Monday, 29 February 2016

House sitter needed

A week the 5th of April to the 12th, someone to stay at the house and feed the dogs and cats. Norbert our French neighbour will feed the donkeys.
Every pet is well behaved... well Max the cat can be a bit naughty biffing Eldo's nose for fun but generally no trouble.
Contact me for more details

Farmers beef with Charal

You may be familiar with packages of steak with the brand Charal on most supermarket shelves. The brand belongs to Bigard who own over half the abattoir capacity in France. At the Salon d'Agriculture yesterday angry beef farmers sprayed the Charal stand with flour to draw attention to the low margins they receive from Bigard, claiming that they receive less than 10% of the retail price.
Bigard refused to comment.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt neuf fevrier

A windy dry start but the forecast not good, another wet day possibly on the way.
A late night cinema for us last night so a leisurely start till we remembered the plumber will be here at nine and we better get washed and dressed before he arrives.
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Saint or sinner or something in between

I hear terrible things said about you for helping the refugees, it must hurt you Val? " said a friend to me today.
I am surrounding by the most loving group of friends and helpers and the most loving and grateful young men you could ever wish for.
Friends French and English who all hold the same caring principles and will work helping others less fortunate. Young men just like our own children many missing so much their mothers and other family.

Am I upset? never.

I am proud of what Malc and I and all our group are doing.
We are the ones who will make the world a better place and those people who hate and are nasty to others are the sad individuals, who deserve our pity.
Open up your hearts to love and get out the flowers.
I am turning hippy in  my old age " love, happiness and flower power for me" as I go off singing " all you need is love..
Reynalt, a local French man who goes night after night to sit and talk and teach French to the young men. I think all the benevoles agree, he is our Saint.
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Why one of our young men is here

Naseer was pacing outside the operating room in a Peshawar hospital. Inside, surgeons were trying to extract a bullet from his wife's leg and grenade shrapnel from his son and a young relative. They had been wounded when the Taliban attacked their house.
Then Naseer's cell phone rang. "This is the Taliban. Give us $2,500 or we'll kill you and your family."
"What do you mean?" Naseer yelled. "You already tried to kill us!"
"You think bullets are free like the air?" Naseer recalls the Taliban commander saying. "That attack on your house cost us money. Pay us or we'll finish the job."
The night before, Naseer and his wife, Bibi, had gone to bed just before midnight, exhausted after three days of hauling a cooler full of polio vaccines along country roads between fields of mustard and cane, going from farm to farm giving vaccine drops to children. But Naseer and his family were jolted awake by a deafening blast. Then a second blast. Grenades.
Val say the report from the National Geographic. The same story from the same place as one of our young men who worked helping this programe of vaccination for polio whilst studying at University. His friend was killed and he received a stamped letter from the Taliban telling him of his forthcoming execution. His mother made him leave quickly and now his asylum application is pending.
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Sunday, 28 February 2016

At Parisot

Toulouse manager resigns

Dominique Arribagé offered his resignation yesterday after a 2-1 defeat to Rennes has almost certainly condemned TFC to relegation to Ligue 2. He took over at the Toulouse football club at the end of last season, just saving them from relegation that season. But apart from a brief spell before Christmas the club has struggled at the foot all year. Saturday's defeat, which saw Rennes score twice in stoppage time, was the last straw for the manager who had had disciplinary problems with players last week.
Arribé does not possess a coaching badge and therefore the club had to pay a fine each match. Owner Olivier Sadran rescued the club from bankruptcy 15 years ago and is confident that it will quickly regain its place in Ligue 1.
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Chilean wine chosen for Tour

The organisers of the Tour de France have signed an agreement with a Chilean wine producer as the "official wine of the Tour". This has angered French vintners who feel that it is disloyal to ignore a prestige local product in France's most prestigious sporting event. In fact advertising restrictions in France mean that no alcoholic drinks can be advertised on TV so the wines will only be seen on screen in the stages which pass through neighbouring countries.
Perhaps the thing the French wine industry has missed is that the Chileans offered more money for the worldwide exposure. The Tour is a commercial sporting event and sponsorship inevitably goes to the highest bidder.
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Nous sommes le dimanche vingt huit

A bit of a drizzly morning. Bonny who likes to sit outside in the garden guarding the gates felt it was just too wet this morning and came round to the salon window to knock and be let in. The soggy cats have already eaten and gone to bed... our bed.
The donkeys were dry when I went over, straw on their tummies, a sure sign they have slept in the stable.
Nobody seems to like the rain.
Do you always feel sorry for the stall holders at markets when it is cold and rainy? Fortunately the Sunday market is undercover at Laguepie, so that is where we will go this morning.
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Saturday, 27 February 2016

France sans chasse

There exists a French  association that is working to end la chasse in France. Here is their website. According to the site, one of the reasons to banish it is that it is an ecological disaster.  If you want to support this organization check out the website.  They offer some interesting facts, i.e.  in a weekend of hunting 300,000 birds are killed in France by hunters. this doesn't include birds  indirectly killed by eating the lead pellets polluting the environment. The pellets are the same size as small bits of pebbles that birds naturally eat to aid their digestion. 

All in the balance

Hello Val,

I thought your readers may be interested to read this from French Tax and Law Quarterly, especially the bit about being able to register to vote in the all important referendum in June!

Property ownership
A Brexit is not likely to affect the right of a UK national to own property in France, as any other nationality can already enjoy this same right today, including citizens from non EU-countries such as the many Canadian, Australian, American or Chinese owners of French property.
The main question mark is how property inheritance and taxation rules would apply. French real-estate is subject to French forced-heirship provisions, which in practice means the French legal system will decide who receives the property following the deat of the owner. At the moment, according to EU rules, any British national who has property in France can choose either the law of the country of their habitual residence, or the law of their nationality (or choose one of their nationalities if multiple) to govern the devolution of their French estate.

UK residents in France

The rights of British citizens to reside in France would depend on what form of exit is implemented. If the UK opts for option one, to be an EEA member as Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein are, UK nationals would still be entitled to live and work in the EU , though there would be certain restrictions to some rights and social benefits.
UK nationals living abroad for fewer than 15 years are eligible to cast their vote on the referendum, The Independent reports. Voters can register online or by post using this forms:

What heating do you have?

Apparently in Midi Pyrenees 37% of households burn wood as part of their heating system. Of these almost half use wood exclusively, the rest being occasional users. This is a third higher than the national average, but the very rural population goes a long way to explaining this. Most cities have piped natural gas whereas in rural and mountain areas many use oil or wood. A year or so back there was a row when the Paris departments considered banning wood burners as they are polluting in cities
The figures, supplied by the firewood industry, are  reckoned to be a good thing, the fuel source
 oil in popularity. It is said that 1.75 million m3 of logs are burned, three quarters from local forests. But the report makes no mention of how those forests are replaced. There seems to be no system of re-planting and here around Mas del Sol we continue to see whole swathes of woodland being devastated by tree cutting, and laving scrub land with few saplings for future use.
The loss of forest is an important factor in global warming and the forestry filiaire should be telling us how they are planning to sustain the fuel, rather saying how good they are at supplying it.
David says
I use oil day to day for heating and water. I have a large open fire that we use maybe once a week with wood and coal. In the last 10 years we have never had to purchase wood as we use left over wood from renovations or donated by neighbour's.
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if you go out on the roads today

You may meet a road block of agriculteurs. The prefecture has warned motorists that there will be demonstrations by farmers at many major road junctions around Montauban, Castelsarrasin, Moissac and Caussade. The "Salon d'agriculture" opened this morning at 7am, with President Holland running the gauntlet of jeering farmers. The issue is clearly going to run. in the meantime, watch your routes this afternoon.
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This is going to be our week end apparently

De violentes intempéries sont attendues cette fin de semaine dans la région Midi-Pyrénées.En prévision : de fortes chutes de neige, de la pluie et des vents violents. La cause ? Une profonde dépression météorologique.
The Depeche
Keep warm readers

You understand if you have cats

Nous sommes le samedi vingt sept fevrier

How lovely, this morning we have slept in. All the pets agreed it was time and silenced reigned till 8.32 am, then the donkeys started and set off the dogs.  Still sitting here in pyjamas enjoying the leisurely start.  The day is dry at the moment with a strong wind.
I better check our agenda to see what we have on the cards.
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Friday, 26 February 2016


Les bibliothèques du Muséum proposent un atelier ANIMADOC pour les enfants pendant les vacances d'hiver.

Avec ALBERT LEMANT, auteur-illustrateur, concepteur de l'expo GIRAFAWALAND, les enfants créeront leur propre animal de Muséum imaginaire sous la forme d'une planche abécédaire.

Voici le thème :
"De quel muséum rêves-tu ?
Quel est l’objet le plus beau, le plus bizarre, le plus rigolo de «ton» muséum ? Comme les vrais naturalistes, nous te proposons de le décrire et de l’illustrer sous la forme d’une planche d’abécédaire. Pour t’accompagner dans ta création, Albert Lemant, le « papa » de toutes les girafes de l’exposition « Il était une fois... Girafawaland » sera à tes côtés.
On va s’amuser !"

L'atelier a lieu les 1er, 2, 3 et 4 mars et dure 1/2 journée (3h). Tarif  : 10,80€/enfant.
réservation en ligne :

Piano wanted

Hello Val, haven't been following tag for a while as we've been away and preoccupied, but now we're back and I'm planning to buy an upright piano in order to rekindle my ability from years ago.  Is there a reader out there who has one to sell or knows of someone who does?
Best wishes,
Sue Cutter
Val says one got sold just a few weeks ago, maybe there will be another out there.

Talk to people

Went out this morning on a mission to find some sort of "stage" locally for one of our lads who may at some point be lodging with us. The person I wanted to see was on holiday, but out of the blue I got chatting to someone else on a totally different subject " funding for Des truffes et des moustaches" the animal rehoming group I work with. After a long productive conversation it is possible that this person will help to provide funding. Lots of phone calls later arranging to get people together and I await now a postive outcome from my labours. Gosh! you have to talk to people and who knows what may come of it.
Now I need to go and talk to the donkeys about the amounts of hay they are getting through! but they usually win me round and get an extra helping. I will check out how Malc is managing in the hut!!
tee! hee! I did allow him back yesterday.
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Serious offers

We were planning to take this table back to the UK to sell but there may just be someone out there who'd be interested. It's mid Victorian mahogany and has two extra leaves and can seat 8-10 it's shown with the two carvers and there are six dining chairs. Serious enquiries to Or phone 0972452136

Lots for sale

Morning Val 
Here are the photos of the things we have for sale, I think you should have had my donation by now. Prices are as follows 
Veranda table and chairs (comes with a large parasol not shown).             400 euros
Glass topped desk (red) with trestles.                                                           200
Oak chest of drawers                                                                                      80
Pine sideboard (think it's early 19th centre looks great in
A French farmhouse).                                                                                   500
Dressing table/desk.                                                                                      300
Cheval  mirror (matches the above).                                                             300
(Will sell the above 2 together for 550)
Tent (only used once! Large four person with carpeted sitting area).        150
Bread maker with recipe book (French).                                                          40
Steamer with recipe book (French).                                          30

Sensible offers considered to
0972452136.  We live in Espinas near St Antonin 
more pictures below

Agriculture in the news

The annual Salon d'Agriculture opens today in Paris, with many farmers from the region exhibiting their animals or produce. Over 700000 visitors are expected, including President Hollande, for whom the salon is part of a president's unmissable duties. Not going to Paris is a group of milk producers in Aveyron who decided to raid the store room of cheese of Lactalis in Rodez. They "requisitioned" dozens of cartons of cheese, they called it the "fruit of our work" and handed out samples to passers-by at the prefecture.
It seems remarkable that farmers are allowed to steal products with impunity, even if they have a legitimate cause or complaint.
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Part of the jungle will be cleared

The courts have ruled it is legal to dismantle part of the Calais jungle.
Activists working in the slumlike camp had asked the court to stop the evacuation of the southern half of the "Jungle," with many of the migrants wanting to stay near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, gateway to their ultimate goal of Britain.
However, Calais town authorities said that no-one will be evacuated from the "Jungle" by force.
"We are going to continue the work undertaken with the (migrants') associations to persuade the migrants to leave so that they have a roof over their heads," an official, who asked not to be named, told the AFP.
Val says I agree ith the camp being dismantled but only if there is alternative accommodation for everyone. It is not conceivable to leave hundreds with nowhere to go. We know how difficult it is to find accomodation. Even when accomodation is available many mayors are not happy for it to be used. I can think of two local mayors like this.

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt six fevrier

A dry morning so far but the meteo is unsettled till about Tuesday.
My cough and cold is much better but Malc is starting with a sore throat.
Our building work progresses well although everything in the house has a film of dust and it is going to get worse when a wall is plastered/ skimmed. Another week and the disruption will be over.
Many friends are still away in Spain, others are still planning holidays away many going to exotic places.
Where ever you are enjoy life, it is here to live.
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Theatre and desserts

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Rain stopped play

There is nothing like a nice afternoon cleaning out a donkey stable. And today was nothing like a nice afternoon. Malc decided that it was time to get out with barrow and spade to clear away a couple of days' pooh and straw, but halfway through the afternoon it started to pour down. The donkeys sensibly took shelter in the newly cleaned stable, watching with sympathy whilst Malc shovelled away.

Eventually they indicated that there was room for three and invited the shoveller into the shelter, where all three watched and waited until the showers passed. Smart animals those donks.
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Bertrand says

Did Malcolm find there a new home with his pairs , after this beautiful  50 years anniversary party?

Val replies,he is often in the dog house!but out with the donkeys is too harsh

Poetic justice please

Dear Val,
I’m dreaming here but wouldn’t it be poetic justice if the person who returned to UK because they didn’t want immigrants taking UK hospital beds, couldn’t sell their house here, therefore couldn’t afford to buy in the UK and ended up in sheltered housing .......... along with refugees and/or immigrants.
It won’t happen but I believe what goes around comes around !
Sue, Poorpaws  xx
PS Hurrah for the horses.  I know there is more money going from friends so hopefully there will be hay a plenty, both making and eating !

A new charity shop in Parisot soon

We are a group of people, some of us are members of Fifi, who are
setting up a Charity Shop in Parisot. In premises kindly provided by the Mairie,

Our preferred charities to represent are Medecins sans Frontieres and
Restos du Coeur. This has not been confirmed by the charities yet.

We are appealing for any clean, complete, saleable items you may have that we could sell in our shop. This excludes electrical items but includes things like books,
games, ornaments, kitchen ware, curtains, bed linen etc.

To arrange collection / hand over please email Glynis at, or Val at

Thanks   Glynis
Glynis Robinson
Mas de Regourd
82160 Saint-Projet

Kicking up their heels with joy

Well two young horses would be doing that if they knew what a narrow squeak they have just had. Thank you to all our readers and friends who have by their donations made this possible. Maeva from "des truffes et des moustaches" gives a grateful thanks and assures us the horses are now going to a safe and caring home.
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Even our consulate is leaving

The British Consulate has quit Midi Pyrenees and moved to Bordeaux (Aquitaine region). At a time when the new big region has come into being its capital, Toulouse, is being deprived of a resource not only valuable to exiles (estimated to be about 6000 in the region) but to local businesses wanting a point of contact with the UK government. The Depeche du Midi reckons that the Lot and Gers departments are particularly favoured by Brits, with 45% of recent foreign incomers being British.
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One epidemic peut en cacher another

Government health sources say that the epidemic of "gastro" has passed, with cases below the peak for the last two weeks - that is not to say you will be safe from a contagion, but it is less likely. On the other hand flu cases are still rising and should peak in the next two weeks. Nationally 16 people have died from flu this winter and a further 180 have been severely ill. Over 750000 cases have been diagnosed, Languedoc Roussillon being one of the worst affected areas.
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A report from local lady Jacky Malatoux

Can you remember at the beginning of last summer we got an email from Jacky Malatoux who lives locally asking for medicines. She and her practising Doctor husband were visiting her sister who lives in Greece. Her sister had alerted her to the growing crisis along the mediterrean shores. From the visit Jacky came back and set up numerous projects to buy ponchos and shoes and back packs for the ever increasing flow of families to the Greek shores. She has made numerous visits back to help and sends back reports. The one below I find so sad and touching. Without people like you many  more of these families may have died and suffered more... thank you Jacky.

Have been helping where I can for the survivors during the last six months, yesterday i felt I wanted to pay my respects for those who did not make it but drowned in the short passage from Turkey to Greece.  So I decided to go and look for the graveyard that a Lesvos man created in his olive grove.  The thousand year old olive trees give a peace to area that is quite remarkable and the many coloured wild anemones a beauty to the stark area of the graves. Each little mound of earth is marked by a simple white marble slab with the name when know which is not so often. The grave where two unknown baby girls who drowned when just three months old was heartbreaking.
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt cinq fevrier

A  warm dry start. As we are having a new bathroom fitted we have to turn off the underfloor heating downstairs and doors are sometimes left open. We have not felt cold at all. The plan had been if it was cold we would move into the gite but it just has not been necessary. Heating bills this winter for everyone must be less than normal. With the pound continuing to fall we pensioners could be glad of any savings before long.
I was a bit cross to read a mail from someone who used to live here who has now gone back to the UK. They were claiming they were not voting to stay in Europe as they did not want migrants filling up the British hospitals!! Do not worry that person if UK pensioners cannot afford to stay here we will fill up all the hospitals in the UK when we have to return.
You may prefer a white face in front of you in the queue.
Malc says...  and the doctors and nurses are already  coloured migrant staff.
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Shame they cannot manage our dates, they are good.

 A couple who have house /pet sat for us is available from 25th April
 until 7th May, If anyone need a house/pet sitter during this period or
a part of it please contact them via email:
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House and pet sitter needed

Tuesday 5th of April till the Tuesday 12 th of April we need house and  pet sitters for a week so we can go and pet sit in the UK. Well babysit really but they are such " pets"
Anyone interested please let us know.
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Suitcases on wheels

One is always updating ones suitcases and then being left with perfectly good ones, perhaps not just smart enough.
In three weeks time our young men have to move from Rehoboth, we think we have found accommodation nearby for them, with a willing Mayor. They arrived with nothing but now thanks to your generosity have a change of clothes, shoes, toilet bags etc. When they leave we also want each one to have a supply of towels and sheets etc. which we have plenty for each one.
What they will need is suitcases. We tend to use our seconds for storage but I am sure we could release one for the cause.
If you can also release one for the cause, we no longer have every room stacked with books so I am sure we could cope with a few suitcases.
Took 3 suitcases up yesterday
Suitcases to  Val

and each little doggy has found a home

Hi Val

Just a quick update on the puppies. They have all now found homes through
Phoenix and so we have a happy ending to what could have been a sad story.
Thanks a million for all your help.

All the best


Val says Phoenix in the Dordogne is another dog rehoming site

Petition against new labour laws gains 300000 signatures

The government's proposals to amend the code du travail have been hotly contested by unions. One activist started a petition on called "Loi Travail - non merci" which in just 5 days has garnered 360000 signatures. Proposals to reform the termination procedures, limit compensation awards by the prud'hommes, an arbitration court, make the 35 hour laws more flexible and limit unemployment benefit payments to a shorter period are described as "cut and paste" of the employers' proposals.
The government believes labour reform will improve competitively, but clearly will have their work cut out.
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Dinner after the show

Dear FET Friends

Tickets are selling well for our first show of 2016, Sweet Mr Shakespeare on Wednesday 2nd March so if you're thinking of coming, don't delay, book today !
To reserve your tickets, please email
Members € 25 Non-Members € 30
 (higher price to cover travel and fee for 
four actors)
The show starts at 7pm but you're welcome to join us in the bar from 6pm onwards...

And after the show, why not join the cast and the FET team for dinner at Le Petit Resto ? 
In response to comments by a few members recently, the restaurant is offering a "lighter" menu which we hope you will enjoy...

Salade composée  (salad to put the Spring in your step)

Filet de Loup, riz & petits légumes croquants
(sea bass with rice and lightly cooked mixed vegetables)

Bavarois aux poires 

(yummy pear pudding)
vegetarian option can be provided on request - please ask when booking.
The price is € 22 a head including wine.
Please contact the restaurant as soon as possible (before February 24th).

Le Petit Café
23 Promenade de l'Autan, Les Cabannes
05 63 56 02 5105 63 56 02 51

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

Julie Pearson FET Bookings and Membership Secretary

Just love this

This reminds me so much of our little Annie, tucked up in bed saying" Can you tell me the Daisy story, when she got lost again?"

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt quatre fevrier

Yes the reader was right who told me late in the day, yesterday was mardi not lundi, just keeping you on your toes!!
We had a meeting last night up at Rehoboth which was mardi,  where I discovered I am going to have to drag myself further along the line of progress and  buy a mobile phone. OK, we do have a squidjy little thing we never use but have in case of emergencies, absolutely useless as we never remember to have it with us and the keys are too small for my fumbling fingers.
Now I am told of the benefits of the new smart phones and the many apps I will need to get my head round, I can see the benefits. As the young men leave us we want them to be able to contact us easily incase of troubles and although they messenger me often, if I am in the garden and a quick reply is needed then a smart phone could be the answer.
I do not want to be yet another person sitting around the dinner table scrolling through whatever you scroll through and saying " must just answer this one " but I can see it coming.
One thing I do want is a good camera on the phone so I can snap away whenever I want to.
Well who can advise me which model to buy and then how to load all the apps and get functional?
I think I know the very people.
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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

One horse saved so far

In  an early post I told you about two young horses destined for the abattoir. We have arranged a new owner but the elderly paysan wants the price she could get at the abattoir for them. We   have managed to raise enough to save  one now we need to raise money for the sister.
Please let me know  what you are donating then I know if we have done it and then send your donation to
Des truffes et des moustaches
40 Chemin de Santou
St. Antonin
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Proud of the lads

This is a link to 4 of our young men who were interviewed on local radio at Caylus, they always put on a good show and this interview was no exception.

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Table tennis table

I am looking to buy a new table tennis table and wondered if any readers have or know of one for sale? Thanks,

A 6 month let near Negrepelisse

Good Morning,

I’ve been recommended to drop you a line by a property owner on regarding my situation (hopefully this is ok!), very briefly I’m moving to Nègrepelisse on business for 6 months at the beginning of April and am in need of accommodation for myself and my girlfriend.

Clare said your website was popular with locals and ex-pats and that I may drop on with you knowing someone who has a gite on their property but had given up with the weekly lets/cleaning regime but may consider a 6 month let? 

Ideally we’re looking for somewhere furnished and within 30-40 mins of Nègrepelisse , the closer to local amenities the better as we’ll only have one car, personally I’m a 32 year old Solicitor working for a manufacturing and distribution company with a warehouse in Nègrepelisse, my girlfriend is 28 and a marketing manager, I know this is a long shot but I figured it was worth a chance, I’m also more than happy to make a donation to a charity of your choosing (it would have to be card or paypal though sorry as I don’t have a cheque book).

Thank you for your time. 

Kind Regards

Paul Ledwith
Electrovision Ltd / Prem-I-Air Appliances Ltd / Aidapt Ltd / Holmpatrick Ltd
Lancots Lane, Sutton, St Helens, WA9 3EX