Monday, 31 December 2018

Motorway warning

Hi Val
Just wanted to alert your readers to a problem on the péage at caussade. We left early this morning to catch a flight. Once through the péage the route to Toulouse was blocked and there was no turning back which meant a 40km détour via cahors and when we got back to junction 59 we were routed off. Have no idea if they’ve put warning signs up since our journey. We made it by the skin of our teeth.
Happy new year xx

Val says: this was sent to us Sunday evening, but only received today, so don't know if there are any problems today.

What will change from 1st January?

A number of fiscal measures take effect from tomorrow. Most important for taxpayers is the introduction of payment at source of income tax, not unlike the UK PAYE system. For most of the readers living on pensions arising from overseas there will be no change. What may affect some readers is the reduction of social charges for pensioners having less than 2000 euros per month; if there is an amount taken into account for the monthly payments it will be reimbursed by July.
The minimum wage will rise to 10.03 euros per hour gross, giving 1204 euros net per month for a person working 35 hours per week. Workers earning up to 1.3 times the SMIC (minimum wage) will be paid a top up of 90 euros per month if they claim it from the CAF. Given that will concern an extra 1.2 million people prepare for delays at the CAF (our comment not the government's).
Overtime payments will be exempt from tax and social charges in a nod to the gilets jaunes, as with the suspension of the increase in fuel duties and gas prices reduced by 2%.
On the other hand the price of cigarettes will increase as will the price of stamps, a red stamp being 1.05 euros and a green stamp 88 centimes.
There is a heating allowance which will go up by 50 euros to an average of 200 euros. Details of the extra 2 million households affected will be published later.
The environmental measures include a 100 euro per window allowance for double glazing (ndlr watch out for more cold calls); up to 4000 euros for changing a car for a less polluting vehicle for less well off workers using a car for work; the ban on using pesticides by private individuals come into force.
Hearing aid prices will be limited to 1300 euros maximum, with minimum reimbursement up to 300 euros and the maximum charge will be reduced to 950 euros by 2021.

The French exchequer will also introduce special tax measures for the so-called GAFA companies (named for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) which make profits from the internet in France whilst being based overseas. Since the EU has opposed a blanket measure it suggests that France has control of its money - something the Brexiteers say is not the case with the UK. Another lie? Sorry for the political point in making this report!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

France's favourite personalities

Each year at this time the weekly "Journal du Dimanche" (JDD) publishes the results of a survey it does into the personalities the French people prefer. For some years now the singer/songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman has topped the list and as last year he was followed by actor Omar Sy with Dany Boon climbing one place to third. Making a starring debut at fourth place is World Cup footballer Kylian Mbappe, followed the astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Zinedine Zidane.
Notably there are no women in the top 10, in fact best placed is Sophie Marceau at 16th (down 11 places).
Amongst women asked, the top two remain the same with a rapper called Soprano third. Men chose Goldman and Sy, but then Zidane and Mbappe. Although the paper asked people from different political persuasions for their favourites (LREM voters put Macron first...the only politician to top any group), there appears to be no split by ages, which would be interesting.

Early morning start in Varen market

Terence Harker and I start the morning early on a Saturday, the market begins to come alive at 7.30 am
 By 8.30 am we are set up and ready to party.
Thankyou for so often joining the party to make our morning so successful.

In the Depeche again

Where the true crisis lies in the Uk

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Sales to start on January 9th

Many "commercants" have called for the January sales to start on 2nd January, a week earlier than usual, to try to make up for the loss of trade caused by the gilets jaunes actions. But prefectures have declined to advance the date on government advice. Many shops will nevertheless have "private sales" or other special promotions. Generally French commercial law does not allow sales outside the designated periods, nor the use of "loss leaders".
A salesman we talked to on Boxing Day (26th December) was surprised to hear that day was a holiday in the UK and that some 18 million people were going to pass it at the January sales.
** We are reminded by a non-pedantic reader that Boxing Day is not a UK holiday, as it is not celebrated in Scotland. On the other hand, January 2nd is a holiday north of the border where they will still be trying to recover from Hogmanay.. But happy New Year wherever you are.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Jazz Brunch Saturday morning at Bazart

From 10h to 14h (2pm) the Duo 45 will be playing during a Jazz Brunch at Bazart in St Antonin.
A copious menu of UK style breakfast/lunch dishes will be on offer all morning, including a "full English" (2 eggs, bacon, mushrooms, sausage, beans on toast and a mug of tea...just 9.50 euros).

Parisot Library Author Talk

Author Talk - Parisot Library

A Sense of Place

Catherine Finch

Saturday 19th January 2019 from 10h30
For our January talk we are delighted to welcome Catherine Finch. In a 'A Sense of Place' she will describe how her love of SW France and Lancashire have contributed to her writing and to her two published novels 'Walking Apart' and 'Holding On Letting Go'. There will be readings from both novels. 

Catherine's writing career was honed during her thirty-three years as a primary school teacher, producing stories, plays and musicals for children, and for an unfailingly enthusiastic audience. 


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Surprises at the bird table

Our bird feeders attract the usual seed feeding winter birds: tits of all kinds; finches galore; nuthatches and occasional woodpeckers. But there are other appearances more or less welcome:
Max is an unwelcome sight
This chap is an unusual visitor
Max, our cat clearly would appreciate the choice of menu.

Open all hours... well open this week end

The friperie in Varen will be open as normal this weekend
vendredi 15h to 17h
And Samedi 9 à midi
New jewellery arriving in time for your New Year bash.
Still hats a plenty
And we will have plates of Estabuffette’s wonderful fudge to give away to customers and supporters.
The sun is set to shine on us once again

Skittled in Aveyron

Aubrac team at St Genevieve sur Argence
There are more footballers licensed in Aveyron than any other sport. But what is second? Rugby? fishing? Cycling? Petanque?
None of those, apparently it is skittles. Known as "quilles a huit" the game is played outdoors with 8 large wooden skittles and large wooden bowling balls. Presumably a similar game to 10 pin bowls there are villages with their own terrain, its apparent popularity is probably due to the organised nature of the sport as opposed to the "amical" nature of petanque, but for bowling fans it may be worth looking out for a "quillodrome".

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

There's more than one Father Christmas

Nora with the Christmas boxes. Photo Julie Valin France 3
Or in this case "Mother Christmas". A young Toulousaine, Nora Filali, was impressed by the idea of people saving shoe boxes to fill with a few essentials and luxuries and distributing them to the homeless in the streets of her city.
The same idea being undertaken by other local people and groups was reported on Taglines a week or two ago, but Nora managed to persuade others in the area, by means of a Facebook page, to donate over 700 Christmas boxes, all in festive wrapping.
She and her friends toured the streets of la ville rose on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day giving a little bit of cheer to the homeless of the city. An emotional experience for all, she hopes to repeat this act of solidarity again next year

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Enjoy Christmas, but spare a thought for others

We wish all regular Taglines readers a very merry Christmas, whether with your family or friends. But don't forget that many folks will be alone, many will be working and many will suffer an event that takes the enjoyment away. People still have accidents, suffer illnesses and even in some cases will die today. Their families still need to be reassured that they are not alone.
Even here imagine the devastation to the life of the owners of the Deux Rivieres hotel in Laguepie, destroyed by fire just two days before Christmas.
We will be enjoying a festive feast with friends, but first Val will be going to Parisot to see some young men and some families who have fled the danger of life in Afghanistan or Sudan and handing over some gifts supplied or paid for by the many supporters of Taglines and Mains Tendues82.
We may not all be believers, but our Christian heritage has imbued us with a respect for our fellow men (and animals!) and putting aside our differences is something we can surely do at this time of year.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Cannabis was saved

Cannabis was saved
Those of you who frequented the Deux Rivieries at Laguepie which last night burned down will know that the owners had a much loved little dog called Cannabis.
Talking to the pompiers today we were told one of the Pompiers broke in to check no one was inside but  found Cannabis, very scared and beginning to be affected by smoke. Today we are told he is safe and well.
The hotel on the other hand is in a terrible state, and is now just a shell. 
It is going to be some months or years before all the work could be done.
The risk assessor was there today in the smouldering ruins before any work could be done on making the building safe for round about, passing people etc.
Pompiers and gendarmes had set up a desk with drinks and biscuits, fortunately as they were standing outside, it is a mild day.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Happy Christmas all

Together my mate Sarah Brown and I founded Mains Tendues 82 a year ago.
We did not realise what we were starting.
Sarah is the one in the silly sweater asking people to ‘’ Jingle her bells’’
We now have a great team around us, many young and not so young ladies and a mention must be given to our four men
Terence Harker, now a stalwart and our future secretary and publicity man. Fabrice Massias, Chris Atkins and my right hand man and companion and navigator on dangerous outings picking up furniture and printing leaflets Malcolm Johnstone
We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and wish for more peace, understanding and generosity of spirit in the New Year. Personally we could not ask for more monetary generosity but we could ask for everyone to open their hearts to all

Friday, 21 December 2018

Gilets jaunes to block the frontier at Boulou?

The so-called Act 6 of the actions by the protestors is to block the frontiers at all the major points of entry/exit. In this region this is intended to be at the A9 peage station at Boulou on the autoroute to Spain. Only freight lorries are to be stopped carrying imports or exports, cars should not be held up.
The web site used by many of the protestors says it will inflict a serious blow to the economy. Lorry drivers who can "prove" that they are returning home will be allowed to pass.
At least the border police will be able to concentrate on keeping migrants out if the citizens are assuming control of the freight movement!

But it's starting well

The view from here this morning had a sun rising over a misty Aveyron valley and the Pyrenees poking through in the distance.

This is black Friday

The commercial brouhaha a couple of weeks ago was called "Black Friday", but with the chaos at Gatwick today so many readers will be having their family holidays jeopardised. Those wanting to fly to England and beyond via Gatwick may be delayed or re-routed and those waiting for friends or family to arrive from there to spend Christmas here may be equally frustrated. We can only hope that those arriving by car avoid the recalcitrant gilets jaunes or that the trains are OK to local stations.
On the bright side, today is the winter solstice, the shortest day, so from tomorrow longer days!

Any phones for me ?

Thanks to the generosity of one of our readers  I can take this iphone today to a new boy recently arrived at the CAO at Parisot. A week ago he was still on his route to safety when his precious phone was lost or stolen. Phones are the life line for these boys to famliy left behind.
How many of you are getting new phones for Christmas?
Plenty of you I guess.
Think of giving me your old phone so I can pass it on to someone who has little or no money and really needs a phone.
For the few bob you might get from selling your old phone have the pleasure in giving a bit of happiness instead.
Our association could not afford to buy phones for everyone but with your help I can help the next refugee who finds himself in the position of not having contact with family.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas and once again thank you all for your continued support.
« Love works » is our motto

Grâce à la générosité de l'un de nos lecteurs, je peux présenter cet iphone aujourd'hui à un nouveau garçon récemment arrivé au CAO de Parisot.
Il y a une semaine, il était toujours sur la route de la sécurité lorsque son précieux téléphone a été perdu ou volé. Le téléphone est la ligne de vie de ces garçons à la famille.
Combien d'entre vous reçoivent de nouveaux téléphones pour Noël?
Beaucoup de vous je suppose.
Pensez à me donner votre ancien téléphone pour que je puisse le transmettre à quelqu'un qui a peu ou pas d'argent et qui a vraiment besoin d'un téléphone.
Si vous vendez votre ancien téléphone, vous aurez peut-être le plaisir de vous offrir un peu de bonheur.
Notre association ne pouvait pas acheter de téléphones pour tout le monde mais avec votre aide, je pourrais aider le prochain réfugié qui se trouve dans la position de ne pas avoir de contact avec sa famille.
Je vous souhaite à tous un très joyeux Noël et une fois encore, merci à tous pour votre soutien continu.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Concert de Noël

And in the church too

We should not forget that Christmas is essentially a religious festival, even if we are not believers. Though France is a secular society many of its people are still practising Catholics and the churches have their cribs to remind worshipers of the event and meaning of Christmas. When we were buying hay yesterday M Alaux our neighbour said he had been busy finishing the crib in the parish church of Varen, so we dropped in to see the parishioners' work. It is so traditional in design that one can imagine many of the elements have been in use for many years.


Noël has arrived in Varen

You find love in every corner.
A couple in our village as long as we can remember and we have lived here 17 years, have decorated their house and garden for the seasons. Pierre and Yolande Estivals ( Yoyo to friends) well they want to give pleasure to everyone and they have some fun doing it. This morning as I went to thank them I found the couple working away on the large table sorting out garlands of Christmas lights. They told me tonight the illuminations would start.
They gave me joy today not only with the Christmas decorations but with their pleasure in giving happiness to others.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Back at Le Colombier

For me the best part of the FET show this evening was just being there. After missing the whole of the 2018 programme with illness, being among so many friendly faces in the lovely little Colombier Theatre in Les Cabannes was a welcome reminder of how privileged we are to have this piece of our culture here.

But this is not to belittle the performances of Simon Green and his pianist David Shrubsole. Presenting the musical works of Noel Coward, interspersed with extracts from his diaries, reminded us of just how talented Coward was. Tender love songs, nostalgic ballads, acidic commentaries on contemporary life; all were there. The cynicism often made Coward’s songs unpopular, but the intricate lyrics reminded me of some modern rap performers.

One person I spoke to said “London Pride” moved her to tears as it was what her mother sang to her during the blitz. “20th Century Blues” is as relevant in the 21st century as it was then. And Coward’s words to Cole Porter’s “Let’s fall in love” were as witty and relevant to 60’s England as the originals were to the 20’s jazz age. I missed my personal favourite “Poor Little Rich Girl”, but we all have favourite Coward songs.

The title “Coward at Christmas” rather belied the content of the show, it being Coward, but Christmas only because we are in December. Simon Green presented the songs with compassion, but lacked the elegant wit of Coward himself (but who has it?) and David Shrubsole’s sympathetic accompaniment added greatly to our evening.

But finally, I loved being at Le Colombier again and am looking forward to renewing my membership for 2019.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Helping Homeless hounds at Figeac

Help!  :)
Is anyone able to transport 2 dogs (separated) from either Millau or from Rodez to Villefranche-de-Rouergue on Friday afternoon 21st December???
Both dogs are Griffon Korthals males. Faust has cancer and is going to his foster home in Eymet, Yellafella is being saved from the pound and is going to Limoges...
If you can't, can you please share!!!

Local author's book launch today.

Suzanne Ghersenzon Spenale is a name to conjure with, so no wonder she is universally known as Zizou. Many of you will know her as her husband was for a long time the maire of St Antonin. We at Taglines know her from her support for the refugees at Rehoboth three years ago and subsequent help and support with our efforts to raise funds and material for migrants and their families.
Always a charming and friendly person she has just published her second novel "Polina: une Ukrainienne dans la tourmente". She will be giving a presentation of the story and signing copies at the mairie at 18h this evening (Tuesday 18th December) in association with local bookshop Le Tracteur Savant.

Dog sitter needed

We’ve recently moved to a house near Verfeil and your name and blog were mentioned to us as a source of much information and more!

My initial reason for contacting you is that we are looking for someone to take care of our 2 border terriers while we are away. In the Uk they used to stay with someone in their house rather than kennels so the former would be preferable.

I’m not sure if you have any ideas in this regard.  Whatever I very much look forward to hearing from you!

Best regards


Anthony James

Monday, 17 December 2018

Looking to buy a house

Bonsoir Val, pourrais-tu faire passer cette information sur TAG, stp?
Je recherche une maison à acheter a St Antonin. Toute proposition (petite/grande maison) m'intéresse. 
I'm looking for a house to purchase in/close to St Antonin. I'm interested in all profiles (small/bigger house).
Thanks to contact me on
Merci Val. Je te souhaite de belles fêtes en famille!

A Christmas crib made from plastic

Recycled plastic crib. Photo France 3
The little church at Briols, Aveyron has been undergoing restoration thanks to a dedicated group of parishioners and one initiative has been to create each Christmas a "themed" crib (creche). This year, the 8th edition, appalled by the "sixth continent" of plastic floating in our oceans, the parishioners decided create their crib entirely from recycled plastic. The church will be open each day, except 24th December, from 15h to 18h for viewing the creche.

Sad coincidence

A couple of weeks ago we helped some friends clear the house which their aged parents rented from a M Louis Blanc. From photos and items in the house it was clear that Louis Blanc was a well known rugby player for Montauban.(USM).
Coming from a family which was closely linked with USM, "Loulou" as he was known, captained the USM XV which won the French championship in 1967. Sadly the club announced today that their former hooker has died this weekend aged 85. A sad coincidence for us and our friends.

Anyone got a decent working phone? Someone has offered one, yippee

Today we went to the Christmas meal at Parisot and what a joy to see most of my boys gathered together. What a lovely meal the boys made with the help of Samira.
Firstly I talked to a guy from Afghanistan I did not know but he has his papers and completed his French course. He is now looking for a job, but he is determined and presentable and will find one.
Then I spent time talking with a new guy who had only been in the CAO for two days. It had taken him a year to get from Somali and he came on his own. Quite often the boys travel in pairs or in groups. It takes an amazing amount of courage to be on your own.
I like to have facebook and messenger contact with the boys so asked him to have my details and if he needed anything to let me know. Apart from a bedside lamp which I can supply, he needs a phone as his was stolen a week ago. At Christmas to be without a phone to contact family and friends must be awful. Has anyone got a working phone they were thinking of changing and could donate please?
My new friend Abdi Karin speaks English which is good for me but I have told him he must attend French lessons which they now have lessons everyday Monday to Friday, he promised he would
To get a job here after asylum the boys must speak French
Welcome dear boy and I look forward to seeing you again soon
And for all you other boys who it was lovely to see again, great you are all doing so well.
Getting jobs, doing their obligatory 200 hours French courses and some helping with community projects at Villefranche and Laguépie.
We also delivered Christmas presents for all to be handed out nearer the time

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Fresh pasta from Varen

Poster for pasta: sorry for photo M. Johnstone
For a few days we have wondered why a house on the outskirts of Varen had suddenly had a huge sign "BONHEUR DE PATES" painted on the wall. Was it "pâtes"  or "pâtés", but it turns out to be the former, pasta as we say in English (Italian really). A local inhabitant Anne Prat has been making a choice of home made pasta and marketing them via a stall in St Antonin and various outlets including the boulangerie in Varen.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Farmers to cause blockages in Montauban today

Local agriculteurs and unions are planning to meet up this morning at Albasud commercial centre in Montauban with the aim of blocking access to the A62. The same groups caused chaos back in January when they blocked the northern entry to the city at Aussonne. Grievances seem to centre around EU and government ecology and anti-pollution policies as well as loss of subsidies for certain areas.
A group of trades union demonstrators will assemble at the Departmental Council offices to demand further concessions from government and local authorities on minimum wages, indexation of salaries plus other more macro-economic changes.
So beware of going to Montauban today (unless, of course, you wish to join in the various disturbances).

Action against Primark

About 100 protestors blocked the entrance to the new Primark store in Toulouse, forcing it to close its shutters some 90 minutes early on Wednesday. These people were anti-capitalist agitators, arguing that Primark is a multi-national (Irish) which exploits its suppliers and employees. Whilst not actually being part of the gilets jaunes movement many actually sported the yellow vests "in solidarity" - the exploitation of genuine grievances for political gain.
Many small businesses are feeling a serious loss of income at what is an important time of year and many such small country enterprises are just the people most hit by fuel costs and taxation charges.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Bonnes Fêtes

What fun we had delivering   presents this morning, what lovely people we met and what adventures we had.
People were so happy to see us and tell us about themselves and their families.
What a privilige we felt it was to do this.
Unhappily when we left one man we saw in his field a sheep on its back, legs in air. We returned to tell him, but sadly the sheep had died.
It was such a good idea to give these presents from our association and in the next few days we have more to deliver.
Thank you to Fabrice who is still delivering presents for us.
Tomorrow we are giving 500 euros to the Restos du Coeur.
We are sending 300 euros to Amis des chats who sterilise cats in the area. Another 300 to Des Truffes et des Moustaches who rehome cats and dogs.
A cheque to Ricochet for 1,000 euros which is the association at Parisot helping refugees 
And soon a cheque for 500 euros to the Croix Rouge in our area for the food bank.
A cheque already sent to Jacky Malotaux for her association helping refugees, bringing families from Syria.
Christmas is a time for giving.

Concert in St. Antonin

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Possible strike action at Blagnac

A possible strike in national aeroports is expected to be announced, affecting flights from tomorrow (13th December) until Saturday, 15th December. As yet no flights have been cancelled, but passengers are advised to contact their airline.
Due to the attack at Strasbourg security checks, especially on inbound flights, allied to the gilets jaunes manifestations, will be strengthened, and passengers should allow extra time.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Order your cake and pick it up at the frip in Varen

This is the last of the Christmas cakes so if you haven't made yours or you're looking for a unique gift
look no further.
Made to a traditional recipe using fruit that has been soaked in brandy
I will be taking them to the frip on Saturday for anyone that wants to collect 9.30 to 10.30
Reservations taken on a first come first served basis.

The 6" round Peas on Earth is 35€
The 4" square are 19€
The 3" square are 13€
The 4" round are 15€
I also have one 4" gluten and lactose free cake at 20€


Beyond a joke !

This sounds like a good evening

This marks the inaugural concert for Choeur du Noble Val, with a traditional Christmas programme on 23 December at 6pm in the church at St Antonin Noble Val.
A half hour of sacred music in the church is followed by more eclectic Christmas music in the Salle des Thermes and a cup of mulled wine. Please dress warmly for the church! 
The concert is organised by Musicaval. All funds will be donated to Les Amis de l'Orgue Puget de St Antonin Noble Val to support the organ restoration project.
Please bring your friends and lend your support.

New expo opens at Soulages

Pic: France 3 Occitanie
Some 118 works by Pierre Soulages, dating from 1946 to 2004, were exhibited for the first time together on 4th December in the Rodez gallery bearing his name. On paper these works were subjected to conservation work and re-framed using modern techniques. The exhibition will be on show until 31st March 2019, as well as the gallery's permanent displays. Thereafter they will be available for loans to other national and international galleries.
With the artist's trademark black and white composition the paintings demonstrate a variety of technique, yet continuity. Pierre Soulages will reach his 99th birthday on Christmas Eve and though said to be in good health he did not attend the vernissage.
The gallery will soon welcome its 800000th visitor.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Cancer Support reaches to New Zealand

Dear Val   
 I watch you from afar and marvel at all you take on and what you achieve.
What a couple you and Malcom are.    Wishing a happy time to you and your wonderful supporters and friends.    Sadly I had a brain bleed and have lost the sight in one eye and diminished sight in the other but still manage to keep up with all you are achieving.    Keep up the good work.   Benda is back in NZ and doing well and always grateful for the support from Cancer Support as a result of Taglines.
Much Love Ann

Many of you will remember Ann our  reader in New Zealand by finding a link to Cancer Support in France on TAG she was able to pass the information to a friend.
We are welcoming Cancer Support at our friperie in Varen on Saturday 15 th and they will be selling coffee and mince pies.

We are working for a better world for everyone

One could despair this year, with all the stupid Brexit stuff, Trump the President, hard to believe, and now all the trouble with the gilets jaunes here in France. Politics and the state of the world have never been so unstable in my life time.
Now it might seem a small thing what we are doing here in Varen, a group of like minded friends working for everyone.
Regardless of colour or religion, working like troupers and why? We want to make the world a better place.
It is worth a bit of work.
Today we had smiles and laughter in the market from all the old villagers, from the new arrivals to the village, Europeans, friends from Syria, Uganda and some from Afghanistan.
Our village could be a model of how 💖 love works.
Malc and I have worked all day long and are both exhausted tonight but ... how happy we are, full of love.
Just had loving messages from Karwan Sanan, so pleased to hear he has papiers.
We have been helped this afternoon by friends from Tjadikistan ( wish I could spell it never mind say it) and another from Afghanistan. 
This morning we had help from many in the village to identify where some of the 42 people over 85 live in the commune, as we will be delivering a Christmas present to them soon.
Christmas has always been a happy time and in our village happiness abounds🎄💐🎼
Yesterday we had a visit from the Mayor and Valerie Rabault in the photo (Valérie Rabault is our "Député" member of the Assemblée Nationale in Paris.) with Terence Harker our secretary. Today we were selling new hats from Caussade for 2 euros.

Friday, 7 December 2018

More Christmas spirit about

Santa's helpers: photo DDM/EL
Four women from Albi were moved by the plight of poor and homeless people in their city and decided to do an Advent calendar - but in reverse. Instead of opening a window to find a gift, they made gifts to give away.
Making up boxes containing essential needs for a homeless or poor person, some for men, some for women and some for children, plus some treats where possible the four friends will be distributing their Christmas boxes in the next couple of weeks.
We have seen a similar project closer to Tagland, where the members of FIFI (friends in France international) have been repeating their idea of preparing similar boxes for distribution to a women's shelter in the Tarn. And Mains Tendues 82, the local charity based in Varen is to distribute gifts to the most elderly residents of the commune plus a donation to the village school to entertain our youngest residents. They will also be making gifts to the various refugees and their families housed locally, an idea which has been greeted with generosity by supporters.
At a time when so much is being made of the plight of ordinary people around us it is heartening that some positive action is being taken to share Christmas with those less well off.

Keeping up the good work

Another eventful weekend awaits those who will be participating in the Telethon appeal for donations to medical research. Many schools, employees and private citizens will be taking part in events designed to gain sponsorship or cash donations to the Telethon. Over 70 million euros was raised last year and the TV chains will be dedicating many hours of broadcast entertainment to help viewers pledge their support.
Amongst the local activities the sapeurs pompiers at Laguepie will be offering to wash your car (and providing coffee and cake while you wait) for your generous donation. Taglines will be taking our car for its annual wash. If you give 10 euros it may be bit more expensive than the car wash - but personal service and good humour for a worthy cause make it worthwhile.
Some activities are threatened with disruption by the gilets jaunes, but the genuine protestors amongst them will surely support this action of solidarity with sufferers of the diseases the Telethon will be helping.

Food appeal wins out

The annual appeal for donations for the Food Bank in Occitanie has been far more successful than organisers had feared. Worried that the gilets jaunes protestors would block access to the supermarkets last weekend seem to have been confounded as donations often far exceed the previous year. Often it seems that people used local smaller shops to source their donations and one small town of about 10000 inhabitants gave 1500 kilos of foodstuffs compared to 650 in 2017.
Perhaps the claims of the protestors that many ordinary working families are suffering hardship led to the generosity of their fellow citizens. Locally it is estimated that Tarn and Garonne has contributed 150 tonnes to the Food Bank stocks. Now it remains for the volunteers to sort and re-distribute the foods to the various charities who will pass them on to needy public.

An interesting read

hi Val

all the best, Bob

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Christmas Carols at Parisot

Do you urgently need a sky box?

hi Val
Sky boxes. I've built up a small stock of these over the years. They're just back-up for the ones around our house, and are too old to sell. But if anyone's own Sky or Freesat box breaks down over Christmas (or after) they'd be most welcome to borrow one of ours until they can get a replacement.

Val, I wonder if this is worth putting on TAG, as the blog will be easier to search in the coming weeks than Facebook. xc

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A couple of useful contacts

For anyone that tackles DIY and other similar projects, the following may be of interest:

Galvacier, Saint Sulpice la Pointe - 0563 402070

Sandblasting (and painting)
Thermolac, Rue Paul Riquet, Montauban - 05 63 93 02 57


Trains still disrupted

Local TER trains are being disrupted with action by conductors who are unhappy with a new anti-fare dodging regime that SNCF wants to initiate on trains from Sunday. Most services will run, but in some cases with replacement bus services.
Services to Toulouse from Figeac (ie through Villefranche, Lexos and Gaillac) will terminate at Tessonieres from where a bus will take over. There may be fewer trains on the Toulouse/Figeac journey.
The link will take you to the revised timetable on the TER site.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Truffle season starts tomorrow

14h (2pm) sees the first truffle market at Lalbenque (Lot) tomorrow. The weather has not been great for truffle production, the summer being too dry. The wet spring was useful, but the three months of July to September were almost entirely devoid of rain.
Last year 1500 kilos were sold at the Tuesday markets and the shortage in other areas made Lot and Dordogne the main producers of the precious fungus.
The trufficulteurs are afraid that the loss of incentives to plant trees may lead to a shortage of truffles in five to ten years time.
The annual truffle fair will be held on 26th/27th January in the Quercy capital of the black gold.

New Christmas fair

There is a Marché de Noel practically every weekend (and some weekdays) from now to Christmas. We have Caylus on Saturday and Verfeil on Sunday next. And a newcomer on the block is in Loze on Saturday 15th December organised by Becky Brown.
 Let us know if you want us to publicise your event.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Cancer support France at the book swap tomorrow

The book swap at St. Antonin starts tomorrow at 10. 30 as always at the Gazpacho
Cancer Support France will be coming and I believe selling Christmas cards
See you there

Christmas cakes etc at Septfonds