Friday, 30 September 2016

Val and Malc and Otto Preminger present

Wednesday 26th here at Mas del Sol
The Oscar Hammerstein production from 1954 starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge
The sizzling screen version of Bizer's opera Carmen
on the big screen with surround sound
Our first opera of the season , arrive at 6pm to be greeted with a glass of wine / an apero dinatoire
Lovely evenings with a comfy seat for everyone, relax and enjoy
10 euros with all profit going to Via Sahel Enfants d'Afrique
Bookings being taken now at the bookings desk !

Just once or twice TAG ends up on the back burner

Up at 7 am fed the dogs, walked the cats, off to Bruniquel with a car and remorque full of household items and clothes. Then off to Montauban to pick up the second car , paid yet another horrendous bill then back to Bruniquel where Hujat had unloaded the trailer/ remorque for us.
Home to be met by a neighbout to be told there is at least one donkey out on the loose!
Ran into the back field and stable to get the licols / head harness and leads to be met by little Coco waiting patiently at the gate to our field. I opened the gate and happily in he ran.
The other three were still in the neighbours field  but if one can get out the others can so I walked the other three back home. There was a lot of kicking of heels, rolling and running about, gosh they were pleased to be back.
Then we  dashed out to a rendezvous " lunch at the chateau"
Now back home too tired and full of wonderful food to concentrate on TAG and no we did not really walk the cats.
Comments to

Nous sommes le vendredi trente septembre

This morning we are picking a car up from the garage in Montauban at 9 am but before that we have to take a trailer / remorque full of furniture to Bruniquel.
News later
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Thursday, 29 September 2016

A thank you to you both

Dear Malcolm and Val,

I just wanted to thank you for your support over this last year and your kind words.  I have had a very busy year and am gratefully booked now until the new year.  Below are some photo's of what I have been up to from spray painting shutters and kitchen units, lime washing, wooden floors, interior decorating (stud walls, wall papering, painting) and window and door frames.  It has been a very enjoyable year and I am now looking forward to taking bookings for 2017.

Thank you once again for everything.


My girls and boys

Lucy and Rosie, my darling donkeys. They are still down in the neighbours field where as you can see they have shelter. In the distance you can just see our pigeonnier and of course that sky so blue.
I had a good session with them this afternoon, they love to hear me chat( good job that, I can hear you say)
Today they give me quite a cuddle ending  with up with me being  sandwiched between them as they pressed for affection.
Another two weeks and they will be coming home to their old pastures,  but I need boys help to make the field safe by clearing some briars off the electric line around the  perimeter before that happens.
Boys and girls who would be without them.
comments to

Nous habitons en Occitanie

La nouvelle région s'appelle officiellement "Occitanie"

I like it so much
Comments to

If only...

It was suggested on another Facebook page that the reason we English (obviously doesn't apply to other British subjects) can afford to support refugees was that we don't pay tax. Sadly that person has no idea about French taxation laws. M Guillotin and his colleagues are assiduous in collecting from us Impots sur Revenus, Charges Sociales, Taxe Fonciere, Taxe Habitation, duty on petrol, alcohol etc as well as the unavoidable TVA (VAT).
Those who are not resident in France will only pay most of those taxes, but we residents pay as required. So it must be generosity that motivates us to pay more to help others. Bear in mind that French taxpayers may claim tax relief of up to 66% on contributions to recognised charities so we can afford to be more generous with payments to the various French charities supported by Taglines, or indeed others (a recent small sum we sent to MSF was recognised almost immediately with an attestation for next year's tax return).
comments to

Get your teeth into this

This could be enjoyable - and test your French..

Nous sommes le jeudi vingt neuf septembre

Another lovely morning and for me a great start again today to see Baby outside cat coming to feed and looking much better.

I have been contacted by one of the French people paid to work with refugees, she had been contacted by a young lady in Albi. This young lady helps refugees in Albi but does not have the same support team yet that we have created here.
I am not sure how many readers we have near Albi, certainly have plenty around Gaillac.
Anyway I have the young lady's telephone number for those who can offer help or items the refugees may need. If you live that way and wish to help others less fortunate please contact me and I will pass on her number

Message from Samy
Hi I had a message from a young girl I met in Albi. They welcoming some refugees family but like always they need furniture,food,and volunteers,to make a nice welcoming place.the girl I know is called Nicole, she's English but speak perfectly French. Ask Val for a number anybody who would like donate or spend time with them caring for others

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The torn shirt affair

Last October a meeting of Air France managers and union representatives was invaded by militants and resulted in two managers fleeing the building with their shirts torn from their backs.
Eleven men are being prosecuted in court in Bobigny, near Paris, for their part in the affair. But so far None of the men admit they had anything to do with the violence nor can the victims identify their aggressors. The accused men say they had to knock down a fence  to prevent being crushed but deny any violence. Video evidence shows the managers escaping in humiliating circumstances, but the only eye witnesses are the security guards who have identified some of the aggressors and one man has admitted pushing someone down which caused a manager to fall.
Prosecutors are ironizing that the events undisputedly happened, but no-one did anything wrong. The case continues.
comments to

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt huit septembre

The first Monday in the month is the 3rd of October, so it will be the book swap again, it does come round quickly. Hopefully we will be outside again enjoying this wonderful autumn weather.
Once again at the Gazpacho starting at 10.30 am. Bring your books and DVD's and swap for free.
There is always plenty for everyone so if stuck for something to read we look forward to seeing you there.
Spiced Cuisine and Penny " A stitch in Time" will also be there.
A lovely morning, so relaxing having a coffee and chatting with friends
See you there
Comments to

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

River banks should not be motorways

Most notable is the motorway along the right bank in Paris, which has alienated the bank from pedestrians, but other towns and cities are also flawed in this way. Now the Paris city council has voted to close the right bank m-way. Not without opposition from Les Republicans who claim that other improvements to public transport rather than inconvenience motorists more.
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Another one safe

Why it is all worth it, see below
One of our special young men from Afghanistan has gained asylum for 10 years.
He has just phoned and I cried with joy.
Well done you darling boy.
He got a pink( yellow we do not want)
Seven now safe

Know of a local gym?

Hi Val,

I have a relative visiting for a week or so and he is looking for a walk in gym in the area. I guess one with weights. I am in the Montricoux area so can anyone recommend  somewhere within driving distance please?

Val Keep fighting the good cause.


Open house Sunday

Lucy Constantine is selling all house and garden contents on Sunday morning at an open house. Contact her by email for details of what is available.

Rosy fingered dawn

Photo taken by Paul Jack this morning around St. Antonin whilst walking the dog

Calling songbirds

Dear Val,

There will be another song class at Najac on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd October. Singers congregate at 2pm. The class goes on until 5 or later. The participants take turns to stand up and explore what it feels like to sing as a soloist, accompanied by the accomplished Geneviève Foccroulle. The atmosphere is supportive and people have fun and learn from each other. Get in touch with Sally if you would like to dust off a song! All repertoire is acceptable. Email

Jardin Noble Val

Nous sommes le mardi vingt sept septembre

I hope another perfect day coming today, perfect for working outside, warm and dry. Yesterday Malc did a bit of house painting at the lower levels. Both houses need painting every couple of years on the sunny and the West facing side but are not so bad on the North side. I enjoyed walking the dogs, cuddling the donkeys and weeding ... all very relaxing. Baby outside cat, seems to be improving and I did manage to stroke his pathetically thin and bony body.
Lots coming up this week end if you look through TAG pages and the weather seems to be holding.
The book and DVD swap will be next Monday but I will give a reminder of that later.
We are being offered loads of stuff for the gendarmerie building at  Bruniquel and the refugees will be arriving soon. Thank you to all who are being so generous and thanks to others who have sent encouraging messages of support in the face of aggro we have been receiving from those, shall I say
" not so caring"
Comments to

Monday, 26 September 2016

Tickets for the Opera at Toulouse

Wendy Long has two tickets for the Opera in Toulouse for Sunday 2nd October at 15h
He husband has had a fall so they cannot go.
Two possibilities, you buy the two tickets 100 euros each or you buy one and Wendy will take you and go with you.
The opera is Beatrice et Benedict by Berlioz, based on Shakespeare's "Much ado about nothing". The production features the orchestra and chorus of the Capitole and is a co-production with the Opera de la Monnaie, Brussels.
contact Wendy on

Autumn arrives at Parisot

From Austyn

 Hello all friends and members

Just to let you know that the final cut off date to order any traditional hand crafted smoked products for October from the list below

Smoked back Bacon
Smoked Salmon
Duck Breasts

Please note that all products are priced to include slicing (where appropriate), packaging and delivery to your home

Delivery will be on Friday or Saturday 15/16th October

Any questions or queries, please contact me at

Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you

Orange telephone and Internet - errata

Orange telephone and Internet for second houses – errata

Following my previous post I have to add some information. First of all it appears that not all ‘conseillers’ know what are the possibilities. So the one I talked to first didn’t give me the exact details about the offer. Another one didn’t even know about it, the third finally could explain the ins and outs. So it appears that the offer for Internet for € 11 is only valid for 1 year and is given only to good (= connected several years) clients as a gesture. After that you are again going to pay € 21 (plus € 3 for the Livebox unless you buy one yourself).
But for most of the clients the possibilities are as follows:
a.       The landline for € 17 per month, to be registered as ‘ligne résidence secondaire’ which can be suspended for some time (minimum 1 month, maximum 1 year)
b.      The internet découverte for € 21 (€ 24 including Livebox) per month which cannot be suspended

I have heard from one client that the Internet stayed working after suspension of the telephone line; in that case that could be an advantage also. I will report as soon as I have more details on that.
Sorry for the confusion. And anyhow, call me for more details or information.

Hans Buijserd, VIDEPC

Pork pies and scotch eggs at Caussade

Hi Val

Over the summer a new shop opened in Caussade (where the fishmonger used to be). It is run by an English woman called Lucie and she sells the most divine home-made pork pies, scotch eggs and other delicacies.  I have recommended the place to friends over the summer and everyone agrees it is all delicious.  I wondered if your readers who are missing a pork pie might like to know about her?  She is only open in the morning on Mondays (market day).

Who is up for the challenge?

Who is up for a challenge?
The Moulin of Varen is for sale. Fabulous position on the river and good interior rooms with lovely outside eating space.
There is a small area to the side where when you were really busy in summer you could have tables with views of the river.
So much potential there. I am amazed  somone has not jumped at the chance.
I know the building is owned and maintained by the commune. It has two rental appartments I think upstairs. You would need to buy fixtures and fittings and good will and then pay a monthly rent which considering what you are getting is pretty reasonable.
In 15 years it has always had a landlord Nathalie and Bouzo for the five years earlier than Martine and Alain.
Gosh wish I was younger .... and that I could cook!!

Our two both do this every morning

What about the "harkis"?

Yesterday, Sunday, was a national day of commemoration for the harkis, a group of native Algerians who fought with the French forces in the war against Algerian nationalists from 1954-1962, but who were disarmed and abandoned when De Gaulle agreed to Algerian independence. In the event it is estimated that up to 75000 were massacred by the FLN armed forces and 60000 were brought to France.
Initially they were housed in precarious camps in "inhuman conditions" according to President Hollande in a speech to mark the day, but the community which today measures around 500000 is still facing discrimination, prejudice and racism. These were people who fought and whose families died for France and who 50 years later still feel that France abandoned them.
comments to

One has to laugh

I am being targeted by a FN loon at the moment, being accused of being racist against the French ... it is actually laughable. I apparently spend money on refugees but not the French.
I spend money on a damned " chat sauvage " but what has that to do with this man.
Malc and I raise money for 4 local French charities who we have raised far more money for than we have raised for refugees, and we personally support the " Croix Rouge"
French friends, and we have many, have advised me not to reply to him and to be my friend or read TAG on facebook you now need to ask to join my sites, a security measure.
Life has its interesting ups and downs and neither Malc or I will be deterred from helping others less fortunate, be it a refugee, a Frenchman or a wild  cat called " Baby"
Comments to

Hospital doctors take strike action today

Doctors in hospitals throughout France have been called on to strike today and then refuse to work evenings and nights. The movement was started by anaesthetists but is supported by most branches.
Shortages of staff, excessive hours, low pay are all points of discord and the government has promised a new structure and finance, but doctors claim it is continually delayed.
In practice some operations may be postponed, but continuous care will be assured. It may pay to check with your hospital if you have a scheduled operation this week.
comments to

Nous sommes le lundi vingt six septembre

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Ligue contre le cancer - Les Amis d'Océane

Could you please advertise on TAG?  Anyone wishing to take part in the relay, get in touch with organiser.  We raised a lot of money last year.  I'm not able to run this year, but have donated online. It's easy. Thank you

Coming to Espinas


1) samedi 1er octobre à 21h theatre for all the family : " La Baby-sitter" R. de Obaldia, with the group Comedia d'Ici from Septfonds.(an opportunity to practice French in a friendly atmosphere).5€/, salle des Fêtes.. And a feastly moment with the "troupe" afterwards. Information: or Nadette

2) dimanche 2 octobre: vide-grenier in the village; 2.50€/m if you wish to sell something;  from 8AM till 5PM.
Nadette and René will be there to greet you. information as above.
comments to

Back problem?

Hi Val,
I have been mulling over the following since it happened 10 days ago & it wasn't until I saw a friend yesterday & she said    "you need to let tag know so that other people don't suffer". Having slept on it yet again I think she's right. 
 There is a busy clinic for back problems in the area. I have scoliosis & 10 days ago went for a treatment with the resident osteopath. The physical treatment was quick, the verbal diarrhoea that accompanied it was long & the bill of e60 a waste of hard earned cash. From my long experience of back treatments this session was brutal, I have been in pain ever since. I was also recommended a "balancing herbal supplement" which, upon reading up on it, is specific for asthma & high blood pressure, I suffer from neither. Several days after my treatment I phoned the person in question, complained about the pain & was given an exercise & an appointment for physio which I took. The pain continued I ended up being driven miles to my old chiropractor, a lady of total gentleness who has eased the situation somewhat & tells me that she is sure the initial treatment would have been done with the best intentions. Who knows.... I would just like to warn anyone out there with scoliosis that some places are possibly best avoided.
L x
For more info if you have a back problem contact L.

Time to move on

Alain and Martine, lovely hosts at the Moulin of Varen are moving on after 10 years.
We will miss them but we will make a point of going to the Renaissance at Caylus from time to time.
Malc, Roger, Jill and I were there to enjoy "our last supper"actually it was lunch, along it would seem with other TAG readers who had heard it was their last day.
We wish them every success and an easier time for Alain as they will now have a resident  chef and son Louis, just finished education will also be offering a helping hand.
Good Luck to you all and thank you for many lovely meals with a terrific ambience over 10 years.
Comments to

Frelons dans les figuiers

Frelons being them great big wasps (hornets?). Normally not aggressive unless provoked. Well our little outside cat called Baby, must have provoked one, probably by accident.
I have waited 4 days to be able to catch him. He lives in the barn with his mother Nipolena!
It was obvious he was ill last time I saw him as his face and front legs were swollen.
I caught him at feeding time this morning and got him into the cat box. Malc rolled over in bed and groaned when I told him... still no car and a Sunday to bother the vet!
Our kind Dutch neighbour gave up an hour of his time to run us to Laguepie to meet the vet who opened for us.
Baby has swollen kidneys, water under his skin and is quite poorly, all from a sting from a frelon. The vet has pumped him with antibiotics, wormer, various other injections and we have brought him home to see how he goes. Another sting would kill him the vet tells us.
It seems a bizarre scenario that we do all this for a cat we hardly ever get to see, we feed and it lives when it wants to in the barn. The dashed thing will not even be grateful or know of the big vet's bills paid on his behalf.. but he is our baby!
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Restictions on water usage

Six south west departments, including Tarn and Garonne, have been in force since the beginning of the month are to be strengthened from tomorrow (Monday) and will remain in force until 31st October.
Water for "primary use" will remain available, such as drinking water, animal drinking, fire restriction and irrigation by water saving systems (drop by drop). Farmers may only take water from rivers on two days per week and refilling of private reservoirs is forbidden. Such water use as topping up swimming pools or watering with hosepipes is not allowed.
The showers last week refilled our water butts but they will soon be empty again for watering the plants. There may be rain today (Sunday) so perhaps we will at least replenish our 600 litre stocks.
commets to


 Une vallée, deux cours d’eau, trois provinces, beaucoup de raisons d’aimer...

N° 26 / 24 SEPTEMBRE 2016
Bonjour, Val Johnstone  

 2 octobre 2016 :  c'est Jardin Noble-Val d'automne !
 Réservez  votre journée...


En débat en ce moment à Saint-Antonin et dans le pays Midi-Quercy :
le projet du musée : c'est un musée du pays qui se travaille, qui se précise. Pour Saint-Antonin, l'enjeu est important car c'est tout à la fois les collections qu'il faut pouvoir valoriser et l'écrin qui doit servir à les présenter. 
La maison romane (voir l'illustration (HOTEL DE VILLE PAR RAGUENE

 Production locale d'énergie : nous avons évoqué dans les éditions précédentes la problématique et l'avenir des chaussées sur l'Aveyron et la Bonnette. Le patrimoine (illustration: image ancienne de la chaussée du Gravier et vue sur la Guinguette) est conséquent mais, curieusement, le dossier qui est préparé par le pays Midi-Quercy ne prend pas en compte cette énergie hydro-électrique, celle des chaussées. L'appel à projet lancé par la région Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée, auquel le pays a l'intention de répondre en octobre, ne prendra pas en compte les chaussées au motif que c'est trop lourd, trop long, trop compliqué...
Nous avions pensé que justement la remise en service des chaussées était l'occasion inespérée pour redonner une justification à ces ouvrages et donc empêcher qu'on les détruise (comme il en est toujours question, à commencer par la chaussée de Salet, propriété de la commune de Montauban).

Cliquez sur les liens ci-après pour retrouver ces annonces
(le blog a été peu actif pendant l'été : difficile d'être au four et au moulin : mais l'actualité va se recharger, à commencer par Jardin Noble Val puis bientôt la fête de la citrouille...)

Revue de presse : Zéro phyto : les secrets des communes innovantes

Revue de presse : Organisation du commerce : la logique intercommunale sera-t-elle meilleure ?

Concours photo 2016 : nous avons renoncé !

Revue de presse : Un Fab Lab va être implanté par la communauté de communes à Caylus

Car free Sunday

No, not here but in Paris. The mairie has asked car users to leave their private cars at home and find other ways to get about. Even on Sunday there is public transport in the capital. There is Autolib and Velolib, car sharing and even walking. Some guinea pigs have tried it for a week with various degrees of success. As we are carless this weekend we can report that it's not so simple in rural Tarn and Garonne.
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Saint Antonin 1912

Taken from the newsletter of Coté Noble Val. I am just working out how to give you the link to the newsletter
Ce n'est pas une carte postale que nous avons déniché pour vous cette fois-ci : mais une vignette publicitaire offerte par la maison Liebig à ses acheteurs en 1912.

A view over Cordes

A photo by Pierre Grand

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Here we go again

Can you live in the country without transport? I can tell you the answer is no.
It was only a few days since we had one car towed away and repaired. Then we took our second car for some repairs and adjustment to previous work done at the garage. It is still there.
Yesterday exactly the same problem with the car that had been repaired, it just will not start.
So today we wait for an " assistance depannage" lorry to come again and unless the other car is ready or the garage can supply an automatic car we are stuck.
For those awaiting pick up of items for Bruniquel, my apologies
comments to

Church says sorry (again)

We have become used to politicians and church leaders saying "sorry" for some event in the long gone past - or even more recent events in the catholic church. Now local clerics in Ariege are going to apologise for the massacre of 220 Cathars at Montsegur in the 13th century.
The Cathars were a fundamental Christian sect who rejected the authority of Rome and (probably more importantly) the crown. At that time the northern provinces wanted to take control of Occitanie and church and barons may have considered that the Cathars' rejection of authority and support from local barons was a threat to their unity. Whatever, there were purges throughout the south-west and many burned as heretics in the chateau of Montsegur.
One wonders if these apologies have any value. The past is a different world and we should not forget that many horrific deeds were carried out in the name of religion, politics, commerce and colonialism, But  remembering and learning from history is more important than a lip-service apology.
comments to

Nous sommes le samedi vingt quatre septembre

Friday, 23 September 2016

The English book shop

Good afternoon Val,

I just wanted to let your readers know that this is the last weekend that the (Charity) English Bookshop in St Antonin will be open. After Sunday 25th September the shop will close until next year. 
For those who enjoyed "Burton" at les Cabannes on Wednesday, there is a book about the Burton/Taylor marriage ! 
Also in stock are lots of good cook books and a large selection of books on health and well-being.  

Deirdre Honey 

Val says profits from this shop go to charity

Strictly tango at Caylus

Monthly tango classes in Caylus, promoted by the Errances Association. Contact Caroline Marc at

Gosh! cannot wait to meet Annie from Aberdeen

Dear Val,

I am in the process of buying a property in Saint Antonin so was interested to come across your blog recently. I am full of admiration for your community spirit, kindness and determination to help others and just wanted to let you know that you are by no means alone in your views. I am horrified by the hateful comments reported and the undercurrent of xenophobia but am confident that you are surrounded by friends and supporters and will not be deterred.

I wish you well in your efforts and hope to be able to offer some more practical support in the future.

All very best wishes,

Annie (Aberdeen)
Val says tell me when you are here and I will arrange to take you over to Bruniquel to meet everyone. 

New date to lunch with donkeys

Dear, dear friends
So for our next fundraising lunch for the Donkeys we now wish to invite you here to Lavolvene, 82150 Belveze on Thursday 6th October at 1 oclock to eat, aperitives from 12 oclock onwards. (not on the Wednesday now !)

Our menu will be

QUICHE LORRAINE, with a delicious vegetarian quiche aswell

MOUSSAKA, again with a vegetarian version served with mozzarella cheese

Flavour of the month, PLUM TART of course with cream, or
CHOCOLATE TORTE, which was so incredibly successful the last time we served it !

Please let us know if you can come along, we hope to have another successful Day. 17 euros a head for as much as you can eat and drink. 
Everyone tells us how they enjoy these days at our happy Donkey Sanctuary so please do come along and support us.

Many thanks

Jan Lemmy 

A relevant piece of history on St. Antonin Noble Val

Dear Val and Malc,
We are proud to know you and thankful for the tireless way you work to improve the lives of others.
What some of your detractors may not know, or choose to forget, is that St Antonin has a long history of very brave people who risked their lives to save others.  In 1943 Armand and Alice Fraysse who had started a youth hostel at Saleth before the war, took in six year old Polish Jewish refugee Jacques Bronstein and passed him off as their nephew for the rest of the war.  On 22 December 1997, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem awarded Armand and Alice Fraysse the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” and the Mairie of St Antonin placed a commemorative plaque on their house near the Protestant Temple.

In early June 1943 German police based in the Brasserie were rounding up Jews who were under house arrest in St Antonin.  13 were arrested and deported to Auschwitz, however the mayor, Dr Paul Benet, who was also leader of the St Antonin undercover resistance, managed to warn a further 60 who disappeared into the countryside. Dr Benet has also been cited for saving other Jews in St Antonin at the time and of course was recognised after the war by the naming of the main thoroughfare in town “Avenue Dr Paul Benet”.

Love to you both
Val says  this made me  cry John and Susan,  how interesting and what brave people. I did not know that about " Dr Paul Benet" or Armand and Alice Fraysse.

NB John has made a PowerPoint diaporama of these brave people. Email if you would like us to send you a copy.

ZIzou says
je me souviens bien de la cérémonie à la mémoire d'Armand et Alice Fraysse, reconnus "Justes parmi les nations". C'était un beau moment, très émouvant, et je pense que c'était en 1999, puisque mon mari était maire depuis peu de temps et avait été très fier d'être associé à cette commémoration..
suite : merci à "John" d'évoquer les bons côtés de St-Antonin : il y en a beaucoup, et il suffit d'ignorer les mauvais !

Do we admire his cheek?

A young man in court in Tarbes for driving offences (over the limit, no licence, no seat belt) when already banned, turned up in an Armani T shirt and floral bermuda shorts. The magistrate was not amused.
Questioned about how he could afford expensive clothes when apparently unemployed he replied that they had only cost 10 euros. The prosecutor pointed out that in that case they were either stolen or counterfeit, an illegal possession in either case.
The accused, a  multiple recidivist, said it was the court's fault that he could not work as they took away his driving licence. The magistrate retorted that driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs was the reason and berated the young man for his lack of respect for the court. He was fined 750 euros, further banned from driving and sentenced to 6 months in jail, suspended for 18 months.
Was his "doigt d'honneur" to the court merely chutzpah or does he deserve a more severe lesson? You decide.
comments to

Join to fight for our rights

Hi Val,
 would you be able to ask your readers to join our battle to fight for the rights of Expats during Brexit negotiations. We've got some very experienced campaigners fighting to get Parliament to focus on rights of UK in EU and EU in UK. They are also fighting to remove the 15 year voting rule and for winter fuel payments to be reinstated which will also be of interest. The group is free to join and is not political in essence but needs members across the EU so that they can talk on behalf of as many people as possible. Thank you!

Back at Verfeil

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt trois septembre

We have never seen such troubled times around the world and building here in France.
God help us next year when we go into a build up to an election. Those of you who do not like our support of refugees, be aware that if the FN gain any significant results our life here will be much diminished. The FN do not like us and we may no longer be able to claim our EU status.
There are haters out there French and English,  sad people who because their lives are so shallow and
do not recognise we are all humans on this earth, try to hurt others.

I noticed Malc did a post on his timeline on facebook about an experience yesterday.

"A perfectly nice lunch today at Verfeil was spoiled when some ex-pat person decided to interrupt our conversation with a third party, remarking to Val that “some people hate you” and “why don’t you get a life?”
Now we know that what we do trying to help others doesn’t always go down well, but what we do is our concern and in no way harms this ignorant and arrogant person. Our life is full and fulfilled, probably more so than sitting in a bar all afternoon getting pi**ed on a regular basis. We know that putting your head above the parapet risks getting shot at and we accept that there are other points of view. But almost all our detractors use rude, sometimes obscene, and aggressive language and personal attacks.
Frankly this demeans them more than it hurts us, as they are almost always racist and xenophobic. Even odder when it comes from those purporting to make their lives in a foreign land (ie France)."
Val says again... saddies and bullies never win. Malc and I happy with each other, happy with what we do and just generally feel happy and blessed.

Rumours: who is responsible?

Many rumours spread on the internet are started by one person and then copied by others. Naturally "Chinese whispers" often transform the original story beyond recognition. But it is surprising that the originators of the story often either deny it was them, or refuse to accept that they were wrong.
Recently Christine Boutin, a former government minister "tweeted" that former President, Jacques Chirac had died. This is denied by his family and the Paris hospital where he is being treated. No doubt he is ill, but how was Mme Boutin involved? She is not of his family, not even his party. But her defence seems to be that she acted in good faith. She should at least apologise for spreading a false rumour which will have caused distress to many.
Some months ago Taglines published a rumour which turned out to be wrong. But the instigator of the story (which concerned himself) instead of simply pointing out that he was mistaken, embarked on a series of ever more offensive personal attacks on Taglines and its editor. Rumours can be damaging, or helpful when deliberately propagated for PR purposes, but when they are simply untrue the originators should have the courage to admit it. Over to you Mme Boutin.
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Nasty site on facebook

Dear Val,

There is certainly an extremely provocative page that has been set up on Facebook. I first came across it by accident when some racist comments were made against our lovely new doctor. It seems that it is run by three persons, who are allegedly members of FN.

Here is a copied posting from a comment which was put up a couple of days ago. The original was in French, but I've 'google' translated it.

" I'm quite surprised that there should be no more reaction to the announcement of the arrival of migrants en masse in our region, we are already bled white financially by the state, they have calculated that he needed 24 euros Minimum per day and per person just to feed them, the rest is not counted! Those who come to bruniquel are here for 3 months renewable! In the end for which the note?, for you and me, little calculation :, 9000 migrants by 24 euros per day, 216000 euros per day and per month 6480000 euros and I do Don't count the pocket money (RSA) Housing, heating, food, mosque etc etc etc........... all this money comes from our toil and we shall be deleted as the measure my case........ in conclusion, I think the volunteers Of Origin English (E) have never lifted a finger to a Frenchman in the difficulty, on this, meditate on this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

We all have to combat racism and intolerance, but also be aware that there are strong undercurrents of both, even in our beautiful Tarn et Garonne. They even still talk about the German occupation here! There's a long way to go yet!
Reader from St. Antonin

Val says this is one of many nasty posts on this site on facebook  which I would not deem to mention the name of. The fight is out there with these uncaring people and do not think the fight is just with refugees, we Brits are in a very precarious state now with Brexit.
As a French friend said to me this morning  "I am not frightened of the refugees but I am frightened of the venomous words of the FN members"

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Apero concert in a lovely garden

A nice migrant story

Just to balance all those Facebook attacks on the migrants we have been reading these last few days, here is one of heroism by a young Sudanese refugee, saving the lives of three French girls from drowning when they were caught out by a sudden increase in the depth of the river where they were bathing.
O Sayed Mohammed Adam risked his life to save the three teenage girls and has been presented with a bronze medal for courage by the prefect of Aude. Sadly it is our experience that even this act when reported on social media will be viciously attacked and twisted by the racists  with their vile hatreds.
Three grateful girls and their saviour
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt deux septembre

A sharp rise in reader views yesterday made us wonder why?
Could it be that we are quoted by  far right wing French people in a new facebook site?
Well I wonder what  gobbldey gook google translate makes of it all.
To all those wonderful French people we work alongside, carry on the work and continue as we will to fight racist, uncaring attitudes.
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Where would you stand?

Somehow this link  seems particularly relevant this morning. I was told yesterday by a French friend to be aware of a site newly created in St. Antonin full of hate about refugees and local refugees in particular. The English were brought into the debate saying we should stay out( basically how dare we be involved, no doubt in their minds we should not be here, thanks Brexit!) and a couple of my posts were copied.
I have said before we are building up to the hate shown with Jews and we all know what happened there... and surely you know what you would do to help in these situations.

It's oficially autumn

It feels autumnal this morning: mist in the valleys; changing colours in the trees and a bit chilly. The autumn equinox marks the day which is the last to be as long as the night - from now on the nights will be longer. France Meteo reasonably uses this date (actually for them 21st September, but it's a leap year) to mark the change of season. However, the forecast is for a fine sunny day so lots of opportunity to get out and about.
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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Gone for a Burton

What to say about Richard Burton? Well, he probably was not a nice person to know. He became a personality bigger than his own ego – if that is possible. When we enter a theatre we leave our disbelief at the door and perhaps we should do the same with our prejudices. He was a great stage actor; a wonderful reader of poetry and prose; a great talker; a drunken womaniser; a wasted talent on the big screen.  And Rhodri Miles showed us all those aspects in a riveting performance of his one-man show “Burton” at the Theatre Le Colombier, Les Cabannes last night.

Set in 1971 on Burton’s 46th birthday, Gwynne Evans’s script took us through Burton’s rather sentimental view of childhood and youth – all poverty, hard drinking and rugby – into the early days of theatre. Larded with theatrical anecdotes, mainly indiscreet, Miles explored Burton’s journey from south Wales to Hollywood. His loyalty to British serious theatre seemed to be the one redeeming quality. But his desire to remain “faithful” to his first wife Sybil was disastrously dealt a fatal blow when he met Elizabeth Taylor when shooting “Cleopatra”. Paid huge sums the pair became the Branjelina of their day. Pursued relentlessly by the press they took refuge in drink and prescription drugs and at the point of the play the marriage was clearly on the rocks (with or without the scotch) and a couple of years later ended in divorce. What happened next is well known and perhaps Evans and Miles will write a sequel in due course.

Rhodri Miles exhibited a range of styles and voices, getting apparently more gently inebriated on vodka and soda and the pace and expressions were just immaculate – even down to the perfectly timed collapse of the drinks trolley (keep that in Rhodri).  

Taglines is a great supporter of the FET and will continue to be so with productions of this quality.
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Sent by Susan

Need help with official documents in French?

A reminder that documents needing to be translated into French for official purposes usually need to be done by a certified translator. Our advertiser Jacynth Crozier (see the right hand panel) is ideally suited help you. Perfectly bi-lingual, accredited and friendly to boot Jacynth comes highly recommended by those readers who have used her services. (And by the way if you have horses or donkeys her companion Yves Rotte is an excellent marechal ferrant!).

Draw International at Caylus invites you

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt et un septembre

Another of our young men has gained asylum status today, just brilliant news.
That is 6 safe now.

Giving someone asylum means that it is recognised that the person would stand a very good chance of being killed if they returned to their homeland.
Leaving a country and family you love because you would be killed if you stayed is something few of us will ever have to suffer.
Thank goodness we all here have the generosity of spirit to welcome these young men and wish them well.
We need more like us.
Thank you all, the boys will appreciate it.
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Cancer support coffee morning today

Cancer Support France drop in coffee morning, Gazpacho, Saint Antonin, every third Wednesday of the month, 10am to 11.30am. Next one, this morning Wednesday 21st September 2016. For anyone whose life has been touched by cancer, in any way, is welcome to come. There will be a trained volunteer available to offer advice or assistance.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Fascinating expo about the grotto at Bruniquel

Superb antique furniture now reduced

French nineteenth century armoire in walnut, with cabriole legs, glass doors with curved tops, elaborate carved lintel, drawer at the bottom with ornate design.                                                                             PRICE: 350 euros (o.n.o)
See all the items on the "For sale" tab above (For sale ), or contact Ian Allison on
or tel 0563 31 25 32

Nothing more relaxing than being with my donkeys

Statesman of the Year

Francois Hollande: Statesman of the Year 2016
Ironically the French president was honoured during his visit to the United Nations in New York by an organisation called "The Appeal of Conscience" - an inter-denominational foundation in that city. Nominated as Statesman of the Year for his safe-guarding of the principles of democracy and tolerance, the base values of the French constitution, in the aftermath of the various attacks in France in the last 18 months.
Ironic, because his standing in France has never been lower and the ever more strident calls for restrictions on democracy and freedom by Nicholas Sarkozy are slightly at odds with the LR leader's nomination for the same prize in 2008.
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15 years after

The 21st September 2001 saw the worst industrial disaster in modern France, when a massive explosion shook the AZF factory in Toulouse. 31 people lost their lives and thousands suffered injuries or damage to their homes.
In the years following there have been enquiries and court cases attempting to determine the cause of the explosion and recompense the victims. Indeed a third case will be heard soon, this time in Paris. Coming as it did just 10 days after the twin towers attack in New York there was initially a good deal of fear that it was a terrorist attack, but in fact it turned out to be an industrial accident.
The devastated AZF site
The site itself has been rehabilitated and houses the new Canceropole medical centre. But for the some 10000 "sinistrés" the wait for answers goes on.
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt septembre

Blue sky and sun, mild not hot, a great day for working outside.
So much to do, where does one start.
Must not hang about... too much to do.
Enjoy your day
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Fight the good fight with all thy might

Val says honestly we have a fight we must start now against the ideas some have about Muslims, refugees and anyone who does not fit into our idea of "people like us"
We cannot afford to let the racist faction win, remember the second world war and the treatment of Jews. Do not believe it could not happen again, it could and you would not want to be one who sits idly at the side of these injustices and horrors.
The National Front is quite strong and gaining members through out France with the local National Front taking the Prefect of Tarn and Garonne to court for allowing him to use the old gendarmerie at Bruniquel for refugees. They have no chance of winning, it is a gesture of their hate.

Below a plea from a young Muslim who lost 3 family members in the Nice attack.

A young French Muslim woman who lost three family members in the July 14 jihadist attack on Nice made an impassioned plea on Monday not to confuse the Islamic faith with terrorism.

Yasmine Bouzegan Marzouk, 21, told a national ceremony in tribute to the French victims of terror attacks that they were carried out by "barbarians who do not follow the law, faith or religion".

"On July 14th, this national holiday, our lives were changed forever," she added, her voice breaking with emotion as tears streamed down her face.

"We are from a Muslim family and no one should make the link (between Islam and the attacks)," she said.

Bouzegan Marzouk, who herself survived the attack, recalled how one of her relatives, 13-year-old Mehdi Hachadi, was crushed under the wheels of the truck that sped through the crowd on the Nice waterfront.
Taken from the Local

Tarn to sell monument historique

The historic Moulins Albigeois
A familiar sight on the banks of the Tarn at Albi is the red brick edifice of the Moulins Albigeois, partly housing the Hotel Mercure, but also the LAIT art gallery. Originally built in the 12th century the moulin was used to mill flour, then later to manufacture pastries. When the building was restored towards the end of last century it was partly sold to the Mercure and partly to become an art gallery in the public part. Now the departmental council has decided to sell that part and the gallery must leave by the end of 2017. The hotel is thought to be interested in expanding into the extra space.
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Monday, 19 September 2016

Gold star house sitters

Message Body

Dear Val and Malcolm,

We hope all is well with you and the pets. 

Currently we are in the Geneva area and next week we will move to Barcelona for a 7 weeks assignment. As you can imagine we look forward to our Barcelona stay.

Just in case you are interested we are available to house/pet sit for you from 17th November until 24th November.

It is very likely you won't be interested in this period and therefore can you please put our ad on your sit again. We would be very grateful for that. The ad goes as follow:

Mirjam and her husband who are our house /pet sitters are available for booking from 17th November until 24th November. If anyone need a house/pet sitter during this period or a part of it please contact them via email: They are also available for booking for 2017.

Best wishes and many thanks,
Val says this couple come highly recommended by us and some other friends. We have not sorted out our next holidays after our Italian adventure, but hope when we do you will be available.