Friday, 20 January 2017

World handball championships

In venues throughout the country, France are defending the world handball title they won in Qatar in 2015. "Les Experts" as the team is called, have so far won all their matches to top their group and qualify to meet Iceland in the quarter final, to be held in Lille tomorrow (Saturday 21st).
Spectators for France v Japan in Nantes: pic Jerome Fouquet/MaxPPP
If they win the title it will be the sixth time France has been men's world handball champions. We are not familiar with the game, but so far over 200000 spectators have attended the matches and the 24 teams include Brazil, Russia, Poland and Iceland and Japan. The matches are being shown in over 180 countries by BEin sports.
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Airport chaos averted

The prefect of Haute Garonne has called up pompiers to provide the cover needed to avoid Toulouse Blagnac airport having to cancel flights today
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French primary election Sunday

An election of a candidate from the "government left" - ie those parties involved with the PS in the current government will begin on Sunday, 22nd January. There are 7 candidates, including Manuel Valls former prime minister, Arnaud Montebourg (leading "frondiste) and Sylvia Pinel the leader of the PRG (Parti Radical de Gauche) who is the MP for our constituency and the Breton Benoit Hamon.
The second round will be on Sunday 29th. and around 7500 polling stations will be open. Voting is open but only in the place where the voter is on the electoral register. Valls, Montebourg and Hamon seem to be the front runners, with Valls significantly to the right of his adversaries.
Many consider that it will be academic who wins as the left as a whole is too divided to fend off Marine le Pen in the first round of the presidential election. With J-L Melenchon holding the far left candidacy and Emmanuel Macron attracting the centre left following it seems unlikely that any PS backed candidate can attract the 30% or so needed in the first round of the presidentials.
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Furnishing two apartments

Two of our boys who have asylum Hujat and Misbah have now got their own apartments at Montauban. The apartments are unfurnished so we needs two beds, chairs, cooker, microwave, fridge, bedding, pots and pans and anything to make a home.
Let me know if you have any of these and can get them to Bruniquel if not we will arrange for someone to pick them up.
Many thanks to everyone who has helped so far.
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Nous sommes le vendredi vingt janvier

Another frosty sunny morning, with  blue sky.
Is there any other news today but the election of Trump?
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French sailor wins the Vendée Globe

Armel Le Cléac'h has won the sailing race the Vendée globe, four days ahead of the previous record.
Comme attendu, Armel Le Cléac'h a franchi en premier la ligne d'arrivée du Vendée Globe 2016-2017. Il en profite pour battre de quatre jours le record de François Gabart.
Read more at http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2017/01/20/2500567-tour-monde-74-jours-nouveau-roman-armel-cleac-h.html#ULRfV9pFgzHrRsfy.99

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Chateau of Laguepie

In the winter of 1953.
There has obviously been some restoration work since this time.

French nationality needed

Hi Val,
We want to vote in the French elections this year. Never having voted here before please can you tell us how to go about it.
Laura x

Val says  only French nationals can vote in the elections, Presidential and assembly.
When we leave the EU we will also lose our right to vote in the local and ofcourse European 
elections.
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Better insulation obligatory

Work to renew either a façade or roof undertaken after 1st January 2017 must include improving the insulation. There are minimum limits to the works (eg 50% of a roof renewed) and exemptions can be obtained for architectural or aesthetic reasons - but must have an expert's certificate.
It makes sense that if you are making your loft, or a garage (over 5m2) into living space that you would include insulation, but now it is mandatory. Tax credits and other fiscal incentives exist and the scheme includes all buildings, whether private dwellings or commercial premises.
Readers may have been subjected to the usual cold calls insisting that it is obligatory to renew insulation, but it is only as part of a bigger improvement project, so don't be conned.
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Pompiers threaten Blagnac

Fights to and from Toulouse Blagnac airport may be disturbed from tomorrow (20th January) as firemen have given notice of a strike. The pompiers are employed by a sub-contractor at the airport and want to change the hours worked to ensure there is a 24 hour break between shifts. The airport management claim that as there are very few night flights a complete break is unnecessary.
Talks on a similar subject were held last year when a mediator was brought in to avert a strike. Talks will be held today. Blagnac warns that it could lead to a total suspension of flights so passengers are advised to check with their airlines.
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Le Pont Vieux de Montauban et ses lumières

Photo from the Montauban Office de tourisme

Nous sommes le jeudi dix neuf janvier


Beautiful blue sky but when I went into the fields to feed the donkeys it was I think the coldest morning so far this year.
I prefered looking out of the window after breakfast in the heated house.
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Well being

 Hi Everyone, 
I am organising an eight week Well-being and Mind Management Workshop if you or any of your friends are interested in attending. The commitment is only one hour each consecutive Monday.
I will use a combination of techniques such as meditation, mindfulness and creative visualisation. The overall experience will be relaxing and healing for your mind and body.    
Location: Bonbousquet, Les Cabannes. Near Cordes-sur-Ciel. (see map below) 
Commencement dateMonday 30th January, and thereafter each Monday.  Other times may be available. 
Time: 10.45 for 11.00 start.
Duration: 1 hour.
Price: Eight weeks @ €100 if paying by cheque, or €80 if paying cash.
Clothing: Wear warm and comfortable clothing, bring a blanket.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to either email or call me on 0563 41 76 73. I currently run a number of well-being workshops for private groups and companies in Toulouse. The topics vary from group to group. 
I specialise in Transformational CoachingClinical Hypnotherapy and BrainWorking Recursive Therapy®,  

With best wishes and I look forward to hearing from you,
Irena 
Irena-Marie Makowska, Dip Hyp, MIBWRT, GHR, GHSC
Focus Well-Being & Mind Management Coach
Siret No 802 871 038 00013

Foie gras losses

The trade body dealing with foie gras production has suggested that the latest outbreak of bird flu (grippe aviaire) will cost the industry 120 million euros. The earlier outbreaks in 2016 made supplies expensive at Christmas and New Year and the latest outbreak has led to the slaughter of 1.5 million geese and ducks. The body thinks that the epidemic is still not under control, and has proposed measures that the producers themselves can take to contain future outbreaks.
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Where can you buy small amounts of heating oil ?

Hi Val,
With the cold weather upon us, I am trying to find a heating oil supplier who will deliver oil in small quantities of 300ltr? I have phoned around a few of the big suppliers and the minimum seems to be 500ltr. Does anyone know of a local supplier who will deliver smaller quantities?
David from Montricoux 
Malc suggest you ask neighbours and share part loads.

Religions care about people

Relating to Joanne's letter in the earlier post"
All religions  are about caring for people, I do not need to list all the religions around the world.
I do need to say that we stay vigilant against vile racist views and we fight against this wherever we see it. I was pleased to see on a local village site one of the villagers is prepared to fight so that the village church is not subjected to racist views and sentiments again. Mentioning she wanted to write a letter to the Archbishop she received this response:


Je suis tres heureuse et a la fois triste  de constater que les " etrangers" montrent plus d' interêt pour Verfeil que ceux qui se revendiquent Verfeillais de naissance . Heureusement finalement que toutes ces personnes font vivre le groupe en intervenant . Bravo a elles . Bravo et MERCI .
Nadyne

I will let you know developments about a letter which  personally I think should be sent to local mayors as well as the bishop and I will happily sign.
We may not be French, we may not all be Catholics but we all know we want to protect JEWS, it can never happen again,  the holocaust.
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An interesting letter from the Archbishop of Toulouse in 1942


Hi Val

Thanks for your thought provoking comments on the Verfeil facebook page and on TAG
In attempting to find out who the Archbishop of Toulouse is, I came across this wonderful delivery (see below) from the Archbishop of Toulouse in 1942, when interment camps (1 in Toulouse the other in Noe, south of Toulouse) were present.  These interment camps where used to people before transporting them out of the country to labour camps or to be exterminated. 

What a brave man!! I wonder what happened to him.

Joanne

Copied from this website:

 

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Archbishop.html

Archbishop of Toulouse Protests the Persecution of the Jews

(August 23, 1942)


PASTORAL LETTER FROM HIS EXCELLENCY MONSIGNOR SALIEGE, ARCHBISHOP OF TOULOUSE
On "human dignity", read out from the pulpit on August 23, 1942 without comment.
My very dear Brothers,
There is a Christian morality, a human morality, which lays down duties and recognizes rights. These rights and duties stem from the nature of man; they come from God. One can violate them... [but] no mortal has the power to do away with them.
Children, women, men, fathers and mothers being treated like a lowly herd; members of a single family being separated from each other and carted away to an unknown destination - it is our age which was destined to see this dreadful sight.
Why is there no longer any right of asylum in our churches?
Why are we the defeated?
Lord, have pity on us.
Our Lady, pray for France.
In our diocese, moving scenes have occurred in the camps of Noe and Recebedou. The Jews are men; the Jewesses are women. The foreigners are men and women. One may not do anything one wishes to these men, to these women, to these fathers and mothers. They are part of the human race; they are our brothers, like so many others. A Christian cannot forget this.
France, beloved Fatherland; France, which bears in the consciences of all your children the tradition of respect for human dignity; chivalrous and generous France- I have no doubt that you are not responsible for these errors.
Yours devotedly, dear Brothers,
(Signed) Jules Gerard SALIEGE 
Archbishop of Toulouse

Blue sky,chestnuts and happy walkers

One of the most underpopulated regions in France, Tagland.
Today even with minus temperatures the sun was out and it was just wonderful walking the lanes. The chestnut wood still has chestnuts to be picked, for Bonny trying a bit of mousing in the trees, made her walk sublime.
Eldo sadly kept on the lead, the neighbours have hens again and as yet Eldo is not trained that they are not his country playthings.
Get out in the countryside, lighten your mood and get your heart pumping.
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Liberty, equality and fraternity... we hope.

I do not think I am alone in my fears on leaving Europe. For those of us who have made their lives here, no longer having the umbrella of being in the European Union with all the rights that brings us. rights to work, rights to medical care, rights to vote in local elections, European driving permits, is something we need to think about. I am hoping there will be agreements made as are we all,  but nothing is certain. I have a Dutch friend in the UK who has real fears that after living their for 30 years, married to an English doctor who is now dead, never taken out citizenship ( like us) feeling being European was enough. Now she hears of friends in similar positions being told they will have no right to health care and even having rights to stay revoked.
I know we have friends living here from Canada and America, who have never had the benefits of the European system, some struggle, some have enough capital to manage.
What we may all have to face this coming year is a growing animosity to foreigners as we start moving into the weeks before the elections here in May. The wave of hatred and populism is sweeping the world and France will be no exception.
We have an example of that right in our local village with the anti Jewish faction already cranking up. Along with this comes homophobia and xenophobia and when this comes from established figures, one is concerned.
I wondered how French friends were reacting to the curé's welcoming of the hate ridden author writing about Jews into a local church.
Well now I know reading posts of French friends that the curé has a  very right wing populist reputation here.
 one comment I read

"As we already knew ... We quarreled very quickly after his arrival, he took the key from the church of St. Sabine which had been entrusted to me by the people here, for refusing to receive Its stinky anti-homosexuality newsletter, anti Europe, anti Globalization, this work of the Devil, anti-everything, in fact. Well I was rather proud to be treated as a bad parishioner, I confess, I confess ...".

I have yet to discover if anyone will do anything to censure him. At least we know he is not a man on the side of "love to all men"

For me keeping your head down is not an option. It is important however hard that we keep our principles of love to all .
Liberty, equality and fraternity are going to be words used  by most political sides but it is who acts on these words which will determine our continued happy future in France.
Sorry for the dismal post on such a bright sunny morning.
I am now off to walk the dogs along the lanes and raise my spirits.
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Turn down your heating

Just when we need it EDF and the government are urging industry and households to economise on electricity to avoid power cuts.
France relies on its nuclear power stations for over 80% of supplies and with over 80% of homes heated by electricity it responds poorly to peaks. You simply cannot turn on an extra nuclear pile. So electricity has to be imported from Germany (still using coal fired stations) and Spain, which has substantial wind power production.
Locally many rely on wood or oil and gas, but nationally the subsidies given to electric installations in the 1990's mean that the natural gas networks so widespread in the UK just don't exist here. So if you are cold - put another layer of clothes on (and an extra dog on the bed).
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We are getting older

People aged 65 and over now count for 19.2% of the population of France. And life expectancy is now 85.4 years for women and 79.3 for men (the gap of nearly six years is wider than the UK, where it is only 4 years - though it is narrowing in France).
The statistics are taken from a comprehensive population census report from INSEE, the official department for statistics. The overall population is now 66.9 millions, the second highest in the EU and has grown by about 265000 in 2016. The growth is largely the result of births outstripping deaths, net migration being 67000. France has 13% of the EU population. But births are slowing down largely due to the reduction of women of childbearing age.
Insee also notes that the "baby boomers" are reaching the age of likely death (cheerful news for us all!!).
As we know, marriage is not as fashionable as it used to be, but in 2016 some 235000 couples married, with about 7000 being same sex marriages. But the civil partnerships continue to increase to around 200000 concluded in 2016.
The problem of an ageing population raises questions of how long people need to work, who will provide the revenue and services to finance pensions and care for ever older populations. Perhaps Angela Merkel's policy of adding a million young workers to Germany's population will help that country to deal with the problem.
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nous sommes le mercredi dix huit janvier


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Key points of that speech

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/17/key-points-from-mays-what-have-we-learned

The curé against his parishioners.

Not only did the curé organise the meetings but he then tried to take down the sign held up against fascists.
As they say on facebook speak, OMG.
The third meeting was apparently cancelled according to the curé because of fears of security whereas the Depeche reporter thinks it is more likely to have been lack of support.
I wonder how the decent French Roman Catholics in the villages are going to take this?
Sacked allegedly from his last parish by parishioners, one wonders what will be the outcome here and will he be able to keep his congregration.
Let me say I am sure most Catholics will deplore this stance and that it is understood  that the Jewish religion and Catholic religion are not at odds by the actions of one curé.

http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2017/01/17/2497806-escortee-des-gendarmes-elle-fait-sa-conference-dans-l-eglise.html

Anyone with a washing machine they no longer need?

A working washing machine needed, infact two if I could be so lucky. In the St. Antonin area.
If you know of anyone with one free or cheap please let me know.
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Fishy tales

"Silure" caught near Albi
We often see pictures of these giant catfish caught in the Tarn around Albi and Gaillac, and read stories of them attacking ducks and pigeons. Indeed in David Attenborough's latest "Life on Earth" series a sequence was shown of the pigeons in Albi being trapped by silures. Latest research has dispelled the myth that they grow to over 3 to 5 metres, the biggest ever recorded being 2.70 metres.. In an American journal the researchers of Ecolab, who were the first to film underwater footage in the Tarn - and record the communication sounds the fish make, say that stories of giant specimens are based on a larger Russian species not found locally.
Nevertheless we bet there are Tarn fishermen who swear that a whopper got away.
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Nous sommes le lundi dix sept janvier

A lovely blue sky but an icy morning, crunchy grass and iced buckets of water at the donkeys hut.
A morning where the Pyrenees were clear and beautiful to see. For many friends they will be there enjoying the skiing and there is now good snow. By the week end the weather is set to warm up but with the sun and wrapped up well, a long brisk walk will be just the job today.
We are missing our car we call  "the dog car" but we heard last night it can be repaired so we look forward to getting it back when repaired.
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I would vote for anyone who tried to keep us in or close to Europe

I did  not see Newsnight but if I get the vote again after the 15 year out of the country rule I would support either Tim Farron or someone like Keir Starmer, in fact anyone who would stay in or close to Europe rather than cosying up to an America controlled by Trump
Whatever happens I am European.

Keir Starmer nailed it on Newsnight  last night (16.01.17), with an appropriate strategy to win in Parliament.

- Been pressing for a government plan before Article 50 is invoked.
- Will push amendments to government legislation.
- Will require government to come back and report to parliament during the 2 year negotiations.
- Will push for a vote in parliament before the end of the negotiating period.
- Parliament must have a grip on the entire process.
- Parliament must have a vote on the final deal before it is put to a vote in the European Parliament.
- Government must be accountable to parliament at every stage of the process, returning to a normal democratic process.

Crucially, what he left hanging in the air was that logically parliament would have to reject any final deal if it is deemed unacceptable.

Lobby MPs again and again. Let them know, the only acceptable deal, politically, economically and socially is to Remain.
Val says  I had better check Malc feels the same!
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Monday, 16 January 2017

Tours de Tarn on the Tv

Hi Val and Malcolm, 

Thanks for posting on TAG about our cycling business being on Channel 4's A New Life in the Sun. Hope you caught today's programme - we thought the region looked as fantastic on film as it does in reality - hopefully there'll be more to see tomorrow

Regards
The Tours du Tarn gang! 
Val says we did watch it and yes our area is beautiful . Looking forward to tomorrows episode and really wish you well with your new life here.

Driving in Paris today

Vehicles passing through Paris from today (as well as Grenoble and Lyon) will need to display a vignette to indicate the pollution level of their car (or scooter).
There are 6 colours of "pastille", ranging from green for electric cars to grey for older diesels. Vehicles over 20 years old are banned from the city on weekdays between 8am and 8pm (20h).
There is a 2 month period of grace when motorists will be advised to get a vignette from the ministry of environment's web site (cost 4.18 euros), after that  a fine of 68 euros will be payable.
The system will be extended to other big cities over the next few years.
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At Montaigu de Quercy


Risk of avalanches today

The Pyrenees have seen over one metre of snow in the last 24 hours and more is forecast today. Combined with strong winds France Meteo has issued an orange alert for avalanches. Many ski runs are closed as are roads.
The temperatures will continue to be mild today, though the strong winds will make it seem colder - and the thermometer could plunge to -5 or more tonight.
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In Louis Wain style

Louis Wain, "the man who drew cats" at the beginning of the 1900's
What would he have made of this mouse?
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Nous sommes le lundi seize janvier

How funny, John has just told me it is the seize not the dix huit, the 16th not the 18th. Every morning Malc changes the wall calendar and I look over writing TAG. This morning I looked without changing glasses and I could have sworn it was the 18th... I have discussed getting bifocals!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Not an insignificant moment at Verfeil

Je pensais Verfeil à l'abri du tumulte du monde et surtout de cette tendance à inciter à la haine, quel naïf je fais!!

Que le curé ait accepté que la réunion se tienne en l'église est une autre surprise désagréable, quelle ironie alors que ce lieu de culte n'est ouvert que rarement si c'est en plus pour accueillir ce genre d'évènement!

Merci au maire d'avoir refusé l'utilisation de la salle des fêtes. Imaginer qu'il ait pu y avoir la police, des chiens etc pour une manifestation a Verfeil c'est presque de la science fiction...pourtant cela a bien eu lieu, comme quoi il nous faut rester vigilants même dans notre belle campagne.

 "Ils" ratissent large, n'agissent plus dans l'ombre et tendent à être de plus en plus présents dans notre quotidien, insidieusement la bête renaît des cendres encore tièdes de l'histoire.

 A nous de veiller à ce qu'elle reste à distance (à disparaître faut pas rêver car elle sera toujours là quelque soit le masque qu'elle porte).

Ce village de plus en plus composé de "pièces rapportées n'aspire qu'a la paix et à l'harmonie, c'est ce qui nous a fait choisir d'y venir.

Nous ferons face (j'allais écrire "front" mais ce n'est pas approprié ici!) et NO PASARAN comme le disait les anti Franquistes.
Terence

I thought Verfeil sheltered from the tumult of the world and especially of this tendency to incite hatred, how naive was I ?
The priest has accepted that the meeting is held in the church is another unpleasant surprise, how ironic then that this place of worship is rarely open that if this is in addition to accommodate this kind of event!
Thanks to the mayor of having refused the use of the village hall. Imagine that there might have the police, dogs etc for a demonstration has Verfeil it's almost science fiction... yet it did take place, like what we must remain vigilant even in our beautiful countryside.
"they" drag wide, no longer act in the shade and tend to be more and more present in our daily lives, insidiously the beast is reborn from the ashes still lukewarm of history.
It's up to us to ensure that she stays at a distance (to disappear don't dream because it will always be there regardless of the mask she wears).
This village increasingly composed of " pieces reported that aspires only has peace and harmony, that's what made us choose to come here.
We will face up to them (I was gonna write "front" but this is not appropriate here! ) and "no pasarán" as the anti Franco.republicans said.
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These Jews fought for freedom in France

During the German occupation of France from 1940-1945 groups of resistants sprang up in all areas. Many were allied to political movements (especially communists), but the network established at Vabre (Tarn) was unusual in that it was composed mainly of protestant and Jewish resistants. Young men and women who were hiding from forced labour deportations (and worse) were under the leadership of "Pol Roux", the code name of Guy de Rouville who died this week aged 101.
Many of the 450 members of what was the only Jewish resistant group joined the army of liberation and de Rouville founded the association "Amicale des Maquis de Vabre" and a museum in the village of Vabre.
Guy de Rouville aged 100

On a day when our villages have been marked by what many see as perversion of catholic history, especially by groups whose anti-Semitism and nazi sympathies are at odds with the principles of the republic, it is good to remember that there were brave  Frenchmen and women who stood up for freedom from tyranny.
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Nous sommes le dimanche quinze janvier

Yesterday at Verfeil was a very worrying occurence. A conference linked to the far right was arranged to disrupt the village, as had happened the day before in Espinas. The village of Verfeil is a very welcoming village to a greater part thanks to the Mayor and his team. When he realised what the conference was all about he refused to let the salle de Fêtes be used.
Then the curé offered the group the church. Now this was politically inciting as the curés refusal to have any sort of meeting in the churches, even AGM' s for the church is well known.
It would appear that the far right are trying to align themselves with the Catholic Church and even going so far  as saying if they gain power they will bring back Catholicism  to France, changing France from its secular ideals.
Religion is surely about love for your fellow man and living in peace, or have I got religion wrong and perhaps that is why I personally have rejected it for humanity?
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Saturday, 14 January 2017

So funny, frightened of their new mangeoir

I asked Malc if he could build something so the donks could eat their hay without standing on it and kicking it everywhere. Today out in the cold grange the " mangeoir" was finished. We carried it over together and screwed it to the stable wall. Then filled it with hay with Rosie and Lucy standing well back watching.
They tentatively came to eat with necks craned.
It ended up seeming to be a success with no notable design faults so far.
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Refused by everyone .. but the curé ?

I wondered if I dare report this but with great delight I can as it has been in the Depeche.
I know that when the new curé came to the area he refused to allow meetings or conferences in the churches including a meeting with the
committee for the restoration of the  church of St. Vincent de Varen. Malc was on the committee.
After heated discussions the AGM was allowed.
Now we hear that even though the Maire of Verfeil did not allow this group in the Salle des Fetes,  the curé allowed this meeting to be held in the church at Verfeil.
Verfeil is a very welcoming village whose residents really objected to this intrusion of hatred. How did they handle it. The young people were their handing out food and hot drinks on a cold day.
I got a call from friend Anais to go and arrived to see masses of police cars and police dog handlers with dogs in the back of vehicles.
The meeting went off quietly and it is with great delight that I can tell you inexplicably the church lights and heating were switched off.
Is this a taste of things to come and is religion not supposed to see love and humanity?
The day before in Espinas is the story in the Depeche
and the photo shown of the author organising her new book about the history of Jews, sadly her view of that, was custard pied!
I should maybe add for those expats who do not know the names mentioned in the Depeche all have close links to the National Front.



http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2017/01/14/2496616-invitee-cure-saint-antonin-noble-val-historienne-proche-alain-soral.html

Funeral arrangements for John Taylor


THe family are having a service at the crematorium in Albi at 2pm on Thursday 19th January.   It is open to everyone and donations to Medecin Sans Frontières or Help for Heros are invited instead of flowers.  

We are planning to hold another service in a couple of weeks at the church in Varen as a celebration of his life.  We will hopefully have more details tomorrow.  

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Winter draws on

Meteo France is predicting some very cold weather next week. Night time temperatures as low as -8ºC, possible snow flurries, cold winds. So make sure you keep warm and check on elderly neighbours. Most mairies have a cold weather plan to which vulnerable people can subscribe to ensure someone keeps an eye on them.

Here is a shot of the Meteo's forecast for the next 14 days (a dose of scepticism is usually advised though)


Nous sommes le samedi quatorze janvier

A bit advanced into the morning doing the date, sorry my friends.
What a cold start. There was snow on the roof at 2.30 am but it had gone this morning so Malc is sceptical that it may have been the moon making the ice glitter.
One really feels we are into the hard winter weeks now, hard for us all, the birds and animals with water sources frozen and food hard to find.
Although we have underfloor heating it was so cold last night we lit the wood burner just for that extra boost of warmth and cheer. I enjoy making up the fire and getting it going, a sense of achievement when my girl guiding skills came into play... I think I had the badge for fire lighting !!!
Malc says " what the arsonist badge?"
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Sliding into custody

When the pompiers attended an accident near Pontcirq (Lot) little did they know that the injured driver was one of Britain's "most wanted".The man's car had slid off the road which was icy, ending in a ditch requiring pompiers to intervene. A paedophile who had been on the run from the UK police for more than three years was unmasked when hospital staff were unable to trace his family and asked the gendarmes to help. He was living under an assumed name in a rented house and is now under arrest awaiting contact from the UK police.
It's an ill wind...
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Leaving pets, the problems

I must write a post about pets being left behind when expats decide to leave France for whatever reason, health, fears about brexit. To leave a pet is not an easy option and one I find unacceptable. If you take on a pet in my view it is for life and your responsibility. No one else wants to take on an elderly cat for example. Vets will not put them to sleep, they are here to save animal lives not kill them. Whatever your position, you will pay to have furniture shipped home, you will pay your fare home.. you must before the deadline consider your pet. It is going to cost you if you want to leave it. Chats de Quercy will take it but it is not an inconsiderable amount. On facebook I have given some ideas but the best idea is to make provision well before you are due to leave. I have copied the post below.

I will continue to comment on such posts which are now numerous since so many Brits go home and leave their cats and dogs  in unbelievable conditions. You may now realise more info would have helped. I will personally continue to be judgmental when I know how many cats are just left to fend for themselves, locked out of their homes without food, dogs left roaming locked out.. believe me I know many like this.
We thought the French were not caring of their pets but I can tell you, we Brits are just as bad if not worse.
The problem with an elderly cat is the possible vets bills, could the owner leaving continue to pay these? Could they pay Chats de Quercy a very large sum to take Mimi in? could they have the cat placed in a cattery till a home can be found as they leave Monday? I know from the number of times I am asked on TAG to home cats the problems that there are. I did manage to rehome two elderly cats with a lady called Danielle Dicsi in the Lot who is an inspector for the Brigitte Bardot foundation, called "La mere aux betes" Tel 0565219450  She took them for a small donation. I think she has a link if googled.
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Following their progress

The young men refugees who arrived a year ago are supported by our French friends, many taking them for interviews in Paris, sorting out documents, sorting out accomodation, lawyers, generally helping with their lives. They need our support as this help costs money. On this evening there will be shown a documentary made by film maker Cécile Ordanoff, restauration/ food available with music afterwards. If you are interested in the progress of these young men and want to help further please come and join us. Malc and I will be there.