Monday, 15 January 2018

Our finished new logo

Thanks to Helen Thomas for the design for our new logo and to Andrew Trender for the finished design.
We have a lot to do this year, raising money and working to change hearts, minds and attitudes.
Together we will be helping with our local refugees to improve lives in the area not just for our newly arrived refugees but for local villagers.
Some one asked last week why do Malc and I do it, why just not enjoy retirement?
Both of us are united in wanting to improve the world and attitudes being shown and expressed at the moment. If we can help do that and have some fun at the same time, we are up for it. Young people are such fun, it does not matter which country they are from, we are all the same species and the hideous remarks being expressed now, even against a new soon to be member of the Royal family shows how much work there is to be done.

Nous sommes le lundi quinze janvier

I am so often grateful for the monthly book swap, reading is a joy and recently Malc and I have enjoyed watching the odd DVD / film 
Malc says every spare moment my nose is in a book and that is thanks to the book swap I can relish reading. I will add that it is only evenings that I have a spare minute.
Just enjoyed William Boyd's Sweet Caress, a really good read and our latest film watched was Man of Fire both will be back at the next book swap.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

We love our " soupes"

Holy flash!

Vandalism of the detested "radars" (speed cameras) is not uncommon, but is mainly confined to insulting tags. But the author of the "degradation" of the camera near Sauveterre, Gers, obviously planned his or her work carefully. The machine was spayed all over in black, then a superhero Batman logo added and finally a pair of bat ears and eyes appended to the top.
Facebook capture
Gendarmes admitted that the perpetrator showed artistic imagination, but remind us that such "degradation de bien public" could entail a 45000 euro fine and 3 years in prison!
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Doggy walks in Toulouse

Walkers assemble in the Place du Capitole :pic.ML Lejeune
Dozens of dogs of all sizes and breeds assembled in Toulouse for the city's first free dog walk on Saturday (Jan 13). Designed to educate owners on the need for "responsible" behaviour, by them and their canine companions, the walk was accompanied by trainers. The authorities also hoped that the dogs would become socialised and get on together in the city streets.
The ville rose is home to some 50000 dogs and spends a good proportion of its cleaning budget on picking up crottes deposited by dogs. The exercise will be repeated each second and third Saturday in an urban park.
Sadly, these events tend to be preaching to the converted, but the maire hopes the publicity will bring the message home to the city's residents.
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Nous sommes le dimanche quatorze janvier

Last night we hosted a cinema evening for some Africans and an Afghan young man. A group of us had seen a couple of weeks ago Paddington 2 in the cinema in St. Antonin, so last night we watched the first Paddington here. 
What pleasure that little bear has given generations from initially the books by Michael Bond and now the films. I love hearing our boys laugh and at both evenings we all laughed and laughed together.
It was interesting to hear one young man telling others about the cinema in St. Antonin, " it has a big screen, huge, " He had never been to a cinema, I did wonder what he would think of a multi plex.
Some of the other boys who also had never been to one,  I must arrange to find a film that they would enjoy and take them. Infact with 50 refugees soon at Parisot and some families, if any one has some time taking a couple of refugees to the cinema would be a lovely thing to do.
With films they love comic action or things with a bit of glamour and excitement, James Bond is a favourite. 
If you see a film coming up that may fit the bill please let me know.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Albi world champion hangs up his bike

After setting two cycling world records in the last 5 years, Robert Marchand has decided on medical advice to retire from serious cycling. He had successively set the world best distance covered in one hour: 20 kms. Cyclists amongst you will say "what, only 20 km", but as Robert set his records aged 100 and 105 it's a fair achievement. He is the only cyclist to be acknowledged in those age brackets, but we guess his records will stand for some time.

Nous sommes le samedi treize janvier

Well what a change, a frosty morning but a lovely blue sky and the sun is up. I will go with that.

This is news in France and around the world

L'Afrique entière réclame des excuses. Les ambassadeurs du groupe africain (54 pays) à l'ONU ont publié, vendredi 12 janvier, un communiqué au langage d'une rare dureté, après les propos de Donald Trump, qui s'est emporté sur l'immigration qualifiant, selon plusieurs sources, des nations africaines et Haïti de "pays de merde".
Après une réunion d'urgence qui a duré quatre heures, le groupe de 54 ambassadeurs s'est dit "extrêmement choqué" et "condamne les remarques scandaleuses, racistes et xénophobes" de Donald Trump "telles que rapportées par les médias". Le groupe exige ainsi "rétractation et excuses". Il se dit "préoccupé par la tendance continue et grandissante de l'administration américaine vis-à-vis de l'Afrique et des personnes d'origine africaine à dénigrer le continent, et les gens de couleur."
Donald Trump, the American President embarrasses himself but in truth he embarrasses  the world. He brings the USA into disrepute, he brings us all who sit quietly listening into disrepute.
I am determined to fight racisim, cruelty, unkindness. Speak out wherever you are in the world. Fight for a decent world. This is the news today around the world, what a disgrace.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Varen to Caussade aller / retour

Many of you will know we have three refugees staying with us. They need to go each week to the train station at Caussade to catch a train to Montauban to get to the Prefecture for 9.30 am. Often with rdv's on different days.
Is there any one who could help us get them there or pick them up in the afternoon when they come back?

Vous savez peut-être que nous avons trois réfugiés chez nous qui vivaient  dans les rues de Toulouse. Leurs papiers d'asile ont été transférés à Montauban.
Chaque semaine, nous devons les prendre souvent trois jours  pour prendre le train de Caussade à Montauban, dans un train qui les emmène à la préfecture entre 9h et 10h.
Nous faisons autant Malc et moi pour le moment et aucun d'entre nous n'est au top le matin tôt trois fois par semaine.
Y at-il quelqu'un qui pourrait offrir de prendre le relais de temps en temps pour nous aider.
Le but est de leurs aider à entrer dans un centre d'acceuil bientôt.

Seville oranges / marmalade time

Hi Val,

I thought I saw a post on tag asking for the where abouts of Seville oranges (but then i could of imagined it) anyway if you did have a reader asking they have them at Le Comptoir Des Saveurs - the new fruit &veg shop at La Fouillade

Run by the young couple, Cedric and Sabrina who had l'air du temp restaurant at Najac can highly recommend them for fresh produce, bio grocery items etc Cedric also cooks on the premises offering fresh and frozen meals to take away (think you can eat them there as well).

have a good (wet) weekend


Martin Malvy to retire

The former president of Midi Pyrenees region, government minister, MP for the Lot and maire of Figeac for 30 years is to step down from his last political post as president of the Community of Communes of greater Figeac.
An active member of the Parti Socialist, Malvy was a towering figure for over 35 years in the south west. It is not known why he has made his decision at this time.

Caught on the not so merry-go-round

A motorist (aged 73, as if that had a significance) was flagged down by gendarmes in Brittany, but claimed he did not see them nor hear the sirens. Entering a roundabout in the town centre  he allegedly tried to confuse his pursuers by going round more than once. Seventeen times. Successively braking and accelerating he tried to shake off the gendarmes, but eventually they managed to stop him.
Charged driving in a dangerous manner, refusing to submit to a breath test and without a licence, which had been suspended in a previous incident, he was fined 7 euros per day for 90 days, plus 150 euro fine.
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Taking the......?

Taglines does not normally publish pictures from people's holidays, but local Verfeil residents Jean Donies and Alain Herremann sent us this with their new year greetings. They were in Australia.
Only a mild contrast with our morning views below!

Hi Val
 Also not a French story but my brother phoned today.  He lives in southern Manitoba in Canada, actually quite a “French” part of Canada.
This morning it was -32°C when he got up !

Nous sommes le vendredi douze janvier

Looking out this morning to see another wet and muddy day. The drive is full of puddles, the fields are wet and muddy. The donkeys move from one field hut to another escaping the showers. They do have soft beds of sraw in each hut but I dread when it gets wet and needs mucking out.
 A job for young men with new wellies.
The afternoons have been dry but these constant wet mornings have swollen the rivers many breaking their banks.
Roll on Spring please.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Good advice

Hi Val:

Just to clarify the law for foreign residents of France (non EU)...
you must obtain a French license 1 year after moving here on a permanent basis.  I goofed up on that one, as I wasn't aware of it for about 3 years continued to drive on my American license with no problem.  When I went to the Prefecture to apply for a French one, they weren't going to give me one because it was beyond 1 year, however, being the pushy American I am, I just refused to take no for an answer and bugged them several times...they kept saying no..but about 2 months later, I received the notice to appear for my medical (very simple eye test and blood pressure) and was immediately issued my French driving license.  As a French woman told me a few years ago, never take no for an answer in France!  I think this will continue to apply for UK expats.  Take a deep breath and don't let the scaremongers get to you!

Nous sommes le jeudi onze janvier

Saturday, January 13 at 21h In the village hall of Montricoux, the Festival Committee offers a theatre evening with the troupe "The Firefly" who present their  show "Tonight is the general ..." a burlesque creation around the last rehearsal before D-Day. Highly coloured characters, characters that clash, truths that are revealed little by little. Misunderstandings in misunderstandings, the actors are unleashed so that everything is in focus the next day but what does their director do? How to pass the time while waiting for it? To you to discover it ... An original show that does not lack spice ....

Not to be missed !

With: Delphine Virel, Floriane Lèbre, Isabelle Brabant, Francois Mercier, Patrick Ozil.

Directed by Marie-France Ménac.

Any resemblance to real or living people would be purely fortuitous ... or not !!! (single price 6 €)

Do you need a French "permis de conduire"?

This has appeared on another site:
"Hope you all have french driving Licences just seen this on another site Driving licence: According to Article 2 of Directive 2006/126/EC9 driving
licences issued by Member States of the Union are mutually recognised. As of the
withdrawal date, a driving licence issued by the United Kingdom is no longer
recognised by the Member States on the basis of this legislation"

It would not be so drastic as it appears, as France does allow foreign residents to continue to use their licence provided it is valid. It will need to be exchanged for a French licence if it is to expire or if an infraction involving a loss of points occurs. Presently French "permis de conduire" do not expire nor require certification of health at 70, though this will most likely change at some point.
It may be that recognition of UK driving licences forms part of the detailed Brexit agreements. Perhaps a little "scare mongering" in the above post.
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PS: the sub editor has a French permis - will it be recognised when in the UK?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Inondations at Varen

Memories of 16 years ago.
We had not long arrived here when the river Aveyron in Varen flooded. Flooded so badly that the river was half way up the walls of the Moulin de Varen. The then owners Nathalie and Bouzo had to be helicoptered out to safety and it made the TV news. It was always a joke that Nathalie could not go till she had on her fur coat and had put on her lipstick and she was winched up to the helicopter waving regally to the watching crowd.
Further along the river the bungalows along the bank were flooded so seriously that they too had to be evacuated by the pompiers. We had a lady friend who was furious, not realising how quickly the waters would rise, when she refused to leave, she was thrown over the shoulder of a pompier shouting all the while, but I have not got my handbag. 
We ladies know how important this is.
A couple of years after there were serious floods but in truth in the last few years the river has "inundated the road" but nothing more severe.
Photos today from Bruno Bengamra

The life of a refugee has always been hard.

Nothing changes,  the life of a refuge has always been hard. So touching seeing two children missing legs.

Camp de Septfonds

 Photo légendée : "Le cheminement pitoyable....".
 PHOTO : I' Illustration du 18/02/1939
 PS: l' article traite du passage en France par Cerbère (66).

Organic bird food

Rachel Shamash writes

If anyone is interested in buying ORGANIC bird food ( sunflower seeds) I have found a French source/farm near Puylaroque. He will be sending it all for oil soon so you will need to make contact soon. He sells it at 70 centimes a kilo. Please email me or phone to have his contact details. You will need to take a bag (or two) and bathroom scales but i can also regroup people to go at the same time if there are several interested.  05 63 24 07 34

Toulouse street artist at work

100taur is internationally known as a street artist and we have featured his work before on Taglines. Having studied at the Toulouse school of Beaux-Arts, 100taur decided to devote himself to outdoor painting, mainly on public buildings. But he is not simply a "taggeur" randomly defacing public property, but a considered designer, where every element has been planned on his computer before being executed.
mural in progress: pic F.Valery France3
He is currently engaged on a mural of 60 metres x 6 metres of the wall of a boulodrome in Minimes, Toulouse. Estimated to take until the end of the month, the work will feature his trademark love of animals and sea creatures, both real and imaginary, together with references to other artists he admires. As the work progresses he is subject to many inquiring passers-by, curious to discuss the work.

Nous sommes le mercredi dix janvier

Damp, drizzly, mild start to the day. 
Not as many blue skies as we would have liked this year so far. 
My news with Mains Tendues 82 is always exciting, today we go to fix up insurance/ assurance. This afternoon me and some of the boys are going off with the remorque to pick up some rather nice old furniture and tonight we are going to the Vice Presidents house, Caroline Trender to look at her progress with the website. The Treasurer Sarah Brown is nearly there with setting up the bank account, which has been quite complicated but nearly there Sarah. 
We could open in the village very soon, so exciting.
Please if you have any other news for TAG send it, as I am so involved with creating this association, getting goods to sell and looking after young men that I am rather stretched.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Working together for a better world

Working together for a better world.
When we started TAGonline we realised we could help local charities and chose Alzheimer's 82, Cancer Support, Liberté des Anes, Via Sahel Enfants d'Afrique
We also helped to rehome local dogs with Truffes et Moustaches, Kathy and Maeva.
Around three years ago we began sending clothes, sleeping bags and tents to Calais and raising money for friends who were going up building chalets.
Then just over two years ago our own refugees arrived here and we started raising money for them.
With TAG we always asked for cheques to be made directly to the associations  
Up till now we have not had our own association to be able to do this but one needs to have transparency of where the money we now work hard to collect is going. 
One of the reasons we have created Mains Tendues 82 with a committee and importantly a treasurer.
Our hopes are to help our local refugees and others in the area in need.
After being able to give 100 euros to each boy at Verfeil, ( 18 of them) we were delighted to be able to give 300 euros to the local enfants/ junior school in Varen before Christmas.
We start 2018 with a healthy balance even after we have paid expenses for housing, feeding and transport for 3 young men who passed winter in the warmth here with us, rather than on the streets of Toulouse.

Natalie has a veggie pop up café

Good morning folks, I thought I'd let you know that my veggie pop up cafe will be starting again next week but I've switched to Tuesdays instead of Thursdays. For reservations please call 06 59 96 25 36

I thought I'd also use this opportunity to tell you a bit about myself. I've been running a vegetarian and vegan catering business for 3 years and I cater for events, retreats and festivals. I also have a vegetarian chambres d'hotes ( in St Antonin where I provide fine dining and gourmet breaks for our guests. My new projects for 2018 will be a series of gourmet evenings and the launch of my vegetarian cooking school where I'll be offering both day and residential courses. 

If you're interested in workshops, my gourmet evenings or anything else please send your details to and I'll add you to my mailing list. You can also follow our facebook page for updates

Happy New Year,
Natalie x

Nous sommes le mardi neuf janvier

Another good book swap yesterday, lots of new books after Christmas. For me lots of items sold on facebook being picked up and paid for.
After the violent storm the night before the day ended up being very mild. We are beginning to get 
used to these storms but the talk was still of trees and branches down along the roads.
Opposite the Gazpacho is a free book bank on the wall near Hans VIDEPC. People who live in St. Antonin do use it if stuck for a book, so do remember to pop a good book in from time to time.
Lots of people are now passing the winter in Spain and there were notable absences.
For those still enjoying being here in France whatever the weather and also like us having pets to consider, we continue to enjoy our French dream.