Monday, 31 August 2015

What are you doing there?

I have lost my cat, have you seen it?
Whilst we were out the renters saw someone hanging around outside the house. We left the dogs locked in the house in case they barked.
The man when he saw the renters at the second house said" ah! I am looking for my cat!
Now this strikes us as odd, a Frenchman possible neighbour looking for his cat, this has never happened before up here but...
When we lived at the Presbytere at St. Vincent de Varen down the road, we interrupted  a man known to be a "druggy thief"  coming in our back gate not knowing we were in. His reason he said " he had lost his cat"  This happened on two different occasions. Now I might be being overly suspicious but "faites attention"with anyone who does not live in the neighbour hood and has lost their cat.
Our cleaners grandmother was robbed of all her sentimental jewellery a few weeks ago.
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TAG foot soldiers have been on the march

Just got back to feed two ravenous dogs after saying goodbye to a popular couple in the area who have sold their property and are returning to the UK. Great do ... and I am sure all your many friends in the area wish you well. Not mentioning names but many readers know who you are. Good luck and bon chance and on with the adventure.

I left looking like a " bag lady" with bin bags full of items to send to refugees. Mostly collected by Jane Wallace in the Cordes and Les Cabannes area. Various methods and ways of delivery being put into operation over the next few days and grateful thanks to all who are helping. I was told by Judy Kent that even the French in Les Cabannes are getting involved with bags of  warm clothes and useful items being left at the Mairie ready to be picked up and delivered to us by Friday. Someone who has cleared out bedding and blankets says " you just do not realise how much you have that you do not need".

Matthew Scott who is driving the lorry has received news of his Fathers death so has to go back to the UK in the next few days. Our sympathies Matthew and Marcia. The delivery will still go ahead but the day now maybe a couple of days later.
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Positive news at its very best says Laura

Hi Val, this is positive news at its very best...
Very best Laura

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Who fired the paint bomb?

A friend was out on his balcony at the back of his house when he heard an explosion like a gun going off. On going out to see what was happening he discovered the window of his car shattered and the interior of the car covered in a sticky white paint like substance. He was quiet shaken by this and wondered who would want to fire a paint ball? We sat discussing it last night when Malc came up with the answer.
He remembered the friend had on the seat of his car had a canister for repairing tyres incase of a blow out on the motorway. In the extreme heat of yesterday it must have exploded spraying the contents over the car.
Lucky that did not happen whilst driving on the motorway. A warning there to check out such canisters if you have one.
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Orange alert today

Meteo France announces an orange alert for storms, including heavy rain and hail, from later today in our part of the south west. The stormy weather is moving in from the west during the course of the day, with after 8pm being most likely.
Many of us will welcome the cooler days (and nights!) but temperatures in the mid 20's should still be acceptable for the tourists.
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Good friends whatever your opinions

We had a lovely evening sitting out in the grange last night with friends from around the area.
We all have diverse views on diverse subjects which makes life and conversation interesting and stimulating. TAG often comes up in discussion and we are interested to hear different takes. Interestingly the work ethic came up. Two of the friends had been builders working till their 60's but both felt there was no way with such a physical job one could carry on working  beyond that age. Robin has the advantage of being able to work with pen. I think Malc and I find that with the gite, the physical work is now beyond us.
There was a feeling that having a job you loved made your working life one you remembered with pleasure but many were just glad to retire.
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A massive sum raised for Cancer research

Dear Val.

The ladies of Entente Cordiale Gaillac., are pleased to announce:

A very successful event raising in total, €4745 for the Claudius Regaud Institute of Cancer Research.

As the gates opened there were a few people already gathered and as the time drew near for the event to start a good 50% of the seats were taken and still people were arriving. Charcuterie, Crisps,Hot Pizza and Wine available in abundance the audience were soon either dancing, singing along, or munching and drinking. The atmosphere was truly convivial.

Martin gave 3 x 30 minute performances singing a wide and varied range of French and English songs. His approach was to sing something for everyone and by the amount of applause he certainly succeeded. In between his son played a mixture of English and French music to keep the audience entertained.

At the end of the evening Martin received a standing ovation and as he walked off stage the thanks for a wonderful evening just came and came and came, from both French and English attendees.


The ladies also ask me to thank you for publicising the event as it was clear there were quite a few of your readers in attendance.

Once again, thank you.

Kind regards.

On behalf of Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise

Nous sommes le lundi trente et un août

Hello Val and Malcolm,

Knocking on doors in Verfeil-sur-Seye this afternoon and spreading the word about the plight of the refugees at Calais, has resulted in collecting 85.00 euros to help towards the cost of the journey. My assistant was a lovely 6 year old girl from Ghana who is going to donate some of her toys for the children! People have been most kind and supportive, regardless of their political views.  This is a humanitarian crisis and I must say, the people of Verfeil have been wonderful.  

I will be bringing boxes of provisions before the 8th September as I have asked around the village for suitable items. 

Thanks for what you are both doing to help people who are in such a desperate situation.

Joanne Schofield
+33 (0)5 63 30 74 46

Val says we are all doing our bit and great to think we can help even if only a little. Thank YOU Joanne

Sunday, 30 August 2015

They need to know if relatives are dead or alive

  • Dear Val

    I don't think they'll be wanting old mobile phones. On the news last night the Syrian refugees were using up to date Apple iPhones and iPads!!
     Val says I have seen one of the sites saying they need mobile phones and ipads to keep in touch with relatives left behind. I would imagine it could be one of their most precious belongings, being able to carry very little else. Would you deny them that ? I think not
    Below once again a list of things needed. I saw Matthew today and asked how big the lorry he  was taking to Calais was,  his answer BIG.
  • vêtements, d’hommes bien entendu : blousons, pantalons, jeans, chaussettes et chaussures ;
  • bouteilles d’eau vides, munies de leur bouchon ;
  • bâches ;
  • couvertures ;
  • produits d’hygiène : tubes de dentifrice, brosses à dents, rasoirs, savons etc.
  • Comments to

They do not tell you this when you move to France.

Summer is nearly over, we look forward to autumn always lovely months. We are a bit strange in that we even like the winter months. I remember waxing lyrical about winter, walking up the lanes with the white icy branches twinkling in the sunlight, minus something like 14!  A reader wrote who lived in the valley bottom to say,  with only a wood burning stove and no double glazing no way was she waxing lyrical. You know my tale about the cardigan round your shoulders in the winter, the same agent who 14 years ago admittedly younger to cope with the temperatures, is now seen around the town with big overcoat, hat, muffler and gloves. We did laugh about it recently and I agreed with him, he is selling houses and doing a fair job.
 Immobiliers  seem loath to tell you that it is colder than in the UK in the winter even though we often have lovely blue skies.  
Moving to France is a learning curve, a prospective buyer said to us" I have never seen a French house with so much double glazing" well I can tell you you need it if you are not going to perish.
Top of our list when we move
Views and sunsets
A good central heating system preferably underfloor
Double glazing.
a good sized light kitchen
Near a village within 7 mins drive.
For us not near water, too many possible problems.( we have been here 14 years and have heard them all)
Lovely walks along quiet lanes

Comments to

House for rent in Montricoux

Morning Val,

Could you change the number on the ad as it is wrong please
Or contact David on 0033(0)
Or contact David on 0033(0)

I enjoy your blog very much.
Are you retiring from the blog also?
Val says Retiring from the blog, no.  Just retiring from hard work. We will continue writing till we are old and senile!!

23000 year old Venus

Photo : Patrick Kovarick/AFP
A  carving of a female figure was made about 23000 years ago in the Pyrenees and discovered in a cave in 1922. 15 cm tall and carved from mammoth ivory, the Venus de Lespugue has been an iconic exhibit in the national Musee de l'Homme in Paris (the museum's Mona Lisa some say). The museum has been closed since 2009 for renovation but re-opens  on 17th October. Other exhibits include skulls of Cro Magnon man and philosopher Descartes.
We watched the start of a drama series based on actual events called "The Resistance" on Channel 4 the other night (French with sub-titles) in which a group of resistants were based in the Musee de l'Homme as it had printing facilities for their eponymous news sheet. The Director connived with them to spread news about German and Petainist activities until he was relieved of his post.
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8th World title

Not a well known British athlete, but a well known French athlete. Teddy Riner is a judo player (judoka in French) and has been the world 100+ kilo champion seven times previously. His words yesterday were uncannily similar to those of Mo Farah. "I am not afraid of my competitors, but they knew that I was here for my eighth medal, and just 12 months before the Olympic Games they want to test me out." He admitted it had been a struggle to hold on to his title and that his challengers were beginning to "avoir des crocs" (show their teeth?).
As with Mo his mantra is "work, work and work" to hone those aspects that can be improved upon. These great athletes don't achieve things by accident and should inspire youngsters (and us not so young) to strive for their goals. As Mo said yesterday, we can't all be winners but we can all make an effort.
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Two stories here, two points to be made

Just noticed how many news stories start in French with Alors, anyway:

Alors after the death of a four year old child at Damazan at the lac du Moulineau, there is a call by a minister to close the site for bathers. It was watched over by a 60 year old well trained life guard. The life guard has been taken to court but is supported by the MNS which is the " maîtres nageurs sauveteurs" the master of lifesaving association.  They say the water was too cloudy and there was too large an expanse for the man to survey. It was not a matter of age as has been suggested.
Now what this made me think if life guards at somewhere like this and I am thinking of Laguepie are taken to court for supposed dereliction of duty, how long will communes continue to allow river bathing.
In life there are risks, to my mind a four year old child should have been watched constantly by parents. I did notice a small child at Laguepie happily climbing down the steps with arm bands and off they went! where were the parents I thought and I noticed the life guard had stood up before parents ran on to the scene and joined the child.
Apart from young children, there are some risks in river bathing, but come on, there are risks in life. Sometimes worth taking.
I would hate to see river bathing curtailed because of fears by councils of court acts of negligence against them or the life guards.
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French or English news, the headlines are still the plight of refugees

I could not sleep last night imagining the terror of  people dying trapped, asphyxiated in a van with 70 other adults and children. How desperate you must be to get into that chicken van and be closed in. Another two bodies which will  never be identified floating in the sea picked up by a Norwegian boat. On and on the endless stories of deaths and people struggling to live.
No one but no one can imagine the horror and pain of others living like this.
One bottle of wine, one meal out all you would need to give up to help donate.
Or even gather together warm clothes, sleeping bags and toiletries, old working mobile phones and get them to me before the 8th of Sept. to be sent on to the needy.
Numerous organisations you can donate to Oxfam is another, Save the Children, all are mobilising.
and this link.

TAG is not the only newspaper or blog bringing this news, we are in the middle of a human catastrophe.
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Nous sommes dimanche le trente août

Snoozers are not necessarily losers, said the BBC TV presenter this morning when discussing an afternoon nap. Research shows having just half an hour in the afternoon lessens the risks significantly of strokes or heart attacks. Malc who likes a doze will now have some ammunition when I pull his leg about it.
Malc says the leg pulling  is getting less as Val now has the odd doze.
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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Festival of Jazz at Najac coming up

Copy and paste the link for more info.

Poaching and rehoming

Why do peaches all ripen at exactly the same time? Our wonderful peche de vigne is once again loaded with peaches but they are all ready like .. today. I have picked, stoned and poached them whilst having a phone conversation with Kathy dog rehomer about Happy. Happy is leaving home on Wednesday and going into kennels till a new owner can be found. Mirka the elderly spaniel is really content with her new owners as they are with her. Ruby is obviously going great guns with Trevor as photos show. Seems things are going well in the dog world if only the human world could be sorted.
Oh! by the way we have someone looking for a young golden labrador or a young border collie. Their dog was sadly run over and they would like a replacement. Contact me if you know of any.
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Oh la la, cheeky cheeky ladies

Hi Val
Yes, it's finally finished. I am attaching the advert for our Calendar Girls Calendar could you put it on for me .
I look forward to hearing your comments .
P x

Only 7 euros, great present.
Malc  made the comment "No faces I recognise"

Cancer Support France Sud De France / Tarn Group
Help line 0468690137

35 hours

Dear Val,

I was working in Lagos, Nigeria (as I had been for many years) when the French 35 hour week started. I said to my colleague 'Bayo, "you know, 'Bayo, we probably do 35 hours by Wednesday evening." We are both architects, working for ourselves and loving our work. I am still working part-time at 76 and still loving it. Someone (Henry Ford?) once said there are those who work to live and those who live to work - our practice only employs the latter.
Best wishes - Robin
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She may suffer with a dickey heart but by gum she can play tennis

Ruby enjoying life with Trevor.. and a ball
( someone says  "does she know she has a dickey heart!")
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The Syrian refugee crisis

The images and stories of deaths, people trying to escape war and tyranny but meeting death along the way, touches us all. One way to help which is easier than sending goods sometimes is to donate money. I have given a link to an association which is helping.

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A good night at Entente Cordial Concert

Dear Val.
 We are new to your blog and was introduced by a friend.
 I have to tell you and your readers about last night.
 My wife and I and some friends drove down to Gaillac to attend the Entente Cordiale Concert. I have to say we were very dubious but thought, well it's in aid of a good cause, the weathers good, with good friends, it can't be that bad.
 Well.  WOW!  We were blown away by the presentation. This guy is clearly a professional or if not, he should be.
 Where to start?  Considering there was just him on the stage, The stage set up was something else with lights and lasers and a curtain at the back of hime where the lights were changing to the beats of the music.
 He drew the audience in. He performed 3 x 30 minute sessions. His 1st outfit was reminiscent of Elvis at his best: black and gold with sparkling diamonds. His next session he wore a white tuxedo and his last session a full dress suit. The amount of effort he put in was incredulous. And as for his voice! What a talent. He sand old songs, new songs. Some in English and a lot in French.  I've never seen so many people up dancing. He literally sang something for everyone.
 I asked an entente person and discovered it was his son controlling the lighting and effects and the sound.  The quality of the sound was..... Talk about quality. All too frequently you get to one of these events and the the volume is deafening and then you can't hear the singer if you wanted to. The clarity was fabulous. Even though he was using backing tracks, everything was spot on.  All credit to his son.
 I would like to finish by saying that if anyone local is booking acts or is thinking of a special event, please go look this guy up.  He has a website at
 Thanks to your blog we took a chance and ended up with the most fabulous evening. I say to all your readers. If you haver an opportunity to se this guy, don't think twice, go! You won't be disappointed.
Monclar de-Quercy

Washerwomen walk at Bruniquel.....

comments to

Work is often a pleasure

Malc and I were very lucky to have a working life where we loved it so much we worked all hours. Working for ourselves of course, certainly more than 35 hours. Now Emmanuel Macron France's economy minister says the 35 hour week is not working and the Socialists were wrong to think it would improve the life of people if they worked fewer hours.
Working hard with an interesting job to Malc and I was more than a work ethic learned from parents, but now at  coming up to 70 and Malc 72 this next week we will officially retire from running our gite in three weeks time. The last renters leave towards the end of September and then we will be officially retired.
What will we find to do?
Malc says Manuel Valls has told off the economy minister for saying that ( but to me it is stating the obvious)
Comments to

After the holls

Heading home after your holidays, the roads are going to be very busy this week end, expect delays. The children are back at school this next week " la rentrée" and French traditionally pack up and go home this week end.
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Nous sommes le samedi vingt neuf

Ideas for things to do in the Aveyron from the Depeche

Friday, 28 August 2015

Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the Uk

Someone sent this petition which I have signed and judging by the amount of things I am receiving for Calais and Greece many others will like to sign.
Thanks C for sending

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Cars at Negrepelisse

A weekend of old cars and a vide garage where you might just find the part you need.

Nice way to spend Sunday

It's raining cepes

The rain last weekend followed by the hot weather has led to a glut of the delicious fungi. At the market of Vaissac (82), which is renowned for the sale of cepes, over 6 tons of cepes have been offered for sale this week, with prices falling to a record 8 euros the kilo.
Conkers are OK
If you are tempted to join the many mushroom collectors, remember that you must have the authorisation of the landowner. If you are in a foret domainiale you are free to collect produce, in communal forests only residents of the commune are authorised and in managed state woods there is a limit of 5 kilos. Penalties can be up to 75000 euros for organised unauthorised  mushroom picking.
We have known neighbours who were warned not to collect walnuts or chestnuts from trees that seemed to belong to nobody.
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A French court makes a ruling

Electomagnetic hypersenstivity to mobile and wifi is 'serious handicap', French court rules

French court rules that woman is unable to work due to the debilitating effect of mobile and wifi waves and should receive €800 per month in adult handicap welfare, in a legal first that could lead to many more claims.

I read this in the Telegraph but for years I have heard it was in people's imagination.
Malc says I am surprised we did not cover that story days ago, and escaping the electro magnetic waves is why people live in caves or out of way places. The lady in question has lived in the Pyrenees for some years, in tents or caves.

Another agency added to the list

Yesterday we had the agents AG3 immobilier from Cordes and Gaillac come and offer to sell our property. Renée Christine and Patrick Nowakowski are a charming couple, they do not speak English but have an English representative who helps. Working on the principle the more agents the better we are now with 4 around the area. We have a recommendation for Selection Habitat so may add them to our
If you have had a success selling your property or have tales of selling why not let us know.
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Nous sommes le vendredi, vingt huit août

Talking to a French friend yesterday she really could not understand how Malc and I had got involved with helping people; dogs now she could understand that and children in Mali she could just about understand. But refugees, it was for governments to help them. I agreed with her, it is for governments, all governments but when the UK government seems unable or the best solution is to build a 7 million pound fence, why stand on the sidelines?  Helping people in dire need whichever country you live in is something we want to do. I hope if we were in that situation someone would help us.
By the way I do not see it is politics I see it as just caring for other human beings.
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Thursday, 27 August 2015

I was going to say, that looks fun

... till I read at

Hautacam : quatre blessés dans un accident de mountain-luge

Four people injured and one seriously,  helicoptered off to hospital.
Hope they are OK and it does not stop the fun, perhaps with more safety considerations.

A good financial adviser needed

Hi Val
Hope you are enjoying your deserved spell of peace and quiet. A little question for TAG if you don’t mind.

Could you ask if any of your readers have recommendations of financial advisers who are used to working with British clients living in France. I have a private pension coming my way which has to be reinvested. I keep being told that I need advice on the tax implications of taking lump sum etc especially as i am now under both the UK and French tax systems, but I’m aware that there are many sharks swimming around in these pension waters now that the law has changed.

Hi Val

The two most professional (and comprehensively regulated) firms of Anglo-French financial advisors, Siddalls and Blevins Franks, have recently merged under the latter name.  They are based in Bordeaux, often travel to TAGland, and are completely approachable.  The top man is Rupert Holderness, whom I thoroughly commend.  Telephone 05 56 34 75 51 or email (all in English).

Hope this helps

Hi Val, 
I would like to concur with C  regarding a recommendation for
Blevins Franks. We contacted them 5 years ago in the UK just before we
left for here permanently and have been using them ever since. We use
the Bordeaux office, Nick Pascoe was our original contact and now we
normally just chat with our client manager Ian Alexander once every so
We have been very happy with the advice they gave us regarding our
investments and they are also now advising us on what to do in the
future with our UK pensions. They also recommended the accountant we
use - who saved us €2000 the first year when the french authorities
messed up our tax demand.
Comments to

Record year for baby bears

The number of bears living in the Pyrenees has increased by a record number of 6 in 2015 according to the bodies monitoring them. The  number of bears in the mountains now totals 30, but concerns have been raised about the age of the dominant male, Pyros, who was born in 1988 and is now getting long in the tooth, but equally raises problems of in-breeding. Campaigners would like to see the introduction of a younger male to ensure the continued success of the species.

Pic. Conseil General d'Aran

Wall to wall sun

We really are doing well this year with weather, a few cooler days with rain in the last few months can be counted on your fingers. Temperatures still high mean lunch time and late night eating on terraces, balconies and in gardens is still going on. We just love it as long as we are in the shade, looking out at the sun.
Pets are not so chuffed with the heat and tend to sleep all day, becoming lively about 9pm. Donkeys stay in the stable sheltering away from those pesky flies, and  cats well they sleep as they normally do.
cat Freddy likes the log basket
We are on a tidying mission after  adults and kids have left, always an odd sock, sweet papers, and a pair of knickers to be found!
Comments to

Restaurants along the river in Toulouse with swimming pools
Comments to

Round and round it goes

A young girl had an uncaring childhood with a mother with problems; now at 23 this young lady has two children 2 and 4 years old. They were left on their own in a house for two days without clothes, bin bags full of rubbish, terrible smells in the house. 

 Elle a eu une enfance miséreuse. Elle n'a pas été élevée par une mère normale.

The children found in the Lot area have been taken into care and the girl has received 5 months suspended. So sad stories like this and one wonders what will happen to these two children in the long term.
Comments to

Work at the Chateau Dumas

Dear Val,
I was wondering if you would be kind enough to let your readers know that the beautiful 18th Century Chateau Dumas, 6km from Caussade, is looking for 2 friendly and energetic people to help run their creative and residential workshops (www.chateaudumas.netfrom the 12th of September until the 31st October 2015 - or part thereof.
They are full-time paid positions, which would include waitressing, assisting in the kitchen and chambermaid duties….plus anything else that comes along!!!  Could be live-in or live-out.  
A great opportunity to work in a wonderful setting, as part of a small friendly team.
Anyone interested should send me an e-mail at
Many thanks,
Director/Wedding & Event Planner

Nous sommes le jeudi vingt sept août

Well I was not expecting this when I saw the death by mushroom at Moissac. The poor chap aged in his sixties had a heart attack whilst mushrooming  and died in the woods.
I thought it was going to be a story warning about eating poisonous mushrooms.

Tragique cueillette, hier matin, près de Moissac. Un Toulousain est décédé en ramassant des champignons dans un bois de Piac. L'homme âgé d'une soixantaine d'années est mort brutalement, vers 7 h 30, dans un bois près de Moissac, en s'adonnant à sa passion pour la cueillette des champignons. Pris d'un malaise cardiaque, son épouse a joint immédiatement le SAMU. L'intervention des secours n'a pas permis de sauver le Toulousain. Le médecin urgentiste n'a rien pu faire pour ramener à la vie la victime. Le malheureux chercheur de champignon est décédé sur place.
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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Albi, river view

Photo Albi tourisme
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Looking down on St. Antonin Noble Val

What a beautiful place we live in
Photo by Lorraine Dowson
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Burning the ivory: imagine a world without elephants

Imagine elephants, lions and tigers becoming mythical figures of fairy tales? Well we are on the brink of that.
An inventory of stocks of ivory held in museums is being made  before stock is burnt. At the demand of the Minister of Ecology several dozens of cases are set to be destroyed. Ivory entering the country illicitly   from 1987 to 2007 will be burnt. All to discourage the hunting of elephants who are in danger of disappearing.  thank heavens a stand is being made, hopefully not too late.
Comments to

Raising money for Cancer research

Hi Val.

Just received a telephone call asking me if it’s possible to have you once again remind all your readers that the Entente Cordiale Concert is this Friday.

Doors open at 7pm with a free glass of wine. It’s suggested that people arrive as early as possible for the best seats and of course those seats in the shade early on.

Wine, Water and soft drinks will be available. Picnics are welcome. The ladies tell me that there should be seating and tables for everyone.

All proceeds are going to the Claudius Regaud Institute in Toulouse.

Kind regards

On Behalf of Entente Cordial Gaillacoise

At Caylus

Sans permis - it's cool

So often we read of some recidivist driver flashed at 200 kph who turns out to be "sans permis", having lost his licence. But "sans permis" is also associated with those little  cars driven by 90 year-old "papis" (granddads). Now, however, they are becoming popular with teenagers who can drive them from 14 years of age.
Similar to little scooters they require a "AM" permis, obtainable after 7 hours of practical and theoretical instruction. Parents are buying them for children because they are safer than scooters and allow the kids to be less dependent on them for lifts to extra-curricular events after school. The youngsters like them because they are often well equipped (a car stereo?) and give them independence. Speed restricted to about 50 kph they represent a reasonably safe way to learn about traffic and driving.
We wonder if they will be asking for parking in the school yards (like we had bicycle sheds).
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How Laguepie must have changed

Just one street in Laguepie showing how the village has changed. Other streets in the village are the same with shop windows now being incorporated into parts of houses. The shop windows are still left showing what a commercial village " Laga" must have been in times past.
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Holidays are over

There we were with bathing cossies at the ready for the last play on the " gonflable" but there it was  "gone" (Laga is the girls name for Laguepie) Laga is one of the families favourite places on holiday and the bars for café créme and ice creams are where we relax.
For us and family, great times past, other good times to look forward to.
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Facebook is a mecca for racist attitudes

Do you know I despair when looking at Facebook. So many people willing to share blatant rubbish about Muslims. A  picture arrives with blurb with bold text often saying a soldier has been insulted in some way by a Muslim or the latest says Tesco would not serve a soldier in uniform as Muslims might be insulted. There is always a picture of an ugly Muslim along with the story. You are asked to share and one of the readers suggested we ban Tesco.
One only needs to follow back the post to see that the story is being circulated by a rabid racist and all their posts are in the same vein. It would make me despair, if I was not being sent clothes, bedding and toiletries for refugees.
We have to fight these racist remarks and stand up and be counted for humanity.
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Portes Ouvertes

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt six août

Is summer over?
We went to Laguepie yesterday to have one last play on the " gonflable" on the river... to find it gone!
Summer for the children in Laguepie ended on the 23rd of August so the notice told us. Well it actually said that was when the river would be closed and the lifeguard would no longer be there.
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Members get first bookings, why not become a member ?

Rita and Angie have been best friends for more than 60 years and together, they've experienced every milestone, every setback. Now, as Rita says goodbye to her lifelong companion, a surprising journey of self-discovery unfolds: there's a fine line between following your desires and conforming to expectations.
Written by Ronnie Dorsey and performed by Judith Paris, this touching story is both compelling and uplifting.

It's impossible not to get sucked in by the power of Paris's high-quality storytelling...” Edinburgh Evening News
Judith an incredibly intimate and moving performance...”

The bar will be open as usual from 6pm and the show starts at 7pm.
There will be a chance to meet both performer and writer after the show, and you can also join us for dinner at Le Petit Resto in Les Cabannes (more details shortly).

To book your tickets, please email the usual address: 
fetatlecolombier@gmail.comMembers € 15 Non-Members € 20
NB: Please send your cheque in good time to confirm your reservation
Julie Pearson FET Bookings and Membership Secretary

In the steps of Amélie Galup

Concert at Puycelsi

Sunday September 13th 18.00hr. Puycelsi
The Puycelsi Choir organised by Ginny and Ross Jenkins will be singing Haydn’s Nelson Mass or as the French prefer to know it  Missa in Angustelis. Another work to be played by the organist Nicholas ONeill will be Bach’s Toccata and Fugue.
However the true star of this evening will be the opportunity to see the finished restoration of the Chapel dedicated to St John, the baptismal chapel. To say it looks stunning is an understatement.
The season in Puycelsi is not quite finished and the Roc Café will be open and if it is dry and warm enough Au Cabenon will be open for a post-concert meal.
Tickets are now available price €15.00 from Ross and Ginny tel 05 63 33 15 84. Students under 18, €12.00 and children under 10 free. Booking recommended

Thank you


Au Jardin des Paradis

Coke and chocolates

Pic MaxPPP. Serving suggestion!
Not a dream MacDo menu, but what police in Toulouse found when they raided a flat in the city last week. Amongst the 2.6 kg of cocaine they seized was 1kg hidden in the foiled wrapped chocolates in boxes of confectionery. The police had been trailing the suspects for some months to discover how the drugs made their way from South America to la ville rose. 5 people, French. Dutch and central American in origin were arrested.
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French pole vaulter takes bronze

Renaud Lavillenie is the world's best pole vaulter. World record holder; Olympic and European champion; but never world champion.
Beaten into third place in Beijing, Lavillonie admitted he was disappointed and although a medal is good, it was the "wrong colour".
Other great athletes have for some reason or other failed to make their ultimate goal, such as Paula Radcliffe at the Olympics, so you just have to accept as the Frenchman said "it's just not my event".
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Mixed grazing, not something you see very often

 An idyllic scene with horses, cows and sheep, a picture from a smallholder in France.
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt cinq août

We have managed to keep TAG vibrant and newsy with difficulty having different family members here for well over a month. We will be sad when our daughter and girls leave today but we may sleep for a week to recover.
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Monday, 24 August 2015

Folk'n'Jazz at La Vigerie

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Contact me if you want a dog, I generally have an idea what is available.

Dogs big, dogs small, dogs young and dogs not so young. They can all be seen at La Mere Aux Betes, or Poorpaws. If your French is not good contact Sue at Poorpaws who works closely with Danielle at La Mere aux Betes. If you want advice on a dog you can always contact me. No need to buy a pedigree dog when beauties like this are waiting for you. All are chipped and vaccinated. Dogs found in St. Antonin and area are also  sadly always plentiful.
On rehoming animals in Midi Pyrenees on Facebook there is a lovely border collie, 8 mths old chipped and vaccinated being given away as he does not want to work the sheep.
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Violent storms, two deaths

Violents storms at Montpellier yesterday afternoon caused the death of two elderly people when their car was carried away by an overflwing river.

The life of a grandparent !

What have we got ourselves into?  The last day of the holiday for the girls and their Mum here in France. Inspired by Jessica Ennis Hill winning Gold at the Beijing Athletic World Championships we are organising a mini athletics day here.
We have so far on the list, swimming, running, jumping, table tennis, croquet, badminton and freestyle movement. We apparently can chose 3 disciplines to excel in. Saying my back has just about recovered holds no sway and so we will be whole heartedly entering the spirit of the event. We will apparently be racing against our personal bests. Malc and I are smiling as we do not think we have a PB.
Pray for rain and a tiddlywinks game.
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Heroes honoured

The three American and the British man who tackled and disarmed the suspected terrorist on a train from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday are today being honoured by President Hollande.
Invited to the Elysee palace this morning (Monday) the four men will be invested with the Legion d'Honneur.
The men are being called the "Thalys heroes" after the train they were on: "Thalys" is a company formed jointly by SNCF, Belgian, Dutch and Deutschebahn (German) railways to run high speed trains between  northern France and its neighbours.
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Killed by beer

A young Comite des Fetes volunteer in Varaire, a small village in the Lot, was killed when unloading beer kegs from a lorry at the village fete. A second man was also injured. Police are investigating the cause of the accident, with a broken restraining chain being favoured.
Sadly one wonders if untrained volunteers doing what always seems a dangerous task are at greater risk as kegs of beer are seriously heavy.
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Nous sommes le lundi, vingt quatre août

President Hollande will greet the train heroes at the Elysee Palace on Monday morning, a source close to his office told AFP.
Armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, an automatic pistol, nine cartridge clips and a box-cutter, the attacker opened fire on board a high-speed Thalys train just after it crossed from Belgium into northern France on Friday evening.
But the attack was quickly stopped when two off-duty US servicemen and their friend charged the gunman and restrained him. A British passenger also assisted in subduing the man.
One passenger received a gunshot wound in the attack, while one of the US servicemen was injured with a knife.
Val says the US soldiers on leave say it was not down to army training but just quick thinking. I disagree, their army training made them know a gun had jammed and the training they had received made them know how to tackle the man. The terrorist is now saying he is not a terrorist just an armed thief but he was already tagged as a  possible terrorist suspect. However or whatever thank heavens those two American soldiers were on that train.

Migrants France was happy to welcome

On the 15th of August 1944 thousands of migrants, Algerians, Moroccans, Senegalese, descended on Provence in the South of  France to come and fight and help liberate France. How short are memories?
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Sunday, 23 August 2015

It is like an International aid centre here

So said our daughter as we packed boxes and sacks of children's clothes in the boot of Jean Marie Nosal's car. We had been donated sacks of childrens's clothes and Calais say they have enough of those at the moment. We discovered that Jean Marie had a friend driving all the way to Mali with an empty car and  guess what he wanted to fill it with. Children's clothes. A supporter of Via Sahel
in the next couple of weeks will  be going on the long drive, giving us more space for sacks for Calais.
We were pleased to also give Via Sahel Enfants d'Afrique 245 euros from various donations raised from family and TAG supporters.
Once holiday time is over here in the middle of the week, I will be sorting bags and preparing them for their trip to Calais.
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Down they come

The plane trees along the Canal du Midi many are being cut down because of a " maladie" There is a campaign to get the trees replaced but it takes years and years to replace avenues of trees like this.
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Fake emails relating to your carte vitale

A GROWING number of fraudulent emails are doing the rounds claiming to be from France's official public administration, users have been warned.

The latest batch of "phishing" attempts involves an email relating to the Carte Vitale, the card used to obtain healthcare refunds in France.

The email, which has the logo at the top, invites recipients to provide personal details including their bank or card details to receive a reimbursement. says it never sends out emails asking for money or bank details, or offering a refund.

If you have already replied to the email, you should contact your bank immediately to block any fraudulent transactions being made.

Phishing emails that appear to come from government services can be reported using this online tool - - See more at:

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Photography exhibition at St. Antonin

Un sentiment de Paris - a solo exhibition by Corrina Tough photographer
Sept 2 nd at 10.30 am la Porte bleu, Rue droite St. Antonin.
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Art Quercy Espace Bonnaïs, Caussade

Good morning Val,
As the weather has cooled down a bit and more rain is forecast, I am doing another shout out for the wonderful art exhibition I am part of.  Paintings and sculptures, beautiful, uplifting or fun, take your pick. The exhibition is on until Wednesday afternoon, open daily from 10 am till 7 pm. I shall be there this pm and tomorrow (Monday) from 13-16 hours . Hope to see some of you there.
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Fête de nuit at Najac last night

Lovely photos by Gareth Brown
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Chocolates with a difference

La coke / the cocain was hidden in the choclates which arrived at Toulouse. I  did wonder if they were found by a sniffer dog. A kilo of drugs, which is a fair amount was found.
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Changing a light bulb in Rodez

Claude Leveque: Le bleu de l'oeil
The installation by Claude Leveque at the Musee Soulages in Rodez has been closed indefinitely following vandalism of one of the neon tubes by a visitor on Friday. The rest of the museum is open as usual. The artist is not able to repair the exhibit as the specialist firm which makes the neon tubes is closed for "conges annuels".
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Found on facebook, but I do not agree

I love Dr Seuss books normally so funny and I did like the cat in the hat spin off that some wag did on Nigel Farage. This one I feel just does not get my positive mood on ageing.
Malc and I are having a whale of a time, loving to laugh, laughing a lot through any health issues and have really positive attitudes.
Be positive and laugh and be grateful for what you have that works

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Nous sommes le dimanche vingt trois août

A storm in the distance last night and Malc tells me there were claps of thunder and rain about 6 am.
Looking a bit damp for events happening today but it is still very warm.

The youngsters will be sad when they get up as Katerina Johnson Thompson did not get her long jump in and will not get a medal, but the good news Jessica Ennis Hill is set to get gold.  Back to bad news in  that Andy Murray lost to Federer.
I throw this in, as that is all that is talked about at the moment.

Kathy dog rehomer has left a long message on the answerphone about Happy. She has been trying to find a solution, but there is no home for him at the moment, everywhere is full with all the dogs abandoned over the summer whilst they go on holiday. She like me thinks making a fenced area in the garden with a kennel would solve the situation, in the short term at least.
Mirka has settled well with her new adopters and everyone is happy.
I must make sure she knows about a dog at Parisot Lac that has been there for two weeks, no collar. The picnic  bar owner said he had told Huguette the vet and she will have passed it on to Kathy. If you know anyone who has lost a beautiful male dog, mainly black, but with a bit of white on his chest. Looks a bit like a big border collie but very hairy. If you or anyone has lost this dog he is at the Lac.
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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Can you spot him?

The mountain dog of the Pyrenees in the middle of the flock.
 taken from Mother  Earth News
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Key cutting at the newsagents

Hi Val
Great to hear this. But surely it would have been more of a job  for our local Quincaillerie?   Or is that too obvious?

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Key cutting at St. Antonin

Hi Val
I forgot to attach the photo of Dominique at her key cutting machine.

It is that time again

Mushrooms, we love them and picking something for nothing we love even more. You do need to be careful with what you pick. Check at your local pharmacy that what you have picked is safe to eat. 5 tourists in the Ariege did not check and have ended up at hospital in Saint Girons poisoned. 

Ariège : 5 touristes hospitalisés à Saint-Girons après une intoxication alimentaire aux champignons.

You can visit the castle of Caylus today

Le Fouace at Najac this week end

Apple help

Dear Val, 

I am looking for someone in the Cordes Area who is a whizz on 'APPLE.'

 I have a MacBOok Pro, an Iphone, and a very kind person has just given me an iPad , and I don't seem to get them all synced correctly!  and my address book is all over the place.... I really need someone who could and spend a couple of hours chez moi getting me sorted.  Is there any one who can give a hand, or show me where to put my fingers..... !

Joanna  Townshend Boegner
tel:  France +33 (0)9 67 31 77 41
      iPhone  +33 (0) 63 77 77 087
Val says look in the side bar, there is an advert for someone who does everything apple.

More to Happy than meets the eye

We needed more information on Happy and how he is with children,( has he bitten anyone ? ) so I phoned to find out more.
He has never bitten anyone child or adult but the family think as he is very protective of them and the grand children coming have never had dogs or understand them, (the youngest is 4) so  it might be difficult.
The dog is allowed outside the house on his own with their other dog a border collie. There has never been any trouble with neighbours children or passing walkers and farmers.
Happy has jumped at a visitors trousers and pulled them.
He does not chase cats, is curious but that is all.
He does not go away, staying around the property but does bark with the other dog at strangers. He has seen a dog behaviorist who he was an angel for. The result of this meeting was that although the dog is protective of the owners it might be wiser not to rehome with young children. The teenagers next door to Happy often play with him.
If you feel you could give Happy a home contact Celia and Peter
My email is
My husbands email is
Our home phone number is:- 05 65 29 84 69
I look forward to hearing from you
Celia & Peter