Sunday, 31 May 2015

On foot or pony around Laguepie today

Photos by Bienvenue Laguepie

Ten for Puycelsi

Dear Val
Summer seems to have come and so the restaurants at Puycelsi are thriving. Last Sunday we took a friend to Les Cabanons on the village square where Chloe waited again and greeted us while Stephan cooked his usual wonderful menu - goats cheese fondu, steak or confit du canard. A definite 5 as usual.
Meanwhile the Jardin du Lys has changed  hands. Dorothy Alexander has decided to cut back on the amount of work she was doing and has allowed three of her former staff to take over. Today we tried them out. it was Mothers day and although there were several couples with their small child there was also an enormous party of 21 which seemed to have at least three Mamies, many Dads and Mums and about 5 children. We all enjoyed their menu du Fête du Mere with a gateau of chevre and mint for the starter, stuffed chicken and a vegetable lasagne followed by a panacotta crumble. So for them a new entry for your gourmet guide and another 5.
Both restaurants have a two course weekday lunch for about  €15.00 while on Sundays it is €21 or €22. Both pride themselves on the fresh local ingredients that they use and that all they serve is fait maison. 5 and 5 makes 10 please for Puycelsi


Cell phone providers

Hi Val,
I'm a yank and moving to St Antonin permanently!
Vanessa Couchman suggested I ask you about cell phone providers. 
What do you suggest for a provider given that I'll be living in the town center and also traveling a lot to Burgundy and Champagne and London?
I have a friend that uses you know anything about their service good or bad?

Bien Cordialement,

Jon A. Purcell
Val says can readers who can give help or advice email Jon
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Book and DVD swap tomorrow morning

The Gazpacho at10.30am, loads of books to take. I could take DVD' s but am a bit fed up that people take them and then don't bring them back and worse don't inject new ones for us all to share. If you want a DVD bring another to swap with it... play fair.
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Hi Val,
Forgot to tell you yesterday while talking about the birds,last Sunday morning at 7am we woke to a huge sound of glass breaking and found to our dismay a great big fat pigeon had decided to fly into the lounge like an excercet missile! glass, blood and guts everywhere,poor thing had to be put out of it's misery by him indoors.
L x

Galerie et jardin portes ouvert

Well over the top at St. Martiel, our next hameau along.

Hi, Val and Malcolm. 
I tried to send this e-mail with a photo earlier, but I don’t think it went. It said that I was sorry to read that the sub-editor is poorly, and I don’t want him to feel any more poorly, so he should stop reading this e-mail now.

The red and white victory flag is flying again over Saint Martial this morning to recognise the glorious and comprehensive victory of Frenchman Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal team over Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final at Wembley yesterday. In a majestic 4-0 drubbing, the final goal was scored in injury time by France’s own Olivier Giroud. The other French players in the team who picked up winners’ medals were Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin.

Arsenal are now the club with the most FA Cup final victories, and Arsène Wenger is the first post-war manager to win the FA Cup 6 times.


PS Get well soon, Malcolm

Val says I am sure Malc would have been much more restrained if the Boro had won !!
Through gritted teeth,  well done Arsenal. Malc has not seen this yet but I am sure he will pass on congratulations!! Sarah's heading was French football but I felt mine was more apt.
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Somewhere to lay their head needed

Hi Val
Sue and Philip Bargery, who recently lost their Cornusson house to fire, are now seeking a flat or small gite in St. Antonin for three or four months.
An inexpensive property with a good broadband connection and preferably British television could be ideal.

Good news on Coco the donkey

Malc and I this morning popped in to check how Coco the donkey was settling in at Lez with his new owner Maxime and his first ever donkey friend Babouche. Do you know with all this animal rehoming you get ups and downs but also lots of laughs. Today we met Maxime's father, tall, fit chap and Maxime young, fit chap.
We asked how Coco was doing and they said no problems with Coco, they did play fight a bit but it was not vicious, it was ... horse play.
They had however taken both donkeys out for a walk yesterday which they described as "frightening"( God, have I had walks like that!)  Apparently Coco is very docile but Babouche who previously only had a sheep as company is really enjoying company making him very excited. The men explained Babouche wanted to " galloper" with Maxime holding on for grim death. They decided that next walk Babouche needs to be lead donkey, he is obviously going to be the "chef"
Maxime wants to train the donkeys to pull together a chariot/ carriage which we saw in the
courtyard... Babouche has been trained to do it but I suspect hours of training now needed for the two.
 We came away happy that all seems well.
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Dear donkey friends

dear donkey friends

this is the last call for bookings for our lunch on wednesday 10 June to help the rescued donkeys here as i need to order the FREE RANGE PORK RIBS so we can have them delivered in time.
If you'd like to come along please let me know as i need to order what we will need by tomorrow afternoon.
Just to recap our menu is cold soup to start, either asparagus or roasted pepper with tomato, followed by either
free range pork ribs with kansas city barbeque sauce or
vegetarian tex mex tamale pie, all served with a selection of amercian salads
a great range of desserts of peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate charlotte malakoff (with cointreau), apricot tart or pecan pie.
Thank you to everyone for supporting us with these amazingly trusting and inquisitive animals.
Jan is near Belveze on the northern borders of Tarn and Garonne

Laurent's grandad needs a lift to Blagnac, anyone going ?

Dear Val,
I'm looking for somebody going to Blagnac airport on sunday 7th of juin. My dad has a flight with easyjet to Amsterdam departs on 11.55. We can't bring him because Make A Wish is making arrangements for Laurents dream for next week. So, if there is anybody going that direction early sunday morning (my dad stays in Caylus), send me an email please .
Many thanks,
Val says  if you remember Laurent's dream to swim with dolphins crashed when the airline taking him was on strike,now he has another chance. Can anyone help with Laurent's Grandad? 
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France's favourite song

In a poll conducted by regional press publishers, readers were asked to name their favourite French song "of all time" from a list of 30. Top by a small margin was "Mistral gagnant" by Renaud. First recorded in 1985 this nostalgic ballad was written for his daughter and takes its title from a former sweet shop. The second place went to a song more familiar to Anglophones, "Ne me quitte pas" by Jacques Brel and the third to a song by Barbara called "l'aigle noir" which is in fact about her memories of being abused by her father. All songs which could be classed as chansons - the kind of nostalgic ballad we are familiar with.
On the other hand it was not Renaud who topped the poll of favourite singers, that was Jean Jacques Goldman, ahead of Brel, then Georges Brassens. No prizes for guessing that Edith Piaf was top woman, followed by Barbara and then Celine Dion.
Malc says that in the Voices chorale they have been singing songs by Goldman and Barbara, both of which fit the chanson genre perfectly.
Here is a YouTube link to a version of Mistral gagnant:
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Our first pétanque competition

When we first arrived here 13 years ago we wanted to throw ourselves headlong in to French life, so we both bought boules. Lovely little bags to hold them in, measuring tapes, cochonnets, even a magnetic string for picking up the boules without bending.
We saw a boules competition advertised at a Fête at a nearby hameau Lez so we jumped into the car and off we went with all our posh gear.
The match was a bit slow in starting so Malc and I found a bit of terrain to practise on and were watched  by interested onlookers. The word somehow got round that we were hustlers come to take on the locals and when teams were allotted we were paired with all the champions... well you can just imagine what defeats we suffered. It could have been humiliating and it was! but as I recall we won a bottle of wine. Malc thinks we beat some children towards the end, I think it was the locals making a nice gesture to some old humiliated "rosbifs"
At the end of the evening a band played and to show how long ago it  was, the drummer was Colin local builder, who then changed to Colleen  and is now very happily Chloe with new partner.
Gosh how times change.
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Solar power stations

We have run a few posts on the new solar power station in the old quarry at Lexos. But this a dwarf compared with the site being developed at Cestas, in the flat lands of Aquitaine, south of Bordeaux.
Over 260 hectares the site will provide up to 300 megawatts of power, about one third of that of a normal nuclear power station and at 105 euros per mwh, compared to 114 euros per mwh projected for the UK's newest nuclear plants.
A quirk of the planning laws in France does not allow a photovoltaique plant to produce more than 12 mgw, nor adjoining ones to have the same owner  so here we have 25 separate plants, each with its own management company with individual shareholders.
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Arnac Fête du Vin

Saturday 6 June starting at 9 am with a vide grenier
14h30 with a pétanque competition
15h 30 wine tasting
19h Apéro concert
20h buffet  campagnard 15 euros
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Bonne fêtes a toutes les mamans

Photo by Maree Giles roses from her garden
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Spring here is about flowers and birds

Yesterday a visitor said " We never really noticed birds in the UK but here we live alongside them. We have redstarts nesting above the front door and blue tits at the back in the courtyard, one sits watching them grow, develop then fly off and it is such a pleasure"
Val says  we are many of us here living a country life and perhaps have more time, but I relate to that conversation. We live with birds and flowers, roses blooming everywhere in the garden, but you just walk along the lanes seeing spashes of colour everywhere, orchids, blue scabious, beautiful pink wild sweet peas, honeysuckle in hedges, I just love the life we are now living, how did we get so lucky?
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Nous sommes dimanche, le trente et un

Another sunny day and a hot week forecast from Wednesday.
 Malc could not sing with the Voices choir last night because of a really bad cold. We are waiting to hear how well the concert went. As there are 4 choirs in the Voices, ages ranging from around 6 to 11 in one choir, to another with age range up to 71 (Malc) with all the families and supporters it was expected that the Theatre at Villefranche would be full.
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Saturday, 30 May 2015

Baby kestrel update

The chicks are now becoming quite big and will fly the nest soon. We managed to get a couple to look at the camera long enough to take their portrait. See how they are delicately refusing to eat the mouse burger at their feet until we look away.
Val says about Malc's photo - I like the piles of fluffy grey feathers shed to get their grown up plumage, never noticed this so clearly other years. Also as the nest hole is bigger and wider it gives two chicks instead of one a chance to grab  food being brought in. This year perhaps two will fledge at the same time.
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A rando on foot or by horse

Such a romantic gesture

Paris 'love locks' to be removed from bridges

 I know it is silly and unsafe but shame! 
Ginny     Comments to

Nev and his treasure trove

Hi Val and Malc

As head gardener I have the envious task of weeding the potager, I am sure there are many out there that would relish this task and I might get trampled in the rush to help.  Anyway this brings me onto the subject of this post, a button.  This is not just any button but a French military button from an artillery company and it was just lying there on the ground next to the squash plant, fancy that.

The green colour is "verdi gris", a copper carbonate which is formed over time on copper or in this case brass (zinc and copper compound).  Verdi gris was used as a pigment in paintings but I digress. This button has a brass front decorated with crossed cannons below a flaming cannonball, also known as the shell and flame, the back is steel and was made by A and M of Paris.  The date of manufacturer is between 1873 - 1914 and commands a massive value of 4 euros.

Val says  I had images of a battalion of soldiers laid in your garden quaffing water or wine before the march onwards, but it was the era of the Franco - Prussian war so no marching here. Then I imagined a young recruit and his maman had washed his uniform in the outside tub, giving it a  rub and losing the button.
 This has to be one for creative writing groups " how did the button get there? "
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A bit of rugby

This Saturday is a big day for top rugby clubs in France and England. Here Toulouse are meeting little Oyonnax in the first play-off match for the Top 14. The match was described by the Oyonnax trainer as "a Ferrari versus a 2CV" - but we all know how a "deuche" will keep going whilst your Italian beauty can be temperamental.
But for Guy Noves, the Toulouse trainer, it could be one of his last matches in charge (the actual last if they lose) as he is set to be named the trainer for France's national team. The rugby world cup takes place later this year in England and Phillipe St Andre will stand down after that event to be replaced by Noves.
Winning the Top 14 on 10 occasions and the European Cup 4 times Noves has a solid track record of success, but this year the club has struggled and may themselves be ready for a change if they are to challenge the new might of Toulon and Clermont.
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Looking at gardens for free meet in St. Antonin, office de tourisme

Walk and find out about the plants used in dyes, up above St. Antonin,then see the new workshop

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It is caterday for us too

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Going through the papers French and English

Flicking through the papers French and English this morning, Malc and I are both in agreement (wow! there is a first) we have covered most topics in the news this week. If there is anything you think we have missed let us know please.
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A guard dog might have worked?

You cannot just shoot and kill  someone stealing your truffles as Laurent Rambaud found out. He was condemned to 8 years in prison for his action.
Val says I wonder how the agriculter could have protected his truffles from thieves, a guard dog perhaps.
Un agriculteur de 37 ans, Laurent Rambaud, qui avait tué en 2010 un homme surpris dans une truffière à Grignan (Drôme), a été condamné hier par la cour d'assises de la Drôme à huit années de prison.

One for your diary

Nous sommes samedi, le trente mai

Another sunny morning, our kestrels are very busy,one little chap is getting ready for flight, well dropping out of the hole with lots of flapping. Odd that nature makes them so vulnerable at this time of fledging. We usually end up with 5 or 6 baby kestrels sitting on a fence between the two houses which is the safest place for them or second choice is on the slope or door ledge up to our house. If they land here we try to get them to fly in to the big tree nearby. The fledging can take a week as one after the other leaves the nest, the biggest first, then the next in  size gets fed and so on, until the smallest who was always at the back in the food chain appears.
I always wonder what the undersized ones chances are of life, not very good I suspect.
The cats and dogs on the other side of the window look on with interest, but none would be averse to a baby kestrel feast.
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Friday, 29 May 2015

Taxi sharing or petrol sharing

Calling TAG readers!

On 30th June Richard is coming to Rodez on the morning plane which lands at 10.25am. Our car can't be left at the airport this time and he needs to get to Najac from there.

Is anyone going that way who could share petrol, or might anyone be up for sharing a taxi? The prices are so high if you just hire one on your own. I have been quoted astronomical prices.
Sally.    Please email if you can help
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All done and dusted at Albi

The paving is now finished in Albi, let us hope it is second time lucky after the first fiasco.
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Picnic in the park with Martins Jazz Band here at Mas del Sol

Wednesday 22nd of July, we are welcoming Martin's Jazz Band for an evening with picnics in the park. It is all fixed up, the plan is to have a super evening like last year and raise money for children in Africa. Gates open at 6pm, band starts at 8.30 pm
Swinging in to the late evening.
Start to book your tickets now and ask for directions if you have never been before.
One of the top Jazz events in this part of TAGland, be there or be square.
email to book your tickets and ask for directions if you have never been before.
Contact  swingers

Pesticides did this

So much to campaign about, so little time. Not our time, so  little time for our youngsters on this planet.
BAN pesticides, let bees and birds live and stop us giving ourselves and country workers cancers.
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How is this for a rotten week ?

Eldo wrecks his artifical leg.( he does have a spare thanks, to all who have asked to help)
Middlesbrough lost at Wembley,  Malc could have gone but he stayed for the rehearsal of his " Voices" choir at Villefranche.
He and his partner came  bottom at the bridge club last night .. Malc had started to feel ill, thought it was hay fever.
After a bad night coughing and sneezing Malc realises he has a bad cold and worse with a sore throat has lost his voice.
The big concert is tomorrow at Villefranche in the Theatre at 9pm, when all the various Voices choirs will be singing.... for Malc it is not looking good.

On the bright side he still has ME and ELDO.
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Fetez vos voisins

Today (Friday) is the Fete des Voisins when many families throughout France will be gathering with their neighbours to make new friendships or renew old ones. It is especially valuable if your neighbours are older, lonely or just in need of someone to talk to.
Let us know of any events in your corner.
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Book now for Sunday

If you are going to a restaurant for lunch on Sunday you will be wise to book now, especially if you want to treat your mother. The Fete des Meres (Mothers' Day) usually means families snapping up all the flowers on the market and filling all the seats in the restaurants - with special Mothers' Day menus, at special Mothers' Day prices..

Air show tomorrow

Aerobatics from Morocco
The biggest air show in the south west, AirExpo, takes place at Muret/Lherm airfield, west of Toulouse tomorrow, 30th May. Flying displays by historic planes; the Royal Moroccan Airforce display team; first public appearance of  Airbus A350XWB and many attractions on the ground.

The sun makes us happy

Trips out, meals out, sitting in the sun, walking, swimming, we were all enjoying the weather yesterday, some even broke out in to Occitan dancing last night at Folk n Jazz at Verfeil. Everyone enjoying themselves in the lovely weather. The sun is up today here at Mas del Sol and another lovely day in prospect.
After the wild orchids along the roads and fields here we are now awash with roses, climbing walls and trees, in the garden borders, white, rose red, pinks and just beginning to welcome the custard yellow blooms. When small I remember making perfume from the petals and I wish the grand children were here now so I could do it again with them.
 Do you remember doing that?
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Great if you are the other nine.

One in ten people have some sort of undesirable result with hospital interventions. Medical errors, harmful infections, problems in the operating theatre / au bloc.
Val says most of us are happy with our hospital and medical treatment but the more you read French newspapers the more you realise there are  some problems. 

Old Labrador dog found in Varen yesterday

A  friend phoned last night to say she had found an elderly thin golden labrador wandering lost around Varen.  It was too late to take him to the vet to see if he was identified with a chip. She fed him and made him a bed up in her fenced garden. If you have lost a labrador who has been on the loose by the look of him for some time contact TAG for more information.
 Katy dog rehomer has been informed.

Jill looked after the dog feeding and giving a bed for the night. The good news when we got him to the vet he was puced and the owner at Lexos had been looking for him everywhere, the old wanderer.
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Concert at Parisot

The Résonances Choeur Féminin and the Résonances Instrumental Ensemble, both conducted by Jérémy Costes, will be giving a concert in the church at Parisot on Sunday 7th June at 17h00.
The Choeur Féminin will sing a varied programme, including Monteverdi, Fauré, Poulenc, Norwegian traditional folk songs and more modern pieces.
In the second half of the concert, the Instrumental Ensemble will play a number of pieces by British composers, including Holst, Elgar, Britten and…Henry VIII!

Nous sommes vendredi, le vingt neuf

Funny but no one seemed to notice we have had one of these already this week, vingt neuf changed later to vingt sept! Am I losing it or was it just one of those mornings I was rushing out ?
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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Our kestrel chicks

Look how the fluffy grey feathers are starting to change. We reckon another two or three days and the first chicks will be fledging. Always a nerve wracking time till they can fly properly, making sure the dogs and cats do not catch them.
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Bikes from Velo 12

Hi Val, 

Just a quick thanks to Elly who responded re: local bike hire. I searched a number of times using various different search strings and google just didn't have the answers. We've made contact and hopefully we'll have a couple of good days cycling thanks to Velo 12!

All the best,

Book and DVD swap Monday June 1st

Coming up next week Monday 1st of June, book and DVD swap at the Gazpacho. Hope it is a sunny morning I love it when we can lay the books on tables outside.
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Some good words in French but how to fit them in !

Now I am not sure how you will get some of these words in to your every day speech but how about
" trottinette" I love that one, a childs scooter.
For roller skates, rollers in a straight line are simple "rollers", roller skates with two rollers at the front and two at the back are " patins à roulette and ice skates are " patins à glace"
A unicycle is a " monocycle"
and if you are feeling touchy you could be " susceptible", to feel guilty is " culpabiliser"
A fine is an "amende" and the verb " relâcher" is to set free.
Hope my French lessons are doing me some good.
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Maison de Julie

LA MAISON DE JULIE is now open, specializing in the “shabby chic” look…furniture seen a new way, refurbished and painted in soothing pastels;  pieces chosen for their interesting lines and given a modern look.
 LA MAISON DE JULIE has been a long-time dream of its new propriétaire, Julia Meluh, who recently moved back again here from her native Hamburg, Germany.  As the past owner of La Maison au Puits, the maison d’hotes on Place St. Felix, near her present shop, Julia left the area 6 years ago but knew she longed to return to France.
 She envisioned a shop where she could also showcase local artisans: painters of local villages and countryside views; fabric artists; local honey, jams and jellies and assorted bric a brac which compliments the “shabby chic” look.
 The result is a colorful array of products and furniture that will please a spectrum of people.  In other words, there’s something for everyone!  And nothing else quite like it in the region.
 Julia welcomes one and all to stop by and browse, have a chat and perhaps be tempted by the many items on show. She also encourages local creatives to get in contact with her. Visit LA MAISON DE JULIE on 4, Place St. Felix, Les Cabannes.You’ll be glad you did!

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 14h30 – 18h30, closed on Mondays.

I do love Thursdays and today we welcome " Lively Verfeil"

Thursday is the day we have lunch together at La Seye et Vous at Verfeil. There we learn all the local news and gossip, just like the " commerages du village" we eat and gossip. Today we saw that the huge I think beautiful building opposite the restaurant was all doors and windows open. Charlie,  bar owner informed us that the sale from the commune had gone through. The building is divided into about  8 flats, so hopefully there will be 8 families moving in. We had heard that they were young people with children.
The life of a village is dependent on the young, with out young people these villages will cease to be viable.
Good luck to the future " lively Verfeil"
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Big birds in the Aveyron

Museums offer reduced price

The region's two major museum/galleries at Albi and Rodez are to join forces for promotional purposes and offer a reduced price ticket to cover both sites.
Currently it would cost 18 euros to visit both Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi and Soulages in Rodez, but a joint ticket will be 15 euros. Certainly both museums are worth a visit, as are their cities, and a saving of 3 euros each is useful.
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Marché artisans createurs

Sun all the way today

Lovely warm sunny day forecast today. Apart from Malc playing bridge at Caylus tonight we have the day free. Wonderful to look in the agenda / calendar and see a blank page. Oh! no just looked and I have an impromptu French lesson at 10.30am.
Afternoon by the pool then.
In truth I have donkeys to brush, one to medicate, dogs to walk, weeding to finish, but these are all pleasure pursuits.
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FET at Les Cabannes

The well organised events by the team of Friends of  English Theatre at at Les Cabannes pulled off another success last night. Lovely to have drinks in the garden before going in to the performance of The Second Best Bed starring Liz Grand as Anne Hathaway the wife of William Shakespeare. After the death of her husband, Anne told us quietly and convincingly that she was actually the writer of all the plays and " her Will" was simply a "fornicating wastrel"
A packed theatre for this well performed one woman sketch.
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"Cheap" trains threatened

A report to the government has proposed the closure of several Intercity lines and night services. These trains link many cities over quite long distances as a cheaper alternative to the TGV network. The rolling stock is elderly and subject to delays, but the services are popular with many travellers who claim that TGV fares are too high. Several of the services affected run to or through Toulouse, such as the Toulouse/Bordeaux/Nantes/Quimper and Toulouse/Cebere trains. Travellers will have to take either a series of TER (locally run services) involving several changes, or buses.
We remember when the night train to Paris from Toulouse used to stop at Lexos at about 10.30pm and many local people remember taking the night service, arriving in Paris next morning. That night service is one that is proposed to remain, though nowadays it takes a different route. Other popular night trains, such as Paris/Hendaye (near Biarritz) may be scrapped to the dismay of those who prefer to make the trip in discomfort, often out of nostalgia.
Probably the main threat to these elderly, little used trains is not the TGV, but low cost airlines.
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The conference "will be financed by French champions of pollution," Oxfam France complained.

France on Wednesday unveiled a list of companies which will sponsor the year-end UN climate talks in Paris, sparking accusations of corporate "greenwashing" from campaigners.

They like their sheep and cows in Midi Pyrenees

La transhumance of sheep passed by Figeac yesterday on its way to Lioran. 550 brebis all wending their way to their summer fields with crowds of supporters walking the route with them.
With cows and sheep these movements are happening throughout the region.
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Nous sommes jeudi, le vingt huit mai

Ragweed has pollen to bring hay fever, Ragwort is poisonous to horses.

Hi Val,
Ragweed, is not  poisonous to horses.  
 However Ragwort (not the same plant) is poisonous, particularly if found dry in hay, to horses and donkeys alike.  Ragwort is very common in the Montricoux area, so be careful where you buy hay, to be sure no ragwort grew on this land. 

x K

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Hi Val

I am looking for someone near St. Antonin area who can repair a MacBook circa 2006.
Seems the screen blacks out.  Common problem with Mac's of any age.  If someone knows anyone who can repair a Mac, please let me know. 

Joanne Schofield

Bike rental at Najac

Hi Val,

Regarding bike hire, this address is in the Najac area. A lovely couple, Susannah and Paul Pook rent bikes and this is the website for it I know it is not on the doorstep, but might just be what your reader is looking for.
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Well meaning but wrong!

We were in the vets today making an appointment for Eldo's snip. We got talking to the vets wife who is also the receptionist. We told her about our baby kestrels high in a nest in our gite wall.
She had a better tale to tell.
Last week a man arrived with a cage, inside was a baby owl he had found on a post by the roadside. Not just any old owl but a " Grand Duc" an Eagle owl, the biggest owl of all. The man had seen it on the post and as it could not fly and he thought it was abandonned had performed he thought a rescue!!!!
Owls, like kestrels, when fledged take two days before they can fly properly; they tend to choose a perch and parents continue to come and feed as they would have done in the nest. In the two days the fledglings test and stretch their wings till their flying skills come in to their own.
It is not too sad a story as the vet quickly phoned the LPO, the society here for birds; the young owl was quickly taken off to be fed and caged for a few days till it could be released.
The morale here is leave any young bird that you think is in trouble; its parents know where it is and are busy foraging to feed it and its brothers and sisters.
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Puppets at Laguepie

An evening of marionettes and music from a Strasbourg troupe. Laguepie at 6pm, 10th June. Participation libre (ie pay what you wish). Mixture of circus and cabaret.

Dans le cadre des Rencontres Culturelles de Laguépie, nous vous invitons à découvrir le spectacle de la compagnie strasbourgeoise, De Menotte en Paluche :

Le Mercredi 10 juin à 18h
Maison du Peuple de

Un spectacle de Marionnettes et Musique
Pour adultes et enfants à partir de 5 ans
Durée 45 mns
Au Cabaret Circus, la soirée semble bien commencée.
Mais quand arrive le tour d'Édouard, tout bascule.
Il ne veut plus sauter dans les cerceaux enflammés !
Il aspire à autre chose.
Édouard va se remettre en question,
se confronter à ses envies, motivations et peurs.
Il devra prendre une décision: rester dans l'univers qu'il a toujours connu, ou partir faire ses propres expériences ?
Un spectacle qui mêle habilement marionnettes et musique, dans les univers du cirque et du cabaret !
Plus d'infos :

Participation Libre au chapeau

Gentle Diego looking for a pair of slippers to lay his head on.

A dog with its ancient origins in the Cantal, but Diego was found on the road between Caylus and St. Antonin. His chasseur owner no longer wanted him as Diego had held up his paw and said " I refuse to chasse" A gentle, affectionate boy a pure race/ pedigree Braque d'Auvergne, about 2 and a half years old. Is good with other dogs, children but we think he might not like cats, although yet to be proved, loves the car and of course a good walk. An owner with a fenced garden needed and then Diego who is puced and vaccinated is ready to go.
Contact Maeva if you speak French
or Val at if you prefer an English speaking contact.

France to honour 4 great resistants

A ceremony will be held today in Paris to mark the entry of four leading resistants into the Pantheon (pantheonisation) which since the revolution has been the resting place of heroes of the Republic. Formerly a church built by Louis XIV the building was taken over by the atheist revolutionaries to house the remains of people deemed to have made an important contribution to France.
People honoured include those from the arts (Victor Hugo), science (Marie Curie), politics (Jean Jaures, Jean Monnet) and war heroes, including resistants such as Jean Moulin.
Today four resistance leaders, two men and two women, will be honoured by the nation, led by President Hollande. Germaine Tillion, Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz, Pierre Brossolette et Jean Zay all were active during WWII in the resistance. The two women were arrested and imprisoned at Ravenbruck, but survived to carry on humanitarian work. The two men both died after being arrested by the Gestapo, Jean Zay murdered by the Vichy militia; Brossolette committed suicide by jumping from a 4th floor window.
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A better picture of ragweed

Ragweed on the move

This plant (called ambroisie in French) is extremely allergenic and is spreading rapidly. It is reckoned that 10-20% of people susceptible in the Rhone valley area are already affected by this invader. The south west is also seeing the spread of the weed which seems to grow in any kind of ground.
 Ragwort not ragweed is particularly harmful to horses (donkeys too).
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Killing for truffles

A French farmer went on trial on Tuesday for murdering a man he thought was stealing his prized truffles in a case that has lifted the lid on a “black diamond war” over one of the world’s most expensive delicacies.
Laurent Rambaud, 37, faces a maximum 30 years in prison for killing Ernest Pardo, 42, a hospital worker who he blasted twice with a pump-action shotgun after surprising him digging in his truffle patch with a dog in December, 2010.
The shooting took place just before Christmas in Grignan, a small town in the Rhône valley near one of France’s largest truffle markets, at a time when the knobbly fungi can fetch up to €1,000 (£700) a piece.

I must admit many Brits working and living in France were asking me if they should take French citizenship.

As a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU looks set to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, the President of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce in Paris, Bob Lewis appeals for the pro-European voices to be heard.
"In my 30 year career on both sides of the Channel, I have seen first-hand how the UK has become a better place to do business, and how Britons in Europe have become more comfortable taking their place in an international environment.  Is it really such a bad thing that UK workers now have a minimum wage, longer holidays and paternity leave? Have they stopped the British economy from continuing to grow? The common market has enabled Britain to attract many French skills, capital and know-how to help drive our economy.
I am proud of how many French business leaders I meet speak enviously of how the UK is showing a lead on job creation. I like hearing how the British economy is seen as a model for others in Europe to follow. This is influence at work.  We can do much more to have the type of Europe we want if we work from within than if we agitate for a clean break."
Bob Lewis is the President of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the voice of Franco-British business in France. For more information on the FBCCI you can visit its website

Bike rental in the area?

Hi Valerie,

Would you be happy to ask your readers if they have any recommendations for local bicycle hire in the Saint Antonin area? We're looking to hire 4 hybrid bikes for a day or two in July.

Many thanks,

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Wanted to rent

A lovely young couple, Sarah and Mark, are looking for a gite to rent for two weeks during the period 1st to 21st August. They would like a pool and prefer to be within walking distance of a restaurant. Please contact Linda ( if you have availability during that period.
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Nous sommes mercredi, le vingt sept.

I am a long way off getting old!  but these are my sentiments exactly!

[la-seye-et-vous] Dernier concert de la saison à la Seye et vous !

     Bonsoir tout le monde,

Vendredi 29 mai, pour clôturer la saison, nous recevrons Didier Brassac et ses acolytes pour une soirée en deux parties.

1er partie à partir vers 19h30 :
HART STRINGS ( duo guitare-voix ), répertoire folk/blues/country avec en autres des reprises de Bonnie Raitt, Adèle, Suzy Boggus...
2ème partie vers 22h :
BLUES CRU ( trio électrique ), avec Joeff hart qui a collaboré avec Cupid inspiration ( Yesterday has gone ).
Ce trio nous jouera des musiques d'Eric Clapton, Cream, Fleetwood mac, BB King, Muddy waters...
A manger un plat végétarien et un autre pas... Et toujours des desserts !
Renseignements: 05 63 65 22 18.
A trés bientôt.
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Eldo means well, really.

Whilst in the shower yesterday I heard a big commotion, Malc who was still in bed had been jumped on by Eldo, waking him up. Not only waking him up but pulling the lamp off the bedside table, running off wrapped in wires dragging the lamp and Malc' s artificial leg behind, scattering  cats in every direction. Some of you know that Malc has an artificial leg which has an electronic knee helping him walk more easily.
 Malc has just hobbled in from walking the dogs up the lane to tell me that Eldo by running off with wires wrapped around him has ripped all the electric wires out, meaning his knee no longer works.
Oh! the joys of dogs, now a trip will hurriedly have to be arranged to the "prothese"maker in Toulouse to get it fixed. If you see Malc leaning heavily on his stick, smile and ask him how Eldo is settling in... but then again perhaps not.
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Some steps at Verfeil sur Seye

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Trevor with his previous dog Mable
2 mars 2011 - Ajouté par Barcroft TV
Mable, the five-year-old a bearded collie cross suffers from canine ... "like she's been struck ...

Val says whilst with Trevor he showed me this video of his previous dog Mable, which was televised. Just click the picture to watch the clip
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A Lizard in the Pyramids

A common sight here is the impressive, though not colourful lizard orchid. It can grow to a height of a metre or more and when it unrolls its many tongues the flowers do indeed remind you of lizards. The French call them "orchis bouc", meaning billy goat orchid, so called because it has a distinctly goaty smell.
Also common are the pyramid orchids; they are now on the wane, though the lizards will continue to grow for some weeks. A rather beautiful meadow on our morning walk has specimens of both at present.
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Ruby, a dog that has lightened our lives and now is doing the same for Trevor

Hi Val
A grand night. She slept well in her bed after 3 attempts on my bed. lol
Busy day today so hopefully the stimulation and cooler climate will aid a restful night.
So so sorry about Middlesbrough. I have been there with Exeter City in the Conference play off final 18th May 2008. 2nd game of the new Wembley. Saturday was Chelsea V Man U in the FA Cup!
Thank you
I am so happy. She lights up my world and gives me a purpose again....

Colette Magny

At dinner the other evening someone mentioned that a well known singer was buried in the churchyard at Selgues, Verfeil. Our hostess said that it was Colette Magny and we had the feeling that Therese did not exactly approve of the lady in question, saying that she had become "grossière", which we took to mean "rude", though looking at her photos on Wikipedia it is clear that she was also "grosse" in the more conventional meaning.
Born in Paris in 1923 Colette Magny became a well know singer/songwriter dealing with mainly radical causes. Her songs in the 1960's were in step with the protest songs coming out of the USA (Dylan et al). She became involved with ecological issues and in 1991 published an album partly funded by public conscription, Kevork dealt with the freedom of animals and their environment.
Her style was very much blues and she freely adapted poetry from many of French literature's leading writers. True to her beliefs, she often angered right wing governments and was shunned by the press and media for her "colourful" support of radical causes.
In she settled in Verfeil sur Seye (82) and made that her home until her death in 1997. She founded the arts association Act'82 in the village and its annual festival Des Croches et la Lune in 1987. Now much reduced in size and ambition the festival nevertheless still lives on and gives Verfeil its "lively" reputation.
Lots of videos and recordings on Dailymotion (sorry no links).
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Thank you for sharing Ruby's story

Hi Val
thank you so much for sharing this beautiful tale of love from so many people. Too often when involved in animal associations as I am, all you hear about is the sad tales, more happy tales needed please.

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We still believe #

Malc writes from the sub's bench:
Sometimes things work out for the best. Not obviously for the 40000 or so of my fellow Boro-ites who went to Wembley yesterday, only to lose to a deserving Norwich team (buoyed up by last year's parachute millions - you didn't expect a totally unbiased opinion did you?). But I was obliged to pass up the chance of a ticket to go at the very hour to a rehearsal for the Voices choirs' concert next Saturday in Villefranche.
About 60 of us, from children aged about 8 to me, the doyen; French, Dutch and English (may be others); girls, boys, women, men (may be others) gathered in our rehearsal room on the 4th floor of an old convent building in the town centre. Under the enthusiastic direction of Julie Gibergues the children, then the "ados" (with their sole brave teenage boy - though I would say lucky boy with all those lovely girls) went through their repertoire of songs, in both French then English. They were charming and lots of tears will be shed by proud parents and grannies next Saturday. Then we, La Chorale, under the direction of Becky Brown, gave our first "public" performance. Many of us are debutants and our mixture of English pop and French chansons seemed to please the critical ears of the children.
With the help of musicians we ended up all 60+ affirming that we were "Famille". The enjoyable evening blotted out the Wembley disappointment. Boro can do it again next year and we will be at the Villefranche theatre on Saturday evening, 9pm. Entry 8 euros, no reservations (but with all those parents it could be full).
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A policier writes some of the amusing comments made by drivers

Alexandre Despretz a policeman who patrols the roads has heard some " corkers" in his time, he calls them "perles"
Below some of the pearls
  • « J'ai la gangrène dans ma jambe de gauche, alors c'est difficile d'utiliser la pédale correctement pour arriver à faire un arrêt... »
  • "I've gangrene in my left leg, so it's hard to use the brake pedal properly to stop"
  • « J’ai de l’alcool dans le sang car j’ai mangé trop de bœuf bourguignon »
  • "I've too much alcohol in my blood because I've eaten too much boeuf bourguignon"
  • « Je n’ai pas l’habitude de mettre ma ceinture car je fais du scooter d’habitude »
  • " I'm not used to wearing a seat belt because I usually ride a scooter"
  • « Bonjour, vous avez bu? », demande le policier. « - Non, juste une cuillère ». « -Regardez-vous, vous ne tenez pas debout ». « -Mais moi, Monsieur, je conduis assis »
  • "Bonjour, have you been drinking?" asked the policeman. "No,just a spoonful", "But look, you can't stand up", "but, officer, I am driving sitting down".
  • « Pour tout vous avouer, je suis malade, si vous voulez, vous pouvez prendre ma température »
  • "To be honest, I am ill. You can take my temperature if you wish"
  • « C’est mon premier PV depuis 22 ans, vous pouvez m'en faire un petit s'il vous plait ? »
  • "It's my first ticket in 22 years, could you please make it a small one?"
  • « -Vous demeurez où Monsieur ? » « -Ne me traitez pas de demeuré ! »
  • " Where do you live, sir?" "Don't treat me like an imbecile!" (ndlr- demeuré means backward"
  • « Je n’ai pas grillé un feu rouge, juste un tricolore »
  • "I didn't run a red light, just a three coloured one"
  • « Je peux vous donner le permis de conduire de ma femme ? Je n’ai plus de points sur le mien »
  • "Can I give you my wife's licence? I've lost all the points on mine"
  • « Je roule trop vite parce que ma femme accouche et en plus ma mère est malade, elle vient d’avoir un infarctus de la cocarde. Je peux appeler la maternité pour leur demander de retarder l’accouchement de 10 minutes ? »
  • " I'm driving too fast because my wife is in labour and what's more my mother-in-law has just had a heart attack. Can I ring the maternity ward and ask them to postpone the birth 10 minutes?"
Val says one of our own, said by a friend :" I wasn't wearing my seat belt because I was looking for my handkerchief in my pocket". The gendarme didn't believe that one either.
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