Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Interesting sale

Speech therapist needed

Good morning Val,

We have a dear friend who has recently had a stroke.  He is in Espallion for re-education but is not responding well as he does not speak french and there is no-one there who speaks english - in particular the speech therapist.

I said I would contact you to see if you could ask your readers if they know of anyone in The vicinity who is an english  speaking speech therapist.

Any responses contact me in the first instance - suecutter@hotmail.com
Thank you so much,
Sue cutter
Val says    where is Espaiilon near Sue?

Laguepie at night

Nous sommes le mardi six decembre

I am so pleased I was described by a friend as an activist. Now I thought how wonderful I have got to 70 and have suddenly become an activist.
I thought I had better check the actual definition of an activist:-
An activist is a person who campaigns for some kind of social change. When you participate in a march protesting the closing of a neighborhood library, you're an activist.
Someone who's actively involved in a protest or a political or social cause can be called an activist. Demonstrations, strikes, and sit-ins are all ways that an activist might work toward the change she believes in. The root word of activist is the Latin actus, "a doing, a driving force, or an impulse." Someone who acts on what she believes is an activist.
I suddenly realised without knowing it I have always been an activist, probably why I land in hot water sometimes. 
My biggest campaign was trying to get disabled access to our library branch library. After a years intensive campaigning I achieved it but sadly I see years later that library is no longer in use.I  also campaigned to keep a green belt area, lost that one.
This is the first time I have campaigned for my country, but I will keep up the campaign for the UK to stay in Europe as long as I can.
My humanitarian activies with refugees are simply that, a humanitarian gesture.
Tongue in cheek
I will look at posters of Che Guevera now and think that could be me up there, imagine an old granny sitting on a donkey. Infact I have a lot of activist friends so we could all be on that poster.

Even numbers only

Yesterday we gave news of traffic restrictions in Paris. These continue today (Tuesday 6th) plus a ban on vehicles whose immatriculation plate ends with an odd number. Public transport will be free.
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Prime Minister resigns

The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has resigned, as expected, to pursue a nomination in the left primary for presidential office.
With the PS already divided by the "frondistes", headed by Arnaud Montebourg, opposed to the more liberal economic policies it will be Valls's policy to try and unite the party. Since the far left under Melenchon will not take part in the primary and are determined to present their own presidential candidate (currently projected to receive about 12% in the first round) it is difficult to see how Valls can live down the Hollande legacy.
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Monday, 5 December 2016

With family for Christmas

Some of the ten youngsters from Realville who tonight are on their way to family in the UK.
I am sure we are all delighted that at least 10 will make it for Christmas and here is hoping before too long some of the others will be accepted. I see that some of the youngest ones are not in the group, cross fingers for them.
Nice to see the boys wearing their new jackets bought from money raised by us all.
Good luck boys, bon voyage and here is wishing you everything good that life can now give you, you deserve it.

Carols and Mince Pies

and mulled wine. Saturday, 17h (5pm) Salle des Fetes, Verfeil (82), entry free, singing optional, but who can resist?

People of a certain age, that is us

A sunny morning at the book swap with a lot of old folks... but that is not me, I thought!!!
Wrong, Malc and I blend in very well,  being amongst the said old folks.
How did it happen to us all, getting old too soon?
Yes, it happened but at least we are still up for fun and challenges and enjoying every minute of our lives.
Adventurer immigrants in SW France sampling all that life throws at us... and choosing a book and DVD at the same time.
We have got it all folks, enjoy every minute. Perhaps like Malc and I after all the excitement have a nap before the next  going out adventure.
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Against animal experiments

A debate on the subject of using animals for experiments and testing is to be held in Septfonds on Thursday 15th December, 18h30 - entry free.
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Mother Christmas and her little elf at the book swap

Well actually it is Caroline Mills and her dog Bounty. Bounty sporting his Christmas coat ideal for the occasion.
Now I heard Caroline telling people she had idly asked me if anyone was doing anything about Christmas presents for refugees! The next minute she was plunged right into the middle of helping the organising of it.
I suppose it did go a little like that  but hey! we are having fun sharing and spreading the Christmas spirit and raising money for others less fortunate.
This morning as well as collecting in lots of presents already wrapped we collected money for more presents which we will make up and anything over will go to helping the needs of these  children and guys.
We are going now for making up 70 Christmas boxes and Anais the paid organiser at Bruniquel tells me there are three others who have joined our groups that I had forgotten about.
Fortunately this morning we had some wonderful donations and ended up with 350 euros in the pot.
With such good amounts of money we are making sure between Caroline Mills, Sarah Brown and myself we keep receipts for what we buy and share the load of book keeping.
Next Wednesday we will be spending the morning with us three and a lady called Lindy Gander who is coming up from near Pau, bringing lots of goodies to go in the boxes to add to our own.
Then we will deliver to Realville and possibly Bruniquel on the afternoon.
We can make up the parcels for our Rehoboth family later.
 To everyone who contributed this morning our thanks
To Ross and Ginny Jenkins who filled our car boot up with spices, tins of tomatoes, rice and pasta
ready for the young men who are coming to us at Christmas, a really big thank you.
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Pollution restrictions today

Motorists in Paris today face speed restrictions in a bid to reduce polluting exhaust emissions. In addition heavy lorries are banned from the city centre, burning of garden waste is banned and some individual wood fires are also forbidden.
Paris intends to introduce a system of vignettes of different colours to indicate the level of pollution likely with restrictions to the most polluting.
There are proposals to introduce alternate day access to several major cities, limiting access depending of whether your immatriculation ends with an odd or even number - though Paris has decided against that for today.
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Nous sommes le lundi cinq decembre

Book and DVD swap this morning, 10.30 am at the Gazpacho in St. Antonin.
A dry morning and sunny up here, not sure if the fog will have lifted in St. Antonin but we will go for setting up the books on the tables outside. Get wrapped up warm but you can always have coffee inside after choosing your books.
Caroline Mills will hopefully be with me collecting in Christmas presents and money for refugees, she has had a bad cold so I am hoping she is back on form this morning.
 Just had a message that she will be up to coming.
Look forward to seeing you all there.
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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Off to bed on a high

Pageviews all time history
Thank you all for your messages of support, much appreciated, ended up today with the result above.
Book swap tomorrow, hope it is sunny, get wrapped up warm whatever, it is St. Antonin.

I am not giving up

Catherine Smedley will be open

Dear Val,
 One million readers is an impressive milestone.  Thank you for seven years of keeping us so well informed on events both near and far.
Catherine  If you would like to see my recent paintings, handmade Christmas cards and gifts…………or just call in for a cup of tea and a mince pie……….the gallery will be open on :

Feel free to pass this invitation on to anyone who might like to come  and if none of these times suit you then I’m sure we can make another date.
best wishes,
The gallery is at La Barriere,
Lacapelle-Livron.  We are on the main D 19 road that goes from Caylus to St Projet. Tel. 05 63 24 00 05

It is a bald eagle

The mascot of the 17th parachute regiment at Montauban today for the Telethon.
A bald eagle / pygargue presented to the regiment by the Princess of Monaco.
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The Christmas market at Laguepie

I deliberately  trimmed off the little girl Santa was discussing Christmas with, one cannot be too careful with children and posting photos without parental permission.
A lovely morning in the sun, the normal market in the streets and the Christmas market under the halle.( well Laga has more a 50's roof!)
Having our morning coffee we commented how the cafe was full of English residents, not holiday makers but families who have made their home and their life here in Europe.
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Done it, a million views

Now dashing to the market at Laguepie but we did want to see it click over to a million.
9.48 on Sunday the 4th of December.
Malc tells me I started over 6 years ago  now and before long pulled him in to help, every morning for all the time we have searched the French news. Gosh, it has given us some laughs and fun.
must dash but  a million and five now.

Marche de Noel tonight in Montauban


Bingo wars

The commune of Garric near Albi (Tarn) suffered a number of fires and break-ins to buildings where loto entertainments and fund raisers are regularly held. Loto is the French version of bingo and is a very popular way for local associations to raise funds and the prizes are electronic items such as TV sets or in rural areas there is often a ham or other locally produced food.
Lotos are often organised by professional promoters and in recent years there have been several prosecutions for tax evasion. The fires in Garric are said to be the work of a gang trying to create a monopoly and gendarmes have arrested ten people from as far away as Marseille as well as the "mastermind" from Albi.
Clearly the loto organised by a seemingly helpful retired person to raise funds for your local football team is a source of good profit to the organiser as well the club.
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Clink your glasses for TAG

One million, yes one million views of TAG over the years will happen at any moment, we stand at
999.946 when I last checked. 54 views will be achieved in no time.
I hope Malc and I over the years have given you lots of local information, lots of laughs. Given others a boost to their local business. TAG made it possible to arrange the book swap and remind readers of the date. Rehomed many dogs, supported local good causes and in the last year aided refugees in our area and around the world.
And all from sitting in our armchairs on a morning.
Malc and I as in life are a good team and our happiness and joy in life, I hope we transfer to all.
As it is for us a happy day and getting near Christmas raise your glasses to TAG.
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Nous sommes le dimanche quatre decembre

A beautiful building, this is the town hall at Caylus. It has a certain style I think.
Christmas markets at Caylus and Laguepie today
Good news for 10 children at Realville. On Monday they will be allowed to go to the UK to be with their family as I might say is their legal right. So pleased for those youngsters but so sad for the other 19 who are still waiting.
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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Christmas Fayre

All in aid of Telethon, this morning at Laguepie

Our second yearly clean, a cold morning saw the young pompiers with the cold water sprays. The more mature pompiers enjoying the coffee and cake on offer and giving instructions... just as it should be!
Well done all.
There is a Christmas market at Laguepie tomorrow.
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Posting cards and parcels

Taken from the magazine " Living France"

Bird flu hits the Tarn again

Three elevages of ducks and geese have been diagnosed with the H5N8 stain of bird flu in the Tarn this week. Over 7500 birds have been destroyed in a bid to stop the disease spreading and a cordon sanitaire has been placed around sixty or so elevages around Almayrac. The prefecture says no source of the infection has yet been found.
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Sethi: petit prince

Sethi and mum Azizah
Taglines has featured the story of Sethi many times over the years. The little boy suffers from a rare condition which attacks the production of bone marrow and hence healthy blood and readers have followed his story and offered help where possible. At four years old in a Paris clinic his marrow was removed then he was treated with chemo-therapy and kept in a sterile bubble before the marrow was replaced. Now six he has started at normal school and loves being a pupil. But Sethi is not cured and needs blood transfusions every three weeks, but his life is transformed. This weekend he is an ambassador for the Telethon which raises money for research into such rare conditions and provides help where it is needed.
We will be contributing by having our car washed by the Laguepie pompiers (provided their karchers are not frozen). There are opportunities to contribute at an event near you.
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I like cats

Little Whisky only 6 kilos, age about a year and a half.
He is fine with everyone and everything even cats ... but not pigeons or hens.
Sadly Whisky was allowed to roam when with his previous owner and he killed the neighbours pigeons.
Instead of in my view training him about birds or fencing their garden they decided they no longer wanted him.
He is a lovely little boy full of fun and loves a cuddle.
He does need a fenced garden and is being rehomed by the Assoc. des Truffes et des Moustache who I can put you in touch with.
As an aside, all our dogs would have chased hens or birds till we taught them it was not a good idea.
Eldo is still in training!
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On today and tomorrow

Nous sommes le samedi trois decembre

Seen over St. Antonin.
Photo by Yves Bertand
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Friday, 2 December 2016

Laguepie Salon du Livre - Sunday 4 December 9am - 5pm

A reminder that I am at the Salon du Livre, Laguepie, this Sunday selling my new book - and the others. Please do forward to anyone on your mailing list who might like to come along.
Coming up soon:
Sat 25 March 10.30am Parisot Library
I am giving a talk on historical fiction and my new novel, followed by aperitifs
Fri 21 April 5.30pm The English Library, Villefranche-en-Rouergue
I will be giving a talk on my new novel, alongside local thriller writer Stephen Goldenberg, who will talk about his latest novel (Venue to be confirmed).
best wishes
Tracey Warr

Book and DVD swap Monday 5 th at the Gazpacho in Saint Antonin

Once again the book swap, DVD's, Penny Smith is going if you need sewing done, Spiced Cuisine taking delicious ordered curries... and Caroline Mills and I taking in donations and Christmas boxes ready to be delivered to the refugees in our area.
Busy morning it will be but as always great to chose new books and meet friends for a coffee and chat.
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A frosty llama up on the Bosc

hi Val
Arn't we lucky!

Frosty llama up on the Bosc
Val says and frosty donkeys at Mas del Sol, but the sun was quickly up to give a glorious day.

Christmas at Fripaffaires

No more President Hollande

Probably to nobody's surprise Francois Hollande announced yesterday (Thursday 1st December) that he would not run again for President next year. His popularity ratings have been so low that it is unlikely he would win even his own party's nomination as candidate.
His win 5 years ago was a reaction to the previous 5 years of Nicholas Sarkozy who was blamed as so many other leaders were at that time for the 2008 banking crisis. But Sarkozy was also branded as too "bling bling", a man whose pursuit of personal glory and love of showiness was deemed "unpresidential".
The election of Hollande as a "normal president" had certain echoes, but he was undone by his failure to reduce unemployment as promised. In late 2016 there are more than 500000 extra unemployed compared to 2012. Added to that his faintly ridiculous amorous activities, including visiting his mistress Julie Gayet on the back of a scooter (having already split with his long time partner for Valerie Trierweiler) suggested he was not to be taken seriously.
The battle for succession in the PS is far from clear. Several former ministers have already declared they will run in a left primary and it is now likely that Prime Minister Manuel Valls will be a candidate. It is likely to be academic and they probably will be looking to 2022 after 5 years of either Francois Fillon or Marine le Pen.
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Nous sommes le vendredi deux decembre

Walking in the sun yesterday afternoon along our lanes. A bit of foraging went on as I collected some chestnuts, a bag full and Malc collected some fallen apples for the donkeys from a wild apple tree
A wonderful  afternoon, the silence and beauty here  overwhelms you

A Happy Christmas planned

Christmas present appeal

Cheques and parcels arriving daily for our Christmas present appeal for the refugee youngsters and now all our refugee young men.
We have extended the number of presents needed to 70 and then we leave no one out.
I received this message this morning

"Hi Val, I have a growing mountain of empty shoeboxes and the local shoeshop has promised to give me 200 pairs of brand new ( old stock )  shoes !!!!
Apparently 50/ 50 mens, womens and children"
This lady has also been to her local Lindt factory and came away with lots of chocolates.
On passing this news on to Caroline Mills she thought these may need quality testing!
I am shopping again today for a few more items needed and someone is donating wrapping paper.
We are having a morning packing planned with Caroline, Lindy Gander and myself on Wednesday the 14th.
The presents will be delivered to be opened on Christmas morning....  when Father Christmas has delivered of course.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Head on collision this morning

Two cars collided head on travelling on the Moissac-Castelsarrasin main road this morning (Thursday 1st December). In fairly misty conditions it seems a car overtaking a lorry hit a car coming the other way.
Miraculously nobody has been seriously hurt, though at 8h30 one driver was still trapped in his car. Traffic is seriously disturbed on this road at present.
Photo : M-France Guiseppin

Time to wash the car again

From Friday evening until Sunday morning French TV stations will hold their annual Telethon, a 30 hour transmission to raise awareness of and raise funds for research into rare medical conditions. There will be community efforts in over 100 towns and cities and Montauban is one of the flagship venues.
Last year the combined efforts raised a staggering 94 million euros and this year the number to call will be displayed on the Eiffel Tower. Many local villages will also hold fund raising events and as usual we will take our cars for their annual wash by the pompiers at Laguepie on Saturday.
To donate direct call 3637 or visit the Telethon website Give to Telethon
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And the real little chap up on the bosc

Hi Val
i have just started filling the feeders this week.  The birds are happy.  Probably won't see this little chap though.
Don't you just love nature and rural France?
Val says   delightful picture 

Nous sommes le jeudi premier decembre

A frosty start to the morning, crunching over the grass to give hay to my donkeys. A cold start but the sky is now blue and I think we are in for a lovely day... stay in the sun.
The first day of December, the start of the run up to Christmas.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus.
I am told that in Islam Christ is an important prophet.
Donkeys and sheep, animals that surrounded baby Jesus in the manger when he was born.
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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

TOF report on the Renaissance at Caylus

The Renaissance at Caylus
We went for lunch today, to say hi to Martine and Alain in their new venue at Caylus.
The couple with their son closed the doors on the Moulin in Varen  at the end of September and took over the bigger concern on the main road in Caylus.
Alain who has a heart condition is hoping for a life out of the kitchen and the restaurant new to them has two chefs.
We knew initially the chefs were on holiday so left it till now to go and try it.
The menu of the day was 12 euros for 4 courses.
Vegetable soup
quiche and salad
Sausage,  rice in a tomato sauce
It was all delicious, too much perhaps for me, but great value.
Martine and son Louie were as always charming and the perfect host and waiter.
Good Luck to you all, we will be back.
Out of 5 - we would give it slightly less than 4
a good score for us.
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This is especially for k on the Bosc

An interesting lunch at Bruniquel

Eye sore in Gaillac

Hi val:

This article doesn't surprise me...in 2009, my house in Cordes had a major fire; the entire center of the house collapsed...it was an electrical fire caused by bad work but when my assurance claimed against the artisan, his assurance resisted and my assurance didn't pay for over 2 years.  The house just sat there in a damaged state...and when it did finally pay, it wasn't enough to pay for the 2nd renovation and there went the rest of my funds.  Anyway, the point is:  assurance in France is a very tricky path to trod...
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Joyeux Noble Val

Having your cake and eating it

The indiscreet notes of a parliamentary aide which suggested that with Brexit we could aim to "have our cake and eat it" - a phrase first used by Boris in this context - has an equivalent in French, to have "le beurre et l'argent du beurre" literally to have one's butter and the money to pay for it.
An EU official did point out that having eaten your cake, you are left with - nothing but crumbs.
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Do not worry if your washing machine breaks down

Insurance battle in Gaillac

The owner of a pub in Gaillac is embroiled in a battle with various insurance companies and individuals after  the building collapsed in May. He was insured, but the builder and architect he used for renovations were not. Having paid 45000 euros to demolish the dangerous parts and facing a further bill of 40000 euros for re-building the party walls, he has received no reimbursement from his insurer who hold the third parties responsible. Even his neighbour was affected, his building being empty since that time and now the mayor has weighed in complaining that the site is an eyesore and harms the town's image (not forgetting that they are also paying the cost of safety barriers). A lesson to us all to make sure all parties are properly insured when undertaking major works.
Eyesore in Gaillac: but who pays?

Nous sommes le mercredi trente novembre

Still seems like autumn to me but tomorrow is the first day of the meterological winter in the UK.
Malc thinks in France it is the 21 st of December but I will check that up.
The Winter solstice occurs on the first day of the season (21 December). 
Our walks and views are just superb at the moment and most days we have the sun and the fabulous blue skies. Hard to understand why the world and some people are so mad and bad when you commune with nature.
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