Monday, 24 September 2012

Week 39 2012

Sax Attitude

Lots of musical events in and around the Gironde and Dordogne this week.  

Look out for 'Sax Attitude' in Saint Front de Pradoux and 'Barfly Jazz Quintet' in Monsegur.  

There really is something for everyone from Carmen, to the Festival of Ancient Music.

The evenings are getting a bit shorter, but still lots to do and see.

Have a good week,
Best wishes,

 Week 39 

Monday 24 September

24 – 30 September : Exhibition ‘Vue d’un angle’. Ceramics, collage, painting and sculptures at Chateau Lestrille, Saint Germain du Puch. Mon – Fri 9h – 12h30, 14h – 19h / Sat 9h30 – 12h30 / Sun 15h – 19h,  Info : 05 57 24 01 38

Tuesday 25 September

Wednesday 26 September

Thursday 27 September

27 September 9h - 12h30 : Discover the wildlife, especially the birds, along the Isle.  Contact Guitre Tourist Office 05 57 69 11 48 for more details.

27 September 21h : Broken is showing in VO at the Eden Cinema, Monsegur.
The story of a young girl in North London whose life changes after witnessing a violent attack. Starring Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth and Robert Emms.

Friday 28 September

28 September 20h15 : Carmen is showing at the Grandecran in Libourne.  This is the 2007 version filmed at Convent Garden in partnership with the BBC.

28 – 29 – 30 September : Riches Heures de la Reole.  Festival de Musiques Anciennes. To find out more, who is playing, where and when.  Go to

28 September : Dernier Soiree Dansant at Lac de la Cadie, Mouliets et Villemartin.  Gather togather a group of friends and go and dance!

Saturday 29 September

29 September from 16h : Grand Tournoi de Chevalerie.  All things horsy, and medieval.  

29 Septembre 20h30 : "SAX ATTITUDE" in concert at la Salle des Fêtes à Saint Front de Pradoux, near Mussidan
Quatuor de Saxophones - Soprano:Thomas Fossaert; Alto:Anita Gordon; Tenor:Stéphane Sécher; Baryton: Alex Dubois


29 September 20h30 : Concert : Chorale Chantemonde. Eglise d'Eymet.
Placée sous la direction de Michèle Lhopiteau, la chorale Chantemonde vous propose une soirée de découvertes musicales. Entrée
10 €, tarif réduit 5 €, gratuit - 15 ans.
Renseignements : ou

29 – 30 September : Artisans d’Art et Potiers in St Emilion, a weekend of free pottery and art exhibitions in and around St Emilion.  To find out who and where click

Sunday 30 September

30 September 11h: Les 24 Heures du Swing at Monsegur.  If you missed the 3 day festival in July now’s your chance to see some live music.  In order to shore up the finances of the association close to 50 musicians have offered to come and perform for one day only.  Entrance is by a contribution which entitles you to a ‘carte de bienfaiteur’.  For further information go to
30 September : Vide Grenier,  Tizac de Curton 33420

30 September : Brocante Vide Grenier at Bergerac, Parc des expositions, site de Picquecailloux, derrière la piscine.  Should be quite big.

30 September : Cycling in Eymet -  Raid de la Bastide.  2 trails available. 18km or 31km.  For further information

30 September 18h10 : Dark Horse is showing in VO at the Grandecran in Libourne.
Romance blooms between two thirty-somethings in arrested development: an avid toy collector who is the dark horse of his family and a depressed woman on the rebound. Starring Christopher Walken, Jordan Gelber and Selma Blair.

Coming up…

ITV are coming back to do some more filming the first week in October and I'm looking for some English speakers who would like to participate in a one day workshop (where I show how to make homemade organic clay paints)which they will film.
Anyone interested should contact me at
Thanks !

And finally…

After a conversation over a lovely lunch the other day I thought I’d put together a page for useful helplines in English. EM kindly started with these number below.  If you have any others you can add to the list, that would be great.  I shall also have all these numbers on a page that you can go to directly called ‘Useful phone numbers’.

Telephone number for the English speaking Orange telephone service: 09 69 36 39 00

Telephone number for the English speaking EDF service: 09 69 32 15 15

There is also a number to call for information when there is a power cut: 0810 333 033.
Bizarrely, this only applies to:
33124 AUROS
33390 BLAYE

Monday, 17 September 2012

Week 38 2012


Thank you so much for all your continued support and feedback – this week  the blog reached 10,000 hits, and rising.  So don’t forget to forward the link to your friends and I always like to hear of upcoming events so that I can share the information.

Atmospheric lighting for the lone pianist.
We’ve had a busy weekend with highs and lows.  The Jazz & Wine Concert at Chateau Franc Mayne was full of promise, but failed to deliver.  Not only was the saxophonist mysteriously absent, but the start, re-scheduled for 20h was unexplainably delayed, the first notes were played as the clock struck 9!  And don’t even get me started on the smell, it seemed to me that we were sitting on top of a particularly malodourous septic tank.  Having said that – the lighting on a magnificent oak tree was quite magical.

Following the concert we headed into St Emilion for the fireworks – WOW!  Fabulous! We had the ‘Parking Fairy’ in the car, and found a spot 200m from the Tour du Chateau where the display was held.  What a spectacular show. Have a look at (thank you

There’s still plenty to do in and around the Gironde and Dordogne.

Have a good week,

Best wishes,

Week 38

Monday 17 September

Tuesday 18 September

18 - 24 September 10h30 à 13h - 14 à 19h : Painting Exhibition (Oils and watercolours) by Jacques Grosjean at Logis de Malet, Saint Emilion.  Free Entry

18 September 15h – 17h :

Dear all, We are holding an "Afternoon Tea" at home, in aid of our local horse charity - ASHA -

ASHA does a fantastic job in south west France, rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming neglected or abused horses and ponies in distress. They rely totally on donations and all the staff are volunteers.

For a donation of €4, we will be supplying tea and coffee, plus sandwiches, scones, cakes and flapjacks, and you are welcome to wander round the gardens to enjoy your tea!
Everyone is welcome - please bring your friends, and forward this to anyone who you think might be interested.

Many thanks, Val and Maurice Newland, La Canconnette, Ferrensac 47330
0553 491 325
Directions: La Canconnette is on the V1, between Ferrensac and Pompiac. Ferrensac is on the right, about 3kms out of Castillonnes on the D2 heading west towards Villereal. From Ferrensac, take the right fork at the statue of Jesus towards Pompiac. You will pass Chateau Lamothe, and after two right hand bends you will find the house on the right.
Parking is limited, so please car-share if you can!

Wednesday 19 September

19 September  - 2 October : Exposition de Patchwork 14h – 18h at Salle Marc Amanieux, Port-Ste Foy. Info 05 53 73 05 14

Thursday 20 September

Friday 21 September

21 September 19h30 : Fete de la Gastronomie au Chateau Lestrille, discover and enjoy 5 professional workshops €40/person including wine.  Reservations and information 05 57 24 51 02

Saturday 22 September

22 -23 September : in 1908 Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, cycled round France in search of its medieval history.  In August of that year he arrived in Castillon and followed the trail of Richard the Lionheart along the Dordogne, visiting Montagne on the way.
With this in mind, a 2 day event has been set up « dans la roue de Lawrence d’Arabie ». 2 days of cycling and walking, taking in Castillon, St Michel de Montagne, Lac de Gurcon and the surrounding area.  There are cycle routes and walking routes.  To find out more go to  

22 September : Fete de la Gastronomie.  For more information and to find out a participating restaurant close to you go to
I see that the Belevedere is hosting an event.

22 – 23 September : Brocante Vide Greniers at the Stade, Saint Medard de Guiziers 33230


Sunday 23 September

23 septembre 10h - 18h : La Moto s'invite à La Gaffelière, Saint-Emilion. Free Entry to see the motorbike demonstration.

23 September : Vide greniers at Moulon Stade 33420

23 September : Brocant, Vide grenier and Fete Locale at Montguyon

23 September : Brocante Vide Greniers at the Stade, Saint Medard de Guiziers 33230

23 September : Vide grenier at St Exupery, 8km from La Reole

23 September : Les Puces De Coeur De Bastide organisé par l’Association Coeur De Bastide a Sainte Foy La Grande. Rue Victor Hugo et adjacentes.

Coming up…

Monday 24 September 20h45 : To Have and To Have Not (Le Port de l’angoisse) is showing in VO at Le Lascaux, Montpon Menesterol.  
Originally made in 1944.  Expatriate American Harry Morgan helps to transport a Free French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sexy lounge singer.  Starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Walter Brennan.

And finally…

From: GALE, Roger []
Sent: 06 September 2012 13:51
To: GALE, Roger

For information.

Dear Sir Roger

We spoke yesterday about the enquiries you have received from former UK residents now living in France about recent changes to the rules on Winter Fuel Payments for people resident abroad.

Under EU law, people can in certain circumstances receive the Winter Fuel Payment if they are resident in another EEA country. Until recently, this was only possible if the person had first qualified for the WFP in the UK before they moved abroad, but in light of recent developments in EU case law the Government now accepts that, in certain situations, claims may be made by people who are already abroad when they reach the qualifying age.

Further information is given in DWP Memo DMG 31/12, Winter Fuel Payments – effect of CJEU judgment<>, August 2012. The claim form for Winter Fuel Payment 2012/2013 for people resident in another EEA country is available at Directgov<>.

As the Memo states, to receive a Winter Fuel Payment a person who was already living abroad when they reached the qualifying age will have to demonstrate a “genuine and sufficient link to the UK’s social security system”. It gives examples of situations where people would, and would not, satisfy this requirement.

The Memo goes on to consider how DWP “Decision Makers” should deal with backdated claims, new claims for a past period, reconsideration of old disallowances, appeals to a First-Tier Tribunal; and cases where a Tribunal has already made a decision.

When I contacted DWP about the change in July, they sent me the following background note:

Issue: Paying more Brits abroad the Winter Fuel Payment


- The judgment in the European Court of Justice (the Stewart case about the export of Invalidity Benefit (Youth) means that it is now possible that people living in the EEA and Switzerland may be entitled to Winter Fuel Payment even if they did not acquire it in the UK, provided the applicant has a genuine and sufficient link with the UK and satisfies the other WFP entitlement conditions. The judgment may also have implications for other EEA states and Switzerland. We can't comment on outstanding tribunal cases.

- There are around 440,000 people living in the EEA and Switzerland who are receiving a British State Pension. Not all of these people will satisfy the criteria for a WFP. Currently around 73,000 of them receive Winter Fuel Payments because they gained entitlement before they left the UK.

- It is difficult to know how much this would cost as we don’t know how many will satisfy the WFP criteria, including demonstrating a genuine and sufficient link with the UK may be a limit.

- EU rules mean that we already pay WFP to British pensioners living in the EEA and Switzerland. In 2010/11 we made 72,840 Winter Fuel Payments to people living in the European Economic Area and Switzerland - this represents less than one per cent of the total Winter Fuel Payments made in that year.

- The Winter Fuel Payment is a universal benefit that makes a significant contribution to British pensioner's fuel costs. But it is about help with fuel costs and we are looking at ways of limiting payments so they only go to those living in colder climates.


Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith said:

"We will protect taxpayers money and bring in a temperature criteria so payments can only be made to British pensioners living in cold climates."

Exactly how the Government might apply new temperature criteria to Winter Fuel Payment claims, and which countries might be affected, are not clear.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Week 37 2012

Don Giovanni

A super week of concerts last week, Don Giovanni was a great success and thanks to RV for the lovely photo from the Eglise Collegiale in St Emilion.

The brocantes show no signs of stopping; I was spoilt for choice on Sunday and was rewarded with this super photo opportunity.  (And I finally found a cake stand handle without the plates – no prizes for guessing what I’ll make in my next pottery class!)
Bicycles made for two!

Have a great week, it’s still sunny and there’s plenty to do.

Best wishes,

Week 37

The upcoming week is packed with things to do and places to visit in the Gironde and Dordogne region, we’re spoilt for choice. There is the Fete du Mascaret at Saint Pardon.  The Mascaret is the big wave that comes upriver into the Gironde estuary and then along the Dordogne caused by the unusually high tide.  People come from all around the world to catch the wave and surf upstream.  With water the colour of chocolate milk it’s a keen surfer who takes his chances with the tide!  To get a taste of the event visit

This weekend also celebrates European Heritage with many places opening up their historical monuments for people to visit, Bordeaux has an extensive programme on offer.  To find out more go to

Monday 10 September

Tuesday 11 September

Wednesday 12 September

12 September : Vide Grenier and Onion festival in Guitres.  Last year it was a really nice little event.

12 September 20h30 : Jane Eyre is showing in VO at La Breche Cinema in Ste Foy la Grande.
It is also playing in VO at Le Lascaux, Montpon at 20h45
A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret.Starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell.

Thursday 13 September
13 September 14h30 – 18h30 : Tea Dance at Lac de La Cadie, Mouliets et Villemartin with music by Pierre Sander.  For further information go to

13 – 14 – 15 September : Mads present their production of Shirley Valentine  at Chateau Issigeac.  For more information call 05 53 24 56 11 or go to 

Friday 14 September

14 – 20 September : Les Artistes Pourpres Exhibition at Salle Paul Broca in Ste Foy la Grande.  Vernisage at 18h30.

14 September 20h : Mads production of Shirley Valentine at Chateau Issegeac €10

Saturday 15 September

15 September : Fete des Associations in Castillon at the Esplinade J Boyer Andrivet (opposite the Hotel Voyageurs).  A great opportunity to discover the associations and clubs in and around Castillon.  Including sporting activities as well as other leisure activites.

15 September : Vide grenier at Doulezon, followed by Marche Gourmand featuring the accordionist Michael Vigneau (he can really bring a crowd to life, we saw him in action at St Jean de Blaignac).

15 September 17h : Recital Joseph Calleja Organisé par le Conseil des Vins de Saint-Emilion.
Récital de Jospeh CALLEJA, ténor et Vahan MARDIROSSIAN, piano.
Tarifs : 30€ et 60€

15 September : Dinner Dance with entertainment from Valerie Bella at Lac de La Cadie, Mouliets et Villemartin.  Reservations and further information at

15 September 19h30 : Mads Gala production of Shirley Valentine at Chateau Issegeac €12

15 September 20h30 : Concert at the church in St Magne de Castillon with l’Harmonie Castionnaise and chanteuse Soprano Marine Stride and pianist Isabelle Diaz

15 – 16 September : Journee et Nuit du Patrimoine (Heritage Day and Night – sounds prettier in French!) 2 days of cultural events in St Emilion including free access to the monolithic church and a magnificent firework display.  For the full programme go to

15 September 20h : Jazz & Wine concert at Chateau Franc Mayne, Saint Emilion with pianist Richie Beirach celebrating the end of the Jazz & Wine Festival. Après le concert, une dégustation du grand cru classé sera proposée. 

15 – 16 September : Chateau de Rauzan is also celebrating Les Journees European du Patrimoine.

15 - 16 September : Eymet has celebrations for les Journees du Patrimoine incuding a night walk and a painting course and exhibition.

15 - 16 September  : Fete du Mascaret in St Pardon.  For more information and even a video go to
Sunday 16 September

16 September : Brocante Vide Grenier at Baron 33750

16 September : Vide Grenier des basilics at La Sauve 33670

16 September : Brocante Vide Grenier at Sauveterre de Guyenne 33540

16 September 12h : Sardinade at the salle behind the Mairie at St Magne de Castillon. Repas €12.


16 September 20h45 : Jane Eyre is showing in VO at La Breche Cinema in Ste Foy la Grande.
It is also playing in VO at Le Lascaux in Montponat 20h45.
A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret.Starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell.

Coming up…

Monday 17 September : Helen Franklin will be in St Méard de Gurçon outside the church between 10.30 and 11.30 if you needed any top ups of sustenance, sausages, bacon or lamb. If you want to take a look at their website before you go visit

18 - 24 September10h30 à 13h - 14 à 19h : Painting Exhibition (Oils and watercolours) by Jacques Grosjean at Logis de Malet, Saint Emilion.  Free Entry

And finally…

A message from the MADS Music and Drama Society:
We are always looking for new ways of spreading information about of MADS productions and events. We are also looking to increase the membership and furthermore looking for those who might like 'to tread the boards' or help with set construction , help backstage or just get involved in some small way. We are in the process of developing short courses for new actors, directors and those who would like to get involved in theatrical events. We are also developing a program to involve French school children in a small way in some form of English theatre.
If I can give you any further information on MADS please don’t hesitate to get in touch