Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Funny photo for today

Sent by K of the Bosc
Just love it.
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One for your agendas

Another French perspective on the strikes

Hi Val

in France we have a tradition of not letting our gouvernement choose for us (not saying brits do )we have this bad press of not liking changes ....well loosing you'r job becausse you ill,or working night without getting paid more,or being part of a "syndicat" coul be a reason for loosing you'r job,you'r break not respected mostly for hard work like a nurse,is not acceptable !!!so i'm sorry for any inconvenient you mind find when country is on stryke but is'nt the purpose???our way of being "ennoying" manage so far to have a good healthcare systeme for all,a good social systeme that help the most needed,a brilliant education system for all purses,....i lived in England and yes here in france from very young we been thought to understand politic and go in the street when we'r not ok on what our leader we vote for don't respect our right....most of young english don't even know how the english sytem work....
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La guinguette de Cazals

Euro 2016

Being preoccupied with other things, we have forgotten (if we ever knew, or cared) that next week sees the start of the European international football tournament. There will be four matches in Toulouse, including Wales v Russia. In addition the matches  will be shown on a giant screen in the "fanzone" (Alles Jules-Guesde).
On the four days with live matches SNCF offers tickets from any station in the region for 1 euro to Toulouse and for the evening matches (including the Wales fixture) extra late services will run to major stations, including Albi and Montauban.
The dates are 13, 17, 20 and 26 June.
Tickets must be booked on-line at www.midi-pyrenees.ter.sncf.com.
This announcement was made on the same day that CGT suggests it will restrict services on trains throughout the tournament.
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American champagne

We are used to the idea that certain products identified by their "appellation" are from a given region, or made in a certain way. Thus "champagne" is a sparkling wine  made by a traditional method in a specific area in north east France - and no other sparkling wine may be called Champagne. Similarly many other food products from various parts of Europe are protected by their appellations. But American producers often take no notice of such labels and market their own goods under what they consider to be a generic brand - eg "American Champagne", or feta, or camembert with no indication of origin.
In trade negotiations the EU is trying to persuade the Americans to adopt around 50 appellations, but far from agreeing, the US agriculture industries want to market their products here, using these denominations. The transatlantic products are often a good deal cheaper than European originals hence EU insistance on protecting their producers who make their products to exacting quality and geographical standards.
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Nous sommes le mardi trente et un

Belgium, France and Spain all seeing strikes and industrial action, just being discussed on BBC news.
Does it seem that  each summer in Europe  now means you can  expect strikes?
Holidaymakers seem a soft target but one should be wary of  affecting the travel industry which is worth billions of euros. It is as important as rights of workers in my view, without the holiday makers lots of French workers in the tourism industry,  airport workers, restaurants, hotels, gites, chambre d' hôtes would be out of a job.
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Thank you France

A wet morning... oh dear, when will it settle. A friend living near Gerona says the weather is the same there, sunny one day, wet the next.
We received some good news yesterday when we heard from one of our boys from Sudan that he had got asylum. Out of our 17 so far only 3 have gained asylum, 6 have been refused and are putting in appeals, the rest are awaiting interviews or results of interviews.
Well done and what a relief for you to be safe.
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On the BBC news

Patricia Wilson murder: Jean-Louis Cayrou jailed for 30 years - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-36414757
I know you have been covering this
Val says  the thing that struck me about this case,  it took 4 years for the case to come to court. Also there was one terrible week where the suspected killer was let out on bail, for no apparent reason and sadly this coincided with a visit to the area from Patricia Wilson's partner who at the time of the murder had been ill in the UK having his MS treated.
After a week he was rearrested but at the time it was all very bizarre and a great concern for the family from the UK

Monday, 30 May 2016

My morning walk with the dogs

This is the France I know, walking over the fields early morning to the donkeys  and then walking the dogs along the lanes. This morning the sky was very moody, but it was warm and stayed dry.
Forget strikes and brexits and just soak up the beauty, the vast area of flora and fauna.
The best time of the day for me, I would not swap these moments of tranquilty for anything.
How about you?  What is " your France?"
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That important vote for Europe

Hi Val

There seems to be some concern on the internet as to whether La Poste will accept pre-paid Referendum envelopes resulting in some being over-stamped. This has arisen due to the wording on some of the Local Councils instructions which state that “If its posted in the UK, this will be free” implying that if its posted elsewhere it is not! This may be a scam invalidating the envelope so beware.

Val says our last chance to vote being on our 15 th year, and we posted off our " we want to be in Europe " envelopes. We noticed it said " ne pas affranchir"   which means do not put a stamp on.

A French perspective on the strikes

 cela fait des mois que les gens manifestent sagement dans la rue avec des banderoles, qu'ils ont fait grève (et perdu de l'argent), chanté et crié pour faire entendre leur désaccord face à une loi qui attaque les droits des salariés. Le gouvernement n'a rien voulu entendre et a même imposé, sans vote, la loi au parlement. C'est ça le refus de démocratie et la première violence !
Aujourd'hui les actions changent et deviennent plus dures, inévitablement. Le blocage des stations essence fait réagir beaucoup plus vite que de marcher dans la rue, hélas. Comme toi je condamne fermement les agressions physiques (les dégradations de matériel sont regrettables, mais moins graves) mais n'oublions pas que des policiers (pas tous) ont été violents, dès le début du mouvement, avec des jeunes hommes et des jeunes femmes, qui n'étaient pas tous des "casseurs".
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Sid on strike

Hi Val,
Following the wave of strikes we thought we'd join in as well today. We've got a few tyres burning in the drive, (a great way of saving ourselves a trip to the tip) sadly we won't be paid for our day of action which seems grossly unfair. Our picket line is (with the addition of the cats) 4 long, the dog may join us later. We're striking on the grounds that self employed people have to work ridiculously long hours to keep their heads above water & also because it's damp outside & somewhat cold so we don't see why we should bother. We won't be able to strike for long as we won't be able to pay for any food or bills but a morning seems a strong possibility. Yours Sid & Laura

Our beautiful bird

Not a picture taken with my iphone. One of Malc's of course
What beautiful creatures these birds are, that fanned tail,wow!
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Paddle your own canoe

A second hand canoe and paddles wanted for Colleen
If you have a canoe to sell let me know and I will tell Colleen to contact you.

What are they all about these strikes?

Who is against the French reforms – and why?

The reforms, which were forced through this month without parliamentary approval, are fiercely opposed by the hardline CGT union, which sees them as an attempt to undermine union power and sector-based labour deals, students and other protestors on the left – including some in the Socialist party – who regard them as unacceptably pro-business.
Initially approved by many economists and businesses, the reforms are now largely rejected by the country’s main employers’ associations, because the government has been forced to water them down significantly in an attempt to gain popular support.
Val says  imagine how the country would have reacted without the watered down attempt ! All I know is strikes are not good for a country and an economy and sometimes changes need to be made to progress. I am with Manuel Valls on this one. I think those of us from the UK are more appalled at the strikes than French friends, they accept them as part of a way of life. Burning tyres on motorways, dumping dung on roads, burning cars, I can never accept. Dangerous practises that I just cannot understand are not stopped by the gendarmes. If you want to strike hold up a banner at the prefecture. Disruptions as we have seen,  it is just not democratic.
When I said this once before someone told me it was all to do with freedom and expression.
( I could have added bollocks but stopped myself)

Nous sommes le lundi trente mai

May has passed so quickly and what a mixed month weather wise, each day seems to have been different. We seem to have missed any severe storm but no doubt we will get our turn as the summer progresses.
Swimming in the pool I noticed once again we have two conifers full of goldfinch homes. I swam with goldfinches squabbling near by and swallows flying over and dipping in the pool. Are they catching the insects or having a drink or both?
Our blue tits nesting in the  house wall have fledged so once again we can use the terrace for eating.
The redstarts have not nested in the grange beams this year which we are relieved about, they two years running have had the nest dislodged by cats or the wind?
Wonderful time of year, enjoy every minute.
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Sunday, 29 May 2016

The female kestrel this year 2016

We think this is the female, the male having brighter plumage.
The pair are feeding chicks at the moment, amazing the juicy bundles that are flown in.
With  out  any effort we have spring watch on our doorstep, as the birds fly past the salon window and straight into the niche in the gite wall.
I wonder how many birds will fledge this year, previously it has been 5 or 6
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The book and dvd swap Monday June 6th

The next book swap is Monday the 6 th of June as usual at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin at 10.30 am finishing at 11.30am. Plenty of time to choose your books and DVD's then sit back and have a coffee and chat.
Penny from " a stitch in time" will be there accepting sewing work. I have another little job for her.

I have been reading " A Constant Gardener" by John Le Carré and Malc says I keep saying " this is really good, so well written," a class above the usual detective stories one gets. I have perhaps 4 chapters to go and do not want to finish it. I know the story from the film with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, but the book pads out all the details. A story which with all the corruption in the world one finds easy to believe.
 I have the DVD which I will watch again when I have finished the book and then bring them to the swap.
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CGT losing support

In a poll out this weekend (by Odoxa for Le Parisien newspaper) 67% of respondents say they have an unfavourable opinion of Phillipe Martinez, the general secretary of the CGT, whose union is spearheading the opposition to the proposed labour law reform.
Whilst French people generally agree with the right to strike, now only 42% are now in agreement with the actions being taken, and 66% of those asked fear a complete paralysis of the country.
Emmanuel Macron, the controversial Finance Minister seen as a right winger by most of the left, was confronted by CGT strikers yesterday. During heated exchanges the Minister suggested that France was being blocked by the demonstrators, not by the new laws. One presumably unemployed person remarked on M Macron's "3000 euro suit", to which he replied "the best way to pay for a suit is to get a job". Not too reassuring  when unemployment is at 10%. M Macron was an investment banker before joining the government.
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After the rain,a ray of sunshine

Salon de Printemps

Remembering Verdun

A special ceremony of commemoration will be held today at the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the first world war. For the French and German armies the battle lasted more than six months from February 1916, claiming over 700000 casualties - and for a paltry few square miles. Today President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel will attend the ceremony and tour the various cemeteries and sites of the battle.
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Mothers Day in France / Fête des Mères

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt neuf

Did the storm hit you last night?
We got off lightly I think, lots of rain and thunder but little lightening or grele / hail.
Throughout France the storm caused havoc and numerous people were killed or injured by lightening flashes.
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Rendez vous aux jardins

Dans le cadre des Rendez-Vous aux Jardins 2016, le Jardin de La Mothe ouvre ses portes le samedi 4 et dimanche 5 Juin.

Au programme le samedi 4 Juin:
un apéro-concert au son du piano classique à 19h.

Possibilité de diner sur réservation dans le jardin éclairé 20 euros.
05 65 81 51 46

Pendant le weekend, des gateaux fait maison seront servis ainsi que des boissons et des repas de midi 12 euros.

During the Rendez-Vous aux Jardins weekend 2016, 4th-5th of June, there will be an apero-concert of classical piano music followed by the opportunity to dine by candle light in the garden 20 euros.
Reservation needed 05 65 81 51 46.

During the weekend, we'll be offering homemade teas and cakes and lunches 12 euros.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

bio meat, some still available

Bonjour à tous,

Je me permets de vous ‘relancer’ car Il nous reste quelques colis de veau (jeune bovin), élevé en Agriculture Biologique, sous la mère, en plein air. Livraison possible ce weekend ou début de semaine prochaine maximum.
Je vous redonne les détails :
Colis de 6-7 kg environ, avec des morceaux découpés et mis sous vide comprenant :
                Cotes env 1,5 kg,
escalopes env 1,5 kg,
blanquette env 1 kg,
rôti env 1 kg,
tendron env 700 g,
Osso bucco env 700 g
                               Le prix au kilo est de 15€ TTC … si la composition des colis ne vous convient pas, nous pouvons éventuellement la modifier selon vos besoins.
Pour commander, il vous suffit de  nous renvoyer un mail, ou de nous appeler au 05 63 30 63 36 ou 06 82 90 35 47 (répondeur si nous ne sommes pas là). Nous confirmerons bien entendu votre commande et verrons avec vous les détails de livraison.
Prochain veau : en octobre
Prochain porc gascon : mi juin
Agneaux : toutes les semaines à partir de début juin
Si vous ne souhaitez plus recevoir nos mails, il suffit de nous en informer par retour…
A bientôt,
Florence Morot-Gaudry et Pascal Picili
The bio farm is very near St. Antonin.  Florence is a councillor in St. Antonin but also helps here partner on the farm. Very good prices for an excellent bio product.

Couleuvre verte et jaune

Hi Val
This couple of one metre snakes were so intent on enjoying their passion in the sun yesterday evening that they didn’t even stop as I went up and down with the mower.
Their single-minded instinct to reproduce is presumably why you see so many squashed on the roads at this time of year.
For those of a nervous disposition, they generally disappear very quickly if you get close although they can bite quite hard if you try to grab them.
Val says: nature is wonderful. 

Cycling in Afghanistan

Massouma and Zahra
Much is heard of the repressive regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan and its legacy for women's rights, and these two young women, aged 17 and 19, risk even their lives by going out as part of the national women's cycling team.
Coached by a top male cyclist, they do most of their road training hidden in the "peloton" of their male colleagues, but they would have loved to compete in Rio at the Olympic Games. For the present though, they are to ride this weekend in L'Albigeoise a road race in the Tarn, where they have been practising under the eye of the head of Albi Velo Sport, Roland Gilles.
The race is a qualifier for the world championships in Australia in November.
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Sail away from Najac

Land-locked Aveyron is an unlikely place to find one of the world's most prestigious manufacturers of hi-tech sails for ocean racers. But CLM set up in Najac just eleven years ago and this year will be providing canvas for four contestants in the Vendée Globe ocean race.
Installed in an old agricultural building the five staff use the latest fabrics, both rigid and light-weight such as kevlar, to created bespoke suits of sails for these high performance craft.
Hi-tech sails. Pic France 3

Bespoke outings in the area

Le Cerisier Evasion, based in Caylus, is offering a range of cultural and gourmet excursions to local beauty spots of cultural and historic interest, combined with a meal in a well-known restaurant in the area.
A car or minibus is provided with driver, for 2-8 people. Le Cerisier will also arrange airport transfers and pick-ups.
contact@cerisier-evasion.fr for details or click on the advert in the side bar to access the comprehensive web site.

Nous sommes le samedi vingt huit

Sunny morning, wonderful bird song this morning, out in the fields gives me a great start to the day.
Traffic problems and strikes still happening but lots of lovely local concerts this week.
So unless you have to travel enjoy the sunny fun packed weekend.
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Sorry the poster is not clear

There will be a showing of the film Ghosts in our Machine at the cinema in Caussade this Sunday May 29th at 18h 30 organized by Mouvement pour la Cause Animale de Toulouse.  The 5 euro admission will go to help the work of the organization, and there will be a talk and debate afterwards ..but one is not obligated to stay for this.  The film is in English with french subtitles.

This showing of the film is thanks to the efforts of Frederique Fichet of St Antonin who has given her life for the cause of helping animals. She works tirelessly for this cause along with caring for the 5 dogs that she has adopted.  This Canadian film has received many awards and focuses on the life of a  photographer who works for animal rights. It would be great if some TAG readers could come and give their support.

Friday, 27 May 2016

More concerts in June

Requiem de Fauré
Pour celles ou ceux qui n'auraient pas pu venir écouter le Requiem de Fauré aux Augustins à Villefranche de Rouergue, un autre concert avec le même programme sera donné en l'église de Limogne
Dimanche 5 juin à 17 heures.
Choeur féminin et ensemble instrumental
Le choeur féminin de Résonances et l'ensemble instrumental seront en concert à l'église de Laramière
Dimanche 12 juin à 17h
Vous trouverez en pièces jointes des informations sur ces deux concerts ; n'hésitez pas à tranférer ce message à vos contacts, merci d'avance,
Michel Féral
 Le site :

A calendar of strikes in the Tarn

A calendar of strikes in the area sent by Joanne Nebbia.


Chateau de Mayragues events

Nous avons le plaisir de vous faire part du programme des concerts de l'été 2016 au Château de Mayragues, à noter dans vos agendas

N'hésitez pas à visiter également notre site
ou à nous suivre sur notre page FACEBOOK ici
Mercredi 13 juillet  à 20 h 30 Comme l'année dernière, le festival' Musique sur Ciel' s'ouvre en avant première avec un concert à Mayragues donné par l'Orchestre baroque de Toulouse dirigé par Michel Brun.

Violon . Traverso . Violoncelle . Clavecin

Jean-Sebastian Bach (1585-1672)
Sonate en trio extraite de l’Offrande Musicale
Georg Frederich Handel(1685 - 1759)
Sarabande avec variations
Georg Philipp Telemann(1681 - 1767)
6ème nouveau quatuor Parisien
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach(1714 - 1788)
Sarabande avec variations

Prix des places : 15 € - Tarif réduit : 10 € - Moins de 12 ans : gratuit

Renseignements et réservations :

Par tel :05 63 56 00 75
 Par email : acadoc@wanadoo.fr

Restoration consort this Sunday

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt sept mai

Lovely warm sunny morning with a promise of a very warm afternoon.
Malc has to be in Toulouse for an appointment at 10 am. Yesterday the Toulouse rocade was blocked in the morning with fairground lorries! yes fairground lorries. Another sector of the tourist market complaining of shortage of fairground sites.
What will Malc meet today? With petrol shortages an idling engine on the motorway is not something you want.
Oil refineries are still being blocked so things are not going to be back to normal for at least a few days.
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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Going to St. Antonin tomorrow from Verfeil

Is there anyone who is going from around Verfeil to St. Antonin tomorrow for about 10 am?
Contact me

Honeysuckle, wild roses and elderflowers

Walking the dogs down the lane,  I saw my first wild honeysuckle, just so beautiful.
I saw the flowering elderflower and thought of the recipe just received from Emma Hilditch.
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Toulouse airport offer

Hi Val
I am going to Toulouse Blagnac on Wednesday 1st June, leaving St Antonin around 3 o’clockin the afternoon for the EasyJet flight to Gatwick, if anyone wants a lift for a fuel contribution.  Could also pick up anyone from the afternoon incoming flight.  2-3 seats available.
Best regards

Blocages: the word of the day

Many roads into and around Toulouse are blocked today as part of the continuing protests against the labour laws. There is a barrage "filtrant" into the airport, where 15% of flights are cancelled due to air traffic control problems. Adding to the chaos an operation escargot is being mounted on the A62 by fairground operators who are unhappy that many local communes have banned fairs.
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Neanderthals at Bruniquel

The grotte at Bruniquel
Discovered in 1990 speleologists and archaeologists have been exploring the grotto at Bruniquel (T&G) and announced on Tuesday that they have made important discoveries. At 300 metres from the entrance are traces of Neanderthal occupation dating from 175000 years ago. These include traces of constructions and fires. The earliest known occupation of caves by man is 38000 years ago, so this discovery, although not of homo sapiens, is the earliest known by beings capable of construction and possessing fire.
The scientists hope to make more discoveries, but think that the traces being so far into the cave suggest that it was not for living, but for "religious" purposes.
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt six mai

The talk is all about petrol, where can you get it?
It all seems a bit hit and miss. The situation seems slightly better here in Tarn and Garonne than in the North of France. This makes travelling to the ports a bit of a worry.
Things are not looking good over the next few days for travel with possible train strikes.
The protests are all to do with new labour laws brought in by the government, forcing the bill through. It still has to be passed by the senate and the assembly. But it is more complicated then that as each sector taxi drivers, teachers, farmers, chemists all have their own gripes..... expect more strikes through the summer.
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Diesel available at Negrepelisse

Hi  Val
just filled at Super U in Negrepelisse.
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Making wool into yarn

Hi Val, 

I hope you are well. I have a question for you and Tag readers. I was wondering if anyone knew of anywhere locally where you can get wool processed into yarn that can be then used for knitting etc. I'm not having much luck with my google searches!

Becky x
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No petrol, no bread

No bread on Wednesdays
No French knocking from me, I love them and the life we have here but not only no petrol but ...
Malc went into the boulangerie at Negrepelisse to ask for bread. No can do Monsieur, gateaux, croissant OK but no bread as we are only allowed to sell it for so many days to comply with the law.
Now that law is  an ass!
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Out of petrol ?

At Montauban at Leclerc Sapiac, they are out of fuel, as are Total stations at Tescou and Intermarché
A Caussade, à Beaumont-de-Lomagne, à Lavilledieu-du-Temple, à Saint-Etienne-de-Tulmont ... des stations ont fermé leurs vannes.
(fermé leurs vannes means they have closed their pumps)
Part of the problem is people going along with jerry cans, a dangerous practise but we have to do it for the lawnmowers. Sadly the  lawnmower cans are empty at the moment.
Stay safe and off the roads if you can.
We have a car being repaired in the Mercedes garage at Montauban, changing the electrics at a cost of at least 1, 300 euros. Yesterday they said they needed the second set of keys, so Malc has had to drive to Montauban to take the keys and then in a couple of days we will have to go in the second car to pick up the repaired one... two  cars from Montauban. Will there be petrol?

No Vall, 
don't count on it. We are living as you know in st nazaire where it all happens....Schools are already closed, people are in chomage technique. The problem here is that people panic. Long cues for the stations. There are offers of gasoil on le boncoin, 5 litre for 85 €. As we live in the city, no car needed. But on the countryside it is completly different. As for example Marco going to his work. Till friday it is for sure Donges will stay closed. There will be refills but as people panic, nothing left in the evening. But he this is france, which need to be changed but will it ever happen....

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The Patricia Wilson murder in the courts

A virtual visit to the house of Patricia Wilson taken by the jury in this murder trial. Images taken  by the gendarmes on the scene. A visit making an impression because of the enormous amounts of blood at the scene. There was no way Patricia could still be alive with the amounts of her blood found. What a grisly task watching those images.
The search for the body was extensive in local woods, wells, water, dechetterie at Vabre Tizac, even a local pig farm. The owner of the farm excluded that possibility. The body has never been found.
The trial goes on, four years after Patricia went missing. The picture is the accused, gardener/ odd job man.

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt cinq mai


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Hamish and his bed

Hi Val,
I thought I would tell you the story of Hamish, my new dog. So often, we hear unhappy dog stories. This is a happy one. 
Hamish is a 4/5 year old griffon, who spent all of his life on the end of a chain, tied to a tree. But NOW he lives with me and my son. He has lots of doggy friends to play with, he has an after supper bone in the garden every evening and he gets lots and lots of cuddles and kisses. He is the sweetest, gentlest dog I think I have ever met and he seems 'quite' happy! - partly due to his new job title as 'Dog Bed Tester' for those nice people at Big Bed Furniture Company, who donated him his lovely, comfy bed, Steven though he is allowed on the sofa, he has no need!
Jane Hanna

Today roses and sweet peas.

After a heavy afternoon gardening,   a lovely bouquet of the sweetest smelling flowers to revive aching limbs, or is it the 6 pm glass of red that does that.
The sweet peas seeded themselves from last year so proved a pleasant surprise.
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Testing, testing

It is all down to the pixels!
Moving photos which look in focus on my phone to the ipad and choosing the smallest number of pixels, has been causing the fuzzy pictures, I think.
Improvements hopefully from now.
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Beautiful gardens and music

A l’occasion de la manifestation nationale « RENDEZ-VOUS AUX JARDINS »


Cambou 82330 (entre VERFEIL SUR SEYE et VAREN)

Samedi 4 juin 2016 à 17 heures

Avec le groupe vocal toulousain  RAGADOC

                       Tarifs : 5 € (entrée du jardin) + 3 € pour la déambulation et une boisson 

Au profit de l’association caritative « TOUTES A L’ECOLE »  


Nous sommes le mardi vingt quatre

Iris, roses, sweet peas in the garden, the hedgerows and fields full of orchids, wild scabias, dog daisies,clover, just a beautiful time of year for the flowers.
This morning the mist was so thick I could not see my donkeys never mind the flowers. I think once the mist lifts we are in for a good day.
The recipe using  elderflowers sent by Emma Hilditch I will move into the cooks label soon, so it will be easier to find.  Thanks Emma
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Monday, 23 May 2016

Elderflower cordial sent by Emma Hilditch

Elderflower cordial/Sirop de Sureau
Makes: 1.5 litres
Prep: 20 min, plus overnight infusing Cook: 5 min
20 heads of elderflower (fleurs de sureau) (Mum – 30 heads)
1.8kg granulated sugar, or caster sugar
 (sucre) (Mum – 2lbs)
1.2 litres water
 (eau) (Mum – 3 pints)
2 unwaxed lemon
 (citrons non traiteés) (Mum – 2 lemons)
75g citric acid
 (acide citrique) (Mum – 50g)


1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.(Mettez les fleurs dans un grand bol)

2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. (Mettes le sucre dans un poele avec l’eau et faites bouiller, pour fondre le sucre dans l’eau)

3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours. (Peler les citrons et mettes le piel dans le bol avec les fleurs. Couper les citrons en tranches et mettez aussi dans le bol.  Ajouter l’eau bouillant et ajoutez l’acide citrique.  Couvrez le bol avec une serviette essui-vaiselle  et laisser chambreé – pas dans le frigo – pendant 24 heures)

4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the cupboard ready to use. (Le lendemain, passer le liquide par un muslin et dans des bouteilles sterilisé)

Cook's Notes: To serve Elderflower Cordial: Dilute the elderflower cordial to taste with fizzy water, and serve over ice with a slice or two of lemon, or a sprig of mint floating on top. (Pour servir: ajoutez l’eau)

For something a touch more sprightly, add a shot of gin or vodka and a lemon slice, or add it to white wine and sparkling water to make an elderflower spritzer.

Elderflower cordial is also brilliant in recipes such as gooseberry fool, and in vinaigrette - mix with wine vinegar, a touch of mustard, salt, pepper and a light olive oil (surprisingly good with a courgette, lettuce and broad bean salad). You might even try adding it to a marinade for chicken breasts. Try it in sorbets, or ice-creams, or just spooned over scoops of vanilla ice-cream, or use it to sweeten and flavour the fruit for a crumble.