Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Exchange a possibility

<<  I  have been advised not  to continue exercising on my current “velo d’appartment” because of the position of the handlebars. I have a severe back problem and should be in a “sit up and beg” (ie vertical) position when peddling and not leaning forward as in a road bike.  I love this bike which will fold up and take very little space & is in excellent condition but it isn’t what I need if I am going to ease the constant pain in my spine. Can  anyone please help me out with a swap for an upright model? >>
That’s Val. Thanks in advance,
Much love, 

Anticipation is high

The waiter who works at the Moulin de Varen thought they could reopen the 10th.
After a friend has seen Nathalie one of the owners she thinks it is more than likely to be the 20th of March

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt huit fevrier

The BOOK SWAP will be Monday 5th of March as always at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin, 10.30 to 11.30 am
I have organised it with military precision!!
 Chris Robinson and David Graham will collect the books and DVDS held at Paul Jacks, the chambre d’hote down the road.
They will unpack the books and keep the bags for me.
At the end of the swap Sue Glibbery from Poorpaws will arrive to pack up all the books and take them off for a donation to her book sale.
The money is shared with her dog charity and cancer research.
We will keep the DVD’s.
For the swap in April I have bags of super fresh stock, many titles we have not had before, many I have not read. April will be a real treat for us all.
I am going to try to pop in and if Malc was feeling up to it perhaps bring him, each day is different so never sure what to expect.
Penny Smith will be coming if you have sewing jobs.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

books for Poorpaws

Hi Val
I have books for PawPoors but can't get to the bookswap on Monday. Is there anyone who is going who I could drop them off this side our Varen? email me or phone 05 65 65 75 53.

Thanks Ali

Love love bal

Nous sommes le mardi vingt sept fevrier

A beautiful sunny but cold morning. The moon at 5 am was a full bright yellowy red, so beautiful I thought about getting my camera.
Changed my mind as I was in jim jams in the garden, Bonny  the old retriever had decided to do her doggy business. 
Sadly she has started often needing to go out in the night, even though she had been out at 11pm
Dogs are a lot of work which becomes more onerous as they get older, bit like us all really. 
We can see similarities with ourselves, an old dog with elderly owners.
Eldo the younger dog sleeps through our night times wanderings. I could say the sleep of the righteous if he did not sneak up and eat the cats food from their bowls early morning.
The cats are less problem ... except now Malc has moved to be on his own in a bedroom with ensuite, a room we now keep the cats out of, I end up with 3 on the bed taking up Malc’s place.
Thank heavens the donkeys stay in the field... and yet last night they started hee hawing when they heard me in the garden at 5 am
Pets who would be without them?

Monday, 26 February 2018

Beautiful soap from Caylus

Fabrication des Savons et Soins de Beauté au Naturel

- Hôtels, 
- Gites, 
- Maison d’hôtes, 
- Spas, 
- Centres de Beauté…..

- Cadeaux Invitées Mariage, - 
- Occasions Spéciales

- Découverte pour débutants
- Creatif pour intermédiaires
- Devenir Savonnier Professionnel
- Autres stages disponibles 

Tel: 0033 (0)5.63. 26. 09.20

Chambres de Metiers et de L'Artisanat de Tarn et Garonne
SIRET​ 82892804400019

Volunteers needed

Is anyone interested in volunteering for Cancer Support France, a group that supports (emotionally and practically) English speaking people with Cancer here in France? There is an information day coming up on the 13th March in Bournazel, near Cordes. Please contact Caroline on 06 16 32 25 44 if you are interested in finding out more. 
contact Caroline Maslin at or ring as above

Wild Oak Wood workshops

Hello Val
We are very busy getting things ready at our new place. I don't know if you've seen our new website but we're planning camping here in the summer Before that however we are launching our spring workshop series. We have workshops on the themes of mindfulness, crafting and bushcraft. I've launched the first workshops today and dates are to follow for the others. 
contact Becky Brown: 

Over 60? Sign up for dietary advice

Meet local literary lions

TAG still holds it own

As facebook now has so many readers and users, me included, one might think TAG would lose its appeal.
If you are a regular reader being interested in what is happening in our area of France you will be pleased to hear that TAG still regularly each day has between 500 and 1,000 readers, yes, every single day.
I know from the number of people we meet that the interest is still there.
Thank you all for reading. Numerous people are sending cheering messages for Malc and asking how he is doing.
He has had all his scans and is now awaiting a treatment plan which will probably include chemo.

Nous sommes le lundi vingt six fevrier

This was posted on Tag two years ago but on the internet is one of the most looked at TAG posts.
It was sent by Sally Clegg a retired dog breeder and how to make a dog bed is obviously a popular idea

Sunday, 25 February 2018

House fire at Espinas

Sad and sorry to hear of a house fire at Espinas where a couple we know well have lost their house due to a fire yesterday afternoon.
As yet it is not known what was the cause of the fire. No one was hurt.

Nothing worth while is easy

Firstly thanks to our Mains Tendues 82 team who worked to make yesterday such a success.
I would like to explain how our “frip” will work.
As the building is used on the occasional Wednesday by the Pensioners Club to play cards, after each Saturday opening we have to pack and store everything in the main room into the decent sized second room. It took an hour after closing to do this.
We got the key Friday afternoon and started the unpacking and sorting which took us till 5.30pm
This is useful to know.
We have decided EVERY FRIDAY afternoon we will be setting up and if you have items to donate this will be the best time for you to bring them.
So 3 pm till 5.30 someone will be in the old town hall in Varen which is in the centre of the village setting up and taking in donations.
Every Saturday we will be open. 10 to 12 and then after closing we will be there to pack up for an hour.
Items can be brought on Saturday but Friday would be best.
Often the team(10 of us) will be on holiday or have other arrangements, I might have hospital visits etc. so we do need more volunteers to come and help.
Everyone who helped for the opening really enjoyed it and the vibes from all the customers were  wonderful.
I was offered many  large items and I have asked that people send pictures to me so I can say yes or no.
This is a real community morning which is just going to grow and grow, come and join us if you can.

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt cinq fevrier

Good news that we hear that the  Moulin de Varen “ en principe” will be opening again on the 10th of March.
They have spent three months redoing the kitchen area and general painting. Although  the Moulin road was flooded, the inside of the Moulin stayed dry.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

This is how I want life and the world to be.

What an absolutely brilliant morning
The mainly elderly french villagers came in big numbers as we had hoped.
We really wanted this to be an adventure that everyone in the village shares
The brits who were here for half term and the residents from the Uk and the Dutch and other Europeans all came to support us
We were selling items often under 5 euros so you can guess how busy we must have been when I tell you we took 560 euros.
It was a great community morning with all ages, children and dogs all enjoying the opening.
Fred our Secretary suggested that a new creche which is just being created could open in the building next door so that their parents could come and help us
New items were being brought in all the time and some were sold instantly. In the corner where children are playing we sold all six chairs from there, making a kiddies corner.
On todays showing this is going to be a rip roaring success and the village and our refugees will all benefit
Malc was willing me on from home and after a couple of good nights sleep and starting to eat he is feeling a bit better.
We await his treatment plan.

Supporting babies in Bamako

An evening with music, dancing and good food and wine -  and all profits to buy baby milk for Via Sahel's nursery in Bamako, Mali.
Click here for directions to the Domaine de Sautou

Nous sommes le samedi vingt quatre fevrier

This is the old town hall in Varen, they may be pigeons but we were imagining they were doves of peace watching over us.
A brilliant imagination works so well.
Photo by Gareth Brown

Friday, 23 February 2018

Motorway staff to strike

Employees of Vinci, who operate most of the region's autoroutes, have give notice of a three day strike this weekend. A busy weekend of holiday changeovers, the company assures drivers that staff will be on hand for assistance at the peage stations to ensure driver safety. The strike starts today and lasts until Monday.
Nothing suggests that the tolls will lifted for the duration.
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mais avec moderation

"just the one". Pic Dominique Faget/AFP
All alcohol advertisements carry a health warning : "a consommer avec moderation" - a sensible precaution one might think. But with the worrying rise in alcohol related illness and delinquency there are calls for this to be beefed up.
President Macron acknowledges that there is a problem with young people binge drinking - but puts it down to the rise in popularity of spirits and beer. Not wine. He said there are no plans to strengthen the restraints on advertising especially with wine. He said it does not pay to "piss off the French people". He drinks wine at both midday and evening as do so many of his countrymen, with moderation, obviously.
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Busy day today for Mains Tendues 82

All systems go today as we move all smaller items we have for sale to the old mairie in Varen, ready for our opening tomorrow.
A band of helpers with cars and the strong arms provided by our boys will transport boxes of delights ready to go on sale.
The larger items when we have time we will photograph and the week after next we will be able to show a dossier of larger items available for sale.
Items range from household goods to DIY equipment, bedding, clothes mainly mens at the moment, things for the garden, glasses, pots, lots of good cutlery, ornaments and items for decoration, and remember all the prices will be low.
Profits raised by our association Mains Tendues 82 will go to support and create local good causes and of course support our refugees who are in turn supporting us.
Come and see us, there will be something to buy, and if not think of bringing something to sell.
Come and tell me if there are large items you need as I am often offered items which we cannot store but could come straight to you.

Nous sommes le vendredi vingt trois fevrier

We have reported before that Michel Bras, top chef is no longer chasing after Michelin stars, claiming what they are now asking for is not necessarily what the customers want. Now other top chefs are following the same line, one wonders if we shall see the demise of this  famous star rating for restaurants.

Ce que l'on recherche avant tout, c'est promouvoir nos restaurants et notre territoire.» C'est ce qu'a déclaré Cyril Simon, coprésident de l'association des restaurateurs du Tarn-et-Garonne. Une ambition confirmée par l'entrée et la confirmation au guide Michelin de plusieurs restaurants du département. Désormais, le département compte quatre tables (l'Auberge de Bardigues, le clos de Monteils, le Bistrot Constant et les templiers à Dunes) répertoriées au Bib'Gourmand du guide rouge qui distingue les cuisines de haute qualité à bon prix. Le Tarn-et-Garonne se hisse à la première place de la région dans cette catégorie. Cyril Simon, également chef cuisinier de l'Auberge de Bardigues, l'assure, ce titre le satisfait pleinement et le conforte dans sa démarche. Même ressenti pour Bernard Bordaries à la tête du clos de Monteils dont la cuisine est reconnue par le célèbre guide depuis plusieurs années. La course aux étoiles, très peu pour lui.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Trouble with the post

This morning for the third time  I need to go into the post office to ask “where is our post going..?”
For more than a month our post is just not being delivered here, it might be being delivered 
somewhere else but it is not coming to us.
 Not getting bills is a bit of a worry but our cheque book from the banque postal where we now have an account for Mains Tendues 82 has twice seen our cheque book not delivered. 
More worringly last week the hospital in Albi sent Malc an appoitment for an important scan with 
instructions not to eat and other very important instructions. 
Fortunately the hospital phoned to check we had received it and could comply.
So fed up as we have enough to worry about without having to chase up the post ... again.
Anyone else had this problem and got it solved?

Nous sommes le jeudi vingt deux fevrier

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Estabuffette in Varen market Saturday, as well as Mains Tendues82

Estabuffette, from Verfeil, sells delicious tarts every Saturday morning at the market in Varen. 
Pissalardiere, Tarte Flambe and rustic apple tarts. 
Nice little market as well with local produce, meat wagon from Laguepie, fresh fruit and veg, 
lovely handmade bread, local cheeses and more. Worth a visit!

All happening at Parisot

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt et un fevrier

How different one feels with a blue sky. There was ice on the donkeys buckets and 
there is a stiff cold wind, but the sun is out and the sky is blue.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Tempters for the vide maison

various brocante items
antique baby cot
old french kitchen pots
pots for paté
oven dishes
antique glasses
kitchen-cabinet for wine with service tray
Kitchen-cabinet, cupboard for  with glasses, tableware, etc.
garden pots
cane chairs
small detachable writing desk
2 boxsprings
and several other items
See earlier post

Vide maison near Rieupeyroux this weekend

Saturday 24th/ Sunday 25th February  10h - 17h

House contents including kitchen, ornaments, lamps etc, plus some DIY equipment. Off the D111 Villefranche - Rieupeyroux road. Contact Gerard for details.

The route to Capredonde; commune La Bastide L’Évêque.

From Villefranche de Rouergue on the D911 you turn left at Combe Haute, direction Teulières.
Keep following the windy road. When you get down in the valley do not go to Maloyre, but take the road to the left.
At the end of the road there is a T-junction; left is Teulière, but you turn right. You will pass a cemetery.
Just follow the road. The 4th house with the black gate on the right is where you want to be.

From Rieupeyroux on the D911you turn right at the sign Lonnac, Teulières. Then follow the road as above.

contact: Please phone me on 05 65 29 46 12 in France (We are in France at the moment) or on my Dutch mobile 00 31 6 53 37 99 56 or email:

Mains tendues 82, the shop opens Saturday24th february

I smile as I say we had a fermeture exceptionelle avant ouverture with the shop.
Malc suddenly being ill stopped us all in our tracks but now he will soon be under treatment 
so we can continue.
Saturday morning from 10 till 12 we will be opening a “glorified frip” nothing organised well I suspect till 
we get properly underway, but we do have good things to sell at good prices and we will be having some fun.
Will we see you there coming to buy or giving donations?
Donations have to be clean and saleable and work if it is a workable item. 
please do not bring us rubbish fit for the tip, sorting takes time.
Also if you want to help come and give us your name and ask what you can do.
All profits will go to local schemes, some schemes which we will create along with schools, refugees and 
anyone in need in the area.
Come and have fun and help us help others

For the Dutch man who is trying to send us information about his house content sale the address is above. Send all the information to that address and I will contact you to say it has arrived.

Nous sommes le mardi vingt fevrier

Pretty muddy along the banks of the Aveyron yesterday, a large tree has got trapped by the Moulin 
as it was swept along with the river current.
What a wet start of the year 2018 and it is raining again today.
along with the river

Monday, 19 February 2018

Funny hour in Toulouse

Can you you make people laugh?  How do you fancy joining other comedians on stage to do a 10 minute set? We're looking for comics (preferably with some experience but not necessarily, first timers are welcome!) to participate in 'Funny Hour', the new open-mic comedy night at 'L'annexe de la Comédie de Toulouse' on Wednesday nights, once a month.
Contact : — attending Funny Hour / Comédie de Toulouse at La Comédie de Toulouse.

Nous sommes le lundi dix neuf fevrier

Sunday, 18 February 2018

These young people are our future

Yesterday our daughter stayed with Malc as I went with our granddaughters to visit our boys. 
Africans, Pakistanis, Afghans, youngsters from Henley on Thames.
They had their youth in common,  very little else, but with open minds and with open hearts all want to 
make the world a better place for everyone. One forgets how the young laugh, one of the reasons I enjoy
being  with young people.
The girls are always amazed how each house of boys insist you eat and drink with them and as always 
we left full of green tea and apple juice.
We were delighted to meet the new Afghan family, a couple with two children and two boys who were 
sons of the mans brother. We do not know family circumstances but we did discover they are a lovely family.
The beautiful young wife had a tiny week old baby born whilst they had been living on the streets in Paris.
I did feel this young girl needs some support from other young mothers. Her husband tells me she is missing friends 
and family in Afghanistan.
She is on a site at the moment with nearly 50 young men so a friendly womans face would be appreciated.
It is difficult to communicate with her except with smiles and gestures but that worked very well, baby talk
with a couple of babies there is never too difficult.
There is an office at the entrance to the site and the staff, Anais, Stephanie, Samy  and others will welcome 
your friendly visits.

The kestrels are here

As I was out filling the bird feeders early this morning, we had a visit from the kestrel pair. Both checking out the nesting site in the wall of the gite. We know they have nested there  each year for more than 18 years. Who knows how many years the changing generations have used these nests.
There is a choice of 3 holes in the wall, and they sometimes change which one they use.
It gives us  hope that spring is around the corner seeing these lovely birds.
We are being visited by hawfinches, nuthatches, blue tits, great tits, marsh tits, chaffinches, green finches, wood peckers,bramblings,goldfinches. They are the seed eaters.
We also have a visiting buzzard, blackbirds, robins, magpies and jays, the last two not to be encouraged.
Our three cats seem to just ignore the birds, just too well fed perhaps. They do however catch the odd mouse and rat.
Do you take pleasure in bird watching?

Nous sommes le dimanche dix huit fevrier

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Local Carrefour stores not under threat.

The supermarket chain has announced that it will close over 200 local stores not considered profitable. A leaked document reveals that only one store in Midi Pyrenees is affected, in a Toulouse suburb. This means that the St Antonin shops will not be affected at present, perhaps to the disappointment of some local residents, but more likely to the relief of most.
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Nous sommes le samedi dix sept fevrier

Art nouveau
La pharmacie Lesage which can be found at Douvres-la -délivrande. Constructed in 1901 by Georges Lesage using the plans of the architect Rouvray copied by Hector Guimard.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Concert to look forward to

News is positive

Whoever thought we would be grateful for a cancer prognosis.
Yesterday we were relieved to be told Malc has lymphoma affecting his lymph nodes, liver and stomach but there is good news that the Drs are confident it will respond well to chemotherapy and that generally it is not too aggressive.
Malc now awaits more tests then will start with treatment.

Family are here with us and all spirits are high and positive and if only we can learn how to post pictures with my new ipad all will be right with the world

Nous sommes le vendredi seize fevrier

We all sat watching the mist roll in this very mild morning. The family are enjoying the views and our Annie, youngest granddaughter took this photo on my new ipad.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Nous sommes le jeudi quinze fevrier

Wow - it's so mild. And meteo France says up to 15C today. The family members who arrived a day early are finding our house a little warm; perhaps we need to look at the adjustments made by the very efficient "chauffagiste" (a Viesmann agent) who came and got us back on track.
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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

It's "mardi gras"

Shrove Tuesday as we know it in English, marks the last day before the traditional fast for Lent and always falls 47 days before Easter. The day is not particularly seen as a Christian festival despite its significance, but as a chance to eat and celebrate before the enforced fasting and abstinence of Lent. In many parts of the world Mardi Gras means "Carnival" (note the latin word for meat carne at the root of the word) and carnival is celebrated with extravagant parades. In more sober Dunkerque the procession is halted at the mairie where the maire and councillors pelt the crowd with smoked herring.
We Brits mark the day by using the last of winter's flour and fat to make pancakes and having silly races. The French crepe day is always 2nd February, marking 40 days since the birth of Christ and his presentation at the synagogue. Lighting candles and making galettes for the festival of Chandeleur has quite a different meaning to Shrove Tuesday, and the galettes (pancakes) are to be given to pilgrims.
Lemon or sugar (golden syrup for Val....)?
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Nous sommes le mardi treize fevrier

Woke up to bright blue skies, cold but not so windy as yesterday. Meteo France does suggest that it will turn to rain down here, though if you are travelling north today beware of snow and ice.
We are having a worry with our heating system so are waiting for a plumber to check it out. Fortunately it is not keeping it cold, rather we have scalding hot water in taps that are not thermostatically controlled - but "one fault could hide another" as the French say.
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Monday, 12 February 2018

British Embassy Outreach

Sent by John Dawson
Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email.

The meeting will take place at 1730 at “Centre de Formation Consulaire”, 61 Avenue Gambetta, 82000 Montauban. The Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy will begin by giving a short update on the situation regarding citizens’ rights in the context of Brexit and then the floor will be opened for questions.

All those wanting tickets should sign up here:

We hope this information is of help to you.

Kind regards

Public Enquiries

British Embassy

35 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré

75008 Paris

New miracle at Lourdes confirmed

Yesterday 11th February is recognised as the anniversary of the revelation of the Virgin Mary to young Bernadette. Since that time millions of pilgrims have made the trip to south west France in the hope of a cure from many illnesses and disabilities. Over the years many people have claimed to be cured and yesterday Sister Bernadette Moriau, a Franciscan nun from northern France was recognised as the 70th recipient of a miraculous cure. Ten years ago at Lourdes she experienced the presence of Mary and Bernadette and was able to walk unaided for the first time in years; her spinal defect is said to have cleared up with no medical reason.
Since the onset of my debilitating but so far undiagnosed illness a trip to Lourdes is about the only thing not suggested. So many kind people have suggested various remedies involving the power of thought, prayer, diet, communing with nature, all attesting to non-medical cures.
I guess you have to buy into this; to believe the basic premise (I dont think any non-Catholics have been cured at Lourdes). But keeping an open mind and respecting others beliefs doesn't mean I will be abandoning the Health service quite soon. But keep on praying out there!
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Nous sommes le lundi douze fevrier

Beautiful blue sky here this morning. I think it has rained overnight judging by wet cats coming in and the donkeys this morning looking sad and damp. Poor things seem to have spent weeks sheltering.
Yesterday we had a visit from a friend on her way back from Milhars where she had been to the '' willow fete'' She says it was packed out, what a successful day that is each year.
We also discussed the Churchill film with Gary Oldman which is on at the Querlys this week. Malc and I really wanted to see that but we will wait now to buy the DVD later.
My ipad is still dead but as it was very old it is perhaps time for a new one... when we have time to think about it.
have a good day everyone.

Sunday, 11 February 2018


My ipad appears to be sick this morning so I am trying to be recognised by Malc's computer and then learn to use all the different applications.
Bear with us as we mess about.
Another wet miserable day
We long for more sun.  

Not French news but you will understand.

Our news, not French news but I think you will understand our relief and pleasure.
Our youngest granddaughter has been ill with a mystery illness since before Christmas. A couple of days ago the Drs after an ECG ruled out epilepsy. She is improving steadily and yesterday was chosen by Berkshire to be in their athletics team. She won her events and the team came second overall.
A great pick up for Grandad, one less worry. Annie is bottom right.

Nous sommes le dimanche onze fevrier

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Play list 80's

Smaller producers of Bordeaux wine in trouble

Hard to make a living from the land as we read here about the frosts last year in Bordeaux
A piece copied from The  Local talking to wine producers.

"We have nine batches which are satisfactory but not enough to produce a Climens," Nivelle says of the 2017 harvest. "It's a shame, it had a nice potential."
It will be the first time since 1993 the estate has missed the annual vintage for its top drop, first awarded the Grand Cru classification in 1855.   
With a harvest that slumped to just two hectolitres (about 44 gallons) from the usual 20 hectolitres, Chateau Climens will get by on stock of the 2016 vintage -- though Nivelle said he was facing nearly an entire year's worth of lost sales.
Overall wine production in Bordeaux shrank 40 percent last year as vineyards found themselves coated in late frost twice at the end of April, ravaging the fragile shoots and buds that emerged prematurely following an unusually mild March.
But while some escaped unscathed, such as those in Medoc, others in Saint-Emilion were hit particularly hard. One out of five Bordeaux estates lost more than 70 percent of last year's harvest, according to the local agriculture council, mainly the lower-lying where the frost was most severe.
Climens lies on lower ground, while chateaux at higher altitude, including stars such as Yquem or Rieussec, were largely spared the damage.
Xavier Planty, president of the Sauternes-Barsac winegrowers' association, predicted "a magnificent vintage" for these lucky few, citing an ideal contribution from botrytis, or "noble rot".
No insurance
Like most houses, Climens had not taken out insurance to cover frost damage. The prospect didn't seem worth the high cost, especially since the region hadn't seen a similar spring cold snap since 1991.
Even those that did insure have found that the policy coverage only goes so far. Chateau Guiraud, for example, won't be compensated after losing nearly 40 percent of its harvest because the method for calculating losses is based on average grape yields -- which the rich Sauternes grapes hardly ever reach.
Overall, estates in the Sauternes-Barsac appellation lost half of the year's harvest on average, said Planty, a co-owner at Chateau Guiraud.
Bigger or well-known brands will get by because "the banks are standing by them," he said. But of the 142 chateaux that make up the appellation, fewer than 10 are larger than 50 hectares (125 acres) -- and the average has just five hectares.
As a result, between 300 and 400 small producers in the Gironde department which encompasses Bordeaux are facing an inability to finance their 2018 grape crops, according to the local SOS Vignerons Sinistres (Save Our Stricken Vineyards) association.
"As of January 3, banks are starting to pull back. They've been sending out letters demanding that short-term loans be paid back immediately," or cutting off overdraft facilities, said association president Florence Cardoso. "People really don't know what to do."
An ominous sign is the number of fields where vines haven't yet been pruned back in preparation for this year's crop -- meaning their owners may have already thrown in the towel, especially those nearing retirement age with no obvious successor.
Others already know they won't make it.
"I was already in receivership; the frost put an end to things," said a 40-year-old Bordeaux grower who asked to remain anonymous. 

Winter games

French athletes have a long record of success at the winter Olympic Games, partially because in early years downhill skiing was among the most common event and French Alpine skiers were already well versed, (specially those military members of the Alpine Chasseurs).
In fact the first designated winter games were held in France in 1924, when the summer games were also in Paris (though in 1920 there had been some skating and skiing in Norway). Before WW2 the Games were always held in the same country as the summer event. The French games were at Chamonix, the infamous 1936 German winter games were held at Garmisch Partenkirchen, but after the war the winter Olympics were held in separate countries and since 1994 have been on a different cycle to the summer games.
The 2022 Games will be in China and because the dates are always in February no southern hemisphere country has been able to host the Games. Neither has Britain ever been awarded the Games...
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Nous sommes le samedi dix fevrier

Friday, 9 February 2018

Who will pay for the damage?

A64 Muret/St Gaudans: pic Nicolas Albrand
Vinci Autoroutes estimate that the cost or repairing damage to the A61,A62,A68,a64 as well as the Toulouse ring road will run into millions. Not simply removing the rubbish dumped and slogans daubed, but crash barriers ripped up and road signs smashed.
The company has lodged a complaint, but at the moment nobody knows who will pay. The maire of Montauban says her commune has paid for removal of tons to tyres, but believes the government is responsible and should pay. We wonder if the farmers' unions who called fro and organised the protests can be held responsible.
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Farmers' protests ended?

Following a meeting with the minister for agriculture on Wednesday, farmers' unions believe an acceptable formula has been reached to re-design the map of areas designated as unfavourable for farming. There were 472 communes included in the plans to withdraw the status, therefore the subsidy, but this has been reduced to 182 in Occitanie.
Agriculteurs are asked to dismantle the barriers and cease their actions. The unions believe they could not have achieved this without their action and apologise for the inconvenience caused, but think that local residents will understand that good food is worth fighting for.
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Nous sommes le vendredi neuf fevrier

Better morning this morning, dry and bright but very cold.
Great news that the Parisot CAO will be welcoming a family with 4 small children next week and two more families will be welcomed. All the young men will be so delighted, in all their cultures they love children and it will bring another dimension to the group which will be around 50 people.
The children will go to local schools and it will bring in the community even more.
If you live in the Parisot area why not go along and offer help, you will be welcomed. Anais Rondeau is head of the equipe.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Nous sommes le jeudi huit fevrier

What a day yesterday, worried about the traffic, worried about Malc, just worried.
Today everything looks different. 
All tests are done and we await our RDV next week with the surgeon at Albi hospital. It will be a relief to know exactly what is going on and how we are going to get it fixed.
No more health reports for now and thanks for all your concerns and help offered. 

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Open day for CSF

Dear friends of Cancer Support France, 

I am delighted to announce that we are holding an open, information day regarding Cancer Support France here in the Tarn. This is an opportunity for those who have expressed an interest in our organisation to find out exactly how we work and what we do.  

It will be held at my house in Bournazel, 81170 (4km from Cordes sur Ciel) on Tuesday 13th March at 10.00am.  

Our CSF Sud president, Penny Parkinson, will be attending, as will a number of our active listeners and volunteers. We will be discussing the following items:

The history of CSF and CSF Sud and what we do
What is Active Listening (AL)
Confidentiality & Boundaries
How you can help

After this presentation, there will be a light buffet lunch and then there will be a chance to chat with our members and ask any other questions you may have about our organisation. We should be finished by about 2.30pm.

If you would like to attend, please contact me directly to reserve a place. Also, please pass this email onto anyone that you think may be interested.

Please do not hesitate in contacting me if you have any queries.

Kind regards

Caroline Maslin

06 16 32 25 44

Some sympathy but...

Blockages on roads through France by farmers unhappy at changes in areas qualifying for subsidies, some losing up to 6,000 euros we are told.
But and although I have some sympathy I detest the way farmers hold the country to ransom every time they are unhappy. Last year it was the over use of nitrates on the land polluting rivers, now this year subsidies. Blocking roads stopping, as I now know, many friends getting to hospital, possibly Malc included. People working who also have families to feed. Costs of clearing up burning tyres and moving rubbish and cow dung dropped outside prefectures.
How can they get away with dangerous activies without police intervention. I will never really understand this.
Anyway wish Malc and I well as we try to get through for a very important RDV at hospital and other friends having dialysis and hospital appointments.

 If anyone dies in an ambulance unable to get to hospital, would the farmers blocking the roads be held responsible?

Nous sommes le mercredi sept fevrier

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Road blocks Wednesday

Tony says:

I understand that tomorrow, ALL roads in and out of St Antonin will be blocked by tractors!!
Not sure of the situation around Montauban but believe that existing blockages will remain the same.
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Humans have reached maximum height and age

Apparently studies published in a medical journal suggest that although humans more routinely reach 100 years of age almost never has the figure of 120 years been reached (except in myth). Similarly, despite both men and women having gained 8-10 centimetres in height over the last 100 years, there has been no appreciable increase over the last 30 years. Dutch men are still the tallest at 1.82 cms on average. Nothing was said about average weight, which visual evidence suggests has increased hugely, in the west at least.
The sub editor, having been weighed on a almost daily basis these last few days and is used only to metric weights and measures now, wondered what his weight is in "old money". A quick "coup de calculatrice" shows that 71 kilos is pretty well exactly 11 stone (154 lbs to our American readers), or 0.02 elephants apparently. Interesting to see the doctor's reaction when he is told we are now using the elephant scale.
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* we wonder how they got the elephant onto the bathroom scales..

Snow makes a change from the rain

Just fed sunflower seeds to the birds, knowing they will miss a few seeds and next year we will have the odd smiling sunflower. Just cheers you up with the thought. 
Also every morning when I go to feed the donkeys our resident kestrel is sitting on the roof and it is not many weeks before the cycle of kestrel  reproduction starts all again.
Feeling positive as Malc is back home having had his tummy drained and is feeling a bit better. He goes back to hospital tomorrow for more tests. Thank you for all the helpful stories of those who have been there before us. 
"Growing old is not for the faint hearted" said to us by a good friend.

Life in France seen through the eyes of a child

Our grand daughters recollections of holidays here in the country in France. Surely everyone has hens in the bedroom.

Nous sommes le mardi six fevrier

Agriculters as part of their campaign to try to regain subventions lost in departmental changes, decided to steal Mont St. Michel.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Traffic help needed

Hi Val,
I feel awful asking you anything at the moment with Malcolm unwell but 
Please can you ask tag if anyone knows what the traffic is like between Caussade & Blagnac... we have to take a vintage car there on Wednesday morning....

The book swap went well

Hi Val

A quick note to say we managed to fill the tables at the Gazpacho very soon after 10.15 this morning, David and Helen were so prompt!  That said, we ran out of steam after an hour, and everything was back at Maison Belmont by 11.30.  For an unremittingly rainy morning there was quite a good turnout.  A great many enquired after Malcolm, so please pass on our love and best wishes, and post us all a bulletin as soon as you have some news to pass on.  Above all, if any of your cohorts of friends, supporters and admirers can do anything to help, do please say.....


Nous sommes le lundi cinq fevrier

Sorting out animals and then off to spend the best part of the day at Albi hospital.
Malc is having tests and biopsies this week and hopefully by next week we will have all the results and a better idea of his prognosis. 
I will spend time tonight replying to all your kind messages, it really helps so many care.
The bureau Mains Tendues 82 has unanimously decided to leave the opening of the shop till March.With the  spring there will be more people about so it could be a better time to open.
Sorry TAG is a bit dominated by our personal news at the moment.
Do not forget it is the book swap this morning.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Monthly quiz at St. Antonin

By popular demand, I am organising a monthly quiz at the Gazpacho bar in St Antonin-Noble-Val, which will be open to all comers. The inaugural quiz is on Wednesday 21st February at 7.30pm. Do come along with your team of 4 people or if you are on your own or only 2 people, we can organise a team for you. The level of questions will be as that of a pub quiz in the UK – not too difficult, not too easy, just right. 
To register your team, or for more information, please email or message me.
Numbers will be limited, so book in early to avoid disappointment. 
I hope to see you then. Gill Catterall

Le Corbusier at Rodez

photo: E Cabanis/AFP
Best known for his modernist architecture and advocacy of the artistic use of concrete in his buildings, Le Corbusier was also a talented painter, drawer and sculptor.
The Musee Soulages in Rodez has dedicated 500m2 to an exhibition of 35 works from the architect's artistic output from now until 20th May 2018.
Tracing his thinking and development from the 1920s  to the 1960s  the exhibition has been curated by the architect Jacques Sbriglio, for whom Le Corbusier is the "go to" figure in modernism.
For details look at the gallery's website on

No more cheap Nutella

After the "riots" in Intermarche supermarkets following the 70% reductions in the price of Nutella and Pampers, the store has decided not to have any more such promotions. There are doubts about the legality of such sales as retailers are not allowed to sell at a loss except in specific circumstances. It may be that Intermarche negotiated a deal with the suppliers to allow a reduced margin, but they still needed to meet the rule demanding that the item have been offered at the higher price within the preceding 2 months.
The "grandes distributions" (supermarket chains) have all signed an agreement ahead of a new law to limit disloyal competition, but the ministers claim that such agreements are systematically flouted, because the extra trade in other products in the stores more than makes up for the losses.
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Book swap Monday the 5th

As always at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin, book and DVD swap Monday.
Chris Robinson is taking over for Monday, so please give him all the help you can.
I will sort the books the following month.

Books needed for Poorpaws

Hi Val,
How are you doing ?  Just wondering if you could do the usual and put out a request for books for us.  Sale is on the 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day and we are actively collecting now.
Thanks, as always.

Nous sommes le dimanche quatre fevrier

Better news today, Malc with the proviso to do nothing and take his painkillers got  a week end pass. He has come home as there were no tests this week end and I have to get him back early tomorrow morning. He cannot walk about without being breathless so sitting watching the birds is a relaxing past time.
We do not want to talk about his health situation until we have the results of all the tests. We know it is not his heart and on Wednesday he will be put to sleep whilst they take biopsies from some masses.
It could be a long haul but Malc, Sam our daughter and I are up for the challenges ahead.
Some lovely messages from our lads offering prayers and help. The most amazing one from Sohail from the other side of France offering his blood. Thanks Sohail it is a lovely thought.
Thanks to all those helping and offering help, at the moment the problem is the dogs. Sarah Brown had a nightmare of an early evening when she came to feed the dogs to find they had escaped from the courtyard and spent a couple of hours driving round the countryside till she eventually found them on their way home, filthy and tired... and that was also Sarah as she manhandled them into their car.
Margaret thanks for your help and Jo as well.
If I have not replied to your messages it is because there are so many and I am too busy spending time on anything but looking after Malc. 
Love to you all.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Traffic through St. Antonin

It would appear that all traffic travelling from Paris to Toulouse including HGV’s are still being diverted off the motorway south of Cahors and sent via Caussade and through St Antonin, so it’s pretty slow going down the hill!

Nous sommes le samedi trois fevrier

Another brief update for friends
Malc needs lots of tests to discover exactly the extent of his problem
He is really grateful for all your messages and best wishes and we are all staying positive.
I think we will need all your help in the coming weeks.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Cinema at Milhars


Pour la prochaine séance de cinéma à Milhars, nous vous invitons le

pour découvrir

« Les Gardiennes » 
de Xavier Beauvois avec Nathalie Baye et Laura Smet.

Nous sommes le vendredi deux fevrier

Another quick one, Malc is stable in hospital and having a morning more of tests.
Just had a scam letter saying " Click here, your life is about to change" I felt like clicking to tell them to
"sod off" but I restrained.
Thanks for all your messages. I spoke to Malc on the phone this morning and raised a smile when I told him some of our boys want to come and see him. Also lots of prayers being given in Arabic and Inshallah's sent
Our daughter is flying in this morning.
The book swap is Monday so you may all have to take books and bring some away. It will work and the following month I will sort all those you bring back.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Not this week end

Just a brief note to say Malcolm was rushed off to hospital this morning with a heart problem.

Talking to others on the bureau of Mains Tendues 82 we have decided not to open the shop in the village 
this week end.
Please tell your friends or others who were thinking about coming.

Nous sommes le jeudi premier fevrier

White rabbits 
Donkeys fed, dogs need walking and we have had two phone calls from the Doctor to say Malc must go as early as he can. He is really not well and yesterday had some blood tests and there are " des soucis"
So defintely white rabbits and crossed fingers.