Friday, 31 July 2015

It was interesting Professor

Dear TAGlines,

Thank you for covering my talk, it is always nice to have feedback. One little point: I am a Professor (ie. Personal chair), not a lecturer, so not Dr but Prof. (see my webpage at

And the audience photo was taken after the talk ended, so while I wholly understand your reporter's expression of their boredom, maybe the entertainment value of the photo led to a bit of exaggeration...

All the very best,

Val says the talk was very well received and talked about, so many thanks Catherine. The photo was actually taken before the talk, and it was more a silly expression to the photographer than a expression of boredom. We are always grateful for more knowledge of the area and your talk was in fact unmissable.
Many thanks

Gaze de cheveaux et Gaze de taureaux

Dear Val,
Herewith a link to a Youtube video. I don’t for a moment suggest you post it on TAG. However I think you’d like to know that it is more than just herding the animal and I am sure taureaux, cheveaux and people could be hurt.

 Val says I had a feeling it might be some fêtes I would not approve of.

Toulouse is the choice

Toulouse is confirmed as the capital of the new huge region.
Well done Toulouse, to me ( but what do I know) it seemed the obvious choice.

The concert at Puycelsi is tonight

Dear Val

I am sorry that sending something off to you late at night has meant confusion! Our last concert is tonight, not Sunday and instead of our choir competing with the heat it will be will possibly be with a thunderstorm!

Either way it will start at 7.30pm


Has anyone been to this festival ?

Photos published by the Office du Tourisme du Pays du Sommières. Festival Sat 1 st of Aug. 11.30 am. Gaze de Cheveaux et Gaze de Taureaux.
The reason I ask " Are any animals hurt in the making of this festival or is it just a round up ?"
Comments to

Such a good read TAG

Hi Val.

Now you understand why I started off my earlier piece that your blog makes for a good read. I gave a nudge in the direction of being bigoted and controversial and look at what I started.

To all you who have commented, I must apologise for being mischievous in my aims to get you fired up and typing: but you must agree, it worked beautifully and I’ve yet again had a thoroughly good read.

With regard to the residents of the Sangatte commune and in fact all of those fleeing from unsafe homes.

In truth my heart goes out to them.What must life be like living in such conditions. I completely agree with the comments that these people have left their homes in search of the Utopia that I am lucky enough to have found: and yes, a new fence costing millions is not the answer.

I also agree that the problem is Europe wide and all EU countries stricken with the problem need to get their combined heads together to solve this.

I will add one further comment.

Throwing millions of pounds/Euro's at the corrupt governments these people are fleeing from is not the answer.

I thank all you contributors for making my life more enjoyable and I say keep up with the fired up input.


Val says-  well it certainly worked Brian, but do just tell me you do not REALLY hold Enoch Powell in great esteem ?

Hi Val.

In response to your request.

I truly believe Enoch was a genius: just like Spike Milligan. But then of course there is the old adage, genius borders on insanity.

Spike spent years in sanitariums and even on his grave stone it reads, “ I told you I was ill”.

Enoch had his moments of genius, and then his moments of lunatic rants.

Thankfully, and as you pointed out, we live in a world of free speech and each is entitled to their opinion.

For my part I neither support or reject Enoch. Some of what he said holds merit, other contributions from him nothing but lunacy designed to whip up a frenzy of hatred. But. As in all these instances, one persons interpretation can be the opposite to another.

There are those that think Blair and Brown were the best thing that happened to Great Britain Plc. And that’s a different ‘nudge’ altogether.

Kind regards


No need to sunbathe marry an Indian

We are not here escaping England and I do not believe people who say that, that  is not why they are here.
We are here being able to afford a beautiful property in beautiful contryside with lovely weather most of the year, and I believe most of us are the same. We like the French, but then we like any one who is friendly of any nationality.
I hate this idea that people leave the UK for reasons other than this. Please do not knock the UK which had given us a great life till we left for a great life in retirement here.
I do not believe ANYONE who says they left the UK because of all the foriegners, and infact would laugh!!
The sad underlying fact is it foreigners or is it coloured faces that scares people?

We are all people of the world,  open up your mind and enjoy the mix. In my opinion the sooner we are totally integrated, all being brown skinned the better life will be for all.
Comments to

Which city?

The decisions on which cities will become the "capital" of the new combined regions is to be announced today.
In the Midi-languedoc (or whatever name is chosen) region the choice will be either Toulouse or Montpellier with the elected (and presumably paid) officials of each city vying to have their city chosen. The prefect of the new region may be making the announcement in Carcassonne, nicely equidistant.
comments to

J' ai mal au dents, mais j' ai un peur irrationelle des dentistes

I  have added a French heading so I could include it!

Marché Gourmand

Nous sommes le vendredi trente et un juillet

Can I suggest "Black Maria" a card game which we played last night with young teenagers and Grandad Tudor.
Mum and step dad had gone off for a couple of days to see friends in Montpellier and we were left in charge of boys.
We were out on the terrace well after the sunset playing with happy shrieks and the queen of spades and hearts being passed on to the person sitting next to you.
The last time the boys played cards was when they were here last time but they certainly enjoyed it, sitting out in shorts and tee shirts, warm and happy.
We may be getting on but we sent teenagers off to bed happy, and overall George age 13 was the winner on the evening.
Comments to

No longer sitting on the fence

Hi Val and Malcolm,

Just wanted  to  give you my reactions to the contributions  on the refugees which have gathered around Calais. Must say I found the term 'miscreants' quite inaccurate and inflammatory. 
I've seen the shanty-town like settlements of blue tents in the Calais dunes and the young  men and some old ones and some very young ones, almost children still, walking in  little groups or alone along the motorway to the ferries. All I could see were people who had left their family, their home and the very little they might have possessed, behind. They must  have   travelled far in terrible circumstances not to mention the crossings of the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats. Seeing them there in the cold, no luggage and only the clothes they stood up in made me cry.
I agree with Val and Sarah that there is a problem for Europe and that as Europeans we have to  sort it out together, with humanity, compassion and honesty. These qualities are often hard to find among the people who govern us. I think the media have a lot to answer for too feeding the public selective information which  plays on their fears, We should all be careful not to take what we read in the newspapers for gospel.  Calling people names, feeling superior to them, the 'Them and Us' approach have no place in finding answers.
Comments to

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Le Bouton Rouge at Caylus

Puycelsi tonight sounds good

Dear Val

The final concert of the festival of Puycelsi will be tomorrow (31 July) at 19.30. The choir which has been working so hard for the last 10 days will be singing works by well known nineteenth century French and German composers. After the extra-ordinary sucess of the concert on Sunday why not come and join us again and listen to some magical music. 

All three of Puycelsi's restaurants will be open so why not have a meal in one of them afterwards or it the wait is too long a drink and a snack before and a dessert afterwards


Miscreants, oh come on!

depraved, villainous, or base.
Archaic. holding a false or unorthodox religiousbelief; heretical.
a vicious or depraved person; villain.
Archaic. a heretic or infidel.
How Brian describes immigrants in the UK

Enoch et al

Brian's comments may well have some basis in that we English have elected a series of governments which have perpetuated policies with which he disagrees, but I do take exception to his use of the word "miscreants" to describe the immigrants to the UK. The vast majority are people who come to look for work and usually find it.
The great Enoch when he was  Health Minister,  encouraged a large number of Commonwealth immigrants into the understaffed National Health Service. Powell was vehemently opposed by the Trade Union movement (who feared that immigrants were being used by capitalists to keep wages low by artificially increasing competition for jobs).
Now that sounds familiar in Cameron's Britain.
Enoch Powell was a complex character, but seemed to derive his political thinking from his studies of classical authors - often resulting in ideas which were fine for the Roman Empire, but too simplistic for the 20th century.
Powell was not reticent about migrating himself to find work, though admittedly Australia is pretty British.
He  had early ambitions to be Vice Roy of India - a vast country of largely black people to be ruled over by a white minority. He also wanted to scrap Britain's nuclear weapons. He was implacably opposed to the EEC (or EU nowadays). He urged people to vote Labour in order to punish Ted Heath. He was very anti-American. In short he seems to have been an opportunist whose own ambitions were thwarted by his cussedness.
Brian also asks "why are so many people leaving Britain?" How many of them were immigrants in the first place? He paints a picture of Brits fleeing to other places where there are no foreigners and being replaced by Afghans and Syrians, or Bulgarians, Poles etc.
In 1066 the previous immigrant waves of Anglo Saxons and Vikings was followed by Normans from France, all of whom threatened to engulf the previous lot. But they grew to like the place and make it what it became, a powerhouse of culture and liberal prosperity. Long may it continue.

Yours in dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood,

Hi, Val.

Re the numbers of migrants to and from the UK, following earlier posts on your blog: 
From a personal perspective, I feel lucky that I left the UK, the country in which I grew up, knowing that I could go back whenever I wanted and that my family wouldn’t face reprisals because I’ve left. My journey here was straightforward and safe without fear that I would drown, and now that I’m here I enjoy equal treatment with nationals in terms of access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages. I can use the very efficient health service and I live in safety. I don’t have to worry about persecution because of race, nationality, religion or because I hold a particular political opinion, and I can rely on the government to protect me from persecution. It is a shame that others don’t have such a benefit.
I was lucky because I was born after the Second World War, the lessons of which led to the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I was born in a country belonging to the European Union, thereby giving me a right to work and live in other European countries. I was born in the UK, which has such a reputation for tolerance and diversity that people want to make their home there. Some will even face life-threatening journeys to get there.
The latest census showed that 13% of UK residents were born outside the UK, and the vast majority of them make a significant contribution to the UK and the British way of life, whether they are workers in the NHS, baristas in Costa Coffee, internationally renowned architects, wife of Nigel Farage, etc., etc. There are immigrants arriving in France all the time too, including British people, most of whom make a valuable contribution to life here, either by working or by otherwise paying into the system. At what point will your correspondent feel that France is too full of foreigners and where will he go to find his Utopia?
Calais is just one of the places that migrants are congregating. Italy has had more than its share of "boat people" arriving via Lampedusa, and I’m sure that there are many other places throughout Europe that are struggling to welcome people seeking asylum, for whatever reason. The problem is Europe-wide and the solution needs to be agreed by all European governments. One thing is certain, some new fencing in Calais is not the answer. 

Yours in dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood,
Comments to

Sold at last but now we need help

Hi Valerie,
could you place this little note of us in tagonline? Thanks! Riet and Janet

Finally we have sold our house( beware the sollicitors between notaire and seller!. it was a nightmare of delays). The planning is that the 7th or 8 th of september the mover comes to empty our house. We need some helpers. Who knows people who would like to help and earn some money? please contact us by phone or email.0563648084 and
Riet and Janet

comments to

7 million on fencing, it beggars belief!

Seven million pounds to be spent on fencing, can you believe that. If only  it was going to help those poor people, or even to  stretched welfare services in the UK.
Seven million pounds... am I losing touch with reality or is the government potty?
The problem is there is not an easy solution but EU governments have got to work something out, blaming the French and throwing money at fencing is just ridiculous. Anyone in the business of selling fence cutters in the Calais area... money to be made there.
Comments to

Thrills and spills at the Regatta

Come and join in the summer fun on the river. Many prizes to be won.
This year's regatta will take place on Tuesday 18th August at the Moulin de
Varen. Races will start at 10.30am so you will need to be registered by
Everyone is welcome, names will go into a hat and be drawn at random. Canoes
will be mixed teams. Children welcome, those aged from 5 to 12 must be
accompanied by an adult in the special childrens race.

Fish and chips or moules frites available at the Moulin restaurant for 12.50 but must be booked if you want these options. You can of course have the menu if you wish.. 
Martine at the Moulin would like the bookings to come via Val so
please contact Val Johnstone via TAG lines.

If you wish to picnic, then bring tables, chairs etc.
Dogs – are welcome but only on a lead. This is a public camp site and so
owners are requested to ensure that their dogs do not foul the area.

Life jackets of all sizes will be available if competitors wish to wear them.
Celia Berry
Mobile +33 (0) 671878927
Fixe +33 (0) 563309929
Comments to

For those too young to remember, it was 1968 after all

Enoch Powell's April 20, 1968 address to the General Meeting of the West Midlands Area Conservative Political Centre (commonly called "Rivers of Blood") was a speech criticisingCommonwealth immigration, and anti-discrimination legislation that had been proposed in the United Kingdom. Powell (1912–1998) was the Conservative Member of Parliament forWolverhampton South West. Though Powell referred to the speech as "the Birmingham speech", it is otherwise known as the "Rivers of Blood" speech, a title derived from its allusion to a line from Virgil's Aeneid.[1] Although the phrase "rivers of blood" does not appear in the speech, the name alludes to the line, "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'"

Val says this man became a symbol of racist attitudes in the UK, a bit like Jean Marie and Marine le Pen here in France. Someone who whipped up hatred against minority groups, not the sort of person TAG would ever glamorize. 
Comments to

Tonight and the weather is looking good

Caylus at night

I f you need a cat.. think the refuge at Carcassonne

The refuge at Carcassonne has a cat astrophe. more than 200cats and kittens needing homes. If you want a cat - think Carcassonne.
Comments to

Dog help

Hello Val, 

I was wondering if you could ask your readers if anyone knows of and can recommend a dog behaviorist / whisperer /psychologist or trainer preferably in the area around Najac for my 2 year old rescue dog who is suffering from her lack of socialization as a puppy and needs help to overcome fears and anxiety and maybe dog classes at a later date.

many thanks

Ali Stickler 

Rivers of blood... indeed

Hi Val.
Since being introduced to your blog I find a lot of the comments very interesting.
I write in this instance reference to the situation of the strikes at Calais and the ‘harsh’ words being spoken.
I see and read reports of a lot of resentment from our fellow English toward our French compatriots and threats of vengeful acts of retribution.
In my mind the basic issue here is not how the French are reacting, but why?  What is it that makes England so attractive?
I recall a recent news report that GB had allowed 670,000 foreign citizens in, and 320,000 Brits had left.
What has Great Britain become? It’s certainly no longer a land of British people! My 86 year old mother lives in Coventry where the resident population has now exceeded 50% foreign origin. And Coventry is now one of many Cities in the same position.
Why are so many Brits leaving? 
So back to the strikes.
The real culprits here are we silly English: with our poor memories, who consistently vote in and allow politicians who make mistake after mistake and usually the same mistake, with no culpability. Just look at Blair and Brown and their weapons of mass destruction mistake: and the terror threat that we all now live with in Europe because of their stupidity*. 
For those readers old enough to remember Enoch Powell, I suggest you go read his famous, Rivers of Blood’ speech and remind yourselves of his predictions: and then send a copy to your children and their friends.  This brilliant man was predicting, all those years ago, what is taking place today. And what have his successors learned from this. Absolutely NOTHING!
Bit like politicians erecting costly wind farms that do nothing when there’s no wind and forgetting that rivers run and produce water power 24/7.
So I say to all my fellow English living here in France, go tell your families that the problem at Calais is NOT of French origination, It’s 100% the fault of the British politicians for allowing these miscreants in in the first place.
Who was is it that voted the idiots into power?
By the way. Will the last Brit leaving GB remember to turn off the light please.
*Je suis Charlie
Val says I will reply to this later but I want readers to give their views, we are after all interested in free speech.
Tudor says " what is he doing in France? Tell him he is a foreigner here.

Garage wanted to rent in or around St. Antonin

WANTED: Garage to rent for my car  ( smallish car)
Garage can be anywhere within 1 km of Center of St Antonin

Bien Cordialement,
Jon Allerton Purcell
Place des CapucinsRue Droite - Trente Cinq 
Tarn et Garonne
France  82140

+33 (0) 56 36 700 60 maison
+33 (0) 78 39 710 63 mobile

Click on the link to find things to do

Que faire cet été ? Cliquez, trouvez sur :

Profitez des réductions de l'été, trouvez une activité à faire en famille, à deux ou entre amis. Consultez l'agenda des manifestations en ligne... Bref, tout ce qu'il faut pour passer de bons moments chez nous !

Rdv sur

Lot of inspiration

Scottish author Peter May found his home in St Cere in the Lot the ideal place to write his "Scottish trilogy", a series of thrillers set in his native land. As is so often the case the tales were rejected by various UK publishers, but were picked up a local publisher, Editions de Quercy and have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
comments to

Strong words in the Telegraph against France

The response of the French authorities to growing disorder around Calais has been inadequate. Only yesterday, long after these problems became apparent, did the French promise to deploy more police to the area. Even when the officers arrive, there are grave doubts about their effectiveness, since in many instances, the police response to illegal attempts to enter the tunnel is merely to drive the immigrants a short distance from the tunnel before releasing them, inevitably to return and try again.
Equally extraordinarily, Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister has written to Eurotunnel, a private company, seemingly blaming the firm for not doing enough to secure the tunnel entrance. That will not do. SecuringFrench borders is the job of the French state.
That state is not known for either inefficiency or restraint in enforcing the will of the country’s politicians. It is extremely hard to imagine that illegal immigrants congregating in such numbers elsewhere in France would be treated with such apparently leniency.
There are strong grounds to suspect that the French government has deliberately taken a relaxed approach to detaining and removing immigrants near the tunnel because it regards permitting their departure to the UK as a cheaper and easier option than returning them to their countries of origin.
Frankly, the French are attempting to shirk their responsibilities and transfer their problems to Britain. Faced with a crisis that is international in nature, such national selfishness is simply unacceptable.
Val says  and all I see are sad displaced people, with nowhere to go. I worry about all the dogs in overflowing refuges but I also have concern for people in a similar situation, nowhere to go, no one seems to care. 
With dogs the final answer is euthanasia,( with many staying in their own countries this could happen)  with people surely we need all countries to find a solution and a place for these poor people, who want a chance at life. Had you been born in Syria or Africa, it could be you.
You can send your comment if you disagree .. but I hope we all have some humanity and feel their pain.

Mickey mouse prices for French

Pic. Damien Meyer/AFP
When you are booking a package for your family to visit the premier European "parc d'attractions" do it from France, because booking from Britain or Germany can be considerably dearer. According to the Financial Times a French family will pay 1346 euros, a British family 1870 euros and a family from Germany a whopping 2447 euros. Since the packages are for hotels and entry to the park and not for travel the prices are simply related to the place where one books. The EU has received complaints, but say it is for the French government to ensure that customers are all treated fairly. It is also possible that intermediary agents use their websites to set prices.
Best practice seems to be to book direct using the French Disneyland website, using a French address.
comments to

Cordes in the sky

Manuel Valls in the Gers

The Prime minister Manual Valls has been visiting agriculteurs in the Gers. Last week in the Gers was Johnny Halliday, much better received I suspect. I would hate to meet a barrage of angry farmers wherever I stop and try and pass the message " the government cares about la ruralitè"
"Farmers have the right to be treated like everyone else." He says
I would say stop harassing people and you will get treated like everyone else. 
It is the supermarkets who need to pay the farmers decent prices for milk and beef.

Le Premier ministre a profité des différentes étapes d'une visite dans le Gers pour célébrer une ruralité en marche. Reconnaissant le «malaise» des ruraux, il a insisté sur l'égalité de tous les citoyens en République.

Nous sommes le jeudi trente juillet

Summer in the south of France would not be complete without a glass of pastis and a game of pétanque.
The clink of metal boule on metal boule accompanied by the chirp of a thousand cicadas is to the French what the thwack of leather on willow is to the season’s cricketers the other side of the Channel.
Now, pétanque fans – including a growing number of players in Britain – are relaunching the campaign to have the game recognised as an Olympic sport and included in the 2024 summer games, which Paris is bidding to host.   Report in the Guardian
     Val says we certainly play pétanque with family and friends, the game last night Malc won with James but I came a close second with George. Malc, Tudor and the boys will be on the boules pitch on Friday afternoon at Verfeil sur  seye at 2.30pm Why not join them? None are probably up to Olympic standard... yet.            Comments to

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Scan of Ruby's heart

Today Trevor took Ruby to have her heart checked at the vets where he lives.

Hi guys 

After an X-ray Ruby has congenital cardiomyopathy. 
She is on nearly double the dose of vet median now.. 
She is fine as long as she does not start coughing. But then we will have to look at a new treatment. 
I  was so scared for her but vet says let her carry on as normal. I love that little furry friend.       Trevor x
 Val says and  we all love her too. We had her for 3 weeks and a very special dog she is" the dog that tries to catch ripples on the river"
I am sure with Trevor's love and care she will lead a good life, and finding Trevor has made her a very lucky dog.
Comments to

A good day for blackberrying

In the North of England, we call it brambling. Our lads, their Mum and Tudor know how it is done. A big plastic container full of black gems now waiting to be made into a bramble crumble. Country living in France or the UK, reaps rewards. We are all out round our lanes, Dutch, French, English and Welsh, we are all out "blackberrying"
Would it be " mure ing" in French?

 Young George asked me today" why move Aunty Val, it is wonderful here"
Tudor has been dreaming about buying the gite and running painting holidays, his 80 years being a factor in holding him back.
When we do sell,  promises have been made to find somewhere with views and space for everyone.
But Mas del Sol will be impossible to beat.
Comments to

Now that is a worry

Even certain sections of family will vote to bring us out of Europe... but why we asked.
Too much power in Europe, we want the UK to be able to make their own decisions. It has all got out of hand.
Malc and I looked at each other and said " French citizenship for us"
Ask your relatives out on holiday what they would vote and let TAG know.
Comments to

Give us a lift and identify your pooch

Dear Val, 
Many thanks for putting the lift out there, hopefully someone can help. I should've updated you on the lost dog who we picked up from Les Abriols, (miles away between Penne & Vaour,) when his micro chip was checked & his owner contacted we found he'd been missing for a month... a lesson to all to have their dogs chipped, this was an uncastrated beagle who resides (when he's at home) in Laguepie - he's probably off again by now!! lovely boy i will say.
very best Laura

Lift to England

Dear Val,
I'm hoping that someone could help my son & his girlfriend who are trying to find a lift share to England around the 6th of August.
Many thanks Laura
comments to

A disaster was averted.

Dear Val and Malcolm,

Firstly a belated thankyou for your organisation of a wonderful evening last week in your garden. We all enjoyed the music and the boys loved their splash in your pool. Thank you for that. They all left early the next day to return to the UK with lovely memories. I left too to go to Bayonne for some golf and rest and recup.

However, I am back and I have just learned from Chris G that our table caught fire, due to the mosquito candles which we left for the comfort of the surrounding tables. Can't imagine how they would have caused the table cloth to catch fire. How scarey. So many apologies for that and hope there was no lasting damage. If I need to pay for any damage then please let me know. Very, very sorry for that.

Will see you soon for the regatta if not before.

Val says 
no probs C, well done for diverting a disaster Chris G. We found the next morning a burnt chair cushion and scorched plastic seat but nothing worse. With all those people a small disaster like that being averted was not too bad. Glad all the family enjoyed it.

Jazz in Marciac - if farmers agree

The "agriculteurs en colere" have featured in our columns recently and now they have been blockading entrances to the Jazz in Marciac festival. This is France's foremost jazz festival, attracting musicians of world stature to the small town in the Gers. But farmers were "controlling" cars as they enter the site in case the Minister of Agriculture tried to get in during his visit to the region yesterday. They also checked restaurants to ensure that their meat is French, pasting up posters indicating "French meat" or "meat from anywhere" as appropriate.
Farmers may have a legitimate case for the price they are paid for  their produce, but that is between them, the customers and the government and it seems wrong to deprive the general public of the right to free movement and consumers to the freedom of choice. Price is not the only criterion, perhaps consumers would pay more for better quality. French consumers will be shocked to know that many British expats find their meat to be inferior. Notices that said "Scotch beef" or "Welsh lamb" might have Anglo-Saxons flocking to the restaurants.
comments to

Mousse party for the children

At Caylus, Lac de Labarthe and the place du lavoir, there will be " gonflables"/ inflatables and then a dance with music and mousse. contact 0563670028 or contact Caylus tourisme.
Mousse is foam!
comments to

Fête des Battages at St. Antonin on Sunday 2nd

Machines and tractors from times past in the Place du Pradel, demonstrations given.
Also stands with local regional products. It is basically a fete a bit like our harvest festival.
Remember going to church for harvest festival and taking something as a donation?
Comments to

New link at the side

We have included a link to Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise and their website in the side panel. The group works to raise funds for cancer research and provides support through their various activities. We met some of them recently and were impressed by their enthusiasm. If you are interested in their activities click on the logo to go to the website.
comments to

A serious problem with fires

OK, so Malc and I both reported it but the reason we would chose that story is the papers are full of the fires and the damage. Remember as well as as thousand of hectares been made into waste land there is also the destroying and killing of wild animals and habitat. For those who can read French I have copied a piece from the Depeche for you.

Avec la sécheresse, 2015 est une année à risques pour les feux de forêts. En Gironde, l'incendie a détruit 580 hectares de pinède depuis son déclenchement vendredi. Des départements comme le Lot, le Tarn-et-Garonne, l'Aude ou l'Aveyron sont particulièrement vigilants.
Les pompiers français sont sur le qui-vive : les risques de feux de forêt sont élevés cet été en France en raison de la sécheresse qui touche le pays, après deux années très clémentes en matière d'incendies.
Cette année, 3 000 hectares ont brûlé dans le Sud-Ouest depuis le 1er janvier et 1 500 hectares dans les 15 départements de la zone Méditerranée, selon les derniers chiffres de la DGSC.

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt neuf juillet

Cannot believe how quickly July has flashed past. Just checked and the next book swap is on Monday the 3rd of August. Once again at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin starting at 10.30 am
If you remember I talked lots of you in to taking bags of books away for me,  to return this time. I had weeded them out before hand.
 Spiced cuisine will be making deliveries.
See you all there.
Comments to

Where do you buy goats milk?

Hi Val, 
we still buy fresh milk every week, as I can't stand the taste
of UHT. It does mean going into Villefranche once a week and freezing
it so that we have a constant supply.

One thing I am looking for if any other readers know of where I can find
it is fresh goats milk. Raw would be fantastic but pasteurised is OK too.

Anne in Castanet

Hi Val
We recommend Quercy Frais near Caussade. Delicious milk from Castelnau Montratier. We freeze enough to keep us going. A little more to pay perhaps but we like to feel we are supporting local agriculture.

Hi Val
Try the Laiterie above Intermarché in La Fouillade.   They have pasteurised milk from a local Najac farm in the upright fridge on the right - I think I have seen un-pasteurised and goats milk as well - it's worth a try.  You pay a deposit on the glass bottles which is reimbursed on their return.    It is owned by the daughter of one of the GP's in La Fouillade and I am sure they would know where one can get these things even if they don't stock them.


Dear Val

leClerc Gaillac, possibly because of the significant muslem and british population has a wide range of milks. We can buy fresh milk from local farmers, two brands of whole, semi skimmed as well as skimmed cows pasturised milk, sheep and goats milk and various cultured milks. 

If Gaillac is too far to come, try your local franchised shop  and tell them that it is available here and who knows what might happen.


Comments to

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

No fresh milk in the countryside

FRESH milk is now “impossible to find” in rural areas – especially those where there are a large amount of dairy cows – claims an activist for old-fashioned, locally made food.

This comes as farmers have been protesting over milk prices of just 300 euros for 1000 litres, which they say is not enough to make a living from (an agreement has been reached raising it to at least €340 until December, but many farmers say this still just represents cost price). 

Val says  we no longer buy fresh milk, have not done in years of being here, just too difficult.  yet we always had fresh milk when in the UK.
More in the Connexion.
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Larroque Arts Festival

Until 31st July the festival has an exhibition of works of art in various media, including paintings, sculpture, film and video. There are activities all week, including an original collaboration between local residents Bernard O'Neill and Kenneth Hey. A series of miniature tableaux reflecting the places and spirit of the village is projected to music composed by Bernard and called the "Echoes of the cliffs" - if you know Larroque you will understand.
An interesting project is to take a period postcard of a village street scene and get local residents to recreate it in contemporary dress. These old postcards are always interesting and what a fascinating idea.
comments to

You forget how good it is

The Segalar at Milhars is one restaurant the youngsters all want to go to for the pizza. But for 12.50 euros you get a five course meal including wine. It really is exceptional value. A little in knowledge and a dickie bird tells us the restaurant owner pays a peppercorn rent unlike many who pay much more for the use of the establishment.
What did I have, saussison, charcuterie, steak frites, fromage, tarte citron.
Tudor had pizzeta, salade fromage bleu, magret de canard, tarte au pomme,
The boys had pizza and a variety of desserts.
Malc down the other end of the table seemed content but not sure what he had.
 We have all arrived home stuffed but happy ... and the sun is shining.
Comments to

Wood turning on a lathe

Hi Val & Malcolm

I have never contacted you before and am unaware of the correct procedure - I hope this works.
I have a very small job for someone with a wood turning lathe. I need a handle turning from hardwood for an ancient cast iron water pump I am renovating.
I can supply a fully dimentioned drawing and could prepay by cheque to include return postage if the supplier is not local to me.
Is it possible to post this message in Taglines as it’s probably the best way to find a local supplier (Google has failed me this time)

Thanks in advance and keep up the good work

Kind regards

Alan Lile

Comments to

A typical french scene of the moment

One of Sylvie Cosnier's new gouche works.
Comments to

Meme sans le train dancing in St Antonin

Agriculteurs still, as always en colere

Camions and tractors blocking roads in different places throughout France, blocking motorways doing "operation escargots"  Often it is about how much untreated sewage they can put on the land. This time it is the price they receive for milk and meat they sell.
I have no sympathy on the sewage issue, polluting the land and rivers with too many nitrates must stop.
I do however have sympathy with the prices they receive for products, it is just the way they protest I am not happy about.
I am amazed they have the time to spend days protesting, and how annoying and disrupting workers having their holls is going to encourage people to support them, I do not understand their reasoning.
Comments to

Turned out of your camping, where would you go?

10,000 people turned out of the huge camping areas near Frejus to keep them safe from the raging fire. But there you are with family and all your gear with hordes of others stuck in a traffic jam on those small roads. Where do you go? They call this a holiday, what a time for your two weeks relaxing from work.
Without the fire I do not know why anyone would go camping at Frejus. More than thirty years ago with a tent having had a great time in Italy on the way home we decided to spend a few days at
Frejus. The campsites were  huge and lacking charm, the roads were blocked with traffic all day going to Nice and Cannes. The relief when we got up into the mountains towards Grasse.
If you have happy memories of Frejus and camping you can dispute this statement you know.

Nous sommes le mardi vingt huit juillet

Well over 1,000 views again yesterday and checking which country the views come from it is nearly all in here in France. So yes it is you and friends who make up the viewing figures.
Comments to

Monday, 27 July 2015

Do we all drink too much?

In discussion with a Dutch friend, we discussed which nation drank the most. She had been on holiday in the UK and had been amazed how much the young drink. We are often amazed how much the more elderly drink, and we should probably be included in that. A glass of wine every evening is for me, no more. But I do look forward to 6 pm when I can pour it. Malc is more a three glass man and we are both more restrained than when we arrived in France? Then the joys of wine tasting and buying cheap wine in bidons caught us by surprise and without putting a hold on our drinking we could both be happy drunks now... or dead.  Such a shame that one of life's little  pleasures has to be taken with moderation but moderation it  must be.         How are you with moderation?
“One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.”
― Charles Baudelaire, circa 1850s

Puppets at Espinas

Oyez oyez !

La Compagnie Fil en trop'
vient de Belgique pour une représentation exceptionnelle de leur spectacle de marionnettes :

Un rien soluble

Tout public, à partir de 7 ans

à la Grésie 82160 Espinas,
chez Damien et Leila

Auberge espagnole à partir de 19h
spectacle vers 20h30
suivi d'un boeuf - bal 

Faites circuler l'info, venez avec vos amis ! 
et vos instruments !
Une participation au chapeau sera demandée.
Comments to

I supply sweethearts

No apologies to Ginny, for too many dog stories, too many dogs have made too many people happy. A companion, a member of the family, someone who loves you unreservedly, and I supply that all the time, Ginny. Making people happy cannot be bad.
The numerous dogs we have rehomed have given  their new owners pleasure and us rehomers happiness as well. Never mind giving a life to a dog that may have been locked in a refuge, or put to sleep.
Our little foster dog Mircka, a brittany spaniel, is such a dog. Owner died, could  have been  put to sleep and what a shame that would have been. A sweeter, cuddlier little girl you could not find, no malice in her, ignores the cats, likes all dogs, is good with the children that are here. You would be hard pushed to find a dog who you needed more... and she needs you. Had we not already adopted Eldo we would keep her but two dogs is certainly enough for us, so little Mircka most find a sweetheart for herself. She as they all do would need a fenced garden to play and some continued training on not being a greedy girl ( she is a brilliant learner)
She is puced and vaccinated.
Are you that person?

Yet another forest blaze

The blaze ravaged around 30 hectares of land near the town of Frejus in the Var département of southern France.
It broke out on the Bagnols-en-Forêt road around the Pin de la Lègue estate in the early afternoon, and saw around 200 firefighters, 50 fire trucks, and water planes mobilized.
Not wanting to take any chances authorities decided to evacuate three campsites where 10,000 holidaymakers had been enjoying their summer vacation.

Arts festival at Larroque

Hi Val & Malc
 Hope all is well.
 The Art Festival in our village - Larroque
 Maybe interesting to TAG readers.
 Many thanks
Info to follow

Saturday August 1st the moto cross at Laguepie

Brilliant night this which the boys will love the " Moto nocturne" at Laguepie motor cross course. Starts around 7pm but goes on well into the night, with revs,music, thrills and spills.
Great photo opportunities as bikes literally fly around the humps and bumps. A very exciting night for the boys, and we will enjoy it as well.
Comments to

The wasps are aggressive this year.

The children drinking orangina is tantamount to organising a "wasp fiesta" at cafes.
I have from now decided to have a pile of beermats in my handbag to put on the top of glasses when they arrive at the table. Children flapping and screaming at wasps is not the best way to enjoy a " demi"
Comments to

Swimming in the river at Laguepie

So the afternoon  brought sunny skies and we went off in two cars to Laguepie. I was the first in the river to swim, but sadly I was the only one not able to clamber on to the huge inflatable. I was offered to be pulled up by the boys but with cameras flashing decided it was a wise move not to go down that route. The children there were having a great time and having establised with they young lifeguard, who was desperate to practise his English, that if I shouted " help, help" he would know I needed rescuing.
 Between you and me after being a sail boarder most of my life I think the chance of needing rescue very slim. Three pretty french girls on the swimming platform in bikinis offered to give French lessons to young James, but James refused the offer. As  Malc said "you would pay good money for that in Paris!"
Comments to

To advertise in the side bar on TAG

Someone has inquired how much it costs to advertise in the side bar on TAG. The price is 35 euros for 3 months all money going to one of the charities listed below.
If you click on the symbol it will automatically take you to the website of the advertiser, assuming of course they have one.
Ourcharities at the moment are:-

Via Sahel Enfants d'Afrique: in support of children in Mali
Liberte des Anes: donkey rescue and sanctuary in Tarn et Garonne
Alzheimer82: support group based in Montauban, T&G
Cancer Support France : Tarn based support group
AGMOMP: support for bone marrow patients:

Comments to

Bikes at Najac

Hello Val & Malcolm,

Could I use TAG to ask if anyone knows of a local bike hire service? There was some correspondence on TAG back in March, mentioning 'Velo12', but no details.

I'd be grateful!

J x

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. Ellyxx 
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