Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Catching up on electricity prices

If you, like us, have received electricity bills this week have you noticed amounts charged for "regularisation tarifaire Tarif Bleu...01/08/2014 - 31/10/2014" and for "01/11/2014-31/07/2015"? On our bills these sums add up to about 10 euros, but this may not be the last, as the cost is said to be "about 30 euros spread over 18 months".
This "rattrapage" is to recover sums underpaid to EDF by those of us on the Tarif Bleu, which seems to be the basic tarif. The underpayment arises because EDF raised their prices by less than the prices the regulator had demanded, putting other electricity suppliers at a disadvantage.
Electricity prices are regulated, but there is supposed to be an open market where one can choose a supplier other than EDF. With the recent controversy over what Enerdis (as EDF is now called) could use the Linky meters for, the possibility to say to them "please yourself, I am off to Direct Energie" seems a no win solution.
If EDF cheated by offering us lower prices they should pick up the tab - not us. (end of rant).
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Calling friends of FET

Our first show of 2017 is Posting Letters to the Moon, based on wartime letters written by actress Celia Johnson - best known for her iconic role in the 1945 classic Brief Encounter - to her husband Peter Fleming (brother of Bond-creator Ian) who was then posted in India.

Funny and moving, Celia's letters describe the rigours of rationing, her work as an Auxiliary Policewoman and occasional farm labourer as well as her more glamorous life on the set of films such as Brief Encounter, with director David Lean and co-star Trevor Howard, and her friendships with the likes of Joyce Grenfell and Noel Coward.

The performance stars Celia Johnson's daughter, Lucy Fleming, and her husband Simon Williams, who will be familiar to fans of The Archers as Justin and Miranda Elliot on BBC Radio 4 as well as for their many other stage and screen credits.

We look forward to seeing you for what promises to be a heart-warming start to the new season.

The bar will be open from
6pm and the performance begins at 7pm.

To book your tickets, please email:

Members €25 Non-Members €30

REMEMBER - It’s never too late to become a member!

NB: your reservation will only be confirmed on receipt of your cheque

Ruth Etridge FET Secretary

Nous sommes le mercredi vingt deux fevrier

Returning home this morning from dog walking we spotted the first cowslips (coucou) of the year. In a very favoured spot these will be joined soon by thousands more. Primula veris is a member of the primrose family and the common name in French of  "coucou" or "fleur de coucou" reminds us that it announces the imminent arrival of spring.
cowslips at Mas del Sol
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Sleeping salamander

The common salamander is fairly widespread in our region and work on a pile of stones in the garden yesterday uncovered this hibernating specimen. The colouring is to warn off potential predators, black and yellow being generally considered dangerous. The amphibians do exude a slime on the skin which can cause a rash in humans and make unwary puppies and cats ill. They are also capable of spitting a secretion up to a metre to ward off enemies. These defences mean the salamanders have few predators and consequently can live many years. Their nocturnal prowlings are slow and often the biggest risk they face is in crossing roads. Salamanders are thought to be able to survive fires and often feature in tales of fantasy.           Unlike other amphibians, salamanders produce only a few offspring at a time - the female carrying larvae for up to nine months before giving birth in shallow water. The fact that the larvae are well developed means a high survival rate. They hibernate in rocky crevices or under damp rocks, hence the disturbed sleep of this chap. After being placed on the ground it soon woke up and ambled off to a new dark spot.

A320 celebrates 30 years

Airbus 320: the best seller
This day, 22nd February 1987, saw the first test flight of the A320, designed to compete with the ageing Boeing 727. A single aisle body with up to 240 seats it was aimed at the short haul flights dominated by the American plane.
30 years later more than 13000 models have flown and a family of planes ranging from 100 seats to 240 seats is available. The plane is a world best seller and in 2016 over 200 were ordered. This model is the basis of Airbus's growth into a leading competitor to Boeing and also a model for cooperation between the  European companies that form the consortium.
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Sport on prescription

From the 1st March doctors will be able to prescribe sporting activities to certain patients with long term illnesses such as diabetes, heart problems or some cancers.
No details of what sports will be advised, but swimming will be high on the list. There are many opportunities to walk, cycle or participate in "gym douce" or dancing, that most conditions can be catered for - but most are best undertaken in a group, so "ordonnances" may be to join a club.
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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The rising star in French politics

Interesting "sondage" today says that Macron would easily beat Le Pen in a second round, but may lose out to Fillon in first round. This is the first sign of a re-bound for Fillon after the "Penelopegate" revelations.
If Fillon is to qualify he would also defeat Le Pen, but by a smaller margin.

Buying a new electric bike?

This could be 200€ cheaper thanks to a new government scheme. A subsidy for the purchase of any two or three wheel electrically assisted vehicle, provided it does not use batteries containing lead.
Purchasers need to send their invoice to the Agence des services et des paiements although an on-line system will be set up. The scheme is limited to one purchase per person and will last until 31st January 2018.
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Nous sommes le mardi vingt et un fevrier

Seen at Nice Carnival, " laughing stock of the world" Donald Trump
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Monday, 20 February 2017

Snowdrops, violets and daffodils

Where are the daffodils I hear you ask?
I will photograph them, in another corner of the garden tomorrow.
Beautiful days
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Harris tweed suits

An opportunity for a seamstress
A quantity of suits from top London makers including some from Harrods of Harris tweed suits,  in waist sizes 42 to 44
Is there any dressmaker who for 10 euros a suit would like the material or any large hunting, fishing shooting type who would like a suit.
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Can be seen at Montricoux

Hi Val & Malcolm,
In the church at Montricoux there is an old picture that has been identified as an important work of art in France. It is due to be restored during 2017 so why not drop by and have a look at the before (now) and again after its return. Good excuse to visit our beautiful little village.


David Kennedy Ralph

How sad

A sad story but one that is easy to understand, Brodie was adopted by the present owner from our assoc. a couple of years ago but age and illness has caught up and along with Brodie chasing the families 4 cats, it has all got too much.
For two years Brodie has been a delight, responsive, loving but she has never settled with the families cats. In every other respect Brodie is a delight and the owner will be heartbroken to see her go to another owner.
The owner writes below

Brodie is a very loving and friendly dog.  She is sterilized and chipped.  She is very responsive, good on the lead, she sits on command, goes down and stays, and waits for her food but when outside off the lead, she just does her own thing.  She is good with the dogs and curls up with them but absolutely obsessed by cats and not in a good way.  She is strong and would ideally suit a younger person who has plenty of time to spend outside with her.  She is very easy to love as she gives so much back.
Contact me if interested

Nous sommes le lundi vingt fevrier

Montgolfieres / hot air balloons over Veffeil yesterday morning.
Photo taken by Jo Schofield

Sunday, 19 February 2017

just love old photos

Hi Val
Call to the memory: in the context of a book to come on Saint-Antonin, city of water (society of the friends of the old Saint-Antonin), I'm looking for illustrations that permit to see the 1930 Floods: Postcards, Family Photos... (obviously in digital file) that you'd be willing to lend. If your memories are words, get in touch with me for a meeting. The story of Saint-Antonin thank you in advance. Dominique perchet

Val says  can you contact Dominique , John Dawson

So much for sale

4 Royal leerdam ( makers of fine Europeam stem ware) cocktail / dessert glasses
3 slightly heavier cocktail glasses
the 7 for 7 euros   SOLD

Tea, coffee sugar wooden containers lined with white ceramic, quality items 10 euros
6 fruit glasses still boxed 5 euros
ceramic fondue pot 5 euros
candelsticks, glass bowl and plate 5 euros

The new publishers

A journalist remarked on TV this morning that America has 27 million bloggers; not just news reporters like Taglines, but also those trying to express their ideas or bring their poetry or fiction to a wider audience. There are many who publish their novels entirely in electronic form and who use the on-line self publishing software to get hard copies printed for sale.
A few lucky authors with a wide following attract commercial publishers who will print and distribute their works, even occasionally a best seller.
Albi author Florence Clerfeuille

Albi novelist Florence Clerfeuille has been offering her novels on the internet for the past five years and her tales of a cat have around 10000 followers, but she has never sought a commercial publisher - but now Terra Nova have approached her and are publishing her book "Le Chat au jeu de quilles" - the cat who played skittles. Now Florence has seen her book on sale in bookshops throughout France, believing that those who want a "real" book are a different market to the Kindle readers. The book is a trilogy that has been published as a collection. Let's hope she has a great success.
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Nous sommes le dimanche dix neuf

Another lovely dry sunny morning.
I will be at the Gazpachpo at 10.30 am with articles sold on TAG. A lot to do before I go, donkeys fed but dogs need a walk.
Enjoy your markets , enjoy your day.
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Saturday, 18 February 2017

These guys make a difference

Visitors to the Jardins de Quercy marvel at the magnificent transformation of the landscape at Cambou, near Verfeil. What they dont often appreciate is that the small fee they pay to enter is used to fund a school for girls in Cambodia. A charity "Schools for all" was founded to ensure that girls should receive the same educational opportunities as boys, in a country which lost most of its educated people in the Khmer Rouge purges.
On a recent visit to Cambodia Jean Donies and Alain Herreman visited the school which welcomes 100 new pupils a year and sent some pictures of the happy girls.
Alain checks over the classroom
Looking envious at the lunch bowl
 When the Jardins open again in the spring make your visit a double pleasure by helping these youngsters in far off Asia.
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Nous sommes le samedi dix-huit fevrier

Spring is in the air everywhere you look. Warm sunny days, lots of migratory birds stating to arrive, snowdrops and daffodils beginning to flower. The official date for spring starting is the 21st March.
I think spring is starting early this year ... and I love it.
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Friday, 17 February 2017

Love love bal

A short trip to Venice on Sunday

Sheep may safely graze

Seen at the weighbridge in Caylus, a small flock of sheep grazing peacefully on a few bales of hay.
Does anyone know who the artist is?
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Nous sommes le vendredi dix sept fevrier

A mild misty morning with the sun in view. A lovely day yesterday and another promised today.
We had a visit from the blacksmith/ marechal ferrant yesterday and it was a lovely job well done as in the sun my donkeys calmly stood to have their hooves/ sabots trimmed. Great news that the hooves are in good shape with no problems.
Today a friend is bringing for a visit two refugees I have not met before, we are planning inviting others and having a " chatty tea" ... before we load up a trailer of household items to furnish an appartment for two in Montauban. Tomorrow it maybe an early start driving to Montauban. I am so excited as two of our special boys move on with their lives, not in danger, learning French and both of these lads found jobs an interpretors.
All of us TAG readers have played a part in this, donating goods and money, offering time, help and support.
I can only tell you how grateful these young men are to us.
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Petition against new electicity meters

Stop aux LINKY!
Have you ever heard of LINKY?
There will be more information available in the Varen market on Saturday morning,
February 18.
Please come along, learn more, and sign the petition to refuse LINKY in our commune.

Not many people have heard of  LINKY meter. But since December 2015 ENEDIS (formerly EDF) have been installing these new 'smart' electricity meters in homes across France. Their objective is to have this technology in every home in France by 2021.
What will it cost? From 5 to 7 million euros.
Who will pay for it?
We will. The installation of each meter will cost from 140 to 300€, which will be gradually added to
our bills under the heading TURP (tarif d'utilisation des réseaux publiques).
What is LINKY?
It's a ´smart' electricity meter which will transmit real time information about our electricity
consumption directly to ENEDIS, through a network of wifi antennas which will be installed in the
What's in it for ENEDIS?
More reliable management of demand. Reduction of running costs (thousands of meter readers will
lose their jobs). Profits from the sale of bulk information.
What's in it for us?
Increased exposure to microwaves, both in our homes from the meters directly, and in our streets
from the antennas.
Increased electricity bills - the LINKY meters themselves consume more energy than the present
old fashioned meters. We will be paying for their installation. The meters are also capable of
automatically moving you up to the next tarif band if your consumption spikes, however briefly.
Our personal information, harvested by Linky, is commercially valuable, and ENEDIS can sell it,
but that's not likely to be reflected in a reduction in our bills.
Most people think of smart meters as something that people chose to have installed in their homes, to
help them manage their electricity consumption, LINKY won't work that way - the information
harvested will be for ENEDIS, and if we want to monitor our consumption, we'll have to go on line
or wait for the bill to arrive, just as we do now.
Is LINKY compulsory?
No. More than 200 communes have refused to accept the installation of these meters. Individual
consumers can refuse too. Germany has refused to accept this system, considering that it is not in
the interest of small consumers.
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

One thing after another

Hi Val & Malcolm            we have had earthquakes and floods ,now the fires    can the locusts be far behind?  I do not live in the fire zone but can see the smoke and some flames from the kitchen windows.   459 families evacuated and now worried about their homes being there in the morning especially if the wind gets up during the night.   Difficult terrain for firefighters on the ground.  
Anne   Christchurch New Zealand
Val says, our regular reader Anne in Christchurch sent this photo and news of the latest terrifying event. So sorry Anne for you and for Christchurch and its people.

Two glass vases another ceramic for sale

5 euros the three  SOLD

Three interesting items Sold

selling the three together for 15 euros

Brighten up your gite

Frames, prints and paintings, all 5 euros each,
All now SOLD


Nous sommes le jeudi seize fevrier

Sorry to be late this morning but I was up and out early leaving Malc to look after pets. I with Marcia and two young men clearing a house beds, cupboards, lights, someone returning to the UK. I am going to arrange a vide grenier here as after we have taken out essentials for setting up apartments for boys who now have asylum we will need to sell the rest. Loads of lovely bargains to be had.
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All for sale at a bargain price SOLD

Pushchair, high chair, booster seat, 2 little chairs and paddling pool all for  15  euros.
Just the job for grandparents with visiting youngsters.
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