Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Urgent need for firewood

Hi Val, the wood that I've ordered for the rest of the season has arrived and it is not dry enough to use. I'm looking to buy around 2.5-5m3 to get us through to spring. I'm hoping there will be some TAG readers with ideas for me. I'm looking for 30-40 length and delivery to Najac or pick up in the surrounding area, Villefranche, St. Antonin, or even Cordes.

All best,

Artisanal beer festival coming up at Albi

Nous sommes le mercredi trente et un janvier

Give yourself a bit of extra time if you are travelling to Toulouse today. Agriculters are blocking the roads with tractors and heavy vechicles causing " go slows" called "operation  escargot" around the motorways of Toulouse

La Fédération Départementale des Syndicats d'Exploitants Agricole (FDSEA) de la Haute-Garonne et les jeunes Agriculteurs 31 annoncent une opération escargot sur la rocade de Toulouse mercredi matin pour protester contre la réforme des zones agricoles défavorisées.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Support soiree for the children of Mali

Native American traditions explained

James Robideau will be giving a talk on the history and traditions of North American Indians followed by a kind of "sweating dance" the following day.
Contact  Sharon Evans on 06 81 13 77 11

Nous sommes le mardi trente janvier.

Yesterday at Montauban the farmers as well as covering the road in front of the prefecture with manure tried a novel way of protesting, uncovering themselves.
It was extremely cold yesterday so I think they rather loose their argument as one marks them down as foolish and the point is lost, although they did catch photographers eye.
I imagine there were quite a few sniggers from passers by.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Amazing boutique shop opening in Varen, Saturday mornings

We have achieved all our goals, assurance, bank account, the Mayor on board and we can open our glorified vide grenier on Saturday morning the 3 rd of February, 10 to 12
You cannot miss us as we will be in the old Mairie practically opposite the halle and market.
Please come and support us, come and offer help, offer things to sell and bring bags or newspapers to help us wrap items sold.
Mains tendues 82 is up and away and a friend sent me this sign which I suppose is the English version of us. 
Although I love our symbol created by Helen Thomas.

Nous sommes le lundi vingt neuf janvier

We have an early appointment at Groupama in St. Antonin to discuss the insurance needed for having a small shop in Varen opposite the halle. 
We had hoped by now to have signed the devis from Alliance who had quoted 150 euros. Suddenly it arrived to be signed  at a staggering 550 euros.
We checked with others who open charity shops who do not need to insure the building as it is insured by the Mayor. There insurance was also around the 150 mark.
It is all getting a bit tight as we were hoping to open on the 3 rd of February. 
Cross fingers we have a successful RDV this morning.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt huit janvier

The clean up begins as some of the rivers recede back into their beds. In Varen as in other local villagers the Sapeurs pompiers are out doing a clean up of mud. A lot of these guys are unpaid and work to help us all. The Moulin was surrounded by water but it did not enter the building and new building works including a newly constructed kitchen were not affected we are told.
The roads round about are still very muddy.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

There are still some who deny

Today, 27th January, is designated as Holocaust Memorial Day. The evidence of survivors, of liberating soldiers even Nazi documents are undeniable testimony that millions of people, Jews, political prisoners, homosexuals, even handicapped children were systematically destroyed to meet the Nazi philosophy.
That philosophy was founded on racist beliefs and was driven forward by uncaring criminal bigots, often with unwitting disregard by ordinary people. Here in France Jews were rounded up and shipped off - only "foreign" Jews, not French ones  - whilst ordinary people looked on. These attitudes of racism still persist over 70 years later and so much so-called nationalism is based on mis-trust, hatred even, of foreigners, exploited by politicians for their own ends.
There are "holocaust deniers" - Front National founder Jean Marie le Pen called it a "footnote" - mainly anti-semites who see it as part of an international Jewish plot. These hate filled people are exploited by cynical leaders and given power again may not hesitate to imprison and execute opponents.
It's not a far right or far left thing; it's a challenge to decent people everywhere to overcome their natural prejudices and stand up against evil racism.
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Nous sommes le samedi vingt sept janvier

Can you believe it is raining again, the donkeys looked so fed up this morning standing in their hut. They did have dry coats so they obviously had been sheltering inside. I give them an extra hay top up to cheer them up.
Bonny the golden retriever who loves being outside, lasted 5 minutes then barked to be in and went to sleep on her bed. Eldo put his nose out and ran back to his bed never even going out.
The forecast is not good again and the whole of France appears to be flooding. Paris made the BBC news with the floods and closure of the bottom floor of the Louvre.
Someone tell it to stop and bring us sunshine.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Going Nuts

Many Intermarche stores have a promotion on Nutella, a chocolate spread beloved of children (and possibly adults too). The 950 gramme jar was marked down by 70% to 1.41 euros, an offer which provoked January sale like stampedes, even fights in the aisles.
Store managers were forced to intervene and ration sales to one jar per customer but were often thwarted by people just on a merry-go-round. Some customers prepared the night before by queuing and some hid jars elsewhere so only they would find them. One store in the north was obliged to call the gendarmes and when the promotion continues today any remaining stock will be overseen by a security guard.
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An interesting expo at Decazeville

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt six janvier

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Just the job for our lads



Ouvertures des portes de la salle des Fêtes de Parisot à 20H30
Déguisement funky conseillée, avec une entrée gratuite pour les courageux!

Free entry for those who come in funky costume!

A lot to be said for Parisot these days.

We have heard so much about this couple and their restaurant at Parisot , today we had to go and try it.
We loved the funky decor, très originale,
We loved the food.
Three courses with wine and coffee cost for us both 27 euros
Soup with a side plate of ham, followed by
Two choices of main course sauté de veaux or pork and mustard both with chips
So hard to choose a dessert with panacotta and kiwi or banoffe pie
I rate panacotta on the standard of our friend Jill Spearmans. It is the first time I can say it was up to her standard.
On a TAG tof on food report Malc and I rate it a 5 out of 5
Let down by nothing, ambience excellent, service quick and friendly.
A friend we met there told us the couple had sold their house at Selques and bought the restaurant at Parisot.
We have the good fortune that we will be going to Parisot a lot to see the boys and we will be able to have the odd meal or two there.
They were busy today but I imagine in the spring and summer they will be packed out.
Fourchettes et cie, Virginie et Etienne
1 Place du Forail

La Chasse Presidentielle

Ever since the time of French kings there have been symbolic hunting parties in the royal palaces such as Rambouillet or Chambord. They continued under the republican presidents until being officially abolished by Jacques Chirac. Foreign dignitaries were invited to spend the weekend, at state expense, and take part in the President's Hunt.
President Macron has suggested re-introducing the event as it "fascinates foreigners; it is part of our culture". In practice the Chambord hunts still exist as part of the normal chasse season, though with some state privileges and attracting overseas visitors to the prestigious event.
We imagine that several members of the British Royal family would sympathise, organising as they do their own events at Balmoral. But the Queen crashing through the New Forest in pursuit of deer seems an unlikely echo of our culture. It seems that President Macron sees himself in the role of Francois I - beware of republican revolutionaries!
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Montauban blocked by agriculteurs

Over 1000 farmers caused traffic jams on the A62 yesterday and throughout the Montauban city centre on Wednesday (24th January). This is part of the continuing protests against reducing the number of communes covered by subsidies for farming in environmentally difficult areas. Said to be worth up to 6000 euros per annum many claim they would need to cease farming if the zones are restructured.
The protests have been taking place throughout Occitanie and there were over 100 Lotois present to support their Tarn and Garonne colleagues. After a meeting with the prefect Pierre Besnard the leaders of the demonstrators claimed that over 90% of the communes in such zones in T&G would not be affected.
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt cinq janvier

Hi Val,
Who banned the boys from music nights in Parisot? Within the EU discrimination is totally illegal.
Laura x

Val says  we are going for the softly softly approach, taking some boys for coffee today. When people see how unthreatening our guys are, attitudes will change. Both Bruniquel and Verfeil were welcoming and both villages benefiited with the cultural exchanges.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Thank you Parisot

PARISOT opens its arms to our refugees.
They are going to be missed at Bruniquel and Verfeil
but on their first visit to the village of Parisot this afternoon, the welcome from all was amazing, so welcoming.
I arrived after lunch with a vacuum and some trainers which fit, Cinderella shoes, "they fit " I cried to Hafez who had been walking around in flip flops.

Talking to the Afghans I realised they were keen to look at the village.
As we were getting ready to leave with the first car full of Afghans and a second load of Africans we were greeted by two local ladies so keen to offer help. They were both very interested French cooks, they told me and wondered if they could invite boys for a meal. When they heard the boys all liked cooking they laughed and said " maybe they will cook for us?"

Then two car loads later we wondered around the village, which being Wednesday was mainly closed.
The library was however open and the boys loved it. They could not get over you could borrow things for free, including DVD's and the ones who had not seen Paddington 2 wondered if that would be there.
In the library at Parisot
A lady who used to be a teacher at the local school approached us and said she would like to give the boys French lessons, brilliant contact, I have her card to pass on the info to Anais.
Val Hudspeth from the friperie was in the library and said the boys would be welcome at the friperie, there may be useful things for them.
The only down side is the boys have been told that they cannot go to the local bar on a night for the music, in case of trouble. I can only think the locals might cause trouble our boys certainly will not. They have had enough trouble to last them a life time.

I have just had a thought if they cannot go to the music perhaps the music can go to them. They have a big hall perfect for events, I am sure the jam session players could go to them occasionally. Our boys love cooking and music or music and cooking, not sure in which order.
Today I thank you  Parisot

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt quatre janvier

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there is nothing else to spoil the view.... and it is not raining.
Enjoy your day

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

We dont really trust the internet

A survey (admittedly carried out for a national newspaper) shows that most French people distrust the internet as a reliable news source. Apparently young people are more likely to be sceptical, and almost half of over 65s had no opinion.
Radio is thought to be the most reliable, followed by printed media and TV. Overall nearly 75% of readers thought the French newspapers covered the Macron presidential election fairly. Conversely there is less trust in journalists than in the media. Of course thinking a report or outlet is "unbiased" is rather coloured by our tendency to choose the media that agrees with our point of view - Le Figaro if you are right leaning, Le Monde if you prefer left (substitute Telegraph and Guardian for British readers).
Sadly the social media such as Facebook and Twitter have become so tainted with "fake news" and totally biased reporting that a very large dose of salt should be taken with stories "shared" by followers and a majority of French users prefer the items posted by mainstream news providers.
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt trois janvier

A windy chilly night but it is not raining this morning... yet.
Roll on tomorrow with some sun.

I had a brief meeting with our local Mayor in Varen yesterday about opening our second hand shop in the old mairie which is practically opposite the halle in Varen. I needed him to change his mind about
allowing us to store boxes in the building after each Saturday. The bureau had decided it was not worth doing if it was going to be like a vide grenier each Saturday carrying boxes in and out.
Amazingly I managed to get him to agree and as long as we tidy the room so it could be used for the odd card game or meeting we will be able to store small goods in a side room and at the back of the main room.
With any luck we will be opening on Saturday 3 rd of February. It will take us a while to get into our stride so opening in February which will be a quiet month will give us time to get ourselves organised.
I think from Easter it will be a busy site as the market in Varen does attract people from all the local villages.
With us all working together and the refugees helping doing the carrying we should be able to achieve a lot. Without the young men this would not work as they help me load things that are offered into the trailer and we have many exciting outings being stuck up single track roads, getting lost and lots of other adventures.
None of this works without your support, donate items, come and buy, offer to come and help French, English, Dutch, Belgians, Afghans, Africans, Welsh, Scottish, Australian, Germans, whatever your nationality with Mains Tendues 82 we are as one and work together.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Anyone recommend an osteopath?

Does anyone have an osteopath they can recommend in the Villefranche/Najac area? There used to be an excellent one called M. Fraysse in Villefranche but he has retired. A physio in Najac seems to have moved out of the area. Suggestions would be gratefully received.
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Zone rouge, what is that?

All this flooding reminds me when we first came here in 2001, our second year here we had some friends who had recently come, we were having drinks " chez nous"
They told us when they were signing the final act de vente they were suprised when the notaire pointed out that they would be in a zone rouge. They did not know what this meant so blithely carried on and signed, they found out later they were in a flood zone.
We discussed it, it was raining heavily but we said "  loads of houses are in zone rouges.
We had a fun evening they left for home.... to find their house was totally surrounded by flood water and they could not get in!!
The couple have now moved on to dry pastures new.

The crue in 1930 was much worse

Nous sommes le lundi vingt deux janvier

The rivers are all flooding in Laguepie, Varen, St. Antonin and Najac, everywhere round about we are out taking photos... usually in the rain. The first two pictures Laguepie and the last one of Varen
The good news is the weather is set to change from tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Emblematic French chef dies

One of France's most celebrated chefs has died at the age of 91. Paul Bocuse, who hailed from Collonges-au-Mont-D'or, Rhone, was honoured with 3 Michelin stars in 1965, which he retained until his death. The family had a tradition of chefs and young Paul, after fighting with De Gaulle's Liberation Army, took up the profession, training under leading chefs in the Lyon area.
He made the family home where he was born into a restaurant and it was there that he gained his reputation - and where he died this week.
Although a devotee of French gastronomic cuisine, Bocuse always led the way in new and imaginative dishes and the insistance that the plates should look good as well as tasting good.
He has been described as the godfather of modern French cooking and his influence is world wide.
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Nous sommes le dimanche vingt et un janvier

Fred is wondering if he can be bothered to go out for his morning needs, the other pets all slipped away to their beds. Malc said " it is raining again "  and pulled the covers over his head.
Yet it is not cold, trying to be positive. 
Donkeys are still shouting for their breakfast so I must go and sort them out, the temporary donkey carer next door must have done "a Malcolm." (covers over the head )
Oh ! spoke too soon, the lad is up and feeding the donks.
Malc who has risen from the dead tells me the weather is set to change Wednesday. Hold the faith friends.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Missing the sun?

According to weather experts at various Meteos in Europe we have been missing sunshine this month. We think we had noticed! Apparently Brussels had only 10 hours sun in the whole of December (average is about 60 hours). In the first half of January, Lille has seen 2 hours 43 mins of sunshine and even here in the South west Toulouse basked for only 27 hours against an average of 92, with a similar score for Marseille. "Sunlight therapy" outlets are doing well in the north of France and here we are forecast plenty of sun towards the end of next week.
But spare a thought for the inhabitants of Moscow, where the meagre 6 minutes of sun in the whole of December has probably added to their legendary gloominess. At least they had Mr Putin swimming in freezing waters to encourage them - what price M Macron?
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Thanks to Tony Coles for the link to The Guardian

Fatal collision at Caylus

A young woman, well known in St Antonin and who worked  at the veterinary surgery in Parisot was fatally injured in a head-on collision with a lorry on a side road between Caylus and Parisot yesterday morning. Grace Macarthur was 20 and lived with her family in St Antonin for several years.
Many readers will be shocked and saddened by this news and we extend our sympathies to the families.

Nous sommes le samedi vingt janvier

Down by the riverside in Varen. The road was impassable and residents in St. Antonin along the river are getting flood warnings from the mairie.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Thursday, 18 January 2018

A head for heights needed

Climbers attack the ramparts: pic France 3
The task of keeping the walls of Carcassonne free of invasive plants and checking for damaged joints is a continual process. Over the course of three years the skilled climbers check every part of the 1000 year old walls. With over 2 million visitors each year keeping the walls safe is a paramount exercise.
Readers may recall that the intrepid climbers donned their harnesses and ropes to stabilise the cliff side at Laguepie last year, safeguarding houses below and enabling the footpath up to the chateau to be re-opened.
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Ryanair hub at Toulouse?

The Irish airline announced that it wants to create four hubs in France in a bid to double its passengers from 10 million to 20 million by 2020. Amongst the centres under consideration is Toulouse (Lyon the other southern candidate). The airline has moved several of its flights to Toulouse in recent years from other regional airports such as Rodez, but has no planes based in France. Staff, including pilots, will be employed on local contracts and decisions are likely to be made at the end of 2018.
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Nous sommes le jeudi dix huit janvier

Weather for ducks !
Yet another drizzly damp morning. I supposed we should not complain, it is fairly mild when there is no wind and the snow in the UK makes us glad we are not there.
We have the blacksmith coming this morning and I see one of our boys has been out clearing donkey pooh in preparation for his visit.
Thanks to the two friends who are doing trips to Caussade and back to take the other two of our boys to the Prefecture. They get the train from Caussade to Montauban.
Apart from the marechal ferrant we have an easy day, yippee!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

To help a young family from Syria

A new Syrian family at Penne, the second Syrian family at Penne
Today Veronique came for some of or treaures for this new family
We do not just sell things to make money for Mains Tendues 82, we help support refugees set up homes
Keep up the good work Veronique

Bosch under threat at Rodez

The Bosch factory at Onet le Chateau, Rodez, employs 1500 workers and supports about 10000 other businesses in the area. The factory manufactures diesel injectors and the downturn in demand for diesel vehicles has put the factory in danger of closing.
A delegation met officials of the Economy Minister yesterday to press for some recognition of the problems.
They proposed three lines of action: 1) a reversal of the "diesel-bashing" by government, 2) a campaign of "buy French made parts" to protect their output, 3) a longer term study of the options to safeguard employment on the site if Bosch invests in a new generation of injectors or decides to centralise production elsewhere.
Bosch has been active on the Rodez site since 1962 and is an important player in the industrial life of the area.
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Wood and food parcels

It is looking very unlikely that the 3 young men staying in our gite and applying for asylum will find a centre d'accueil anytime soon. They have had their 4 months right to stay renewed but told that there are no places free at the moment. We are not prepared to throw them out on to the streets in this weather, they have suffered enough. So a concentrated effort needed to continue their welfare.
We have used our winter supply of wood and another amount donated by someone who was leaving.
If you have wood you no longer use or you are leaving and we could have your wood we could come for it with a trailer.
Also if you wanted to donate a food parcel, rice, tomatoes, eggs, orange juice, milk etc. that would be gratefully received.
They have not yet received any government money, that takes some time to come so we are still buying toiletries etc. along with everything else. Cheques can be made to Main Tendues 82 if you wanted to help us support them.
We can be contacted for our address via

Pieces Jaunes

In the Post Office yesterday we spotted the little "Pieces Jaunes" money boxes and wondered what the money went to. You can get envelopes to hand in your little brass coins (10c, 20c, 50c) or pop them into collecting boxes. As ever these days there is an on-line giving option.
The sums collected are used to support children and adolescents during their stays in hospital. A hospital on the outskirts of Paris has seen its children's ward transformed from "glass boxes" to comfortable rooms, with bathrooms and space for a reclining chair for parents wishing the spend the night with their children.
The cost of 410000 euros was aided by a gift of 290000 euros from the Pieces Jaunes collection, which has now been in operation for 30 years.
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Is this justfiable?

Young farmers in the Tarn cut down four plane trees on the Lautrec/Realmont road in a protest against plans to change the boundaries of the special economic zone which provides them with assistance. They claim some 300 exploitations will be affected and it will lead to more destruction of hedgerows as bigger enterprises turn the land over to cereal production instead of the diverse production of the small farmers.
Their action was designed to shock, and although three of the trees were dead or diseased, they waved away disruption to local travellers, saying protection of their livelihood and farming methods were of benefit to all.
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Nous sommes le mercredi dix sept janvier

I love the idea of recycling and someone has given this address of a recycling station in Villefranche de Rouergue.

Cancer Support meeting

Want to brave the stormy Weather?? Cancer Support France coffee morning, Gazpacho, St Antonin, today, Wednesday 17th January 2018, 10-11.30am. Come see what we are about.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Working bikes needed

Bruniquel and Verfeil refugee centres are moving to a site outside Parisot. A twenty minute walk from the village, they are used to living in a village and making friends. So we want to try and get more bikes for them as I am sure Parisot will welcome the boys to all their facilities, library, shops, bar with music.
There cannot be many left with bikes to give away but if you have a bike in good condition then please contact us. As bikes in good condition are now getting scarce Mains Tendues would like to raise money to buy at least 5 cheap bikes from somewhere like Decathalon. So a donation or cheque made to Mains Tendues 82 would be appreciated. 
If you have an advert in the side bar now might be the time to send your cheque made payable to Mains Tendues82
Contact for correct address.

An interesting outing perhaps

Nous sommes le mardi seize janvier

Werner Braun showing photographs at Laguepie at the moment, next to the Bar du Viaur I think

Monday, 15 January 2018

Our finished new logo

Thanks to Helen Thomas for the design for our new logo and to Andrew Trender for the finished design.
We have a lot to do this year, raising money and working to change hearts, minds and attitudes.
Together we will be helping with our local refugees to improve lives in the area not just for our newly arrived refugees but for local villagers.
Some one asked last week why do Malc and I do it, why just not enjoy retirement?
Both of us are united in wanting to improve the world and attitudes being shown and expressed at the moment. If we can help do that and have some fun at the same time, we are up for it. Young people are such fun, it does not matter which country they are from, we are all the same species and the hideous remarks being expressed now, even against a new soon to be member of the Royal family shows how much work there is to be done.

Nous sommes le lundi quinze janvier

I am so often grateful for the monthly book swap, reading is a joy and recently Malc and I have enjoyed watching the odd DVD / film 
Malc says every spare moment my nose is in a book and that is thanks to the book swap I can relish reading. I will add that it is only evenings that I have a spare minute.
Just enjoyed William Boyd's Sweet Caress, a really good read and our latest film watched was Man of Fire both will be back at the next book swap.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

We love our " soupes"

Holy flash!

Vandalism of the detested "radars" (speed cameras) is not uncommon, but is mainly confined to insulting tags. But the author of the "degradation" of the camera near Sauveterre, Gers, obviously planned his or her work carefully. The machine was spayed all over in black, then a superhero Batman logo added and finally a pair of bat ears and eyes appended to the top.
Facebook capture
Gendarmes admitted that the perpetrator showed artistic imagination, but remind us that such "degradation de bien public" could entail a 45000 euro fine and 3 years in prison!
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Doggy walks in Toulouse

Walkers assemble in the Place du Capitole :pic.ML Lejeune
Dozens of dogs of all sizes and breeds assembled in Toulouse for the city's first free dog walk on Saturday (Jan 13). Designed to educate owners on the need for "responsible" behaviour, by them and their canine companions, the walk was accompanied by trainers. The authorities also hoped that the dogs would become socialised and get on together in the city streets.
The ville rose is home to some 50000 dogs and spends a good proportion of its cleaning budget on picking up crottes deposited by dogs. The exercise will be repeated each second and third Saturday in an urban park.
Sadly, these events tend to be preaching to the converted, but the maire hopes the publicity will bring the message home to the city's residents.
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Nous sommes le dimanche quatorze janvier

Last night we hosted a cinema evening for some Africans and an Afghan young man. A group of us had seen a couple of weeks ago Paddington 2 in the cinema in St. Antonin, so last night we watched the first Paddington here. 
What pleasure that little bear has given generations from initially the books by Michael Bond and now the films. I love hearing our boys laugh and at both evenings we all laughed and laughed together.
It was interesting to hear one young man telling others about the cinema in St. Antonin, " it has a big screen, huge, " He had never been to a cinema, I did wonder what he would think of a multi plex.
Some of the other boys who also had never been to one,  I must arrange to find a film that they would enjoy and take them. Infact with 50 refugees soon at Parisot and some families, if any one has some time taking a couple of refugees to the cinema would be a lovely thing to do.
With films they love comic action or things with a bit of glamour and excitement, James Bond is a favourite. 
If you see a film coming up that may fit the bill please let me know.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Albi world champion hangs up his bike

After setting two cycling world records in the last 5 years, Robert Marchand has decided on medical advice to retire from serious cycling. He had successively set the world best distance covered in one hour: 20 kms. Cyclists amongst you will say "what, only 20 km", but as Robert set his records aged 100 and 105 it's a fair achievement. He is the only cyclist to be acknowledged in those age brackets, but we guess his records will stand for some time.

Nous sommes le samedi treize janvier

Well what a change, a frosty morning but a lovely blue sky and the sun is up. I will go with that.

This is news in France and around the world

L'Afrique entière réclame des excuses. Les ambassadeurs du groupe africain (54 pays) à l'ONU ont publié, vendredi 12 janvier, un communiqué au langage d'une rare dureté, après les propos de Donald Trump, qui s'est emporté sur l'immigration qualifiant, selon plusieurs sources, des nations africaines et Haïti de "pays de merde".
Après une réunion d'urgence qui a duré quatre heures, le groupe de 54 ambassadeurs s'est dit "extrêmement choqué" et "condamne les remarques scandaleuses, racistes et xénophobes" de Donald Trump "telles que rapportées par les médias". Le groupe exige ainsi "rétractation et excuses". Il se dit "préoccupé par la tendance continue et grandissante de l'administration américaine vis-à-vis de l'Afrique et des personnes d'origine africaine à dénigrer le continent, et les gens de couleur."
Donald Trump, the American President embarrasses himself but in truth he embarrasses  the world. He brings the USA into disrepute, he brings us all who sit quietly listening into disrepute.
I am determined to fight racisim, cruelty, unkindness. Speak out wherever you are in the world. Fight for a decent world. This is the news today around the world, what a disgrace.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Varen to Caussade aller / retour

Many of you will know we have three refugees staying with us. They need to go each week to the train station at Caussade to catch a train to Montauban to get to the Prefecture for 9.30 am. Often with rdv's on different days.
Is there any one who could help us get them there or pick them up in the afternoon when they come back?

Vous savez peut-être que nous avons trois réfugiés chez nous qui vivaient  dans les rues de Toulouse. Leurs papiers d'asile ont été transférés à Montauban.
Chaque semaine, nous devons les prendre souvent trois jours  pour prendre le train de Caussade à Montauban, dans un train qui les emmène à la préfecture entre 9h et 10h.
Nous faisons autant Malc et moi pour le moment et aucun d'entre nous n'est au top le matin tôt trois fois par semaine.
Y at-il quelqu'un qui pourrait offrir de prendre le relais de temps en temps pour nous aider.
Le but est de leurs aider à entrer dans un centre d'acceuil bientôt.

Seville oranges / marmalade time

Hi Val,

I thought I saw a post on tag asking for the where abouts of Seville oranges (but then i could of imagined it) anyway if you did have a reader asking they have them at Le Comptoir Des Saveurs - the new fruit &veg shop at La Fouillade

Run by the young couple, Cedric and Sabrina who had l'air du temp restaurant at Najac can highly recommend them for fresh produce, bio grocery items etc Cedric also cooks on the premises offering fresh and frozen meals to take away (think you can eat them there as well).

have a good (wet) weekend


Martin Malvy to retire

The former president of Midi Pyrenees region, government minister, MP for the Lot and maire of Figeac for 30 years is to step down from his last political post as president of the Community of Communes of greater Figeac.
An active member of the Parti Socialist, Malvy was a towering figure for over 35 years in the south west. It is not known why he has made his decision at this time.

Caught on the not so merry-go-round

A motorist (aged 73, as if that had a significance) was flagged down by gendarmes in Brittany, but claimed he did not see them nor hear the sirens. Entering a roundabout in the town centre  he allegedly tried to confuse his pursuers by going round more than once. Seventeen times. Successively braking and accelerating he tried to shake off the gendarmes, but eventually they managed to stop him.
Charged driving in a dangerous manner, refusing to submit to a breath test and without a licence, which had been suspended in a previous incident, he was fined 7 euros per day for 90 days, plus 150 euro fine.
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Taking the......?

Taglines does not normally publish pictures from people's holidays, but local Verfeil residents Jean Donies and Alain Herremann sent us this with their new year greetings. They were in Australia.
Only a mild contrast with our morning views below!

Hi Val
 Also not a French story but my brother phoned today.  He lives in southern Manitoba in Canada, actually quite a “French” part of Canada.
This morning it was -32°C when he got up !

Nous sommes le vendredi douze janvier

Looking out this morning to see another wet and muddy day. The drive is full of puddles, the fields are wet and muddy. The donkeys move from one field hut to another escaping the showers. They do have soft beds of sraw in each hut but I dread when it gets wet and needs mucking out.
 A job for young men with new wellies.
The afternoons have been dry but these constant wet mornings have swollen the rivers many breaking their banks.
Roll on Spring please.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Good advice

Hi Val:

Just to clarify the law for foreign residents of France (non EU)...
you must obtain a French license 1 year after moving here on a permanent basis.  I goofed up on that one, as I wasn't aware of it for about 3 years continued to drive on my American license with no problem.  When I went to the Prefecture to apply for a French one, they weren't going to give me one because it was beyond 1 year, however, being the pushy American I am, I just refused to take no for an answer and bugged them several times...they kept saying no..but about 2 months later, I received the notice to appear for my medical (very simple eye test and blood pressure) and was immediately issued my French driving license.  As a French woman told me a few years ago, never take no for an answer in France!  I think this will continue to apply for UK expats.  Take a deep breath and don't let the scaremongers get to you!

Nous sommes le jeudi onze janvier

Saturday, January 13 at 21h In the village hall of Montricoux, the Festival Committee offers a theatre evening with the troupe "The Firefly" who present their  show "Tonight is the general ..." a burlesque creation around the last rehearsal before D-Day. Highly coloured characters, characters that clash, truths that are revealed little by little. Misunderstandings in misunderstandings, the actors are unleashed so that everything is in focus the next day but what does their director do? How to pass the time while waiting for it? To you to discover it ... An original show that does not lack spice ....

Not to be missed !

With: Delphine Virel, Floriane Lèbre, Isabelle Brabant, Francois Mercier, Patrick Ozil.

Directed by Marie-France Ménac.

Any resemblance to real or living people would be purely fortuitous ... or not !!! (single price 6 €)

Do you need a French "permis de conduire"?

This has appeared on another site:
"Hope you all have french driving Licences just seen this on another site Driving licence: According to Article 2 of Directive 2006/126/EC9 driving
licences issued by Member States of the Union are mutually recognised. As of the
withdrawal date, a driving licence issued by the United Kingdom is no longer
recognised by the Member States on the basis of this legislation"

It would not be so drastic as it appears, as France does allow foreign residents to continue to use their licence provided it is valid. It will need to be exchanged for a French licence if it is to expire or if an infraction involving a loss of points occurs. Presently French "permis de conduire" do not expire nor require certification of health at 70, though this will most likely change at some point.
It may be that recognition of UK driving licences forms part of the detailed Brexit agreements. Perhaps a little "scare mongering" in the above post.
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PS: the sub editor has a French permis - will it be recognised when in the UK?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Inondations at Varen

Memories of 16 years ago.
We had not long arrived here when the river Aveyron in Varen flooded. Flooded so badly that the river was half way up the walls of the Moulin de Varen. The then owners Nathalie and Bouzo had to be helicoptered out to safety and it made the TV news. It was always a joke that Nathalie could not go till she had on her fur coat and had put on her lipstick and she was winched up to the helicopter waving regally to the watching crowd.
Further along the river the bungalows along the bank were flooded so seriously that they too had to be evacuated by the pompiers. We had a lady friend who was furious, not realising how quickly the waters would rise, when she refused to leave, she was thrown over the shoulder of a pompier shouting all the while, but I have not got my handbag. 
We ladies know how important this is.
A couple of years after there were serious floods but in truth in the last few years the river has "inundated the road" but nothing more severe.
Photos today from Bruno Bengamra