Sunday, 31 January 2016

Games at Café Elia

This is at Bruniquel. Does it say on the poster?

Brocante in February

The Daily Telegraph pays a simple but moving tribute

For French readers I will add for Sir Terry Wogan
Comments to

The trouble is Daesh and they can be French

France is still reeling from the fact that most of those who perpetrated terrorist attacks in the country last year – including the series of attacks in January 2015on the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and the November shootings and suicide bombings – were French citizens.
The latest Islamic State video also featured a blonde Frenchman killing their prisoners.

Val says it is really amazing that people can still worry about terrorists slipping in to Europe as refugees  as I said at the time and am proved right " the terrorists are already here in France and Belgium. What we have slipping in are people who want to live a decent life, working and being safe.
comments to

Do not despair, we were made for these times, dedicated to all our friends who are helping.

Written by poet Clarissa Pinkola Estes
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.   
Val says  Children wandering the world on their own, trying to find somewhere safe and we rich European countries turn them away. Children I mean, children, we give more care to our dogs than these children are getting. Sometimes I despair, then I read the piece above and have strength again to go on.           Comments to

Fresh fish in St. Antonin

We had a rather confusing phone call from the Epicerie in St. Antonin opposite the tourist office, rue de la pellisserie.
An English person had told the French owner she should tell TAG that certain days they sell fresh fish, "you know so you can make fish and chips"she said.
Well after being in Whitby on that weeks holiday I realise how much I love " fish and chips"
I cannot remember which days she said so if anyone knows more about this let me know and I will promote it for her.
Wonder if it was cod?
Malc who took the phone call says it was Wed. Thurs. and Friday.
Comments to

Jam session at Parisot

Jam session is back
The Bar La Maison at Parisot , Place du Forail, Friday night 5th Feb.  at 19h
Comments to

Sounds interesting

Dear friends of FET,

2016 sees the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and a variety of events in the UK will mark the occasion ( and

we are particularly pleased that our first show of the new season, on Wednesday 2nd March, is SWEET MR SHAKESPEARE, a splendid production with four actors that has just completed a successful tour of South Africa.
Described as a fascinating mix of life and art, the show examines reactions to the Bard over the last 400 years and mixes stories of Shakespeare's life and times with scenes from his best-loved works, from The Taming of the Shrew and The Merry Wives of Windsor to Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The cast of seasoned professionals is led by Delena Kidd (Family Affairs), Frankie Barrie (East Enders), Emily Raymond (RSC) and Andrew Wincott, whom many of you will know as Adam Macy in the Archers !
The show starts at 7pm and the bar will be open as usual from 6pm.
To book your tickets, please email
Members € 25 Non-Members € 30
NB: Please send your cheque in good time to make sure of your reservation.
To Julie Pearson, Belle Combe, 81170, Frausseilles.

And now, over to our president, Donald Douglas, re the new prices:
Dear Friends,
ecause the costs of bringing over and putting on a show with four actors
​ ​
are considerably higher, I'm afraid we have to raise the ticket prices. Those of you I spoke to after our last show all agreed that this would be acceptable and worthwhile.

With a full house, this will allow us to cover the costs of the theatre
​ and
air fares, and hopefully give the actors some pocket money!
​ ​
They will not receive anything
​ ​
their regular salaries, but are happy to come to the Tarn for a weekend busman's holiday !

Please tell all your friends, members and non-members, about the show, the date and the new prices, and please make your bookings as soon as possible !

We really do want this first show of the season to be a success, as it will give us some indication as to whether we can indeed branch out into presenting full-cast plays, and not be limited to one-man-shows. We need your support ! Please book now !
Julie Pearson FET Bookings and Membership Secretary

Val says: we love the idea of the FET pushing forward and will be sending our cheque to renew and book the performance - 25 euros seems a reasonable price for really enjoyable live theatre.

Sir Terry loses his battle

Sad to hear that Sir Terry Wogan has lost his battle with cancer. Sir Terry who needs no explantion of his life in entertainment has a house in the Gers. We saw him a year ago on our flight as he was helped on to the plane from a wheelchair and in the airport he and Malc both struggling with various ailments shared a few words. I seem to recall Malc saying " we are getting too old for this" carrying luggage.
He was only 77
We wish all his family well and thank him for years of entertainment.
Comments to

Young Toulouse student wins debate

Each year The Caen Memorial association organises a competition to enable students to make a plea for a situation pertaining to human rights. This year a 17 year old from a Toulouse lycee beat off students from 13 other regions to win the prize.
Anne-Laure Tollec chose a subject that affects thousands of children around the world, but of which many of us are ignorant - phantom children. She chose Moussa, a boy from tribal shepherd origins in Mali, whose birth has never been registered and who therefore does not officially exist. This deprives him and many like him around the world of basic human and civil rights. Anne-Laure argued that a UN agency should be set up to help these lost children. Her prize is a trip to the UN headquarters in New York. Well done to her.
comments to

Planes to Iran after the Presidents visit

This week, during President Hassan Rouhani's trip to Italy and France, Iran signed a contract for the purchase of 118 Airbus aircraft, to be delivered in the next four years.
Quoted by Iranian media, Kashan said the Airbus deal was worth $10 to $11 billion, while the previously mentioned amount was $25 billion.
The deal is to purchase 73 long-haul and 45 medium-haul Airbus planes, the French manufacturer detailed in a statement.
Before a nuclear deal with world powers took effect this month, Iran's aviation industry was subject to a US embargo preventing Western manufacturers since 1995 selling equipment and spare parts to the Islamic republic.
Coments to

Nous sommes le dimanche trente et un

The sky is clearing nicely but it has been damp overnight./ UPDATE it is still drizzling.
Which market will you go to today? We tend to go to Laguepie, a small market but only 7 minutes away from us in the car on the short cut.
We do like the St. Antonin market in the winter and do go there from time to time.
Having a coffee and croissant is always part of the morning, and the two dogs after their walk sit quietly with us.
Enjoy your morning at the market.
Comments to

How I wish I could get mine working

You see these donkeys giving rides in St. Antonin, the ex policeman who lives just outside of the town has a very disciplined herd. He did give me advice on mine when he came up to Mas del Sol a couple of years ago. Time spent with them training is needed and time is in short supply up here.
Photo Sophie Hautefeuille
Comments to

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Why survivor's stories matter

Message Body

Hi Mum and Dad

Why survivors' stories matter

This is well written article which focuses on holocaust survivors and apartheid, but the point is equally valid for current refugees. It is why telling the stories of your boys is so important in helping us understand and empathise.

Sam x

Mum says I do not think Dad and I really understood but by listening to the young men over the weeks we realise just what they have suffered and sadly it is going to take time for them to recover. By telling their stories one hopes people can relate, think about their own children and start helping as well. Well that is our plan, change one persons mind, help one boy and we will have done something. Thank you Sam for the very interesting link

We are starting to plan the summer

 Hi Val
Our family-owned company "Le Cloup", established in 2010 (and fully-registered and insured) specializes in the marketing and the management of holiday rental properties, looking after second homes, maintaining swimming pools, gardens, and offering specialized services for people who either live here full-time or are on holiday in the region. We have been working in the property and tourism industry for 12 years.
We have an excellent record in achieving very high rental rates and fully-booked seasons. Importantly, and quite differently from the norm, we do not charge commission fees on bookings – we simply charge a low flat-rate booking fee.
If you are considering renting out your property for the first time, we can help you with the formalities of getting started, and provide very effective marketing to maximise your rentals. If you are a seasoned renter who is simply looking to improve your bookings and reduce your fees, we can help too. We are also happy to provide references from our existing clients. We are here not only for you as property owners, but also to look after guests to ensure their stay is as enjoyable as possible.
We currently maintain twenty swimming pools for their owners, and have experience of a wide variety of filtration systems and chemicals. We also look after fifteen gardens. Whether you need a frequent grass mow, or an occasional large-area strim, hedge-trimming, weeding or weedkilling, we'd be happy to help.
We would be delighted to come and meet any interested property owners and discuss our business in person. For more information, please call us, or visit our website You can contact us on 05 63 27 26 83 / 06 10 56 28 43, or by email at
Why not find out how we can help you too?

The two lost dogs / Now that is how TAG works

These dogs have been lost for 3 days and belong to the assistant at the Vets in Laguepie. Well done Anke for taking them in charge.

Are you missing a beagle and a Patou mountain dog?

Anke Terbruggen has found these two dogs on a very fast moving road into St. Antonin.,She says they are in good state and are obviously some ones pets.. but whose?
Anke can be contacted by contacting me, tel 0563682551 Anke speaks French, English and Dutch
Comments to

Repas Spectacle at Albias

Beware processional caterpillars

Hi Val
Firstly a WARNING, the procession caterpillars are on the move, please be careful especially with dogs and cats, although equally they are harmful to adults and small children.  We know to our cost, our little dog Coco has come across some at a job that Larry was working on.  She has been in the vets for 24 hours and was very poorly.  She has eaten a little since she has been home, but we have to give her water through a syringe as her tongue is burnt, and she may lose the front part of her tongue, we don't know yet what damage has been caused to her insides, but as she has eaten a little we are hoping she will be O.K.  Be careful when walking through wooded areas and forests, they are fascinating little critters but do an awful lot of damage if you get too close.
Val says poor little Coco, I do hope he gets better soon.

Getting better from bronchitis, trouble is no room in bed for me.

Says Rana
Val says get well soon you are needed at Rehoboth
Comments to

Retirement homes

Hi Val

Don't think you will be entering one anytime soon!
1300 to 2000 sounds cheap. In Ireland the average is 4000 and where my 90 year old father is costs 5500 per month.
Happy belated birthday by the way.

David from M

Val says Malc thought it was expensive but like you I remember the cost of my mothers care in the UK. Which reminds me how elderly peoples houses are sold to pay for care.
Comments to

Fête de l'osier Milhars

Sunday 14 th Feb, 10 h to 17.30
Repas auberge espagnol.
Free entry to watch the wicker making and even participate.
Comments to

Still waiting

A reader has contacted me with these puppies needing homes, a boy and two girls. I have made it clear to advertise they by law need to be chipped and vaccinated before adoption, so this will be done. Cute little things.
Mum who  looks medium to large adorable is not up for adoption but needs to get on with her digging!
Contact  Marian Stahl           tel  0674176893 or 0563276491 or 061763719

If you can still vote though do

Morning both,
 This is actually just a reminder for people to register to vote, and sadly doesn't concern me at all. The only people who can vote are those within the 15 year rule, as in normal MP voting for the UK. 40 years disqualifies me!!! Perhaps you could put something in the blog with a link to the government website and remind them to get on with it!
 From sunny Austria,

Book and DVD swap and for the first time someone for your sewing requirements

Monday the 1st of Feb.10.30 am at the Gazpacho at St.Antonin is the book and DVD swap and for the first time Penny Smith will be coming. Malc has had 3 pairs of jeans repaired, one with a new zip.
With the dogs and animals our life is in jeans now, working jeans, round about jeans, then best jeans for going out. I can change jeans twice or three times a day depending on if we are with pets or not. My cleaning out the donkey stable  jeans stand up on their own in a corner!!
Comments to

A bit about EHPAD's

After the terrible photo of me on my birthday, with lighting not being good at the restaurant I am told to explain it,  I thought it was worth noting that  I have 17 years before I would be ready for an EHPAD / old peoples home. The average age of entry is 87.
The cost is the highest in the area of Haute Garonne but one can expect to pay up to 2,000 euros each month, although the average with mutuelle pay 1,300.
Comments to

Nous sommes le samedi trente janvier

Another foggy morning, dense this morning with ghostly moving figures making strange noises. The donkeys early morning call floating through the fog.
What have we on today? Austyn coming with a kilo of his smoked bacon to try, I will let you know if it is good.
Hay to be picked up from Kevin, the donkeys will let you know if it is good.
Then tonight at the salle des fetes at Verfeil for the film in the series of " Les Hivernales" you will know if it is good as I will see you there at 20.30h
Comments to

Friday, 29 January 2016

Farewell to a local personality

About 30 members of friends and family of Joyce and David Clench made the 2 hour trip to the crematorium at Lafox, close to Agen. And some 20 gathered in the parish church in Varen to follow a simultaneous ceremony. In Lafox we had a simple, informal and dignified farewell to Joyce and in Varen songs and reminiscences were exchanged with some photographs of Joyce over the last 25 years. Back at the Clench house in Varen with some food and wine we could peruse a display of some of Joyce's paintings and family photos.
We first met Joyce and David through the Verfeil boules club, when David was vice-president and Malc was assistant secretary (we were not trusted with the top jobs). Both the Clench's were dedicated and talented petanque players though Joyce was always the more competitive. But we soon became frequent and honoured guests at Malignac where they had a magical attic workshop - a true atelier. Joyce was a beautiful artist, whose drawing skills were second to none. Her series of old cars and tractors never ceases to be admired. Her illustrations to Chris Burrows's children's books are attractive and encouraging to the young readers.  Joyce's life before Tarn and Garonne is just as varied and interesting (you did know she was a mayor didn't you?) We are proud and happy to have known such an interesting (and interested) woman.

Advice on replacing kitchen worktop

Hi Val

Would it be possible to ask via tag-online if we could have recommendation for where/who to replace work top on central unit in kitchen, which is currently black 'marble' but marks and does not respond to cleaning?
With thanks, and for your very interesting 'blog'.
Nicola Baxter
Cazelles, 82330 Verfeil sur Seye, France

Will we get a vote in Britain's Referendum

Hi Val,

 Have just received this communiqué from the Embassy. First I have heard that we are to get the vote. Will leave it up to you to pass on the word. Fantastic news.
Malc says this article in the Independent confirms the story. It seems that expats with less than 15 years absence who have the right to vote in UK elections will be able to vote in the referendum and the British Embassy  in Paris is promoting a competition for the best photograph encouraging people to register. Tea and cakes at the Embassy is the prize. Entries to be tweeted by Overseas Registration Day on 4th Feb (next Thursday).

Any ideas anyone ?

Val says our delightful  young neighbour Magali has asked if I would post this. A group of local friends with small children are looking for a small room with electricity and water to rent so they can arrange activities with their children. They are looking at  villages in the area Varen and Verfeil.
I have passed this on to Marcia a councillor in Varen and Anais a councillor in Verfeil

Nous sommes un petit groupe de parent qui recherchons à faire des activités collectives ludiques avec nos enfants.
Nous cherchons donc une salle de 30m2 minimum à louer, avec eau et électricité.
Magali Lebel 0662908845

Magali Lebel
Mas del sol
82330 VAREN
0662908845          comments to

Salon du Cheval

A night we are singing, dancing and celebrating

Vendredi 12 février, à partir de 19h à la Salle des Thermes de St-Antonin, avec le soutien d'associations locales, nous organisons une grande belle, longue, chaleureuse et dansante soirée de soutien aux demandeurs d'asile hébergés (pour le moment) sur la commune.

A danse with a good group playing in St. Antonin
Val says you have given lots of clothes, equipment and money this is your chance to come and show support once again for our young refugees. They still have no money from the government because  the work load on processing is slow. This is an opportunity to enjoy ourselves and raise some more money for them. If you can take a dessert as well all the better. Contact Celine who speaks English to reserve.

 19H00 : ouverture avec la Fanfare d'à côté
 20h00 : Le Labo - Chorale de Verfeil (à confirmer)
 20h45 : la Fanfare d'à côté
 21h30 : Surprise sans Papiers
 21h45 : Cinq Oreilles
 23h15 : la Fanfare d'à côté
 23h45 : Bollywood Dance Floor (avec une playlist préparée par nos demandeurs d'asile préférés)  ou Laurie au 06 27 42 06 10

A picture of the group Fanfare who will be playing

They got out to tell the tale

Between Wednesday and Thursday night there was an accident on the autroute A68 from Toulouse to Albi where the car shown hit a sanglier. There are signs along this section of road "beware sangliers"  we noticed this the last time we passed here and also strong fencing newly erected. Two young people were taken to hospital with many injuries, one was able to leave later.
Amazing to be able to survive a crash like this. We always drive slowly at night time as we see lots of wild animals crossing the road when we come back at night. You do not however expect it on motorways somehow.  PhotoDepeche 
Comments to 

Illiterate thieves

Incompetent criminals always raise a smile (provided no one gets hurt). Two hooded youths entered a bookshop and menaced the owner and a customer with a gun, demanding the till be opened. The owner knocked one of them down, but undaunted they abandoned the till and demanded the safe - which the owner conceded. Off they went, not with the safe, but with an unused 20 year old minitel, a sort of early French internet terminal.
comments to

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt neuf janvier

Malc is getting ready to go to Agen for Joyce's funeral. I am feeding the pets then walking the dogs before I go to the church in Varen where a group of villagers are meeting to remember Joyce.
I have a list of jobs to do relating to rehoming dogs, refugees and equipment.
Then as the work starts Monday on making the ensuite I need to start taking down curtains and moving small furniture before the larger items are moved.
The fog is dense and the donkeys are invisible although I can hear them shouting for me... is it me or the hay they want?
Last night after Malc had played bridge at the bar at Caylus he joined me up at Rehoboth for a small group meeting about the future of the young men.
There are now three groups in varying degrees of readiness for their acceptance of asylum. Within the next week or so we will hear if the first candidates have been accepted. They will then be able to live as any Frenchman, being able to work and live a normal life.
For the 7 Dubliners it has been confirmed that they will be treated as any other applicant overriding the Dublin convention. These will just be starting their asylum papers now so it may take some months for these as there is a backlog of work in Paris.
Lots of ideas last night for work positions including two offers for the boys working with mechanics, some working with gardeners,one offer of a stage with a local vet and I have lots of plans in my head for the young people formulating for their future.
The young people are progressing well with their French language courses and their initiation to French life.
Comments to

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Renew your membership or think of joining.

Dear FET Friends,
We hope that you wish to renew your FET membership for 2016.
This year's fees are due from 31/01/2016.
Membership costs 20€ per person.
We also welcome and need Benefactors (50€+) and Patrons (100€+)
Following a very successful second season for the English Theatre at Le Colombier, we are busy preparing this year's programme and due to popular request FET has secured several shows with a company of actors.  As we are sure you appreciate the tickets for these shows will be more expensive but as a member you still get a 5€ discount on show tickets.
Tickets for shows with one actor will cost 15€ for members, 20€ for non-members.
Tickets for shows with a company of actors will cost 25€ for members, 30€ for non-members.
Members get priority booking ahead of the general public.

Members can stand for the committee, and members can vote at the AGM.
Membership cheques must be made payable to FET and mailed to:-
FET       Belle Combe     81170, FRAUSSEILLES      Tarn
 Best regards,
FET Committee                    Julie Pearson FET Bookings and Membership Secretary

Poorpaws raise money from the book sale to rehome dogs and give to a cancer charity

Hi Val

 we will soon be collecting books and dvd’s for our Poorpaws/Cancer Research  Booksale on Easter Saturday – only two months away, eek !  Books must, please, be in good condition, you won’t believe how many come to us and go straight to the dustbin because they are mildewed, torn, filthy or falling apart.  Also nothing too technical – we’re simple folk ! – such as Tax Laws for Gibralter 1998, believe me, it happens !!  Anyone with any to donate can contact me by email
Thanks as ever Val for your support.

Book swap the Ist Feb and remember if you have sewing jobs, Penny will be there.

Just a reminder if you have any garments or curtains etc. that need altering or articles that may need a repair Penny Smith comes with lots of recommendations of good and speedy work.
Penny who lives at Septfonds can be contacted on tel. 06 33 78 61 71 but importantly she will be at the book swap each  first Monday of each month to discuss pick up and return work.
Comments to

Now who will they attack?

The Garde des Sceaux, Christiane Taubira. resigned from the government yesterday. She has been a controversial minister and a continual target of ultra-right wing bodies. Being unhappy with the centrist (even right wing) policies of the government's economics minister and Manuel Valls's tougher anti-terrorist laws Mme Taubira had no option but to resign. But her ethnic status, a black woman from French overseas territories, has subjected her to frequent racist comments, often over-riding her achievements as Justice Minister.  Her resignation is largely welcomed and her replacement Jean-Jacques Urvoas is described as a close supporter of Valls.
Comments to

Nous sommes le jeudi vingt huit janvier

Yesterday it took till lunchtime for the fog to clear and then it was brilliant sun. Today there is no fog and at 8.10 am the sky is blue and pink. I think we are in for another walking/ gardening day.

Do you know if someone dies in France they need to be buried or cremated within the week by law.
Not many of us have booked and paid for our plot with our churches so must of us will go for cremations. This can cause problems if there have been lots of deaths that week and it pays to book your crematorium as soon as you possibly can. Joyce Clench is in such a situation and because the family members could not be here till today, they needed the ceremony to be tomorrow, which is why they are now booked into a crematorium more than 2 hours away.
Another important thing to note is if you want to take the ashes back to the UK after the cremation do not tell the funeral director, just quietly pick them up after the ceremony. If you say you are taking them back, the crematorium will hold them and then as well as complicated paper work you will be charge for them holding the ashes with fees up to 2,000 euros possible ( we have a friend this happened to)
If you are Jewish and you want your body to go home to be  buried with your religious rights, forget it, as your body would need to be embalmed before leaving France, making it impossible to be buried in  a Jewish  cemetery,
Infact if you are feeling unwell get the research done, who is going to be your funeral director, etc. one who speaks English would be  good or get someone who can help like Jacynth Crozier mentioned in the sidebar  who can help with dealing with French organizations.
If you are on a second or third marriage with children from earlier unions I am not even going to mention the law of succession.

After all that hope you are feeling on tip top form and do not need any of this advice for a long time.

Ginny tells us that in exceptional circumstances one can try and get a delay by asking the local Mayor but then you need to find a  funeral company with refrigeration, not all of them have this.
Comments to

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

... and this was a quiet lunch

I love sea food and so we decided we would go to L'Ozone so I could have the gambas, yummy great things.
On walking in the door we met a group of dear friends from Varen and interrupted their meal for a chat.
Then we met  the famous " Ant" the painter and decorator, with his family and father in law, Graham the man with the van. It works out Ant and I share the same birthdate so we were both out celebrating.
Towards the end of the meal our three  male friends arrived at our table, and I suddenly realised I was looking  at " the trois barbes" three bearded men with lovely singing voices, they broke into a chorus of "bonne  anniversaire" . The restaurant applauded and all I could think is " is this a quiet lunch?"
The restaurant owner came to thank us for some photos we had on TAG awhile ago and also to say she follows our photos on Varen: en village un image.
All in all a delightful interlude on my sunny birthday.
Thank you everyone and Happy birthday Ant.
Comments to

An alternative for Friday

On Friday at 11.30am a group of people who cannot make the funeral of Joyce Clench at Agen are meeting in the Church at Varen to remember Joyce and share photographs and happy moments spent with her over her many years here in this area.
A lovely way we can remember Joyce and give thanks that we knew her.
Malc is driving to the funeral and has two takers to go in the car with him, one place left. He will leave just before 9 and is not expected to get back till well after lunch, 3 ish.
Comments to

Who put it up on the blackboard?

Hi Val,
I hadn't actually realised that it is your birthday today until I went to Rehoboth this morning & there it was on the blackboard .... so we wish you a very happy 70th birthday.  We hope you're being wined & dined whilst I type this.   Put your feet up for the rest of the day & enjoy the sunshine.
Love Caroline & Alan xx