etcetera magazine January 2022

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New Year! Exploring the History of Resolutions

100 Advertsis of Inside!ers

Beginner’s Guide To Stargazing PLUS


Expert Advice Celebrating the Small Victories




and the South of England from Limoges!

More information on

hello & welcome

Contents 3

A note from the editors


What’s on


















Free time

Hello 2022! We wonder what this year has in store? Possibly more of the same? So we all continue to adapt, make the most of time spent with loved ones when we can see them, and carry on!



Hoping you all had a great Christmas and have fully recovered!


Farm life




Latest news


Farm life




Home & specialist


Getting connected




Motoring & removals





Tel: 05 17 36 15 32

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Welcome to the January edition of etcetera magazine.

Keep safe, keep well. Wishing you all a very Happy & Healthy New Year!

Gayle and Sam


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A Note from the Editors

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SAMU (Medical) Gendarmes (Police) Pompiers (Fire and also trained in medical emergency) 114 Text-message emergency number for deaf/hard of hearing 119 Child abuse 115 Homeless 113 Drugs and alcohol 112 European emergency not always English 1616 Emergency- Sea & Lake 3131 Last incoming call, key ‘5’ to connect Orange English speaking helpline 0033 (0)9 69 36 39 00 Website in English: Technical assistance for landlines (French): 3900 (+33 9 69 39 39 00 from abroad) SFR 1023 or 00336 1000 1023 (Not English) EDF 0810 333087 EDF breakdown 24 hours +33 (0)9 69 36 63 83 EDF Helpline in English 0033 562164908 (From UK) 05 62 16 49 32 Fax E-mail: CPAM - 09 74 75 36 46 Veolia Water Emergency No: 24h/24 et 7j/7 05 61 80 09 02 (press 1 for urgent problems or 2 for a technician) S.E.P Du Confolens (Water) 05 87 23 10 08 Emergency 24/7 Aéroport Int’l Limoges 05 55 43 30 30 SNCF (train times, buying tickets etc) 36 35 Alcoholics Anonymous For contact details of meetings in your area including those conducted in English, visit

Please download the pdf from this link now:

HOSPITALS 05 55 05 55 55 Limoges (CHU) 05 55 43 50 00 St Junien 05 55 47 20 20 Bellac 05 49 44 44 44 Poitiers 05 45 24 40 40 Angoulême 05 49 32 79 79 Niort 05 45 84 40 00 Confolens Counselling In France Counsellors, psychotherapists, NLP, CBT etc offering therapy in English to expatriates all over France on SSAFA France 05 53 24 92 38 email French Health Insurance Advice line. CPAM English speaking Advice line: 09 74 75 36 46 (from France) 0033 974 75 36 46 (from other countries). The line is open from Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. NHS website : No Panic France Helpline: No Panic UK helpline: 0044 1 952 590 545 11h - 23h (French time) 7/7 / English-speaking Crisis Line SOS- HELP 01 46 21 46 46 3pm-11pm 7/7 British Consulate in Paris 01 44 51 31 00 British Consulate in Bordeaux 05 57 22 21 10 Credit Agricole English Speaking Helpline Charente (residents only) 05 45 20 49 60 Anglofile - Radio for British in Charente Tues 20h (repeated Sun 11h30). leme 96.8, Chalais 96.9, Confolens 95.4, Ruffec 95.4, Char. Limousine 104.1, Cognac 89.9

Print 2 copies - one for your home and one for your car - it could save a life.

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e are Cancer Support Haute-Vienne, a small cancer charity based in the Haute-Vienne, covering the departments 87, 23, 19 and 36. We offer support for English speakers affected by cancer. There are a number of Cancer Support France charities across France who offer similar support, we are all independent and affiliated to CSF National. You will probably have seen all our adverts in this magazine. Perhaps this year you might like to consider becoming a member of CSF H-V? You might like to do some fundraising which not only raises a little money but helps awareness of our charity and the support that we give. Maybe you could help distributing cards and leaflets at the doctors, your local pharmacy or anywhere you know English speakers meet. All help, albeit large or small, will be very much appreciated and

will aid the English-speaking community here who are affected by cancer. You might like to consider becoming more involved and training as an Active Listener who are there to support clients in complete confidence.

By Sue Ware, President, Cancer Support France Haute-Vienne

impacts heavily on their lives, in terms of the time that they have to devote to caring, and the emotional stress it can cause. We can offer an Active Listener to those close to a cancer patient. It’s always a different person from the one supporting the patient themselves, so that the feelings of each are kept confidential from the each other.

Being diagnosed with cancer can be a huge shock. People might be overwhelmed, worried We offer aid in many You might like to about what happens next or thinking about the consider becoming more different ways, from impact on their lives. This involved and training as helping with translation work, to communicating is where the Active an Active Listener with doctors and Listeners play their medical teams. important role, enabling people to talk openly through their If any of these areas interest you (and feelings and concerns without burdening might encourage your New Year’s friends or family and perhaps allowing resolution!), please email me at: them to regain some control. for more Cancer does not only affect the person with the illness. Friends and family around the patient can also find that it

information and to talk more in depth about what we do and what you could offer.

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craft Sarah is the author of where she blogs about her original craft tutorials, recipes, foraging, and developing wellbeing through being By Sarah Whitin g creative, spending time outdoors and connecting with nature


he beauty of DIY concrete planters is they can be made in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In this tutorial, I’m showing you how to make cute little cement pots cast in silicone cupcake cases. These gorgeous cupcake planters are perfect for using as succulent party favours (if you can bring yourself to give them away), or as a unique table centrepiece.

Materials −

Quick-set cement mix

Silicone Cupcake Cases

Cork Bungs


NOTES: Although the terms cement and concrete tend to be used interchangeably, cement is

Steps 1. Sit the silicone cupcake case over the smaller end of the cork bung and push the nail through the centre of both as shown in the photo. 2. The nail should be pushed almost all the way through leaving just enough gap at the nail head end to form the base of the planter. Once the pin is in position, pull the case back flush with the nail head, and the cork will be suspended in place forming the mould. To prevent the cupcake cases losing their shaped once I added the cement mix, I sat each of my moulds in ramekins to support them. 3. I mixed the cement in an old glass jar that I could pour from and made it runny enough that it would flow

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DIY Concrete Planters actually an ingredient of concrete. Concrete is a mixture of aggregates (sand and gravel) and paste (cement and water).

If I were casting a large concrete planter using a ready mixed concrete would be cheaper and have the benefit of being stronger.

For this project, I decided to use a quick set cement or mortar mix. I reasoned that the cupcake moulds are so small I needed a fine-grained blend to be able to pour it into them and pick up the detail of their fluted edge.

The size cork needed will depend on the size of the cupcake cases. The cases I used measure 50mm at their base and 70mm wide at the top. The cork bungs I used measure 43mm at their narrower end and 50mm at their widest end.

smoothly. This mix starts to set in about 15 minutes, so I worked quickly and didn’t stop to take photos. 4. Once the cement mix was in my cupcake planter moulds, I tapped each one on the table a few times to ensure it spread evenly and to remove any air pockets. 5. I left the cement for 15 minutes to harden. Then twisted each cork to prevent them from setting hard in the concrete. This makes removing them easy once the cement is fully set. 6. After an hour, my DIY concrete planters had set hard, and I was able to remove them from their moulds. You can see that they look exactly like little cupcake cases and really are pretty even in their natural colour.

7. Concrete continues to cure and increase in strength over time. I left the planters for 24 hours to cure before I painted them. 8. There are many ways to paint concrete planters. I sprayed mine with a white craft spray paint that is suitable for lots of different materials, including stone. Before using waterproof pens to pick out the fluted detail of the cupcake cases. 9. Each of the DIY concrete planters has a hole in their centre, which is perfect for drainage. The planting area is just right for a small succulent to fit in. And I think the succulent foliage is the ideal shape to be the ‘icing’ on my cupcakes. They are quick to make, and the moulds can be used repeatedly.


Christie’s is Open after Christmas: Wednesday 29th Dec (usual hours) Thursday 30th Dec (usual hours) Friday, New Year’s Eve (closing at 6pm)

We wish you all a Happy, Healthy & Peaceful New Year! We’ll then be Closed the first week of January, Reopening on:

TUESDAY 11th JANUARY Don’t forget the Sales start

WEDNESDAY 12th JANUARY! Christie’s ~ Serving Warm Welcomes Since 2004 ! TUES - FRI: 10am - 12 noon : 3pm - 7pm SAT: 10am - 12 noon : 3pm - 6pm

Latest details on our Website : WWW.CHEZCHRISTIES.FR and on our New Facebook Page: ‘ CHEZ CHRISTIE’S GENÇAY ’ G E N Ç AY (8 6 ) - b eh in d th e M airie

S ire t: 4 7 8 7 69 6 9 8 0 00 1 8

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One-Pot Wonders

Belinda, the ‘Accidental Chatelaine’ loves to cook at any opportunity and is delighted to be able to share that love with you By Beli n

da Prin ce



Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto A great method for using up all sorts of vegetables Ingredients (Serves 4-6) 30g salted butter 1 small onion, finely-diced 500g sliced fresh mushrooms 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves 250g uncooked short-grain Arborio rice 1.25 ltr chicken stock or vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish 125ml dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc) Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 150g frozen peas, thawed (optional)

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50g grated Parmesan cheese 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley Preheat the oven to 200°C/180º fan. Method 1. In a large ovenproof pan with a tightfitting lid, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until just tender, about 3-5 minutes. 2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until they begin to sweat, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, for about 30 seconds. Stir in

the rice and cook, stirring, until the rice is well coated in the pan juices, for about 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and stock, then season with salt and pepper to taste. 3. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover with the lid and transfer the dish to the oven. Bake until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, for about 45 minutes. 4. Remove the dish from the oven, carefully take off the lid, and stir in the peas (if using), Parmesan, and parsley until creamy. Use a fork to fluff the rice as you stir, which helps prevent it from clumping together. Serve immediately.

food Honey Roast Chicken Potatoes

Seasonal Veg

This is a great dish for those chilly winter evenings. *You can use whatever seasonal vegetables are available. Ingredients (Serves 4) 750g small new potatoes , such as Charlottes, halved 2 small red onions , cut into wedges 1 head of garlic , separated into cloves 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp honey 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard, heaped 1 large red pepper , deseeded and cut into chunky pieces* 2 large courgettes , halved lengthways and very thickly sliced* few sprigs fresh thyme 4 large chicken legs portions Method Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. 1. Mix the potatoes, onions, all but 2 garlic cloves, and half the oil in a large

roasting tin with seasoning to taste. Roast for 15 mins. 2. Meanwhile crush the remaining garlic and mix with the honey, mustard, remaining oil, and seasoning to taste.

and thyme with the potatoes, then arrange the chicken portions on top and brush liberally with the honey mustard mixture. Roast for 45 mins to 1 hr until the chicken is golden and sticky and the vegetables are tender.

3. Toss the pepper*, courgettes*, or seasonal vegetables of your choice,

4. If using alternative root vegetables, roast them with the potatoes.

not be fully cooked). Transfer to a plate and discard the skin.

to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add the sausage, celery, and onion and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the chicken stock. Add the chicken thighs along with the paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and bay leaves. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture

3. Remove the thighs from the pot along with the bay leaves. Pour the rice into the simmering mixture, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Meanwhile, pull the chicken from the bone and shred. Return the chicken to the pot, stir to combine. Cover, remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Chicken Bog

This flavourful dish originates from South Carolina Ingredients Serves 6 30g unsalted butter 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 500g smoked sausage - cut into 1cm rounds 1 stalk celery - cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1 onion - diced 4 cloves garlic - crushed 1ltr chicken stock 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp sea salt 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 1/2 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp garlic powder 2 bay leaves 500g white rice Method 1. In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook the chicken thighs, skin side down until browned, about 7-9 minutes (the chicken will

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food Spiced Apple pie Ingredients (Serves 8) 70g sugar 70g packed brown sugar 35g all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 6-8 thinly sliced peeled tart apples 1 tablespoon lemon juice Pâte Brisée (x2) 1 tablespoon butter 1 large egg white Optional: Ground cinnamon, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce Method 1. Preheat oven to 190°. Place the circle of pastry into your pie dish to create the base. 2. In a small bowl, combine sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add

Saucy Chocolate Pudding A sweet treat with a saucy surprise! Ingredients (Serves 6) 150g self-raising flour 220g caster sugar 50g cocoa powder, plus extra to dust 60g unsalted butter, melted, cooled 125ml milk 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 egg Cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve Preheat the oven to 160°C/140ºC fan. Grease a 1.5L capacity ovenproof baking dish. 1. Sift the flour, 110g sugar, and 25g cocoa into a bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, and egg. Gradually pour into the well, then fold to combine. 2. Spread mixture evenly into prepared dish. Combine remaining 110g sugar and 25g cocoa and sprinkle over the top of the pudding. Carefully pour 250ml boiling water over the top of the pudding. 3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is firm. Stand for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Dust the warm pudding with extra cocoa and serve immediately with cream or vanilla ice cream.

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sugar mixture and toss to coat. Add filling and then dot with butter. 3. Now take your second pastry circle and place over filling. Trim, seal and flute the edge. Cut slits in top. Beat egg white until foamy; brush over crust. If desired, sprinkle with Ground

cinnamon. Cover edge loosely with foil. 4. Bake 25 minutes. Remove foil and then bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 20-25 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack. Delicious served with ice cream and caramel sauce.


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Not Long Now…

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Meeting the New Year with Resolution

By Mik

e Geo r ge

Mike George is our regular contributor on wildlife and the countryside in France. He is a geologist and naturalist, living in the Jurassic area of the Charente



any people make them each year, but the folks that enjoy compiling statistics tell us that, of the 45% who make them, only 8% have any success at keeping them long-term – most never make it beyond January 1st. What is New Year anyway? Mankind is ruled by a consciousness of the passage of time. However, this perception has two basic perceptions: the cycle of time, where observable phenomena travel in circles, like the seasons; and the arrow of time, which runs in a straight line where things get older, and “Change and decay in all around I see”. The latter could be said to start at birth, but the former, being a cycle, has no beginning and no observable end. The year is a cycle, so “starting” a year is a purely arbitrary matter.

productive agriculture, linked their New Year to the appearance in the night sky of the star we now call Sirius, which coincided (by chance) with the usual date of inundation. This occurred in mid-July. In modern times, the major civilization using a lunar fix for their New Year is China. How did the rest of us end up with January 1st? The first people to set up scientific bases for time were the Babylonians, who lived in Mesopotamia. About 1700 BC, Babylon rose from a tiny, insignificant town-state to dominate (briefly) the Middle East under its astonishingly enlightened ruler Hammurabi. He ruled for about 40 years, and after his death Babylon sank into insignificance for some centuries, to reemerge about the time the Israeli nation was fighting for survival, which is why we know a fair bit about them from the Old Testament. His enlightened reign allowed science to enjoy an early flourishing.

Most civilizations have set the “start” of the year at a point when agriculture for that year could begin. This was spring, and guessing when spring starts is, as we all know, not easy. Because Mankind is partial to predictable events, many years The Babylonians had a began at the first system of calculation based It is part of Mankind’s makefull moon after on the number 60. This is up to involve himself in his the spring why they had 60 seconds in equinox. A world, and thus a new a minute, 60 minutes in an competent beginning requires some sort hour, 24 hours in a day and astronomer 360 days in a year (well, of commitment. could decide they couldn’t get everything when the day right!). So the basis for time-division was and night were the same length, or on set, and apart from the length of the year, which day the points at which the sun nothing needed changing. It was the crossed the horizon at dawn and at sunset length of the year that caused the were exactly opposite each other (which real problem. comes to the same thing). Everybody can Enter Julius Caesar. He was determined to recognise a full moon! (If this sounds tackle the problem, and sort it out once familiar, that is because it is how the date and for all instead of leaving everybody to for Easter is decided, and that is done make their own adjustments. He because it is linked to the Jewish Passover, assembled some top astronomers and which is fixed in the same way.) Other mathematicians and they made the civilizations did it differently; the Ancient necessary calculations, and decided that Egyptians, who relied on the annual the year needed to be 365¼ days long, flooding of the Nile for the start of their

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managed by having a year 366 days long every fourth year. The shortcomings of this system didn’t show up for some centuries. A date for starting the year needed fixing, especially as the Lunar calendar had been superseded. Julius Caesar was a great fan of the god Janus. This god had two faces, so looked before and behind - very symbolic of the start of the year. Also he was a god of warfare. When Rome was at peace, the gates to the Temple of Janus in Rome were kept closed, but when Rome declared war on somebody, the gates were opened and stayed open until the war ended. Under Julius Caesar, the temple gates were open most of the time, which was how Julius liked it! So he decided that the year would begin on the first day of the month of Janus (Januarius), and since he was Julius Caesar, it did! And still does. There were adjustments needed to get time exactly right, but they took many centuries to complete and there were a lot of civil problems to solve. One day I may tell you that story. But what about the Resolutions? I hoped you had forgotten them! It is part of Mankind’s make-up to involve himself in his world, and thus a new beginning requires some sort of commitment. If you think I am sneering at my own generation, I must point out that, as far as we know, our friends the Ancient Babylonians, some 4000 years ago, were the first to make a big thing of resolutions at the New Year. They used the “Moon and Equinox” technique to fix the start of the year, but when they did start it, they made a practice of vowing to pay all their debts and return anything they had borrowed to its rightful owner. Thus they hoped to gain the favour of their chief god (Marduk). If they did all they had promised, their crops would grow and they themselves would prosper. If they did not fulfil their vow,


Julius Caesar, pointing the way to a new calendar

The doublefaced Roman god Janus, who oversaw gateways and therefore the New Year.

they would suffer misfortune throughout the year. Also at their New Year, the Babylonians had a strange ritual, called Akitu, which involved humiliating the king. He would be brought before a statue of Marduk, and would be stripped of his royal apparel and made to swear that he had ruled Babylon with honour. The High Priest would then slap him and tug him by the ears until he cried. His tears were taken to indicate that Marduk had been satisfied and had agreed that the king’s rule was extended for another year. Hammurabi must have been a good crier; as we have seen, he ruled for some 40 years! The Ancient Egyptians saw the New Year, or Wepet Renpet as they called it, as a time of re-birth and regeneration. In a good year, in July the Nile would flood, bringing new fertile sediment with it to cover their crop-bearing lands. Thus their “Black land” (Khemet) was renewed. If this did not happen, famine was likely. You can read about this in the Old Testament story of Joseph, who predicted a famine from Pharaoh’s dream. You will see that the fat cattle and the thin cattle, which represented respectively plenty and famine, “came up out of the river”. It seems that the Egyptians may well have been the instigators of certain other rituals familiar to us at New Year. Recent discoveries suggest that, in the reign of Queen Hatshepsut, the first month of the year played host to a “Festival of Drunkenness” to commemorate the delivery of Mankind from the capricious goddess Sekhmet, who had decided on Mankind’s destruction. Ra, the chief god, tricked her into overindulging in beer until

King Hammurabi (standing on the left) before Marduk, who is seated as befits a god

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history she passed out, and when she woke up (undoubtedly seriously hung-over) she had forgotten the idea. The Romans celebrated New Year initially by being nice to each other and exchanging simple gifts of fruit, food and drink. After a very short time, however, the incumbent Emperor got in on the act, and expected rather more lavish gifts. A basket of figs or a branch from the Sacred Tree would not suffice now. Nero even set up a special system whereby he received the gifts and his scribes recorded the giver, the gift – and its value! Similar rituals can be traced down the centuries. Mostly these involve cleansing the home, making sure evil spirits are expelled and kept out, repaying debts and loans, and in some cases, trying a bit of divination in the hope of seeing who your future bride or groom might be. And, of course, celebrating the fruits of the vine and the brewer’s efforts. There is some evidence that, at mediaeval court banquets when exotic birds were served, knights would make a vow, over the carcase of the most regal bird present, to maintain their loyalty to their chivalric vows and to strive to be good knights. Suitable birds were peacocks or pheasants. These were skinned whole, dressed and cooked then re-dressed in their finery and served with the beak gilded and sometimes even a piece of flaming brandysoaked bread in the beak. The vow would be made before undressing the bird and carving it, and then the distribution of the meat would ensure that everyone was a witness to the vow. Sometimes a swan

Sekhmet, Egyptian goddess of war, who had to be made sufficiently drunk to stop her destroying Mankind

John Wesley, founder of Methodism and re-instigator of New Year Resolutions


would be regarded as the regal bird. The ceremony was described in a 14th century French book, the Voeux du Paon (The Peacock Vow). Whether this ceremony was a New Year vow or just happened at any time is open to question. Sadly, those who have eaten peacock report that the flesh is not particularly pleasant, but I suppose one cannot expect everything! Resolutions as such, though, seem to have fallen from the plan. Then in the 18th century John Wesley came with his Methodist Church, and, to counteract the lack of direction in all that he saw, instituted the Covenant Renewal Service at New Year, where his followers were encouraged to assess their

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shortcomings over the previous year, and with faith and prayer – and a few good hymns – to resolve to do better in the year to come. The modern Watch Night Service is a remnant of this form of worship. Thus, probably unconsciously, Wesley took a leaf out of Babylon’s book nearly 40 centuries earlier. As Methodism spread, the concept of New Year Resolutions spread with it. However, like so many good ideas, it got a bit out-ofhand, and folks often set themselves impossible goals to achieve, and of course lost heart and self-esteem when they failed. So, aim for achievable goals if you want to make resolutions. Giving up chocolates, smoking or drinking, while laudable, requires more self-discipline and perseverance than most of us possess unaided. But whatever you do, may I wish you a happy, prosperous and above all a healthy New Year.

New Year Sails Y

es, we’re off once again, this time into 2022, a year which surely featured in childhood TV programmes like “The Jetsons” and “Lost in Space”. I’ve never cared for the ritual New Year’s Eve countdown but every time, just seconds later, there comes a genuine buzz of expectation. Okay, sometimes it’s the unpredictable Vin Rouge/Crème Brûlée combo but, more often it’s the dawn breaking on another year holding, however briefly, the possibility of a better world.

exit one year and go barrelling into the next.

A side note: years ago, I was invited to undergo a test designed to reveal which side of my brain is dominant. The left would indicate an aptitude for logic and strategic thinking, excellent for interpreting data, a key management function. This was, at the time, a significant, if soul-destroying, part of my job. It turned out I have the analytical skills of a wombat. I was far more interested in trying to understand people rather than numbers. Albert Einstein It's also the Chinese year of the Tiger. In noted astutely that not everything we this ancient system the animals revolve in measure matters, and not a 12-year cycle and everything which matters those born in a Tiger can be measured. Me and Al year not only have were as one on that. lucky numbers (1,3, Without these and 4) but also lucky treasures, life is So, why is this relevant to a directions, (north, new year? Since you ask, it’s monochrome south, and east). because my right-brain Apparently, south-west dominant, Janet-and-John is not too clever for worldview is endearingly them this year. A tricky simplistic in most other things too. Rather one, that. than focus on the empirical fact of leaving the past further behind with each passing I’m immune to anything remotely New year, I marvel instead at how much we Year horoscopy like this. I’m aware that it actually bring along with us. Essentially, holds great cultural importance to millions we’re bobbing along a meandering river in of Chinese people but I struggle with its an overloaded canoe, (do keep up at the central idea. It must be the Sagittarius in back). In the boat with us are our loved me. To be fair, though, its credibility takes ones and behind them sits an enormous a pummelling when you know that UK pile of, well, stuff. It’s everything we can’t Prime Minister Boris Johnson was born in do without: the myriad experiences, 1964, a Dragon year. According to the beliefs and memories we’ve accumulated ‘China Highlights’ website, these along the way. Without these treasures, individuals symbolise “’nobleness and life is monochrome. honour’, they are introverted, and their unlucky colour is blue. In 2022 they have a If we’re fortunate, our pile grows each year high possibility of being promoted.” Brace (think of the immortal movie line “We’re yourselves. going to need a bigger boat”). This highly personal cargo takes up a lot of the Anyway, since this month is in fact named available space in our canoe but, crucially, for the Roman god Janus, who faced both when currents swirl and rapids threaten, behind and ahead, let me pause this it’s this ballast which steadies us. You can unhinged optimism for a moment as we

Brian White lives in south Indre with his wife, too many moles and not enough guitars

probably see now why I flunked the brain test. But I stand firm on this. There’s a great line (actually several) in the 1989 film, “Dead Poets Society”. Robin Williams, in his finest role, plays an English teacher at an elite private school, encouraging the boys to think for themselves. He tells them, “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love - these are what we stay alive for.” Bravo, say I. At this very moment as I type, one of my couldn’t-be-without gems “Close to the Edge”, the 1972 album by Yes – is playing. It’s enriched my life for coming up to fifty years and I just cannot imagine living without such sublime music. There is plenty more, as you would guess, in the pile where that comes from. So, as we turn together onto a new stretch of the river, I’ll share a cracking piece of advice I was once given by someone of whom I was very fond. It urges us to navigate our own route and avoid being swayed by those whose judgement may differ from our own. And – even better – it’s French. Well, sort of . . . (it’s best said out loud quickly): “Pas d’elle yeux Rhône que nous”. In 2022 I wish you serene waters and a growing pile of treasures. Happy sailing.

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language & assistance

Parlez Français French conversation, vocabulary & traditions Bonne année ! Et bonneosx nouvelleosx résolutionosx


out le long du mois de janvier, les Français ont la tradition de se souhaiter une bonne année.

Mémé : Oh oui ! Je vais chercher un couteau et des petites assiettes.

Le 6 janvier, c’est l’Epiphanie, c’est la fête des Rois. C’est le moment où l’on peut commencer à partager la galette des rois et on peut ensuite en manger tous les jours de janvier. En janvier, on rend visite à sa famille et à ses amis et on leur souhaite une bonne année autour d’une galette des rois.

Mémé : Tu veux couper la galette ?

Je rends visite à ma grand-mère….

Mémé : Je vais prendre celle-là à droite.

Isa : Bonjour Mémé ! Bonne année !

Isa : Et moi, je vais prendre celle-ci à gauche.

Mémé : Bonjour Isabelle ! Bonne année à toi aussi ! Isa : J’ai apporté une galette des rois à la pâte d’amande. Celle que tu préfères.

Isa : Je vais ouvrir une bouteille de cidre. Isa : Oui, d’accord. Je mets un torchon sur la galette, je coupe les parts discrètement. Je ne veux pas couper sur la fève. Et si la fève se voit sur le côté d’une part, je ne veux pas qu’on la voie. Alors, j’utilise le torchon pour couper. ….. Voilà ! C’est fait. Tu veux quelle part, Mémé ?

Mémé : Miam Miam, c’est bon. Aïe ! C’est dur. Je crois que je suis tombée sur la fève.

Très Joyeuse Année 2022 à tous ! Bon courage ! Et à bientôt !

Isabelle Broaden your horizons with CONTINENTAL HORIZONS!

Isa : Oh, tu as de la chance.

Mob. : 06 20 10 34 49

Mémé : Oh, comme c’est gentil ! Oui, j’adore la pâte d’amande.

Mémé : Oui, c’est la fève. C’est une petite tour Eiffel en porcelaine. C’est joli.

Email :

Isa : Mémé, je te souhaite une bonne santé et du bonheur pour 2022.

Isa : Oui. Et c’est le symbole de la France. Vive la France !…… Alors, il faut que tu portes la couronne maintenant. Tu es la reine de la journée !

Mémé : Merci. Et moi, je te souhaite de la réussite, une bonne santé et beaucoup d’amour et de joie ! Isa : Merci Mémé. …. Alors, on mange cette galette ?

Mémé : Je devrais aussi choisir un roi. Isa : En attendant, buvons à notre santé ! Et bonne année !

FRENCH COMMUNICATION SERVICES Comprehensive administration, translation and support services for English-speaking people in France…to make life easier. Call Jenny 06 79 85 58 84 Mail: Siret 504 587 924 00011

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Isabelle works for CONTINENTAL HORIZONS Language Centre in L’Isle Jourdain and teaches French as a Foreign Language every day in their many classrooms. Do not hesitate to contact her on 05 49 84 17 73.

language & assistance Souhaiter (verb) to wish Rendre visite à quelqu’un (verb) to visit someone Celui que (masc, sing) the one that / which Celle que (fem, sing) the one that / which Ceux que (masc, plural) the ones that / which Celles que (fem, plural) the ones that / which Comme c’est gentil ! How kind! La santé health Le bonheur happiness

La réussite success Chercher (verb) to look for Ouvrir (verb) to open Couper (verb) to cut Un torchon a kitchen towel Une part a slice (of cake) Une tranche a slice (of bread, of ham) Discrètement discreetly Le côté the side

Aussi, c’est habituellement en janvier que nous réfléchissons à ce que nous aimerions changer ou améliorer sur nous-mêmes ou au sujet de notre environnement de vie. Nous prenons de nouvelles résolutions. Also, it’s usually in January that we reflect on what we would like to change or improve about ourselves or about our life. We make new resolutions.

Je vais inviter mes voisins plus souvent pour un apéritif pour pratiquer mon français. I am going to invite my neighbours round more often for an aperitif to practise my French.

Voici quelques suggestions Here are some suggestions Je vais prendre le temps de téléphoner et d’écrire à ma famille et à mes amis plus souvent. I am going to take time to call and write to my family and friends more often. Je vais moins regarder la télévision. À la place, je vais plus lire. I am going to watch less TV. Instead, I am going to read more. Je vais manger plus de produits locaux, donc mieux pour moi et la planète. I am going to eat more local produce, better for me and the planet. Je vais passer plus de temps à apprendre et à étudier le français. I am going to spend more time learning and studying French.

C’est fait. It’s done. Celui-là (masc, sing) that one Celle-là (fem, sing) that one Celui-ci (masc, sing) this one Celle-ci (fem, sing) this one Dur hard Je crois que … I believe that …

Je vais planifier de super grandes vacances au soleil pour l’été 2022 ou 2023. I am going to plan a great long holiday in the sun for summer 2022 or 2023. Je vais inviter ma famille ou mes amis chez moi ou dans mon jardin plus souvent. I am going to invite my family and friends to my house or garden more often. Je vais faire du bénévolat dans une association qui s’occupe des personnes âgées ou malades. I am going to become a volunteer for an association which looks after elderly or ill people. Je vais organiser ou participer des événements pour récolter des fonds pour la recherche contre le cancer ou d’autres maladies, ou pour les associations humanitaires. I am going to organise or take part in events to collect money for research against cancer or other diseases or for humanitarian charities.

The « galette des Rois » is a cake from an ancient French tradition. It is a pastry filled with purée of apple or almond, although nowadays other flavours exist. After cutting it, usually under a towel, the slices are given randomly to the guests, or the guest can choose their slice under the towel, so no one can see the “fève” if it is at the edge of a slice. Inside the galette there is a “fève” - it used to be a bean or a chickpea, but nowadays it is a small figurine made of porcelain or plastic. It is like the tradition of the coin in the Christmas pudding. Some people collect the “fèves” and some can be really expensive. If you have the “fève” in your slice of the galette, you can wear the crown (usually made of golden cardboard) or you can choose someone else - this other person will then be the king or the queen of the day. The king and the queen will wear the crown, normally for the whole day! This tradition symbolises the gifts brought to baby Jesus by the Kings. The “Galette des Rois” is shared within families and friends, we eat it together as we wish each other a “Happy New Year” (Bonne Année !) during the whole month of January.



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business FINANCE


New Year Review It’s that time of year again! The festivities have ended, the wine’s drunk, and the leftovers have all been consumed. It’s also around this time that we vow to stick to our “new” New Year resolutions. If you’re undecided as to what they might be, perhaps it is time to make a resolution for reviewing your finances as well. Now that the impact of Brexit is more known, and with banks closing accounts and credit cards for people not living in the UK, and restrictions on how you can access your pensions, it would be wise to look at how it will have had an impact on your financial goals, your pensions, and your savings. ▪ When was the last time you did/had a financial review?

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▪ Are your savings now in the right account and place? ▪ Do you know that you are getting the best returns on your savings account? ▪ Do you know how your investments have been performing? ▪ Are your savings in a tax efficient investment plan? ▪ Could your investments be performing better? ▪ Are your pensions located in the best country if you live in France? ▪ Do you have pension schemes in the UK that you don’t know about or are unsure about their future ability to provide a pension? ▪ Is it time to investigate moving your pensions from the UK? ▪ If you are saving for something in particular, are your savings on track to enable you to reach your goal? ▪ Have you been getting the best exchange rates from sterling to euros? ▪ Have your financial needs or priorities changed? ▪ Are you up to date with any changes in the French tax system that could have an impact on your savings and investments? ▪ What effect has Brexit had on your pensions and savings?

These are just a few of the many important questions that you should regularly ask yourself regarding your finances - and not just at the beginning of each new year either. If you are unsure about some of the answers that are revealed when asked, then it’s likely time for a financial review. It is always wise to have a regular financial review to make sure that you are fully informed of any financial changes that may have happened, and to see if you can make your money work even harder for you during these challenging times. I can assure you that it will be time well spent to ensure that you are in the best position you can be with your finances. All you’ll have lost is the time it takes for a review to be performed; time that will repay you with peace of mind and reassurance. When choosing an adviser to carry out a financial review on your behalf, always ensure that they are fully regulated in the country they are based in, as well as being fully independent, so that they can offer impartial advice and have access to all of the financial markets. Please note, the above is for education purposes only and does not constitute advice. You should always contact your deVere adviser for a personal consultation.* No liability can be accepted for any actions taken or refrained from being taken, as a result of reading the above.




negativity more than positivity, so those o doubt, many business owners will small wins get overlooked. And it’s those look back on 2021 with relief. The small wins that add up to year was one of slowdowns, lockdowns, something bigger! interspersed with periods of catching up on lost income, and somehow, you Those small wins, when we acknowledge survived! Being self-employed is like them, keep us motivated. And boy, when managing a small boat in unknown you are self-employed, motivation is an waters; rough one day, smooth the next. essential ingredient. We need to produce it Success is a series of small wins, and 2021 ourselves as well as seek external will be a series of small motivational support. victories, just like the When we tune into years before. Did you When we tune into the the little notice yours? accomplishments, little accomplishments, something powerful Either your year was a something powerful starts to form well-mapped plan of starts to form momentum. Small action that contributed to wins improve our achieving those much confidence, and when our confidence bigger goal(s), OR your year was more grows, it propels us to do more. Those ‘let’s crack on and see where this goes’. small wins also make us happy! Either way, those small wins would have contributed one way or another. Savour those small wins in 2022 We may not have had the time or even thought it necessary to take stock of those small wins. We would have all had them but maybe not noticed them. Some moments of success may have stood out, and you momentarily thought, “Oh yeah, cool”, and just moved on. It’s easy to focus on what hasn’t gone well, and that’s natural, as human beings tend to tune into


MICALA WILKINS ALACIM SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Could you do more to recognise, acknowledge, and celebrate more small successes throughout 2022 and not just at the year-end? Let’s hope so. Take some time out to look back on 2021 and take stock of those small wins, and you might surprise yourself.

− Could you make a note of them as often as you can? Keep a success file or journal so you don’t forget them. − Create a celebratory playlist − Celebrate them! Do whatever it takes to keep your motivation and momentum levels high.

TONY FARRELL INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL ADVISER The Spectrum IFA Group, with over 20 years’ experience advising expatriates throughout Europe on all aspects of financial planning T: 05 55 89 57 94 E: TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris. R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384). Société de Courtage d’assurances. Intermédiaire en opération de Banque et Services de Paiement. Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – Conseiller en investissements financiers, référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers

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business INSURANCE

100% Sante Reform



his was one of President Macron’s promises during the last presidential election and for once, a politician is good to his word! You might have noticed that in the French system, 100% cover does not actually mean 100% of the cost covered but 100% of the price set by the French health system. This means that French people could not afford to go to the dentist or get hearing aids. Between 25 and 30% of people who got a quote for crowns, glasses, or hearing aids did not get them due to what it would have cost them. For that reason, Mr Macron came up with a reform called “réforme 100% santé”. So, how can it work for you?

cover today for teeth, your top up will reimburse you 30% of 107.5€ (32.25). In 2020 the reimbursement was 416€ (30% of 120€ + 380 (500-120)). How does it work for glasses: Same here, depends on the type of glasses you want (frame and lens). There are 2 types, class A and Class B. Class A were fully reimbursed in 2020. But you can choose frames at class B and lens at class A or vice versa. There are so many types of glasses that it would be too lengthy for me to explain! Your optician will be able to advise you of this. How does it work for hearing aids:

Same here, depends on the equipment you take, so don’t expect the latest super hearing aid! The price set by the health system was 300€ per ear, in 2020, it was increased to 350€, in 2021, it was 400€. What is concerned by this reform In 2018, professionals had no cap on and for when: prices they can charge, in 2019 the It concerns 3 aspects of the health system: maximum price was teeth, glasses, and hearing 1300€, in 2020: aids. The law was To make sure you can benefit 1100€ and in 2021 it gradually implemented from the 100% santé reform, was 950€. In 2021 over 3 years, and came the reimbursement make sure you have a into full force in January was 670€ (30% of 2021. The changes have “contrat responsable” 400€ + 550 (950been implemented by all 3 400)). entities concerned: the What obligations/innovations: French health system, the top-up insurance company, and the medical With this law, there are a few obligations professionals. So, everybody makes an for professionals such as an obligation to effort but as you will see below, the effort give you more than one quote on their is more for some than others! work and one of the quotes must be one at 100% reimbursed. So, for hearing aids, How does it work for teeth: that means they are obliged to have a It depends on the material, the type of hearing aid that fits the criteria for 100% work, and which tooth it is. It only reimbursement. Authorisation for a concerns a dental prosthesis or crowns. All glasses shop to renew the eye doctor teeth are concerned but if it is a back tooth prescription within 5 years and do an eye (molar tooth) the material must be metal test themselves invoiced at 10 € max. instead of ceramic. Level of cover for top-up insurance companies must be standardised with an The price set by the health system today is example of reimbursement in € instead of 107.5€ for a crown, and in 2020, it was percentages. Creation of a quality increased to 120€. In 2018, professionals questionnaire for glasses and hearing aids had no cap on prices they can charged, in shop. Creation of an entity in charge of 2019 the maximum price was 530€ and in checking that this new law is respected by 2020 it was 500€. If you have a 100%

medical professionals and insurance companies! As if! Contrat Responsable/contrat non responsable: Note that this reform only applies to state approved top-up contracts called “contrat responsable”. So, if you have an Eco or HOSPI Only cover with us, Allianz, you will not benefit from the 100% santé reform. Obviously, “contrat non responsable” are cheaper but can work just as good as long as you don’t care about cost for teeth, glasses and hearing aids and are only looking for basic cheap cover. So, to make sure you can benefit from the 100% santé reform, make sure you have a “contrat responsable”. It is written on your contract. Conclusion: This law is mainly implemented for people who could not afford to have the work done so don’t expect the best quality crowns, glasses or hearing aids… but still better than nothing at all. Also please note that the effort here will be mainly done by top-up policies which apparently have agreed not to increase their premium by too much! Which gives me the opportunity to tell you that Allianz do a very good top-up. With most top-up health insurance, the covers are based on levels (level 1 to 6 for example) which means that if you want the best hospital cover, you will also pay for the best dental and optical cover. With Allianz, you can pick and choose what you want, which makes it cheaper!

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Obligations for Quotes in France B

efore any purchase (product or service) the consumer must be able to know the price and compare without difficulty. This is why price display is obligatory in a retail outlet or bar/restaurant and in most cases is sufficient. However, a quote is useful as soon as the product or the service is more complex and personalised (e.g. building work, tailored clothing, etc.), and where it is in this case difficult otherwise for the consumer to know what to expect to pay and be sure of the description of the order. A quote is required in the following cases: ▪ Since the Hamon law of 17th March 2014 concerning consumption, relating to all services, the professional must provide a sufficiently detailed quote at the request of the consumer when the price cannot be determined in advance. ▪ Professionals are legally required to establish a quote prior to execution of the work, where the estimated amount is superior to 150 euros for: - work such as connection, installation, maintenance and repair of electrical equipment, electronics, and home appliances, regardless of where the work is to be undertaken; - repairs and maintenance services carried out in the following areas: masonry, chimney fitting, air-conditioning installations (with the exception of tasks performed under contracts for heatingcooling), sweeping, insulation, carpentry, locksmith services, roofing, plumbing, bathroom installations, flushing, plastering, painting, glass fitting, mirror making, wall cladding and flooring in all materials, electrical installation; - work involving the replacement or addition of parts, components or devices, after the previously mentioned services.

4. legal status of the business – Entreprise Individuelle, SARL, SAS etc. 5. Siret number – for artisans – their RM registration number and the dept 6. TVA number or the phrase – TVA non-applicable art. 293B du CGI – for non TVA registered businesses 7. the full name of the customer 8. the start date and the estimated duration of the work 9. the detailed description of each service, in quantity and unit price 10. the cost of labour 11. extra costs or travel expenses that will be billed 12. the means of payment, delivery and execution of the contract 13. reclamation means and after-sales conditions 14. the total amount to pay HT and TTC and rate of TVA applicable 15. the deposit amount to be paid at the moment of signature of the quote 16. whether the quote is free or paid for 17. how any waste or debris will be dealt with – this is an additional obligation since the 1st July 2021 – the quantity expected, how it is to be managed and taken away, where the business is going to deposit the debris and the estimated costs concerning the management of the debris/waste. The following can also be added: 1.

the duration of validity of the quote


as part of the services of emergency repair and maintenance in the building and home appliance sectors, it must also be indicated if the quote is free or payable

The quote from an artisan should also include the company’s insurance details: −

the type and contract no. of insurance

(But for all these jobs less than 150 euros the professional must nonetheless provide a quote if requested to do so by the consumer).

the insurance company’s name and address

if there is a geographical limitation – e.g. valid only in France.

This quote should include 17 legal details:

The quote can be charged to the client

1. the date of the quote 2. written confirmation that this was received before the start of work date « devis reçu avant l'exécution des travaux » with the signature and date written by the client 3. the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the company

The quote is in principle free, but nothing prohibits an artisan from charging for a quote especially in the case of travel and/or in-depth studies of the situation. In this case the professional must inform the customer of the price to pay for the quote.



When the quote is to be paid, the professional can propose to deduct the amount of the quote from the service eventually provided. However, for removal services or medical optic products, for example, the quote is free. The quote binds both parties The quote, as an estimate by the professional of the proposed work, is a legal contract proposition, and, as such, it commits the professional very precisely on the scope of the work and the cost, but also to the time delays. It is preferential that the professional seeks legal advice for the creation of their general terms and conditions and where the project could have legal risks for the specific terms. For example, a builder is quoting for a groundwork job - he cannot say for sure that the soil does not contain a large quantity of rock so would include a specific clause that would allow a reevaluation of the price where necessary for unexpected extra work. The consumer is never obliged to entrust the work to any one professional. The quote will commit the customer from the moment where he has expressed his willingness to have the work undertaken by the professional, by a signature at the bottom of the quote, next to «bon pour travaux». There should be two examples of the quote, for both to sign and one for each party to keep. The quote binds both parties The quote, as a calculation by the professional of the proposed work, is a legal contract proposition, and, as such, it commits the professional very precisely on the details of the products and the price. If an artisan is unsure of the exact price, he can produce a devis estimatif. Cash Payments In order to counteract money laundering, all professionals or individuals who fiscally reside in France are prohibited from paying a debt or purchase that is greater than 1 000 € in cash. From business to business, this is limited to 150 € in cash.

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Good Intentions 1

Achievement 0?

By Nicole W atson

Nicole works for Paragon Holistique, facilitating Body Groove Dance, Young at Heart Dance, and Chakra Dance. She is also a Meditation Teacher, an Angelic Reiki Master and Crystal Therapist




enjoy watching various quiz shows on the television but recently the answer to one question made me sit up and think. The answer to the question was that statistically the majority of New Year health and fitness resolutions go out of the window before the end of January! Whilst it is admirable to start any health and fitness programme, ‘giving up’ after just a few weeks seems a shame. Most of us at some point in our lives have done it; we’ve pepped ourselves up to go to the gym, or to get out for long walks, we buy alcohol-free drinks to replace our ‘cheeky tipple’, and we fill the fridge with healthy fruit and veg. It’s like a military operation. “This year I WILL achieve my desired goals to be healthier and fitter”. So, why is it, even with all that strategic planning, we often struggle to continue with our goals? My natural reaction to the eye-opening quiz answer is that perhaps people are focusing on the result they want and not the method to achieve it. In other words, if you could find something you love to do, then this could be the answer to help you succeed with your resolutions. The majority of New Year’s resolutions are set around exercise and dietary changes. Personally, I think they go hand in hand. Yes, it is better to do something rather than nothing, but what’s the point of attempting a healthier eating plan without also picking the exercise? And there’s little point in running five times a week if your diet comprises curry and chips every night! We are all different shapes, sizes, and ages, and have varying degrees of mobility. However, age and limited mobility shouldn’t be a barrier to keeping fit and healthy. There is something out there for everyone. My husband and all three of our daughters love to run (in fact one even

does triathlons) but that is just not my cup it one day at a time. They say it takes of tea. Exercise programmes? I’ve tried around 21 days for a new activity to most of them but found for various become a habit and six months for it to reasons I couldn’t stick with them. Then, become part of your personality. about a dozen or so years ago, I realised Concentrate on ‘doing’ rather than just on that I wasn’t enjoying my exercise and that the end goal. was probably why I wasn’t sticking to it. Get releasing those happy hormones! Changes had to be made! As if by magic I Whether it is running, going to the gym, rediscovered my love of dance; I realised meditation, taking a yoga or dance class, my go-to exercise is ‘moving-and-apractising Tai Chi, going for a nice walk, groovin’! I’m not talking about the stuff crown green bowls, or singing to the radio, they do on Strictly Come Dancing (I when we raise our serotonin, dopamine, wish!), I’m talking about how you feel oxytocin, and endorphin levels we when you dance around your kitchen promote positive feelings, happiness without a care in the world. Hiding on the levels, and even help back row of a class essential processes and not being able like heart rate and to keep up with the digestion. With all pace isn’t much I’m talking about how you these happy feelings fun. What if you feel when you dance released we are more could just be your around your kitchen likely to continue own unique self, without a care in the world achieving our health move how you and fitness goals. wanted, all the while gaining Do a bit of research, confidence in yourself whilst getting fitter? check out what is out there for your Think about it, it makes sense that when circumstances that looks like fun. When your exercise is fun it doesn’t feel like your exercise is fun then it’s not really hard work. exercise, it’s a hobby. If you don’t like group exercises, don’t go One last thing... a wise lady once advised to a class - if you don’t like the outdoors, me ‘everything in moderation, including don’t exercise in it! Choose what you like, moderation’. Perhaps it is time to stop there’s no point otherwise! giving yourself a hard time, be kind to yourself, get back on the horse and have So, what can we do to help continue with another go at your goal! Oh, and if you our New Year's resolutions? want a biscuit then have a biscuit, just Setting realistic short-term goals can be don’t eat the whole packet! Keep going, easier to keep and a friend or group’s you’ve got this! support can motivate and keep you on (Don’t forget, it is recommended that track. Rewarding yourself at set periods you talk to your healthcare provider before with something that doesn’t contradict commencing any exercise programme, your goal is a great idea too. Ultimately, especially if you have existing don’t beat yourself up over the occasional slip, do the best you can each day, and take health issues.)

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t’s hard to find a tasty fermented drink that uses winter veg and has that warming quality we associate with this season, but here is something for you to try. If you have been getting into kitchen fermentation this year, you may have a nice ready batch of fermented honey garlic ready for use in your salads or by the spoonful to ward off colds, and hopefully you now have a daily kombucha tea which will all be giving you an immune boost. Kvass is a novel addition to this and once again it’s very simple to produce. Kvass was originally made with rye grains or stale bread and was a staple drink in Russia and Eastern Europe. Beetroot is a

into your diet is great for people with hypertension. Beetroot is antiinflammatory and since inflammation is at the root of so many chronic illnesses, reducing inflammation in the body all round is a great way to improve everyone’s overall health. Beetroots are sweet, delicious, and fairly inexpensive. If you grow your own then you already have the best quality, organic, and locally produced vegetables possible and this is a wonderful way to preserve your oversupply. Equipment: Chopping knife and board Large glass jar

You can use the naturally occurring yeasts on the vegetable to grow your own immuneboosting probiotics

Muslin and rubber band Ingredients: 2-4 organic beetroot (beets) unpeeled 2 tbsp sea salt

substitute for the grains and many of us have a few of them knocking around in the garden at this time of year. They are traditionally a very sweet vegetable and by making kvass you can use the naturally occurring yeasts on the vegetable to grow your own immune-boosting probiotics in the kitchen, making use of what grows in the garden.

1 ltr room temperature filtered water

Beetroot is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients and are known as an excellent liver cleanser. Something that many of us could do with after the Christmas and New Year period. Some studies have shown that they significantly reduce blood pressure, so including kvass

2. Scrub and chop the beetroot into centimetre cubes and place into the jar

Steps: 1. Always sterilise your clean jar prior to use - you can do this by pouring near boiling water into it and leaving it for 5 minutes (make sure your glass jar is heat proof).

3. Add the salt 4. Add the filtered water making sure that the beetroots are fully submerged

By Amanda


Amanda lives near Ruffec and is in the final year of an Advanced Diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition with the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. She holds a BSc in Human Biology and Counselling /Psychology. Amanda is passionate about living in harmony with nature and innate wellness.

5. Cover the mouth of the jar with muslin or coffee filter and secure with an elastic band 6. Shake to disperse the salt evenly (it will dissolve naturally) 7. Leave in a cupboard or pantry to ferment for two weeks. Notes… The bubbles created as a byproduct of fermentation tend to push the pieces of beetroot up upwards. Simply check the jar every day and push any beets that are exposed to the air back under the water. You can taste the kvass out of curiosity to see at what point you start to like the flavour. 1-2 weeks will leave you with a delightful tangy beverage, full of probiotics that are excellent for your health and host numerous benefits for all kinds of ailments. It’s an acquired taste but many people really enjoy this with meals to aid digestion. It’s a beautiful colour and very seasonal, and is a great way to use up beetroot and try something completely different. If you want, you can add grated ginger and carrot to further batches as you experiment to find the flavours you enjoy most. Enjoy kvass also as a liver-repairing and immune-boosting drink for your post-Christmas and New Year’s Eve recovery!

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By Ronnie Ogier

Ronnie is a passionate gardener and now loves sharing her years of experience of success and failures in her own garden and sharing it with you. Also a keen runner, having been bitten by the ‘Couch to 5K’ bug!



old, wet, windy, or even frozen and snow-covered ground – or at least that is my excuse for limiting the time I get out and do things in the garden. But then I look out into my garden and see some of the beauty that winter can bring. So, this month, take a bit of ‘time off’ from planting, pruning, digging, and sowing, and enjoy the luxury of looking at your garden and considering how you could improve your January views. There are many ways in which you could enhance what you see in your garden in January so take this time to consider the options, plan your ideas, and write down your chosen options. (For me, if I don’t write it down, by the time I come to do the jobs I’ve forgotten what they were!)

reduce the risk of hellebore leaf spot disease. It’s also the time when the early bulbs, either carefully planted last autumn or left in to naturalise, begin to show their heads. Miniature irises shine out in shades of purple, lilac, yellow and white, with small blue Iris reticulata and yellow Iris danfordiae the easiest to trace. It’s worth looking out for other small iris such as Iris unguicularis which has strong, large purple flowers. Once again, with iris, it’s worth moving some of the older leaves to see the flowers better. Also, some of the early flowering narcissus, such as Tête a Tête and February Gold, will soon be giving colour.

But I couldn’t consider bulbs without At this time of year our gardens don’t give mentioning my favourite, the snowdrop the vibrant colour and volume of July and (perce-neige in French), and I must admit August, yet the low winter sunlight can to becoming a bit of a galanthophile, a create magical lover of snowdrops, in recent effects, silhouetting years! Snowdrops are so leafless trees and This is a small garden built different from the more backlighting tall on a slope which has more ‘normal’ garden plants, giving plants and grasses. than 230 different varieties much joy and hope for the Additionally any winter season. They have lots of snowdrop plants that are of advantages often not flowering now often considered - they provide have the added precious nectar for bees at a bonus of perfume. The purpose of this is time when there is little else in bloom, to attract any insects that are around, give they pierce through frost, the snow, and them food and allow them to pollinate the even fallen leaves in sheer determination plants. Planning a winter garden might to be seen, and if left in the ground can seem more complicated than just planning multiply, and even cross-fertilise to a garden for the other seasons, but there produce different strains (that’s how many are plenty of ways to maintain colour and new varieties are generated). When the interest in your garden. Well-designed sun is out, they open their skirts to be seen winter garden ideas can be full of elegant, in all their glory. architectural foliage, vibrant stems, To see a large selection of snowdrops in dramatic colours, and the wonderful their glory, it’s worth visiting one of the perfume of shrubs and flowers. Open Gardens/Jardin Ouverts gardens in I’ll start with the flowers that can grace Arnac-la Poste 87160 (Haute Vienne). our outdoor spaces. Many of us grow This is a small garden built on a slope Hellebore in an increasingly wide range of which has more than 230 different colours. Although most of these have little varieties of snowdrop. The first flower in perfume, the variety of colours available October and the garden owners bid a fond make them valuable in a spot where you farewell to the last in April, giving them can easily see them. But remember to cut six months of pleasure. Their snowdrops, back the leaves so that you, and the late all named varieties, have names such as flying insects, can see the emerging Grumpy, Lady Beatrice Stanley, E A flowers that were hidden. It will also Bowles, Crinkle Crankle, and Benhall

Beauty, the majority of which are in flower in February when this garden opens. Visits can be arranged by appointment using the details from the Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts website ( Now, I must pull myself away from waxing lyrical about snowdrops and consider other ways to enhance the winter views in our gardens. To add colour, shrubs spring to mind. Here the palette of colours is wide ranging from purple, red, black, and white berries to white, cream, yellow, pink, and red flowers. Shrubs with different coloured berries make a statement in a winter garden, adding a touch of brightness often against the darker leaves of the plants. One of my favourites is Callicarpa ‘Profusion’, which has purple berries. However, it is possible to find pink and white flowered varieties. Winter flowering shrubs do have the added advantage of being perfumed to attract winter insects. These shrubs could be a topic in their own right, varying in so many ways. Difference in flower size is obvious in my garden comparing the Mahonia, a majestic plant with bright yellow, high perfumed flowers, and the Sarcococca, smaller in every way but that packs a big punch with its perfume! There are so many winter flowering shrubs; the Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ with its bright yellow flowers with a rich lemony perfume, the spidery red flowers of the Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’, Viburnum bodnantense with its pink flowers, white flowered winter honeysuckle, Daphne odora, Skimmia japonica… the list is endless, and I’ll move on before I sound even more like a plant catalogue!

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garden And last, but by no means least, I must mention the plants that are no longer ‘strutting their stuff’, those that have already flowered and are now dormant. On sparkling cold days in the depths of winter the best and longest lasting grasses can transform your garden, as their fine lines and elegant shapes are coated in hoarfrost. Plants with colourful stems and bark come into their own. Winter Cornus or dogwoods have colourful winter stems ranging from yellow and gold through to bright orange, red and purple. If they are planted in a spot where they’ll catch the sun, they’ll be even more spectacular. Structure is important in a winter garden with skeletal trees with interesting bark offering another dimension, and birches certainly come into this category. They can give an incredible range of colours from pure white through greys and reds to dark browns, and bark which peels to give more interest through texture. Planting in winter is not about the bright colours of other seasons; many plants have other attributes which come centre stage in the winter months. There is something very different to be seen in a dormant plant that can add subtle beauty and tranquillity to our gardens, especially if they are paired with perfumed flowers from shrubs and bulbs. It’s 2022, a New Year and a new beginning, and there are still things that can be done to give you the best garden ever – or at least the best since last year. My best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful year and happy gardening!

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Hawthorn flower

Rosa canina

Apple blossom

Cherry blossom

The four images above illustrate the similarities found in flowers of the rosaceae family



ots of people find them hard to remember, pronounce or understand, but if you are a keen gardener, it is useful to have a basic understanding and use them as much as possible. Let's take a look at the principles and why they are important. In our nursery and garden our plants are labelled with their botanical name and I am so often asked ‘what is the common name for this plant?’ In fact, the ‘common name’ could really be called the ‘local’ name, and this is often the problem because many plants have many different common names, and also the same

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common name can refer to several completely different plants depending on locality.

and ask for a Primrose and you may not get exactly what you wanted. There is also the ‘evening primrose’ which is not related to the Primulas at all. Here are a few Likewise, the ‘Cape The same common name examples; Primrose – primrose’ native to South can refer to several In the UK this common Africa is not at all related to completely different plants our native Primula vulgaris name usually refers to the native wild Primula depending on locality - its scientific name is vulgaris but it can also Streptocarpus. Hawthorn is be called the English primrose (although it another – Crataegus monogyna – is native to many parts of Europe) or commonly called hawthorn, but also simply the common primrose and in known as mayblossom, maythorn, France it is called ‘Primevere’ or ‘coucou’. quickthorn, whitethorn, motherdie, and But there are many different species and haw. In France it is called aubépine. There varieties of Primula – so to go to a nursery are many different types of ‘hawthorn’ so


Acer palmatum

if you want this specific one, you need to use its botanical name.

Crataegus (hawthorn) Cotoneaster, Prunus (the stone fruits such as plums, cherries, apricots), Pyrus (pear). The characteristics that all of these genera share is the structure of the flower, each having 5 sepals, 5 petals, many stamen, and are open, radially symmetrical and are always hermaphrodite, the central structure being the female reproductive organ which develops into the fruit. It is the different characteristics of the types of fruit within this family that divides it up into different genera. For example Malus and Pyrus (also known as ‘pomme’ fruits) have similar fruits with a fleshy outer covering a group of 5 fused, central ovaries whereas the Prunus have a hard central stone covered by a fleshy outer layer. The Rosa, Crataegus & Cotoneaster have fleshy ‘hip’ type fruits with a mix of seeds and flesh inside. Of course, many of the cultivated roses have semi-double or double flowers where some of the reproductive parts of the flower have mutated into petals. (I will explain a little more about cultivars later).

Many of the scientific names are derived from the ancient Latin or Greek description of the wild plant, particularly the species name or ‘specific epithet’. It is often a description of one of the key characteristics, or the location where it grows in the wild or derived from the name of the person who first discovered or named them. It can be really helpful and also interesting to understand some of these, so here are a few common ones that you may have come across: sinensis (from China), campestre (of the field), vulgaris (common), sempervirens (evergreen), palmatum (having palm shaped leaves), officinalis (a species name of many plants with medicinal properties). The specific epithet davidii refers to Armand David, also known as Père David, a missionary whose travels enabled him to name and discover and collect many species of plant and animals. He was born in Espelette, France in 1826 there is a small but When we use the Scientific names to interesting label plants, we generally use the Cultivars can be the exhibition in the two-part name that refers to the result of natural Château des genus and species. The genus name variation, or from Barons at Espelette comes first – common examples of if you ever visit hybridisation this include Acer, Rosa, Primula, that area. His Malus, Salvia, followed by a species introductions name or ‘specific epithet’. Examples include Buddleja davidii, Viburnum of different species of Acer include; Acer davidii, Acer davidii. palmatum (with 5-lobed leaves), Acer The most important groups in the taxonomy of plants are the Family, Genus and Species. Plants are grouped into families that share some common characteristics that indicate that they have a common ancestor but have evolved a variety of different characteristics by the process of adapting to different geographical locations and environments. Each plant family will contain several different genera (the plural for genus). One of the most common examples of this is the rose family – or Rosaceae to use the scientific family name. This family includes many well-known genera including Rosa (roses), Malus (apples),

pseudoplatanus (the sycamore or ‘false plane’), Acer campestre (the field maple). A species is a recognisable population of plants that all share the same characteristics and can breed freely with each other – the offspring bearing the same characteristics as the parents. There may be slight variations within a population (as there are between different individual members of the human population) such as a different flower or leaf colour, leaf shape or habit. If this characteristic becomes stable in the wild, i.e. it is consistently repeated in all of its offspring, it is known as a variant or ‘variety’. Sometimes these slight

By Caroline Wright

Caroline has been a lecturer in horticulture for 20 years and is now running a nursery and 'garden craft' courses in the Haute-Vienne at Le jardin creatif

differences can be useful to humans – more ornamental, earlier flowering, or earlier ripening of the fruit or better flavour, which is selected by growers and developed or deliberately ‘cultivated’. These can be named and are then known as cultivated varieties or ‘cultivars’. Cultivars can be the result of natural variation, or from hybridisation between two closely related species in the same genus. The cultivar name is not written in italics and is also punctuated by inverted commas. Examples: Rosa canina 'Assisiensis' – Rosa being the genus name for roses, canina is the species name for the wild ‘dog’ rose ‘Assisiensis’. It is a variety that shares all characteristics with the species except that it is thornless - this has been selected for decorative use because it is easier to grow and maintain with the smooth stems. Malus domestica ‘Bramley’s Seedling’, an apple cultivar chosen for its size and cooking qualities/flavour. Solanum tuberosum ‘Maris Piper’ – Solanum being the genus for potato (as well as tomato, aubergine and the ‘nightshades’) tuberosum refers to the tubers formed by this species, Maris Piper is the cultivar selected for its eating qualities. Our nursery will re-open at the end of February for the 2022 season, come along on a Saturday to have a look at the many genera and different species and cultivars that we grow! Check out our plant list and courses calendar on our website:

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free time

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free time

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A young student seeks for fossils on the beach near Charmouth in Dorset, a rich hunting-ground

Wildlife of Long Ago

By Mik

e Geo r ge

Mike George is our regular contributor on wildlife and the countryside in France. He is a geologist and naturalist, living in the Jurassic area of the Charente



n the Jurassic period, and into the Cretaceous, our area was a lagoonal sea, very warm and teeming with life – a bit like the Caribbean today. The water was alive with tiny creatures that scavenged calcium and carbon dioxide out of the seawater to build a tiny skeleton to support their tissues. When they died, they fell to the sea floor where their skeletons coalesced into a limy ooze which eventually hardened to form limestone. So, in essence, limestone is in itself a fossil. But what excites folk is to find traces of larger animals. And there were plenty of those, which also sank at the end of their lives and became a part of the limestone.

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However, it must be said that the preservation of the fossils is not very good except in rare cases, as a lot of recrystallisation has occurred within the rocks, wiping out fine details of the fossils. What can you find?

whole ammonites, which they would sell for a premium, as there was a fashion for incorporating one or more in the walls of stone-built houses as display specimens. If you keep your eyes peeled you may spot examples.

Our area was a lagoonal sea, Occasionally you Ammonites are the most very warm and teeming with may see the traces easily recognised. These life – a bit like the Caribbean of a bullet-shaped relatives of the squid and shell, especially in nautilus lived in coiled, limestone flag-stones. These are the shells ribbed shells. Many were small, but some of belemnites, also relatives of the squid, grew to 40 cm diameter, and some even who strengthened themselves with this larger. Usually, by looking carefully, you internal skeleton. Very occasionally, one will find partial impressions of the shells may find a specimen where the in stones lying in the fields. When the belemnite’s ink-sac has been preserved. limestone was being quarried the quarrymen would sometimes find casts of Some early palaeontologists in the 19th

nature century used to reconstitute the ink from these ink-sacs and write letters with it! Another quite common fossil is the socalled “lamp shell”. It has a passing resemblance to a Roman oil-lamp, but is quite small (two or three centimetres long). It is in fact a brachiopod. (I told you a bit about those in the sea-shell article in August). Once these two-shelled creatures lived throughout the sea-floors of the world; now they are extremely rare. Sometimes you find layers of limestone which are full of these shells, and this stone was often chosen to make decorative or functional parts of houses – they often form the structure of old Charentaise sinks and the peculiar “Queue-de-vache” ledge-stones through which these sinks drained. Sometimes you can pick up individual lamp-shells on gravelled roads or in fields, but they are usually somewhat damaged.

A long, bullet-shaped Belemnite, a fossil ancestor of the squid, with some small ammonites

In the Cretaceous rocks you may find fossil sea-urchins. There are too many different shapes to describe, but a good fossil-book will help. Suffice it to say they look a bit like moderate-sized potatoes, with a star-shaped mark on one side where the rows of tube-feet of the creature emerged to provide locomotion. Vertebrate remains are few and farbetween, but they do occur. The remains of huge, four-legged plant-eating dinosaurs have been found near Angoulême, and the remains of early mammals can be found in the Eocene/Oligocene beds in the south of the area. Marine reptiles such as crocodiles and ichthyosaurs are also represented. There are fossils representing all the phyla of hard-bodied creatures; you even find some soft-bodied ones, as there are very rare occurrences of amber in the Charente, and these contain insects and other arthropods. Certain beds even contain plant remains. How do you find them? But where can you go to find all these wonders? Walking over fields is an ageold exercise, but of course it takes an appreciable time to “get your eye in”. When I was a geology student I mapped an area of the Mendips, and I spent hours fruitlessly walking across fields looking for fossils, until suddenly I saw one, and from then on, the fields were full of them! And, of course, be careful not to damage any crops or disturb any animals that may be in the fields!

Above - A beautiful ammonite fossil, an extinct member of the cephalopod (octopus) family Three brachiopod fossils. The ones you are likely to find here will probably be less ribbed, but will display the oil-lamp-like shape.

Quarries are of course excellent places to look, but if they are active quarries there will be health and safety formalities to go through even if the management is agreeable to your looking. If they are abandoned quarries then the dangers are very acute, and if you trespass on the land, you have no comeback. Roadside cuttings and cliffs might seem promising, but they are inherently unstable. Geologists follow the rule that

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nature farm life

A fossil sea urchin. You may well find one of these, especially in a field. Please check it isn't a potato you never stand at the bottom of a cliff, but always look in the fallen talus a safe distance away. In my early career I had one or two close calls through standing too close to rock-faces, and I have seen amateur fossil collectors on coastal sites in England taking insane risks. If I ever had to stand close to a cliff for any reason, I would be constantly listening for any sound that would indicate movement of material above me, and I always had a safe and rapid exit-route planned. Where to go for information.

Four vertebrae and some rib-fragments of a small Ichthyosaur, an extinct sea-living reptile similar in lifestyle to a dolphin

2158-6). There is an excellent book, sadly only available in French, called “Fossiles de la Préhistoire charentaise'' by Néraudeau, Mazan & Vullo, ISBN: 978-236199-434-1. This is a gentle and relatively jargon-free introduction to the geology of the region, with explanations of the geography at various stages as the rocks were deposited. It also has superb photographs of a wide range of fossils from the region, which should help you identify your finds.

Recently, Guide Delachaux published a useful little book called “Guide des If you want to look for fossils, the first Fossiles” (ISBN ISBN 978-2-603-02672requirement is to become familiar with the 4). It is pocket-sized for geology of the region, ease of carrying, but has a then you will know If you want to look for useful introduction what to look for in fossils, the first requirement explaining what fossils any given area. If you are, where and how to is to become familiar with want to find trilobites, collect them, what the geology of the region for example, you will equipment you will need, be seriously out of and how to protect and luck in our region, as these creatures were study the fossils you do find. There are long extinct by the time the Jurassic and several hundred different examples, wellCretaceous rocks were laid down. illustrated by excellent photographs. So You will need to study books and many books pride themselves on using geological maps. Local geological maps are illustrations of museum-quality specimens best studied in libraries and museums, as – this book shows fossils in the state you they are fiercely expensive in France, might well find them! As far as I know it is although the “Carte geologique de la only published in French, but a France à l’échelle du millionième'' is quite photograph can be understood in any reasonably priced (BRGM, ISBN: 2-7159language, and the fossils are identified by

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their Latin names. It is moderately priced at €24. Finally, for the French-readers who want to know more about our local mega-fauna, there is “Dinosaures, les géants du vignoble”, published by Eidola, ISBN 97810-9009-317-4. 979-10-90093-17-1This large-format book introduces the reader to the science of Mesozoic vertebrate palaeontology, then concentrates on the work done in the hundred-Km radius around the Gironde Estuary. It is a demanding read, but well-illustrated, and with a touch of humour rare in such publications. It does not limit itself to dinosaurs either, but includes fish, flying reptiles, crocodiles, and other vertebrates as well. If you are serious about your geology, it is always well worth contacting a local society. Several museums cover local geology and palaeontology. These are good places to spend some productive time, and they will have details of local fossilcollecting societies, where you can learn from other local enthusiasts and get help with identification. They may well have larger-scale geological maps you can study. Above all, be sensible. Have regard to your own and others’ safety. Respect the law. Happy hunting!

farm life


Tamsin Cooper is a smallholder and writer with a keen interest in animal behaviour and welfare By Tam s

On the Smallholding

in Coop er



example, may attempt to butt at each utdoor-living animals will have slowly other against the pallets – you can attach acclimatised to the cold during boards to block the view and increase autumn and early winter. Whether cats, privacy. Old bedding should be cleared out sheep, goats, or chickens, they will have before births and thick, fresh straw developed thick under-layers to insulate laid down. themselves. In mammals this is a woolly undercoat, in poultry a layer of fluffy Winter feed for ruminants should be down. In native animals, and those mainly hay, which will provide warmth as evolved in similar climates, such as in the it is processed in the rumen. Unless UK, these coats are sufficient to keep them pregnant, animals need very little warm in cold weather. However, exotic complementary feed. If you give grain or breeds from warmer countries may not pellets (granulés), make sure that they are grow adequate protection from the cold. appropriate for the species and their This is also the case for animals specially current situation. For example, some bred for production, as these animals pellets are designed for growth and others grow less hair as a tradefor lactation. Wethers off for the high levels of should not be given Each mother will need her grain or pellets as they milk or muscle they produce. For example, own stall, while retaining increase the risk of dairy goats are short sight and sound of other bladder stones, which haired in winter while can block urination. Hay herd members native breeds grow thick, and pasture are long coats. The same goes sufficient. for white pigs, which have much less hair During the first couple of months, the than old breeds. Both will need more foetus develops but hardly grows, and the protection during winter than traditional mother needs little grain or pellets, if at native breeds. all. During the final three months, the While old breed sheep and goats readily foetus grows. If given a lot of pellets or give birth successfully out in the field, grain, the foetus may become too large for modern breeds are less hardy and benefit easy delivery. These supplements should from an indoor birthing barn. Ewes and be kept to a minimum and spread over does are normally brought in to a dry pen two or three feeds per day to avoid rumen a few days before birth is expected and upsets. If she has been lactating, she will kept in until a couple of days after. need a two-month break before giving January is a good time to prepare your birth to build up nutrients for new birthing shelter or barn, so that you can colostrum. Milking and all grain/pelleted make sure it stays dry during the wet and feed must stop for this period. During the is draughtproof against chill winds. last couple of weeks, supplement intake Hopefully, you will have an idea when should be increased to support milk your females will give birth and how many production. This is especially important animals will need housing at the same for dairy breeds, as they produce time. Ruminants prefer to self-isolate unnaturally high levels of milk and need during the birth until their young are up extra nutrition. However, as grain and on their feet and able to follow their pellets can cause dangerous fermentation mother. Therefore, each mother will need in the rumen, any supplements need to be her own stall, while retaining sight and introduced gradually and in small sound of other herd members. I find that amounts. Gradually increase the portion, pallet walls are ideal for this purpose, as spread over several meals, up to a they provide privacy without blocking maximum of 500g per day just before sight of companions. If the mother is birth and during peak lactation. Old disturbed by other animals – goats, for breeds will need less supplementation as

long as they have adequate pasture and hay. Poultry benefit from a nutritionally complete cereal mix or pellets at this time when it is harder to forage for themselves. Waters for all animals will need monitoring and ice broken regularly on cold days. Most animals cope well with cold water, but I find that goats drink better if given tepid clean water daily. Dry shelters and correct feeding are key to keeping animals healthy in winter and preparing them for birthing.

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Night Sky This extra special edition of our monthly astronomy guide will hopefully answer some questions for all of you who are new to this amazing interest something which has been a passion for me since coming to France over six years ago. Whether you have been treated to a first telescope at Christmas, have invested in a new pair of astronomy binoculars, or simply wish to begin to gaze up at the wonders of our beautiful sparkling skies, read on and I hope, over the coming months, to provide a few pointers to get you started

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Claire Wardlaw, originally from Edinburgh, lives in the Charente with her husband. Since their move nearly 6 years ago, Claire has become passionate about astronomy


By Clair Wardla e w


Join our Facebook group ‘Astronomy & Astrophotography France’

eginning a small tour of the night sky with only your eyes is such a rewarding way to start learning. With only your eyes to observe the sky it will be possible to explore the positions and patterns of different constellations throughout the year. One of the first, easiest, and most dynamic star patterns you can look for is known as 'Orion'. Also known as the 'Hunter', at this time of year Orion can be seen perched high in the night sky, in a southerly direction. The central and very bright three stars form 'the belt' of this pattern. With your eyes or binoculars you will be able to see the beautiful 'Orion Nebula' which is positioned in the area below 'the belt'. With binoculars or a telescope you can begin to observe the great variety of colours in the stars across the night sky. One of the most stunning is the star Betelguese in Orion. This bright red star can be found at the top left of the star pattern. With the aid of binoculars or a telescope, it is dazzling. Throughout the month, of course you will be able to observe our natural satellite, the Moon. It can be seen rising at a different time every night (or day). Binoculars or a small telescope will reveal more details on the surface of the Moon. You can look for craters, flat-seeming 'seas', or gigantic mountain ranges. During the last six years I have learnt to navigate a little around the celestial plane. The ever-changing view of the Stars and Planets has been observed, named, charted, and catalogued since ancient times. Since the times of the Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians, humans have continued to search for, order, and learn about our place in the Universe. This is a search that continues in our own time and it always amazes me to think of those who throughout our history have also gazed up at the same skies. This Year's Astronomy Highlights This year we have many stunning events to look forward to and mark in our 2022 calendars. A number of Planets will appear close together in the night skies. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be at their best and the Geminid Meteor shower will put on a beautiful show. The Perseids are also worth looking out for although, with a full moon brightening the sky, they will be a little harder to see. From mid-February to mid-April it will be possible to observe Mars dancing around both Venus and Saturn. On March 16th Mars will be seen at its closest to Venus and early during the mornings of March the 27th to the 1st of April you can see Venus, Mars, and Saturn within the same binocular view. The 16th of May will -

depending on your location - offer the chance to see a partial Lunar eclipse, and on the 25th of October a partial Solar eclipse will be visible around midday. At my own location about 7% of the Sun will be obscured by the Moon. The further west you are based, the more of the Sun will be covered. It is NOT SAFE to look directly at the sun with your eyes, binoculars, or a telescope. I will provide details later in the year on how to observe this event safely. On the 19th of August you will be able to observe the Moon, the Pleiades star cluster, and Mars forming a beautiful triangle rising in the eastern skies just after midnight. This rare sight can be seen in the same field of view through binoculars. It will be a sight which is well worth staying up late for. The planet Jupiter will be 'at opposition' on the 26th of September. This is when it will be on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun and therefore easier to observe. It will be easy to see with the unaided eye or binoculars, and through a small telescope you will be able to spot the four largest of Jupiter's moons. While a Comet's visibility is extremely difficult to predict it may just be possible that we are in for an observing treat with the newly discovered Comet named C/2021 03 (PanSTARRS). It was discovered last year, is brightening as it travels closer to the Sun, and may be visible to the naked eye from the second half of April. Through binoculars or a telescope this would also be a spectacular sight. I will provide more details about the possibility of viewing this Comet nearer the time as its fate approaching the Sun is not certain. Observing Tip for the Month When you are planning to go out and observe the dark skies, you can see even more when you give your eyes a chance to become accustomed to the darkness. As your eyes become used to a change in the light source they adjust a little. When you first go outside at night it may seem that you can't see very much at all. Perhaps you will be able to see one or two of the brightest stars, a planet or two, and possibly the Moon. However, the longer you wait, allowing your eyes to make an adjustment, more and more stars and details will appear. After about 20 -30 minutes you will be amazed at how your skies will begin to sparkle with thousands of distant stars. A little bit of science… The first stars are thought to have appeared over 200 million years ago. These were immense objects, much bigger than our Sun (possibly 100-1000 times bigger!!!!)

and were made completely of Hydrogen and Helium. Meteor Showers this month: The Quadrantids This shower of meteors will be active in the first few days of the new year and will last until the 12th. What better way to start your observing for 2022! The Quadrantids are one of the best of the year. They are caused when dust particles associated with the comet known as 2003EH (an exciting name, I know!) burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. The 'peak' will be on the 3rd this year. This is the time when the meteor shower is at its most active. According to N.A.S.A the average number we could spot will be 80 per hour, although the rate will range from 40 to 120! The best way to catch a few shooting stars is to look up to a wide open view of the sky. The Quadrantids will all emanate from a north-easterly part of the sky around the Constellation known as Bootes. Wrap up, lie back, and enjoy a really relaxing time under the stars. Making a wee wish when you spot your first meteor of the year isn't out of the question either! New Feature: Star of the Month - 'Betelgeuse' In this new monthly feature I hope to shine a light on the huge array of stars we can explore in our skies. First up, and easy to spot at this time of year, is the famous 'Betelgeuse'. Often pronounced beetlejuice, but more correctly known to astronomers as bettel-gouze, you will find this amazing bright red star at the top right-hand side of the Orion constellation. This star is a 'red supergiant' and it is the lead star in Orion. It changes in magnitude over a period of six years. It is one of a very few stars which has actually been measured having a diameter of up to 1,000 times that of our own Sun. As a red supergiant star it is in the last phase of its life. Eventually, and any time within the next 100,000 years, Betelgeuse is expected to explode as a 'supernova'. The star collapses, explodes and releases huge amounts of energy. This would be easily visible from Earth. As Betelgeuse is over 600 light years away from us it would take over 600 years for the light from this explosion to reach our eyes. So there's a chance that this bright star has already gone 'supernova'! Wishing you a very Happy Year of Stargazing and 'Clear Skies'!

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latest news

Carte Avantage Sénior SNCF To encourage rail travel, SNCF now offer a discount card for passengers over 60 years of age. The yearly cost for the Carte Avantage Senior is 49€ per year, enabling you to benefit from capped prices in 2nd class on TGV INOUI and INTERCITÉS direct, as well as on last minute offers. You get guaranteed discounts on all your trips, all year long including 30% off your travel in 2nd and 1st class and 60% off for children aged 4 to 11 accompanying you (up to 3 maximum). The card also gives you discounts on travel from France to other European countries (Luxembourg, Gemany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain). Full details are available here

HEALTH PASS The health pass currently being used in France (enabling people to visit bars, restaurants, cinemas etc) is possibly changing to a vaccine pass, in an attempt to encourage the 5 million people who haven’t been vaccinated in France. The plan will be debated by MPs at the beginning of this month and would need to be passed by the Senate afterwards. If it is to be passed, it is expected to become law by the end of this month. The time for the booster dose (after the second jab) may also change, from 5 months to four. At the time of print, the current rules on the health pass states that anyone over

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the age of 65 now need to have had a booster, so anyone who had there second jab more than 7 months ago would be due for their booster to retain their health pass. Within the same age bracket, anyone who received the Janssen (singledose) vaccine, will need a booster after 2 months. This ruling will apply to all adults from Saturday 15 January. When travel is permitted again between the UK and France, the NHS Covid Pass will work as it’s integrated with the EU’s digital Covid Certificate scheme. You can also scan the QR code from your NHS pass into the TousAntiCovid app.

BLOCTEL SUBSCRIPTION Starting from this month, you will no longer need to renew your cold-calling red list subscription with Bloctel every year. Subscription renewal has now been extended to every 3 years.

JANUARY SALES 2022 The dates for the sales (les soldes) this month are Wednesday 12th January until Tuesday 8th February. Sales are highly regulated in France, one in the winter and one in summer, each for a maximum of 4 weeks. The dates for e-commerce are the same. After this, some retailers will offer a ‘Grande Braderie’, selling off the remaining stock. Last year, the summer sales were postponed due to Covid, so it’s worth keeping up-to-date with news in case there are any changes.

latest news

BRITISH AIRWAYS While travel might be one of the last things on people’s minds right now, it’s always nice to think at some point this year travel will be less restricted. British Airways has announced its initial destinations for their new Gatwick-based low-cost subsidiary, due to be launched under the British Airways banner in March this year. Tickets are now available for flights to 35 short-haul destinations, including travel from Gatwick to Nice and Bordeaux, as well as cities in Italy, Spain, Greece, Croatia and Germany. More information on all of their routes can be found here: French food brand C’est qui le Patron?! (Who’s the Boss?!) has given the consumer the power to vote on how much to pay for the product and how it’s produced. It never pays less than production costs. You can pay a symbolic 1€ to become a co-operative member and play part of the production strategy.

URGENT - CAF & YOUR CARTE DE SEJOUR The family benefits department CAF (Caisse des allocations familiales) is asking all British residents to update their account with their carte de séjours, confirming their proof of residency in France. The message on their website states that benefits (family, disability, housing etc) will stop on the 1st of January if a card isn’t supplied before then. This request appears to have come about rather

suddenly in mid-December. It is reported that CAF have made an urgent request to the government for more leeway for those who have applied but are yet to receive their cards. They currently have the instruction that British residents keep their benefit rights up to the 31st December. If you haven’t received a message from CAF yet, contact them directly to update your residency card details without delay.

100€ Inflation Pay Out

STAMP PRICE RISE Stamps prices are on the up again from this month. It will now cost for a 1,43€ (increased from 1,28€) for a Lettre prioritaire (red stamp, delivery next day). The Lettre vert (green stamp, delivery in France within 48 hours) is rising from 1,08€ to 1.16€. Full details on the increases can be found here:

In October last year, the Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a 100€ inflation bonus, it’s aim to help the 38 million people who earn less than 2000€ a month. URSAFF (the network of organisations which collects French social security payments) is responsible for distributing the inflation bonuses of self-employed people and employees who work permanently from home. Payments began on December 12 and will continue through into the New Year. But URSAFF’s director says they have the details of around 70-75% of self-employed people and even less of home workers, totalling up to around one million people who haven’t given URSAFF their bank details. Without this, they will be unable to make the payout. If you are self-employed you can visit or to add the necessary information, or if you are a home worker you should visit or etcetera 43




irst things first - don’t forget that the annual Carte de Pêche requires renewing for 2022. You can order it online by searching for the word “Pêche” and your department number. Also note that the predator season has now closed and will reopen on the last Saturday in April. The River Vienne The Vienne rises close to Mont Audouze in the Plateau de Millevaches, literally a thousand cows, and joins the Loire some 363km later. The source of the Vienne is less than 16km from the source of the Creuse, its major tributary, yet it takes them 236 km to meet up, the Creuse having by then absorbed the Gartempe, the third significant river system in our region. The source of the Vienne is around three times higher than the source of the Charente and the head waters are predominantly known for the trout and grayling fishing, much of which is carried out by fly-fishers using barbless hooks and a ‘No Kill’ policy of conservation. History shows that Vikings raided Poitiers in the 9th century as part of their expansion that took them as far upstream as Limoges. Richard the Lionheart met his end in Chalus in 1199 and his body was taken to the Aixe-sur-Vienne area to be transported by boat so that he could buried alongside his father at Fontevraud Abbey just downstream of the confluence of the Vienne with the Loire. 150 years later, during The Hundred Years War, the bridge at Mazerolles was the scene of a skirmish that ended with the death of Sir John Chandos, one of Edward the Black Prince’s closest advisors. Edward wreaked

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a great deal of havoc in the area sacking both Poitiers and Limoges. Limoges up to that time was known for enamel work. It was only afterwards that it became world famous for porcelain.

narrower railway bridge, you can avoid the crowds and the necessity for a 3-metre landing net handle as the bank there is lower and the commune have cut back a lot of bank side cover to give anglers plenty of room.

As well as porcelain factories the Vienne is If you follow the D32 out of the town you in parts lined with mills making paper and will find a long Parcours de Pêche where cardboard. You will also find memorials to you can park alongside the river. Resistance fighters who died whilst Continuing destroying many of the towards Saintold bridges in the lead up History shows that Vikings Junien you will to D-Day. Tributaries of raided Poitiers in the also find more the Vienne are also noted Parcours de 9th century as part of their trout fishing venues, particularly the Taurion. expansion that took them as far Pêche at some of the riverside upstream as Limoges By the time the river villages along the enters etcetera’s way. Saintcatchment area around Saint-Leonard de Junien has two more; one as you enter the Noblat trout increasingly share their town from the direction of Saintdomain with carp and it is possible to Victurnien and one as you leave heading catch both species in the long section that towards Chabanais. Whilst most of these runs past the campsite at Saint-Leonard parcours are designated ‘Carpe de Nuit’ de Noblat. From there you will find some locations, many are more suitable for locations that are exclusively ‘No Kill’ chub, roach, and barbel fishing. Carp to catch and release zones, for the trout and around 20lb are present in the river, but grayling anyway. As the river makes its there aren’t many and are highly localised. way westwards to Limoges, more coarse After the parcours at Ile de Chaillac there fish are present and by Le Palais-suris a long stretch of river where angling Vienne it is a true mixed fishery with access is possible in a few localised areas trout being a bonus rather than the where chemins and farm tracks allow staple species. access. The river runs through Chabanais Between Limoges and Aixe-sur-Vienne where there is a single fishing platform there are roadside stretches where you can upstream of the bridge and into Exideuil. park up and fish. Aixe-sur-Vienne is a At Exideuil you can find places to fish good place to visit if you like fishing for upstream of the bridge and downstream, chub and barbel as the river there holds beyond Agnes, there is a short parcours some good numbers of these species. On where carp of a decent size are regularly the opposite bank to the camping ground, caught. The river at this point also holds reached via a narrow street and even plenty of silure and these can provide good

animal sport on pike spinning gear of an evening. From Exideuil downstream the river takes on a ‘Colorado Steelhead River’ look. The river becomes shallow and wide with numerous boulders scattered alongside and within its banks. It also runs through pasture land making safe access difficult to locate. The towns and villages of Ansac, Confolens, and Abzac have a few fishable locations that are worth the effort. Below Abzac at Availles-Limouzine the river enters the huge dam of Jousseau. Bankside access is far easier along the stretch behind the campsite at AvaillesLimouzine and the small road that runs alongside the lake of Jousseau. This area is where the serious carp fishing takes place and there are also some very large catfish in the lake. The barrage is used to generate hydro-electricity and its height prevents any migratory fish passing upstream. The Creuse and Gartempe rivers however do have an increasing number of salmon running up them. L'Isle-Jourdain offers some fishing in the length between the camping ground to below the viaduct and from there downstream it is a matter of looking on Google Earth to locate access tracks to allow you to get to the river. Many of the stretches are too shallow to fish and good fishable swims are at a premium.

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This area is where the serious carp fishing takes place and there are also some very large catfish in the lake This rocky mountain stream scenario continues to below Queaux. From Gouex we have the added problem of a lot of the river banks have been taken into private ownership with holiday homes, cabins, and caravans located behind locked gates and fences. Opposite the entrance to the campsite at Mazerolles is a farm track that leads to around 1km of bank-side access, but from there, as the river flows northwards, bank access is increasingly hard to come by. By this time the river has widened, deepened, and flows more slowly. This is carp, catfish, and bream territory, with good sized fish of those species being commonplace. From Chauvigny through Bonnes and beyond the river cuts through arable land and access is easier. The river also becomes more interesting with weirs and side channels offering good prospects for roach and perch. Bream however is the dominant species. Beyond the outer reaches of our region the Vienne continues to offer good fishing wherever access can be gained via farm tracks. Ultimately the river converges with the Loire at Candes-Saint-Martin close to yet another campsite. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

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home & specialist



am of course talking about your Christmas tree. A question I get asked a lot this time of year is what should you do with your festive centerpiece, more specifically, can you burn your Christmas tree? The answer? Well yes, but no. Christmas trees traditionally are pine conifers. A lot of you have likely heard that you should never burn pine or other conifer trees as they are full of sap and resins and are likely to cause your chimney to ‘tar up’. Although it is true that

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conifer trees do have increased seasoning, and your Christmas tree is no concentrations of resins in them compared exception to this. The pine needles from to their deciduous counterparts, so long as your tree will dry out somewhat during the your fire is burning at a festive season due to high enough temperature their high surface When a Christmas tree is (get yourself a stovepipe area but even these burnt, the initial blaze can thermometer if you’re not will need two to three sure), these will combust be incredibly hard to control months to dry out just like the other before they can go compounds found in all anywhere near your fire. Even so, you will natural woods and therefore won’t cause find that when a Christmas tree is burnt, any problems for your chimney. the initial blaze can be incredibly hard to control. Due to the high surface area, any Most of us are quite aware that even the best, most dense hardwoods require available heat will be given off very

home & specialist

By Kris Jenningtian s

Kristian of Jennings Chimney Sweeping specializes in Chimney problem diagnosis and is a member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps

quickly. The flame from when the fuel first catches can be rather intense and can cause a huge spike in the flue gas temperature, which in turn, could lead to a fire in the chimney if the flames are drawn up the flue. At most, a couple of sprigs, no more than a handful, could be burnt. Ideally these would be used just as kindling but doing so would of course take a very long time to dispose of the tree. Although the initial heat given from your Christmas tree is quite intense, ultimately, with the tree not being very dense and most of its volume being created from needles and thin branches, there is not much heat energy

stored in the fuel and as such, the advantage of burning your tree is not great.

If replanting is not an option, make sure to check what collection and recycling services are available where you live. You can either ask your mairie, or contact your local déchèterie directly who should have a system in place. Many of them offer a recycling/composting service for Christmas trees. Alternatively, if you have a compost bin or heap, then you could break up your tree and add it to t he compost.

We spoke earlier this year about what to burn to keep warm in winter. We are incredibly lucky where we all live to have an abundance of good, seasoned oak at very reasonable prices available to us. We also spoke about compressed logs, a great way to start a fire and to keep your flue gas temperature high with very little effort. Be mindful if you are burning leftover If, however, you have an artificial tree, wrapping paper. Like your Christmas tree, then make sure to look at ways of keeping we wouldn’t recommend you put it on them for future Christmases so they don’t your fire, however, end up in landfill if you do, make where they can take sure it is scrunched centuries to Be mindful if you are burning into balls or decompose. Ensure it twisted, to reduce is packed away leftover wrapping paper the chance it is carefully and stored in carried up your a place it can’t be chimney where it damaged. could start a fire and again, ideally only If you really want to set alight to your use it for kindling. holiday timber, ask for permission from In short, it is not a great idea to burn your your mayor to have a bonfire and watch Christmas tree in your wood burner or on your tree sizzle and burn outside, perhaps your open fire, unless it is a few sprigs at a with a glass of mulled wine, if you have time, alongside your kindling. any left…

Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree ▪

If you have a garden, you can turn your tree into compost or run it through a shredder to make mulch.

Fallen needles can also be used as mulch. Placed at the base of plants such as hydrangeas and rhododendrons, the needles will retain freshness by limiting evaporation and will slow down the growth of weeds.

Although fir is not the best firewood, it can end up in the fireplace after drying. The needles are a good fire starter.

After 6 months of drying in the garden shed, barbecue owners can also burn their Christmas tree at a barbecue party! The cut branches will make a good ember with charcoal.

Bring your conifer to your local déchèterie where it will be recycled into compost, firewood or shredded. Collection points are sometimes organized in town to avoid the trip. Ask at your town hall for information!

Potted Christmas trees can be replanted in the garden to be used again the following year. Preferably plant the tree on a frostfree day and moisten the root ball well. The addition of potting soil is recommended.

If you don't have a garden and you have a Christmas tree in a root ball, you can always offer it to a landscaper who will place it in a plantation, to a neighbour or to a forest owner.

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getting connected SATELLITE TV


satellite TV. Sorry, even I’m not buying that. Oh well, wearily onwards dear readers…. Even though it’s 2022, Freesat is still not the same as Freeview. The clue is in the ‘sat’ bit.

Yes, in theory you could use a Sky Q box as a free-to-air receiver, but why would you? It’s a very extravagant waste. It won’t record without an active Sky subscription ell that didn’t last long!’ said Mrs W and so it’ll be no better than a basic one night recently. Stop sniggering Freesat box and worse than Freesat+ at the back, I’m pretty sure she meant (which does record). You’d also need to 2021. If she did, she’s right, change the LNB on the where did that time go? Happy dish to a wideband one. New Year! So, a new year must Yes, in theory you could Seems pointless to me. mean we’re over COVID and use a Sky Q box as a There is also a suggestion that all is well with the world, free-to-air receiver, that Sky will demand the right? Oh! Such is life. Like return of the box if no but why would you? useless governments and the subscription is attached ongoing requirement to have a to it. I’m not sure if this is booster jab to boost your last booster jab, enforced, but it’s something to be aware this column is here to stay (editor of. Just go Freesat. permitting) whether you like it or not. So, For those of you with a generic FTA settle in for the next 12 months of the satellite receiver, a new year might be the rollercoaster that is the exciting world of



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time to do a quick ‘re-scan’ of the satellite you are tuned to. Many behind the scenes changes occur that can cause you to lose channels. A quick scan of the ‘free’ channels will get you the latest channel list. You might even find a couple of new ones. For those thinking of grabbing a new TV in the sales, you need to be aware of what connections you need to have on it. For example, if you are using an older satellite receiver or DVD player that connects to your TV via a scart lead, then you need to make sure the new TV has a scart socket. Most new TVs are heavy on HDMI but short on scart. That’s all from me this month. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. Have a good one.

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One Builder

Tout Batiment Lathus - Le Dorat - Bellac - La Souterraine Dompierre-les-Églises - Saint-Léger-Magnazeix - Magnac-Laval

Registered in France 2001 05 55 60 86 62 / 06 71 78 94 34

Advertise Your Business Contact Sam or Gayle 05 17 36 15 32

Siret 434972303RM87



T. 05 55 50 52 02 E: Siret 84223310800013

Kitchens & Bathrooms Dry Lining - walls and ceilings Tiling - walls and floors Painting and decorating Wood and Laminate flooring

Siret: 49411778100018


Fully insured with 10 year guarantee Based in Dept 16 but will travel

Tel. 05 45 31 60 68 / 06 72 90 24 90 Email:

M C SCAFFOLDING Siret: 80025145600011

Full English Scaffolding Service Safe, secure, adaptable. Meets all safety regs. Covered by full public liability insurance. Delivered, erected, and dismantled Over 20 years’ experience. Free Quotes.

Depts 16, 87, part 24, 17, 79 & 86 Day: 07 85 44 26 66 / Eve: 05 45 66 49 87

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artisans Roofing / Renovations Roofing / Renovations ALL ASPECTS OF ROOFING / RENDERING & POINTING - Zinc / PVC guttering - Anti-moss - Insulation & Plaster boarding - Interior / exterior renovations For a free quotation please contact: Howard (fully bilingual, living in France since 1990, 10 yr décennale Insurance)

Tel: / Email: Depts: 87,86,16 & 23 Siret: 799 894 860 000 11

Fully registered and insured Trading in France since 2007

Call Mark for a free quotation: T: 05 55 44 71 44 / M: 06 78 60 96 16 Siret no. 493 159 412 00037

ROOFING SPECIALISTS Insurance guarantee on all work. 15 years’ experience

CONTACT: PAUL CHARLESWORTH T: 06 77 90 08 60 E: Based Saint-Junien. Covering Depts 87-16-24

Siret 489 815 258 00012

Siret : 531 655 231 00 11

Sun Terraces (traditional joinery),

Roofing, Carpentry, Stonework, Renovations & Restorations 30 yrs’ experience

Depts 16, 24, 87 Tel: 05 45 21 63 96 Email:

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PLANT HIRE Siret 5250162590018

Diggers 800kg to 2.8 tonnes Dumper 2 tonne 4wd swivel skip Roller - Whacker - Breaker etc BASED IN MESSE 79120

Tel. 06 75 18 09 13 Email:

Building Supplies, Gravel, Topsoil, Muck Away

Professional Building and Construction in France ~ Since 2006 ~ Please see our main advert on the back page for full details

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New Builds Approved Fosses Septiques Driveways / Land clearance

Renovations Foundations Lake Conformity works

South West France Fosse Trained-Approved-Recommended

by SPANC Can you trust your installation to anyone else! Over 30 years’ experience

Etudes * Conception * Surveys Maintenance * Service * Remedial

See all our work on

Siret 8234 2070 800013


I’m free…. but I could be yours Advertise Your Business

From just 35€ ttc per month etcetera 59

motors & removals Walton Coachworks 87600 Vayres Nick Walton MECHANICAL WORK ON ALL MAKES & MODELS IRRESPECTIVE OF AGE


CHABANAIS WORKSHOP Free courtesy cars - Valeting - Car storage with free airport drop offs - Cambelts - Diagnostics - Welding Electrics - Tow bars - Tyre-fitting/Punctures - A/C CT Prep - Garden Tools & Chainsaws Sharpened Email Tel. 06 01 59 60 75 Siret: 815 114 7720 0016

• Welding • Servicing • Diagnosis • Stereo & CD installation • LHD lights & tow-bars fitted • Wheel alignment • Replacement tyres & balancing • Interior & exterior valeting


• Pre-Controle Technique check • Top quality tyres (within 48 hrs) • Parts available same day or in 24hrs - less common cars 3-day delivery Tel: 07 87 65 53 11 / 05 55 78 67 02

Typically 40% cheaper than French prices

Tyre fitting, inc balancing : 12€ Tracking/Alignment : 35€ Car/Van servicing : 75€ + parts E: T: 0545 306707

siret 53821341400013

Depts 16, 86, 87 & 24 (Car & van servicing, Towbars & LHD lights) Any make of Car or Van Fully mobile service at your address

siret: 48252490700011


Full and Part Loads Relocations in France

Siret 502 021 660 00019

Packing & Storage Options

Tel: 05 49 07 24 85

Franglais Deliveries

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Family run business based in France which prides itself on a personal professional service. 7 tonne truck to and from the UK and Europe, we also have a box trailer for larger loads. Our highly experienced staff provide a door to door service with packing and dry secure storage We are a professional furniture removal company NOT a man and a van. Please call Phil and Jean Evans....

Phone (+33) 05 55 34 19 46 Mobile (+33) 06 80 75 87 14 Email Visit

motors & removals

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Weekly United Kingdom � France � Spain United Kingdom - Kent & Home Counties Storage La Souterraine / Canterbury / Lincolnshire Very competitive rates Fully Insured Call Matt on: 0044 (0)7506 457225 Email: 20+ years’ experience

A Family Run Storage Firm in the Heart of the Limousin

Advertise Your Business For as little as 35€ ttc

Brexit-busting Super Low Prices! Secure, dry, insulated storage Established 2007

Now storing cars, caravans and camping cars Call Karen for a quote on

09 66 03 52 89


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