Wednesday, 30 November 2016

TOF report on the Renaissance at Caylus

The Renaissance at Caylus
We went for lunch today, to say hi to Martine and Alain in their new venue at Caylus.
The couple with their son closed the doors on the Moulin in Varen  at the end of September and took over the bigger concern on the main road in Caylus.
Alain who has a heart condition is hoping for a life out of the kitchen and the restaurant new to them has two chefs.
We knew initially the chefs were on holiday so left it till now to go and try it.
The menu of the day was 12 euros for 4 courses.
Vegetable soup
quiche and salad
Sausage,  rice in a tomato sauce
It was all delicious, too much perhaps for me, but great value.
Martine and son Louie were as always charming and the perfect host and waiter.
Good Luck to you all, we will be back.
Out of 5 - we would give it slightly less than 4
a good score for us.
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This is especially for k on the Bosc

An interesting lunch at Bruniquel

Eye sore in Gaillac

Hi val:

This article doesn't surprise 2009, my house in Cordes had a major fire; the entire center of the house was an electrical fire caused by bad work but when my assurance claimed against the artisan, his assurance resisted and my assurance didn't pay for over 2 years.  The house just sat there in a damaged state...and when it did finally pay, it wasn't enough to pay for the 2nd renovation and there went the rest of my funds.  Anyway, the point is:  assurance in France is a very tricky path to trod...
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Joyeux Noble Val

Having your cake and eating it

The indiscreet notes of a parliamentary aide which suggested that with Brexit we could aim to "have our cake and eat it" - a phrase first used by Boris in this context - has an equivalent in French, to have "le beurre et l'argent du beurre" literally to have one's butter and the money to pay for it.
An EU official did point out that having eaten your cake, you are left with - nothing but crumbs.
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Do not worry if your washing machine breaks down

Insurance battle in Gaillac

The owner of a pub in Gaillac is embroiled in a battle with various insurance companies and individuals after  the building collapsed in May. He was insured, but the builder and architect he used for renovations were not. Having paid 45000 euros to demolish the dangerous parts and facing a further bill of 40000 euros for re-building the party walls, he has received no reimbursement from his insurer who hold the third parties responsible. Even his neighbour was affected, his building being empty since that time and now the mayor has weighed in complaining that the site is an eyesore and harms the town's image (not forgetting that they are also paying the cost of safety barriers). A lesson to us all to make sure all parties are properly insured when undertaking major works.
Eyesore in Gaillac: but who pays?

Nous sommes le mercredi trente novembre

Still seems like autumn to me but tomorrow is the first day of the meterological winter in the UK.
Malc thinks in France it is the 21 st of December but I will check that up.
The Winter solstice occurs on the first day of the season (21 December). 
Our walks and views are just superb at the moment and most days we have the sun and the fabulous blue skies. Hard to understand why the world and some people are so mad and bad when you commune with nature.
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A turkey is for Christmas

Hi Val
Christmas time is a time for celebration, a chance to spend quality time with family friends and your loved ones; an opportunity to entertain, indulge and enjoy. 
So what better way to do that than with a:
Traditional Christmas Turkey Dinner!  
Again this year we have slowly matured Norfolk Blacks and Bronze turkeys.
Norfolk Blacks 
These are small turkeys, originally thought to have come from Spain and aregenerally considered the oldest turkey breed in Europe the nearest thing to a wild bird. They have long narrow tender breast and a slight gamey flavour .€12/kilo
Norfolk Bronze
The name (Bronze) refers to its plumage, which bears an iridescent bronze-like sheen. The Norfolk Bronze is plumper and heavier than the Norfolk Black, but they have the added bonus of cooking much more quickly than the traditional white turkey as they have a natural fat layering in the meat which leaves the meat tender and full of flavour. €12/kilo
We have started reserving the turkeys already! 
So as a past and happy (we hope) customer we did not want you to miss out!
Over the last 4 years our turkeys have all been sold out before the last reservation date (21.12.2016).
To reserve a turkey please email me, or call me on my mobile  tel : 0033 61 60 77 539
Thanking You
Take Care

David Bowie in Toulouse

Toulouse is intimately linked with aeronautic and space exploration and David Bowie in his 1970s incarnation of Ziggy Stardust presented himself as an extra-terrestrial and his song "Space Oddity" (despite its sad story) has appealed to astronauts of all generations - the current French astronaut in the space station, Thomas Pesquet, was called "Major Tom" by his brother.
David Bowie prepares to be Ziggy. Photo by Mike Rock
Now an exposition of 40 images by the celebrated star photographer Mike Rock is being held in a gallery called Multiple in Toulouse. All the photographs date from that time and show Bowie in various situations, preparing for concerts or with other rock stars. All are signed and numbered and for sale for prices from 1650 euros to 3300 euros.
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Gas prices to rise

The price of gas will rise between 0.9% and 2.6% in December according to the regulator. This follows a rise in October and is due to higher import and production costs.
Overall in 2016 the regulator points out that prices have fallen by an average of 3.4%. With the weather due to become much colder by the end of this week it may be prudent to get a top-up now.
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Toulouse Christmas market opens

With over 120 stalls the Place du Capitole has been transformed into the place to go for the pre-Christmas shopping experience. A great choice of artisan and artist made gifts; decorations; mulled wine; aligot; maybe a Santa or two. All in the setting of Toulouse's most impressive architecture, the market is open every day until Christmas.
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt neuf novembre

A sunny Sunday morning brought out the crowds in the market at St. Antonin.
A lovely morning it  certainly was.
Photo by Sophie Hautefeuilles
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Logs delivered to the Verfeil area?

I will do a box and drop it up poss next weekend. Could you put on Tag for me 
Does anyone know where I can buy logs that can be delivered.
Thank you
Jo x
Val says Will Kevin know?
Donnadieu  from Verfeil delivers logs. 
Any other ideas readers?

3 Rocs trail inscriptions open

Good morning Val, I'm sure some readers will be interested in this, run

or walk, it's great fun.
The 2017 edition is on Ascension Day, Thursday 25th May and inscriptions are open at
K of the Bosc

Christmas cakes; yum, yum

Christmas cakes for sale 
These are not just any old Christmas cake, these handcrafted cakes have been made using a tried and tested recipe which involves infusing the fruit in brandy until it is soft and plump. They have been covered with a layer of marzipan which is then painted with a coat of brandy before being topped with sugarpaste. Each cake has been thoughtfully and carefully decorated by hand.
3" square 12€
4" square 17€
A few other sizes available
Glynis Howgego

Fillon wins primary

The primary election to choose a candidate to represent the centre right parties in next year's presidential election has been won by Francois Fillon. The former prime minister beat his rival Alain Juppé by almost two to one, obtaining 66% of the second round vote.
With the left wing vote completely divided, the Parti Socialiste having no candidate at present, the latest sondage suggests that Fillon will win both the first and second round next April and May with Marine le Pen second.
A poll this morning puts Fillon at 32%, le Pen at 22% in the first round and 71% to 29% in the second round. Another poll gives a similar result in the second round, though closer in the first round.
On the left Emmanuel Macron with 13% is just ahead of Jean-Luc Melenchon on 12% with Francois Hollande trailing on 8%.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt huit novembre

Another lovely photo of autumn in St. Antonin, taken by Sophie Hautefeuilles.
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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Okidoki at la Seye et vous

Vendredi 2 décembre à la Seye et vous, vous pourrez voir-entendre OKIDOKIen concert avec :

Laurent Rochelle : clarinette basse, sax soprano
Anja Kowalski : voix, textes
Frédéric Schadoroff : piano, effets
Eric Boccalini : batterie

Ce quartet de jazz climatique nous invite à un voyage à la portée de tous ponctué de moments gracieux et d'instants envoûtants.
Pour en savoir plus :
 Comme d'habitude il y aura à boire et à manger !
Renseignements : 05 63 65 22 18.
A trés bientôt et belle soirée !

Robins or baby Jesus in a crib ?

We celebrate Christmas as a Christian tradition, celebrating the birth of baby Jesus, which we as Christians say is the 25th, Christmas day.
Today we explained to one of our boys why it was the 25 th we celebrated as Christmas day.
Not as he thought the first of January,  the beginning of the New Year. He thought that would be the one we celebrate. ( the fact we celebrate the beginning of a New Year is quite a different thing)
Now I have to at  this point tell you although brought up in the Church of England I now support the ten commandments but do not have any religion.
So saying our religious festivals are important to many of us and pictures of the baby Jesus in a cradle are to my mind more important than robins on a holly branch.
Most of our boys are Muslims and I respect and help them with their festivals and religious beliefs. But as they are now living in Europe they need to know about our festivals and religion.
So do not worry if your Christmas card which goes into their Christmas present has baby Jesus, or angels on.
As we want to know about Islam and their festivals, they will be interested in learning about our religions and festivals.
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We are now going for 65

Caroline Mills came up with the idea and what a great idea it is. She wondered with a bit of help from TAG if we could buy all the children at Realville a christmas present. We discussed the fact that many are Muslims, but I know last year our Muslim boys loved Christmas and helped us celebrate. Interestingly I saw an Imam this morning on BBC news discussing this very subject and agreeing with my experience of Muslims about Christmas.
We decided each Christmas  present should be around the same value but everyone could make it up in the way they wished and add a Christmas card or note to say who they were and why they were participating.
We needed 30 presents!!
Well within two days we had offers of 50.
So now we are going for 65 presents and covering the refugees in our area, Realville, Bruniquel and the earlier Rehoboth boys and friends of theirs we have met through them.
So another 15 to go and I am confident we can do it.
We are suggesting things like a " t" shirt" after shave, shaving foam, kit kats, chocs, little games, underpants, socks,small scissors. etc. etc.
If you do not live nearby but want to send 20 euros Caroline and I are having a morning next week making up parcels, so will be happy to do this for you. I will add a card with your name and Christmas greetings.
Christmas is about giving and as always,  you my special readers never let me down.
Thank you
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Confession of a window cleaner

A young man from Rodez was sent by his employer to clean the windows at the Millau police commissariat but ended up behind bars. Police make a routine records check on most visitors to their headquarters and it showed up the fact that the window cleaner was wanted for breaking his parole. He had been sentenced to four months suspended imprisonment for possession of drugs but had not responded to requirements to follow-up visits.
This was two years ago and he insisted he had notified the court of his change of address, but had received no communications from them. He had been working in his job for all that time without problems, but has now been sent off to prison to purge his sentence.
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Nous sommes le dimanche vingt sept novembre

The sun is out, the sky is blue and it is market day in St. Antonin.
Have a great day everyone, enjoy every minute.
See you at the market

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Draw International at Caylus

Action replay, did I post this earlier?

 Hi Malc and Val

Just seen this Asian hornets nest in our woods today, so big coincidence with the post on your blog.
This is as near as I could get to it, it is huge and very active, maybe you can zoom in a bit to see the
Intricate work of the nest.
It is about 15m off the ground and through the binoculars they were a lot of hornets coming and going.
We are in Puylaroque so they are spreading.

All the best
Val says worryingly they are not uncommon then.

Things seen in trees

It looks like one of the festive paper balls hanging on the tree near the halle in St. Antonin
We think it is a giants wasps nest down by the river in Varen.
What do readers think?
Hi Val
Your photo is of a nest of the asiatic hornet, frelon asiatique, also called the asian predatory wasp.
As an invasive species it is officially a pest in France and has been reported recently in England as well as Spain.
The main problem is that it attacks honey bees and kills off the colonies which is a disaster for bee-keepers and pollination of many crops, especially fruit.
At this time of year the nest has been abandoned and they won’t re-use the same nest.  However at the end of summer a number of queens are produced which hibernate and probably 20 or so from each nest survive to create a new colony the next year.
Any large frelons/hornets which you see when the warm weather starts in April/May are queens.  They look for food and a new nest site so that is the time to put out traps.  Once the new colony is established the queen stays at home laying eggs and the workers take over the job of hunting for food and nest building materials. So when you see smaller ones from late April onwards it implies that some new colonies are already established.
Any frelon asiatique nests seen active in the spring/summer should be reported to the Mairie as they have a duty to eliminate them.
Best wishes

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Too late now!

Coming across an event you would have loved to attend a day too late is very frustrating. Yesterday (Friday 25 November) saw such an event. In Albi an exceptional auction sale took place - over 400 lots with 1500 toys for sale. Not just a pre-Christmas offering of latest electronic gadgets, but the stock of a toy shop which closed down - in 1967.
The owners retired at that time and moved to Albi, bringing their stock with them and storing it in the attic. Now their descendants have asked the auctioneers to sell the stock. Toys appeal to collectors and people just nostalgic for their childhood favourites. The difference between this sale and the toys offered in brocantes and toy swaps is that they are all in new condition, with boxes and really appeal to buyers. We would have loved to see this, but it's sadly too late now.
Period police toy

Telethon at Caylus

Nous sommes le samedi vingt six novembre

I had such a busy day yesterday I awoke at 5 am unable to sleep. Why is it when you are too tired you cannot sleep?
I got up to make a cuppa and on arriving upstairs I was met by outside cat Nipolena sitting on the sofa. You could have knocked me down with a feather!
I have tried so hard to get her to come in now she is on her own in the barn. I thought I would never achieve it.
Now I am wondering how many times has she come through the cat flap at  night and settled down. It was a lovely bonus to have her sitting on my knee as I write this.
We are getting there with this little girl. I think some flea treatment might be in order though for her.
Do you think Malc would like being woken up so I can tell him the good news?..   perhaps not.
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Friday, 25 November 2016

They are just kids

But they are just kids, kids on their own in a strange land, having spent months on their own in Calais.
It breaks my heart these youngsters on their own missing families, hoping against hope to get to brothers, sisters aunties or uncles in the Uk.
Today we took the last 15 out to buy them clothes and once again warm jackets were generally the item of clothes chosen.
Three of them whilst shopping around in Super U found these drone type helicopters and wanted to spend their money on them.
We went into a huddle, it was not really what the money was for collected for... toys!
But do you know to a man ( well woman, mother, grandmother) we said " sod it" if it makes them happy and gives them some fun then it has got to be worth the money.
So now we have got 30 happy boys 27 with new clothes and 3 in caste offs but happy with toys.
Whenever we have met them the boys go on about family in the UK and when do we think they will be able to go.
We volunteers are fearful the UK will let them down.
For tonight I know we have done our best for the kids,
but you and i know the only thing that will make them happy is being with family again.

A dog is not just for Christmas but could be with you for then

A dog is not just for Christmas but little Titou could be with you for the celebrations. He is one year old is fun and love cuddles. He is fine with other dogs and cats.
He as all the dogs of the local assoc. des Truffes et des moustaches will need a fenced space.
He is identified and will be castrated.
Contact me if you need to know more or Maeva if you speak French.

The Christmas spirit is amongst us

I felt like a child last night, unable to sleep with excitement. Friend Caroline Mills had suggested we launch an appeal to get all the young boys at Realville a Christmas box. We decided to make the box an average price of 20 euros. We would also like you to put in a christmas card saying who the present is from and why you want to give it. If you cannot get the box made up Caroline and I will have a day shopping and making them up and will even write your christmas card for you.
We launched this idea last night and as I went to bed the offers were flooding in. So many infact we want to extend it to giving a present to the refugees in their twenties at Bruniquel and even to our own boys who are still in CADA's and have still as yet not got asylum and are quite glum.
The christmas spirit is really amongst us and I feel we are seeing the true spirit of Christmas, giving to others less fortunate.
 No scrooges amongst us.
Thank you my friends and please keep offering.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

I am excited with the idea.

Caroline Mills has suggested for the 30 young boys who are going to end up stuck at Realville for Christmas that we make up a Christmas box for each one. I love the idea, and have said I would love to make up a box, what fun.
Caroline will also make a box and help promote it.
If you would like to join in please contact Caroline Mills  or myself.
How exciting, makes me feel christmassy.
How long will it take us to find 30 people?
Ideas could be sweets, little games, crackers, undies, etc.
Contact me or Caroline to say you are keen to do a christmas present for kids.

Young Afghans many speaking English all 17 or under and could do with some happiness

Hi Val
A potentially very boring time of year is upon us, grey foggy days, rain to come & long dark evenings, a time when people may well be scratching their heads & wondering what to do... make someones life better, bring some happiness & a smile is always a good place to start. 
I'm sure many readers already know about the 30 unaccompanied minors at Realville... these boys aged from 13 to 17 years have all made an epic journey, some taking as long as a year to achieve it, they are hoping to join family in the UK. The home office has been & interviewed each child & now the waiting game commences - the wheels of government turn slowly & the boys are told it will take 2 to 3 months before a decision is made. These children are intelligent, vibrant & great to be around, you get out far more than you put in. Scrabble on a rainy afternoon, a game of football, an outing to a nearby village, walk & a picnic, input, arts, crafts, cooking all these things could be organised, be a friend & give a smile.... It'll be a very long & potentially very depressing wait for these children who, through no fault of their own have been through so much more than you or I can begin to imagine. The team is great, a really nice bunch of people but more help is needed so if you can give a bit & make a boy smile that could make your life & theirs better.
Marie Claude is the coordinator, you can reach her on 06 84 18 86 35 or just turn up at the Centre des Elfes Blancs 6 kms out of Caussade on the back road to Realville.
Laura xx

and it was a new Dvd for the opera

Hi Malcolm and Val
Oh how awful and disappointing for everyone! It is a new DVD that we also had not had the chance to play and indeed were hoping we could see it on your big screen. Frank has looked up the details, he ordered 'new' from Amazon FR 5th October, it arrived unopened but we are not sure if we removed cellophane before giving it to you.
Frank still feeling ill but hopefully will improve over the next few days, we are not sure if he has a reaction to a 'flu vaccine he had last Friday or has he picked up a virus? As he has only just shaken off Pleurisy,  he has to be extremely careful. We are going to have to contact Amazon so will be in touch again soon.
So sorry the evening was messed up for you,
Talk soon 
Love Joan xff

Three hours in our life today

Three hours in our life today.
We took the telephone number to an elderly French lady of our marachel ferrant/ blacksmith. We met her at the supermarket a couple of days ago and she explained that since her husband (who Malc knew very well from playing boule) had died the donkey he loved was very lonely on his own and needed his sabots/ hooves trimming. I said i would try and find a new home for him when she could bear to part with him. A castrated male who loves walks and is adorable.( sounds like Malc without the castration)
Today  we went to say hello to Ignace the donkey in Verfeil and give her the telephone number.
Then on to Charleys for our Thursday lunch.
Whilst we were sitting facing the window a lone figure cycled past and then cycled back, this time with a big smiley face. The next thing we knew a big Afghan came dashing into the restaurant shouting " Mamma Val. Mamma Val"
It was Delawer!
Apparently Rahim and Delawer had spotted the car in the village and wanted to invite us for lunch with them in the commune.
Delawer sat with us for awhile then dashed off to appear with a plate of chappaties. Charley the bar owner was so obliging he even offered Delawer a knife and fork to eat with us.
Delawer would not stay but we promised we would go and see them both when we had eaten lunch.
After lunch it was a pleasure to see Rahim cooking chappaties for 20 people, enjoying every minute. Delawer apparently is enjoying helping in the garden.
Both are very happy.
Do you remember these men were living on the streets of Toulouse till Anais, Jacky and I got them to the commune at Verfeil.
In the photo of the three young men are Rahim and Delawer with one of the young French men of the commune.
Malc and I left the village on a high after seeing the results of a  bit of  " jiggery pokererie"
Do you know what I mean by that?

Waiting for the tram

Hi Val

Here’s an old photo of the main road through Septfonds showing the one metre wide tramlines.

There was a steam tram running 22 km from Caussade to Caylus, which opened in 1913.

It was one of six similarly short lines in the Tarn et Garonne which all closed in 1933 due to competition from motor vehicles.

I guess the photo is from about 1920.

Best wishes


Pyrenean mountain dog and a beagle on the loose. FOUND SAFELY

Two dogs who were frightened by last nights storm and made an escape from their home at Laguepie.
The dogs belong to Emilie the vets assistant at Laguepie who can be contacted at the vets cabinet


Any fule kno

Nigel Molesworth (aka Geoffrey Willans) is well known for his "Down with Skule" writings.  His eschewing edukashun did not prevent him expressing his views on everything, often at length. Robin Johnston, a Tag reader sends us Nigel's views on brregsitt

To the Editor, The Timz:
Sir,  re Brregsitt and Immgrants
As any fule kno, Yurpeen Yunyon is friteful mad daft broke korupp fekless and ful of weeds wets and BLUDY FORENERS
Of coars Englan is grate tops hav lots of noble brave feerless Englishmen super at evrything dont mention foopball and hurray cheers cheers were going to send all frogs krauts wops eyetis polacks etc etc packing back to live on their Brussels sprouts and defnitly not let any more in raise drawbrij pronto.
A super wheeze that we all demokratikally voted for at least 5.01 out 10 a landslide if yu beleeve Boris. After weve got rid of all that kontinental rifraf then we can repozess the reins of powr and run our own Englan for our own benfit spongers and tell them Welsh Scots Irish to behav or els.
Starting with the Nashnul Helth. Boris promist the NH something like £36 bilyon bilyon to be delivered by bus as extra saved from cancelling our Brussels sprout annual sub. As luck wood hav it sins then Boris hav mislade all that dosh or praps hes trousered it, who knos, but its not there any more so thers nothing left in the kitty to pay for all the extra new English doctors English nurses English nursing assistants English care workers English porters English cleaners etc etc needed to keep our beluvd Nashnul Helth going when thank God weve manajd to pack all thoze BLUDY FORENERS out and put a stop to any more arriving by lorry train boat canoe coracle or whatever. That'll keep the rezidew of our grate navy wot ruled the oceans busy at home insted of lurking in foreign ports with dusky maidens wot wot.
Its a pity but its the price we hav to pay. Without all thoze horid foreners to do the wurk the Nashnul Helth will be even more uterly uterly useless not to mention nowun to look after all the old geezers and geezeresses in our disgusting so-called care homes theyll just hav to look after themselves even tho they cant theyll just get smellier and smellier.

Nous sommes le jeudi vingt quatre novembre

All is calm this morning after the storm last night. Looking around I have two sad wet looking donkeys this morning but no apparent damage to the houses or grounds.
A bit of a grey start but dry at the moment.

The budget in the UK and the comments of Hammond confirms  a possible Brexit has been a mistake. When will the government start putting the country first and to anyone especially the so denigrated experts, it is obvious leaving Europe would be a mistake.

Philip Hammond conceded that Brexit will blow a £59bn black hole in the public finances over the next five years.
59 billion - why do it ?

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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

One disaster after another

Our monthy film night will be one to remember, for all the wrong reasons.
It started well with bruschetta aperos, one of the guests said " I fancy an ice cream" and I quickly produced ice cream. Glasses of wine  topped up we went into the Opera, Der Rosenkavalier. Somewhere at the start we missed getting the sub titles so we did a restart, always a bit disconcerting. Then after half an hour the dvd started breaking up with screeching noises and flashes. As Malc tried to fast forward we discussed how fat the actors were and realised we had the projector on the wrong setting. Then the opera came to an end with us all wondering what it was about... to realise we were a dvd short! There should have been two perhaps.
The guests started to drift away and none asked for their money back although it was offered.
What a night, it really was such a night !
It was never like this at Covent Garden
The night continued with a severe storm with wind and rain affecting the TV and disrupting the programme " Missing"
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Could be our Christmas present

Today many newspapers are discussing the story which could lift a weight off many of our shoulders.
A reciprocal rights deal for existing expats could be unveiled next month.

"2 euros to be rid of Sarkozy" - bargain

Apparently many left supporting voters paid their 2 euros to take part in the centre right primary, simply to vote against Nicholas Sarkozy. The ploy worked spectacularly with the former president only third in the poll and eliminated from the contest. But who did they vote for?
Given that there is likely to be no left candidate in the second round of next year's presidential election, one might think that these voters would  rally behind the candidate most likely to represent their views - Alain Juppé. But with Sarkozy putting his weight behind Fillon it will take a major shift to dislodge the most right wing of the candidates.
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Expats staying, we are not wimps

Saw this on Facebook this morning and had to smile at one of the comments: "Wimps".

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt trois novembre

Walking the dogs yesterday afternoon we saw these trees, flaming yellow. They are in the garden of the big impressive house which faces the Aveyron in Varen. Just spectacular.
A French lady tells me they are called:-
ce sont des ginkgo biloba
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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

From a year ago and continuing

Taglines readers will know that we at Mas del Sol became involved, as did many of you, when last December a group of young refugees from the Calais "jungle" were brought to St Antonin and housed for 3 months in the Rehoboth evangelical centre. Many of us have kept in close contact with the "boys" as we all called them and several of the French volunteers became mentors - we call them référents - who undertook to help their charges with the administrative procedures necessary to claim asylum, to deal with appeals against rejection, helping to find accommodation with all that entails (rental agreements, deposits, EDF, France Telecom etc).
To keep these things under control an association was set up called "Et Puis D'Ailleurs" which we may loosely translate as "The next steps".
The president Luc Isnard has written a brief overview of the association and would welcome any additional members who could offer help, or just 5 euros a year subscription.

The association « ET PUIS D’AILLEURS » was set up to support and help the 17 young men who were originally housed at Rehoboth, outside St Antonin last year. This letter describes what it is, its aims, its mode of action and its resources (by way of money).
- Aims :
 To ensure that the 17 young people who were accommodated at Rehoboth can find welcoming amenities, help, support, follow-up and advice.

- Mode of action
  A board of 10 members been elected for one year, together with a bureau composed of a president plus a vice-president, a secretary and a treasurer.

 To date  the association has met the « députée » Valérie Rabault, the « Prefet » and Véronique Ortet, the person charged with organising their reception.  Each one of these meetings has allowed us to get to know what opportunities exist and who are the relevant persons ; it has also opened new perspectives toward the integration of the Rehoboth migrants, for whom we have decided to undertake responsibility.

- Our resources :
  They are composed of a 5€ annual contribution, plus the organisation of events to raise money and the appeal to sponsorship or subsidies.
The latter contribution is of course essential because in the effort to support the migrants the individuals who have accepted  the responsibility ( i.e the « référents ») sometimes have to pay for train or bus tickets, or whatever expense, whereas the association could very well do this since it has the legal authorization to do so. In the same way the deposit for a lodging could be covered by the association.

Here is in short what our association of individuals is, and I am most grateful to you for agreeing to pass the message to the British community, and in doing so to help us achieve our goals and functioning.
It is quite clear that, as a donor, a member or a sponsor, you will  be informed of all actions taken and you will be able to follow the evolution of the migrants’ official situation (the « statut ») – those that we are in charge of.

Thanks a lot for your help.

President of the association
Contact Luc at

Who you gonna call?

If you run out of petrol on the autoroute who do you call? All such breakdowns are dealt with initially by motorway safety police. So a young man who did just that was unexpectedly arrested, when gendarmes discovered he had no licence and he had actually stolen the car.
He explained he was going to see his girl friend in Marseille but had no money, so he had no option.
Magistrates were not too sympathetic and sent him to prison for 3 months.
Yet another story of a very stupid thief.
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Next donkey lunch sounds good, and kittens to good home

Firstly im hoping the photos of the kittens I have here for rehoming are attached this time ! if not you can meet them when you come along to our Christmas Lunch to be held in aid of the donkeys on Thursday 1st December at Lavolvene, 82150.  If its your first visit we look forward to meeting you and for the regulars you'll be pleased to know that our track has at last been resurfaced by the Mairie, we are very grateful !

We will start at 1 oclock and warm you from the inside out with some MULLED WINE, followed by


SWEET and SOUR PORK with RICE and PEAS, or for our vegetarians


We hope you'll want to visit the donkeys after your COFFEE and TEA.

We'll ask for 17 euros a head. All the proceeds go to the donkeys. Following on from such a dry summer we have no grass at all this year and now its turned colder the donkeys are eating their way through 9 small bales of hay a day !

Thank you all for your support and the help from everyone to make these meals so successful.  Im looking forward to seeing you all the day.

Time to pay

If you have an advert on TAG please consider making your donation to charity, save me chasing everyone up. If you do not want to keep advertising let me know and I will take off your advert.
The choices are now friend Jacky Malotaux's association for helping refugees
cheques made to
Association aider- help and hope   helping refugees

Via Sahel Enfants d'Afrique: in support of children in Mali

Liberte des Anes: donkey rescue and sanctuary in Tarn et Garonne

Alzheimer82: support group based in Montauban, T&G

Cancer Support France : Tarn based support group

AGMOMP: support for bone marrow patients:

Please send all cheques to Val Johnstone
Mas del Sol
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt deux novembre

Yesterday as I was working in the garden I stopped to look at the view. I took some deep breaths, and thanked some unseen presence for all this beauty. I then made a wish for a better and safer world and a chance for everyone to have this peace, safety and  beauty.

How the tone of TAG has changed in the last year and how fear is entering all our lives.

Salon du Livre at Laguepie

Order your Christmas cake from Glynis

This year's Christmas cake collection is underway
I will be selling at three Christmas fairs this year
3rd / 4th December Caylus salle de fetes
10th December Castelnau de Montmiral salle de fetes
11th December Verfeil salle de fetes

The small square 3" cakes will be 12€
The medium ones at 4" square will be 17€
There are a few smaller ones at 8€ and a few bigger around 30€

If you follow my facebook page I post a different cake from the collection each day

You can reserve in advance, you can come to one of the fairs or contact me by email at

Kind regards


Monday, 21 November 2016

St Antonin bridge 150 years ago

Hi Val

Here is a picture of the St Antonin bridge from nearly the same viewing point as Sophie Hautefeuilles’ picture but taken about 150 years ago.

In 1870 the top of the bridge was widened to accommodate the increased traffic of phosphates going to the railway station and the Moulin du Gravier, which by then was a phosphate processing factory.  The parapet was changed and also the cutwaters (the bits that stick out into the river).  This photo pre-dates those changes and also shows the hotel on the far side before it was rebuilt in a grander style.

The central arch of the bridge, built in the second half of the 16th century and still standing (!), is a perfect semi-circle which shows up well in this old photo.

Best wishes to you both.

(hope you got the water back quickly)


It all makes work for the working man to do.

There I was cutting back the hedge with my new hedge trimmer when suddenly I realised I was standing in a stream!
EDF workmen were up the road putting in new electricity pylons when they ruptured the water pipe. As I was standing with wet feet Malc shouted out to tell me we had no water!
I went up to talk to the men and take photos explaining very little of interest happened along our road, this was the most noteworthy event for weeks.

Babe, sheep pig

One of Naomi Westbury's little porkers. His first outing and he stands and sniffs the air.
I asked Naomi " how long as he got?" Naomi's reply" depends how good he is with sheep"
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Crying wolf in Aveyron

A conference was held in Rodez on Saturday evening on the history, anatomy and place of the wolf in our society. As the tone was pro-wolf, local eleveurs of sheep turned up vowed to disrupt the conference.

After the intervention of police several were allowed into the hall. There they disputed the effect of the 300 or so wolves who live in France, claiming that about 9000 animals are killed by the predator. After a previous meeting with the Minister for Ecology, Segolene Royal, specific hunting groups were set up to protect flocks which were under attack. Farmers want the right to mount their own battues which are currently illegal, as wolves are protected.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt et un novembre

A very autumnal view of the Roc d'Anglars taken by Sophie Hautefeuilles.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

You read it here first

Just a week ago on 13th November we noted that Francois Fillon was making great strides in the opinion polls for the primary elections of the centre right. Yesterday we noted that he was hard on the heels of Juppé and Sarkozy, and this latter had aimed his campaign at those flirting with the FN.
But almost 4 million voters went to the polls yesterday and voted decisively for the former Prime Minister, leaving Juppé and Sarkozy trailing well behind.
Sarkozy has thrown his weight behind Fillon, pretty well ensuring his former colleague will win, and calling his own political career to an end.
Come next year's presidential elections Fillon is favorite to  oppose Marine le Pen, who is likely to advance to the second round. It may well come down to who the socialist voters decide to support - Brexit and Trump show a worrying trend towards the "populist" candidates. Fillon consistently had more support than his boss when Sarkozy was president, so perhaps that will count...on verra.
comments to

Sarkozy is going to step down and support Fillon

François Fillon, we need to know more about him, he seems to be doing well.
Breaking news with 78 % counted
Fillon has 44%
Juppè       28%
Sarkozy    21%
And Sarkozy is saying he will support Fillon in the second round.

The gloves are on

From today (20th November) it is mandatory for motor cyclists and scooter riders to wear gloves (helmets are already required). And not just any old gloves, they must conform to a European norm, with labels showing the CE mark as well as a specific moto symbol.
The gloves must have knuckle protection and palm reinforcement. Passengers are also required to meet the safety standards.
Road safety campaigners point out that motor cycle accidents account for 43% of serious injuries, many of them to unprotected hands.
Failure to comply could lead to a 70 euro fine and loss of one point, and insurers may be stricter in providing cover in case of accidents. It is estimated that more than one motard in ten does not wear gloves.
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Voting opens today for centre right primary

Seven candidates are vying for nomination as the centre right presidential candidate in next year's election. Ranging from Alain Juppé to Nathalie Kosciusko Morizet via Sarkozy and Fillon the winner will be the candidate who gets either over 50% today, or wins next week's second round.
Over 10000 polling stations are open today and anyone can vote on production of a voting card, sign a declaration of loyalty to "republican values" and pay 2 euros.
Opinion polls have shown Juppé consistently ahead, though only narrowly from Sarkozy and, more recently, Fillon.
Former president Nicholas Sarkozy seems to have become more stridently right wing as he seeks to portray himself as the "anti-establishment" candidate, a mantle generally worn by Marine le Pen, but the more inclusive Fillon has made great strides in recent weeks and if he makes to the second round he is favourite to win.
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Tintin over the moon

Actually, on the moon. A page design by Belgian artist Hergé, creator of Tintin, was sold in Paris on Saturday for 1.55million euros. The album On a marché sur la lune is one of the holy grails of Tintin collectors.

Tintin covers on show in Paris exposition
All the record prices for BD (bandes dessinées) pages and rare volumes are held by Hergé with the designs for the end pages making 2.6 million euros in 2014. The appeal of BDs is very much a French thing, even Tintin is barely appreciated by we Anglo Saxons.
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Nous sommes le dimanche vingt novembre

The view at 8.30 am, with contrails not clouds. The autumn colours are splendid and walks along the lanes with the dogs are superb. Enjoy the day, enjoy the weather, enjoy the markets.
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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Carol concert Parisot choir

Good morning Val, I hope it isn't too early to start talking about Christmas but ....

The Parisot Choir will be having their usual excellent Carol Concert in Parisot Church on Sunday 18th December at 6pm.  It is normally very popular so get there in plenty of time to claim your seat.
Hope to see lots of you there.

Anne Grose

Trying to spread the word and the love

Malc and I retired to France 15 years ago now. We left our book business in the hands of our daughter   and son in law, Bromlea and Jonkers, now Jonkers Rare Books. We moved from a lovely village Binfield Heath and exchanged it for a similar lovely village in SW France.
A year ago we heard 17 young refugees were being brought to the village, all were seeking asylum in France. Malc and I went to meet and greet them as you would any new neighbour. They had come from Calais, from Aghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Kurdistan and were all suffering with various health issues and many unable to sleep because of vivid nightmares.
Over the months we grew to know them and all were polite, caring, intelligent young men. I am pleased to say to date 7 have asylum, 10 are still waiting and as yet no one has been defintively refused.
A few weeks ago we heard more refugees were coming, but youngsters between the ages of 14 and 17. Young people who have close family in the UK, some Oxford and London, many Brirmingham and Bradford. They arrived in the middle of the night as the Calais Jungle was being dismantled, frightened and confused. Sadly lacking in warm clothes and shoes. Their applications are being processed at the moment and we hope this will speed up and the youngsters can get to family in the UK before Christmas. I mentioned this  to our daughter and her Henley friends and after an appeal, enough money was raised from TAG readers and the Henley group to buy clothes and shoes for the boys.
One picture shows us being silly with gloves as the boys arrived some with scabies, one of the many problems of the camps. The second photo with some of the young men whilst shopping. The lady in blue being the cashier of the shop who joined in the fun and I am in both photos in the stripey top again.
an article written for the Henley Standard.
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Protestant Synod in Mazamet

This weekend Mazamet will host the Synod of the United Protestant churches of France. A bastion of Protestantism the south Tarn area has many relics and memories of the persecution of the huguenots after the revocation of the edict of Nantes up until the revolution some 100 years later. Subject to persecution and deportation the huguenots took refuge in neighbouring protestant countries such as Switzerland and England, but many remained and resisted attempts to make them convert. They were concerned often with drapery business and "delainage" - a method of removing the wool from sheep hides without damaging the leather.
Vabre temple
The church at Vabres is one of the largest protestant temples in France and classified as a monument historique. The habit of resistance must be in the genes their as it was a major centre of resistance during the German occupation and the pastor sheltered several Jewish children in safety.
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In remembrance

A moment of tranquility and a thought for our dear departed. Such a lot to learn from the dead, sadly some of us never seem to learn. The graveyard at St. Martial in the commune of Varen is neatly kept and at the moment a blaze of colour.
Comments to

Well travelled cat

The value of having your pet micro-chipped was illustrated when Boule de Neige (Snowball), a two year old cat was found wandering in Brittany.
Taken to the SPA it was discovered that his chip showed he belonged to a family - in Corsica! He was left with neighbours when his owners went on holiday and disappeared. It was three months and 1650 kms later when he was found. The fact that he was in good condition (even put on weight) suggests that his journey was not made on foot, but no-one knows how he got so far from home.
Boule de Neige will be flown home thanks to the SPA.
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Darling of a lost dog / now back home

Hello Val,

This dog was found at midnight, 10 days ago,  on a road on the outskirts of  St Antonin. As he has cataracts, we imagine his owners don't want him, and dropped him there. 
Kate, from the Mairie has not shown up, SO we don't know if he has a puce. Friends are willing to help w the cost of cataract surgery, and he needs a home. We don't live here all year, and will leave soon. 
We appreciate if you can post this photo and request.  Thanks
Much love to you and every Blessing,
Lyn Avery
Skype: averypeacefamily

US cell: 505-690.2492
French mobile: (33) 07 80 02 7545

Val says     a vet will tell you if the dog has a  chip if Kathy is away. That has got to be the first step. I will pass this on to Kathy. If the dog has no chip after 10 days a home can be looked for.'
Latest update
C'est le chien de Christophe ,le patron du Cafe de la halle  !