Monday, 31 October 2016

La Seye et vous en concert

     Bonsoir les amis,

Vendredi 4 novembre à partir de 20h, en concert à la Seye et vous, BRUNOÏ ZARN.
BRUNOÏ ZARN revient, pour notre grand plaisir, avec un live rock'n'roll écartelé entre le blues de Howlin Wolf et l'électro punck de suicide.
A ne surtout pas manquer !
N'hésitez pas à faire tourner l'info.
A manger : Sauté de porc à l'asiatique ou sa version végétarienne au tofu ou assiette mixte charcuterie-fromage. 
Et bien sur des desserts.
Renseignements : 05 63 65 22 18.
A trés bientôt, je vous souhaite une douce soirée !

Anyone got a reasonable lap top for sale or to give?

Has anyone got for sale a reasonable lap top?
dell.hp or toshiba or sony
Hujat needs one for his job working with refugees.
He feels he could pay up to 200 euros.
Please ask about, it would be good to find one for him
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Halloween and I must look where I am going.

nous sommes le lundi trente et un octobre

The very narrow Pont Saint Blaise on the way to Najac from the Varen side.
We call it the Troll bridge.

These girls off to help in Africa

A Renault 4L is not the ideal vehicle for a 6000 kilometre round trip to Morocco, but the participants in the 4L Trophy intend to do that in February and two final year students in personal care near Auch decided it would fit in with their course and help take aid to schoolchildren less fortunate than themselves. "We have a home, food and a right to education, which is not always the case in Morocco" said one of the 18 year olds.
Juliette and Melanie seeking sponsors
The girls have already been promised school books and medical supplies from local businesses and have set up a Facebook page at desailespourlafrique4Ltrophy 2017 to seek additional sponsors.
It's nice to see that amid all the apparent distrust, hatred even, of foreigners and refugees there are still people with their hearts in the right place willing to go the extra mile (OK kilometre) to help others.
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A great success again, the chestnut fair at Laguepie

Photo taken by Gareth Brown

Not just cats and dogs at the SPA

The SPA (Society for the Protection of Animals) branch in Toulouse is seeing more and more "new pets" as well as cats and dogs. Currently providing a home for goats, pigs, cockerels, ferrets, sheep, a pony and various smaller animals. One sheep of rather disagreeable character has become the inseparable companion of a pony and will need to be homed together.
The centre accepts all kinds of pets, except reptiles which need specialist care. Rather than abandon pets in the street the SPA urges owners to bring them to the centre. A fee of around 150 190 euros is asked for animals taken in and adoptions are about 200 euros for a dog. But the organisation relies heavily on gifts and donations to deal with the ever increasing numbers of animals it has to care for. Currently housed are 387 dogs and over 80 cats, with over 1900 animals re-homed this year to date.
A little pig from an illegal elevage wags its tail when keepers approach.
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Could your cat or dog be a model?

Cute cats and pretty pooches are being sought by an Agen pet food manufacturer to take part in a photo shoot for a new publicity campaign. Natura Plus Ultra Pet Foods was founded three years ago in Agen to provide high quality dog and cat food. Mathieu Wincker considered that top grade pet food in Europe was too expensive and inferior to American equivalents so set up to make and market a better product. Selling direct to consumers via internet allows the company to keep costs and prices down. Now expanding into bigger premises, still in Agen, the company wants a new image for its packaging and publicity.
Pet owners are invited to send photos of their pets by 31st December to
Pet casting
Here's a start for them (though Bonny is a bit too old now to be bothered with all the primping needed, though a cheque for 100 euros is offered).
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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Can anyone help?

Hi Val and Malcolm,

How are you both? 

My father is looking for a short to medium term rental accommodation in an active village. I suggested Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, Corde-sur-Ciel ou Les Cabannes. 

He’s widowed, retired (70), physically active and wants to meet people and enjoy a few laughs. Is there anyone who wants to rent out their small property in the village over the winter months? My father’s is English speaking, with limited French at the moment.

If interested either email me on or call 0563 41 76 73.

Many thanks,

Irena x

Irena-Marie Makowska, Dip Hyp, MIBWRT, GHR, GHSC
Focus Well-Being & Mind Management Coach

Le Souvenir Francais

We Brits are used to the British Legion selling poppies in the memory of fallen servicemen in all wars at this time of year but we know little of the French association Le Souvenir Francais.
Founded in 1887 it has much the same aim, to honour the memory of all fallen for the patrie though whether French or not. Upkeep of memorials and passing information down the generations is also part of its mission.
Representatives will be present in many major cemeteries over the period of Toussaint with appeals for donations.
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If you cant beat them..

How many of us when confronted with a stag party on a TGV train would take cover? This group from the south west were travelling to Paris to celebrate an "enterrement de vie de garcon" and decided to have a "paquito" - that game where someone is passed prone from person along a line sitting on the ground; a very south west game. The young men invited other passengers to join in and were surprised to find an 82 year old grandmother first in line.
Finishing with a "perfectly executed headstand" the octogenarian departed the wagon-bar to cheers of "merci mamie". "She made our weekend" one man said.
Just shows you are never too old to have fun.
A link to a report here:
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pressage de pommes at Najac

Nous sommes le dimanche trente octobre

Nearly the end of October and what a lovely month it has been. I think the good weather is promised till Wednesday.
Big day in Laguepie today with the Chestnut Fair. This day has grown and grown in the last 15 years since we arrived here. There will be lots on offer today, marching bands, a display of local mushrooms, the restored Laguepie bus, lots of stands selling local produce and lots of games and roasted chestnuts.
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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Best story on the net for some time

The young men all love my car and it was my suggestion that we took a photo with it. Please do not tell Malc the best photo was with three stood on the boot.
What a lovely afternoon I and friends had welcoming the boys from Sudan.
Firstly something which I think is very good. The boys do not speak English!! even Malik was surprised. But this does mean this particular group will learn French very quickly.
Secondly how impressed I am with Hujat working so well translating the Arabic even though the country and regional differences to the language make it difficult, well done Hujat.
I arranged  to pick up Malik and Hussain from Montauban two of our original refugees from last year who have asylum. They are Sudanese and they would understand perfectly their compatriots.
What a stroke of genius it was taking these two to Bruniquel. There was an immediate reaction as all the guys met and started  chatting, it even worked out that Malik had been at the same University as one of the guys.
Malik and Hussain were just super at explaining to the new refugees they had nothing to be fearful about and actually they had been very lucky landing here with us all.
I have spent the best afternoon for ages seeing all these youngsters mix and begin to see the possibility they may at last have a life.
Interestingly the group had not wanted to go to the UK. They made for Calais as they felt they would be safe!! seriously yes they thought it was the safest place they had been for some years.
The French volunteers at Bruniquel were also marvellous this afternoon and tonight in the Mairie they have arranged an auberge espagnol followed by dancing.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
The happiest story on the net for some time.
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Fall back again

Do not to forget to alter your clocks tonight. One hour extra in bed (hope somebody tells the dogs..).

A question please?

Hi Val,  I do hope all is well in your world.

 I have a quick question and do hope you can help :
 Is there a group that gets together to play Bridge at all ? – local to St. Antonin  ?
 I know a wonderful, independent gentleman of 92 who would like to meet up to play.  

 At the same time, I know you do an English Book Exchange on Monday nights (once a month I think?)
– would it be Monday coming ?
 Thanks so much for any thoughts / further ideas you may have
Kind regards
Jayne (Millard)
Val says there is a bridge group that meets Thursday night at Caylus in the Bar bascule, starts at 5 pm. There are players from around the area so a lift and partner may be able to be arranged.
The book swap is on the first Monday morning of every month starting at 10.30. I think the date this next time will be the 7 th. It is a good place to meet people over a coffee and find out what is going on.
There is also a games  night playing cards and board games at The Gazpacho, who has details of that?
Any other ideas anyone?

Hi Val
7pm Monday evening, Gazpacho, weekly.
Always canasta; other games possible. 


Nous sommes le samedi vingt neuf octobre

The early morning mist was so eery, bands of brume sweeping over the valley. It was like an alien world this morning.
Then the sun broke through and niw it is the most fabulous day.
I have a day so charged you would not believe, so cannot hang about writing TAG.
Enjoy your fabulous autumn day everyone.
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A bridge joins China to Tanus

The bridge over the Viaur at Tanus in the Tarn was designed and built by architect Paul Bodin at the end of the 19th century. The village, with 526 inhabitants was surprised to receive a request to twin with a town in China, with 150000 inhabitants, Pingbian. The link is that the architect also designed a viaduct in that town. A delegation arrived this week from China to begin the twinning process.
The Chinese team said the French would be welcome to visit their green region which is very suited to tourists, before sitting down to a meal of Segala veau.

Friday, 28 October 2016

nothing wrong with Realville

Just received this message from Jacky Malotaux

I spoke to Marie-Claude aniùatrice and she say there are no arrivals and it may be a while before any come.  All the refugees disappeared from Calais and they have no candidates.  She even says maybe we might get the minors, but that is a whole new organisation.  So I won't be going to Réalville tomorrow
Val says
So put everything on hold for Realville.
We had heard that refugees were not keen to come to the SW of France in case they did not like it.
But it would be interesting getting the youngsters.
I will keep everyone informed.

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Brexit alters language

I cannot think how many times I have sworn" bloody brexit" but today after a lovely morning and lunch out in the sun at Najac, I changed the language.
This morning it was " sod brexit" I am not going back to the UK. I am not changing our wonderful life, I will end up in penurie before we leave.
Malc says that might happen  but he agrees our life is here, now as Europeans. If we can take out French nationality we will also stay European.
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The refugees have arrived in the area

Hi Val, 
Still needed for Realville... Duvets 90cm, sheets, duvet covers, men's clothes & shoes, bicycles, radios, any sport stuff. 
Laura x
Malc is reading the report in the Depeche and we will publish relevant parts soon.
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Expo still open at Beaulieu

Due to their great success and demands from teachers the expo "Animalia" at Beaulieu will be open this October 31st PM only ( was to close on the 19th...). If you haven't seen it, save the date! A few other dates will be announced soon.
site de l'association culturelle de Beaulieu
contact: for more details

And they love chocolate

The 22nd Salon du Chocolat opens today in Paris. Said to be amongst the top 10 "gourmet" events in the world the Salon will have over 500 French and international chocolatiers showing their expertise. More that 100000 visitors are expected, an indication that the French still love their chocolate.
Bars of chocolate still account for most of the 3 billion euros spent on the product and over half is bought at Christmas and Easter. Over 30% of the chocolate bought in France is dark, making the French easily the biggest consumers of this type. But they are far from Europe's greatest gourmands, that honour going to the Germans, followed by the Swiss and Austrians. Even UK eats more per head. Pass the Cadbury's Milk Flake, please.
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt huit octobre

A very misty morning, with the possibility of a sunny day when the mist clears.
We have French friends staying and even they think there is very little news but the happenings in Calais. We were all sad to hear from friends working with help agencies up there that there are still children sleeping on the street awaiting documentation and transport to the UK.
SO much of what we read in the papers differs so much from what we hear from friends actually working in the camps. At  least thousands of people are now rehomed in decent accomodation and will be filling in asylum applications and that has got to be a positive.
Some refugees have arrived at Bruniquel and I am waiting to near about Realville where 50 are expected.
Getting ready now for a morning walking around Najac and then stopping there for lunch with our visitors.
Last night we watched the film Charlotte Grey which we had not watched for some time, we had forgotten how much of St. Antonin was shown... a much better film than 100 Foot Journey.
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French women do get fat (and men too)

Contrary to popular myth that the French are exempt from obesity a recent study by a Caisse (health insurance provider) and the national institute for research into health matters concludes that about half the population is overweight, applying to both men and women.
Using Body Mass Indices for overweight (+25) and obesity (+30) the group being monitored - over 100000 - was 41% overweight and 18% obese amongst men, ie 59% over the limit. Amongst women the figures were better at 25% and 15% respectively, a total of  40%.
Also measured was "abdominal obesity", ie the waist measurement regardless of the other measures. For men a girth over 94cms and 80cms for women is considered obese. Over 40% of men and 48% of women fell into this definition.
Researchers considered that a little corpulence in men is seen as normal, whereas women felt more pressurised to keep slim, to explain why men are more likely to be overweight.
France has seen some slowing down in recent years of the increase in obesity, but the 60+ age group still presents most cases and a simple BMI is insufficient measure of likely good health.
In Europe it appears that Irish men are most likely to be obese and Swiss women least likely.
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More pumpkins this time in Varen

An image at Toussaint

Thursday, 27 October 2016

A beautiful book for a present

A beautiful 450 page hardback translation of Hans Christian Anderson's stories including The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Emperor's New Clothes and many more. Very good condition so suitable for a gift. Offers please with ALL monies paid directly to local animal rescue.  Linda

Creams in France and all you need to know.

Nicola has sent a post with a copy  from the newspaper the Connection, about cream. After trying to copy three times I have given up! as we are rushing out.
I know there is a list of creams in COOKS sent by Glynis which tells you everything you need to know about cream.
well I'll be blowed it has copied below!,
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Double cream trouble

Has Hollande won his bet?

The President said he would "reverse the trend" of unemployment by the end of his term. So far he has been wrong almost each month, with unemployment growing or remaining static. But in September the total dipped below 3.5 million for the first time in some years, with the biggest fall in unemployed in almost 20 years.
The rentrée suggested that government policy was bearing fruit and that Hollande was meeting his objective. But will it be enough to win him the left nomination for next year's election? His ratings in the country suggest he couldn't win in a one horse race; indeed no politician from the left is even likely to get to the second round. And perhaps the "smoke and mirrors" of the September figures will reveal that far from 66000 people finding work, the majority moved into government funded training schemes, taking them out of the unemployment totals. One hopes that this training leads to jobs, but more economic growth than forecast may be needed.
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Proper thick English cream

Hi Val
There are 3 places I know of that sell what I call proper thick english cream
Hyper U ( as per picture)you need to know where to look though - they store it with the speciality cheeses 
La Fouillade - a shop behind Intermarche - she also sells home made cheeses and yoghurts
Caussade market - the cheese man in the van with the long queue - it's at the far right hand side
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Cream or crème ?

Posts about cream this morning received over the years
Hi Val
I agree with Glynis about the crème fraiche crue which Stephanie Rives sells in her dairy behind Intermarché in La Fouillade.  It is delicious, tastes nothing like the Crème Fraiche one buys in a supermarket, (which I also like!) much more like thick double cream.  The name of her Dairy/shop  is Nature de Lait.  Her cheese range is growing and her yoghurts are delicious - I bought Sureau (Elderflower) and Lavande today but she has many other flavours.
Liz G
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No laughing matter

A young man of 21 employed in the family circus as a clown failed to stop for a  police control having been spotted using his portable, leading to a pursuit for several kilometres. Driving a 26 metre lorry containing camels and llamas at speeds up to 70 kph he was eventually stopped. It became clear why he was reluctant to stop: no insurance; no MOT; worn tyres; no HGV licence. Added to that using his phone while driving in a fashion likely to endanger other road users and the animals in his vehicle.
The magistrate at Foix was not amused and sentenced him to 6 months in prison.
Presumably the other vehicles in the circus were also checked.
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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Chrysanths at Toussaint

After the First World War, the French President M. Poincare said that all the war memorials should be decorated with flowers. The only flowers at that time of year to flower readily in pots were chrysanths.  Since then the practice has spread to decorating cemeteries at Toussaint.
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Palmyre Lacan (1927-2016)

We heard today the sad news that Palmyre passed away on Monday. She was a well-known character in Varen, and especially in St Vincent, whose church owes much of its present condition to Palmyre.
When we first knew her we lived in the Presbytery of that church and she was already into her seventies, but motivated to the restoration of the church and its wall paintings. Palmyre was present when the first hints of the paintings re-appeared in 2000 and spent the next 15 years of her life as president of the association for the restoration of the church (Sesavi).
Battling with planners and local authorities, exhorting heritage funds to support the scheme, roping in locals (Malc included as publicist and as assistant treasurer), Palmyre left no stone unturned. Today the paintings are restored and the building secure - the next stage is to redecorate and furnish the little church.
Palmyre had also battled against failing health over the last couple of years and finally succumbed in hospital in Albi.
Fittingly her funeral service will be at St Vincent on Friday 28th October at 16h30 (4.30pm)
First glimpses of wall paintings in 2000

The restored paintings

A lot of Desperate housewives at Le Riols

Despite a hugely successful event yesterday, we still have lots of lovely things left for sale. Every penny will go to local animal rescue. Please contact me to come and view. Val is kindly letting us post a selection of goodies on here:
First up DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: 4 boxed sets. Series 1 - 4. 87 episodes in all. Please make an offer and help our furry friends towards a better life!  Linda Walsh

A major pest

Hi Val,
After the attack of the ladybirds which largely disappeared after a couple of days we sort of forgot about them, a few in the gite said Sid so this morning I went in to clean for guests arriving tomorrow.... OMG hell.... A normal clean would take me 2 hrs, today 4 hrs of HOOVERING alone before anything else. 1000s would be an understatement, every chair, every curtain thick, stinking sticky stuff all over the windows, black gunge on the window sills & in corners, a hoover bag full. The place has been empty for 3 weeks. I would urge anyone with an empty space to go & check as by the looks of it if they're left the damage to walls & soft furnishings over the winter would be considerable. Chemical warfare may have to be used, hairspray says the internet.... The harlequins which is what these are have potential to be a major pest. Laura
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Resistants speak of their duty


I am sure many of you will remember Martyn Cox’s wonderful documentary film about female spies working in the French Resistance.  I promised, by popular request, to let you know of a similar event that was being planned for a French audience.  Here it is.  Full information is on the attached flyer.  You will see it is being hosted by the association Rencontre et Partage on Saturday 5th November at 8.30 in the Salle des Fetes in Parisot.  There is a small entrance charge of 3€ for members of the association and 5€ for non members.   I do hope to see you there.

With kind regards,

Gina Connolly

Equality of men and women: a depressing study

A study by the World Economic Forum reckons that at present rates of progress it will be 2186 before women are equal to men in all major respects; income, employment, health, political emancipation and education.
We westerners think that we are top of the list, but in fact France comes 17th (of 144 surveyed), Britain 20th and the USA 45th. Rwanda is 5th and Nicaragua 10th. The Nordic countries predictably top the list, but in Iceland which is number one, women are urged to stop work at 14h38, as they say that is all they are paid for in a day.
France on the positive side is ranked top for women in health and education services, as opposed to 61st for women in top jobs.
The pessimistic side of the report is that we seem to be going backwards as two years ago the gap would have been closed by 2133.
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In hot water over mushrooms

Christophe Boutet is an IT expert who published an interactive map on the internet, showing places where cepes etc can be found. It is well known to those of us who live in the country that these places are a well kept secret, knowledge handed down the generations and not to be divulged to outsiders.
It is no surprise then that M. Boutet found his map under cyber attack. Someone he says with good knowledge of the internet has hacked his map and removed the information.
In the comments under his post (always a good source of bigotry) he was accused of being "Parisian"; of encouraging despoliation of sites; of destroying countryside confidentiality. He says "au contraire" that he is Auvergnat and lives in the country and that far more damage to the sites is done with huge forestry machines than a few mushroom pickers. M Boutet is to upgrade his map making it "vandal proof".
But with good cepes at about 20 euros a kilo the locals around here are likely to keep the best places well hidden.
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Nous sommes le mercredi vingt six octobre

A  dull damp morning, not at all what we are used to.

Tonight is opera night at Mas del Sol, the Otto Preminger film Carmen Jones. Some excitement about this amongst us opera buffs, Roger and Frank and Joan who have the DVD all have seen it. Roger in 1958 when it came out. Money raised will go to Via Sahel Enfants D'Afrique.

I am also trying to get people who are sympathetic to the plight of refugees to become volunteers at Realville. A new attendance centre with few facilities and so far with  seemingly no coordinated volunteer set up. If you live over towards Caussade towards Realville think of getting involved. It is very rewarding helping people who have lost everything.

The event to raise money organised by Linda for the local dog rehoming group did well yesterday but the fact remains that they still have lots of dogs and puppies looking for new homes. So if you are thinking of adopting think of our local rehomers. I have details as does Linda Walsh of Le Riols

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Can anyone help Eve on Saturday?

Hi Val
Eve has to get to Cahors on Saturday morning for her Double Vision correction exercises and her usual driver is not able to do it. 
Can anyone help with transport from Le Cuzoul to Cahors.  Please contact me Anne Grose if you can help on or telephone me on 05 63 31 13 24
Thank you in advance.
Anne & Eve

A rallying call

Hi Val,
 I tried to call but your phone not working. I went to Realville this afternoon, Marie Claude seems very nice but to be honest not someone who hassles for stuff or support. They are desperately short of helpers, I really got the feeling that desperate is the word. It's a bit of an odd set up, very utilitarian, 6 kms out of Caussade, I'm told most of the neighbours are hostile, not all but most. Clothing & shoes are in terribly short supply, duvets needed, kitchenware not. Saturday 2pm is coffee & take a cake to share, meet the boys who I'm sure will arrive by then. Input needed really badly I think. I know it's too far for you, I said I'll help for a month until we leave, weekends MC is not there so she was very eager for others to turn up. Can you tag this somehow.... There must be Brits in Caussade.
Laura xx

Val says
This is the sort of call TAG is good at, I have loads of bedding given today, I wonder if we can get it over before Saturday. ( we have French visitors arriving tomorrow for 3 days) 
Can anyone get three duvets and towels and bedding from us to them? If not I will go on Saturday afternoon. Who is up for coming with me?
I had a feeling Realville with 50 arrivals would be a more difficult prospect. I will get on to FIFI members who live over Septfonds way and see who would be interested in coming on Saturday.
This is a rallying call for you all

This is where the centre is
au Centre Équestre 'Les Écuries des Elfes Blancs' à Réalville

Nous vous remercions de votre générosité !

D'autre part, nous serions heureux d'accueillir toute bonne volonté pour l'aménagement des lieux, la décoration des logements et l'animation d’ateliers éventuels (français, métiers, animation sportive ou culturelle).

Pour toute question relative à cet appel à dons et l'animation du CAO à venir , n'hésitez pas à me contacter :

Marie-Claude LAFITOLE – Animatrice UDAF82 au Centre d'Accueil et d'Orientation de Réalville - 06 84 18 86 35 -
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What a successful afternoon.

Linda Walsh in the dotty top today showed her top was the only dotty thing.
What a huge success was her fundraiser, raising money for the local dog rehoming charity in St. Antonin. It was a sunny day and the house and gardens were overflowing with charitable folk. Raffles, bring and buy, massages,plants from Debbie of Jardin des Espiemonts,  tea and cakes, you name it and it was on offer.
I know from arranging fund raisers how much one puts in so to Linda and everyone who helped on the day , WELL DONE.
I am sure Linda will make a report and let us know the total.
I personally want to thank Jane Hodge  for once again thinking of our refugee guys and arriving with duvets and towels.. all will be going to Realville.
Brilliant afternoon I loved every minute and was pleased at long last to meet my facebook sparring partner Richard Wyllie Harris. I said " you are taller than I thought," he said "you are smaller than I thought. " We will now resume agreeing or disagreeing on facebook!

and the final total raised was a wopping amount,
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Chestnuts at Laguepie on Sunday next

The annual Chestnut Fair at Laguepie will be held on Sunday 30th October. This event has grown over the last 15 years to one of the area's most enjoyable events. From grilled chestnuts to traditional wooden toys, animations from bands and theatre groups, expos of apples, pears and fungi there is something for all ages to enjoy. Just get there early to find a parking place and book your restaurant if you want to stay for lunch.

Why do they fall for it?

Asking a politician the price of an everyday item is a favourite trick of journalists to prove how out of touch they are. What is the price of a loaf of bread? Or a pint of milk? Invariably the politicians guess and inevitably they are wrong. Latest to be caught out  is Jean-Francois Copé, a contender for the nomination for centre right presidential candidate. When asked the price of a pain au chocolat he replied truthfully "I have no idea", but when pressed guessed 10 or 15 centimes. When told the true price* he replied that he never buys them as they are too fattening.
Taglines's sub-editor asked the editor the same question and received the same answer. Any reader who regularly does the shopping will find that their partner generally has no idea of how much everyday things cost. We bet Mme Copé knows what a pain au chocolat costs.
But politicians will continue to fall for these traps. Better to be honest than appear a fool.
* about 1 euro
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt cinq octobre

Not bad " a dogs life"

Our two yesterday in Varen enjoying the water' Not sure about the medicinal purposes but I am sure wet smelly dogs in the car on the way home is not pleasant.
It was warm enough for them to fancy a dip.
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Monday, 24 October 2016

Can anyone help?

Hi Val
Would you mind putting message on TAG for me? I am looking for somebody who can do a small plastering and tiling job (bathroom) within the next few weeks,. with more work to follow (floors, ceiling). Contact by e-mail please:

Termites and creepy crawlies

Morning Val,

We currently visiting our home in Rousayrolles and noticed what looks like a little woodworm infestation, not sure if its termites! Does anyone in the local area know of an reliable people that could come over to our house and have a look? Any help would be really appreciated.
Feel free to contact me on my email: with any tips or contacts.

Kind Regards,

Beverley and Matthew
Val says Sally gave us a name only a few weeks ago

We were advised to consult Joan Puech (06 63689597) about any concerns we had on timber and wood that needed treating. He specialises in proofing and treating old buildings against termite, wood infestations and dry rot.
She went on to say how pleased they were.

Offer help if you can

Why not you?
We are in the middle of the most turbulent times where mainly  young people in dangerous countries are being funded by families to escape to a safe life.
In France at the moment the Calais jungle is being forcibly dismantled... rightly or wrongly I know not. I do know there are thousands of young people just like our children and grandchildren who are looking for a safe place.
These youngsters are arriving in reception centres all over France. The French have got paid helpers to process their applications but these traumatised young people need more.
If you have any skills or interests cookery, sports, games or just like listening and talking why not volunteer to help. Many of the refugees speak English hence their desire to go to the UK, so you will have an instant connection with them.
Find where your local centres are, I know of Bruniquel and Realville and soon one in Albi.
Just walk in if it is Bruniquel, find out who is in charge, in the case of Bruniquel it is my good friend Anais Rondeau. She is being aided by Hujatullah an Afghan who has asylum. Mention my name to Anais if unsure ... Mamma Val.
Say what you can offer and then get cracking. Often the young people need trips to a post office for sim cards. They love going out for a car ride and look around the area. They love being invited to your home.
Do not treat them differently to you own family or friends, they deserve  and should have respect.
Talk with them about your life and ask about their lives,they love talking proudly about their own countries.
The pleasure you get from helping someone in need is indescribable and you will gain much more than you give.
I am concerned about Realville? How many of us live in that area? with 50 refugees there they are going to need some help.
If you feel like volunteering but have qualms drop me a line, you will not regret it
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Bearded Iris as a don

Hi Val,
I've been sorting out our iris beds & have an awful lot of bearded irises left over. Some will undoubtedly be blue but we have over the years bought some beauties so in honesty they could be anything... Free to a good home if anyone would like them. They are minimum maintenance, need no water, like poor soil & sun. They have been dug up so best planted soon. Laura 
Laura  lives between the area St. Antonin and Bruniquel

How can a small region block an EU treaty?

With important negotiations coming up for Brexit, which will involve agreement from all 28 nations (including the UK), it is interesting to see that an EU/Canada trade agreement, which has taken 7 years to negotiate is being blocked by one state, and not even a "country" at that.
Wallonia is the French speaking region of Belgium and its autonomous state affords it the right to a say in EU treaties. With Theresa May meeting the leaders of the other regional governments in the UK today we wonder if Nicola Sturgeon and her counterparts will point out that they do indeed have a voice. With the government seemingly unwilling even to allow the UK Parliament to have a say it may take a "Wallonia" to get more open-minded thinking on Brexit.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt quatre octobre

Still mild in the fields. The barometer has been up yesterday falling today so not really sure which way the weather is going. The TAG weather report is forecasting mild with rain this afternoon, improving Wednesday. As we need the new lawn watering that sounds ideal.
My thoughts are with the refugees in Calais today and hope the operation of dispersal all over France to reception centres goes smoothly.
I am off to my poetry group and will be reading and discussing the Rossetti's Christina and Dante Gabriel.
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Visit the castle of Najac this holiday

La jolie forteresse de #Najac ferme bientôt ses portes pour la saison hivernale. Profitez des beaux jours d'automne pour la visiter !
Elle est ouverte tous les jours jusqu'à la Toussaint de 10h30 à 13h et de 15h à 17h30.

Scary evening in St Antonin

Halloween, Défilé, Concert, DJ’s et Fun
Next Saturday 29th October, Salle des Thermes from 18h30
Get made up then parade in costume for Halloween
Dance from 21h45 (9.30pm)

Programme :

18h30 - Apéro et maquillage – Salle des Thermes

20h - Rendez-vous sous la Halle puis défilé déguisé dans les ruelles

21h - Bonbons et Manège “Schliblick Club” gratuit pour les enfants

21h45 - Musique Live avec La Prose S’Tate – Horrible Bal Punk Rock 

... Suivi de DJ’s – Styles variés


Déco d'Enfer et Projections
Déguisement fortement conseillé

Participation jouée au dé : de 1 à 6 €… que la chance soit avec vous !

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt trois octobre

Wonderful red sky again this morning, seemingly mild. I was out in the fields in my jim jams, no jacket, my temperature guide! There was however a stiff breeze and I am not sure how the day will pan out.
Today we will be taking our young guys back to Castelsarassin near Moissac, passing by Bruniquel and taking a few last bits.
Bruniquel is set up and ready for the refugees who will be arriving from Calais in the next few days, scared, tired, dirty and cold. The 24 arriving here have a great team ready to help them.
We hear that 50 may be arriving in Realville and the accommodation there is not quite as ready. So any donations to Realville please and if that is too far to Laura above St. Antonin please. All the relevant info in an earlier post.
We wish all those poor people at Calais, many who have suffered much to get there, (using all their funds in the world to pay traffickers,) a safe week. I wish I could be there to tell people to take the French option of trying to take out asylum, but there will be many still determined to try and get to family members in the UK.
From our comfortable safe position we can have empathy with others and from the many, many people who have arrived at our door with donations Malc and I know we are not alone in our caring and concern.
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FET on 6th November

Our next show, on Sunday 6th November at 7pm, has won multiple awards - from a "Fringe First" in Edinburgh to "Best Solo Performance" at the New York International Fringe Festival - and has played sell-out performances throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia and the USA.

Presented by Play on Words Theatre, 
Tom Crean - Antarctic Explorer, is written and performed by Aidan Dooley and tells the riveting true story of one of Ireland's unsung heroes, Tom Crean, who served with both Scott and Shackleton and survived the three famous expeditions, Discovery (1901-1904), Terra Nova (1910-1913) and Endurance (1914-16).

His 36-mile solitary trek to base camp to rescue his comrades Teddy Evans and William Lashly has been described as "the finest feat of individual heroism from the entire age of exploration." Crean was subsequently awarded the Albert Medal for his bravery.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Tuesday afternoon ladies

Halloween Book sale

Hi Val,
Could you give a mention to our Halloween Book Sale, Saturday 29th October, St. Pantaleon (Lot) Salle de Fetes from 10 am.  Usual format, thousands of books and dvd’s at one euro, plenty of home made cakes, tea, coffee and light lunch.  We don’t need any more books, thankfully, so if anyone fancies a trip over the border into the Lot, passports not needed as yet (!).
Sue from Poorpaws

Aaargh, forgot to say proceeds from sale go to Dog Rescue and Cancer Support France !

Our valiant two always caring for others

Hi Val,
If people want to drop stuff with us for the refugees expected in Realville we are happy to take it onwards. Our trailer is out of action so really big stuff is difficult but we have the van & of course the trusty bus! 
Lovely to see you all the other day, I'm so glad I was passing. Xxx
Val says great offer and Laura lives beyond St. Antonin towards Bruniquel

What is needed for refugees going to Realville

APPEL A DONS (mis à jour)

Bonjour !

Dans la perspective d'organiser au mieux notre centre d'accueil de Réalville, nous serions ravis d'accueillir les objets indiqués ci-dessous, dont vous n'auriez plus l'utilité.
Voici la liste des objets dont nous aurions besoin :

1. Chambres: Tables de chevet, lampes de chevet, housses de couette pour lit de 90cm
2. Salle de bain: Tapis/descentes de bain, poubelles, trousses de toilette
3. Salon: Lampes, abats-jours, poufs/gros coussins, tapis (petites et grandes tailles),
4. Cuisine: Casseroles, passoires, poêles, cuillères en bois, cafetières, théières (métalliques ou autres), bouilloires électriques, tasses, mugs, égouttoirs vaisselle
5. Produits de toilette et hygiène : savons, dentifrices, peignes, brosses à dents, etc.
6. Divers : Cahiers/stylos, valises, vestes hommes, chaussons adultes
7. Sport, musique, lecture : Vélos adultes/gilets fluos/casques/chaînes-cadenas, matériel de sport (ballons, pétanques, chasubles, raquettes/balles), instruments de musique (guitare, percussions, flûtes etc.), livres en anglais et français...
6. Décorations diverses pour la maison.

Vos dons seront à apporter au Centre Équestre 'Les Écuries des Elfes Blancs' à Réalville

Nous vous remercions de votre générosité !

D'autre part, nous serions heureux d'accueillir toute bonne volonté pour l'aménagement des lieux, la décoration des logements et l'animation d’ateliers éventuels (français, métiers, animation sportive ou culturelle).  

Pour toute question relative à cet appel à dons et l'animation du CAO à venir , n'hésitez pas à me contacter :
Marie-Claude LAFITOLE – Animatrice UDAF82 au Centre d'Accueil et d'Orientation de Réalville - 06 84 18 86 35 -

Nous sommes le samedi vingt deux octobre

Morning Val,

After seeing all your photos of hard work at Mas del Sol, I have been inspired to do a lot of cutting back in my garden.

You say the the clocks change on Sunday 25th October

Did you mean SUNDAY 30th as there is NO Sunday 25th !!!
PS my English diary agrees with the 30th. 
Hi both, its a pity we cant put it back a year as per your adv.  Max

That was last year.

Val says just a few of the many who spotted the mistake! Once again I should never trust facebook and also try and rush out. Oh. well great reminder for all, and if only we could go back a year and change brexshit

Searching for fungi

A walk in the company of the President of the Perigord Mycological Society (Perigord being famous for fungi - especially truffles) is being proposed for next Saturday, 29th October, around Laguepie. Meeting at the railway station at 9.30 am then co-voiturage the start of the walk.
The walk is free and no reservations are needed. Bring a basket (or a camera - or both) and a packed lunch. After the walk an identification session will be held indoors.
No dogs or pushchairs please.
More details if needed from Gaelle Matura , the environmental educatrice of the association Al Pais de Boneta on 0563 240626
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NB on Sunday 30th October the Chestnut Fair in Laguepie normally has a display of fungi, showing which you can eat and which not.

"Easy to learn French"

Internet users will be familiar with those little "click bait" panels telling us how people learned 7 languages in 5 days or whatever. It seems that British Brexit negotiators will be clicking through to brush up their French because the chief EU negotiator is French and has suggested that he would like the talks to be in his native language. UK press has suggested that Michel Barnier wants the talks in French "to put the British at a disadvantage". Sounds a bit unsporting. He should surely put himself at a disadvantage by speaking English.
Until now EU politicians and bureaucrats have relied on a system of simultaneous translation from skilled and impartial interpreters to keep each other informed, and documents are issued in various languages. So perhaps this could be used in the talks rather than relying on M Barnier's grasp of a non-native language or expecting Boris's boys to understand the nuances of the language of Moliere.
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Friday, 21 October 2016

New DIY superstore at Montauban

Crowds thronged to a new Leroy Merlin store in Montauban on Thursday. The group is well known in the north of France and there is a branch in Colomiers, near Toulouse.
The store offers a wide range of DIY products as well as advice on home improvements.
Other DIY superstores are available.
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Toulouse marathon Sunday

The whole weekend will be taken up with the 10th Toulouse marathon, starting with a mini-marathon at 11am on Saturday. On Sunday some 10500 runners will take part in a full marathon, a half distance or a 10k run.
The route will be entirely in central Toulouse, in an effort to increase spectator interest. On the down side, residents and visitors may find traffic difficult on Sunday from 5am until 16h00.

Carmen Jones still has two places left

Here at Mas del Sol next Wednesday evening 26 th gathering at 6 pm
Starting with an apero dinatoire followed by the show.
10 euros for the assoc. Via Sahel Enfants d'afrique.
Very convivial evenings.
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Giant fish caught at Gaillac

Daniel Lopez Morcillo, a Gaillac fisherman (the Depeche helpfully points out that he is of Spanish origin) landed a huge silure (catfish) when fishing by the Saint Michel bridge on Sunday. Measuring 2.6 metres the catch is thought to be a local record. These carnivorous fish are not uncommon in the Tarn and were reported to be killing and eating ducks last year.
Daniel with his huge catch
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New guided walks in QRGA

The Communité des Communes Quercy Rouergue Gorges d'Aveyron (QRGA) has published a guide to 35 walks in the area.  With IGN maps and photographs pointing out places of interest, the publication is 6 euros from all tourist information offices in QRGA, of 0.50 centimes for one walk.
Various accompanied walks are also proposed, details from the tourist information centres.
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt et un octobre

A very slight frost this morning making for " crunchy grass" as I went to see the donkeys. The sky was predominately blue with swirls of pink, but it was 8 am and was probably more dramatic earlier.
Yesterday we had a discussion with the boys about place names, when they read my posts they had not understood our houses were at Mas del Sol. They had understood we get more sun than most places, morning after morning being in the sun whilst villages in the valley are covered in the cold mist or " brouillard"  They liked the occitan explanation for Mas del Sol - house in the sun.
It was also interesting explaining road signs. They wondered why they kept seeing signs with Varen 4 or Varen 12. I explained they were directional signs telling you how many kms it was. Such a simple thing, it never dawned on me they would not know and also that one of them could not yet read French.
What a learning curve.
The agenda today, boules this afternoon.
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Design a logo

Art students and designers are to be invited to submit proposals for logo for the new region "Occitanie". Certain elements must be included, such as the colours red and gold, which are common to both the Catalan and Occitan communities.
Occitan flag: pic DDM

A prize of 8000€ is available, plus runner up prizes of 5000€ and 3000€.
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Found along the Baye at Verfeil

A friend saw this whilst walking his dog along the Baye in Verfeil sur Seye, what a wonderful colour. Anyone know the name?

This is so wonderful , you have got to love nature.
Daniël saw this whilst walking along the Baye.

Trouvé  par Daniël Bruijsters pendant un promenade à côte de la Baie, Verfeil sur Seye.
Stropharia aeruginosa'!
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Thursday, 20 October 2016

New at Laguepie

Bal tradavec le groupe Carabal Trio 
 ou ? 
​La Distillerie des Arts
Route de Varen  
Une balade à travers des paysages aux sonorités tziganes et aux accents slaves, sur des rythmes de danses occitanes et d’Europe centrale, des teintes celtiques à l'horizon ...
Entrée: 7€ plein tarif 5€ tarif réduit 
Buvette et collation sur place
A diffuser et distiller sans modération !
L'équipe de la distillerie des Arts 
Distillerie des Arts