Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Anyone seen the cat?

Nous sommes le mercredi, le premier juillet

More on this later

Dear Val

Perhaps this could be the first entry for Malcs Diary!

Some of you will remember that I have been trying to link up English saints names particularly St George with the Hundred Years War and so try to identify whether how far the English penetrated into this area. Well someone much better qualified and resourced than I has been doing exactly the same thing – Professor Catherine Léglu of the Department of Medieval French Studies will be speaking at Laguipie on Tuesday 14th July at 2.30pm. Her illustrated lecture will be in English at the Salle des Associations.
She is taking a broad focus which I think many of us will find interesting – What was the rule of the Albigensian cruisade, the dowry of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the songs of the troubadours and trouvères as well as my own interest the cults of saints such as Saints George, Faith and Thomas à Becket.
To me it will be absolutely fascinating and I only hope not too academic and if one can survive the half hour French resume there will be an intriguing pause café – Té e cocons. I think this is in Occitan but so far attempts to translate it have not succeeded even by our local Occitan expert Gavin Porter and the 84 year old bi lingual Occitan/French granny at my quilting class. Té we know is Tea and e with, but cocons? Every translation says cocoons. Even the automatic spell checker has altered it to cocoons. People are hoping/guessing that it is a form of cake or biscuit but perhaps duvets or some edible cocoon will appear and our reactions will all be part of the presentation!
Val says - we  are looking forward to this and I believe Malc has a post written in readiness.
Hi Val
I know of Cocons de Lyon which are a marzipan confectionery shaped like a silk worm cocoon after the silk industry in Lyon. 
Maybe it is these?


Happening at Septfonds

Cuddles versus biscuits

Popeye's elderly owner is having an extended hospital visit. It was up to TAG readers to step forward to volunteer to look after the dog for 6 weeks. Saran and Gareth could do two weeks in between renters arriving with a dog. Bertrand and Nouane here for 3 months and being the kindest two souls you could find ( Nouane is a buddhist)  offered to look after him the rest of the time.Today was change over day, Sarah and Gareth really enjoyed having him but their own dog Athos was not too impressed.
Nouane knows the way to a dogs heart and as we all left we spied little treats being given.
His owner who fell down stairs may not have found his feet but little Popeye certainly has fallen on his.
Well done to you all.
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Just the wrong size

Dear Val,
May we please take advantage of your For Sale column again. There is a photograph of the sandals.
 For Sale one pair of Birkenstock Toe Post sandals size 39 Silver. Bought in error, wrong size. Unworn, exactly as new, cost 65 euros. Photograph enclosed.
Any reasonable offer secures.
Please e-mail:    JennyatBelpech@gmail.com
 As usual we will remember the charities. Thank you also for all your work.
Jenny Pike
 Belpech, 12270 Saint-André-de-Najac.

Todays picture of Ruby

You have got to love her!
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Marché hebdomadaire Milhars

Hebdomadaire means weekly.

My apologies

When I am dashing in and out I only half read posts and often dash off a reply. I received a good ticking off last night from Malc who leisurely read the posts and my rushed replies. One poor person was asking what day the Picnic in the Park was and how to pay. I ignored what day... and they thought it was the wrong one but told them how to pay.
Another asked if I knew if the swimming platform was out a Laga and asked the best place to eat. I replied I was not sure what was open Monday? As the reader was asking for Tuesday she was probably a bit perplexed by my reply.
I promise I am not losing it... just doing too many things at once.
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We need to show our horror

Hi Val

I just signed the petition "Fédération Cynologique Internationale: Revoke FCI decision to host WDS 2019 in China ...Not yet ready" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 75,000 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:


sally ann

Val says I will sign straight away. After seeing images of hundreds of dogs and cats being beaten to get the  adrenalin   running before killing ( the meat tastes better apparently) for one of the Chinese festivals, we need to show our condemnation for these events.

Will you adjust your clocks tonight?

To bring our timepieces into line with the time it takes the earth to turn on its axis a small periodic change is to be made tonight. "Leap seconds" are added to the time every few years to bring "too accurate" atomic clocks into line with Universal Time.  Clocks should go back one second during this night (30th June). We won't be bothering at Mas del Sol, but if you think a second is not that important, imagine how far Usain Bolt can run in that time: over 10 metres. And Lewis Hamilton loves a one second lead over his rivals. An extra second in bed will be well received here (if we remember to tell Eldo).
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Canicule = heatwave this week

The papers, TV and radio as well as internet sites are all warning of canicule. There is of course an official definition: three days over 36C and three nights over 21C in our region. In case of canicule a number of actions are set in train by local authorities and those caring for the more fragile people - elderly, ill, newly born. You are allowed to inscribe yourself at the mairie to ensure they check up on you, but for most of us more practical steps can be taken.
Keep the house cool: close your shutters on the sunny side; create draughts with ventilators or aircon machines if you have them; drink lots of water (not so much beer!); dip in and out of your pool or the river or (if you are lucky) the sea. Go to shopping centres or supermarkets which are air conditioned (Carrefour at St Antonin will be packed with their fierce cooling). Wear at least a hat when you are out and cool clothes to prevent burning. And make the most of it.
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You will be happy living in Toulouse

In a survey ( they do love their surveys the French) in Toulouse residents are the third happy in the country. Bordeaux comes out top, Montpellier the second and Toulouse and Nantes equal third.
So overall southern towns came out top.
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Fun in the summer

France 2 this morning did a piece about children in Russia going off on holiday, not with parents but in colonies. Some colonies by the sea, some in the country but where ever the children seemed to be they were having a whale of a time. In France the number of children going "in colony"  has shown a big decline.We used to have colonies who came canoeing to Laguepie until the kitchens at the base nautique where deemed not up to the norms. We enjoyed walking dogs near the river and watching the youngsters having fun in canoes.
A good place to watch fun in canoes is from the Guingette at St. Antonin, the canoes going down the canoe pass, usually with a few screams and the odd capsize.
Of course a good day in canoes is coming up at the Varenly regatta on Tuesday the 18th of August.
Always some thrills and spills on this day.
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Nous sommes le lundi trente juin

Another hot sunny day forecast.
We have French friends arriving for a few days from Roubaix in the North of France. My  French friend of nearly 58 years. Annie and I did a school exchange and have remained firm friends ever since. Who could have guessed all those years ago that I would end up living in " La belle France"
Anyone out there who also keeps in touch with their pen pal?
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Monday, 29 June 2015

More about Martin and also the group supporting cancer research

Hi Val
Next major public event is a charity event. A evening, open air Cabaret
event in the grounds of Chateau de Fournas, Rabastens, on the 29th August.
Doors open 19:30 event starts at 20:00. €10 per ticket, best book in advance
as tickets already selling like hot cakes and we have limited numbers of
just 150 seats. Ticket price includes first glass of very high quality wine.

This is a full event with stage show lighting, effects as well as me
performing a 2 hour cabaret over 3 x 40 minute sets, and a completely
different show to that you heard yesterday. The show is being organised by
the Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise association for cancer research
www.ententecordiale81.org (website still in it’s infancy stage but the
details of the event can be found there.

As for costs.
Charity Events - Free of charge, though depending on distance might, might,
ask for a little bit of help with Fuel costs. If you have multiple artistes
I am happy to supply the complete sound system and microphones for the event
plus stage lighting.

Private parties. Usually between €50 and €75 depending on numbers, plus fuel
and food. That basically gets the experience of yesterday. Quite low key and
music of an era to suite everyone. If you want something more up-market and
more like the cabaret event then it’s €150 plus fuel plus food.. This will
get you the same show as the cabaret event planned for the 29th August in

Trust you’ve found my website, www.martinstmartin.fr and found it
Kind regards
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Down with everything !

There seems to be protest group about everything; environment; capitalism; socialism; religion; you name it, someone is against it.
In Toulouse a group called RAP (Résistance à l'agression Publicitaire) spent some of the weekend covering publicity panels with brown paper and scrawling anti-advertising slogans instead. Now (editorial rant follows) we know many things need to be drawn to our attention, but surely it would be  better use of time and energy to work for good causes: there are people who need help; there are illnesses that need research funds; children in danger who need care; you name it someone could help.
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Book swap next Monday

The book swap, first Monday of the month is next week. We know Chris is planning another order from the British Corner shop so if you are interested in putting in an order start working out what you need. Chris and Karen are  without computer at the moment so start thinking of your order and it can all be sorted next week.
Details below

First step: go to the British Corner Shop web site and choose what you'd like.  The address is www.britishcornershop.co.uk   You can ignore log-in;  just click on Start Shopping or Shop Now and then browse products by brand or view by group or by category, or search for key words like "mint sauce", "custard powder", "gluten-free" etc.  There's a huge range to choose from, including lots of fresh and chilled foods which come in refrigerated parcels.

Second step: don't add anything to a Shopping Basket, but instead bring a note of what you've chosen, its brand, size and price, and your email address to the next Book Swap. There won't be anything to pay in advance. We share the cost of delivery between us all (it's rarely more than 5 or 6% of what we spend).  

And that's it!  If you later find you are unable to pick up your order at the following Book Swap, we can make separate arrangements to get the goods to you.  All chilled foods will stay refrigerated until you receive them.    

Chris & Karen        chezfoz@gmail.com
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Hot weather; water; accidents

Sadly a story that we often report is that of accidents, even drownings, to children in pools, rivers and the sea. Yesterday at Quercyland, a water park in the Lot, a child of 4 almost lost his life when a minute's inattention by his father left the little boy fighting for his life after almost drowning in a paddling pool.
We have had a lot of discussion about the importance of teaching young children to swim, but even that cannot prevent an accident; a fall, becoming tangled in something below the surface, the fact that little children do not have the strength to survive long periods.
The child here was rescued by the park's lifeguards and on site doctor and was transferred to Toulouse hospital by helicopter.
The advice of professionals is that first of all do not let the children out of your sight, make sure they are wearing armbands if necessary, teach them to swim.
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No more green fields ever for Diego, ask friends if they can help

From Wednesday Diego will be taken to the SPA at Montauban. Kathy dog catcher, rehomer of St. Antonin is heart broken. We have tried without luck to find a foster home or permanent home for this lovely dog. The dogs when caught only have so much time that they can be kept in the kennels of St. Antonin, then off they must go. Kathy is sure in a refuge a large though beautiful hunting dog will be passed over and after numerous years of being passed over will be put to sleep.
Kathy says " he loves his walks and playing in the river,  with my other dogs. He is a delight, only two years old, a baby really."
If before Wednesday you could take him to give us chance to find a home please contact
Maeva    maeva82@gmx.fr if you speak French    or Val on taglines82@gmail.com if you prefer English

Nous sommes le lundi vingt neuf juin

Entente Cordiale against Cancer

If you live in or around Gaillac we have just discovered an association " franco britannique" which was created nearly 10 years ago to raise money for cancer research. The money raised and in all that time is significant amounts goes directly to research at Claudius Regaud at Toulouse. They organise garden partys, evening entertainment, quizzes, etc. They also get personal donations which can be directed to the advance of treatments that you suffer personally with.
We had the opportunity to see the group in operation yesterday at the party we went to.If you want to know more, the contacts are below.
 05 63 57 18 86 (Monique Bessoles) 05 63 41 43 06 (Fiona MC Gregor) 

L’association Entente Cordiale gaillacoise est une association franco-britannique créée à Gaillac, en 2006, dont le but est une récolte de fonds pour la recherche contre le cancer et dont les dons sont versés directement au centre de recherches Claudius-Regaud à Toulouse. Depuis cette création, certains d’entre vous ont pu participer à différentes manifestations comme les garden-partys ou les soirées annuelles de soirées-spectacles. La générosité des donateurs a été non seulement appréciée par les chercheurs mais a surtout donné un bon coup de pouce dans l’avancée des traitements personnalisés.
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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Wedding, and birthday parties, here is an idea

Today we were at a birthday party at Gaillac where we were serenaded through lunch by a chap called Martin. We all really enjoyed the songs, he explained later that the repertoire had been specially selected for our age group, Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Neil Diamond etc.
Malc said " this chap must be a professional and I bet he has had a career on cruise ships.." and as always Malc was right.
Martin lives beyond Gaillac but travels to parties and events in a two hour radius of home.
Have a look at his website if you are planning a party, he certainly had us all foot tapping and singing.
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Gorge du Tarn

Dear Val and Malcolm,
On a whistle-stop tour of the Gorge du Tarn we arrived at the Point Sublime viewpoint.  Here there were some people alternately taking each others photos; a nice bit of co-operation going on.  I even picked up on a new verb "reculer" (step back) so even the French say the same as us when their backs are facing a 500 metre drop.

After they had finished I set up the camera and tripod and straight away I was asked (in French) "is that a good position?".  I looked round and found that a couple had stayed and the lady was taking an interest in what I was doing, probably as she had a similar camera.  I said (also in French), "I hope, only time will tell."  Well that was that, and a torrent of French followed, so taking a deep breath (I often bite off more than I can chew) I jumped in.  I explained that this location (pointing with one hand) coupled with this lens (pointing with the other), which has a really wide angle would enable me to get the whole of the gorge in without having to take several pictures and join them together later.  "Here," I said "take a look through the lens and you will see."

She was really quite funny laughing all the time, rather infectious and I found myself laughing along with her and her husband. They were up from Perpignan for a few days and were touring
along the gorges.  "Have you a Facebook page for your photos?" she asked, I explained "I do but I post my pictures on Flickr, do you know that site?"  She did and wanted to know my name if it did not "deranger" me.  Ooops what the heck is "deranger"  luckily Mum and Louise turned up and explained that deranger is to upset or that sort of thing.  Okay no problem, "I do not deranger easily," I said, so she sent her hubby off to the car for a pen and paper and we swapped details.

As I was looking at her name I wanted to verify that one letter was an R, yes it is an R as I am Spanish, we looked perplexed, "Don't worry, I am a little crazy," she said and we all laughed and she is actually Spanish.  We continued in that vein for a while with odd comments thrown in for good measure like she has two dogs and three tortoises.  So we parted ways and that was another French lesson under my belt and a couple of verbs to add to the list.


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The way to shoot animals

Photo by Erbil Hawler
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Boulistes en colere

Imagine pouring concrete over your boulodrome: it's just not cricket. The inhabitants of a Toulouse square have mounted a petition against the Mairie's plan to cover the square with concrete in an attempt to reduce the noise and litter in the place, following complaints from residents in the area.
The Mairie says it will upgrade another petanque terrain  300 metres away, but regulars say that the
Place du Ravelin, Toulouse
move will deprive the square of its life after the shops have closed.
With the approach of the summer season and all day events and concours nocturnes many villages will be experiencing the ambiance that an amical can give to a place - with the noise and litter that go with them.
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For whom the bells toll

I  have just heard the bells ringing down at the church in Varen, the eight o clock call to service.
The bells are tolling for taxi drivers throughout France who are being so aggressive against Uber, the rival taxi company that they are losing our sympathy. Below one of the many comments in the news.

French taxi drivers have never been the most cherished bunch of people but after this week’s violent protests any sympathy the general public had for cabbies appears to have been extinguished.
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Cash? No thanks

No more "loadsamoney"? Paying big bills with cash will be illegal from 1st September. A limit of 3000 euros which has existed for some years will be reduced to 1000 euros. It has become increasingly difficult for ordinary folk to lay their hands on big amounts, post offices requiring notice, banks needing special withdrawal cards for sums over 400 euros, low weekly limits for cash machines all making it difficult.
Since cash generally is behind the black economy it is hard to see how this will be policed, but a fine of 5% of the transaction could be imposed.
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Hats and sun block please

Many going to a huge lunch at Teysseroles raising money for the 15thc  chapel today. We are off to a lunchtime party at Gaillac.
 Where ever you are going it is going to be hot, so sunscreens and hats worn by all please.
Gosh! it is good being a bossy granny.
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All we need is love, love is all we need

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt huit juin

"You're obsessed" she cried, slamming the door as she stormed out. " You love that shed more than me" I frowned. Obsessed? Me? Ridiculous!
Shed be back. I mean, she'd be back...
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Tyrax at Browns in St. Antonin is offering tea and cakes.

Tea and cakes, no sympathy needed.  Also go for a super breakfast with scrambled eggs.
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Tea for two, or sixty two

the Parisot literary festival
23rd, 24th & 25th October 2015

For everyone coming to the Parisot literary festival we are very pleased to offer tea and cake on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon following talks by Helen Dunmore and Kate Mosse.   This means that we need to find a lot of china.  Might you, or someone you know, be willing to lend to the festival - or even donate – any cups, saucers or a teapot or two?  If you are selling up this could be a good chance to give yourself one box less to pack!

If you do have any china we could use please contact Debra Okitikpi ondokitikpi@hotmail.com and she will make arrangements to collect.   We will off course, take great care of all china on loan.

Thank you so much, all the help and support we receive for the festival helps make it a great event.   By the way, if anyone would like to make a cake to share that would be lovely!  Just let Debra know.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The group last night at Laguepie

Lot tourism - is it for the good?

A report on France 3 regional TV looked at the effects of the development of mass tourism in the Lot, which has two of the country's major attractions.
50 years ago tens of thousands of pilgrims made the trip to Rocamadour to climb the stone steps on their knees to pray at the shrine of St Amadour. Nowadays most of the visitors are lay people in search of the beauty of the place. Pilgrims have shifted their attention to Lourdes. Locals believe that this has led their town to become a mere "centre commercial", with gift shops full of "made in China" merchandise. The priest in charge of the sanctuary wants to make Rocamadour into a pilgrim site on the route de St Jacques de Compostelle, to re-emphasise the spiritual aspect of the village.
The Gouffre de Padirac is France's most visited underground attraction, with over 450000 visitors per annum. For most of the time since the caverns were discovered in the 19th century they have been operated by local people, with local businesses profiting from the influx. But in recent years the owners have tried to bring the profits "in house" and the numbers of staff needed in high season are drawn from students paid "le SMIC" (minimum wage) rather than local people who know the grotto's history.
Finally the programme examined the growth of river tourism, with the opening of the river to more and more pleasure cruisers and private craft. Environmental factors concern various groups who worry about the effect of the boats on pollution and the river banks. Especially concerned were the local fishermen, who do not like the wash created by the boats, or the tendency of fishing lines to get caught up.
What seems inevitable is that the balance between the need to earn a living for country people and maintenance of the beauty of the places that attract the tourists is virtually impossible to achieve to everyone's satisfaction.
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Nothing in the news but terror

Our news is much happier.
The donkeys are still in their field, Lucy's ear, the warty one is better.
Eldo the little longed legged sweetie we ended up after fostering, bringing in to the fold. He has settled in well. He is not allowed on the furniture which is reserved for adults and cats, but as he and Bonny have now been given a sofa downstairs, he jumps on it with a four legged bounce and invites me to join him for a cuddle. He learns very quickly and he now knows our routine better than we do.
The cats after various visits from foster dogs are back home and relaxed again.
The kestrels have flown and are now rarely seen.
Daily I receive photos of Ruby from Trevor and it is a delight to see them both so happy. Here in today's picture Ruby makes the best use of cushions.

Life is good at Mas del Sol (and chez Trevor..)
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Hot, hot, hot next week

Make sure you keep your shutters closed on the house,  because temperatures are about to soar in France.
A heatwave is forecast to hit the country next  Tuesday, with weather agency Météo France predicting it will first bake the south then gradually move northwards throughout the week. 
The agency added that both the minimum and maximum temperatures will be close to the record highs.
"From Tuesday, we can expect temperatures between 35C and 40C in the south west," meteorologist Etienne Kapikian told French newspaper 20 Minutes, adding that the whole country can expect "intense heat".
Val says we need to stock up on soft drinks and ice cream, Malc says do not forget the beer!!  Comments to taglines82@gnail.com

France, Kuwait and Tunisia

Terrorist attacks in the name of Islam.
Let us all remember ISIS is not Islam.  The Islamic religion preaches peace, not heads hung on railings, innocent holiday makers shot whilst sunbathing, in Kuwait a bomb killing 26 people at prayer.
These fanatical evil people are not of any religion but a skewed fanatical idea which as with cults in the past, unhappy easily coerced people follow blindly.
What a world we live in but working to do our bit for humanity can make the change.
Educating children in Africa, a small thing, but if we can make one life better we have achieved something.
On a morning like this I listen to the bad news and then think of the good. All the work done in Bamako by Jean Marie Nosal.
 Humanity is not all bad.
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There are young people who live here

... and last night they were all on the banks of the Viaur at Laguepie, listening to a group who were then going on to Carcassonne to front the concert with Sting. It was a very warm evening, the chateau was lit and everywhere were young beautiful people. Many lovely children, many dogs in the river  and out of the river. In amongst all this was a garden seat with four elderly Brits sitting in a line. I felt we could have had cards to hold up with marks out of ten. The ladies would have been judging the music which was good, the men the pretty girls. Our friends were surprised how many of the young came for kisses but we knew many of them from " do's" we have been to with our young neighbours.
I asked Malc on the way home " do the young in the UK all wear funny outfits?" and we thought maybe they do.
One of those lovely" French evenings" that you are so happy to be included in.
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Friday, 26 June 2015

Nous sommes le samedi vingt sept juin

Available in your local tourist office

More breaking news, Mas del Sol for sale.

I clench my buttocks as I tell you this decision, fearful we are making the right choice.
 We love it so much here, it has everything anyone could ever want, including "the spring watch kestrels" Fabulous views, two houses with swimming pool, good heating and insulation, terraces everywhere, 2 hectares of land, 6 mins from a village with shops, PO, boulangerie, bar, health centre. Then what is the problem?
We have rented the gite for about 8 years and it has brought us a good income without any problem.. but we feel if we do not downsize now whilst we are fit it may all get too difficult.
We are going to make a dossier of photos and if anyone is interested or knows of anyone who would like a bit of heaven than contact us and ask to have the dossier sent.
It may be years before we sell who knows but we will want to stay around the area and will be looking for one house with views.
... and how much does heaven cost these days,  550,000 euros?
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Breaking news, 22 minutes ago

A man has reportedly been decapitated by suspected Isis supporters at a factory in France.
Local media reports said what appeared to be an Islamist black flag was seen at the site in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier.
The murdered man's head was found attached to a wire mesh fence near the entrance to the factory, police said.

Where do French graduates want to live?

Apart from overseas, where a significant number of graduates head each year, French university and higher education students migrate to specific areas in the hexagon. Although Paris has most students, after graduating many leave for other parts. Possibly because property and rental prices are so high there, young graduates move away to areas with cheaper housing, but most popular is, guess where, PACA (basically the Cote d'Azur region). But this tends to be older graduates, already in established professions seeking the sunshine lifestyle.
Paris area has the highest proportion of its population with a diploma, followed by Brittany and Midi Pyrenees. The least attractive area for students and graduates is Picardy - around the northern cities most hit by de-industrialisation. Large swathes of central France see many of their students leaving the area because their is little urban infrastructure or industry to keep them there. Hence the "desertification", with no doctors or medical specialists to support the population who do live there.
This internal "brain drain" is as big a problem as overseas migration for governments seeking to keep its educated population where it is needed.
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Morning excitement with the famous four

Suddenly at the large salon window this morning we had four donkey faces peering in.
I thought I had heard close hee haws in the night and woke Malc, who as he had not heard anything drifted back to sleep.
We have renters in the gite who booked last year and they tell me they had an interesting start to the morning watching them from the terrace. Half an hour ago they were out on the road but were chased back into the grounds by Kenza the neighbours dog.
I dashed over to the stable area and filled a couple of buckets with donkey delights, gave the buckets  a rattle and shake and four donkeys galloped madly across the badminton court, boules pitch, and croquet lawn  to get to me. I then calmly walked them into their field.
The escaping point was discovered with a quick walk around the fence where an old wooden post had been pushed over.
Lovely morning for walking the grounds.
More news at 11am
Julia owner of two donkeys came dashing over to say the donkeys were out. They had passed through her garden eating flowers and leaving pooh!
I told her after a night having fun, like good donkeys they made their way home. I think they had got the scent  of the two visiting mules, so now having made their acquaintance more night time romps may be on the cards.
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It is all looking good for the night at Mas del Sol, Varen

NEWS flash
If all goes to plan
The Mayor of Varen is providing trestle tables and benches for this evening, so no need to bring picnic tables. If you would prefer a chair to a bench we will have 40 but although we can promise a seat if you are like me and would prefer a chair put one in the boot of the car to be on the safe side. Seats are filling up fast so contact us now to reserve.

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.
Val says if you have already sent cheques, your names are noted and on the list so many thanks. We are not issuing tickets to save time and money. 
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt six juin

Tonight at Laguepie on the banks of the Viaur looking up to the chateau we will be listening to a group who are on their way to the Carcassonne Festival where they will be the warm up group for Sting. 8.30pm and there will be drinks and crepes on offer. Participation libre but 8 euros has been mentioned. The group are called "Les Vieilles Pies" (VIPs) with lead singer Gabriel Saglio.
Chanson francais, jazz, world music, gypsy and klezma -  what more could you ask for?
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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Coming third

Hi Val
Don't know who you've been talking to, but we went to supper yesterday where there were 15 French, one Belgian and us - and they were all talking about St Antonin coming third. Perhaps it's because they all live in St Antonin.

Val says perhaps that is the key, being a resident of the town or village.
The hairdresser was from La Fouillade, the other group from Najac and the one from St. Antonin cannot be bothered with TV. I was expecting a more positive response, like the one you have experienced.
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BMW for sale

Hi Val

We have dropped the price of the BMW it is now 5500 euros – and a real bargin!
More photos and details:
 If you wouldn’t mind adjusting


How exciting, a corn bunting.

Dear Val and Malcolm,

A nice summer picture for you.

Here is a picture of what I thought was a Sky Lark but I was incorrect, in fact it was about a year before I worked out that in fact it is a Corn Bunting.  These birds used to be plentiful in the UK but they are now on the red list due to habitat loss and changes to farming methods, however on a positive note they seem to be doing very well over here in our surrounding fields.

One of the ways to identify them is that they have a peculiar trait of dangling their legs when flying short distances which can be seen in the photo.  The male has a colourful sex life and have been known to mate with up-to 18 females in a single season (must be something in their diet)  but they do not readily take part in the incubation of the eggs, hardly surprising if they have to fly between 18 nests.

Val says the very mention of a corn bunting set me tingling. When I worked in the UK in public libraries I did a project with readers called the " Clatter of Clogs" We lived near a cotton mill in Bolton and all our readers at the library were retired mill workers. They had memories that we recorded for posterity which are now in Bolton Library local history archives. I called the project the clatter of clogs. After listening to some of the memories, many of the workers told me they  passed through corn fields on their way to work and were shepherded to work by the distinctive cry of the corn bunting. 
The project could easily have been called " the cry of the corn bunting" Sadly those fields are now housing estates...  and the birds well they have gone with the loss of habitat.
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Ginny is right we need a weekly events list in the summer

Dear Val

I will come to the next coffee morning and take away the remainders for you! However we are supposed to have gone through our book cases by then and so there may be more books coming than going!

Secondly just a comment but would a tag for a calender be a good idea? Particularly in the summer you publise so many events that I know I saw them on Tag but have to scroll so far down to find it I soemtimes give up.

a case in point I would love you to publicise something very important to me which is happening in Lageupie   On july 14th as I hope that others would be interested but what would give the right balance between being too early and too late!


Malc is on the case, when we have a minute.

Look out at Blagnac today

We warned a couple of days ago about taxi drivers demonstrations today at major airports, including Toulouse Blagnac. TV reports this morning suggest serious disruption, so allow more time this morning.
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Two mules and four donkeys

Too much pasture for the donkeys pushed a neighbour who wanted our group to graze his fields into taking a distant neighbours two mules. Beautiful black beasts, one reminds me of Black Beauty with slightly larger ears. We had some concerns as the neighbour who had taken in the mules was suddenly taken into hospital for 10 days and we were concerned that the mules were not  getting enough water. We carried water over to the field in buckets and watering cans but then we met the very elderly owner who is now coming over to deliver water. The mules are in fine shape with very good hooves, nice to see in country French horses. I have got to ask if they are for the food chain or just pets? More often than not horses in the fields are like cows in that they are destined for the meat chain.
As long as they are cared for before that event what more can you ask?
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Lamb in jelly

A lamb born to a ewe which had been genetically modified with jellyfish genes for medical research inherited some characteristics, such as a tendency to glow in the dark. But this lamb was sent with other "normal" animals for slaughter as meat and was sold to a Parisian customer.
Described as the action of a disgruntled employee, the sale of the lamb was quite illegal, as all GM products are outlawed in France. It is not known what happened to the customer - though there is no suggestion that the meat was harmful. Opponents of GM suggest that in time eating GM food could affect our health; centuries of eating mutton hasn't turned us into sheep; or has it?
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Life is too short for facebook

I love making a good decision.
I am only going to post on the newly created site " Rehoming animals in Midi Pyrenees"  The TAG site will have a notice on saying if you want TAG news come to this blog site. I need to stay on to post animals needing homes as the more places they are advertised the better.
For some Facebook,  is something they enjoy but as Malc says " it needs editing"
I like the letter received here below.

You’re right about Facebook. I’ve started reviewing some of the originators of some of the stuff that is circulated and shared. When it is vaguely political, I have started to check out the background of the originator – there are a lot of nasty extreme people out there circulating superficially humorous stuff, no doubt as low-level propaganda. I’m getting quite fed up with it actually  – on subjects I know about there are a lot of ill informed opinions being expressed badly by  either poorly educated or disturbed people – and that’s just my friends!

Frankly my dear I just don't give a damn

Val says came in from a lovely lunch at Charley's to read on Facebook.... feeling hot!! 
Well of course you are. We are all hot,  it is a hot day.  I should feel sorry for you having nothing better to say than that,  "but frankly my dear I just don't give a damn"  I hope that was the quote from
Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind
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Book and DVD swap is the 6th of July

The first Monday of the month is the 6th of July. Meet as always at 10.30 am at the very welcoming Gazpacho, to bring along books and DVD's to swap and take away as many as you can. If you have not got a book to swap there is always enough to go around. A very convivial morning choosing a book with friends and a coffee. You do not know many people ? well come along and introduce yourself. We were all in the same boat... lost and drifting in France!! Or is that just me having spent too much time floating on the pool?
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt cinq juin.

Sorry there was a lot of untranslated posts yesterday, we had quite a busy day and just did not have time to translate.
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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Salon d'art contemporain 2015 /La Mairie de St Antonin


Une erreur s'est glissée dans le carton d'invitation.
Il faut lire:
VERNISSAGE LE VENDREDI 10 JUILLET et non vendredi 11 juillet comme indiqué par erreur (l'heure est inchangée).
Je vous renvoie un fichier corrigé que vous pouvez transmettre à vos amis.
Les cartons imprimés, mis à votre disposition le jour de l'accrochage, ont été corrigés.
Mille excuses et merci pour votre compréhension.

Nous vous souhaitons bonne réception de ce message.

Geneviève & Joël Rouet

Bird makes light work of candle

When we took refuge from the heat of the afternoon in our grange we wondered what the knocking noise was - a bit like a woodpecker or nuthatch pecking away. We eventually spotted the culprit - a great tit. He was flying on to a shelf with some candles and pecking away at one of the wax offerings, but always the same one. It was quite a big white candle; the blue one eschewed. Perhaps it is a beeswax candle whereas the others are paraffin. Here he is having a quick wax snack.

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Get yerselves there.

Un petit rappel du concert de Gabriel Saglio et Les Vieilles Pies qui aura lieu àLaguépie ce vendredi 26 juin à 20h30.

Étant donné qu'il va faire beau, il se déroulera sur les bords du Viaur, derrière l'Office du Tourisme.
Il y aura une buvette et des crêpes.
Quelques précisions concernant la "participation libre" et la "contribution suggérée" :
Nous avons fait le choix de proposer toutes les Rencontres Culturelles de Laguépie en « participation libre », afin que celles-ci soient réellement ouvertes à tous et que le prix ne soit jamais un frein pour une personne qui voudrait y assister. 
Parfois, nous indiquons un montant de « contribution suggérée », pour donner une idée du prix moyen qui permettrait une rétribution juste des artistes. Cela sert uniquement à vous donner une référence. Certains donneront moins, d’autres plus, en fonctions de leurs envies et possibilités. Au final, cela s'équilibre !
Le « prix libre » est aussi une manière de nous responsabiliser et de nous questionner, sur le coût des événements et sur l'accès de tous à la culture.

Venez nombreux vendredi !
06 28 35 81 59

Val says we will be there Ignance and thank you for all the events cultural you have planned for Laga.
Ignace is a friend who has relocated here with wife and child from Marseille. He has loads of ideas and plans for interesting events in Laguepie.We must support his effort and I think they will all be good fun or interesting.  I like the poster for this event as it has a donkey in the crowd listening!
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Still pretty good being third

Whenever I ask French friends about this competition on TV, they always say  " not interested, know nothing about it" whereas all us Brits are talking about it! In the programme each of the villages seemed to have a recent incomer telling you about " how they had found the village and stayed"
Malc tells me that they only received 150,000 votes overall.
So is it then "the village most preferred by newcomers" I ask myself, and are we the ones being proud?
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You've missed a bit

Malc says: I hate strimming, it's such hard work, but there are places where the mower (nor the donkeys) cannot go. And inevitably someone will point out that there are bits missed. So imagine this chap's efforts to strim the slopes below the chateau at Laguepie.
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Chirac, Sarkozy, oui; Hollande non

The White House denies having spied on President Hollande's telephone calls, but is silent on whether the reports regarding his predecessors are true or not. According to the documents released by Wikileaks the presidents were spied upon from 2006 to 2012. Hollande was elected in 2012 and probably took the advice given to President Obama: "ditch your Blackberry and use this encrypted portable".
But all the aides at the Elysee were also under surveillance and Hollande has called a Defence Committee meeting this morning (Wednesday) to discuss the matter.
Ironically, today the French parliament is discussing a bill to make it easier for the security services to access private people's phone and internet records (and the UK government has similar proposals in its programme).
Cynics might wonder what was gained by listening in to France's recent presidents: Chirac ordering a take away: Sarkozy ordering bling-bling from a teleshopping channel: Hollande ordering a minicab scooter to visit a girl friend?
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Fleurs de Terry Mid Summer Sale

Hi everyone, for 3 days only (Thursday 2ndFriday 3rd and Saturday 4th July) we are having a mad mid summer sale.

There will be 50% off selected perennials and all remaining annuals plus savings on purchases of all full price perennials over the value of €25.

Cream Teas will be available on Saturday between 11am and 5pm so make a day of it and come and enjoy yourselves.

Looking forward to welcoming you all.

Terry & Frankie

The migrant issue is causing severe problems

Problems to EU governments, problems at borders, problems not just with lorries at Calais, although they are the ones we see on UK TV and French TV. There is a summit tomorrow and the problem of migrants has got to be discussed and a plan come up with. The migrants by the way are people who want to live, and live safely without fear of slaughter in their own countries.They are people not animals and we are talking whole families, who have no alternative but to risk live and limb trying for a safe life.
The problem is not going to go away, and I have not got an answer but I know I hate to see displaced people ill treated.
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St. Antonin brocante Saturday 27th

Saturday all day in St. Antonin there will be a brocante all round the streets.
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Nous sommes le mercredi vingt quatre juin

Ploumanac'h in Brittany won Le Village Préferé, St. Antonin Noble Val was third.
I had heard on facebook a few weeks ago that we had been placed third, so someone was in the know.
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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sethi Petit Prince with their new family member

Sethi in his life has suffered with illness a great deal, but he now has a friend who will help him through it. A 3 year old labrador trained by " handichiens" I think they will have some lovely times together

Tomorrow the sales start in France

Fancy a bit of retail therapy, tomorrow may be the start for you.
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Just a few tickets left

Gingham leg covers to protect against flies

Val says the problem with flies on my donkeys are around their faces and ears and not legs, but around salty marshland there must be different problems.
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Dogs and donkeys

Hallo again Val,
This from my brother this morning:-
"I took my dog to the park the other day, to play frisbee with him. It was rubbish. I need a flatter dog."

Hee hee !

Thinking about your poor donkeys and flies etc., Ernst and I have one glorious week every year, off season, on the Il de Ré where there are many donkeys.  To protect them from mosquitos and other insects they wear sort of donkey dungarees (Google Il de Ré donkeys and I’m sure you’ll see some).  Now, if you are not needlework minded I’m sure that there would be someone who would be happy to run you up a pair or four !

Sue x

Sue at Poorpaws gives her thoughts

Dear Val,

After a busy couple of days I have been catching up on TAG. Thank you for
putting Jimmy out there, I just cannot fathom why he has not been snapped
up. On the subject of wandering dogs it would make life much easier if
every dog owner made sure their dog(s) has a light coloured collar with the
telephone number written on in indelible ink. Not everyone will bother to
take a dog to the vet to see if there is a chip but most would give a call
if there is a number. The little metal 'barrel' tags where you put your
name and address inside are useless, most come off within a couple of days.

When walking a few of the dogs yesterday up the hill overlooking the valley
behind our house, I was shouted at by someone I couldn't see in the trees,
to get my dogs away as they were scaring his poultry. Now I will do
anything I can to ensure good neighbourly relations but this is getting
ridiculous. Here we are living in the beautiful French countryside, only a
few houses in view and I cannot let my dogs run free. If it's not the
hunters it is now bird keepers - who I suspect are raising birds for the
hunters to shoot later in the year !

BTW Eldo looks great - I tried putting neckerchiefs round some of our dogs
but they had a great day pulling them all off each other !!

Fingers crossed for St. A tonight - or perhaps not, all those thousands of
visitors !!
Sue x
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Quercy Grimpe

It is tonight folks

Le Village Préféré des Français
MARDI 23 JUIN à 20h45
L'émission sera diffusée Mardi 23 juin à 20h45 au Gazpacho et au Café de la Halle.
Nous vous proposons de suivre les résultats en direct et tous ensemble !

Le soleil sera à priori au rendez-vous pour se retrouver en terrasse !

What we are helping to achieve in Bamako?

Look at these lovely little faces below and think you could help these youngsters on a path to a better life by helping build the school they can go to.
I have given the website of Via Sahel Enfants d' Afrique and supporting our jazz night here at Mas del Sol where all the money raised goes to this project will be a great way of enjoying yourselves whilst helping. Watch for news about the Picnic in the Park and book in.
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Taxis may block Blagnac on Thursday

We have reported recently about the conflict between the government and taxi drivers about the use of smartphone apps to reserve VTC's (minicabs). This week taxi drivers have called for a day of action (inaction?) on Thursday and in Toulouse there will be demonstrations at various points, notably the railway station and airport.
Drivers say they will block access until the government blocks the apps, installing if necessary tents to enable them to stay night and day.
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"Tasered" for his own good

Police in Toulouse were called to a bridge where a young man was threatening to jump to his death. When the policemen tried to persuade him to descend, he took flight and tried to throw himself under on-coming traffic. The agents decided to immobilise him with a Taser, then took him to a psychiatric unit in a local hospital. Police in Toulouse have used Tasers before, but this was the first time for benevolent reasons.
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How do you spend your sunny day?

Is there anyone who did not enjoy the sunny weather yesterday?
My four donkeys say " us" we spent all day in the hut hiding from the sun and flies.
The dogs had an early morning walk and one late evening but then found niches in the grange to sleep in.
The cats sleep through the day and play at night, so when I asked them the question, they blinked and admitted they been asleep all day.
Now Malc he was busy making sausage rolls to take to a picnic organised by the Voices choir and me after a leisurely morning swim, coffee with a neighbour,  fell asleep with my book also in the grange.
Is there anyone who does not like relaxing?
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Draw International

Ce samedi 27 juin à 19h30 - quatre artistes en résidence ouvrent leurs ateliers.


La soirée commence aux ateliers '1 rue de l'ancienne gendarmerie' suivi d'un petit tour du village 'la science et la sorcellerie - la médecine et de la magie' et se termine aux ateliers '8 rue du chateau.'

Venez nous joindre pour un moment de découverte et d’échange convivial.

Un apéritif en compagnie de nos artistes en résidence vous sera servi dans le jardin.


John et Grete Mc

Nous sommes le mardi vingt trois juin

Monday, 22 June 2015

Balades et animations à Espinas

LES BALADES: tous les mercredis à 9h précises; départ place de l'église à Espinassauf précision ci-dessous; GRATUIT et sans inscription; durée 2h à2h30. Adaptées à enfants marcheurs dès 8 ans.

1 - mercredi 1 : (Gill et Peter) Espinas – Le Piboul – Cambarès – Rouby – La Millerie – Bach – Pech du Fournel – Espinas.( après : pique-nique libre au foirail /salle clé des champs si pluie)

2- mercredi 8 : (Nadette et René) Chemin de Lou Finot . 6KM. RDV à la fontaine, sortie du pont, Saint Antonin, puis covoiturage.

3- mercredi15 : (Shirley et Terry) PR1 Espinas - La Grésie - Cantenac
Nota : repas campagnard ensuite ; inscriptions lundi 12 à midi dernière limite. 10€. Réservé aux randonneurs exclusivement.

4- mercredi 22: ( Gill et Peter) Espinas – pech de Fournel – Vabre – Bach – La Boulbène – Barthe Redonde – Selgues – Chemin de la grange - Espinas .( après : pique-nique libre cf ci-dessus).

5- mercredi 29 (Dominique) Chemin de la loutre à Saint Antonin. RDV place du Pradel.
Avertissements respecter l’horaire; toujours bonnes chaussures, chapeau et boisson; chiens en laisseLe S.I décline toute responsabilité, vérifiez la validité de votre assurance en responsabilité civile.

SOIREE ETOILES : jeudi 9 juillet. RDV à 9h30 place de l’église.

CONCERT samedi 18 juillet à 15h. Eglise paroissiale. Trois chœurs réunis pour un concert UNIQUE. Participation libre. Collecte reversée en partiepour la rénovation des orgues de Saint Antonin.

Renseignements siespinas@yahoo.fr05. / – ne pas jeter sur la voie publique
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