Thursday, 31 March 2016

Book and Dvd swap Monday 4 th of April

Book and Dvd swap Monday 4th April, as always at the Gazpacho starting 10.30 am finishing at 11.30am. Remember the Gazpacho starts setting out tables for lunch after that so we finish on the dot.
I have checked and Penny Smith of a " Stitch in time" fame is coming, so any sewing jobs she is there to consult.
Loads of DVd's going this time so you may want time to browse through those as well.
See you all Monday.
Comments to

Bookcases for FET

Dear Val,
I wonder if your could ask your readers if anyone has an empty bookcase or bookshelves in some type of dark wood which they would be prepared to lend us for our next production of 84 Charing Cross Road in May.       It would have to be able to fit into a trailer for transportation and it would be possible for it to be collected.
Many thanks.
Judy Kent

Val says  they are sorted now 

Carpetman on the move

Hi Val,
Hope you are allright.
Could you please share the following:

Carpetman is moving to a new adress as from Monday the 4th of April.
2 Rue Alphonse Daudet, 82000 Montauban, the phone number will stay the same 05 63 20 51 59
It is not far from where we used to be about 200 metres. 
Thanking you in advance.
Kind regards,
Lot 5b, Voltaire 2
2 Rue Voltaire (
dans la cour)
82000 Montauban

05 63 20 51 59 
tweet @carpetmanfrance

The winter "trève" is over

Today (31st March) sees the end of the law which prevents landlords evicting tenants during the winter. Generally the restriction (known colloquially as a truce) runs from November to March and in most cases involves non-payment of rent, though other breaches of contract are also involved.
Today also sees the passage into law of the ban on one-time plastic bags in shops and markets, presumably to be replaced by recycled paper bags and other degradable material. The law comes into effect on July 1st.
comments to

Nous sommes le jeudi trente et un mars

Wow! folks you come up with the goods.

We have had offered a fridge, three drawer freezer, top loading washing machine, beds, another bike, duvets, pillows, gate legged table and  4 chairs, microwave and various kitchen bits.
Tomorrow Malc and I with the 2 lucky young men will be driving around the area picking everything up.
There is also a Brocante on the 17th at Verfeil so we are planning on having a stall to raise money for 3 young men who still( after 3 months) have not received any government money. Who knows why? the reasons apart from back logs we are told is the cheques could be lost at Calais!
The system is overloaded but that is hard to explain to a hungry young man now on his own in an apartment somewhere and has to rely on Restos de Coeur  for food hand outs.
If you can come and help on the 17th April and bring things to sell please offer. I can organise things but seriously lack the energy for lifting and standing behind a stall.
Comments to

Another day of "action"

Many transport links will be disturbed today as workers protest again against the Loi de Travail (labour laws) proposed by the government. This could mean trains cancelled, roads blocked, demonstrations. Recent polls suggest that 70% of the population is still opposed to the reforms, which could make it easier to sack workers and reduce compensation.
comments to

Soirée théâtrale à Bruniquel

Soirée théâtrale à Bruniquel 
le vendredi  8 avril à 20h30 - Salle des fêtes

L'Homme semence 
1852 : la répression sauvage du soulèvement des républicains contre le coup d'état de l'empereur Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte va priver un village de Haute-Provence de tous ses hommes, tués ou déportés. Deux ans passent. Les femmes font alors le serment que si un homme vient dans leur village, il sera le leur à toutes... pour que la vie continue. L'une d'entre elles, Violette Ailhaud, fait au soir de sa vie, le récit de cette étonnante forme de résistance. 
« L'idée est venue un soir d'ouvrage en commun, alors que nous étions toutes assises sous l'arbre du cours et que les enfants étaient couchés... » 
Mise en scène d' Emmanuelle Picaud. Aurore Lerat et Nane Vezinet racontent « L'Homme semence ».

Mise en scène d'Aurore Lerat, texte et interprétation de Véronique Weyergans.l

La soirée débutera à 20h30 par « l'Homme Semence ».

Un entracte vous permettra de vous désaltérer. 

« Chères Clientes » clôturera ce moment théâtral.

La participation est libre mais nécessaire ! A votre bon cœur !

Val says Véronique is one of the wonderful volunteers with our young refugees. She and her partner have done so much. Unfortunately we are away for this production but I urge others to go.. it is going to be a good evening.
Comments to

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

It is the hoopoe, 'onest

Alaaldein says

Subway we were happy to see the bird of Sudan and this lovely fall reminds us of wellbeing in the migration season of the North view the fact the most fantastic and I am very happy with this

His French is coming on as well.
Comments to

Paras hurt at Caylus

Last night (Tuesday) ten parachutists on a training exercise were injured during a night jump. Three of them suffered back injuries and the others more minor complaints. Two remained in hospital this morning, the others having been released. No details of how the accident involving so many soldiers could have happened, the weather conditions were not dangerous (though we can testify that it has been windy these last few days).
library picture MaxPPP

Following an accident recently when ten paras were also injured when their lorry left the road at St Projet doubts have been expressed locally about the quality of the training being given - perhaps a new commander is needed?
comments to

We all saw a " upupa epops" today.

A most exciting thing happened after lunch, we piled into the car and turning out of our drive into the small road alongside the house, we all saw it at the same time. It was in Sudanese a " upupa epops" but we know it as the hoopoe. Myself and two young men from Sudan all started making the hoop, hoop, cry and we laughed and laughed. That bird I said was a migrant,
" from Sudan"they said.
 I think it may have been lucky as they were so excited or maybe it was just seeing something from their own country so familiar to them.
I have always been happy to see a hoopoe but now it will always remind me of Sudan and make me smile.
Comments to

Marché artisanal

Wonderful how TAG works

After the announcement of what we needed for the apartment in Verfeil, within minutes  we were offered a fridge. Today a gate legged table and 4 chairs have been offered. We needed a cooker and the Mayors assistant found one in the basement of the flats which he thinks works.
We could use a small microwave and frustratingly we have sent two we had to refugees in Toulouse. I am sure there must be a spare one out there somewhere.
We have sorted out a couple of frying  pans in varying sizes but could do with a set of pans in truth.
If you have things you think may be useful let us know, who knows it maybe something we have not thought of.
Coments to

TV food critic has died

Jean-Pierre Coffe: picture MaxPPP
Jean-Pierre Coffe has died aged 78, and was one of France's best known faces and voices, appearing on TV and radio talking about food for many years.
Coffe was an ardent opponent of "mal-bouffe", which he classed as ready-made dishes or restaurant fast food. He was one of those food experts who urged people, especially mothers, to take just a little more time over food preparation, ignoring, many felt, the pressures on working mothers and the less well off families. His combative style made him unpopular with many, but he had appeal to viewers for that reason and his battles to improve the food served won many admirers.
comments to

Nous sommes le mercredi trente mars

A lovely blue sky and sun and the promise of a lovely day.

I have to fed all the pets and be up in Verfeil for 9 am to pick up two young lads who are getting an apartment at Verfeil. Then we go with a friend with a large trailer to pick up furniture from around the area. The boys are excited to be getting their own place and say they will enjoy inviting Malc and I into THEIR home. After all these months and in once case years of being homeless the thought of your own safe roof must be especially appealing.
Comments to

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Atelier open

This is what we need !

The Mayor of Verfeil has offered us an apartment (for 2 refugees who have gained asylum,) in the village if we can furnish it. We get the keys tomorrow. We need a fridge and carpets at the moment. Any going spare anywhere?

Thanks to G. Brown for an offer of a fridge
Comments to Val at

AdBlock - is it a good idea?

One of the most popular internet downloads is from AdBlock or Adblock Plus, software which identifies advertisements and blocks them. When you are confronted with sites that look like Christmas trees, festooned with suggestions for things you have searched (or even already bought) on-line it is tempting to look for a way to be ad-free.
Taglines only carries ads from local businesses who have paid not to support the site, but to support local charities and we do not use "google-ads". But many of the sites and blogs you may visit actually depend on their adverts to keep going, just like old-style printed newspapers and commercial TV and radio. With those media one simply chooses which ones to buy/watch but when surfing the internet it can be annoying to see the same products popping up all the time - we recently bought a couple of small suitcases and every site we visit has seemingly dozens of ads for the same suitcases we bought - and from the same firm. You feel like shouting at the screen "we've already bought them; how many more do you think we need!!!".
So blocking ads is a balance between the genuine need to finance the sites (news sites are vital and need support which comes from ads - unless you pay a subscription (as with The Times) and your ability to browse with serenity. Advertisers will need to come up with more innovative ideas if they are to avoid being blocked out.
comments to

One to put in your diary

Memories in song and poem

Now we know it's spring

Not only kestrels preparing to nest, but this weekend we have spotted wild orchids, and heard our first cuckoos. Even, we were surprised to see, a man in a local hedge looking for "responchous" the so-called wild asparagus..
Easter Monday turned out to be a lovely spring day taken up with delivering a bed to a house being prepared for a Syrian family in a local village, clearing lots of donkey poo and saying a tearful farewell to some of the boys from the Rehoboth family at supper.
comments to

Nous sommes le mardi vingt neuf mars

In the last few days beautiful weather has really brought out the cowslips, the orchids, our black thorn hedges covered in white blossom. The kestrels are mating and flying fast past our salon window, the donkeys are in season, but that seems to happen all the time!
Such a lovely season spring. Just noticed Malc is having the same feelings being affected by spring.
Comments to

Monday, 28 March 2016

Carnaval at Laguepie

On its way to Penne

Refugees working for other refugees, we all liked this idea.
Comments to

Raising money for cancer research and dog rehoming

 Dearest, dearest Easter Book Buyers,

 Well what can I say ?  It was our best ever sale so thank you so very much to all who came and supported us.  We thank you from the tip of our Easter Bunny Ears to the toes of our poor aching feet.  Sorry ? Oh, how much did we raise ?  A STONKING 2,881 which was topped up by my wonderful friend Sue to 3,000 !!
 So half to go to cancer charities and half to dog rescue.
 You are wonderful and, before you forget, put 29th October in your diaries for the autumn sale.
 Bunny hugs,
 Sue x Poorpaws

Nous sommes le lundi vingt huit mars

A dry morning ... so far with lots of kestrel activity.

Rushing this morning as we have a bed to take to Penne. We have spent the last eight months running furniture around the countryside helping people setting up homes for refugees. Fortunately this morning we do have a couple of strong helpers. I like it when refugees who have been helped can help other refugees.
Comments to

News from the donkey sanctuary

Hi Val

We are planning a lunch for the end of April, probably 26/27/28, not sure which date yet but ill be writing to you again shortly with our menu.

Here are some of our ideas for fundraising, we need help here please .......

Our liberte des anes facebook page is up and running so please check in there with us for our latest news and photos etc.

We have a mountain of wonderful second hand paperback books for resale, any ideas of restaurants or outlets who may take some from us to sell on our behalf ?

We also have a paypal donation site, so if any one wants to help us here with our work for the donkeys please go to paypal for
Anyone preferring to help cats or dogs, our last dog Bobby came in from spain as he was about to be made homeless bringing our number up to four now, and im currently feeding 10 cats here, luckily I have sponsors for two of the cats!  If anyone donates for the other animals here please mark that on your donation.

Volunteers are always wanted to help us poo pick in our paddocks, its not hard, just scraping up donkey poo, its only dried grass !! and its really good for the garden.

We're always looking for supporters who can hold a coffee morning on our behalf, its easy just make or buy some cakes, serve tea and coffee, charge 5 euros to each friend who comes and soon you'll have raised some money for us.

A group of supporters in the Dordogne have held events for us and are currently knitting and selling items for us. 

We do hope you are all well and look forward to welcoming you very soon to have lunch here with us and visit the donkeys, oh and not forgetting a visit to sheepy, our new resident sheep who just turned up one day and we cant get him to leave, he now thinks hes a donkey !

Happy Easter everyone, Easter is the special time of the donkeys so they send their best wishes and warmest thanks too.

Jan Lemmy 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Les Petrolheads

Classic car meet
The first Petrolheads meet is the 3rd April from 10.30 and we're back at the Lac de Parisot, first Sunday of the month again. We'll have a short scenic drive and eat at the relais de Farrou in Villefranche e Rouergue. All welcome with or without a car. Let us know if you want to join us for lunch on 0604143267 or email or follow us on facebook

How much to ring the pompiers?

Some non-urgent call-outs are "payant", such as removing a bee swarm (though perhaps not Asiatic wasps). But what about 241 euros for a fall not requiring a trip to hospital? Or 463 euros for reporting a suspect fire in a neighbouring building when there was no actual blaze discovered? These are charges to be brought in by Calvados department in an effort to reduce costs. The pompiers themselves are opposed to the move (are they paid per call-out, or is that cynical?), but the move could discourage genuine emergency calls.
comments to

British Summer Time - not here

Not just because we are not in Britain, though we should have advanced our clocks one hour this morning, but because there is nothing summery about the weather. Of course all those smartphones, tablets and laptops will have up-dated automatically and some households will be wondering if the phones or the clocks are right - unless you moved all those pointers on manually last night it's the phones.
comments to

Lunching in the sun

Wonderfully warm summer day yesterday so it was disappointing to get up to rain this morning.
You must all have lunched outside as we did yesterday. What a fabulous day.
Comments to

Saturday, 26 March 2016

My inspiration

And here is my inspiration. Jacky Malotaux who last August gathered up medicines and useful items and went with Doctor husband to Greece. Since then she has organised fund raisers for ponchos, socks, been back another two or three times to the islands. Seen some horrendous sights as refugees unloaded from boats...
and yet when she arrived back tired from the last trip, she offered her help to two of our young men.
Two young men now lodged  near Moissac who still need French lessons, help and guidance and Jacky has taken it on.
This is a lady I respect so much and she has my thanks for all those people she has helped so far.
Today we met at the final farewell party for our lads.
comments to

Charity shop opens today at Parisot


 Nous entendons avec impatience l'ouverture des portes samedi. C'etait une semaine très occupée . Nous avons nettoyé et ciré et organisé  la boutique. Aussi nous avons fixé le prix de tous les articles. Beaucoup des personnes nous ont aidé et aussi ont donné des articles. Merci bien à tous. Nous espérons à vous voir samedi entre 10h - 12h.30 et 14h - 17h. Le local situé en face de la halle ancien à 24 rue de la mairie à Parisot.

We are looking forward to the doors opening on Saturday. It has been a busy week! We have cleaned, polished and organised the shop. We have priced all the items. Many people have helped us and given us articles. Thank you very much everybody! We hope to see you on Saturday between 10-12.30 and 14-17h. The location is opposite the old market building, 24 rue de la mairie in Parisot.
Comments to

Perfect integration

Val says 3 months here and a French girlfriend, that is the way to learn French and make French friends. So happy that our young men now have every chance to live and make good lives for themselves.

J'ai vécu le plus beau jour de ma vie dans le sud de la France, j espère passer le reste de  ma vie dans le Sud de la France

Nous sommes le samedi vingt six mars

Beautiful blue sky and a warm sunny day forecast.

Great for an Easter meal in the sun.
Everyone, young men, benevoles, French and English will be meeting at lunchtime for a BIG farewell party. Four young men have already left and we have had get togethers for each one, three who are with in distance ( an hour an a half ) have been picked up for this final week end. We have an addition to the group, as one young man who has been in a lodgings near Moissac has made friends with one of ours and we have welcomed him into the group.
Interesting in 3 months such firm friendships have been formed and one young man who has found a girlfriend here tells us the happiest days of his life have been in SW France and he wants to spend the rest of his life here.  Wonderful integration with other  welcoming young people in the area.
If this is happening through out France, it gives one hope for the refugees here seeking ayslum.
Comments to

Friday, 25 March 2016

Washing their feet

Pope Francis performs the foot-washing ritual at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center near Rome on March 24, 2016. Pope Francis washed the feet of 11 young asylum seekers and a worker at their reception centre to highlight the need for the international community to provide shelter to refugees. AFP/Getty Images
Not French news I just liked it 

Wish I had a pond

Hi Val, 
"We still have a few waterlilies left, they are being sold in aid of Positive Steps charity so if you have a pond which lacks a beautiful lily please get in touch."

Feminist historian Silvia Federici in St Antonin

Dear Val Johnstone,

We are organizing this event with Le tracteur savant and thought you and other neighbouring friends might be interested. You might also want to post it on Facebook.

Newyorker feminist historian Silvia Federici will be in St Antonin on the 7th of april at 6:30 (grande salle de la mairie) for an exceptional lecture on the role of women in the heretic movements and in struggles for the preservation of the commons from the medieval to the modern era.
" Federici shows that the birth of the proletariat required a war against women, inaugurating a new sexual pact and a new patriarchal era: the patriarchy of the wage. Firmly rooted in the history of the persecution of the witches and the disciplining of the body, her arguments explain why the subjugation of women was as crucial for the formation of the world proletariat as the enclosures of the land, the conquest and colonization of the 'New World,' and the slave trade. 
Documenting the horrors of state terror against women, Federici has written a book truly of our times. Neither compromising nor condescending, Caliban and the Witch expresses an unfailing generosity of spirit and the dignity of a planetary scholar. It is both a passionate work of memory recovered and a hammer of humanity's agenda." (Peter Linebaugh, author of The London Hanged).
Read her book Caliban an the Witch (2004) here:

French navy wins battle of Toulon

Not a history lesson concerning the British defeat at the hands of French and Spanish navies in 1744, but the annual rugby match between the Royal Navy and the French Marine in Toulon, a major French naval port. A brawl broke out involving pretty well all 30 players and turning into individual scuffles on the pitch.
Eventually calm broke out and the match continued. The French won 28-6.
A Royal Navy spokesman said it was a storm in teacup. But that's what they said in 1744.
comments to

Please sir, may I be excused?

We were familiar with some such formula when at school and wanted to go to the toilet - but a call centre in Toulouse has installed a system onto its internal network to avoid pupils (sorry- employees) having to sit with one hand in the air trying to attract sir's attention.
Instead, they click a "coffee" icon to attract a supervisor and then indicate their need - a coffee break or a "pause pipi". Generally they will receive a permission "within three minutes", but claim it is often longer. The call centre deals with customer enquiries and complaints for SFR, the telecoms provider and the operators say that calls can often be long and stressful and if you are "desperate" it can be difficult to concentrate.
Previously employees had to ask to leave the room but feel that the new system is treating them like children. Management say the stream of calls received has to be managed to keep waiting times to a minimum but try to accommodate staff requests as quickly as possible.
comments to

A French speaker hoping to improve his English

HI  Val
I'm looking for an advanced language exchange. My mother tongue is French, and I'll be pleased to exchange with an English native to improve our conversation level.
I was  wondering if you could help me find out somebody that would be interested ?Thanks a lot,
Best regards   Jérôme
Val says I asked for more information. I think this could be good for anyone also wanting to improve their French.
 Hi Val,
Thanks a lot for your quick answer. I'm 42 years old, I'm living nearby south Toulouse, so I think beginning the exchanges by skype, if it doesn't matter, whatever will be possible mornings or afternoons.
Your remarque make me think that I have an other question ! Yes we are also looking for a family in England  for our son Arthur, which is 15, for July, like 2 weeks. If you have contacts or news, please feel free...
Thanks a lot,
Best regards

Telethon raised 93 million euros

Last December's Telethon was held in the shadow of the Paris attacks, leading to some events being cancelled, but nevertheless raised over 93 million euros for medical research. Collections at events (such as pompiers washing cars) raised over 35 millions with the rest from calls to the televised events over the weekend. Internet donations were nearly 10% higher than previously reflecting the growth of that medium.
The money raised is mainly for research into conditions caused by brain dysfunctions, such as cerebral palsy but also to provide help to patients and their families. The 2016 event will  be in December as usual.
comments to

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt cinq

A mild morning, not sure if it is going to be sunny.
The land is drying round about, so it could have been a good gardening day.
Malc has not played boules for 3 months since our friends arrived, for one reason and another.
Today he has a trip to Montauban then Castelsarrasin to pick up some of our young men who are all coming back for Easter before they are all scattered around France next Wednesday.
What an amazing 3 months the two teams French and English have had. New interesting friends made and friendships and bonds formed for ever. At least 50 of us have unforgettable memories.
We are now building ties with a similar group in MulhouseAlsace, where last night after many conversations we were invited over for a visit. A lovely thought but it is about 800kms!
Comments to

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Limited edition framed prints

Hi Val,
Hope you are well. 
We have a collection of lovely limited edition framed prints for sale. They are by an English artist called Janet Rogers. 
We brought them from England but unfortunately they don't fit in our house. 
We would like 100€ for them all. If anyone would like to take a look we are in St Antonin until Tues 29th March, then back again for the last two weeks in April. 
Tel: 0563021245
With very best wishes,
Helen and Chris

Disruption at Blagnac

If you were travelling from Blagnac airport yesterday morning you will know of the snarl up caused by the evacuation of the airport.
passengers at an assembly point
Resulting from "degradations" - presumably some damage and a suspect package the order was given to close the airport. Even passengers already on planes were made to disembark. The airport re-opened two hours later, but numerous flights were cancelled and delayed and passengers had their journeys disrupted or cancelled altogether. Authorities warned that similar actions could be expected in the heightened security prevalent at present.
comments to

Preparing for Euro 2016

Toulouse is reviewing its arrangements for the security of thousands of fans expected in the city for the 2016 European football tournament after the Brussels attacks.
Fans will watch on large screens

Four matches will take place in la ville rose and a "fan zone" will be created to allow 12000 spectators to gather and watch the matches on large screens, including matches played elsewhere in France. There will be airport style metal detectors at the entrances (which will presumably bleep continually with beer cans!) and over 140 surveillance cameras at the Stadium where games are played. The first match will be on 13th June and Wales will play Russia there on 20th June. Other fixtures will be at Toulouse on 17th and 27th June with the later stages running until July 10th.
comments to

Nous sommes le jeudi vingt quatre mars

A bright morning, still a bit chilly in the fields at 7 am
One day it is as if spring has arrived, the next a cold wind from the west, and even a little more rain.
That appears to be the forecast over the next few days of the Easter break.

Today I am out early organising furniture removal, flats being set up for refugees around the area.
If anyone has a fridge they are updating but still have reasonable working one, or tables and chairs, washing machine, anything to build a house please let me know.
Comments to

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The people our refugees are running away from.

Yesterday attacks on Belgium by fanatical killers, not Muslims, although they pretend to be that.
Our boys are escaping such fanatics and would tell you that these fanatics  have no place in the Muslim religion.
Whilst we were all saddened about the deaths in Brussels one young man from Pakistan told me why he was sad yesterday.
In their street where his parents and extended family live in Pakistan, two neighbours they had known all their lives were found decapitated in the street. Well that is to say their heads were found in the street, their bodies were missing.
They had in some way upset the local Taliban and ended up on a death list. The young man told me it was the same list that he had been on before his escape here.
Remember, remember who the terrorists are... it is not the gentle religious Muslims, it is terrorist fanatics
Comments to

We are Brussels

It was hard for us to ignore the attacks in Brussels on a day when a Belgian friend was going to Paris with two of the asylum seekers who have been with us at St Antonin.
The young men often ask us why people here think they would be terrorists when they are themselves the victims of such acts in their home countries. It is hard to overcome the fear spread by the reports (many false or exaggerated) but the "amalgam" between migrant, Muslim and terrorist must be resisted and the bombers be treated for what they are - brain washed criminals.
comments to

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt trois mars

A beautifully morning with the sun and kestrels up at 7 am
I was out early in the fields enjoying the early mornings with the donkeys.
They have for a few days a portion of our garden near the swimming pool. We thought before the first mowing they may as well enjoy the  long grass. As it is not a very secure fence I put them back in the main field last night. They did not appreciate my reasons and spent all night heehawing to be let back in!
Comments to

Garden design presentation

Hi Val,
To celebrate the arrival of Spring (hurrah!) John and I are hosting an event. Next Wednesday, 30th March, 10 a.m. local garden designer Clare Hansom will join us to talk about various aspects of garden design. This talk will help people consider such issues as use of colour the garden and companion planting. There will also be a question and answers session to help people make the most of their gardens in the coming season. 
This event is open to all. Entrance to the talk is free, but please email Debbie at  to book a place.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Bearing the bad weather

The mild weather at the beginning of February appears to have woken the Pyrenees bears early from their hibernation. Automatic cameras in the Val d'Aran captured Pyros, the main male in the area, braving snow storms later in the month. The bears live principally on the Spanish side of the slopes. where a new female will be introduced in May with the intent of providing new bloodlines.
Pyrus seen on 28th February
comments to

Marseille first, Toulouse fifth

When it comes to traffic jams, Marseille wins hands down. A survey suggests that motorists there spend the equivalent of about 6 days a year sitting in jams. Even Paris, in second place, doesn't rival the southern port. Toulouse does not make a place on the podium with only 34.75 hours staring at brake lights.  It seems a far cry from our virtually traffic free roads here where the odd tractor or fauchage are the most frequent hold-ups.
comments to

A week against racism and anti semitism

François Hollande has started off the week against racist and anti Semitic attitudes.

Les collégiennes venues présenter leur slam ne s'attendaient pas à un spectateur aussi prestigieux : François Hollande s'est invité hier au musée de l'immigration pour lancer la semaine de lutte contre le racisme et l'antisémitisme.

It will take more than a week to change attitudes and minds but it is a start.
What Malc and I realise after 3 months with our boys is " we are all the same" colour, language, religion, none of this is as important as the fact we are all humans with the same hopes, aspirations, sense of humour, pride... we are all the same.
Comments to

Nous sommes le mardi vingt deux mars

Beautiful sunny morning, blue sky in every direction.
In the fields and garden with the sun everything looked fresh and green this morning. Buds on the lilac trees, the iris getting ready to flower, spring has really arrived this morning. The screeches of the visiting kestrels fly over my head as I return from feeding the donkeys. The donkeys who had a telling off for waking us as the morning light appeared, they did not seem perturbed.
Have a lovely day outside, walking, gardening or sitting in the sun.
comments to

Monday, 21 March 2016

Towel rail for sale

Unused steel Seche Serviettes (towel rail) for sale - still in original wrapping. Will fit a water based central heating system. Finished in white , comes with all fixings for wall mounting. 650 watts, 1300x500 mm. 40 euros. Contact

Art in the streets

Hi Val
maybe you want to share this .....people getting  together to spread art in st antonin, varen and milhars today the piece be free to take to anybody fancy adopting it.This is international
Art in the streets, if you see a piece of art you like in the villages mentioned above it is a free present.

What a wonderful idea, celebrating art in the streets.
Comments to

Two items reduced

Morning Val
I've still got a couple of items for sale, actually the two nicest items I think. Reductions on both of them, the pine sideboard is now €400 and the dressing table is €200. Anyone interested please phone 0972452136 or email As they say, 'everything must go!'
Jennifer Sopwith 

Water lily for your pond

Can you please put this on tag for me Val - 

today I'm going to start spring cleaning the pond, there will be surplus plants namely pond weed & the red water lily will be split up so if anyone has a pond & would be interested please get in touch. In return for plants we would welcome donations for Positive Steps charity which works to provide prosthetic limbs for people in Mali. Thanks Val 
Laura xx

A charity shop at Parisot

Joan of Arc's ring

Amid a full Disney-style ceremony at the Puy-du-Fou theme park Joan of Arc's ring was presented to the crowds. The ring, genuinely 15th century, was bought at an auction in London by the park's owners and has reasonably good provenance back to the cardinal of Winchester who was present at the burning of Joan and through the Cavendish family to its latest owner.
The perfidious British government, in the form of the Arts Council, is claiming that the ring was exported without a licence and wants it back as part of British heritage - a claim obviously refuted by the Puy-du-Fou foundation. "They had a chance to pre-empt the sale and missed it" said Phillipe de Villiers. As the system of pre-emption does not exist in Britain, but heritage items must have an export licence and the sellers may be compensated by the heritage department, it remains to be seen who has the right to keep the ring - the British Museum or Puy-du-Dome!
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Women on top

Today will see the first time in France that the top boss of a CAC40 company will be a woman. The CAC40 is the stock market list of the 40 most valuable French companies (like the UK FTSE 100) and in its 30 year history no woman has held the post of chief executive.
Sophie Bellon takes the lead in Sodexo a company with 37000 employees in France and 420000 worldwide. The company, which provides canteen services to a wide range of companies and institutions, was founded by her father Pierre Bellon.
She is likely to be followed in the CAC40 by Isabelle Kocher, who is expected to be named as head of the power giant Engie (formerly GDF/Suez) in May. That company is in fact leader in women in the boardroom, with 11 from 19.
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The young journalists from Toulouse

The three lady journalists from Toulouse proved very popular with the young men.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt et un mars

A dry morning, a blue sky with some clouds to the west.

I went to bed happy last night at a good report in the press that we had seen about our refugees.
Some lovely photos and a true description of the young men and the happy group we have formed around them.
Today we prepare for another two boys going off to a CADA in Rodez tomorrow. I am relieved that I have managed to get a laptop computer upgraded ready for one of the guys whose phone is broken so a laptop will be invaluable. Between the three media men, Hans  and James in St. Antonin and Andrew at Caylus they have kindly done all the upgrades on the aged laptops  for free, so to these guys and everyone who has donated their laptops I give my thanks.
The boys will remember our kindness to them for ever, they tell me that.
If you read the report in the press you will see the boys call me " mama Val"  I wanted to be called "the fixer! "  but they all started calling  me Mama Val and that has stuck.
The group of French and English benevoles have been marvellous. One guy gave up 2 days of work to take one of the refugees last week to a CADA up near Reims.The refugee cannot speak,English or French and would not be able to read the signs. What a marvellous thing to do, someone else made up a picnic for them and you readers with your contributions helped to pay for the extra ticket.
That young Pakistani has his asylum interview in Paris this week. When (not even thinking "if") he gets his papers he tells us he is coming home.
 Home for him is now St. Antonin.
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Sunday, 20 March 2016

An article in French on Rehoboth

Have a look the photos are good and you can get the flavour of the article.

La Seye et Vous in concert

           Bonjour les amis,

Vendredi 25 mars, à partir de 20h, le soleil de la rumba españole sera au rendez-vous à La seye et vous !
Une soirée caliente avec le duo flamenco MANDJE.
Le duo Mandjé s'est formé en 2015, suite à une rencontre fructueuse entre
Manolo (guitariste et chanteur) et Djé (guitariste et flûtiste). Leurs sensibilités
croisées ont donné naissance à une musique pleine d'énergie et de nostalgie, avec
des saveurs mélancoliques et des sentiments profonds.
Manuel Guillén (Manolo) : Musicien, compositeur, interprète, guitariste et
chanteur. Né à Alicante dans une famille de musiciens, il a intégré depuis sa plus
tendre enfance les rythmes et les mélodies traditionnelles de son pays, avec une
ouverture sur les musiques actuelles. Sa voie brillante et pleine, typique des
chanteurs de Flamenco nous fait voyager à travers l'Espagne et l'Amérique latine. Sa
musique entraînante nous invite à la fête...
Jérémie Bernet-Rollande (Djé) : guitariste et flûtiste de formation classique, il se
plonge avec aisance aussi bien dans les musiques du monde et les musiques
actuelles que dans les interprétations classiques. Ses improvisations empruntes de
mélancolie et d'inspirations variées nous laissent rêveur.
Ce duo explosif aux accents de Rumba espagnole nous fait voyager dans un
univers festif et convivial.
Et pour rester dans le thème vous pourrez déguster une assiette de tapas, végétariennes ou pas...
Renseignements : 05 63 65 22 18.
N'hésitez pas à diffuser largement !
A trés bientôt  et réjouissons-nous... C'est le printemps !

Lovely house for sale

Please look in the for sale tab to check out a link for a lovely house for sale.
The format does not fit into TAG but if you are looking for a house in the area check it out.
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Writing talent in Verfeil

The article below (Les Chevres de Paulhac) was sent to us by a young woman we met recently. She sends us a little about her background as well as the interesting item on the goats being raised outside Verfeil.

Leyla Falhan

I was born and raised in the northern part of Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean. I left Cyprus when I was 18 in order to study Political Science at Denison University (Ohio, United States). Upon completing my Bachelor’s degree, I started a PhD program (again in Political Science) at Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York). During my second year, I decided that the institutionalization of the production of knowledge in academia was too dogmatic and esoteric for me. I left the United States after completing my Master’s degree and moved to Verfeil Sur Seye, France in May 2015. I am now enjoying learning different things, including living in a collective, French, and agriculture. I am a native Turkish speaker and I enjoy different languages and cultures. I have given language lessons in Turkish and English in the past and I have also done some translation work. In addition to these, I like writing, photography, acting, art cinema, and film theory. I would love to meet with new friends who have similar interests, and/or small projects where I can get involved.
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Les chevres de Paulhac

Les Chèvres de Paulhac

My first encounter with the goats of Paulhac* was in late May, when I decided to have an afternoon picnic with them as they were grazing outside the farm. I do not know whether it was the sublime beauty of the nature in spring or the wondrous experience of sharing a meal together with this agile herd, but I was definitely captivated by this energy and decided to discover more about the goats. Luckily, the installation of the fromagerie (the cheese room) in Paulhac was scheduled to take place in early summer, giving me the chance to get more involved with the milking of the goats and making cheese.
picnic with the goats and Zita, May 2015
Before starting to work with the goats, my image of them was quite stereotypical: they are the kind of animal that constantly butt their head against the wall or against those around them! I knew that goats were fiercely (and sometimes unjustifiably) stubborn, impossible to control due to their obsession with their independence, and capricious! In my defence, goats really do carry these characteristics. In fact, the French word for the goat is la chèvre, which comes from the Latin word capra -the same root for caprice! Nonetheless, beneath these characteristics lie deeply wise animals with a strong sense of perseverance and diligence, always seeking new heights.

It is not surprising that diligence and perseverance are not the first characteristics that strike us about the goats. Many of us associate goats with domestication (they are one of the first animals to be domesticated), imagining them meandering around in a farm and assisting us with our agricultural needs through their supply of milk, cheese, mohair, and meat. However, goats have had a long-term presence in human life across different cultures, religions, and myths long before their domestication. Since ancient times, their ability to land on their feet in uncharted territories that were inaccessible to others has been deeply admired. In Greek mythology, goats can be found in the stories of Zeus, who himself was nursed by a goat mother. Often, goats are referred as ‘the thunder’ in these stories, symbolizing rapidity and exceptional bravery, which can be seen in the wild half-man, half-goat character of Pan. In India, goats are considered ‘the mother of the world’ due to their intuitive and diligent nature. On the negative side, goats can also be associated with sin or too much self- sacrifice, as the word ‘scapegoat’ indicates.