Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Truffles at Lalbenque

Lalbenque: the truffle is tasted and unearthed this weekend
Saturday and Sunday, the truffle festival in Lalbenque. A national truffle dog competition is organized in addition to tasting workshops and conferences. Retail and wholesale markets will be maintained.



French worries about "no deal"

The French government has also been making plans for the possibility of a "no deal" Brexit. As with the UK the prospect of long delays at ports of exit (notably Calais) have led to investing 50 million euros to build extra lorry parks and recruiting 600 more staff, customs officers, veterinary professionals and other civil servants needed to process the export and import documents.
A WTO exit could impose import duties of up to 40% on dairy products, lower tariffs on other goods.
It is estimated that France could lose 3 billion euros of exports in 2019, with cars, machinery, aeronautics, electronics and wine being particularly affected. Many items may require new recognition of standards (such as the British standard instead of the French or EU standard).
There are 300000 French people resident in the UK, 62% of whom reckon they will stay after Brexit. They will be illegal after 29th March unless they have applied for "settled status" particularly using the "mobile phone" system, provided they have an Android phone (so no iPhones). It is noted that UK expats in France will be in a similar position and will have one year to regularise their situation.
The problems of travel by air and Eurostar have been subject of debate as operators will not have the necessary permits to operate in France, nor will Air France be able to land in the UK; the EU has agreed to allow a one year extension to enable these companies to negotiate new licences, but there could still be some problems. Tourists may see higher charges for currency and telephone bills.
The Withdrawal Act covers many of these problems and the French government, as with the 26 other EU countries, prefers that deal to a "no deal".

Ricochets AGM today

The Assemblee Generale of the association Ricochets set up to provide support to the families and refugees at the Parisot centre will be held this afternoon at 18h in the main room at the centre.

Snow horses

Woke again with a horse missing. Just what we wanted to avoid when the donkeys left, as they were adept at escaping when there was little food left in the field. Fortunately when it was light old Mario was spotted in a neighbouring field and led back to the enclosure.
Happily it was not snowing this morning (though the rain was cold), whereas yesterday afternoon we had a decent shower of snow, forcing Mario to hide in the cabin, leaving poor Margaux to brave the elements.
Pic Malcolm Johnstone
No snow is forecast for this area for the next seven days.

Irish concert in Laguepie


Concert - Spectacle

du duo irlandesque


Dimanche 10 février à 17h

Salle des fêtes de
LAGUEPIE



Le concert sera suivi à 18h30 d'un repas partagé avec ce que
chacun aura apporté.
Avec le concert-spectacle d'OXALIS, venez partager un voyage musical, au cœur des contées de brumes, de roc et de mer…

Conseillé à partir de 8 ans
Participation au chapeau
Contribution suggérée entre 6 et 12 euros


Plus d'infos : 06 98 01 07 81

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Associations came from Montauban to meet us in Varen at Mains Tendues 82


How lovely to meet two Presidents from two associations from Montauban, caring people who selflessly help others.
Sylvie Pralong from “Education sans frontières “ and Jean Cousty from “ Pas sans Toit”
We hope to join with them this coming year to have the odd joint event to raise money and awareness.
taglines82@ gmail.com

A thief around Varen

Attention en Varen et environs, il y a un voleur/ cambrioleur

Be careful around the area, lock up well.
Friday morning it was discovered that the Moulin de Varen had been broken into. All the wine and spirits were stolen. Then today a French neighbour from down the road told me to lock up well including gardening equipment as the gendarmes had warned that someone is about breaking in.
Two lonely country  farm houses had been targeted, one having their volets forced open.
So just take extra precautions with locking up.
There was also a theft at Milhars two weeks ago.
taglines82@gmail.com

Monday, 21 January 2019

Albi palace gates cause a storm

The Palais de la Berbie, which houses the Musee Toulouse Lautrec in Albi has had some new gates fitted to the ancient red brick wall, but as they are made of steel an outcry has been raised on various internet sites.
The history of the opening has been chequered throughout its 800 year existence. Originally a solid wall, it was reduced in height and a balcony added in the 16th century, then in 18th century an opening was made, and a stone gate ordered. But it was not finished. In 1920 the historic monument commission ordered the gates to be demolished and replaced with traditional red bricks.
recent refurbishments of the gallery meant the opening was re-established to allow materials and vehicles to enter. It was decided to keep the opening and commission a new gate. The council and Unesco (Albi is a world heritage site) agreed a design by the Toulouse architect Michel Peron.
The architect is well versed in heritage work and produced a design in steel, which he says will look like brick once it has rusted and fit in perfectly with the rest of the wall. As it is not solid, but a lattice of brick sized steel blocks one can see through it into the palace grounds.
The entrance will be used to bring exhibits in and out and provide emergency access for pompiers.
Naturally the scheme does not please everyone, especially at a cost of 200000 euros. However, supporters claim that the new gate is a modern solution to an historic building which will enhance it without simply apeing  the past.
palais de la Berbie: photo DDM

Red moon for blue Monday



Apparently today is called "blue Monday" when we all feel miserable as the holiday feel good wears off, the weather is cold, we've already broken our resolutions and a whole year of work stretches ahead. Actually it is rather a sunny morning here at Mas del Sol, the horses are still behind the fences, the new dog greeted us full of beans and health worries are for last year.
Having woken at just before 8am we saw the last of the "super wolf moon", just setting in the west with a distinct tinge of red about it (though that is likely to have been just the normal redness we see every time the sun sets in the west - the earth's atmosphere distorts the light).
EU citizens can today apply for settled status in the UK for £65, though nothing has been reported about how complicated it may be. UK residents here in France have been applying for cartes de sejour (free) and citizenship to allow them to remain here legally in the event of Brexit.
Even on a lovely morning the prospect of months of Brexit wrangling is enough to make it a blue Monday.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Signature trees under threat

Palm trees at Meze, January 2019. Picture:C Alazet.
The palm trees that grow along the Mediterranean coasts of France are the emblem of that area, but are under threat from a red weevil which destroys them from inside Originally from Asia the pest was first noticed in France in 2006 and there is no known treatment.
Having previously been attacked by a moth, which was treatable now they are under threat from the red weevil, which particularly attacks the Phoenix palms, the Washingtonia variety being less susceptible and may be treated by using nematode worms.
Some resorts have replaced their palms with olive and lime trees, preserving as far as possible the sound varieties. Cutting down and replanting is an expensive operation for many coastal authorites with mature Washingtonia palms costing up to 1000 euros per metre.
As one local maire says "Without palms trees it would not be the South of France".

Wine is not really alcohol?

A minister of agriculture defended the wine industry by suggesting that it is not like other alcoholic drinks, saying that he had never seen a young person leaving a night club who was drunk from having consumed a glass (a bottle?) of Cotes du Rhone. The problem with alcoholism with young people was that they drank strong spirits or beer. The Minister of Health suggested that it is the amounts consumed that is the problem, though President Macron had previously said that young people should be educated about wine (though that was at the Salon de l'Agriculture).
Some health professionals have pointed out that alcohol causes up to 50000 deaths each year and that many motoring accidents are caused by drunken drivers. Getting young people to switch from vodka to Burgundy may not be the solution to the problem.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The great debate starts today

 "Grand débat national", proposed by the government partly as an answer to the gilets jaunes' demands for the voice of the people to be heard is launched today.
Partly because Macron, Hamon and Melenchon all proposed the system in their manifestoes for the presidential elections. The debate being launched today (Tuesday 15th January) with over 1200 "kits" sent out to suggest how it is to be organised at the local level (community of communes at the lowest level).
The government has provided details in the kit of population, employment, housing and information on the main areas of debate. The government has asked for debates on taxation and public expenditure, organisation of the state and public service, ecology and finally democracy. It is likely that the participants will be drawn by lot from all on the electoral roll and not on a proportional basis.
Many "gilet jaune" Facebook pages have already dismissed the idea as being government controlled and  widespread "cahiers de doléances"(lists of grievances) have been organised by various organisations. The main points inscribed in these books have been for the reintroduction of the wealth tax, more justice for protesters, abolition of "mariage pout tous" and other social changes for the less well off.
And the UK parliament will apparently discuss a deal which almost everyone is opposed to.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Au revoir Roger Bowen

Some sad news this morning.
We were called around 10 am by  the gendarmes to go down to the village where a friend and fellow “Britannique” Roger Bowen had been found dead. In his eighties and in poor health, he was  found by the visiting nurse. The Doctor puts it down to a “a malaise “ overnight.
He was out and about yesterday.
He had an estranged wife in the UK, who we have contacted.
Roger will be remembered for loving cricket, playing boules, being involved with his old Lancia cars and enjoying dining out with his lady friends
You will be missed by many Roger.
He wants his body to be taken back to the UK, but we are already taking about a memorial service here.

On his 80th birthday celebrating with friends at the Hirondelle at St. Cirq

taglines82@gmail.com

More a pussy cat than a tiger


Tiger is in desperate need of a home.
He is 8 years old, walks on the lead, is good with other dogs, cats and children, does not run away.
Infact a perfect dog.
Had we not just taken on Chanel we would have had him.
He is in a cold kennel outside which he is not used to and sadly if not adopted in 2 weeks will have to go into the SPA at Montauban where he will get lost amongst the younger more adoptable dogs.
Have you a place in your heart and home for him?
Contact me or Maeva  Vayron from des Truffes et des Moustaches for more details.
I can tell you adopting an older dog is really satisfyingly good for the soul... and their souls too.
Taglines82@gmail.com

AGM of Ricochets at Parisot

The association was founded to help the asylum seekers and refugees housed at the CAO in Parisot. The government provides the housing and food during the time the asylum seekers must remain at the centre, but funding for other necessities is largely via voluntary donations, including from Mains Tendues 82 and includes help after the refugee status has been granted and the centre will no longer provide shelter.
The AGM will be at the CAO in Parisot (82) on Wednesday 23rd January at 18h.

Is this the end of a golden era?

Yesterday we had a phone call from  Charles Smallwood at Agence L’Union to say he was handing our house sale over to Ruud at Disc in St. Antonin.
He would stay as an advisor to Disc, they would work together rather than as competitors.
Is this an end of a golden era ?
It must be pretty tough for immobiliers whose market has been traditionally in the UK.
taglines82@gmail.com

Join or renew theatre subs for this year's shows.

Dear FET Friends,

Thank you for your patronage in the past and we hope that you would like to show your continued support by becoming a member of FET for our 2019 season.

This year's fees are due from 01/01/2019.

Membership costs 20€ per person.

We are busy preparing this year's programme and due to popular request FET has secured some shows with a company of actors.  As we are sure you appreciate the tickets for these shows will be more expensive but as a member you still get a 5€ discount on show tickets.

As a general rule, tickets for shows with one actor will cost 15€ for members, 20€ for non-members, whilst tickets for shows with a company of actors will cost 25€ for members, 30€ for non-members.

As a reminder of other benefits, members get priority booking ahead of the general public, can stand for the committee, and attend the AGM.

Membership cheques must be made payable to 'FET' and mailed to:


Mme Ruth ETRIDGE

FET

2355 Route de La Belautie

81140, CAHUZAC-SUR-VERE

Friday, 11 January 2019

Heroines voted T&G personalities of the year 2018

Elizabeth, Isabelle, Magali, Sandra and Marylis: Pic DDM
Five women employed at the EHPAD (retirement home) at Moissac have been voted the Department's people of the year by readers of La Depeche du Midi. The women, who are all employed in different roles, three assistants, one housekeeper and one nurse, were taking a break when they noticed a car take a right turn, directly into the canal lateral. They responded quickly to calls for help, including calling the pompiers, and managed to pull an elderly couple from the car. Using their skills they were able to offer appropriate care to the victims.
Fortunately the couple who were heading for Toulouse were no worse for their ordeal, but a salutary warning, don't always trust your GPS, especially in the dark!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Media Man




Happy 90th birthday Tintin

The boy reporter and his dog made his first appearance 90 years ago today. The artist responsible for this icon of the "bandes dessinees" was Georges Remi, whose initials GR, when reversed RG are pronounced "Hergé", the name by which he is universally known. Although aimed at children the works were first published by a Catholic newspaper in Belgium, headed by a very reactionary Abbe, Norbert Wallez. This may have influenced the early overseas trips of Tintin, to Russia and the Congo (still then a Belgian colony with Catholic missionaries who appear in the album). It was Wallez who insisted that Remi should, as with all his employees, be married and introduced him to his wife Germaine.
It seems that Wallez was actually a brilliant promoter of the books and persuaded Remi to share the rights 50/50. But his open collaboration with the Nazis and admiration for Mussolini lead him to be removed from his position in the church and later imprisoned. Despite this he remained a friend of Hergé (though he had won back all the rights to his creation). After Wallez's death in 1951 Remi and his hero Tintin became worldwide best sellers and nowadays, although drawn by other artists, the early editions and artwork command huge sums. As they say on "Flog It", check in your attic - especially our French and Belgian readers.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

AGM of Mains Tendues 82 in Varen

Mains Tendues 82 will hold their AGM today 10.30 am in the old mairie Varen
Supporters welcome
taglines82@gmail.com

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Welcome, bienvenue to Varen, Ludivine et Jean Sebastien




I hate to gloat that our village is Varen but we are a village that is rapidly trying to improve, improve what you may ask.
Well services for one thing. 
We have a great medical centre with Doctors,  nurses, physiotherapist, podologue, and a brilliantly friendly chemists'.
We have a children's school, a library.
A post office, bar, hairdresser, boulangerie.
A shop with new young owners who in the first days open have shown us the cut of their jib.
We have the most lively vibrant market which even in winter we get a great footfall through.
With numerous vegetable stalls, two at least bio, Estabuffette with her fab pastry, quiches and citron tarts, 
A fish man with stall to die for, we spend too much there each Saturday (we love fresh fish).
A meat van from Laguepie, great meat with a lovely man with his son.
The now famous Moulin de Varen who will reopen at the beginning of March, they do deserve a holiday
I could go on but I must then say with two shops open on Friday 15h to 17 h and 9 till 12 on market day the Varen friperie of Mains Tendues 82 is helping to change the face of the village.
It is our village and we are proud of it.

Monday, 7 January 2019

It's not just us..

Most of us have friends who are part of the "snow birds"; those who close up their houses and head off to sunnier climes for the winter. Apartments in Spain; camping cars (motorhomes to us); flights to Florida. As well as those British compatriots who fly away there are many Dutch and German sun seekers, and it should be no surprise that over 30,000 French senior citizens load up their camping cars and take the road south.
Their main destination is Morocco, having the advantage of a country where French is widely spoken. And with many well equipped camp sites at the seaside Agadir and its surrounds take on a very French feel during the winter. They will be back with the swallows in the spring ready for 2019 and whatever vagaries that throws up - no worries about Brexit or Gilets jaunes for them - sounds tempting.

Book swap this morning

Don't forget the monthly book swap from 10.30 am this morning. Wrap up well and buy your chocolat chaud.

Some trains cancelled due to frost

SNCF have announced that some lines into Toulouse have been affected by frost this morning. The lines most affected in our part of the world are those from Rode or Brive. Check with the website for details.
https://www.ter.sncf.com/occitanie/horaires/info-trafic-ter

2018 had lots of weather

We all witnessed an exceptional year of weather, the most notable being the long hot drought. In fact Meteo France says it was the hottest year on record with an average temperature of 14ºC, some 1.4ºC above the norm. This placed it as the hottest year since the year 1900, beating 2014 and 2011. There was also a record run of 9 consecutive months above average. The drought has been recognised as an exceptional event and we at Mas del Sol actually had a taxe fonciere refund (all of 24 euros) owing to a loss of crops from our one field.
We can also attest that the year was exceptional in the number of lightning strikes experienced. There were 296 days when there was a storm and over 725000 strikes. Apparently May was particularly bad, our house being hit on May 7th by one of the 182125 impacts - three times the normal.
Storms were often accompanied by violent rain or hail storms. The storm which hit Bordeaux on 26th May dumped 22mms of rain in 6 minutes (one inch of rain is about 25mms).
Still, no such thing as global warming.

In concert at Parisot



Sunday, 6 January 2019

Do you take down the Christmas decorations today?

Today, 6th December, is Epiphany, the Christian celebration of the Magi. Three wise men, often called kings, arrived in Bethlehem and were surprised to find that the star led them not to a palace, but to a stable. The gifts they brought may be the origin of us exchanging presents at Christmas.
Here in France there is the tradition of the "galette des rois", a round cake which contains a "feve" or "santon", usually a pot figurine and the person who finds the token can claim the golden crown and other favours.
In Spain the festival of "Reyes" is often more important than Christmas itself with the trappings of the nativity being exhibited everywhere.
In Britain we take "Twelfth Night" as the signal to take down our decorations and many of us will be hauling our Christmas trees off to the dechetterie this week, whereas here the French people may leave their trees, illuminations and decorations until at least the end of the month. Bonne année. (you can still say that apparently until January ends).

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Is this form of shooting defensible?

A nuthatch coming to feed at Mas del Sol
Each day we watch the wild birds coming to eat from our bird feeders, though these are mainly small seed eating varieties such as tits, finches, nuthatches and the odd robin, not larger birds such as blackbirds or thrushes. We get immense pleasure from these observations, but it seems that there are chasseurs who like to shoot thrushes and blackbirds, presumably purely for sport as the days of "four and twenty" blackbirds baked in pies are well past.
But in some departments, mainly in the south east of France, a system of luring birds to the gun is to catch some alive by putting glue on the branches of trees, then caging the captured birds so their song will attract others to be shot. The species and numbers of birds allowed to be captured are defined by the prefectures in accordance with records kept by the hunters; other birds accidentally attracted by the glue must be cleaned and released.
The LPO (Ligue Protection Oiseaux) asked the courts to outlaw a practice which is in principle contrary to an EU regulation, though derogations are allowed. But the court of appeal dismissed the case, arguing that the practice is not illegal and is closely regulated by the prefectures. The chasseurs, in their official journal, rejoiced that the court had thrown out the complaints of the "Ayatollahs, politically correct extremists" who were trying to ban a "traditional" sport.
Pretty much the same arguments have always been made to defend fox hunting in the UK and hunting of deer and sanglier here. At least the deer and wild boar can be eaten and crops are defended by controlling the numbers, but gluing thrushes to trees to shoot blackbirds? On this we are glad to classed as "ayatollahs" and are sad that that the "sportsmen" cannot find something more worthwhile to do in their spare time.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Is cheese good for you?

Obviously Wensleydale works wonders for Wallace and Gromit, but for the rest of us is a daily dose of Brie a good thing for our health? It seems that the Australian health authorities have been setting guide lines and French experts were asked for their views.
Not surprisingly all the dieticians consulted agreed that cheese is not a health risk, but like most dairy products can be beneficial. It is recommended that about 40 gms of cheese should be a daily maximum.. But as cheese contains salt and saturated fats it can be unhelpful in keeping a healthy heart, on the other hand it usually contains the bacteria which keep our bodies healthy as well as calcium for our bones. There are ethical questions surrounding the production of  dairy products, but that is not usually a dietary question, except for vegans.
The advice is to check the levels of salt, saturated fat and calcium when buying cheese (look at the labels of packaged cheeses to distinguish them) and choose the ones with least of the bad things and most of the good ingredients. Then consume in moderation.

Three years on and the news is excellent

Three years ago, Malc took these photos of our newly arrived young men who stayed at Rehoboth above St. Antonin. Happily most now have asylum, jobs or studying at University.
🇫🇷 France gave them sanctuary and a new life.
Love the shot of Karwan stopping that goal

Il y a trois ans, Malc a pris les photos de nos jeunes hommes nouvellement arrivés qui ont séjourné à Rehoboth, au-dessus de St. Antonin. Heureusement, la plupart d'entre eux ont maintenant l'asile, un emploi ou étudient à l'université.
🇫🇷 La France leur a donné un sanctuaire et une nouvelle vie.
I




Thursday, 3 January 2019

Good news for Lexos

Hi Val, firstly Happy New Year to you and Malc 
Secondly did you know that  train station at Cordes/Vindrac is closed to ticket buyers, but you can still go from there and buy tickets on the train.
Lexos now has a station master,  a delightful young lad who's english is perfect, on site on a daily basis.
You can't buy tickets but again buy on the train.
It's so nice to see the station at Lexos in use again. I was being nosy and looking through the window and surprised to see anyone at all, he came out and chatted while we waited for a friend. X
taglines82@gmail.com
Malc says: it has been part of SNCF's plan to make Lexos the cross-over point for trains on the Toulouse -Figeac line and a couple of years ago a new southbound platform and line was added though not so far used. Perhaps this is the start of implementing the planned changes.

Sad postscript

Our New Year's Day post showed the neighbours' dog curled up asleep in our living room having arrived at our window in a very distressed state at 9pm. The night spent with us proved sadly to be her last night alive as the next day she succumbed to what turned out to be an unsuspected tumour.
Kenza on New Year's Eve.
So whilst we were annoyed that her owners were not there to comfort her, we are happy that she did trust us enough to come and say that she was suffering and could we help. Kenza had become Eldo's pack friend and they often went off together. She often accompanied us on our walks and always greeted our guests and she will be missed by us all here.

Who killed all the rabbits?

The village of Minihy-Treguier in Normandy has experienced the death of 62 rabbits over the last 9 months, but local villages have also suffered 60 losses. There is no sign of particular violence and the corpses are "lined up" outside the cages. Apparently even locked cages have been opened. Now the local gendarmes have published calls for information in local media and on-line.
Picture from gendarmerie Facebook page

Vets who have carried out autopsies are agreed that the rabbits are being killed by a dog and some locals agree that there are chasse dogs roaming the area. But more residents are convinced that it is human intervention and one person claims to have seen "a shadowy figure" shortly before finding his four rabbits dead - still warm.
The local newsagent says the mere mention of rabbits in a headline and all the copies of the paper are sold and the maire worries that a state of paranoia is building up in the area. Residents are locking doors and closing shutters, even locking their cars in the fear that the "serial killer" may progress from rabbits to larger prey.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Thank you President Macron

https://www.sortiraparis.com/images/55/1467/414558-reveillon-du-nouvel-an-2019-sur-les-champs-elysees-spectacle-sur-l-arc-de-triomp.jpg


Thank you President Macron for choosing the  logo on the arc de triomph in Paris
Mains Tendues 82
A symbol to represent caring between all colours and creeds

Book swap Monday 7 th

Happy New Year.

The next book swap at the Gazpcho in St. Antonin will be on Monday 7th January and I will be organising lunch afterwards. If you wish to be included please let me know asap and no later than the morning of Friday 4th January when I need to confirm numbers with the restaurant.

Thanks.

Helen.  daxlore@wanadoo.fr

The best things wished for you all in 2019

As readers might have noticed Malc has taken over writing a lot of the TAG posts,  I spend most of my time working for Mains Tendues 82
and it does take up a lot of my time. 
I do enjoy it though and as well as helping others I think we are giving quite a lot to the village. It is not all work and no play as Hendrika  clearing away the hats at the end of the morning shows.
Tomorrow a 10 year  old golden retriever arrives here to be adopted by us so life will be even busier.
I know Malc has written a morning post but I just wanted to wish love,  happiness and acceptance of others to you all in 2019
taglines82@gmail.com






Happy New Year 2019

Taglines wishes its readers a Happy New Year - Bonne Année à tous nos lecteurs francophones.
As you will know 2018 was not the best year we have had with health and a serious lightning strike which caused a great deal of damage to Mas del Sol.
We planned a quiet New Year's Eve at home, but it was enlivened by a very frightened dog which came to our window about 9pm having been left outside by careless owners who had obviously gone out celebrating. She was clearly very agitated and once admitted refused to leave again. Eldo was obviously excited by this, but all our cats were very wary. Some firework detonations around midnight added to her panic. So she slept all night in our living room, being taken home to owners who appeared not to have missed her at 8am.
Now 2019 has arrived we hope things will improve and thank you all for your support during the last 12 months. We hope for good things for you all, and as the French say "surtout la santé".
One happy neighbours dog who seems to live outside.
taglines82@ gmail.com