Monday, 24 October 2016

Can anyone help?

Hi Val
Would you mind putting message on TAG for me? I am looking for somebody who can do a small plastering and tiling job (bathroom) within the next few weeks,. with more work to follow (floors, ceiling). Contact by e-mail please:

Termites and creepy crawlies

Morning Val,

We currently visiting our home in Rousayrolles and noticed what looks like a little woodworm infestation, not sure if its termites! Does anyone in the local area know of an reliable people that could come over to our house and have a look? Any help would be really appreciated.
Feel free to contact me on my email: with any tips or contacts.

Kind Regards,

Beverley and Matthew
Val days Sally gave us a name only a few weeks ago

We were advised to consult Joan Puech (06 63689597) about any concerns we had on timber and wood that needed treating. He specialises in proofing and treating old buildings against termite, wood infestations and dry rot.
She went on to say how pleased they were.

Offer help if you can

Why not you?
We are in the middle of the most turbulent times where mainly  young people in dangerous countries are being funded by families to escape to a safe life.
In France at the moment the Calais jungle is being forcibly dismantled... rightly or wrongly I know not. I do know there are thousands of young people just like our children and grandchildren who are looking for a safe place.
These youngsters are arriving in reception centres all over France. The French have got paid helpers to process their applications but these traumatised young people need more.
If you have any skills or interests cookery, sports, games or just like listening and talking why not volunteer to help. Many of the refugees speak English hence their desire to go to the UK, so you will have an instant connection with them.
Find where your local centres are, I know of Bruniquel and Realville and soon one in Albi.
Just walk in if it is Bruniquel, find out who is in charge, in the case of Bruniquel it is my good friend Anais Rondeau. She is being aided by Hujatullah an Afghan who has asylum. Mention my name to Anais if unsure ... Mamma Val.
Say what you can offer and then get cracking. Often the young people need trips to a post office for sim cards. They love going out for a car ride and look around the area. They love being invited to your home.
Do not treat them differently to you own family or friends, they deserve  and should have respect.
Talk with them about your life and ask about their lives,they love talking proudly about their own countries.
The pleasure you get from helping someone in need is indescribable and you will gain much more than you give.
I am concerned about Realville? How many of us live in that area? with 50 refugees there they are going to need some help.
If you feel like volunteering but have qualms drop me a line, you will not regret it
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Bearded Iris as a don

Hi Val,
I've been sorting out our iris beds & have an awful lot of bearded irises left over. Some will undoubtedly be blue but we have over the years bought some beauties so in honesty they could be anything... Free to a good home if anyone would like them. They are minimum maintenance, need no water, like poor soil & sun. They have been dug up so best planted soon. Laura 
Laura  lives between the area St. Antonin and Bruniquel

How can a small region block an EU treaty?

With important negotiations coming up for Brexit, which will involve agreement from all 28 nations (including the UK), it is interesting to see that an EU/Canada trade agreement, which has taken 7 years to negotiate is being blocked by one state, and not even a "country" at that.
Wallonia is the French speaking region of Belgium and its autonomous state affords it the right to a say in EU treaties. With Theresa May meeting the leaders of the other regional governments in the UK today we wonder if Nicola Sturgeon and her counterparts will point out that they do indeed have a voice. With the government seemingly unwilling even to allow the UK Parliament to have a say it may take a "Wallonia" to get more open-minded thinking on Brexit.
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Nous sommes le lundi vingt quatre octobre

Still mild in the fields. The barometer has been up yesterday falling today so not really sure which way the weather is going. The TAG weather report is forecasting mild with rain this afternoon, improving Wednesday. As we need the new lawn watering that sounds ideal.
My thoughts are with the refugees in Calais today and hope the operation of dispersal all over France to reception centres goes smoothly.
I am off to my poetry group and will be reading and discussing the Rossetti's Christina and Dante Gabriel.
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Visit the castle of Najac this holiday

La jolie forteresse de #Najac ferme bientôt ses portes pour la saison hivernale. Profitez des beaux jours d'automne pour la visiter !
Elle est ouverte tous les jours jusqu'à la Toussaint de 10h30 à 13h et de 15h à 17h30.

Scary evening in St Antonin

Halloween, Défilé, Concert, DJ’s et Fun
Next Saturday 29th October, Salle des Thermes from 18h30
Get made up then parade in costume for Halloween
Dance from 21h45 (9.30pm)

Programme :

18h30 - Apéro et maquillage – Salle des Thermes

20h - Rendez-vous sous la Halle puis défilé déguisé dans les ruelles

21h - Bonbons et Manège “Schliblick Club” gratuit pour les enfants

21h45 - Musique Live avec La Prose S’Tate – Horrible Bal Punk Rock 

... Suivi de DJ’s – Styles variés


Déco d'Enfer et Projections
Déguisement fortement conseillé

Participation jouée au dé : de 1 à 6 €… que la chance soit avec vous !

Nous sommes le dimanche vingt trois octobre

Wonderful red sky again this morning, seemingly mild. I was out in the fields in my jim jams, no jacket, my temperature guide! There was however a stiff breeze and I am not sure how the day will pan out.
Today we will be taking our young guys back to Castelsarassin near Moissac, passing by Bruniquel and taking a few last bits.
Bruniquel is set up and ready for the refugees who will be arriving from Calais in the next few days, scared, tired, dirty and cold. The 24 arriving here have a great team ready to help them.
We hear that 50 may be arriving in Realville and the accommodation there is not quite as ready. So any donations to Realville please and if that is too far to Laura above St. Antonin please. All the relevant info in an earlier post.
We wish all those poor people at Calais, many who have suffered much to get there, (using all their funds in the world to pay traffickers,) a safe week. I wish I could be there to tell people to take the French option of trying to take out asylum, but there will be many still determined to try and get to family members in the UK.
From our comfortable safe position we can have empathy with others and from the many, many people who have arrived at our door with donations Malc and I know we are not alone in our caring and concern.
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FET on 6th November

Our next show, on Sunday 6th November at 7pm, has won multiple awards - from a "Fringe First" in Edinburgh to "Best Solo Performance" at the New York International Fringe Festival - and has played sell-out performances throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia and the USA.

Presented by Play on Words Theatre, 
Tom Crean - Antarctic Explorer, is written and performed by Aidan Dooley and tells the riveting true story of one of Ireland's unsung heroes, Tom Crean, who served with both Scott and Shackleton and survived the three famous expeditions, Discovery (1901-1904), Terra Nova (1910-1913) and Endurance (1914-16).

His 36-mile solitary trek to base camp to rescue his comrades Teddy Evans and William Lashly has been described as "the finest feat of individual heroism from the entire age of exploration." Crean was subsequently awarded the Albert Medal for his bravery.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Tuesday afternoon ladies

Halloween Book sale

Hi Val,
Could you give a mention to our Halloween Book Sale, Saturday 29th October, St. Pantaleon (Lot) Salle de Fetes from 10 am.  Usual format, thousands of books and dvd’s at one euro, plenty of home made cakes, tea, coffee and light lunch.  We don’t need any more books, thankfully, so if anyone fancies a trip over the border into the Lot, passports not needed as yet (!).
Sue from Poorpaws

Aaargh, forgot to say proceeds from sale go to Dog Rescue and Cancer Support France !

Our valiant two always caring for others

Hi Val,
If people want to drop stuff with us for the refugees expected in Realville we are happy to take it onwards. Our trailer is out of action so really big stuff is difficult but we have the van & of course the trusty bus! 
Lovely to see you all the other day, I'm so glad I was passing. Xxx
Val says great offer and Laura lives beyond St. Antonin towards Bruniquel

What is needed for refugees going to Realville

APPEL A DONS (mis à jour)

Bonjour !

Dans la perspective d'organiser au mieux notre centre d'accueil de Réalville, nous serions ravis d'accueillir les objets indiqués ci-dessous, dont vous n'auriez plus l'utilité.
Voici la liste des objets dont nous aurions besoin :

1. Chambres: Tables de chevet, lampes de chevet, housses de couette pour lit de 90cm
2. Salle de bain: Tapis/descentes de bain, poubelles, trousses de toilette
3. Salon: Lampes, abats-jours, poufs/gros coussins, tapis (petites et grandes tailles),
4. Cuisine: Casseroles, passoires, poêles, cuillères en bois, cafetières, théières (métalliques ou autres), bouilloires électriques, tasses, mugs, égouttoirs vaisselle
5. Produits de toilette et hygiène : savons, dentifrices, peignes, brosses à dents, etc.
6. Divers : Cahiers/stylos, valises, vestes hommes, chaussons adultes
7. Sport, musique, lecture : Vélos adultes/gilets fluos/casques/chaînes-cadenas, matériel de sport (ballons, pétanques, chasubles, raquettes/balles), instruments de musique (guitare, percussions, flûtes etc.), livres en anglais et français...
6. Décorations diverses pour la maison.

Vos dons seront à apporter au Centre Équestre 'Les Écuries des Elfes Blancs' à Réalville

Nous vous remercions de votre générosité !

D'autre part, nous serions heureux d'accueillir toute bonne volonté pour l'aménagement des lieux, la décoration des logements et l'animation d’ateliers éventuels (français, métiers, animation sportive ou culturelle).  

Pour toute question relative à cet appel à dons et l'animation du CAO à venir , n'hésitez pas à me contacter :
Marie-Claude LAFITOLE – Animatrice UDAF82 au Centre d'Accueil et d'Orientation de Réalville - 06 84 18 86 35 -

Nous sommes le samedi vingt deux octobre

Morning Val,

After seeing all your photos of hard work at Mas del Sol, I have been inspired to do a lot of cutting back in my garden.

You say the the clocks change on Sunday 25th October

Did you mean SUNDAY 30th as there is NO Sunday 25th !!!
PS my English diary agrees with the 30th. 
Hi both, its a pity we cant put it back a year as per your adv.  Max

That was last year.

Val says just a few of the many who spotted the mistake! Once again I should never trust facebook and also try and rush out. Oh. well great reminder for all, and if only we could go back a year and change brexshit

Searching for fungi

A walk in the company of the President of the Perigord Mycological Society (Perigord being famous for fungi - especially truffles) is being proposed for next Saturday, 29th October, around Laguepie. Meeting at the railway station at 9.30 am then co-voiturage the start of the walk.
The walk is free and no reservations are needed. Bring a basket (or a camera - or both) and a packed lunch. After the walk an identification session will be held indoors.
No dogs or pushchairs please.
More details if needed from Gaelle Matura , the environmental educatrice of the association Al Pais de Boneta on 0563 240626
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NB on Sunday 30th October the Chestnut Fair in Laguepie normally has a display of fungi, showing which you can eat and which not.

"Easy to learn French"

Internet users will be familiar with those little "click bait" panels telling us how people learned 7 languages in 5 days or whatever. It seems that British Brexit negotiators will be clicking through to brush up their French because the chief EU negotiator is French and has suggested that he would like the talks to be in his native language. UK press has suggested that Michel Barnier wants the talks in French "to put the British at a disadvantage". Sounds a bit unsporting. He should surely put himself at a disadvantage by speaking English.
Until now EU politicians and bureaucrats have relied on a system of simultaneous translation from skilled and impartial interpreters to keep each other informed, and documents are issued in various languages. So perhaps this could be used in the talks rather than relying on M Barnier's grasp of a non-native language or expecting Boris's boys to understand the nuances of the language of Moliere.
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Friday, 21 October 2016

New DIY superstore at Montauban

Crowds thronged to a new Leroy Merlin store in Montauban on Thursday. The group is well known in the north of France and there is a branch in Colomiers, near Toulouse.
The store offers a wide range of DIY products as well as advice on home improvements.
Other DIY superstores are available.
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Toulouse marathon Sunday

The whole weekend will be taken up with the 10th Toulouse marathon, starting with a mini-marathon at 11am on Saturday. On Sunday some 10500 runners will take part in a full marathon, a half distance or a 10k run.
The route will be entirely in central Toulouse, in an effort to increase spectator interest. On the down side, residents and visitors may find traffic difficult on Sunday from 5am until 16h00.

Carmen Jones still has two places left

Here at Mas del Sol next Wednesday evening 26 th gathering at 6 pm
Starting with an apero dinatoire followed by the show.
10 euros for the assoc. Via Sahel Enfants d'afrique.
Very convivial evenings.
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Giant fish caught at Gaillac

Daniel Lopez Morcillo, a Gaillac fisherman (the Depeche helpfully points out that he is of Spanish origin) landed a huge silure (catfish) when fishing by the Saint Michel bridge on Sunday. Measuring 2.6 metres the catch is thought to be a local record. These carnivorous fish are not uncommon in the Tarn and were reported to be killing and eating ducks last year.
Daniel with his huge catch
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New guided walks in QRGA

The Communité des Communes Quercy Rouergue Gorges d'Aveyron (QRGA) has published a guide to 35 walks in the area.  With IGN maps and photographs pointing out places of interest, the publication is 6 euros from all tourist information offices in QRGA, of 0.50 centimes for one walk.
Various accompanied walks are also proposed, details from the tourist information centres.
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt et un octobre

A very slight frost this morning making for " crunchy grass" as I went to see the donkeys. The sky was predominately blue with swirls of pink, but it was 8 am and was probably more dramatic earlier.
Yesterday we had a discussion with the boys about place names, when they read my posts they had not understood our houses were at Mas del Sol. They had understood we get more sun than most places, morning after morning being in the sun whilst villages in the valley are covered in the cold mist or " brouillard"  They liked the occitan explanation for Mas del Sol - house in the sun.
It was also interesting explaining road signs. They wondered why they kept seeing signs with Varen 4 or Varen 12. I explained they were directional signs telling you how many kms it was. Such a simple thing, it never dawned on me they would not know and also that one of them could not yet read French.
What a learning curve.
The agenda today, boules this afternoon.
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Design a logo

Art students and designers are to be invited to submit proposals for logo for the new region "Occitanie". Certain elements must be included, such as the colours red and gold, which are common to both the Catalan and Occitan communities.
Occitan flag: pic DDM

A prize of 8000€ is available, plus runner up prizes of 5000€ and 3000€.
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Found along the Baye at Verfeil

A friend saw this whilst walking his dog along the Baye in Verfeil sur Seye, what a wonderful colour. Anyone know the name?

This is so wonderful , you have got to love nature.
Daniël saw this whilst walking along the Baye.

Trouvé  par Daniël Bruijsters pendant un promenade à côte de la Baie, Verfeil sur Seye.
Stropharia aeruginosa'!
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Thursday, 20 October 2016

New at Laguepie

Bal tradavec le groupe Carabal Trio 
 ou ? 
​La Distillerie des Arts
Route de Varen  
Une balade à travers des paysages aux sonorités tziganes et aux accents slaves, sur des rythmes de danses occitanes et d’Europe centrale, des teintes celtiques à l'horizon ...
Entrée: 7€ plein tarif 5€ tarif réduit 
Buvette et collation sur place
A diffuser et distiller sans modération !
L'équipe de la distillerie des Arts 
Distillerie des Arts

Celebrating with Misbah

After a week doing lots of very physical gardening work, today was the day we celebrated Misbah getting his 10 year asylum here in France.
Well done Misbah, we hope you will be very happy in the next ten years and in all of your life.
Laura came along at the end of the meal and was able to celebrate with us.
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Get close to nature at Beaulieu

Saturday and Sunday 22/23 October at the Abbaye de Beaulieu. Workshops to create works of art in autumn motifs using natural materials, as with the original Cistercian inhabitants of this beautiful location.

Les moines cisterciens édifiaient des bâtiments épurés, sobrement agrémentés de motifs inspirés du monde végétal. Venez vous prendre au jeu de composer avec l’aide de la Nature de nouveaux motifs!  Des ateliers de land art pour décorer le cloître, des paysages en papier vitrail, des feuilles en couleur… Jusqu’à l’heure du goûter, les animations se placeront sous le signe de l’automne !
Abbaye de Beaulieu-en-Rouergue
82330 Ginals
Renseignements 05 63 24 50 10/13

Baby without papers, because he was born on Friday

The importance of getting things done according to the law has been underlined in the case of a baby born in the Var on a Friday. Parents have three days to register a birth and these parents went to the mairie the following Tuesday - a day too late. So it was not permissible to register the birth. Consequently the baby has no legal identity - so no entitlement to child benefit or birth gratuity designed to help mothers with a new-born.
Eight months of wrangling to be decided in court, with legal representation before baby Nolan can even be enrolled for a crèche. The law, from 1919, is said to be from a time when infant mortality was high and it was important to give a child a legal identity as soon as possible. Probably also a time when the mairie was always open on Saturday. One would have thought Sunday would not count, but apparently not so. Heaven help a baby born just before a bank holiday (with pont).
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Police "en colere"

Demo outside hospital where an injured colleague is treated

The last three nights have seen demonstrations in the Champs Elysees in Paris by police. The "manifestations" have also spread to other cities, including Toulouse. The policemen are angry that the government has not provided the conditions or equipment needed to combat a shortage of staff needed to confront an increasingly hostile criminal milieu.
The trouble started when a patrol was petrol bombed by presumed drug dealers in the outskirts of the capital. Four officers had a "Molotov cocktail" thrown at their car and were forced to abandon it with their clothes on fire. Passers-by helped to douse the flames, but one officer is still in hospital with serious burns. Police union spokesmen claim that the officers were merely on surveillance and that such attacks, even shootings and rockets have become almost commonplace - "they are no longer afraid to kill a cop".
Demands include better pay and conditions to attract more recruits, better body armour and flame proof clothing and better sentencing of offenders, who the police claim are mainly recidivists.
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Nous sommes le jeudi vingt octobre

What wonderful days we are having here in SW France, you have to love autumn.
In between gardening and walking the dogs,  being outside all day long is what we can enjoy here.
The air is fresh and clean, no factories round about, the lichen on the trees and branches a sign of the pure air.
We are also in a pesticide free area with the fields around being cut for the grass for the animals.
After a holiday in Italy where ( apart from the earthquake) our rented house was next to vineyards, where the constant spraying of the vines with old squeaky machinery was a real distraction to the peace, we are grateful here for the silence.
Another sunny morning where nothing is right with the world seemingly full of Donald Trumps but blocking them out, at Mas del Sol we have a  life as near perfection as you could get.
Assuming you are happy with dogs barking, donkeys hee hawing, and the odd chain saw!!
Enjoy your golden autumn days everyone... and be happy.
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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Mission accomplished

no words needed, infact we are all too tired for words... but the job is done.

Elly says
Just wanted to say what a lovely photo of Misbah and Malcolm. Great job done. Bet you'll all sleep well tonight. 
Shaban says
Malc is amazing, he is an old man, 72! with one leg and he has done all that work.
Val says
Pats on the back all round.
Tomorrow a day of rest
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Open at Christmas?

Hi Val
Sorry, here comes the dreaded C……… word already!  Can anyone tell me of any restaurants which tend to open over Christmas? Particularly evening of 24th or 25th lunchtime? 
Thank you
L xXx

Remember Ruby

Hi Guys

Just a quick pic of herself after her new hairdo!. I don't think she appreciated it somewhat.

Settling in rather well.

I hope this finds you all well.

Trevor Gliddon
NCTJ  NCE (Senior Photo Journalist) LRPS (Deja Views Photography)
0033 06 30 67 87 67 (Portable)

Nous sommes le mercredi dix neuf octobre

Wonderful skies as we worked away at Mas del Sol yesterday.
A new project around the pool hopefully to make life easier.
Four of us worked away yesterday and collapsed early in to bed, the sleep of the righteous.
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Halloween in St. Antonin Noble Val

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Drop in for cancer support

Cancer Support France drop in coffee morning, Gazpacho, Saint Antonin, every third Wednesday of the month, 10am to 11.30am. Next one, tomorrow morning Wednesday 19th October 2016. For anyone whose life has been touched by cancer, in any way, is welcome to come. There will be a trained volunteer available to offer advice or assistance.

Are you looking at me?

A visitor at Mas del.Sol with the water tower of Lez in the distance

Photos of Bali at St. Antonin

Hi Val
This Friday 21st October at 6.00 p.m. is the vernissage for the exhibition of  Canadian photographer Lyn Avery’s wonderful colourful photos of Bali.
The exhibition will be open for 12 days until 1st November in the Mairie of St Antonin.
Recommended !
Best wishes

Pressure to close a peage

The most expensive peage in France
The péage at L'Union on the A68, where one pays 1.50€, is thought to be one of the most expensive in France for the short distance travelled. A collection of local maires is calling for the abolition of the pay station in an effort speed up the access to the Toulouse rocade. All local maires are in favour, including Toulouse city and the Haute Garonne department. But only the government can decide the suppression, so tomorrow (Wednesday 19th October) the maires will mount a "free passage" operation from 8am in order to put pressure on the minister for transport.
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A little train which disappeared

We know well that the main road from Lexos (Varen) to Montauban via the Gorge de l'Aveyron used to be a railway line. The many disused station and signalling buildings en route - often now private homes - are a simple indication of this former use. It seems France had its own Beeching era in the 60's and one line from Castres to Murat is fondly remembered for its little steam trains which ran from 1905-1962. Indeed so important was it for a hidden corner of the Tarn that it is now surrounded by stories and myths which are the subject of a documentary made by well-known Tarn film maker Jean-Louis Cros.
The train was turned at each end.

It can be seen on France 3 catch-up TV or the website. Cros walked the 70 km line discovering what has happened to the track, the buildings and tunnels (the last sometimes now used to mature cheese).
In the UK such lines have often been re-instated by steam enthusiasts, does anyone know of such initiatives here?.
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Nearer to the stars

The observatory on the Pic du Midi, at 2877 metres the highest in the Pyrenees, is a well known site for visitors, affording incomparable views of the mountains as well as other astronomical attractions. It is undergoing a 4.5 million euro renovation, the first part of which will offer a planetarium allowing daytime visitors to see the universe beyond and should open before the year's end. The auditorium will house 45 visitors in special inclined seats and offers as well as the star view a film showing how the scientist Serge Brunier photographed the entire visible galaxy.

Other improvements envisaged include an interactive astronomical activity, improved access and transport as well as restauration. Most of the works will be finished in 2017.
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Nous sommes le mardi dix huit octobre

A golden retriever cross with, looks like labrador, a 5 month old girl in the care of des Truffes et des moustaches, our local dog rehomer. Such fun dogs, who love their walks, cuddles and digging!!
Let us find him a home quickly, my sort of dog.Contact me to see this cutie. You will need a fenced area to have a two week trial and rehome.
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