Monday, 30 April 2018

Hardly used double bed for grabs / gone

Dear Val
Here is a photo of the bed I mentioned to you. It is surplus to requirements. Perfect for an occasional guest bed. It has been hardly used.
Size is 140 x 190cm
I do not want any money for it but a donation to your charities would be appreciated.
Buyer to collect

A plant stall opposite the friperie in Varen

If you want really healthy looking herbs, there is a lady selling plants and herbs opposite the frip in Varen.
The basil I bought Saturday is wonderful and I am told I need to buy some more of her herbs, coriander is also good.
With Estabuffet selling quiches, lemon tarts and apple pies, a fish stall back after losing one we had a few years ago, the wonderful fresh fruit and vegetable ladies, ( yes, even the ladies are fresh)
Saturday mornings in Varen are the place to be.

Another good plant fair

How often do you see a dog with all these attributes?

mâle de 3 ans, ok chien, ok chat, ok enfant, ok volaille. Titou est un chien très sympa, affectueux. Il est identifié. Frais d'adoption: 55 euros
A cutie of a dog, three years old and is Ok with other dogs, cats, children and hens. Titou is very sweet and loving. adoption fee 55 euros
The dog is with the assoc. Truffes et Moustaches in St.Antonin contact me for more info.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Garage sale

Please, can I inform you that we have a 

Garage Sale Sunday 6 May 10-16 h
In Saint Antonin Noble Val
la fin de Chemin de Santou (en Haute)

Tel: 05 63318973;  mobile: 06 28620369

Orange alert for storms today

Parts of Tarn and Garonne, Lot and Correze may have heavy rain today, leading to flooding. An orange alert has been posted by Meteo France, running from 6am to 6pm (18h). Given the areas of the alert it may be more north and west of T&G which is affected and we eastern parts may be spared the worst - let's hope so for all the events taking part today.
Worth pointing out that Tuesday is May 1st, an official holiday and many firms may "faire le pont" by closing tomorrow as well.
comments to

Two sweet chairs for sale. SOLD

10 euros each
Mains Tendues 82
Contact Val.

It is today

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Helping, well it is not easy.

You might laugh at this, laughing is good for you.
Friend Sarah and I worked at the friperie in Varen today, we had a good day and got loads of good donations. we are happy about this but donations need unpacking and two working is just not enough.
As we finished and thanks to Sylvie Milles and Marcia Scott for helping us pack away, I went to give a donation to someone in need.
The elderly lady has a huge dog, the biggest I have ever seen, I think a Pyrenean mountain dog very overweight on entering the garden it flew at me for a cuddle and knocked me for six ( actually maybe for 12) The lady tried to help me up but I felt quite sick and faint with a bloody finger and bruised arm and leg I asked her to leave me a minute, but she said I must get up. As the dog jumped on me ready to fornicate I realised why.
She managed to pull it off and I escaped beyond the gate and with shaking hand passed over the donation.
Sometimes helping is not easy... but now with injuries sorted with all the necessary betadine and creams I can see the funny side.
I am desirable but only to randy huge dogs... and Malc of course.

Another good reason to buy at the frip

Friday, 27 April 2018

Fashion from the frip

Who is this very fashionable lady?
Yes, it is me. 
An outfit bought for 5 euros from the Varen friperie, money going to our charity Mains Tendues82.
A charity which helps people in need in our locality.
Come tomorrow to Varen, 10 till 12 and catch yourselves some bargains.

Choral concert at Sautou

Upholstery equipment and doggy coats

Hi Val
I have some items for Sale.
All you need for upholstery: magnetic tack hammer, tack lifter, various big and curved needles, various sizes of tacks, webbing,etc. The hammer alone was expensive. Another door closes…. 15 EUROS
And two Driza-bone (like a Barbour) sheepskin-lined dog coats. Unused presents. About £60 each new. XXL ( spine 69 cm,around chest 90 cm), Suit Labrador +     30 euros each or 55 euros the two
A donation to your charity 

If you’re going to be at Gazpacho for Book Swap, I will bring the phones for your boys.

Also, I did say a while ago that you can continue to keep the Swap  books at our house ( no 15, ave Paul Benet)  until it is sold.

Very best to Malcolm for his continued recovery

Val says  Carrie what a brilliant offer and so appreciated to be able to leave the books at the chambre d’hote is just brilliant.
So appreciated.  X
 Contact for purchases.

EU to vote for total ban on neonicotinoids

The EU commission is to vote today to impose a total outdoor use of a group of insecticides thought to be responsible for the destruction of bees and other pollinators. There has been a partial ban since 2013, but now several major countries, including the UK, have signalled their willingness to strengthen the ban.
Many farmers are opposed to the ban saying there is no proven science and it will simply lead to more imports from outside the EU. The Commission needs 65% of the population representatives to agree to the ban (which will not apply inside greenhouses) and hopes to get the proposal agreed today (Friday 27th April).

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Famous Laguepie plant fair this Sunday, 29th April

Generally acknowledged as the official start of spring (unlikely to be more frost, they say) the village will be packed for the Spring Plant fair. Growers and amateur gardeners alike will be thronging the streets for this most colourful event. Get there early to park and avoid the queues.

Garden centre open all weekend

Antigymnastique workshops in Milhars

I will held free discovery sessions, weekly and monthly groups from May 3rd, call me for details.

Free sessions:

May 3rd 4.30pm, May 4th 6pm, May 9th 2pm, May 12th 5pm, May 17th 6pm, May 18th 5.30pm

Intensive workshops:

Sun May 6th 3pm to May 8th 5pm (1 space left)
Sat May 19th 10am to May 21st 5pm
Fri July 27th 10am to July 29th 5pm
Fri August 3rd 10am to August 4th 5pm
Fri August 10th to August 12th 5pm
Mon August 13rd 10am to August 15th 1pm

Antigymnastique® focuses on the entire being : body and mind are intertwined. Get rid of the contractions, stiffness, muscle and joint pain that exhaust you, shrink you and restrict your freedom.
I will make you discover the benefits of this powerful body work :  improved mobility and muscle tone, decreased stress and muscular tension (back, neck, shoulders, etc.), improved ease of movement and coordination.

I have been a practitioner for the last 12 years in Fontenay sous Bois (94).
I welcome 6 people at a time, reservation required: 06 51 66 05 53

Brigitte Bruneau
Praticienne certifiée d'Antigymnastique

7 rue Médéric 94120 Fontenay sous Bois
148 rue de Charonne 75011 Paris
81170 Milhars
09 50 74 40 61 

Book swap will be the 7th of May

The next book swap will be Monday 7th. of May 
We will be able to leave our books at the nearby Chambre d’hote for the last time, so we have some thinking to do where we can stock the books after that.
I am happy to sort the books for each swap at the end of the event but without Malc to help carrying I can no longer store or carry them all.
We need to come  up with a cunning plan and we have the time to discuss this swap.
I think we would all want the morning to continue.

Open every Saturday morning, but the 5 th of May will be in a special cause.

Notre association Mains Tendues 82
samedi 5 mai
De 10h à midi, tout ce qui est vendu à Varen sera vendu au profit des réfugiés de Parisot. Nous avons besoin de soutien de la part de tout le monde pour faire des dons et venir nous aider à vendre pour en faire une matinée vraiment réussie.
Nous sommes ouverts vendredi après-midi de 15h à 17h pour accepter des dons mais cela ne marchera vraiment qu'avec tout le monde.
Nous sommes dans le centre de Varen dans l'ancien hôtel de ville

On Saturday May 5th everything we sell in the friperie, all the  money will go to aid the refugees at Parisot.
A one off morning.
We will then be doing other special mornings to support the school, old age pensioners and the association Et puis d’ailleurs.

An organic approach

In defence of the guêpes.
Hi Val, I was saddened to see the article on tag advocating a wholesale chemical attack on a roof against guêpes. Yes guêpes can be a right pain however they are incredibly useful in the garden. They collect caterpillars & aphids to feed their young not to mention pollinating many plants & being a source of food for birds. Jam jars with a mixture of jam & water with a hole punched in the top work as a good trap, panache & syrup drinks also work. A balanced eco system in a garden with a few traps out will keep them under control which is surely what's necessary. Our eco system is a fragile thing & annihilation of anything & the use of chemicals does no favours to anyone or anything in the long term. Just my views as a successful organic gardener.

Good news day

Celebrating yesterday afternoon.
Our darling Sudanese boys who have been waiting a year to put in their asylum applications have been given the right to proceed. Since before Christmas they have had the threat of being sent back to Italy hanging over them.( Italy as we know is swamped with asylum seekers, who end up living on the streets whilst applications are processed.)
Our boys have now the opportunity to give their stories of why they are here seeking asylum. The relief for Mosab, Aladine, Mamoud, Solyman, Havis,Abdalgan, Mohamed is enormous.
Thank you friend Esma for bringing the boys to see Malc and I so we could celebrate with coca cola and biscuits.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Sous couverture

New hands to help, new place for storing

D day is the beginning of June
The first Monday in June for the book swap is the 4th
On this date at the end of the book swap at St. Antonin I will as always sort the books that will be coming back the following month and I will dispose of those not coming back.
In the last year the books have been stored at a chambre d’hote down the road from the Gazpacho ( thank you Paul and Mark)
but as they leave in June we need to find another alternative.
As I no longer have Malc being able to help me lift the bags of books and also as our house is up for sale we no longer want to be overflowing with bags.
So we need an alternative from June.
Any ideas anyone?
If no one comes forward to stock them each month the best idea I can come forward with is we all take a bag of books home with us till next time ( if we want them or not)
It also means we will have to be more discriminating about what we take to swap. 
No hardbacks, no clearing your shelves, no faded, worn or dirty jackets.
I await your ideas and input.
Ps we still have May’s swap coming up to talk about it on the day

Vide maison at Lacapelle Livron this Saturday

Lots of lovely things must go. Contact

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The sun sets at Mas del Sol tonight

Pool cleaning as the sun sets

Gentlemen’s wardrobe

Gentlemen's wardrobe in Priory Oak style. 

The interior has hanging space for jackets/suits and three shelves.

120 cm high  x 48 cm deep  x 88 cm wide

Asking price 30 euros.

Banish the nasties

Fingers crossed this is goodbye to les guêpes for 2 years - got the details from your blog last year, gave to someone else and just used - extremely thorough spraying of roofs. He deals with all pests and vermin
M Souyris (great name)
06 76 04 03 34

( no English spoken)

More things for sale

25 euros

Mosiac table 35 euros

Round metal table 10 euros

Sewing machine table 25 euros

4 iron chairs in gothic style 150 euros

Monday, 23 April 2018

This is where we live, Mas del Sol

One of the most beautiful places in the world.
We love it here but circumstances dictate it is time to leave.
Where can you find views like this and still be only  6 minutes by car from two local villages.

We have an ensemble of buildings, two houses, one a perfect gite or a house for visiting family and friends.
A pigeonnier, a grange, a dependance and various outbuildings, with views which ever way you look.
Two kitchens, the gite so cute with the Smeg fridge and well specked.

The terrace of the gite a perfect place to eat and look over to Vefeil

The swimming pool with the old sheep house we call the bergerie, where we relax in the shade and in the evenings watch the sun set.
The lady we bought the house from said “ it is like Hollywood here “and we soon knew what she meant as the sun set in a crimson glow.

The drive into the property with its spacious feel, we do have one and a half hectares.

The two stone houses full of character

Our lovely sunny kitchen with underfloor heating here and on the ground floor. The Falcon cooker, Malc’s birthday pressie which we will leave here.
It is so right for this kitchen.
We thought about leaving nearly three years ago but changed our mind at the last minute, so now we have all,the expertises done and two fosses checked, all good.
This time there is no going back, like our donkeys we have to go.
People say will you go back to the UK... no.
We have been here 15 years, we will downsize to some where flat in a nearby village. I dare not even say bungalow.
The price we are asking  for heaven, 495,000 euros 
We can be contacted to view , 
Val or Malc Johnstone.

House contents sale in Varen next Wednesday.

The big house with the blue shutters in the centre of the village is having a contents sale

Anyone who is interested can contact me on 05 63 26 30 80 or send an email to

I also mentioned that there will be a sale of some of the contents of the house on Wednesday 2 May between 2pm and 6pm.  Items range from Villeroy and Boch dining services to B&B/gites tableware, small items of furniture, various lamps and lampshades, original paintings and prints, jugs and vases - I just don't have room for all the lovely treasures Chez Phillipe holds

A three seater French style sofa

A three seater French style settee upholstered in a fuschia pink damask fabric. 

210 cm long  x 85 cm wide  x 81 cm high

Asking price 100 euros. or 0563263080

Double bed, Gainsborough by Concerto SOLD

Double bed - Gainsborough by Concerto.

The base is in 2 parts for easy transportation.  Used as a guest bed for no more than 365 nights!

Asking price : 50 euros  Or 0563263080

Double bed. SOLD

Double bed by Repose.

Base in two parts for easy transportation. Useful as a spare bed.

Asking price 25 euros. or 0563263080

Arm chair in apple green damask fabric. SOLD

Armchair in apple green damask fabric.

76 cm high x 63 cm deep x 76 cm wide

Asking price 50 euros. or 0563263080

Two matching armchairs. SOLD

Two armchairs in briar rose print fabric.

Armchair one dimensions: 53 cm high x 90 cm deep x 80 cm wide

Armchair two (winged armchair) dimensions: 94 cm high x 96 cm deep x 86 cm wide

Asking price 40 euros each

Two chesterfields and a sofa

Two seater and three seater Chesterfield settees in old gold velour fabric.

Two seater dimensions: 156 cm long x 90 cm deep x 67 cm high
Three seater dimensions: 195 long x 90 deep x 67 cm high

Asking price: 30 euros for the two seater
40 euros for the three seater

60 euros for both with matching footstool thrown in. 0563263080

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Vide grenier at Montrosier

We need more clothes rails and hangers

We have a marvellous influx of quality clothes arriving for next week end in the Varen frip. We urgently need clothes rails and hangers, anybody got some clothes rails we can buy or you can donate? Also clothes hangers needed.
We are open Friday afternoon in Varen 15h to 17 h for donations but if you have clothes rails but cannot get them to us let me know and I will try to arrange pick up.
Thank you

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Any old iron? No sorry any old wood !

Hi Val
Could I ask for your help through the TAG blogspot?  I’ve recently embarked on some small scale woodworking projects using recycled materials..the first stool is mage from an old manger and the second an old oak barrel and a piece of chestnut floorboard ...the problem is I’m running out of pieces of interesting wood...could I ask if any readers of TAG might have any wood that might be suitable? Some damage..cracks and woodworm I can work with..planks 3-4.5cm thick are very useful as are old farm implements with curved pieces of wood.
Anyone with anything of interest please send a photo and an idea of price you would want to or call 05 65 81 70 92.
Thanks very much


Fun in the sun at the Varen frip

You all know what a good day we had at the friperie, you were all there.
I knew as the weather improved and the volets opened in the village we would be busy. 
Mainly French people today who have family homes and live in Paris or Marseille or one who spends 4 months in Cameroon where he has a house. Varen is a holiday village and the French retain their family homes, 
Today I spoke to the son of a French couple we have known for 15 years who has now come back to the village of his youth and retired.
Varen pulls at the heart strings of many. I was particulary pleased as this man wants to join us and come and help.
Everyone loves the idea of what we are doing ... helping all.
We did have one annoying man who when we said the shirts ( some really good shirts in at the moment) were 2 euros, he said “ how about one euro”
I explained we were a charity and working to help others in need so lets not quibble.  He then found a  pair of immaculate shoes, once again 2 euros, once again he said do them for one!! When I told Malc he said why not give him one shoe and say OK which do you want the left or right! I will remember that one.
Seriously things are so cheap because we want to have bargains, all part of the ethos of what we are doing... some people seem to think it has to be done.. bargain, but come on we say a price and you want it or not.
To be fair in all the customers he was the only annoying one.
Just had a note from the treasurer to tells us we have taken an amazing amount, yipee!
I think the summer with the friperie and the market are going to be make Varen GREAT... and it is all down to YOU
Sold today, patchwork quilt, games, crockery, pots, bedding, towels, glasses, handbags, purses, pictures, dresses, shorts, toys,
Boxing gloves, dart board, climbing ladder, beautiful apero dishes, new shirts, new baby clothes, new ladies outfits, pictures, picture frames  amongst things still to sell, 
Ps no English books needed - just not got the space.

Giving away/ going, going, gone

Hi Val.

I am giving away a Technics, digital processor, keyboard/organ. PCM EX25. It’s around 15 years old and was one of the first digital processed sound instruments available to buy. Quite expensive in it’s day.

It’s in excellent condition and the only issues are the battery that keeps the memory settings has died, and the foot pedal needs too be used or it rests to the floor and comes on very loud.

It doesn’t come with a stool.

I have replaced and rather than just throw away a perfectly good keyboard, that someone might get some enjoyment and pleasure from, I would sooner see it go to a good home.

It is quite large but fortunately I have a Fiat Ducato van and for the cost of the fuel and a cup of coffee, will deliver.


Najac concert

Friday, 20 April 2018

Fifi vide dressing

Fifi vide dressing at Septfonds

Vide Dressing, Septfonds, tomorrow 10am - 4pm

Rails of great quality clothes for small prices, mainly ladies but there is a rail of men's clothes

There will be some artisan stands and mini massages on offer as well as coffee and cake.

It's a social occasion as much as anything else and you might find a bargain, plus, all

the profits go to a local women's refuge. We're also collecting unwanted change so if you've got any jars of coins

hanging around we'll happily take that off your hands

So many who need a friend

Malc said, “mind you do not spill your drink” as I woke  up with a shock at 7 pm.
I quickly said “ do you want a high protein yogurt or fruit”
Malc said “ I would like my supper?”
Huh!, yer what, I am ready for bed , have we not eaten yet?
Apparently not, so I need to think of something good for supper.
Busy busy day, after trying to sort out the pool this morning washing and changing filters along with changing beds, then after  walking dogs off to Varen to be at the friperie to set up for Saturday.
Before that I visited the elderly lady in need and realised what we already knew “ a couple must have two bank accounts for their money. If one dies the bank account of that person is frozen until after probate. In the meantime you have funeral fees, food and bills and no way  to pay them. The lady I visited today had hussiers bills who were trying to reclaim money. We should write a report from our experiences after 15 years on what to do before an illness or death. Although this lady was French she was still in trouble.
The next thing that happened Sally Clegg told me she had been contacted by a English lady who had broken her leg on Monday, it was now Thursday.
The lady  contacted the page on TAG for accompanied hospital visits. She fortunately after a couple of calls talked to Sally Clegg who discovered the lady had no carte vitale cover. However she arranged with English speaking Dr. Tran at Laguepie that the lady made a visit and Dr Tran arranged the hospital visit where it was indeed proved that her leg was broken.
I must stop feeling sorry for myself, so many people needing help from others, often it is not money but showing someone cares.
The elderly lady when I passed over money today cried and said , it is not the money, it is someone caring.
We have taken the hospital visits label down as it needs updating but if you want to help and you would be paid by the person for them to have an accompanied hospital visit, send all your contact details.
Me, made a simple meal  and  I am off to bed at 20h 

The first of our special days

Put it in your diary Saturday May 5 th 10 to 12 in Varen at the old town hall
The first of four days will be this date and all monies taken on that morning will go to local refugees.

Le Varen friperie sera l'hôte d'une matinée de vente où tous les bénéfices seront versés pour soutenir les réfugiés de Parisot. Il y en a maintenant 50, de nombreuses nationalités.
Venez faire un don et acheter.
C'est la première de nos 4 journées spéciales où nous soutenons de bonnes causes locales
Les réfugiés à Parisot,
Et puis d'ailleurs
Le troisième âge
l'école de Varen.
The friperie is open every Friday afternoon for donations and every Saturday selling 10 to 12 in the old town hall nearly opposite the  halle

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Foire de printemps

Concert de printemps

Another good idea we hope.

Mains Tendues 82 are proposing that each association we are helping in the area choses a Saturday morning to come with their supporters and donations and we all work together raising funds for their association. everything we take in the shop that morning goes to that particular association.
The idea is to involve more people just on these four mornings in the next few weeks.

Mains Tendues 82 propose que chaque association que nous aidons dans la région ait une matinée à la boutique un samedi où ses partisans apportent des articles donnés et nous aident à vendre et ainsi chaque matin le produit de toutes les ventes va à l'association concernée.
Assoc parents de eleves de l'école de Varen
Troisieme Âge
Et Puis D'ailleurs
Réfugiés à Parisot.
The dates of each one to be published soon but the shop will be open of course every Saturday morning 10 to 12
Les dates a suivre bientôt mais le magazine est ouvert chaque samedi matin 10 a midi

Anybody got contact details

Hi Val

We just heard from our near-neighbours, Bob and Anne, that our friend Jim has had a stroke and is in hospital in Holland. I have an email address for Jim and a mobile number for both but the phone number is unreliable and I don't know if Hettie reads Jim's emails.  I wondered if any of the Dutch community had been in correspondence with them and whether Taglines might help?

We are fine, grapes are in and wine made (300 litres this year!), Derek has been performing regularly with his little jazz band, as well as helping with the Ukulele Group (over 80 participants most Thursday mornings!!!) and Sue is making hats as fast as she can for the Caussade hat festival, where she is taking a stall this year. We'll be back in Varen before the end of May!

Best wishes to Malcolm, we've both been there and we are still here to tell the tale! I hope (expect) you have had plenty of support and any upside to the experience is that you really do meet some extraordinary caring people and appreciate the care and love of your friendship group!

Kind regards

Derek Maxted - and Sue

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Our donkeys left today

Rosie and Lucy our adorable donkeys did decide to go today, off for a life near the Pyrenees.
Plenty of cuddles and walks promised from their new owners.
A hard day for both Malc and I  but we are getting used to those and in this case know
that it is the  best move for our girls.
Bon route and have a happy life darlings.