Wednesday, 23 January 2019
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".
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|
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Tuesday, 22 January 2019
How lovely to meet two Presidents from two associations from Montauban, caring people who selflessly help others.
Monday, 21 January 2019
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|
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.
Friday, 18 January 2019
Wednesday, 16 January 2019
|Palm trees at Meze, January 2019. Picture:C Alazet.|
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".
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
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
On his 80th birthday celebrating with friends at the Hirondelle at St. Cirq
The AGM will be at the CAO in Parisot (82) on Wednesday 23rd January at 18h.
Friday, 11 January 2019
|Elizabeth, Isabelle, Magali, Sandra and Marylis: Pic DDM|
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
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
Tuesday, 8 January 2019
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.
Monday, 7 January 2019
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.
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.
Sunday, 6 January 2019
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
|A nuthatch coming to feed at Mas del Sol|
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
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.
Thursday, 3 January 2019
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.
|Kenza on New Year's Eve.|
|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 for choosing the logo on the arc de triomph in Paris
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.
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".