs in the murky depths. Already there are lots of little ones.
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Friday is jam session at Parisot

La Maison, Place du Forail, Parisot starting at 19.00 hrs. Jam session with open mike.
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Friday's concert at La Seye et vous

                  Bonjour les amis,
 Vendredi 1er mai nous n'allons pas chômer à La Seye et vous !
Nous serons là avec le collectif " ROYAL BONOF ", une banda-rock, poético-allumée qui fera vibrer textes et musiques.
Ce collectif de 7 musiciens de tous horizons, pratique une musique inclassable, une sorte de dialogue entre le Sud-Ouest et le reste du monde...
Ils appellent ça de " l'acoustic-rock chaloupé ", une musique à servir chaude et cuivrée !
Dans l'assiette : Tajine de canette ou assiette végétarienne et des desserts.
Renseignements : 05 63 65 22 18.
Passez une belle journée !
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May's gardening jobs

Everywhere’s looking very green at the minute, with trees leafing up and the grass growing rapidly. While we’re still having to dodge the showers (I can’t believe how much rain we had last Monday  – so impressed with all you dedicated gardeners who still made it to the plant swap!) the weather’s moving steadily towards summer, and our gardens are coming on leaps and bounds at this time of year. Here’s a list of this month’s top 10 jobs.
It’s lawn mowing season! Weekly or fortnightly sessions are now a must.
Weeding – think of it as a workout, summer’s just around the corner!
Spring-flowering bulbs: dead head them as the blooms fade. Once they have finished flowering, you can lift and divide any overcrowded clumps.
Pest patrol: spring showers bring out slugs and snails – get them now before they get your plants. Also keep an eye out for viburnum beetle and lily beetle grubs.
Box tree caterpillar – this one gets its own bullet point as it’s such an important pest to keep an eye out for! If you find this caterpillar on your buxus, deal with it immediately as it will devour your box very quickly indeed. You can remove them by hand, or treat with a pyrethrum spray. See my previous article about box tree caterpillar in the gardening section of TAG for further details.
Rain water: however you collect it, citerns or water butts, make the most of this weather and build up your supplies while you can, ready for the summer.
Greenhouses: open up your doors and vents on warm days to let the air circulate.
Vegetable plants: if you did some early sowings in March and April you should now have some lovely young seedlings ready for planting. Continue sowing seeds such assweetcorn, courgettes, cucumber and kale.
Potatoes:  if you have any remaining potato tubers, plant them as soon as possible. Begin earthing up your potatoes once the shoots grow to about 23cm/9”
Flowers: brighten up your garden with some colourful flowers. Now is a good time to direct sow annuals - we’re especially fond of lovely, cheerful sunflowers. It’s also a good time to plant perennials. While you can continue to plant throughout the summer, as long as you water the plants regularly, doing it now will give them a better chance of survival as the continuing spring showers will water them in.
Debbie Le Jardin des Espiemonts

Very expensive, French taxis

Agnes Saal clocked up 41000 euros in taxi fares during her first 10 months as head of the broadcasting watchdog,  the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA). Although she had an official car and chauffeur she had a taxi account because, reasonably, she could not ask the chauffeur to work 12-14 hours per day and week-ends, as her schedule often demanded of her. She has no "permit de conduire" so could not use her own car.
Unfortunately some 6700 euros were used for her son's journeys; she had foolishly allowed him to use her code. There was other private use charged to the account, all of which has led the Minister for Culture, Fleur Pellerin, to ask her to resign. The Minister said she expected officials under her control to set a good example in keeping costs down.
Mme Saal has resigned.
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70 years ago today

French women went to the polls for the first time ever. With the war in France over and Germany nearing capitulation, General de Gaulle gave the vote to women in the municipal elections in 1945.
Before the war the Senate had twice refused to pass bills to increase the suffrage to women.
A contemporary newsreel reporter asked a leading suffragette if women were "interested in having the vote". With the look and tone of disdain that only a middle class Frenchwoman can muster she replied "stupid boy" - or words to that effect.
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Fete de L'Artichaut by the sea

I cannot think of anywhere in our area where there are serious artichoke growers, can you reader? I know May 1st is always Fete de Muguet, those lovely white lilly of the valley one gives to bring good luck.
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Centipede geophilomorpha

Hi Val,
I've just shown your post to Shaun who last year found some glow worms in our garden.He has a keen interest in Entomology and commented that a type of centipede geophilomorpha can be found in France and other countries.
Lorraine x
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Laure Rose, an interesting concept on our doorstep

Can you remember at the time of the local elections we were contacted by Laure Rose? Interesting to see she has the same interests as many of our readers at heart. Walks in the country, taking pictures, gathering plants, making things natural, eating things gathered and bien etre / feeling good

Au programme : randos-photo, cueillettes sauvages, balades ethnobotaniques, plantes qui soignent, cosmétique naturelle et aromathérapie, bijoux naturels, encres et teintures végétales... Tout ce qu'il faut pour se reconnecter à soi-même et à la nature, travailler son regard sur son environnement, enrichir ses connaissances et son savoir-faire.
Une maison d'hôte pas comme les autres. Le programme d'activités de mai à septembre est organisé à partir de la maison d'hôte l'Alabrena et son parc de 12 000 m2, située à Sainte-Sabine, sur les hauteurs de Saint-Antonin, qui propose également hébergement et table d'hôte aux participants. L'Alabrena, un lieu d'accueil pas comme les autres, tenu par Laure Rose et Olivier Lesage depuis juin 2014. Pour en savoir plus
Contact : Laure Rose, 05 81 52 99 57/06 17 91 04 27.

Nature, créativité, bien-être dans les gorges de l'Aveyron

New words in Le Petit Larousse

vapater  verb  / e cigarette
Selfie / selfie
hipster / hippie
un boloss noun    /  someone who is silly, stupid
zenitude noun/ calm, state of zen
taffer  verb to work  eg.  j'ai taffé à Paris
empreinte carbon / carbon footprint
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Glow worms

Hi Val

This evening I found about 6 “glow worms” outside our house. When I examined them with a torch I was able to establish that the source of the greenish light was the abdomen of a larva. Googling “glow worm” revealed that several different various groups of insect larvae and adult larviform females glow through bioluminescence. Does anybody know what types of insect larvae “glow” in our part of France?

I couldn’t take a photograph of them because our dog “Oscar” pulled my camera off a work surface recently & the attached lens was damaged. Hence both camera & lens are in a specialist camera repair centre. I love my dog!
Val says
 Oh dear dogs
I must admit I keep moving Malc's camera to safety, away from the foster puppy's long legs... and playful jaws, the strap hanging from a table being so attractive to pull!!
Bet Nev has an answer on glow worms.

Nous sommes mercredi, le vingt neuf

Busy day today, the blacksmith is coming to trim my donkeys hooves and then up to Cambou, about ten minutes away to trim Coco's
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Poor Penny has died in her sleep

What a happy life our old hen Penny has had, how many hens get to wander at liberty round two hectares feeding on the fruits of the land and  bio sunflower seeds. She was a character and in the pecking order she knew her place... at the top. The dogs and cats moved when she came walking past, she was not averse to giving them all a peck. They did not know she was pecking dirt from their fur, thinking it was food. We think she was four nearly five and has not laid an egg for two years, except one which came out of the blue a few months ago.
Farewell and adieu Penny, you have given us, our family and renters a lot of pleasure, now you can rest in peace in hen heaven.
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L' ecurie de l'ancienne gendarmerie at Caylus

Published by Tourisme Caylus
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The secret life of agriculteurs

Photo by Sophie  Gisclard.  Well it made me smile, one cow looks on amazed.
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And under the water is the road

Flotsam and jetsam ( From flotter to float and jeter to throw)  needs investigating think Bonny and chum Eldo. The river in Varen is going back down but yesterday was well up to and over neighbouring gardens. Now the firewood collectors come and there are plenty of logs to gather, though how long it will take to dry them out is a different matter.
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Flood alert

No, not what you think, but an exercise to be held on Tuesday, May 5th in Varen (there may be others elsewhere) to test responses to a possible breach of the barrages on the upper Aveyron and Tarn. Pompiers and local officials will warn of impending doom, as any such breach could raise the river Aveyron here to 17 metres (currently at about 3.5 metres and causing havoc now). Maybe we will have to house refugees up here at Mas del Sol. For those concerned there is a public meeting in the mairie on Thursday (30th April) at 21h (9pm).
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Subsidising trains

The French government and regions are among the biggest supporters of railways in western Europe, to the tune of 220 euros for each resident. Switzerland is well ahead on 500 euros, the UK down the list with 130 euros. The figures are in a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) which was attempting to find if there was any correlation between state subsidy and efficiency. They conclude that in general the more spent, the more effective the rail networks are. In a time when both here in France there is controversy over the LGV (high speed lines) costs and in the UK over HS2 it is useful to have such a study. We are all dependent on and committed to our cars, but do we want more motorways and traffic jams with the consequent pollution; or more frequent cheap flights between cities demanding airports and road infrastructure? Or is it worth diverting some of that expense to better and faster rail connections?
Many locals have found it quicker and easier to take the train to Toulouse on either the Caussade main line or the Figeac local service. The French government must introduce competition like the UK franchise system so let's hope the subsidy from Midi Pyrenees will keep our lines open.
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Another death by drowning

Yet another suicide, a young lady age 40 jumping into the Canal du Midi yesterday near Toulouse. The pompiers were quick on the scene but were unable to resuscitate. Reading the local news everyday I am amazed at the number of suicides by drowning. This lady had a history of suicide attempts.
So many friends with life threatening diseases struggling to live, it is hard to appreciate the mental condition that makes someone throw their life away, such a desperate final act.
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Albi circuit under new management

The motor racing circuit has been in financial difficulties for a couple of years now and threatened with closure. The circuit actually belongs to the city but is usually run by private subcontractors. The annual grand prix had been run 71 times until 2014, when it had to be cancelled. The new managers, local firm SN Diffusion, say no grand prix this year either, but hope to stage several other events.
In a fairly densely populated area the circuit is limited to 12 "noisy" days a year, so is looking to diversify its activities.
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Terri and Frankie from Fleurs de Terri

Fun and flowers, the Tippetts showing some of their fabulous garden produce. Before too long it will be Terri's Open day with cream teas.. she is however open every day towards the end of each week. Check out her website in the side panel.
Hi Val,
Thanx for your post, and to let you all know, the tea garden will be open EVERY Saturday throughout May, June and July, (weather permitting) and the nursery is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Looking forward to seeing you. Liking my new name Trippett, never had that one before!
Terry Tippett x
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The ark no longer needed

Yesterday with the rain gauge showing 50 mm every time we emptied it, the rivers and tributaries were screaming with torrid brown water. The hills and land directing all the water down to the rivers.  The rivers then flood / inundate into the surrounding gardens and fields. If you live in a " zone rouge" yesterday you were biting fingers, as we all were who have friends along the river. Today the sky is a watery blue and the rivers which rise so quickly will be calming and quietening and going back to their beds. I noticed one reader asking on facebook "if you see my garden floating past, return to me "
We do get beautiful sunny weather but it is often followed by a violent storm or rain. Today the clearing up begins.
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More Australians on the way

Hello Val

 congratulations on a great blog site!

My family and I are Australian and we currently live in Bangkok, Thailand - we are looking to move to the area close to Castlenau de Montmiral - we have three children school age - 6, 4, and a newborn of 5 months. Two of our three children are adopted from Ethiopia.

We are interested in renting a house in the area, to get a good feel before purchasing. I was wondering if I could send you some words and a picture of us to see if anyone would rent us their house, or know of someone who would?

With best regards, John Popovic.

Hi John
send the pictures and I will put them on with your contact details and you will have friends before you come I am sure.
Glad you like the blog.
Kind Regards

Hi Val I have
sent a note off to John Popovic. Not sure how i feel about loosing the title of being 'the Australians' in the village, but of course with a young family to distinguish them, we will no doubt be relegated to being the 'old Australians!'.

Enjoy the sunshine as it works it's way through the clouds this morning


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Nous sommes mardi, le vingt huit

Rosées du mois de Mai,rendant le mois d'août gai.

Dew in May makes August gay
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Monday, 27 April 2015

Monday 4th of May is the book swap

Comes round so quickly, the book and DVD swap will be on Monday morning 4th of May. as always at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin.
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Japanese photographer enjoying the Toulouse Lautrec Museum At Albi

A  Japanese journalist photographer was welcomed by the head of conservation for this photography shoot.
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Vanilla essence

Hi Val

This may look like a bottle of disgusting vodka but it's actually vanilla
Buy a cheap bottle of vodka and put a few vanilla pods into it. I used a few
big fat fresh ones from the market and a few dried up hard ones. Put it in a
dark cupboard and let it infuse. By Christmas you will have a lovely rich
vanilla essence that you can decant and bottle for friends
Love Glynis

Seems a bit daft Monsieur Le President

"Never will France authorize any modification of any kind," Hollande said as he signed new agreements providing close to €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to the city and the surrounding region of Alsace.
Members of the European Parliament are forced to decamp every month from Brussels to Strasbourg for voting sessions -- a tradition enshrined in the earliest European Union treaties.
The "travelling circus", as some call it, costs taxpayers an estimated €114 million ($125 million) a year, according to an assessment by the European Court of Auditors last year.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 people, including around 800 members of parliament and their administrative staff and translators, make the journey for one week every month.
They use their Strasbourg offices only 317 days per year, but the parliament building still requires 100 full-time staff to keep it running.

Malc says: 317 days a year - that only leaves 49 days and there are 104 days on weekends alone, so Strasbourg seems well used - unless the Local has it facts wrong? Good old Wikipedia says the parliament is obliged to meet at Strasbourg 12 times per annum, for about 4 days each. So total about 48 days. That is daft if the buildings are unused for 317 days a year.

Top chef

Helene Darroze is a French chef, originally from the south west area of Les Landes and who has been named as the world's best woman chef by British magazine "Restaurant". She was used as the model for a character in the Disney animation "Ratatouille" - a feisty chef who berates the world of haute cuisine as being run on stupid rules written by old men to the exclusion of women. Said to be much gentler in real life she has nevertheless taken her south west influences to her own restaurant in Paris as well as the Connaught hotel in London. Her signature dishes include fois gras and poached lobster.
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Poor record here on recycling

Less than a quarter of household waste in France is recycled according to a report this week, a statistic that a French consumer watchdog has described as “disastrous” and well below that of the country's European neighbours.
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Nice water polo team are champions of France

Caitlin Cryer, daughter of Geof and Mia Cryer of St. Antonin, has with the team become the Champions of France at Water Polo, winning against Limoges over the weekend.  Water  Polo is an Olympic sport so I wonder which of these hopefuls will make the team for the 2016 Olympics?
Geof tells us that Caitlin has been courted by English, Canadian and French National teams for the Olympics.
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Raining "cats and dogs"

It started raining at English tea time yesterday around 4 .30 pm, it rained as we drove an hour to Puycelsi, to the wonderful concert there. It rained all the way home, it continued raining when we went to bed.  We got up this morning and guess what, it is still raining.
I should not say it is raining " cats and dogs" as Malc would not like to think of more dogs or cats arriving at Mas del Sol!
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Nous sommes lundi, le vingt sept

Is it me or is the month just flying past?
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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Stories and dances at Espinas

à La Grésie, 82160 Espinas,

Journée Contes et Bals !

Dès 16h30 : contes pour tous
Puis : auberge espagnole, bal et encore des contes !

Alors à vos agenda pour cette belle journée printanière en perspective...

Lectoure in the Gers, not just bleu de pastel...

... but Armagnac.
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Karen does the hard work

Hi Val
Another race done (photo attached).  Half marathon in Albi - very very warm.  Not a bad time.  In training for the Track Day - previous post.
Please sponsor me if you can, anything you can.  All mounts up.  Thanks to those who have already given & pledged.

Don't forget get - You donate, I do the hard work.
Many thanks
K up on the Bosc
Val says Karen who herself has had two cancer bouts, now clear, is running for someone with leukemia. She is one of my sporting heroes. Well done Karen.
If you have had or know someone who has suffered with cancer and that is most of us, you will want to help.

Laguepie Spring Plant Fair, we were all there.

hi Val,
Nice to see you in Laguepie. What a riot of colour. Came back with lots to plant (as if there is not enough to do). Met old friends, had a lovely coffee and staggered back to the car with trays of all sorts. Result! 
Have a nice quiet afternoon, while I disappear into the studio.
Best wishes Elly xx

Plant swap at Jardin des Espiemonts tomorrow

Monday, 27th May,  2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
If you have any plants or seeds to bring along that would be great, but it's not necessary, so if you can, come along and join us.
Lots of plants and seeds available for free,  plus good quality alpines, perennials, herbs and ornamental grasses for sale in our nursery.
Le Jardin des Espiemonts,
Metse, Les Espiemonts, 82160, Caylus.
Directions from Caylus

At the crossroads in the middle of Caylus take the road towards St Pierre Livron. Once in St Pierre Livron take the sharp left up onto the plataeu, signed for Camp du Caylus. Take the 3rd left, signed Les Espiemonts and Lasalle. Drive through Les Espiemonts (big house with Pigeoneer on right, poubelles on left). A couple of hundred meters on is a small cross roads and couple of houses; take the lane on the right, signed Metse. We are the 3rd house, half a mile down the lane.
Sat Nav co-ordinates



Laguepie Spring Plant Fair

So beautiful all the plants in the sun this morning but a storm is forecast later in the day.
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It will be alright on the night!

Dear Val

its 9.15 and I have already done 3hrs work for tonights concert at Puycelsi. Its not normally like this but on Friday as we went to collect the keys for the village hall where we give everyone lunch and tea the mairie's secretary looked at us in blank amazment and said it was let to another group for 4 days. So then we started our swan act, acting serenly and being nice to everyone. Before I drowned, the Mayor found us another hall but about 5km away and everything from toilet paper to the soup has had to be transported there and it will all need to be cleared this afteernoon as the local Keep Fit group use it at 10.00am tomorrow.

So now all we need is a choir and an audience. The choir is arriving and when the audience arrives tonight at 18.00hr I shall collapse and hopefully not fall asleep during the wonderful singing. Please come and join is and remember that it is only thundery showers which are forecast so even if you are having them chez vous we may well be clear. Program your recorder for Poldark just incase you are not home in time and have a spring night out.
Val says poor Ross and Ginny, we will all arrive and enjoy the concert and one never knows at these events just how much work goes in to them.  "It will be alright on the night" is a showbiz expression I believe.


Horse trading

26 people have been arrested, mainly in Belgium, but also Netherlands and France, in a widespread enquiry into illegal trading in horses for meat.
Two years ago Tesco discovered horse meat in what were labelled as beef burgers, precipitating an enquiry into the source. Despite French scorn at our squeamishness over eating horses, the scandal was traced back to France and even led to the closure of a major producer in SW France.
Now this enquiry by the Euro police has resulted in the unmasking of the "brain", a Belgian man and a chain of distribution via Marseille. French authorities have asked for extradition of suspects.
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Plant fair at Laguepie

Sorry, cannot mess about this morning. We like to get to the plant fair  before the crowds with our Ikea bags for carrying the plants. Enjoy your sunny day readers.
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Carriages at Caylus

Published by Tourisme Caylus

Posters going up to warn of ticks and Lyme's disease

Seems very relevant when I am sitting with a pot in front of me with two ticks floating in soapy water, just taken off Max the cat with a tick fork.
At the points of departure on randonnées/ walks these notices warning of ticks and giving preventive measures  are going up throughout France. Each year in France 27 000 cases of  borréliose of Lyme are diagnosed. I hate the little beggars since Bonny has twice been ill with them.
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Balade ethnobotanique

nous sommes dimanche, le vingt six...

... and tonight is the concert at Puycelsi, something to really look forward to.
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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Who is responchouble for this?

Our French neighbour is a serious gatherer of mushrooms and responchous. We think he sells them to the local restaurants. On numerous occasions over the last two weeks we have seen him over our side of the hedge, gathering away like mad. We do not mind, it would be nice if he is asked but it is not a big deal. Tonight sitting on our terrace having supper, the dogs started barking and there lurking in the hedge was the elderly neighbour with arms full of responchous. We knew our hedge was prolific, the donkeys love them. The neighbour on hearing the dogs and seeing us standing up to see what was happening disappeared through a hole in the joint hedge! But hang on that hedge never had a hole cut into it; well it does now.
Well I never, what a cheek, it spoils the look of the hedge and gives the dogs another escape route if needed. Diplomatic relations mean we will not say anything, the man is a bit simple but can you imagine what a row there would be if we went and cut a hole in the hedge at his house. Then to top it all leaning over the terrace rail, there on my newly mown lawn, coming up exactly where I lifted out the sonic mole scarer is a new mole hill. French neighbours and French moles... what a liberty. (forgetting the equality and fraternity!)
For my now numerous French readers this is what we from the UK call sarcastic humour. We love the French really, even the moles.
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Lectoure in the Gers

Twice recently we have discussed a troisieme âge / pensioners club outing that we went on about 12 years ago. We went to Lectoure in the Gers, to a factory or distillery that made the colour blue pastel. It was made from a yellow flower and the colour was made by mixing with mens pee/ womens was no good. The men were paid to go and drink beer and then hand in their pee. The factory still worked on the old principles sans the wee , using a chemical instead. The factory had lovely clothes and  I bought a blue beret and Malc bought a shirt.
At that time we were too young for the troisieme age but we wanted to mix with the villagers. We had
 many happy trips, till the long lunches just got too much for us. Just found this advert for the tannery.
The yellow flower was woad

Folk'n'Jazz at Verfeil sur Seye, in the Salles des fetes.

This month's folk'n'jazz is on Thursday 30th April and will have a nautical theme.
As always Verfiel Salles des fetes , 8.00pm start and free entry.

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A dazed Woody

Hi Val
He hit our kitchen door with such force, sat there in a daze for a good half hour before moving again.  Had to keep an eye on him or Zola cat may well have made a meal of him.
K on the Bosc
Malc says Karen is a Chelsea supporter and Zola used to play for Chelsea. (the Italian - not the cat!)
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The Jury makes their choice, with a prize of 250 euros at stake.

Mardi 21 avril a marqué le véritable début du quatorzième festival du livre d'artiste de Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val (festival aussi nommé Sous couverture). Sous la houlette de Marie-Marthe Lafabrié, directrice de la médiathèque Amélie-Galup, un jury de professionnels des arts et de la culture a décerné deux prix parmi les douze artistes ayant proposé chacun une œuvre. Le livre gagnant sera dévoilé le dimanche 3 mai à 17 heures, dans la salle des congrès de la mairie, en même temps que le prix du public, pour lequel vous pourrez venir voter tout en visitant les magnifiques expositions (du samedi 25 avril au dimanche 3 mai de 10 heures à 17 heures). L'entrée est libre. De nombreuses animations accompagneront les expositions. Dès samedi, un atelier pliage papier (origami) sera proposé à la librairie Le Tracteur savant, par Ruthli Buchmann (de 14 h 30 à 17 h 30, à partir de 7 ans, payant). Et l'invitée d'honneur Katya Knight vous fera découvrir ses superbes œuvres dans la galerie du couvent des Génovéfains et vous initiera aux métamorphoses de papier que vous pourrez pratiquer avec elle le dimanche 26 de 10 heures à 12 h 30 et de 14 heures à 16 h 30, à partir de 7 ans, payant). Attention, les participants aux ateliers doivent s'inscrire sans tarder au 05 63 67 16 32 ou au 06 84 18 48 42.
The jury of local people connected with arts and culture deliberated under the helpful eye of mediatheque director Marie-Marthe Lafabrié the dozen or so entries for their choice as the most innovative, well made and appropriate "livre d'artiste" in this year's expo "Sous Couverture", part of the week long festival in St Antonin. The prize of 250 euros will be awarded next weekend along with the prize voted for by the public.
Malc represented Taglines (in his role of antiquarian bookseller) on the jury and really enjoyed listening to the artists as they made their decisions on some outstanding entries. You may be surprised at the choice they made, but go along to the Mairie, see for yourself and vote. Many workshops will be held over the week and reservations must be made to the numbers above.
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Places available for the donkey lunch

good morning everyone,

well it seems ive picked the wrong date this month as many of you have let me know you have prior arrangements for next week, TUESDAY 28 april.

Fund raising is especially important to us this month as weve just taken in a donkey who had been living alone and hasnt seen another donkey for over 20 years !  Lolita is her name and she is on a slow diet having stood in the same field for so long eating 24/7 !  She needs a vet visit and an id chip and passport to make her "legal".
When she was arrived she couldnt stop staring from a safe distance at all the other donkeys. She is already in a good routine sharing her field with Clarissa our new mum and baby Clarabelle and coming into her own stable at night next to these two.  She seems very happy to be among donkeys again.

Please if you can come let us know asap.  Our menu this month is tapas and paella, everyones favourite so we hope lots of you will want to repeat last years success.

Many thanks for your continued support.

Sauteed swallow

One of the problems with open doors and windows at this time of year is that birds looking for nesting sites tend to enter. In the last few days we have "rescued" two great tits, a redstart and this morning a swallow seemed to want to do a spot of cooking in the kitchen.
He moved from one pan handle to another as he tried to decide on the menu (forgive us for thinking that our French readers would have considered him for breakfast himself). A final look round from the door top, then out he flew.
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A concert in that church in the middle of Puycelsi, this Sunday

Puycelsi, that little gem in the Tarn. A wonderful concert there this Sunday.
Our Spring concert will be on 26 April and since the concert is a little later than last year all should be that much warmed. Tickets are available now and the prices are 15.00€ for adults and 10.00€ for student and children under 12 are free. They can be ordered from or 05 63 33 15 84
The picture below published by Tarn tourisme
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Toilets blocked the Port

"Une vraie histoire de chiottes" is how one union leader described the cause of a strike in the port of Marseille last week. Now as you all know, a "chiotte" is not a female puppy (chiot) but a fairly rude word for toilet (think of s***house).
Two trades unions share a building at the port with a joint toilet accessed from a door on each side's offices. The larger union, the CGT, decided to board up the entrance from the smaller union's (FO) side and duly arrived with planks and screwdriver. FO hearing the noise behind the door forced their way in and an altercation, including physical force, ensued, leading to intervention by the police.
FO complained and their members staged a strike, demanding management condemn the CGT for "violence in the workplace". The strike paralysed the port for several hours.
CGT leaders declined to comment, saying they had more important things to do - not more important it would seem than locking their comrades out of the loo.
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Noble or kind deeds

There’s nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men.   Elijah Wood

 True nobility is being superior to your former self. – Hemingway

A reader told me I do "noble " deeds, and that worried me. What is the definition of noble? Somehow being noble smacks of being " too clever or superior"
I like the Hemingway quote being noble is being superior or better than you were. I have always loved and cared for animals and children and if now in retirement I can do more then it makes me happy.
 Kind deeds please not noble, and so many of us do kind deeds.
Mimi and Kevin, busy farmers looking after Coco the donkey for me, giving him his anti biotic injections, helping with the cost of castration... Why ? because they are kind.
Jo living over the road from Coco going and resocialising the donkey because she cares.
Karen who came to help with her horse transporter.
Everyone who comes to the opera and pays 10 euros for street children of Africa
A neighbour who offered to look after the foster dog whilst the opera was happening here.
The readers who helped an elderly reader when her husband was dying.
I could go on and on with kind deeds
We are surrounded by people being kind
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It is selling local that counts

The big pool abri has sold, the motored debroussailleuse has sold;  big items all sold  locally. Money for TAG charities and happy readers who have sold. So simple with local readers, one of the benefits of TAG sales and with the small donation to charity you feel good as well.
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What are Anne' s plans

Anne Alassane already has the TF1 Master chef title under her belt won in 2010 now she is entering Top Chef on M6 channel. Anne from Montauban, will also open a new restaurant at Montauban soon in the centre  called Chez Olympe. She is also known for her restaurant on the outskirts of Montauban called la Pays'Anne.
Anne as well as being a fine chef is a mental survivor coming bravely through losing two of her small children in a house fire in 2012. Story and picture from the Depeche.

Love Film

Old postcards of Caylus

Postcards of Luc Henri Fage of Caylus. Nice to see French troops on the march for a change. One of the men looks just like one of our neighbours.
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Nous sommes samedi, le vingt cinq

Translating le Petit Prince by Antoine de St. Euxpéry
Parce que chez moi c'est tout petit...
Ca suffira sûrement. Je t'ai donné un tout petit mouton.
 il pencha la tête vers le dessin.
Pas si petit que ça... Tiens! Il s'est endormi.
Et c'est ainsi que je fis la connaissance du petit prince.

Because where I'm from everything is small.
There will certainly be enough. I gave you a very small sheep.
He leaned his head towards the drawing:
Not that small.. look he's fallen asleep...
And that's how I met the little prince.
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Friday, 24 April 2015

The Parisot Literary Festival

- the Parisot literary festival
23, 24 & 25 October 2015
Join us for a safari supper 
A what?  A safari supper -  an evening where you eat each course of your meal at a different host's house, with a different group of
people.  A fantastic way to meet, mingle and mix
within the French and English communities.

The evening will start in the centre of the village at 19.00,
from where you will be given the directions to
your first course.

Tickets €15 per person for a three course meal and wine.

  Reservations essential.

To find out more or to book your place, reply to this email.
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Become a friend
Please forward this on to anyone you think may be interested in the festival - they can subscribe to our mailing list by emailing

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Shiny coat, beautiful soulful eyes and a very clever boy

Who am I?  let me tell you I answer to Otis and Eldo and anything my foster parents shout for me. I am obedient and loving and have so much to give a kind person. I am 9 months old, chipped and vaccinated. I love everyone, children, people, dogs and cats. I did have a rotten start in life with my first owner who was unkind but that is in the past and my three foster homes have been great. Sadly they are not a " real" home with " real" owners and that is what I am asking for now. Val and Malc say they are happy if you want to come and see me, but they are only looking after me and Kathy the dog chief in St. Antonin will want to come and check you have a fenced garden and that she thinks you are up to my high standard of care needed. I am a bit special.
Val says All foster parents cannot praise him highly enough, the most sensible puppy we have ever known and a charmer. He has written all that himself; well dictated it to me!
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