Thursday, 28 February 2019

One outside table tennis to buy then for now I have cracked it

A million thanks to everyone.

I now have the 4 required flat screen televisions for my young men and families.
I will explain that the wooden chalets are so small that a flat screen is more likely to fit in !
I also have a good outdoor table tennis table to pick up.
I NEED ONE MORE, and I am prepared to pay for it.
We felt so strongly that the lads should be able to watch sport as well as kick a ball about themselves that I really wanted to pull all the stops out
A photo of the last two tv’s offered.

Spring watch

Not the popular UK TV programme, but a volunteer group called "Spring Sentinels" who have been reporting early signs of spring to the local Midi Pyrenees PETR (an organisation of local government to collect and diffuse information on climate change).
Participants report first sightings (or bird calls) of 10 indicators. These include the first swallows, cuckoo, cowslips, hazel catkins, ladybirds (the 7 point variety), oak buds, vine shoots, yellow butterfly, pyramid orchids and green frogs.
Not all of these appear early in the spring, but it is useful to mark the progress of the season as it seems to be getting earlier each year.
Cowslips: primavere coucou
No doubt readers will have seen hazel trees with their pendulous flower clusters for some time now and we noticed some cowslips this morning. Pyramid orchids will not appear until late April/May, but there are other earlier varieties to look for from mid-March.
This link is to the very interesting report on the activities of the Sentinels in 2018.

Music from the middle east.

A trio of Palestinian musicians will be presenting a concert of classical music with a middle eastern flavour on Sunday at the mairie in St Antonin. Participation libre, with part of the take paid to Et Puis D'Ailleurs, the association which is still helping the first migrants who arrived in the area three years ago.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Getting ready in the new department store in Varen

I should not laugh but it has been funny.
Malc and some of my boys working under instruction climbed up three flights of narrow stairs to bring down two old armoires. They are both beauties, but we have decided to keep them to display our linen that is for sale.
They are amazing things in that they break down into bits just like Ikea furniture.
They then transported them up up more winding stairs in our building to putback together. It took minutes to take them apart but after some time I left them to it on the pretext that the dogs needed their tea. ( the dogs thought it was hardly a pretext but a necessity.)
Malc will bring the second car and trailer when they are finished and I will run the boys back to Parisot.
I did warn them they would have to stay all evening if the jigsaw puzzle was not completed and left laughing.
You did not know I was so hard 🤪

Book swap in St. Antonin

Monday next week will be the St. Antonin book swap. Helen Graham asks that you contact her if you want to stay on for lunch

The first book and Dvd swap in Varen

Well this morning was our first book and DVD swap in Varen and how lovely it was sitting chatting in the sun over a coffee 
after swapping books.
So pleased that Ann Penning who lives in the village will take on organising the swap and as Axel opens his kitchen and will have a menu du jour in about 3 weeks time, she will also take bookings from those who after a relaxed morning will stay for an ensemble lunch.
For more info on the swap you can contact me ( till Ann gets her hand in ) then Ann who is great at organisingđź’–will be in charge.
The book swap will be the last Tuesday of every month

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Eighty years ago

In 1939 over 200000 Spanish republicans fled their country to escape the Franco regime. Many arrived in France and were interned in Perpignan and some 10000 at Septfonds. It is thought that over the next couple of years around 25000 asylum seekers passed through the camp at Septfonds. The last president of the Spanish Republic, Manuel Azana is buried in the cemetery at Montauban and the current Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez paid hommage there last weekend.
Many of the refugees remained in the area despite the difficulties they faced with the French authorities under the Vichy regime.

Pound rises

Sterling apparently rose to a two year high following the Labour party support for a new referendum if necessary. At around 1.13 euros to the pound this morning it is better than the 1.10 on offer recently. The rise is said to be the result of the possibility of a "no deal" receding, calming the currency markets.
The uncertainty caused by the Brexit debate over the last three years has caused the pound to plunge from around 1.35 to as low as 1.09 (typical bank or currency broker rates, not headline or tourist rates). A big factor in driving retired people back to the UK as their incomes have plunged, though selling your house is more affordable - if you can find a buyer.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

The new face at Mains Tendues 82

She is called Martha,donated by a friend as a dispay item for the shop
We are here to serve at Mains Tendues 82

Weather v Climate

Glorious weather we are enjoying, but the high pressure and absence of wind has led to excessive levels of air pollution in many parts of France. The pollution is caused by fine particles emitted by vehicles and industry and has decided several prefectures to announce speed restrictions. In Occitanie the department of Hautes Pyrenees has imposed a 20kph reduction in speed limits on the A64. Around Paris similar restrictions are in force.
Friday evening saw the latest manifestation of young people, mainly students, in various cities to protest at governments' lack of action to combat climate change. The movement has been inspired by a Swedish woman Greta Thunberg who has been picketing the Swedish parliament every Friday. Around one thousand young people attended the rally in Paris. Organisers claim their actions have been over-shadowed by other "social protests", but that global warming is the most important issue facing their generation.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Coffee, books,DVD’s and chat in Varen

Coffee and book swap
Book and DVD swap at Axels bar in Varen meeting at 10.30am Tuesday 26 th Feb.
You can bring up to three book and three DVD.s but you must take three away with you. No books can be left.
Looking forward to meeting lots of newcomers to Varen

Studio props please

Old or unused any more perhaps artists easels needed. New ones too, if you can bear to give us.
Anything quirky, anything even suitable for displaying art work.
Old palettes, brushes etc to make an interesting  display to make the old mairie into an artists' studio for Friday and Saturdays in Varen
Coming in April
We have a list of artists you will love to come and see and admire their work, and even buy.
You will be able to come to the market and do your food shopping, the friperie to buy clothes, kitchen equipment, furniture etc.
And go to the Moulin or Axels bar for lunch

Varen, where «  the river runs through »
Sounds inviting doesn’t it?

MP wants to guarantee our rights

The latest message from ECREU, a lobby group wanting to preserve ex-pat rights after Brexit, includes the news that a Tory MP has put down an amendment for next week's vote to ask the PM to ensure that the part of the Withdrawal Bill relating to citizens' rights be adopted whatever the outcome of the negotiations. We are asked to write to our MP (even if we have no right to vote our MP is that of the last constituency we lived in) and urge her/him to support the amendment.
The text is:
Conservative MP, Alberto Costa is putting down a carefully worded amendment
to guarantee citizens rights regardless of the outcome of Brexit. The
amendment will be to the Prime Minister's meaningful vote motion on February
26th .
This is the amendment:

'This House considers the prime minister's statement of 26th February and
requires the prime Minister to seek at the earliest opportunity a joint
UK-EU commitment to adopt part two of the withdrawal agreement on citizens
rights and ensure its implementation prior to the UK¹s exiting the European
Union, whatever the outcome of negotiations on other aspects of the
withdrawal agreement.'
It is reported to have cross party support, but it is vital that all MPs are
encouraged to get behind it. So please write to your MP and ask him or her
to  vote for Mr Costa's amendment ­ your future life in the EU could depend
on it!
Find your MP here:
Our coalition of groups, British in Europe has joined with the3million in
the UK writing to all MPs., but this is all about numbers, so please email
your MP now.

You can download the BiE letter here:

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Writing for Fun


Following the publication of Life in Words in 2017, an anthology of the work penned by the creative writing group under the leadership of the late Doreen Porter to whom it was dedicated, members of the group decided to continue writing and we are now in our second year.
Each month, we choose one or two subjects to write about in any format and email it to an appointed member to circulate.  We then meet up on the last Friday to discuss the submissions and make comments. This year we have decided to be a little more ambitious and each write a book of his/her choice, endeavouring to add a chapter per month.
We can now accept two or three more members so if you fancy adding creative writing to your hobbies, do contact us for more details on
It is a very informal sociable group as it is meant to be fun, although we do seriously try our best to write something, however small, each month.

Thousands manifest against bigotry in Toulouse

Assembled against antisemitism: pic Fabrice Valery, France 3
Answering the call of some 20 political and social organisations several thousand people attended a demonstration in Toulouse yesterday. Assembled by the Holocaust memorial the manifestation was in answer to the rising rate of antisemitism in France. Several recent events have highlighted this phenomenon, such as the abuse of a leading Jewish philosopher, the defacing of the images of Simone Veil, the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in the Bas Rhin  and damage to the memorial to Ilan Halimi a young man tortured to death about 4 years ago. Government statistics suggest a 74% increase in such incidents in 2018.
Wherever the cause of this lies, and many wild theories have been advanced from the Gilets Jaunes to deliberate government misinformation, it is a symptom of the ever more toxic politics being driven by the "populist" right and ultra left wing groups.
The manifestants in Toulouse and many other cities show that right-minded citizens will not tolerate these abusive scapegoating actions, whether against Jews, gays or migrants.

Karl Lagerfeld

The iconic fashion designer who reformed the house of Chanel died yesterday, Tuesday 19 February. The design function will be taken over by his close collaborator Virginie Viard, who has worked with Lagerfeld for 30 years. Viard is the head of the creative studios, making the designer's drawings into garments.
Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard in October 2018. Photo Bertrand Guay, AFP
Lagerfeld started with Chanel in 1983 and his designs and personality lifted the faded fashion house back to its former glories.
He had said he wanted to leave his fortune to his beloved Burmese cat, Choupette. This is apparently not possible under French law as pets are treated as chattels and are part of the deceased's estate, inherited along with everything else as decreed by the "code Napoleon". But we imagine that a specific bequest could be made to a person or association charged with keeping the cat in luxury as long as it lived.
Sketch of Choupette by his owner

Night out at Parisot

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Invitation to the CrĂŞpes partie



C'est avec  plaisir que l'Ă©quipe de France Alzheimer 82 vous invite Ă  l'après-midi rĂ©crĂ©ative "CrĂŞpes-partie" proposĂ©e le mardi 5 mars de 15h Ă  17h au Fort Ă  Montauban.
Vous trouverez en pièce jointe l’affichette d’invitation Ă  ce moment.


Le nombre de places étant limité, l'inscription préalable est nécessaire (par mail ou téléphone) auprès de notre secrétariat.


A très bientĂ´t !


Bien cordialement,





05 63 20 47 64


Sunday, 17 February 2019

Those old slides are treasure

photos from our slides.
As we have a scanner and software to convert your slides to photos we have decided Mains Tendues will loan the kit for 10 euros a week. Unless you have hundreds you should get all your slides sorted in a week.
Let me know by messenger if you would like to book a week with the gear for 10 euros picking up and returning to the frip
All the photos of me I am in a bikini or wet suit !!
The one with me in the stylish hat and bikini with daughter Sam was taken in August 1976, ...43 years ago

Plus de photos de nos diapositives.
Comme nous avons le scanner et le logiciel nécessaires pour convertir vos diapositives en photos, nous avons décidé que Mains Tendues prêterait le kit à 10 euros par semaine. Sauf si vous en avez des centaines, vous devriez avoir toutes vos diapositives triées en une semaine.
Faites-moi savoir par messager si vous souhaitez réserver une semaine avec le matériel pour 10 euros pour ramasser et retourner à la frip
Toutes les photos de moi, je suis en bikini ou en combinaison !!

Celle avec moi dans le chapeau et le bikini stylés avec ma fille Sam a été prise en août 1976, il y a ... 43 ans

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Fined for blowing the car horn

Many motorists "klaxon" to show support for demonstrations or striking workers but strictly it is illegal other than to avert danger. A couple caught in the Gilets jaunes blockage at Montauban were finally allowed through the barrage after being told to hoot for support. As they left they also made a "friendly" toot towards the gendarmes who were supervising the blockage.
It seems the policemen were not amused and eventually the couple received a fine of 22 euros for "abusive use" of a car horn.
The couple are outraged as they did not support the actions of the GJs and their gesture to the police was accompanied by a cheery wave. They intend to pay the fine in 1 centime coins.
The moral: be careful who you hoot at.

Friday, 15 February 2019

On the subject of taxis

A reader writes:
"Hi Malcolm
Whilst on the topic of taxi fares, the last time I asked for a local taxi devis from Caylus to Blagnac it came to €130 (plus another €130 for a pick-up a week later).  I imagine that would be over €150 now - confirmed last year by Uber in Montauban/Toulouse, who quoted €145.
Best wishes 
Chris "

Many rural taxi firms are bolstered by their contracts with the medical services; daily runs to hospitals and clinics on a "bon de transport" issued by GPs and specialists. That is their bread and butter, and the private hire is the jam, though they find it hard to fit in, which is why evening trips are most rewarding.
A car sharing system would be cheapest, but attempts to organise them via the internet seem to stumble over times (eg a trip to Blagnac to meet a flight will leave here 2/3 hours later than a trip to catch the same flight when it is leaving).
If readers plan their trips early enough an appeal via Taglines or one of the local FB groups could be fruitful.

Also it is worth considering the trains to Toulouse from Laguepie, Lexos or Vindrac.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Fixed price for airport taxis

From 1st March taxis to or from Blagnac airport will have to charge a fixed price rather than the clock being on time, subject often traffic delays. A typical airport to railway station trip will cost 35 euros. Prices vary from 15 euros to 45 euros depending on the distance of the trip within the city environs.
There is still the possibility of the navette to the station and the tramway to other parts of the city.

Airbus drops A380

A380 takes off in Sydney: photo Peter Parks AFP
The Toulouse based aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has decided to cease production of its biggest passenger model, the A380. The last models in production will be delivered in 2021, ending a 13 year experiment with these 4 engine planes. Often described as the most comfortable aircraft in service, airlines prefer twin engine models because modern engines are more fuel efficient and the A350 or Boeing 787 can carry almost as many passengers on the long haul routes. An additional factor is that airports do not need runway extensions for the smaller craft.
Airbus do not envisage much impact on employment at the various sites that construct the A380 as they can be diverted to the much in demand A320 and A350.

Love is in the air

Happy Valentine’s day to all our supporters at Mains Tendues 82
To all our refugee boys and families
To anyone in our area we have helped and will continue to help regardless of nationality, colour or religion.
And of course to Malc who is at my side as we push forward.
We have lots of plans to continue our help, lots of plans which will enhance the life of our village and other local villages and tomorrow we have another lovely afternoon planned.
We are hosting in the friperie a visit from a local group ‘’ Sol Handi’’ a group which helps handicapped people in our area based in Verfeil. 
At Verfeil the group have a village house where 31 people can meet, spend the day with qualified staff meeting their needs and arranging interesting projects. 
We are donating 500 euros to help with their projects and hoping to have close ties in the future with some of their projects with gardening and art.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

FET at Les Cabannes

Big rise in anti-semitism last year

The Interior Ministry reported a rise in recorded acts of anti-Semitism of 74% in 2018. The acts included threats, thefts and in one case a murder. In Paris this weekend the portraits of Simone Veil, an Auschwitz survivor and major French and European politician, considered by many as one of the most important post-war contributors to French society, were defaced with swastikas.
The artist Christian Guemy removed the graffiti from his image
The artist who created the images cleaned them up himself and insisted that no matter how many times they were defaced he would restore them.
France 2 TV last night aired a documentary showing the battle in France in the 1930s for dominance by fascist sympathisers and left wing republicans. The importance of defeating this growing menace was graphically illustrated but ultimately led to the horrors of the war.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Brilliant donation from far away

What a brilliant day, just brilliant
Not only meeting my long time facebook friend Rachel Thornton, who like me works helping refugees when she can, but she came bearing gifts.
She had been offered a pool table by someone who like us supports refugees and she knew my boys at Parisot would love to have one. Not only that but her friend sent her with a 500 euro cheque for Mains Tendues 82
The pool table is going into the new communal house in Verfeil which when it is renovated will include apartments for refugees who have their papers. 
We were helped today to unload by my dear refugee friends and also some of the young people from the commune in Verfeil who will enjoy the pool table too.
Thanks to Terence Harker for lunch and the photos, and for Malc taking the boys back and a specially big thank you to Rachel and her partner for hiring a van and driving all the way from Lodeve.

Millau viaduct raises millions

Millau viaduct: pic. Vincent, public domain
The spectacular viaduct at Millau opened in 2004 having cost 394 million euros is today giving its owner, Eiffage, profits of 24 million euros per annum. At 3.5 kilometres it represents over 6 million per kilometre, making it the most profitable stretch of peage in France.
Current toll is 8.60 euros (rising to 10.80 in summer) for light vehicles.
The bridge was designed in partnership with British architect Norman Foster and is the tallest bridge in the world at 343 metres. Its original conception was to eradicate the tremendous traffic jams experienced especially in the summer when the holiday makers from the north headed for the riviera and Mediterranean resorts.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Help find the owner who must live near Figeac

They told me not to go in the pound... said it would be fatal... but did I listen? Did I?
And then, opening the gate to the pound, the low 'whooaaf' should have stopped me if I had any sense... but did I?
'Course I didn't... and now I am in love with a stunning dog ❤️ 
and I WANT him!!!

But... this boy is in super condition, and somebody must have fed him well and looked after him. I wouldn't be surprised if he has been to a groomer recently. Somebody has bought him a lovely leather collar, and has given him treats to reward him and show their love for him. 
So, somebody must be missing him and chances are that he must be missing them as well!!!
Will you please share to find his owner? He was found somehere near Figeac in the Lot (46)...
Contact is Helping Homeless hounds the Figeac refuge and San Barto is the personal contact

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Two sad little kitties

Blanche & her son Ginge (born April 2018) are in desperate need of a loving home       
Their owner died suddenly last month & they have nowhere to go.    They are still in the house in Varen.
They have both been vaccinated & sterilised (& use a litter tray).
They really need & deserve comfort & care in a loving home.
Please can anyone help them?
Contact Caroline Kirk.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Help wanted for gite in Caylus area.

Help wanted to look after holiday home in Caylus. Full preparation between lets (cleaning, laundry, pool maintenance, grass-cutting etc.) so ideal for a local couple working together, or maybe for someone to manage using friends?  
For details contact Paul Downham at

Taglines moved from paper to electronic / memories

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

TAGlines could be back

Do you remember TAGlines? Conceived as a means of keeping English speakers in the "golden triangle" where Tarn, Aveyron and Tarn & Garonne departments meet - around the lovely medieval villages of St Antonin Noble Val, Varen and Najac it was published quarterly from 2003 - 2005, growing from four A4 pages to twice that size.
Given away free around the area it was supported by local advertising and a few generous donations.
The editorial concentrated on local events and personalities, but with the emphasis firmly on our hosts the French population (and indeed many of them were pleased to read something  in English of interest to the area).

The publisher, Val Johnstone of Varen, would like to re-establish TAGlines, but via the electronic media and first steps are  to establish an on-line blog version. So if you have news, views, items for sale, events to publicise etc why not let TAG on-line know  at

Are "radars" just a cash cow?

A complaint aimed at the roadside cameras to control speed is that they are merely there to collect another "tax" from motorists. Consequently more than half have been destroyed or defaced during the recent gilets jaunes campaigns. But there is almost a history of the cameras being used just as targets for discontented drivers. Some have been regularly vandalised over the years (we recall the camera at Maleville being burned out years ago). And the demonstrations of the farmers in the last couple of years have often targetted the cameras.
Yet it seems that France is one of the European countries least served by this effort to reduce road deaths from speeding vehicles. Using a measure of cameras per square kilometre, Belgium tops the league, with 18 times the number per square kilometre than in France. But Italy has actually the highest number, with over 10000 speed cameras, compared to just over 2000 in France. In fact France is 11th in density (though Malta with just 21 cameras has a much higher density). GB and the Netherlands also have much higher density than France and the least likely place to be flashed seems to be Spain.
So if cash is the purpose of this equipment then perhaps the government is missing a trick.
Statistics gathered by an organisation called Statista.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

One can never have too many books?

We have suddenly had an influx of new English speakers in Varen. Many of the more elderly have gone to pastures new or back to the UK.
But a steady stream of English language speakers from all over the world are choosing to make their lives in Varen.
For those I would like to tell you that the first Monday of every month there is a book swap  in St. Antonin at the Gazpacho.
The last two months I have not been able to spend the time driving to St. Ant and socialising there.
Which gave me the idea to start a smaller affair here in Varen and meet for coffee and book exchange the last Tuesday of every month.
I have checked at Axels bar and there would be no problem.
How in the past the book swap ran ( which I started 5 years ago) I ended up with a lot of work getting rid of excess books. So for the Varen swap I suggest you arrive with up to three books but you must then take three books away with you.
How about we try it the last Tuesday in February 26 th, meeting at 10. 30 in Axels bar.
It does not preclude one from going to the St. Antonin swap where you also have the option to stay and eat with a sympa group. The swap and booking the meal there is now organised by Helen Graham

L’Oustal at Laguepie

What a difference it makes if you have charming staff serving you. (the Moulin de Varen knows this)
Anyway lunch today at l’Oustal in Laguepie was really good and Malc finished with apple croustade and  ice cream.
 Must have been good we have  booked for 4 on Saturday lunch.
The place has been repainted and redesigned , very nicely done, but we thought of the place 17 years ago which was like stepping back in time and cost you 6 euros or the equivalent in francs

Who decides to close classes?

Given that almost all local communes are being threatened with losing classes in their primary schools (even larger communes such as Caussade), or having to merge classes in order to reduce staff levels, who makes the decision?
Education is under the control of the Ministry of Education, managed at local level by "Academies", who decide things such as curriculum, staffing and holiday dates. Here we are under the Academie de Toulouse. But there are Departmental organisms which are charged with carrying out the policies from above.
It is the sole responsibility of the Departmental delegation to decide which schools should close or lose classes. The commune has little or no input. The direction is supposed to consult the schools themselves and the commune maire.
The Department seems to consider that the classes are too small in the primary schools (overall average in Caussade for example is 23 pupils per class). Therefore it wants to combine classes to increase the level to about 27 minimum.
The fear at village level is that their schools will never reach a level considered viable by the Academie, leading to closure and merging with other nearby schools, with all the logistical impact that will have on pupils and parents. The manifestations at local schools will continue and delegations are expected to go to Montauban to try and meet the Director.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Support for the infants school in Varen

Early morning start at the school in Varen which is threatened with the loss of a teacher and classroom closure.
The Maires of Varen and Verfeil were both there with parents and children to show their support.
Terence Harker and I were there showing support from Mains Tendues 82 as many of the young parents are customers of ours in the friperie and they have our support for a school in the village.
The fears are that eventually the school will be closed and the children sent to St. Antonin.

Help with heating costs

Apart from a system of heating allowance available to the less well off, the regions offer help and advice (which may include financial assistance) and in Midi Quercy there is a scheme called OPAH - (operation programme d'amelioration de habitat). It was covered some year ago in Taglines when based at Caylus and has been granted funds for 3 more years.
This link is to an article on the subject
If you click the "en savoir plus" link you can get an English version.

Taglines telephone woes

Any body trying to contact us on our landline these last few days will have received a "not available" message. It is not that we are so busy, merely that there seems to a fault at the exchange. Unusually we have internet access but no telephone.
Arrangements are in place to divert calls to our mobile phone, so you should be able to get through. Our usual email and messenger addresses are still working.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Thanks to Hans of VIDEPC

Thanks to Hans of Videpc in St Antonin, we managed to get our projector connected up to TV and DVD players at  the weekend and were able to "binge watch" the superb BBC production of "Les Miserables" on our cinema screen. The story is multi-layered, exposing the horrendous post revolution justice system; the squalor and poverty of the ordinary citoyens; contrasting the kindness and generosity of the religious characters with the grasping exploitation of the innkeepers; examining the "ancien regime" royalists faced with the new revolutionaries. The barricades ring loudly with the current unrest in France, where Macron is regarded by many as a royalist style dictator using state force to keep the poorer classes down.
Whatever your stance on this matter, the production was very well written, produced, designed and acted and I hope it comes to French TV soon.
And without the damned music of the stage version.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Day of action tomorrow

Tuesday 5th February will be a day of action by the union CGT, representing many public service employees, in an attempt to demonstrate to the government the demands of the workers, allied to those of the gilets jaunes. Many local offices and schools will be affected.
Services affected will include the CPAM and CAF, dealing with health and family allowance payments, schools closed include those at Caussade, Caylus, Parisot as well as Montauban and other T&G communes.
There may also be problems on certain trains, so check with the SNCF/TER web site if you intend to travel by rail.
There will be a march in Montauban at around 11am.

Bookswap today

The monthly book swap will be today. 4th February at the Gazpacho in St Antonin, from 10.30 am.

World Anti-cancer Day

4th February is nominated World Anti-Cancer Day and a discussion in French media is about how doctors and nurses break the news to patients. Training of medical students did not include how to communicate with patients until recent years. One woman remembers her gynaecologist's secretary phoning her at work. Another was told baldly that there was no hope. Since about 2003 there has been a new protocol though there may still be differences depending on the personality of the professionals involved.
Many readers have experienced treatment here in France or elsewhere and may have different experiences. Taglines' sub-editor was diagnosed almost exactly 12 months ago with a form of lymphoma and experienced the communication with oncologists and nursing staff at Albi hospital.
We had a rendezvous with a specialist after a battery of tests and she passed us over to the oncologist after discovery of the condition. It was explained to us what was happening and that a programme of treatment would be agreed with various specialists, including the oversight of the Toulouse Oncopole experts.
A few days later we were given details of the programme and dates scheduled for chemotherapy. The documents in the dossier included the inevitable questionnaire as to whether the protocol on communication had ben followed. At the first treatment I was visited by a dietician and psychologist and throughout found the nurses extremely friendly and attentive. The lead oncologist was very "serious" as the French would say; business-like and brisk rather than empathetic, but always willing to listen and answer questions.
There is in our area an organisation called Cancer Support France (there is a contact number in the sidebar to this page) who hold monthly coffee mornings at the Gazpacho in St Antonin. CSF's aim to provide help, advice and support to those facing treatment or their families. One of the most useful aspects is help to deal with French individuals and organisations in the language.
Do not expect hospital staff to speak English. I found that the fact that I can speak reasonable French helped the medical staff and interested them in communicating with them. But use CSF if you need any help.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Moulin of Varen when it was a hydro electric plant

Mains Tendues will be selling lots of old postcards of Varen over the years from 1918 up to 2018
A donation from Patrick Lavile

The cement factory at Lexos

Lexos cimenterie

Les deux premières photos montrent les deux cheminées d'origine, les fours 1 et 2, qui ont été démolies en 1958.
Voici une chronologie de l'usine en ce qui concerne les cheminées :

1925: construction du four n°1 (50 mètres)
1933: construction du four n°2 (80 mètres)
1958: construction du four A (135 mètres) et arrêt des fours 1 & 2
1965: construction du four B (135 mètres)
La production a cessé en 1994, mais le site est toujours en activité comme dépôt jusqu'en 1999, date à laquelle toutes les activités ont cessé.
Les deux cheminĂ©es construites en 1958 et 1965 ont Ă©tĂ© dĂ©molies en octobre 1998. La tour derrière ces cheminĂ©es a Ă©tĂ© dynamitĂ©e en fĂ©vrier 2002 et d'autres bâtiments ont Ă©tĂ© dĂ©molis en avril 2002. 
Enfin, en juillet 2003, les silos situés sur le site de la déchetterie actuelle ont été dynamités.
John Dawson

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Did you know John Blackburn

Readers in the Caylus area who knew John will be sad to hear of his death. He was resident in Caylus for many years and died at home earlier this week. A service will be held in the church at Caylus, 14h followed at the crematorium Montauban at 17h on Monday February 4th.

Autoroute peages increased today

Increases to tariffs are about 1.8% from today. Since privatisation some 12 years ago prices have steadily increased thanks to "greater investment" according to the operators. Previously mainly built under a PFI (private finance initiative) with routes reverting to the state after 25/30 years, privatisation was seen as a way to relieve the state of any costs.
The report on France Info gives the example of 20 centimes increase on the Toulouse/Cahors journey, presumably on the two autoroutes combined.
Frequent users with a telepass contract may see their bills reduced by up to 30%.

Friday, 1 February 2019

No time for Brexit blues

What a difference it makes when the sun shines.
I think it is enjoy it while you can.
The Brexit cloud hangs over us all with the threat of no deal still hanging there.
I am so busy with our new old dog and the Varen friperies that both of these things take my mind off all the other “ merde”
Nice to note an optician has moved into St. Antonin.
The Oustal restaurant is open in Laguepie from next Tuesday, midday and evening, closed Mondays.
A new restaurant in St. Antonin called “Citron Bleu” is getting the thumbs up.
Our friperies are stocked with some wonderful furniture and of course designer clothes and fab. jewellery.
We have so many plans for Mains Tendues 82 this year, it really is "watch this space".

FĂŞtes at St. Antonin in the 1920’s

Charming post card of this fĂŞte in the halle, two years after the first world war.