Monday, 30 November 2015

Another take on dogs and sofas

Hi Val

The idea that dogs on sofas allow them to acquire dominance status is a tired and false notion. It is based on the dominate the dog school of dog training and harks back to Schenkel's flawed research into wolf pack behaviour. It is now widely accepted that as he used unrelated animals in his research the behaviour observed on which he based his ideas of dominance hierarchies within wolf groups is wrong. Many subsequent subsequent studies to Schenkel tried to apply his theories to dogs and this idea of alpha males and females has stuck. Wolf and dog behaviours are quite different in many respects. Lock food in a cage and present it to a wolf and it will try and try to get access. A dog will try for a short while and then stop look at it's owner as if to say "help me out here boss".
A dog well trained using positive re-inforcement techniques is a far better socialised creature and will experience no discomfort accommodating other pack members in a variety of situations. I.e anger at being displaced from a sitting place. It will comply to maintain harmony in the pack. Dominance seeking behaviour will still be present but any intelligent owner will know that until dogs can have credit cards, buy can openers and develop opposable thumbs humans will always be the top of the pile.
Gary Shanahan
Comments to

Montauban at night

Photo Tarn and Garonne Tourisme
Montauban lit with Christmas lights.
Comments to

Great idea for a dog bed.

Sally from Milhars suggests make the  sides a bit higher as dogs do not like draughts.
Joanne Nebbia says  " Is that a giant Yorkie or a mini pallet in the picture?"
Comments to

Belpech in Varen, our local chateau

Our local beautiful chateau photo taken  by Gareth Brown. One of the pleasures we have every time we go to Varen is seeing Belpech.
Comments to

Never have the stakes been so high

Hollande sent a clear message to the 150 heads of state gathered for UN climate talks in Paris on Monday, telling them a "universal and binding" agreement must be reached because life itself was at stake. 
The heads of more than 150 nations kicked off 12 days of talks in search of an elusive pact that would indirectly restructure the world economy, weaning it off fossil fuels that stoke global warming.
They met at a conference centre in Le Bourget on the northern outskirts of Paris under heavy security following terror attacks in the city which appeared to have galvanised commitment for a climate breakthrough.
It was the largest single-day gathering of heads of state or government in history, the United Nations said.
Val says  I despair that people can still think climate change is not happening and for people who say " well I will not be here to see it"  Malc and I will not be here to see it, but what of our children's children?        Comments to

Restoration Consort

To remember the dead of Paris

Paté de randonneur

This is what we had for starters yesterday. It conjured up with the diners lovely images: which bit of the randonneur were we eating? Well which ever bit it was delicious. We were given presents by a French friend in the summer of a collection of tinned patés . The next to try is " Paté piquant", the tin says the ingredients are gorge de porc, foie de porc, lard, oeuf, sel, poivre et piment d'espelette. ( pepper with the name of a place espelette)
 The make is Pierre Laguilhon, small yellow tins, so good I would look for them again.
Wish I had read the ingredients on yesterdays's tin but perhaps not  in case it was "doigts de randonneur and gorge de randonneur"! ghoulish thoughts.
Comments to

Dogs on sofas

Dear Val,
Ok, dogs on sofas ........ no, no, no !  A dog should NEVER be at the same height or higher than you.  This can give the dog a dominant feeling.  I know of one couple  - my lips are sealed – who now can only sit on their sofa if the dog is not on there !  A friendly dog in every way but woe betide you if you try to get him off the sofa.  Dogs should always be at a lower level than that of the owner, so a cushion at your feet is great but on the lap/sofa is not on.  When the pups are cute and tiny it is so tempting to cuddle and let them sit by you, but what happens when the pup gets bigger ...... and bigger ?  Also so embarrassing when you have friends for drinks and they are balancing drink and nibbles only to find themselves suddenly with a four legged hairy being on their lap too !!
Same thing with the bed.  We once homed a pup then four weeks later the lady called us because the dog had become ‘aggressive’.  We were very surprised until we learned that the dog slept on the bed with the daughter and when her parents went in to kiss her good night, the dog growled at them and bared his teeth.  Obviously he was protecting the little girl.  Our advice to get the dog off the bed, out of the bedroom and back to his own sleeping place downstairs was taken on board and from then on, no more problems.  The responsibility of guarding his mistress had been taken away and the pup could enjoy being just that, a carefree pup.
Do I practice what I preach .............. well, I don’t have a sofa so no problems there but the very ancient little dogs sleep in the bedroom but NEVER on the bed.
Sue xx Poorpaws

Christmas market at Puycelsi

Fencing heights for animals

We had friends for Sunday lunch :  they were delicious! They commented on the height of the donkey fence which they felt the donkeys could jump over, strangely they never do jump. If planning an escape they shimmy underneath the bottom line.
Maeva dog rehomer has just sent me a note saying for dog fencing 1 metre 50 high is the right height.
Our fencing is about 1 metre 25 and the dogs never try to jump over. Conversely the neighbours outside dog can jump in and out easily and often does. Kenza comes to pinch the dog toys, balls, pully toys all are carried off as prizes. Every now and then I go over to the neighbours courtyard and reclaim a few.
We do not really mind as she has so little fun in her life but I cannot speak for our two dogs, who often look quite miffed as she carries things off.
Comments to

Requiem for Paris (2)

singers assembled in the church
Malc reports:
The singers from various choirs plus a few freelancers gathered for the second rehearsal of the Fauré Requiem to be sung in hommage to the victims of the Paris shootings.
The number of male voices was considerably boosted by experienced tenors and basses so that even with my tentative efforts the sound was much improved. One thing to remember when trying to follow a score with small Latin text in a dimly lit (and cold) church: take your specs with you!

Geof Cryer discusses some points
The concert will be on Sunday 13th December at 4pm, in the church in St Antonin. Although this is a big space it is likely to be full, so make a note now to get there early. The beautiful music may be part of a mass led by the curé.
Val says and from the look of it wear a warm coat
comments to

Another Christmas concert

In the church of Verfeil sur Seye (82) next Sunday "Les Voix du Coeur, a choir from Monteils, near Caussade, will give a concert of Christmas music both familiar and new, in support of the lovely little church at Selgues.
comments to

Happening at towns and villages all over France

L'entente cordiale at its best. 52 réfugiés ( note that word in the Depeche) welcomed from the " l'enfer de Calais" to the town of Luchon. It says residents and réfugiés( that word used again) learning to live together.
Comments to

Networking works

Over the years we have been editing TAG we have got to know hundreds of people in the area all with various hobbies, interests and businesses. It gives us a great reserve of contacts to call on when needed.
Sue at Poorpaws who is now a great mate and supporter was told about Berger and immediately put him on her site. Straight away she contacted me to say a couple were interested in fostering in  view to adoption. I contacted the couple and a few emails later they are spending the week fencing their garden and will welcome Berger the week after next.
People are just wonderful, the decision made to have a dog they immediately get cracking on erecting fencing. Cross fingers that Berger will be enjoying his turkey Christmas dinner with his party hat in place.
Comments to

Nous sommes le lundi trente novembre


 Morning Val,

 here's one to go with your weetabix this morning...

 you can't help thinking 'could this work for us? here in the land of

 the baguette?'
Joanne Nebbia
Val says reading the article you can see the over riding problem was self esteem. Hard to feel good
 about yourself when everywhere you go people are unwelcoming. I like the bread making idea and
 I think with our refugiés we need once they are settled to get them interested in a project or two.

Animals in war torn places

Dear Val,

I would love the readers of TAG to know about Nowzad, a charity I support. It seems important, in wartorn places, for someone to be rescuing the animals who are brutalised by the situation.

I hope you are well.Love   Sally from Najac
Comments to

Sunday, 29 November 2015

What a great idea

The world wide protest against climate change was banned in many towns in France and certainly in Paris The protesters came up with this great idea, they could not march but their shoes could.
Photo from the Mirror. At the moment French newspapers show nothing but trouble with the gendarmes. One newspaper suggests that the Pope put his shoes there.
Comments to

Party date for your diary

comments to

Berger needing a home not just for Christmas

Contact Val if you can help

Good film night proposed

Tomorrow night Monday, we are offering to show a French film " La reine Margot”  based on the Alexander Dumas novel, set in late 16th century France and starring Isabelle Adjani and Daniel Auteuil. For full details see  

It is in French with English subtitles but very easy to understand. A bit sexy was " Margot" and one of her partners was even sexier. A really good evening’s entertainment which is why we came up with this one. It starts at 6 pm and costs 10 euros to go towards things for the Réhoboth refugees.
We had thought nobody was going to book as our close English friends have all seen it but now we have two French people who have booked.
If we could get 6 of you to come it would be reasonable... there must be some out there who would enjoy it!
Think about it, let me know straight away at and I can then send directions.

I call it potato, you call it potarto, etc as the song goes.

Val says we English speakers know to call the  displaced people arriving refugees not migrants. The French take is different and our French friends tend to call them migrants in the initial stages. Florence who is lead French oraniser sent us this. Asile by the way is asking for asylum.

A little french vocabulary lesson…
In France you are called a ‘migrant’ because you still didn’t do any ‘demande d’asile’.
If you ask ‘l’asile’, then you become a ‘demandeur d’asile’
If you receive a positive answer to your ‘demande d’asile’, then you become a refugee (réfugié) with papers to stay in france for 10 years if I remember
well, and then you are treated as any other french people.
If you receive a negative answer, you become a ‘débouté du droit d’asile’, and then you can try to have a ‘recours’, or leave the country, or live here
without any papers and fear to be caught and be reconducted at the frontier at any moment.
But if you started your ‘demande d’asile’ in another country, then you cannot continue in France, you’ve got to come back to that country…
Hope I’m clear,  that’s not really easy, and after those few global explanations, much more complex in reality.
Sweet dreams !

Rachel Samash then followed up with more info.
Just to add that as far as I can gather from internet research refugee is a ‘faux ami’ that is to say that in English it doesn’t mean the same as in French. In English refugee means( as far as my research tells me)  “a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster”. This means that a person is a refugee EVEN if they haven’t asked for asylum (Different to the French meaning). The United Nations defination is the same as the English and not the same as the French which certainly confused me as I had assumed the French definition would follow the UN.
The Bristish tend to avoid using the word ‘migrant’ for people  leaving their country to escape war and say ‘refugee’  because although they are migrants it also includes a much larger group of people,  ‘a  migrant is a person that travels to a different country or place, often in order to find work’,  and can lead to  people misjudging the  people at,  for example Calais, thinking they are just looking for better jobs. The woolly area is when people move country because there is war in their country but in another part  so they are anticipating danger rather than being forced to leave.
Please do correct me if any of you think I have misunderstood the terms,

I was personally struggling with the french term migrant, and so kept calling them refugees when i was talking French and was stubbornly ignoring the french who corrected me because  it felt ‘politically incorrect’ but now I realise it is just another  ‘faux ami’.

Stress workshop

These workshops are an initiation into the application of Mindfulness and an active apprenticeship for stress, difficulty in concentrating, and physical and psychological suffering.
Instructor:  Jane Lovell, psychologist, has been practicing Mindfulness and Meditation (an important tool  for developing Mindfulness) for a number of years.  She was trained by the Oasis Institute, USA.
Benefits of this approach:  To calm your mind, overcome your fears and anxieties and accept yourself as you are.
For more information: My web site:
Cell phone: 06 80 15 89 11

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic in a University Hospital, USA, developed this 8 weeks program to overcome stress, anxiety, pain and depression relapses in 1979.  The MBSR has become internationally known, and today more than 17000 people have completed the training.
Instructor:  Jane Lovell, psychologist, has been practicing Mindfulness for a number of years.  She was trained by the Oasis Institute, USA.  She has participated in retreats, and one in particular with Jon Kabat-Zinn in 2011.
Benefits of MBSR:  Reduction of stress, personal, relational and professional, and an improvement in the quality of one’s live and well being.
For more information: My web site:
Cell phone06 80 15 89 11

Val says Jane Lovell 's information will be apearing in the side bar soon, but this is the information on her very useful sounding workshops.

Maeva sets me a challenge, forever home or foster home needed

Gorgeous  big 5 year old boy, 40 kilos, just about to discover that a dog is not even for Christmas. Berger was rehomed with a new owner a year ago and they have loved him but now they are moving into an apartment so they must say goodbye to Berger.
Poor lad has not been told yet that he is in for a cold, cold, Christmas.
Well to work on his behalf : the plusses are he is handsome, he is castrated and puced, he does not run away and a garden with simple fencing will be OK. He is fine with other dogs and children. Probably better not with tiny children as he is big. He is a sofa sitter, liking his home comforts, needs a bit more training on walks as he does pull a bit. Not one for those with cats as he has not been trained and would enjoy a chase.
More info as I find out, but there is a bit of a panic as he has to leave his present owners on the 15 th Dec. and where is he going to go?
Malc and the cats say NO.
Comments to

Dogs on sofas, do you do it?

Do you allow your dogs on the chairs?
We are strict in not allowing Bonny and Eldo up on the chairs and they accept that it is not the done thing. Conversely they have taken over the sofa downstairs in their bedroom and we have decided to let them have that as theirs. Two big dogs with muddy paws and feet, should be a stinking mess in no time!
I know many share their sofas with dogs to enjoy a cuddle, and have " throw overs" that can be changed.
What do you do in your household?
The cats are not allowed on the kitchen table or work surfaces, and they do know not to do it.
 How many of you do not mind where cats go?
The funniest instance I had with a neighbours cat was went I went to their loo. Their friendly cat joined me on my knee, something they told me the cat was prone to do.
Comments to

That test is not a doddle

Hi Val,

 Ginny is right about not having to take the Test de Connaisance
de Francais if you are over 60 but...... She is very wrong about the
test being a doddle. I sat it in April and found it extremely hard.
Yes the test is multiple choice but you have to sit in a large room with
around 15 other people. The test is timed and there were 29 questions
in 25 minutes. Not too hard you would think but these questions start
easy and get progressively up to French fluency standard, where not only
do you have to understand fully the nuances of a fuzzy sounding clip but
read and understand (or hear and understand) 5 very long complex
sentences with similar meanings and then choose the right one. The
conversation part of the test was indeed a doddle but the first bit was
dreadful !
I was unfortunate when I took my test as a row broke out at the back of
the room with some candidates and the invigilator which I found very
distracting. All in all, a highly stressful day and one I was glad to
get over. Thankfully, I scored B2 on the test (B1 is the minimum
required for french citizenship) and therefore never have to go through
it again.
Anne in Castanet
Comments to

For Christmas the tradition at each house is to have "le foie gras"

As one begins to celebrate Christmas and New Year the Depeche tells us the tradition is to eat foie gras.
One can find numerous sellers of ducks who have been fed with maize / maïs (to get the pronunciation of maïs I say mice) Many households make their own foie gras and we have sampled may delicious varieties of it.
Is it cruel stuffing ducks with maize three weeks before killing? I have seen it being done and although I did not like it, the bird did not appear to be suffering. It was explained at this time that the ducks naturally stuffed themselves before flying off on long voyages, which was how it was discovered that the engorged livers were good to eat.
 I would rather the ducks just had a natural life but they don't here and it is not going to change anytime soon.
I find it too rich now but Malc loves it. 
Comments to 

You wont forget the champers

A study at Reading University seems to show that a glass of champagne can help ward off dementia and Alzheimer's. A constituent acid is similar to the antioxidants found in some foods known to be beneficial and in the experiment rats were given doses equivalent to three glasses a week As a result the treated rats improved their spatial awareness compared to the control group.
It as been pointed out that rats are not the best subject for drug tests, but no call for human volunteers has been made. Any one up for it?
comments to

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt neuf

Still dark looking out of the window at 7.45 am, not a good sign probably is going to be cloudy. I let
Bonny out in the back garden where as the donkeys were playing, running about and biting each others necks, she started running up and down the fence barking as she went.
Not the quiet morning start we like, so she has been brought in.
Eldo is still in bed, he likes a leisurely start, sensible boy. Nipolena outside cat has been wormed with a spot on wormer and tomorrow I will do Baby the other outside cat. It would be impossible to give them a tablet so " spot ons" are ideal.
When all pets are sorted I can sit with my ipad and a cuppa.
The donkeys have to wait till it is light... but they are waiting, as the hee haws tell me.
Val says again.. even I read this and thought, so what! It just shows what great readers I have when 4 say "enjoyed" It is really hard on a morning when all the news is dire.
Comments to

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Look who we have here and it is looking good.

Gitane safely installed with her new doggy friend, soon to be best friend. Gitane was adopted today and Jenny tells me so far it is looking very good. The family dog and cats are impressed and Gitane well you can see, she can't believe her luck. She sent a text to me saying " I can even go on the sofa"
Enjoy your  life Gitane, it is just beginning for you.
Coments to

French citizenship

Hi Val and Malc

Do you have to take a French exam if you want to take French citizenship after you have retired?
Please help

Val says Ginny and Ross have just taken citizenship,  I think you have interviews not an exam. I am sure readers will now.

Ginny replies   
No, you are exempt from the language exam over the age of 60. I think that the presumption is that good communication is only needed if you are looking for work. However we were under a misaprehension and studied for the exam. It was an absolute doddle - multichoice questions and then a discussion with a panel of three. 

This was why we were rather taken aback by the challenging nature of interview we had but as I have said to many, the beurocrat probably rapidly assessed that our French was quite adiquate and decided to liven up her morning.

Comments to

à voir et entendre !

"Ce samedi 28 novembre de 16 h 30 à 18 h 30, dans la salle des congrès de la mairie, présentation et lecture d'une œuvre de l'artiste Aïdée Bernard. Artiste plasticienne, Aïdée Bernard vous propose un partage autour de la création en papier de plantes. Une découverte de son travail artistique qui joue avec l'écriture liée aux textures végétales et participation à l'installation «Ouvrir le livre» qui réunira en une seule œuvre tous les papiers réalisés par chaque participant du territoire Midi-Quercy. Tout public, entrée libre. Informations office du tourisme 05 63 30 63 47. Animation proposée par l'association Mosaïque en Val"

Et aussi : une exposition magnifique à Laguépie, dans la vitrine de la boutique de Fanette; illumination superbe, disent tous ceux qui l'ont vue. Attention se terminemardi soir.
Rappel :
5 novembre au 2 décembre 2015 exposition de quelques tableaux à l'Ehpad de St Antonin.
11 novembre au 2 décembre 2015 exposition "Aïdée Bernard, Artiste en résidence" dans la vitrine de Fanette à Laguépie, l'exposition s'illuminera tous les jours de 17h à 20h... 

Comments to

Happening at Laguepie

Some people did not have a flag

But it did not stop them from showing solidarity, especially on the #fierdefrance Twitter feed.
Twitter pictures cannot generally be copied, so for a selection of people's ingenuity have a look at the FranceTV info page on this link

comments to taglines82@gmail,com

To bomb or not ?

French President Francois Hollande has urged British MPs to back an air campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria, as thousands prepared to march on London Saturday to oppose the plans.   

Trail of breadcrumbs

We know the fairy tale of Hop o' my Thumb who left a trail of pebbles to enable himself and his brothers to get back home (the trail of breadcrumbs did not work do well thanks to the birds..). Police in Nantes made use of the same idea when tracking three men who had stolen a 15 kg dish of paella from a supermarket. In their hurry to escape they did not notice the trail of rice they left behind. The police simply followed the trail to the the apartment, knocked on the door and invited themselves to join in the feast - which was still on the table. The men were arrested. What happened to the paella is not known.
comments to

Should we be using butter and olive oil?

Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases, according to leading scientists, who are now recommending food be fried in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or even lard.
The results of a series of experiments threaten to turn on its head official advice that oils rich in polyunsaturated fats – such as corn oil and sunflower oil – are better for the health than the saturated fats in animal products.
Scientists found that heating up vegetable oils led to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease and dementia.
This was from an article in the Telegraph

Wonderful readers, wonderful advertisers

I love mornings, especially when we have nothing to rush for. This morning I am giving thanks to all our wonderful readers and advertisers.
After the meeting last night I arrived back to receive this mail:

Hi Val, I have managed to look at all of the computers. They all had various issues. I have installed Windows 10 on the 2 larger computers. The 2 smaller ones, 1 is very very old and the hard disk is too small to put a newer operating system on, the other one needs a new hard disk which I can get hold of for next week. I have another one which is ready (making 3 ready in total.) One of the big ones needs a charger which I can order also for next week. I can drop them off on Tuesday as I'll be in the area then, unless you want to pick them up earlier.

Val says  those computers were all donated by readers and Andrew Media Man from Parisot has performed his "Media Man Magic" I think I will start writing Media Man Magician.   A big thank you to readers who donated and to Andrew who has brought them back to life.

Next I want to thank Simon Curtis, local builder, handyman and general big help. Not only has he done a fabulous job of floor tiling the music room/ dogs bedroom. His price was exceptionally good, a charming guy who put his head down (actually his knees down)  and worked away. He even gave a good donation to us for refugees. Linda his partner is also a benevole and is going to work with us with our guests/ refugiés.
The two men and their businesses can be found in the side panel.
Comments to

Friday, 27 November 2015

Bienvenue au marché de Toulouse

Comments to

Why is there always one ignorant baboon who lets the side down?

Not long back from the meeting at Rehoboth with the residents of the plateau up on the Bosc meeting Veronique  directrice from the Prefecture.
What a lady she is,one to be reckoned with, a big and responsible job she has, she was accompanied by her adjutant and the meeting was hosted by Florence.
A generally calm meeting with some concern about the refugiés being young men, why no families was asked? The answer that women and children are now starting to be welcomed in "centres d'accueil" in Calais whereas the young and middle aged men are left to fend for themselves.
Questions about what they would do all day? Answered by Veronique with, " there are 3 paid animatrices" to give ideas to entertain and 100 benevoles all ready to welcome them and find things of interest for them.
There was some laughter when a chasseur wanted to make sure the refugiés knew about the chasse and would not panic if they saw men walking round with rifles. A good point I thought... and I could also do with some reassurance about chasseurs!
The two gendarmes who had come were very helpful and made it clear to one lady that she could not just phone up if she saw a refugié wandering the lanes. If there was any concern about them contact the centre. If they were actually committing a crime as with any other citizen the gendarmes could then be called.
As the meeting finished I asked if anyone had a bike they could donate it would be appreciated, which elicited a smile from Florence.

The French were all polite and enquiring but Laura and I both looked on in embarrassment as a red faced Englishman sat looking at Veronique making gestures with his hands and fingers indicating she was all talk. Laura did suggest to me he may have a heart attack before the end of the meeting saving us more embarrassment.
One lovely moment when I met Cecile Ordanoff, she introduced herself and I said "I know the name"
She then said " Fanfaron" I jumped on her with bisous, she is the lady who looked after Fanfaron for a year till we found a new owner.
Comments to

Via Sahel: mission to Mali

Mission to Mali
You will have read in Taglines that Jean Marie Nosal, honorary president of Via Sahel Enfants d’Afrique, a children’s charity which many of you have helped us to support over recent years, has made a trip to Mali to check on the projects there.

His report (in French) is available and we will email a copy to you if you wish.
Here is a brief synopsis in English:

1 The new school building planned to start in 2015 has been postponed until next year as not enough funding is in place. Some new partners there have been sought and will be assisting with the planning for the building. A contribution to feeding the children in 2016 was paid over.
2 The transfer of handicapped children to more suitable premises has not been possible, largely because the people responsible had been transferred to other duties and new personnel were unfamiliar with the case and it proved necessary to re-establish the dossiers.
3 The nursery in Bamako is under severe financial strain, partly due to the policy of not allowing adoption outside Mali. The loss of tourist income is also an important factor. The Association paid over 4000 euros as a contribution to food and nursery staff wages. It is hoped to find commercial partners to provide food products, especially baby food.
4 No visit was possible for security reasons to Sangha in the north of the country, where the hospital, maternity clinic and laboratory, all supported by Via Sahel are situated. Reports were received from staff concerned: the maternity clinic treats about 400 mothers each year; the hospital is run by a local doctor/surgeon with help from trainee medical students and stagiaires. Prolonged rain had led to increased cases of malaria and demands on the laboratory for tests and transfusions had been urgent. The central transfusion authority in Bamako was asked to increase supplies.
5 A payment of 4000 euros to feed the street children of Mopti was made as each year, but increasing numbers may make this insufficient.

6 The women’s garden set up with funding from the Association (and contributions from many Tag readers) has been a great success and so many women are now taking part that a second garden is planned. The Association will again try to aid funding and made a contribution of 2000 euros.

In conclusion
M Nosal noted that although Bamako was livelier than his previous visit the people seemed poorer and moral was low with little enterprise or dynamism. He was presented with the title of « Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mali à titre étranger » an honour from the President of Mali and presented by the first lady in recognition of the work done by the Association over many years.

post script: the hotel shootings and hostage taking on the day of Jean Marie's return will only make things more difficult to keep up the association's work he believes.

comments to

Christmas shopping in Toulouse

Easy jet opening 6 more routes from Toulouse next year in the summer

La compagnie low cost britannique a annoncé qu'elle allait ouvrir six nouvelles destinations au départ de Toulouse.
à partir de l'été 2016, seront ainsi desservies Berlin, Dubrovnik, Faro au Portugal, Milan, Mahon (Minorque aux Baléares), Olbia en Sardaigne. Ces nouvelles destinations portent à 25 le nombre de villes desservies depuis Toulouse-Blagnac par Easyjet.   comments to

Just two euros is all I ask

Whilst out at Laguepie walking the dogs and shopping I gathered in a goodly sum. Everyone I met I told about the refugiés coming and then said " 2 euros will buy a pair of socks" nobody refused and the vet gave me 5 euros to buy 2 pairs. It made me think we could soon clock up a fair sum, 2 euros is affordable. So if you see me coming get out your 2 euros at the ready (or your socks). I am even taking  the packet of socks with me to show the quality. Tonight the Mayor, the gendarmes,the directrice Veronique from the Prefecture are all going to Rehoboth to have a meeting with nearby neighbours. I am taking my pot and the socks and I will be asking everyone there for a contribution, Mayor and gendarmes.

Malc says " is begging legal" he does not want me to be arrested!
Val says  can you get wifi in a prison cell?
Comments to

Resi alters the address

Chèr(e)s ami(e)s,
Dans le mail que j'ai vous envoyé le 25 novembre il y était une erreur concernant l'adresse du magasin en ligne.
L'adresse juste du magasin est:
(dans l'invitation qui était ajouté l'adresse du magasin est correcte).
Je m'excuse pour cet omission.
Bien cordialement,
Resi van Eeten
St. Grat
12200 Vailhourles
Comments to 

The walk against climate change is going ahead in Villefranche

A diffuser le plus largement possible…
N’oubliez pas que le seul RV autorisé par le préfet est : 12 h 30 – Pique-nique géant à la Halle.
Si malgré tout, vous souhaitez, comme nous, vous rassembler à la gare à 12 h, vous risquez de vous voir opposer les forces de l’ordre !
Et si vous voulez marcher… Il est sans doute plus prudent de marcher sur les trottoirs !
A vous de voir…
A dimanche, les organisateurs

Val says .. these walks had been planned for some time but now because of security risks, certainly the one in Toulouse has been banned. I really support action against climate change but hearing what the forces of order are like here in France, I won't be going... if you do bon chance.
I think for non French speakers Sunday meeting at the station, then having an auberge espagnol in the halle to support climate change is admiral. It then says you risk being opposed by the gendarmes. If you do the walk make sure you walk on the pavements/ trottoirs.
There is another side to these walks which if it has been requested  they do not to go ahead for security reasons,  my reasoning would be organise at another time, the gendarmes have their hands full at the moment. 
Comments to 

The next book swap will be Monday 7th of December

At the book swap Karen and Chris will be there with  good quality Christmas cards for sale. I will be collecting socks or money for socks and there will be a mass of books and DVD's. There will also be a festive Christmas atmosphere.
Christmas comes but once a year and when it comes it brings good cheer.
Comments to

Liberte des anes, another monthly fundraiser

Dear donkey friends

We have a super meal organised for you this month on Thursday December 10th here at Lavolvene, 82150 Belveze. (0563943847 or 0643530452).
After your aperitif, served in the shop in the barn, we will serve you with ...
 Local tomato soup with garlic and herb croutons, or
Parsley, leak and lemon soup with cheese flavoured croutons.
followed by

Pork and mushroom casserole, or
Cheese topped fish pie
both served with vegetable crumble
followed by deserts to fill you with pleasure !
We start at 1 oclock, we ask 17 euros a head for as much as you can eat and drink, you know all our food is delicious and homemade.
Please come along to this early Christmas lunch, I just need your confirmation and choice of soup and main course please as soon as possible.
Thanks so much for supporting us, all proceeds go to the donkeys who have been seeing the vet rather a lot lately for their annual vaccinations and dentistry work.  This keeps them all healthy but i doubt they realise how important these vet visits are !!

And here it is on TAG

Clive Francis in a Christmas Carol

Give them their daily bread

Rosieres, a village near Carmaux lost its boulangerie some years ago so a trip for the daily bread was quite a trek. Now a local boulanger has installed a dispensing machine on communal land in the village centre.
At a cost of 13000 euros the boulanger hopes to recoup his outlay in a reasonable time, but with sales of 40 baguettes per day, at 1 euro each it will take most of a year to break even, even longer to actually be in profit. That's a lot of bread.
comments to

A picture of a distraught father that went around the world

A good story this morning where this man and his family are now safely resettled in Berlin. There are still terrible stories but how great it is to hear of successes.
Comments to

A Christmas Carol on Wednesday 16th Dec

Dear Friends of English Theatre
Tickets are selling well for our end-of-season show, A Christmas Carol, on Wednesday 16th December. So don't delay, please book your seats now for this perennially entertaining and heart-warming Charles Dickens classic.

To reserve your tickets, please email
Members € 15 Non-Members € 20
The show starts at 7pm but join us in the bar from 6pm onwards for Christmas drinks and nibbles.

And after the show, why not join actor Clive Francis and the FET team for dinner at Le Petit Resto?

We are pleased to announce that the restaurant will offer a vegetarian option in addition to the main menu, as follows :

Cassolette de poisson & fruits de mer  
(sea-food cassolette)
Rôti de veau aux marrons, Frites maison 
(roast veal with chestnuts, and home-made "French Fries")
Rose feuilletée aux pommes 
(a delicious apple dessert)

Veggie menu:
Salade Composée (mixed salad)
Terrine de Légumes (vegetable terrine)
Rose Feuilletée aux Pommes (a delicious apple dessert)
The price is € 22 a head including wine.

Please contact the restaurant as soon as possible (before December 10th) as the 50 seats will fill up very quickly. When booking, please specify which menu you would like.

Le Petit Café
23 Promenade de l'Autan, Les Cabannes

N.B. To book, you must contact the restaurant directly, FET cannot make the booking for you.

Julie Pearson FET Bookings and Membership Secretary

Sales of the tricolour rise

As France prepares for a day of national mourning and remembrance for the 130 people killed in the Paris terrorist attacks, sales of the national tricolour flag are on the rise.
Shunned as a symbol of nationalism or the far-right for decades, the French flag has made a comeback as a symbol of peace and defiance after gunmen and suicide bombers attacked bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France stadium on 13 November.
François Hollande will lead a ceremony on Friday commemorating the victims of France’s worst-ever terror attacks. While relatives and survivors gather to hear his address at Les Invalides complex that houses a military museum and Napoleon’s tomb, the president has urged the rest of the country to hang flags from their windows in support.

Free parking in Toulouse tomorrow

If you are shopping in Toulouse tomorrow you can get free parking in the centre of town. By asking at a number of shops they will give a 10 euro token to cover parking costs. Encouraging you into the town to do your Christmas shopping is important to them. Presumably it is the city council who is paying as they had promised to recompense " commercants" after trouble in February, where they lost business.

Les commerçants et artisans bénéficiant de ce dispositif sont installés dans un périmètre délimité par les boulevards Armand Duportal, de Lascrosses, d'Arcole, de Strasbourg, Lazare Carnot, des allées François Verdier et Jules Guesde, des quais de Tounis, de la Daurade et Lucien Lombard.Les 40 000 chèques parkings seront utilisables dans les parkings suivants : Carmes, Victor Hugo, Jean Jaurès, Saint-Etienne, Capitole, Jeanne d'Arc, Arnaud Bernard, Saint-Aubin, Europe, Saint-Michel, Esquirol, Carnot, Saint-Cyprien, Saint-Georges et Compans Caffarelli.
Comments to

I am morning person

Another cold frosty morning, but it looks so beautiful looking out. It is a fog in the lower valleys morning, but the sky is already blue tinged with red in the distance. The donkeys manes and ear tips are covered in frost, the poor darlings are crying for me, Bonny has gone out to play, Eldo is nursing his sore digging paw and the cats are licking theirs after their breakfast. Malc is searching out TAG stories, or is he pouring over last nights bridge results?
Best part of the day I always think.
Comments to

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt sept novembre

François Hollande the President of the Republic of France wants us to fly the French flag to show solidarity. Well we can do that, we have a French flag that we fly along with the Union Jack and the Occitane flag in the grange. I will fly it from a window this morning.
Comments to

Thursday, 26 November 2015

A real racist gets a prison sentence

A Belgian court has sentenced controversial French comedian Dieudonnéto two months in prison for incitement to hatred over alleged racist and anti-Semitic remarks he made during a show in Belgium.
Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala, a regular in French courts over similar charges, was also fined €9,000 (£6,300) by the court in the eastern city of Liege over a show he gave there in 2012. He was not present for the verdict.
During the show before 1,000 people in Herstal, a Liege suburb and which was recorded by police, Dieudonné called Hitler a "sweet kid" and a "joyful braggart".
He also called into question the Nazi gas chambers and described the Talmud as a "s*** book".
Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium's Jewish organisations, said: "All the accusations against Dieudonné were established - both incitement to hatred and hate speech but also Holocaust denial.
"For me this is more than satisfying, this is a major victory," he added. The comedian was also ordered to publish the ruling in Belgium's two main national daily newspapers, Le Soir and La Libre Belgique.   Henry Samuel writing in the Telegraph

Well what a bloomer

We have arranged our opera night for Wed 16th Dec. and tonight someone reminded us it was the same night as FET, the Christmas show at Les Cabannes.
So we have decided to change the evening to Tuesday night 15th of Dec.  Hope this evening suits many of our regular opera goers.
Comments to

Why are the refugiés taking so long in coming

Apparently because of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Calais jungle has been in virtual shut down and the buses that have been going to pick up the refugiés have not been allowed near the site.
Restrictions around that area are now getting easier and our guests will arrive within the next few days.
Comments to

Now this is a busy bee

comments to

An interesting offer for art lovers

Dear Val,
I hope this finds you well despite this chilly weather!
Please see below a last minute reminded for all your readers, that tomorrow we have two more talks at Galerie Sépia, which include an artist talk with Patrick Bilheran.
If you could please post this on TAG on-line that would be wonderful.
With much thanks & best wishes,

French and English bilingual guided exhibition tours and artist talk
on Friday 27 November at 2:30 pm & 6:30 pm
Enjoy an English and French bilingual guided tour of Galerie Sépia's Christmas group exhibition - "cette obscure clarté qui tombe des étoiles" - with artist Patrick Bilheran, arts writer and journalist Altair Roelants, and Galerie Sépia owner  Agathe  Thuillier.

Patrick, Altair and Agathe will guide you around the exhibition highlighting key pieces from each artist in the show, followed by a discussion with Patrick about his painting and drawing practice. The tour will be followed by audience questions with Patrick Bilheran and time to browse the exhibition.

The guided tour will run for approximately 60mins. No reservation required, so please feel free to come along! 

For more information, please contact:

Tel: 05 65 45 57 68 or visit the Galerie Sépia website: