Friday, 30 November 2018

A good summary

Hi Val,

Came across this Brexit article – I thought it was a very good summary!!

I thought your readers might be interested??

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Gaillac lantern festival opens

Chinese workers prepare for the festival

The second festival of Chinese lanterns opens tomorrow (Saturday 1st December) in the Gaillac Foucaud  park. For the last two months 82 Chinese workers from Sechuan have been constructing a city of lanterns with fantastical creatures and a "palace" some 75 metres long.
It is possible that gilets jaunes will cause some difficulty of access so visitors are advised to check the media tomorrow.
The 2017 display. Photos France 3 TV

Last chance to book for the book swap lunch

There will be lunch at 12 noon on Monday 3rd December following the monthly book swap. If you wish to be included please let me know as soon as possible and no later than the morning of Friday 30thNovember.

Many thanks.


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Bookswap lunch Monday

There will be lunch at 12 noon on Monday 3rd December following the monthly book swap. If you wish to be included please let me know as soon as possible and no later than the morning of Friday 30th November.

Many thanks.
Helen  contact

Great items for sale

Buffet 200 
Table 100 euros
Mains Tendues 82
Contact me at

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

No snow: no ski

The scheduled opening of many Pyrenean ski resorts on Saturday next, 1st December, has been postponed due to a lack of snow. Snowfalls a couple of weeks ago have largely been melted during the mild weather these last 10 days. And although reasonable amounts have fallen this week at the highest resorts it is still insufficient to provide safe and enjoyable skiing.
Presently only the Pic du Midi has any skiable snow and the main resorts now hope to open on Thursday, 6th December.

Christmas is coming

If you want to help refugees, the elderly, the youngsters of our village and surrounding areas, come and buy your Christmas presents with us. Every euro is spent on helping others locally.
We are planning on helping refugees, the local school and the over 85’s in our village for our Christmas gesture.
Now we are in our stride we move forward to help more and more.
We can only do it with your help.
Thank you

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

A dfferent Brexit worry

We have received a message from a family who lived in Najac for many years but returned to the UK in 2015, retaining ownership of their French properties. Does anyone have experience of the implications of being a non-resident non-EU landlord? Leila McLelland writes

"we are currently living and renting a house in the UK but still have our only owned property in France. We are getting a bit frantic now with the ongoing Brexit chaos and wondered if you would be able to give us any advice or may be able to give us some pointers as who to talk to please about our ongoing concerns?

Our house in St Andre de Najac is a converted barn split into 2 houses. We rent our cottage all year round to a French couple and rent the 'gite' part out in the summer months only to holidaymakers every year. The bills for both properties are still registered in our name at the house, we still have a small french mortgage on the house and do declare the rental income to the centre financiere (taxe d'impots). 

As we don't actually live at the house, how do you think we will be regarded if/when the UK leaves the EU? Do you know if there are any  changes concerning taxes on second homes that people outside of the EU have to pay"

Please reply to Leila McLelland

Monday, 26 November 2018

Davis Cup ends with controversy

The final of the tennis world cup equivalent was played over the weekend in Lille where France entertained Croatia. France lost and outgoing captain, Yannick Noah, seemed more than unhappy with his team. Players who were "unavailable", loss of form among players who have virtually no individual victories this year (despite having reached the final of the Davis Cup) have made Noah decide to quit tennis definitively.
But equally upsetting to fans was the decision by the international federation to change the format of the Cup so that in future the final will be played in one country, decided by the federation, in 2019 in Madrid, over a two week period towards the end of the year. This will put an end to the fervent home supporters attending the matches they say (what if the final had been in Croatia? - perhaps a weekend trip is easier than a couple of weeks in Spain). No doubt the organisers will be thinking of the extra TV revenue this world cup like final will generate, but it certainly upset Noah and some of the team's players and followers.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Film night in Caussade

Tarn footbridge back on course

The plan to put a footbridge over the Tarn in Albi was delayed because the original contractor was unable to fulfil the work. Now a new contractor has been found and work is on course to be completed in early 2020. The place du Chateau leading to the new bridge is being embellished with new paving, seat and trees and crossing (alongside the railway bridge) will provide pedestrians with totally new points of view of the cathedral and palaces, as well as a safe crossing of the river.

He kept 21 dogs in deplorable conditions.

An elderly inhabitant of St Cirq, near Caussade, was due to appear before Montauban magistrates to answer a case of cruelty to animals. He lived in pretty squalid conditions himself in a mobile home and housed 21 dogs around the property, some in rabbit hutches.
Police called to the farm a year ago thought they were in "fourth world" conditions and obtained an order to remove the animals. The man, who was to plead guilty, had failed to attend a previous hearing and equally was absent on Friday for the postponed hearing. Magistrates decided to proceed in his absence and will announce their decision on 14th December. Despite the seriousness of the offences the prosecutor and magistrate seemed more sympathetic to the man's state of mind than the various lawyers representing the civil complainants.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Taste wines and speak English!

I am hosting a free wine tasting in the Maison des Vins of Gaillac from 14h00 on Tuesday November 27th. We hope to welcome local anglophones so that the lovely French group I have been teaching can practice the English they have learnt 'in real life'! It would be fantastic if you could come, and perhaps spread the word to any fellow anglophones nearby! I have attached our flyer and very much hope that you do not mind being contacted out of the blue, and please feel free to contact me should you need more info!
Many thanks! 
Eve Wellard

Friday, 23 November 2018

Gilets jaunes being hijacked?

Whilst most French people sympathise with the Gilets Jaunes movement, judging the price of fuel being excessive, many are angered by the actions of the protestors at the barricades. Motorists at Gaillac were subjected to an anti-immigrant tirade and many others have been intimidated and journalists attacked. The "spokespeople" in the south west are largely members of far right parties Debout la France and the Rassemblement National (ex Front National) and the Tarn and Garonne leader was kicked out of the FN for his many racist comments. Though he denies being excluded from the party he is in no position to deny (nor has any desire to) the vile racism he represents.
There is no doubt that the anti-government feeling is high, but sympathisers of the movement should be aware that the "leaders" may have other agendas.

Local man thrown out of the National Front accused of racism

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Figeac station burned down

Station fire: pic France 3
Fire completely destroyed the railway station at Figeac during the night of Wednesday-Thursday.
The cause of the fire is unknown, though foul play is not suspected.
Trains from Toulouse will terminate at Capdenac and the service Figeac-Aurillac and Figeac-Brive are suspended at present.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Book swap lunch

Hi Val
There will be lunch at 12 noon on Monday 3rd December following the monthly book swap. If you wish to be included please let me know as soon as possible and no later than the morning of Friday 30th November.
Many thanks.

FET Presents...Coward at Christmas

Our final show of 2018 is Coward at Christmas, a cabaret for Noël, brought to us by award-winning veteran of the West End stage Simon Green together with his accompanist and musical director David Shrubsole.


Simon and David promise to "sweep you through some of Coward's most enduring melodies in glorious arrangements, both traditional and re-imagined" in what is described as "a spellbinding evening of winning wit and wisdom, fervent emotion and irresistible charm..."


And as if that wasn't enough, we will be serving mulled wine and mince pies to ensure this Christmas occasion is a truly festive treat!


★★★★ "Too many Coward jewels to find favourites"  Bloomberg Press

★★★★ "Perfect cabaret!"  Backstage, NY

★★★★ "An entertaining immersion in the Coward style."  New York Times



Sunday, 18 November 2018

The market in Varen, Saturday morning

A very relaxed few minutes, coffee and croissants on the go. The sofa and two chairs are for sale for 50 euros.
Very comfortable

Hampers from ferme Basqui

This week Ferme Basqui is offering a 5 Kilo hamper of  our quality Free Range Pork for 65 euros.

The hamper consists of :        A Roast (800g-1kg)

                                            1 kg Sausages

                                             Pork Chops/Echine Chops

                                             Rouelle and Escalopes

                                             Minced Pork and slices of Poitrine

A great assortment of pork all vacuum packed and all can be frozen,

Feel free to get in touch if you would like to reserve or call me on 0563652578 if you need to discuss further.


Donate your old jewellery and come and buy some more

A dedicated jewellery section starts next week end in the friperie in Varen just ready for Christmas.
Come and treat yourself to something that sparkles, or if you yourself have too much, clear out your jewellery boxes and donate it to us.
The sun shone us this last Saturday and with Christmas songs, the atmosphere in the market at Varen was just like an old fashioned Christmas
We still have the sofa and two very comfortable chairs for sale for 50 euros, ideal for a gite.
Lots of things for Christmas presents, what better place to do your shopping.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Want to make lovely pastry?

Places still available for Pastry Making Class on Wednesday 21st November, 2pm to 6pm. Make and take home two quiches and choux pastry gougéres. Learn the tricks for making superb pastry! Cost 35.00€ per person.  Class led by Joanne Schofield of Estabuffette.  Takes place at Carrendier near Verfeil-sur-Seye. Contact Joanne on or by private message.
NB: Joanne will not be at Varen market tomorrow but will have bacon butties at St Antonin on Sunday.

Motorists demonstration tomorrow may close stores

Pic:Richard Brunel/Maxppp
The movement calling itself "gilets jaunes" because they are asking demonstrators to wear the yellow hi-vis vests we are supposed to carry in our cars, are planning multiple "blockages" tomorrow, Saturday 17th November. According to its social media web pages there will be road blocks around all major towns and cities, motorway peage stations and main roads designed to cause delays and hold ups showing the government the public anger over rising fuel prices.
Nobody is quite certain to what extent this will disrupt life and the police have been instructed not to allow total blockages to occur. Organisers have asked demonstrators not to block the hard shoulders on autoroutes and not to cause damage.
Local sporting organisations have cancelled junior rugby and football matches and some stores will be closing their doors, notably Leclerc in Gaillac and the Jardinerie Tarnaise in Albi may be closed.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

No Brexit at all please

Theresa May has admitted there could be no Brexit at all

We want a People’s vote now we know the truth of leaving the European Union.

“This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our union – or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all.”

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The mountains "have a fever"

Glacier de Ossoue in 2017: Photo Andy Barrejot
 A study by Spanish and French scientists has shown that the average temperatures in the Pyrenees have risen by 2.5% over the last half century. This is almost twice the average rate of the increase in world temperatures (0.84%) in the same period. The most obvious effect is the reduction in size of the glaciers in the mountain range.
Experts examining the whole range of impacts conclude that if the warming continues over the next 50 years the major economic effect will be on winter tourism with the depth of snow being reduced by half. But also rainfall will be reduced - excepting the heavy downpours - affecting major rivers on both sides of the range and summer temperatures will be higher.
Ironically the report comes out just as some Alpine ski resorts are reopening and the Pyrenees will soon be following suit. But possibly in 50 years there will be no Christmas ski breaks in the mountains.

Did you miss the giant machines?

Nearly a million people went to Toulouse over the 4 days the Company Les Machines presented its spectacular "Gardiens du Temple" featuring the giant Minotaur and Ariane the spider a couple of weeks ago. If you want to see the machines the new Halle de la Machine in the Toulouse suburb of Montaudran has opened its doors to visitors where many giant and smaller machines are on view. You can even ride on the Minotaur along the "piste de geants". Open every afternoon (except Monday) from 14h - 18h, entry 9 euros for adults and less for other categories. The Halle will be closed from 7th January until 7th February for maintenance.
Details on this link to the Halle's website.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Motor cyclist fined 19200 euros

An unnamed multi-recidivist motorbike rider who committed 120 infractions during 2017 was finally arrested by Tarn and Garonne gendarmes. His number plates were deliberately partly obscured and the biker was seen to make an obscene gesture to the camera as he passed. By comparing the many flashed images gendarmes were able to reconstitute the number plate and determine by the clothing he wore that it was the same person in each picture. In addition to the speeding incidents were added various other infractions bringing the total charges to 120. The rider denied the charges but the geo-localisation on his mobile phone showed that he was indeed in the place where the infractions happened. He was fined 19200 euros and banned for one year.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Lest we forget

Most local villages will honour the dead of the world wars and other conflicts on Sunday.
This year is the centenary of the Armistice of the Great War (to end all wars..) and some villages are having special events. At Puylaroque the commune has an exhibition in the Salle des Fetes of memorabilia, with a video depicting the bravery of its citizens. At Verfeil sur Seye in the Salle des Fetes there will be an open forum for local people to tell their stories and memories. Varen sees the launch of a book telling the history of a local poet who went to do his duty and died in the trenches, but whose letters to his family told a poignant love story.
Puycelsi has the Maitrise from the Conservatoire of Toulouse performing the Durufle Requiem Mass and English songs.
We British will sport our poppies in memory of all the Allied troops (including thousands of Commonwealth soldiers of all races and religions) and take part in the "pots d'honneur" offered by our communes and some will lay wreaths at the war memorials. Our presence in this foreign field is a reminder of how many of our fellow citizens died here in France alongside the "poilus".
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PS among other events note the Comite de Fetes of Arnac is holding a loto in the Varen Salle des Fetes at 15h...lots of lovely prizes. Respectful?

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Noir or Blackie needs you

Please help me, adopt this 4 month old adorable puppy.
When we were getting a big bag of cat food this morning at the vets in Laguepie, the vets wife came dashing out to me to tell me about this darling of a labrador. ( she did not remember but he is the image of our Twister who died of old age 3 years ago.)
She knew Bonny had died about 6 weeks ago and knew Eldo was lonely.
Sadly we do not think it is fair to take on a younger dog as we get older.
This pup has already lost someone special in his life, as his owner has just died.
I am told he is adorable, good with cats, dogs and children.
He is at Lez at the moment just round the corner from us.
I seriously must not go to see him... but you could.
He is called “Noir” or “Blackie” if you prefer. There is a number on the sheet I took  a photo of or the vet in Laguepie can always tell you more.

Electric scooters in Toulouse

We have become used to cities having bicycles available for hire by the hour and even cars in some places. Now Toulouse is to offer electric scooters for 3 euros for 20 minutes, then 1 euro per 10 minutes. Scooters have to be booked by an on-line app, which will tell you where the nearest scooter is and how to access it. Helmets, disposable hair caps and hi-vis gilets are in the scooter's luggage box.
The company offering the service, Indigo Weel, intends to launch the scheme on 12th November and to follow-up with electric cars, bicycles and even "trottinettes" - those little scooters we associate with children.
But to use a 50cc equivalent scooter you need to be over 18, have a French ID and driver's licence.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

The chasse again

Hi Val,
We had a run in with the chasse one time when I pointed out to them that they were shooting too close to the house (50 mtrs) I believe the limit is 150mtrs. The leader of the gang absolutely went for me, apparently "every animals ambition is to leap out infront of a car & kill us so the chasse is doing us all a great service!" The guy was far from sober & toting a gun, are there rules for carrying a firearm when drunk? 
They seem to be a law unto themselves and as far as we're concerned the sooner they're banned the better. Laura xx

French TV frequencies change

If you watch French TV via your aerial (ie not via on-line services) you may find that you cannot see your favourite channels. This is because some local frequencies have changed from today. Simply re-tune your TV or digital decoder to restore the channels.

100 years ago: commemoration concert next Sunday

The terrible events of the first world war ended on 11th November 1918 - 100 years ago next Sunday.
But the memories did not end then and every year people assemble at the various monuments bearing the names of local young men who died in that war and subsequent conflicts.
As a special event the Maitrise of the Conservatoire de Toulouse, under the direction of Mark Opstad, will be singing a selection of music including the Requiem of Durufle and songs by English composers. This choir was voted the best in France in 2017 and awarded the prestigious Lillian Bettancourt Foundation prize.
A poignant feature of this concert is that the Maitrise comprises mainly children aged 11 - 18 who are Mark's pupils and who are from a generation which should be reminded of the sacrifice their great grandparents made and the futility of such conflicts.
The concert starts at 16h (4pm) and takes place in the beautiful church of St Corneille at Puycelsi.
Tickets are 15 euros for adults and may be reserved from Ross and Ginny Jenkins on 0563 33 15 84

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Book swap tomorrow

Once again at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin, 10.30 onwards
Look forward to seeing you all  there and Helen tells me that 24 are booked in for lunch

Spot on

If I hear an American citizen say “ but Trump is doing good things for the economy” I might scream.
The terrible things he is doing to humanity and the planet seems to be overlooked.
It is a fight we have now in the world against extremists, not just in the US but in the Uk and Europe, in truth in the world.
But we must keep raising our voices.

Any ideas?

I asked for coat hanging rails for our association helping others in need and got ten donated.
We really would like a couple of shop mannequins, anybody know of any of these about?
Mains Tendues 82. In Varen

Pastry class: book now

Saturday, 3 November 2018

We are at risk from chasseurs

Hunting with guns is part of the countryside culture of France and we are used to seeing the "chasse en cours" signs warning us that the hunters are about with their guns and dogs. There have been several fatal injuries this season, and one MP called for a ban on VTT cycling in the hunting season after a cyclist was shot and killed in the Alps. To the contrary there is an increasing call to ban hunting on Sunday to protect walkers and others enjoying the country and woods. But last week a father playing in his home with his children was shocked when a bullet smashed through the window.
A hunter taking part in a sanglier battue had fired the shot, in contravention of the rules banning shooting near to houses.
Despite the entrenched rights of the chasseurs, many readers of Taglines consider that the rights of the general public not to have their lives unnecessarily endangered is paramount.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Turning a profit from Macron's sayings

Photo Jacques Demartin/AFP
President Macron has a Trump like way of uttering memorable phrases that do little to solve the problem. Most famously recently he echoed the "on your bike" advice from Norman Tebbitt when advising a young job seeker to cross the road and find a job. This and other phrases has found its way onto a range of merchandise parodying the Elysee gift shop's offerings.
Selling through a website called the mugs and T-shirts have raised 30000 euros, the profits being distributed to three homeless and migrant charities. The young entrepreneurs who launched the scheme are looking forward to Christmas sales boosting the amounts they can hand over to help the homeless and migrant groups around Calais.

Call to block all major roads

What apparently started as an individual petition calling the government to reduce fuel taxes has escalated into a campaign to block all major roads (routes nationaux, autoroutes, peages) on Saturday 17th November.
It is claimed in a poll that 78% of French drivers find the call to the blockage justified. The price of all fuels, for vehicles and heating, has risen considerably this year, led by a worldwide increase in oil but augmented by fuel duty rises imposed as part of the government's carbon reduction obligations.
Despite the widespread support in principle and the demonstration being on a Saturday it is not known how many drivers will actually take their vehicles into action. But unless you want to take part it may be wise to give the big city entrances a miss that day.
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Watch out for two bikes

Hi Val
This week we have had both of our bikes stolen from our barn, they are both red a ladies and a mans Carrera bike, both in top condition in fact the ladies has only been used twice. The police are aware. So if anyone is offered the bikes please could you messaage me

Thank you. Pam Oakes
Val says contact mecand I will pass on the message. This happened in the countryside near St. antonin
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