etcetera magazine November 2023

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etcetera ISSUE 207




Grateful Gatherings Autumnal Feasts

Winter Wildlife What to Look Out For



hello & welcome

Contents 3

A note from the editors


What’s on

CONTACT US: Tel: 05 17 36 15 32

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Welcome to the November edition of etcetera magazine.


Latest news


Free time



Now the evenings are darker and the colder season is setting in, it’s time to hunker down for a few months. We can enjoy the warmth of our fires (make sure you read Kristian’s article on the recent new law) and the changing seasonal scenery around us.










Home & specialist


Getting connected




Motoring & removals





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A Note from the Editors

Commercial adverts: Please see our Media Pack at What’s On/Listings: 12€ per 50 words for a guaranteed spot or free (space permitting) Classified listing: 6€ per 25 words plus 3€ per photo Property listing: 10€ per 50 words plus 6€ per photo Code APE 5814Z Edition de Revues et Periodique Siret 80903463000016. La Présidente G. Feasey Registered. Le Bourg, 87360 Verneuil Moustiers. Impression: Rotimpres. Pol. Ind Casa Nova. Carrer Pla de l’Estany s/n. 17181 Aiguaviva (Girona) Espagne. etcetera est gratuit.

While we always do our best to ensure the content in this magazine is given in good faith and businesses are reputable, we accept no liability for any errors or omissions and do not endorse any companies, products or services. Articles written are the personal opinions of the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of etcetera magazine.

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Wishing you all a wonderful month ahead.


Gayle and Sam

Useful numbers 15 17 18

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 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. +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

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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 Women for Women in France offering support to foreign-born (non-French speaking) women dealing with domestic abuse 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

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Leaf Imprint Bowls By Gayle Feasey



Air-dry clay Rolling pin Leaf (with a prominent vein pattern) Craft knife Bowl (to shape the clay), or you can mould tin foil into your chosen ‘bowl’ shape Clingfilm or a paper towel Sandpaper (optional) Acrylic paint, water-based waxes and varnishes for decoration, sealant (optional)

1. Cover your work surface with plastic wrap to prevent the clay from sticking. Make sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before working with the clay. 2. Roll out the air-dry clay into a flat, even sheet using a rolling pin. Aim for a thickness of about 1/4 inch. 3. Place the leaf, vein side down, onto the clay. Gently press the leaf onto the clay to create an imprint. Using a craft knife, cut around the leaf imprint to create the shape of your bowl. You can choose to make the edges irregular for a more natural look. Now either with your fingers or a soft brush, smooth around the edges of the leaf, creating a soft edge. 4. Place a sheet of slightly damp paper towel or clingfilm in a bowl that suits your desired curve. Lift the clay carefully, and place the leaf in a bowl.

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Carefully peel the leaf away, leaving the leaf pattern on the clay. 5. Again, smooth the edges and adjust the form so you get the look you want. 6. Let the clay bowl air dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. This may take a day or more, depending on the thickness of the clay. 7. Once the clay is completely dry, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges and create a smoother finish. 8. If you'd like to add colour to your bowl, you can use acrylic paints to decorate it. Let the paint dry completely before using the bowl. 9. If you want to protect the finish, you can applying a clear sealant or varnish. Your air-dry clay leaf bowl is now ready to use! Use it as a decorative piece, a catchall for small items, or even as a unique gift.



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Parlez Français French conversation, vocabulary & traditions



romenons-nous dans les bois…. ! ». Qui ne connaît pas l’histoire du Petit Chaperon Rouge ? Cette année, du 23 septembre au 21 décembre, c’est l’automne dans notre hémisphère, l’une des 4 saisons (le printemps, l’été, l’automne, l’hiver).

Et dans la forêt, il y a aussi toutes sortes d’oiseaux, comme des merles, des moineaux, des rouges-gorges, des pies, des chouettes des bois, des hiboux, des geais, des mésanges…. Dès que les jours raccourcissent, les arbres commencent à se préparer à l'arrivée de l'hiver en cessant de produire de la chlorophylle, d’où les couleurs qui changent.

En campagne ou à la montagne, on trouve des promeneurs (des personnes qui aiment se promener) à la découverte des Qu’il est agréable à cette saison de chemins (petites voies dans la nature) découvrir les couleurs automnales des pour faire des balades (des promenades) arbres. Ces couleurs jaunes, oranges, ou des randonnées (à pied ou à vélo). Le rouges, si particulières, matériel indispensable comme dans ces arbres : le des promeneurs, ce chêne, le hêtre, l’érable, le sont les chaussures de Nous sommes marronnier, le châtaignier…. marche, les jumelles et d’ailleurs dans la l’appareil photo. saison pour écouter le À cette saison, on parle de l’été indien. L’été indien ou l’été En effet, dans nos brame du cerf des Indiens (expression campagnes, il n’est pas d’origine nord-américaine, en rare de voir au loin un France on parle d’été de la Saint-Martin) chevreuil, une biche voire un cerf. Nous est une période de temps ensoleillé et sommes d’ailleurs dans la saison pour radouci, après les premières gelées de écouter le brame du cerf (il attire les l’automne et juste avant l’hiver. femelles avec son cri que l’on peut entendre de loin pendant la saison des amours). Dans les bois, on peut trouver aussi des lièvres, des sangliers, des renards, des hérissons, des écureuils, des escargots, des limaces…, et autour d’un point d’eau, il peut y avoir des libellules, des grenouilles et des crapauds….

C’est également la saison des champignons. Nous pouvons en ramasser comme le cèpe, la girolle, la trompette-dela-mort…. Il est toujours bon, quand on a des doutes sur la comestibilité d’un champignon et pour ne pas se rendre malade, de se faire conseiller auprès d’une pharmacie !

Certified Translator Registered with the Court of Appeal in Limoges Based in Magnac-Laval (87)

Certified translations of birth or other certificates, driving licenses, wills, deeds, court orders, proof of income, etc

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se promener (verb)

to go for a walk les bois (m, pl) the woods le Petit Chaperon Rouge Little Red Riding Hood une saison a season le printemps the spring l’été (m) the summer l’automne (m) the autumn l’hiver (m) the winter en campagne in the countryside à la montagne in the mountains un promeneur a walker un chemin a path une voie a track

Lauren Dodds Siret 897 855 193 00016

Marjorie Barboza

Get the Vocab!

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Admin Help, Translation, Interpretation Lauren has a deep understanding of the French system and its complexities

language & assistance une balade a stroll une promenade a leisurely walk une randonnée a hike les jumelles (f, pl) / une paire de jumelles binoculars / a pair of binoculars au loin far away un chevreuil a roe deer une biche a doe voire (in this context) and even / or even un cerf a deer le brame du cerf the belling of the deer attirer (verb) to attract un cri a shout / a noise made by animals un lièvre a hare un sanglier a wild boar un renard a fox un hérisson a hedgehog

un écureuil a squirrel

raccourcir (verb) to shorten

un escargot a snail

le chêne oak tree

une limace a slug

le hêtre beech tree

un point d’eau a water source

l’érable (m) maple tree

une libellule a dragonfly

le marronnier chestnut tree

une grenouille a frog

le châtaignier sweet chestnut tree

un crapaud a toad

une gelée a frost (weather)

un oiseau / des oiseaux a bird / birds

un champignon a mushroom

un merle a blackbird

ramasser (verb) to pick up (from the ground)

un moineau / des moineaux a sparrow / sparrows

le cèpe cepe / boletus / porcini

un rouge-gorge a robin

la girolle chanterelle mushroom

une pie a magpie

la trompette-de-la-mort horn of plenty (mushroom)

une chouette des bois a wood owl / a brown owl

avoir des doutes (verb) to be in doubt

un hibou / des hiboux an owl / owls

la comestibilité the edibility

un geai a jay

se rendre malade (verb) to make yourself ill

une mésange a tit

se faire conseiller (verb) to take advice

Bonne saison et à bientôt !


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here seems, however, to be some confusion over when the custom started, who first celebrated it, and what indeed they are celebrating. Let us concentrate on the American festival. Who Held the First Thanksgiving?

whilst the Puritans wanted to be part of the Church of England but to reform it. Both, however, were Calvinists, who favoured a simple approach to worship, which included holding Fast Days as required (not of fixed dates) when they felt the need to placate God or to atone for sin, and Thanksgiving Days (again not at fixed times) when they had reason to thank God for special providence. So, to have a Thanksgiving was not an unusual thing for them, and the providence they celebrated could be safe delivery from a journey, a plentiful harvest or any good outcome of life.

First of all, we all know it was the Pilgrim Fathers who started it, right? Wrong! The first Thanksgiving was probably celebrated by Spanish colonists who landed in Florida to set up the colony of St Augustine, in September 1565. The first Thanksgiving associated with the early 17th century arrival of settlers from England took And in 1621, there It is quite evident that place at a colony in Berkeley, was plenty for the Virginia on 4th December any farming community Pilgrim Fathers to 1619, when a group of would celebrate a celebrate. They had Dissenters landed and, in landed and set up plentiful harvest obedience to the dictates of their colony on an the charter of their travel, area of land formerly gave thanks for their safe arrival in occupied by the Patuxet Tribe, who had America on the day they landed, and they died out almost completely from disease. maintained the celebration on that date One alone was left; an Indian called for years. The Pilgrim Fathers, who were Tisquantum, or, for short, Squanto. He Puritans, did not arrive until 1620 at had been a slave in Europe and so avoided Plymouth in what is now Massachusetts. the fatal plague, and, wonder of wonders, Half of them had died in the course of a he spoke a little English! He guided the rough journey under an unsympathetic settlers, showed them what was good to captain, and their first Thanksgiving was eat and what wasn’t, what could be not for a safe arrival (most of them stayed farmed, and taught them the methods of on the ship at first), but for a successful cultivation which worked in that soil and harvest, and took place probably at the climate. Sadly, Squanto took sick and died end of September in 1621. after a year, but in that year, he had saved We should look at these two groups of travellers. Both were trying to worship God in their own way. The Separatists or Dissenters wanted to be completely separate from the Church of England,

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the settlers from certain death and given them the start they needed. Their 1621 harvest was a good one. Indeed, it is recorded, “Many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their

greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted”. For What Does Thanksgiving Give Thanks? It is quite evident that any farming community would celebrate a plentiful harvest. Communities have been doing it from time immemorial, long before the Christian Church was thought of. When the Church started to spread, it found that the best way to persuade people to convert to the new way was to incorporate existing rites and celebrations into the Church calendar. Thus, the Church has a Harvest Festival, usually on the Sunday nearest to the Harvest Moon (the first full moon after the Autumn Equinox). This is usually in October. So why is American Thanksgiving in late November? Even given a longer season, in the Northern hemisphere all crops are “safely gathered in” long before November starts. The habit of having Thanksgiving celebrations was well-established by the time America became independent in 1776. They were, of course, ad hoc events and usually fairly localised. It was George Washington who in 1789 called for a National Day of Thanksgiving for the new United States. His successors John Adams and James Madison also called for a thanksgiving celebration. This observance was not, of course, regularised as the feeling was that they should be spontaneous. However, when you are dealing with an area as large as America, it


OUGH THE AGES is not easy to organise a spontaneous National celebration.

treats, as the Mayflower’s sugar supply was virtually exhausted by this time. There would have been quite a heavily maizebased cuisine, probably cranberries, possibly (though not certainly) a turkey, since these were at that time native wild birds. It depends if anyone succeeded in shooting one! There would have been fish, but other suggestions are frankly speculation.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to adopt an annual Thanksgiving Holiday. However, each state celebrated it on a different day! There were strong arguments for a proper, national holiday, led by Sarah Josephine Hale, a prolific editor and writer. You may never have heard of her, but you all know Today, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat something she wrote; “Mary had a little turkey - whether roasted, baked, or deeplamb” comes from her pen. She pestered fried - at Thanksgiving, according to the central Government for 37 years with an National Turkey Federation. Traditional endless outpouring of letters, until finally accompaniments include stuffing, mashed Abraham Lincoln, in 1863, at the height of potatoes, cranberry sauce, and greens the Civil War, issued a proclamation with, to follow, pumpkin pie. Many entreating all Americans to ask God to Americans try to reach out to those less “Commend to his tender care all those fortunate than themselves, and who have become widows, orphans, communities often hold food drives and mourners or sufferers in the lamentable host free dinners for civil strife,” and to “heal the less well-off. the wounds of the Many Americans try to nation.” He scheduled reach out to those less Commercial Thanksgiving for the last organisations have fortunate than themselves, Thursday in November, grabbed the day as a and communities often and so it stayed for many chance to selfhold food drives and host years. In 1870, Ulysses S. advertise. Macy’s Store Grant signed the free dinners holds a spectacular “Holidays Act” that made parade, with floats and it official. There was a slight glitch. In marching bands, through the centre of 1939 Franklin Roosevelt, in an attempt to New York, which is televised nationwide undo the mischief caused by the Great and is one of the “things to watch” on TV Depression, moved Thanksgiving to a during the day. Sports fixtures also week earlier in the hope that people would figure largely. start shopping earlier for Christmas and Generally speaking, Thanksgiving has lost restore the economy a bit faster. This was a lot of its religious significance, and is a immediately recognised as a naked festival of sharing with family and friends. financial ploy, and was christened It also forms a sort of starting-point for “Franksgiving”. In 1941, Roosevelt the Christmas season, as it normally falls a reluctantly restored the date to the 4th few days before Advent Sunday. In fact, Thursday, and there it stayed. there is a sort of breathless pause for those What Happens Today at Thanksgiving? few days between the two events. Children are still at school, parents are still at work, We don’t know exactly what the Pilgrim but big, commercial organisations are fathers ate at that first celebration. There gearing-up for the Festive Season. I can would have been precious few sweet

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

tell you from personal experience that it is an ideal time to visit Disney World in Florida! Does the Whole Nation Give Thanks? One jarring note is that a group of people seem to have been left out of Thanksgiving – the Native Americans. If it hadn’t been for Squanto, the lone remaining Patuxet, and later the Wampanoag Tribe who befriended the colonists, there might not have been anything to give thanks for. We can never know the full truth about the early years of the colonisation of North America. When we look closely at the facts of the colonisation of South America, and indeed the underhand and frankly inhuman treatment of the Native Americans in North America during the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the paternalistic attitudes of the 20th century, we can see that not all was, “For the best in the best of all possible worlds”. Far from it. It is invidious to make judgements about attitudes in the past, based on our modern-day stances, but undoubtedly much happened that was very wrong. Perhaps we should also give thanks that we are beginning to acknowledge these wrongs, and to try not to repeat them.

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By Belin da Princ e

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



e’ve had American guests staying at Chateau Mareuil this week. Two charming couples (who absolutely adore France) and one of the ladies celebrated her 60th birthday with a special dinner right here with us, quite an honour! I asked them about their own Thanksgiving traditions and special recipes. Roast turkey was their first answer, followed by ham and then a whole list of grandmother, great and great- great grandmother recipes. A vast variety of tasty dishes will be placed on the table for everyone to dig in and help themselves, starting with appetisers,

Each family will have their own special recipe handed down through the generations followed by the turkey, ham and all the trimmings and then finally a selection of delicious desserts. Stuffing or dressing is a very important component of the meal, the stuffing goes inside the turkey but the dressing is made, cooked and served separately in a baking dish or tray. Chopped up bread seems to be the main component, along with optional ingredients, maybe sausage-meat or chestnuts, but always celery and onions and each family will have their own special recipe handed down through the generations. A sweet potato or yam casserole, made with or without marshmallows is an essential side dish, as is cranberry sauce, and for dessert, the three most important dishes are pecan, pumpkin and apple pie (or apple crisp). So, I’ve done a little research of my own and here are some ideas that could also happily sit on the Christmas table next month…. Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Foods Cranberry Brie Tartlets Ingredients (serves 12) 2 x 230g packs of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) 110g brie 120ml cranberry sauce, homemade or from a jar* 50g raw shelled pistachios, pecans or walnuts (optional) Fresh thyme If you can’t get cranberry sauce, you could use jam, plum, fig or cherry for example* Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 200º c or 180ºc fan 2. Lightly grease a 24 serving mini muffin ti for round tartlets, or a flat baking sheet for square ones. Place the brie in the freezer for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.

3. Remove the pastry from the pack and place on a well-floured surface. For round tartlets, using a small cutter, make 24 pastry circles, slightly larger than the holes, letting the excess stick up over the edges. For square ones, just cut the pastry into 24 equal mini squares. 4. Cut the firm brie into 24 slices. Place a slice of brie in the centre of each piece of cut pastry. Top each with about 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce or jam and, if using, sprinkle with chopped pistachios, walnuts or pecans. 5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown on the edges and the cheese is bubbly. Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Top with thyme (if using).


Grandmother’s Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing Ingredients (Serves 10) 900g dry bread cubes 150g chopped celery 150g chopped onions 325g unsalted butter 2 tsp salt 1 tsp ground black pepper 1 tbsp mixed herbs 375ml chicken stock 2 large eggs

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Blue Cheese Ingredients (Serves 12) 24 large dates (ideally Medjool) 140g blue cheese (Roquefort or similar), crumbled 12 slices streaky bacon, halved crosswise 50ml maple syrup or runny honey 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary 3/4 tsp sweet paprika Pinch ground cumin 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 175º/160º fan 2. Lightly grease a 23cm x 33cm (approx.) baking dish. 3. In a large frying pan, sauté the onion and celery in the butter over a medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, or until tender.

Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 200º c or 180ºc fan 2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or foil and fit with a wire rack over it. 3. Halve the dates lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through, then remove and discard the stones. Fill the centre of each date with some of the blue cheese. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date, making sure that the ends meet underneath the date.

4. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. 4. Place the dates, bacon seam side down, on the prepared baking tray. Bake until the bacon fat is beginning to render out, for about 20 minutes.

5. Pour the butter, onion and celery mixture over the bread cubes and mix together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, rosemary, paprika, cumin, and black pepper. Drizzle each date with maple syrup mixture.

6. Spread the dressing evenly in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Continue to bake the drizzled dates until the bacon is crispy, about 15 minutes more.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or other herbs if desired. Serve warm. This is a great way to use up day old bread!

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American Pecan Pie Sweet Potato Casserole 500g sweet potatoes 125g butter, plus extra for the dish 125g dark or light soft brown sugar 150ml whole milk 3 eggs grating of nutmeg ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla essence For the topping 35g butter 75g plain flour 75g dark or light soft brown sugar 50g pecans, chopped Method 1. Fill a large pan with boiling water from the kettle and set over a medium-high heat. Carefully drop in

the whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes and cook for 30 minutes until very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain well and leave to cool for 10 mins, then peel. 2. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the peeled sweet potatoes into a large bowl, add the butter and mash with a potato masher until completely smooth. Tip in the brown sugar, milk, eggs, spices and vanilla and beat together until everything is combined and smooth. 3. Lightly butter a 20 x 30cm baking dish, then scrape in the sweet potato mixture. To make the topping, rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the brown sugar, pecans and a good pinch of salt. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sweet potato filling, then bake for 45-50 mins until golden on top.

1 x 230g pack sweet shortcrust pastry (pâte sablée) 75g butter, softened 100g caster sugar (sucre en poudre) 175g golden syrup 175g maple syrup 3 eggs, beaten ½ tsp vanilla extract 300g pecan halves Crème fraîche or ice cream, to serve Method 1. Use the pastry to line a 23cm tart tin with a removable base, Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork and chill in the fridge for 30 mins, or until firm. 2. Heat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan/gas 5. Line the pastry case with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake for 15-20 mins until the sides are set. Remove the beans

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Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients (Serves 8-10)

and parchment and return the tin to the oven for 5-10 mins until the pastry is golden and the base is set. Leave to cool. 3. Increase the oven temperature to 200ºC/190ºC fan/gas 6. Use an electric whisk to beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Keep beating while pouring in both of the syrups. Gradually add the eggs, ¼ tsp salt and the vanilla, then whisk until thoroughly combined. Stir through the pecans, then pour the mixture into the tart case. Bake for 10 mins. Turn the heat down to 160ºC/140ºC fan/gas 3 and continue baking for 30-35 mins (the pie should be golden brown and the filling should wobble a little in the centre when shaken). Leave to cool in the tin and remove carefully. Serve with crème fraîche or ice cream.

Apple and Cranberry Crisp Ingredients (Serves 6) Topping 100g plain flour (farine de blé) 50g porridge oats (flocons d’avoine) 50g flaked almonds or chopped pecans 100g butter, cut into cubes 50g brown sugar (cassonnade) ½tsp ground cinnamon Filling 8 tart eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 5mm-thick rounds 100g dried cranberries 50g caster sugar (sucre en poudre) ½ lemon, zested and juiced Crème fraîche or ice cream, to serve Method 1. Put all the topping ingredients and a pinch of sea salt in a bowl and rub

together with your fingers until combined into a crumb-like texture – this can also be done in a food processor. Chill until needed. You can make this up to 2 days in advance. 2. Toss the apples and cranberries with the sugar and lemon zest and juice until evenly coated, and tip into a 23cm round baking dish that’s at least 5cm deep, or a 20cm square dish. Flatten down with your hand and scatter over the topping. You can prepare this a day in advance - cover and keep chilled in the fridge. 3. Heat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan/ gas 5. Sit the crisp on a baking tray and bake for about 40 mins until the topping is a deep golden and the fruit is bubbling at the edges. Leave to cool for 10 mins or so, then serve with ice cream or crème fraiche.

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Importing a Vehicle from Outside the EU to France I

f you are considering bringing your vehicle from outside the European Union to France, there are several essential steps and regulations to be aware of. Navigating the process might seem daunting, but with the right knowledge, it can be a smooth and efficient experience.

goods, you can benefit from a tax exemption under certain conditions:

In compliance with French regulations, individuals staying in the country for over six months within any twelve-month period are obligated to officially register their vehicles in France and obtain French registration plates. France is therefore considered as your primary residence and non-EU citizens should be in possession of a titre de séjour.

− you are importing the vehicle within twelve months of becoming resident in France.

Understanding Import Duties and Taxes One of the first things to consider when importing a vehicle into France from a non-EU country is the payment of import duties and taxes. France imposes customs duties and value-added tax (VAT) on imported vehicles. The rate of VAT is generally 20% of the vehicle’s declared value. Additionally, customs duties are usually around 10% of the vehicle’s declared value. If you are moving to France and consider the vehicle as part of your household

− you have owned the vehicle for at least 6 months, − that all duties and taxes have already been paid,

Complying with Safety and Environmental Standards



registration documents, the purchase invoice, a proof of address in France, your ID documents, your titre de séjour, and the crossing ticket if the vehicle is transported by sea or air. Additionally, a certificate of conformity issued by the vehicle manufacturer, indicating that the vehicle meets EU standards, may also be required. Passing Vehicle Inspection and Registration

After the vehicle clears customs, it must undergo a technical inspection, known as To ensure road safety and environmental the contrôle technique. This inspection protection, imported vehicles must ensures the vehicle’s roadworthiness and comply with French standards. It is compliance with safety essential to verify whether standards. Once your your vehicle meets vehicle passes the Proper documentation European safety and inspection, you can is crucial for a smooth emissions regulations. If proceed with the import process your vehicle does not meet registration process on the these standards, ANTS website. modifications or testing Importing a vehicle from outside the EU might be necessary to obtain the to France requires careful planning, necessary certifications. attention to detail, and compliance with Preparing Required Documentation various regulations. You can successfully Proper documentation is crucial for a bring your vehicle to France and enjoy the smooth import process. To name just a scenic roads of this beautiful country, just few you will need the vehicle's original remember, patience and diligence are key.

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Let’s talk currency Sue Cook EI Regional Coordinator Centre Ouest 87600 Rochechouart +33 (0)555 036 669 +33 (0)689 992 889 E: Siret: 444 729 008 00011

English-speaking lawyer, registered before French Bar, 25 years’ experience Transfer of Property after Death - Transfer of Property after Divorce Assistance in Sales and Purchases of Property Act as Agent for the Purchase and Sale of Real Estate

Contact Laure Chaveron +33 5 55 82 18 99 / All areas of France covered.

Helen Booth works as a financial adviser for deVere France S.a.r.l and has lived as well as owned property in the Deux-Sèvres region. Having worked in the financial services in the UK for over 15 years, Helen prides herself in being fully diploma-qualified for the services that she provides. Helen has lived and worked in France for over 8 years and enjoys being part of deVere France S.a.r.l., a division of one of the world’s leading independent financial consultancies, deVere Group. With over $10 billion of funds under its advice and administration and with more than 80,000 clients around the world, deVere Group truly offers a myriad of unique products and notes that are not available anywhere else in the market. This, as Helen puts it, gives clients the pick of the crop when it comes to investing.

deVere France S.a.r.l. are regulated by ANACOFI-CIF and ORIAS which will only recommend French regulated products.

deVere France can advise you on ways to help safeguard and increase your wealth, as well as helping with HMRC-recognised pension transfers to a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pensions scheme (QROPS) to give you potentially more flexibility in your pension plans.

If you would like to know more about how deVere France can help you, contact

Helen Booth DipPFS , EFA

: +33 (0) 77 171 2879 :

Dénomination sociale: deVere France S.a.r.l, RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registre avec ANACOFI-CIF (Association Nationale des Conseils Financiers). Nombre enregistré: E008176, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers. Courtier d’assurances ou de réassurance, Catégorie B, inscrit à l’Organisme pour le Registre des Intermédiaires en Assurance (ORIAS) numéro enregistré 12064640. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances. Registered name: deVere France S.a.r.l, registered company number RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registered with ANACOFI-CIF (National Association of Financial Advisers). Registered number: E008176, association approved by the Financial Markets Authority. Insurance and re-insurance brokers, Category B, registered with the Organisation for the Registration of Assurance Intermediaries (ORIAS). Registered number 12064640. Financial and Professional Liability Insurance Guarantee conforms to article L 541-3 of the Monetary and Fiscal Code and L 512-6 and 512-7 of the Assurance Code. 6XKWSX •V1.1/230418

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Why a Financial Review Is Crucial G

lobal markets seem to have taken up shop at an amusement park with thrilling roller coaster rides. The all too regular seeming ups, downs, and loop de loops caused by political or economic incidents are more the norm than the exception these days. It’s very easy for investors to panic and want to check their portfolio to see which fund is showing returns or running a loss. If at any time you are nervous or concerned about your investments, asset classes, fund performance or returns, chat with your financial advisor. What Is a Financial Review? A financial review is when investors consult with a wealth advisor to look over their financial portfolio to see if it is performing, to make any adjustments according to market conditions and their situation, to check if their risk profile is still the same, and to see whether they are still on track with their financial goals. Why Have a Financial Portfolio Review?

change the weighting of your risk profile. Rebalancing entails bringing funds back into balance, e.g. Your portfolio follows a balanced risk profile with an equal allocation. Over the last year, your equities or stocks have performed well and given good returns. This will increase the number of equities in your portfolio. Because equities are a higher-risk investment, the increased equity returns have pushed your balance portfolio into a more aggressive and riskier risk class. Your advisor then sells off some of the equities and buys more bonds to regain the correct ratio and return it to a balanced risk profile. The higher the equity weighting or allocation, the higher the risk. Equities have a history of producing higher returns but are also riskier. Also, as you get closer to retirement, your wealth consultant will help shift your portfolio from a wealth-building risk profile to a wealth-preservation risk profile. This means reducing the higherrisk investments and adding more conservative funds to reduce volatility.

Because life is unpredictable, and situations change in our personal lives and globally. Your portfolio When Should You Review needs to adapt to the Your Portfolio? Life is unpredictable, changing financial and situations change in It is important to have a landscape. Regular our personal lives major annual review with maintenance is necessary quarterly or bi-annual and globally for anything to function check-ups depending on the optimally, e.g. regular complexity of your vehicle maintenance keeps it performing portfolio. But there are also other times at an optimum level. A review helps that circumstances might affect your identify any issues that your portfolio portfolio and solicit a review. might have or could develop in the future. When markets go wild – When there are Funds Fitness check – Are your significant shifts in the markets in any investments healthy? Some of your funds direction, it’s best to see your financial might not be performing so well. Your advisor to see how it will affect your advisor analyses how funds are performing portfolio and future planning. and decides if they are still in line with your financial goals. Over the last year, there might be new funds that suit your investment needs better. They will check if your investments are still tax efficient, as you may have moved abroad or tax laws have changed.

When tax laws change – Changing tax laws and regulations can affect the effectiveness of your portfolio’s structure. Your advisor might have to shift your investments into more tax-efficient jurisdictions or use more tax-efficient vehicles.

Your circumstances may have changed, and you might want to invest more money or make more significant contributions towards retirement savings and wealth building, e.g. you got a promotion and your income is higher, you received a large bonus or an inheritance, or perhaps you got married and wish to increase your retirement contributions to cover two retirees instead of one.

When your personal finances change – If your financial circumstances change, you need to review your portfolio. Your income might have increased; you might have received a large bonus, inherited money, started a business, or even upgraded your lifestyle.

Rebalancing – As markets change over time, certain asset classes or sectors perform better than others. This may


Danger: Over checking your portfolio can lead to panic and irrational decisions. Volatility is short-term. Investments are long-term commitments and will ride the ups and downs in the market. Keep the end goal in sight. What Is Covered in a Review? A review aims to take stock of your financial portfolio and circumstances and make any necessary changes or additions. Aspects that are covered in a review include: Budgeting and managing your debt – Ensuring that any debt is managed efficiently and that you have a payment plan in place. Creating a comprehensive budget for your finances is essential to determine affordability and start saving. Wealth management – Establishing a comprehensive wealth-building plan, including saving, investing and retirement planning. Managing your risk – Asking the right questions to determine your correct risk profile and the right asset class balance. Tax planning – Ensuring that your global portfolio is structured as tax efficiently as possible. Estate planning – Leaving your legacy behind requires structured planning of your estate, including will drafting, beneficiaries, and estate or inheritance tax planning. Having regular reviews is vital for the financial health of your portfolio. Please note, the above is for educational purposes only and does not constitute advice. You should always contact your independent financial advisor 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.

When you change countries – Moving to another country may affect your portfolio. Country finance regulations differ, and you might need to move your portfolio into a different jurisdiction or restructure it so it is compliant.

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eceiving an URSSAF (Union de recouvrement des cotisations de Sécurité sociale et d'allocations familiales) inspection letter is always stressful. And for good reason, nearly 7 out of 10 controls result in a discrepancy and therefore supplementary cotisations to pay. In 2021, the overall amount of underpayment of social contributions reached a new record: €789.4 million in one year. URSSAF Control: Why? URSSAF is an organisation responsible for the collection of social security contributions from businesses. These resources are used to finance pensions, health costs and social benefits. The purpose of an URSSAF check is to validate that your business has declared and paid its social security contributions. Any company or sole trader who makes a social security declaration or pays contributions may be subject to an URSSAF audit: − Employers, − Self-employed workers, − Associations... URSSAF inspections can take place on site, on the business’s premises, or be a paper control by post. How Long Does an Inspection Last: New Rules in 2023 From 1st January 2023, the duration of URSSAF inspections is limited to 3 months for businesses with less than 20 employees. Two new exceptions to the control timings have been added: ▪ in the event that the documentation is sent or submitted by the business more than 15 days after having received a request by the controller, ▪ or where the controller's visit has been postponed at the request of the business. It is essential to be reactive as soon as you receive the inspection warning. The time limit does not apply to situations of undeclared work, in the event of an obstacle to inspect, in the context of abuse of rights, or if the accounting is insufficient or the documentation is unusable. Urssaf Control: Main Reasons 4 main reasons for discrepancies for an URSSAF audit can be identified. 1. Undeclared work The concealing of salaried employment remains one of the most common grounds for control, both in terms of the number of

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URSSAF INSPECTIONS controls and amounts recovered. Indeed, the fight against undeclared cash work is one of URSSAF’s priorities. Among the controls for this reason, there is often an absence of social declarations and DPAEs (Déclaration Préable a l’Embauche) or pay slips.

receipts related to the reimbursement of professional expenses in order to prove their veracity.

3. Reduced Social Contributions

Social legislation is complex and it is not always easy to apply it properly. This is why URSSAF recognises the right to make mistakes. If you made an honest mistake, i.e. without intent to defraud, and the amount of the adjustment is not too large, no penalty is applied. In addition, you have a period if you disagree with certain observations made by the URSSAF to challenge them. For any control, you will need to prepare the necessary documents for the inspection. You can be supported by an accountant in this task, who should assist you during the inspector's visit and defend your interests and, if necessary, contests the claims by the administration.

I recommend that you find out what the rules and limitations are. Be familiar with the limits of the tax exemptions for business expenses(travel expenses, meal 2. Renumeration not subject to expenses, allowances, etc.). Also, make contributions sure that you keep the necessary supporting documents. If you are Many inspections concern elements of reimbursing mileage, you must keep a salary that have not been subject to social copy of the vehicle registration document contributions when they for the vehicle in should be, such as question, as well as bonuses, benefits in kind, The purpose of an URSSAF a detail list of etc. (benefits in kind check is to validate that your kilometres, dates covers, for example, meals and reasons for that or accommodation). In business has declared and destination. particular, the allocation paid its social Similarly, of gifts and vouchers, security contributions restaurant bills holiday vouchers, holiday participations, price related to business reductions for travel, the entertainment must financing of supplementary pensions and mention the names of the guests, their protection schemes, etc. company and the reason for the invitation. The reduction in employers' part of the contributions – or Loi Fillon reduction – remains a recurring reason for inspection. Its complexity often leads to errors that require corrections. 4. Professional expenses It is not easy to apply the regulations concerning professional expenses, so it’s complicated to enforce in this area. The vast majority of controls in this area focus on unjustified reimbursements e.g. meal expenses for employees who were not in a travel situation, amounts reimbursed that are too great, etc. Be sure to always keep



so with the assurance vie, they can receive up to €152500 as well as the €100 000 allowance.

Assurance Vie Savings Account F

irst things first - no, this is not life insurance! Assurance vie is a savings/ investment account. Assurance vie savings accounts have been so successful that today there are over €1.5 trillion invested in assurance vie policies. Over 22 million individuals have either invested lump sums or save regularly using this instrument.

Basically, when you open an assurance vie policy you name the beneficiary(ies). So when you eventually die, the money left on your policy is given directly to the beneficiary(ies ) without going through the notaire. For your money in the bank, the delay can be up to 6 months (time for the notaire to sort out the inheritance). In the Assurance vie, it is 2-3 weeks after reception of the necessary paperwork (death certificate, passport).

To understand the success of this product, we need to look no further than the tax Death duties advantages: I can hear some advantages that it offers. Avoiding paying of you saying “2015 change of law!” Well tax is a number one think again! As the changes hobby in France and the of August 2015 will allow assurance vie allows you This is the perfect solution you to be able to choose the if you want to leave to do it legally! So, unless inheritance law of your you want to generously something to unrelated country of birth (instead of help the French French) but the tax will beneficiaries government (in paying always be French tax so if back their debt) by you decide to leave some money to your paying tax that French people themselves nephew instead of your rightful children, avoid paying, you should look at your nephew will have to pay 55% after an this properly! allowance of €8 000. General information: It’s a savings/ investment account. The money you invest is available at any time. You name beneficiaries when you set it up. You are only taxed on interest, not capital. You can set up regular monthly/quarterly or yearly withdrawals from it. You can invest in it in one lump sum or in regular monthly amounts or both). Inheritance advantages: Before I talk about the wonderful tax advantages, note that the main benefit of this policy is that it overrides French inheritance law.

The assurance vie allows you to leave money to anyone you want and as much as €152 500 per beneficiary. They are then taxed at 20% on what is above the 152 500 euro instead of the % taxed otherwise (55% for nephews, 35% for siblings). This is the perfect solution if you want to leave something to unrelated beneficiaries such as friends or stepchildren, who would otherwise pay death duties at 60%. But this is also a good solution for leaving money to children as they can only receive up to €100 000 each before death duties

Do bear in mind that if you are French resident, all movable assets come under French inheritance law so your savings in the UK will be subject to French inheritance tax and law. Finally, note that it is better that all the money is put in before you are 70 years old as the tax advantage for the money invested after 70 is then €30 500 for all beneficiaries combined. Income tax advantages: Most French people use this product in order to prepare for their pension because once the policy has reached 8 years old, you can withdraw money with an annual tax free allowance of €4 600 if you are single or €9 200 if you are married. This allowance is for the interest part of the withdrawal so you can take out much more per year and that means you can have regular complementary income tax free (apart from social charges). Example: You have opened an assurance vie with €10 000. After 8 years, you have made €5 000 and you make a withdrawal of €3 000. The taxable amount would be: 3 000-(10 000x3 000/15 000) =€1 000. It is less than €4 600 therefore you have no tax to pay on this withdrawal. If the contract was less than 8 years old, you would have to declare this amount on your French tax return (filled in May the following year or choose the flat tax so tax taken directly from the assurance vie). If you don’t pay tax in France, chances are you won’t pay tax on it anyway. Note that the interest is not taxed (income tax) as long as it stays in the policy so if you don’t make any withdrawals, you are not taxed. Social charges at 17.2% (or less if you have an S1) are taken automatically each year on the interest part of the assurance vie

Isabelle Want 06 17 30 39 11 Email: isabelle.want 22 rue Jean Jaures. 16700 Ruffec Tél:+33 (0)5 45 31 01 61

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business which is invested on Fond Euro (totally secured). For the part of your investment in shares/bonds/funds, the social charges are only taken when you make a withdrawal and only on the taxable amount. How it is invested and what do you earn: You can invest in Fond Euro (totally secured) or in shares, bonds, funds. At whatever percentage you would like. The Fond Euro which is all secured is earning around 0.7% after social charges and management fees (it is roughly the same in every company). This is because Fond Euro is mainly government bonds which are around zero now! The shares/bonds/funds depend on the market! And I can’t see the future. Note that the CAC40 (French equivalent to the FTSE 100) has made +44% in the last 5 years (as of 20/12/2023). This is a long term investment so you can lose one year but past performances prove that you win in the long term. The interest on the secured part is given on the 31st of December each year. What is wrong with it: Well, nothing is perfect in life! So, you also need to know the disadvantages of it. Firstly, it can cost money to set it up. There is an entry fee

There is an entry fee for opening this account and every time you add money to it for opening this account and every time you add money to it (normally 4.5% of the amount you invest). But this entry fee is negotiable (although most insurance companies and banks won’t tell you that). Yes, of course with me it is very negotiable! The entry fee with me is very low (even zero if a big amount). Be very careful with this as some companies do not bother to tell you up front and you will only realise once the money is invested that there was an entry fee! There is also a management fee (around 0.90%) taken yearly. Finally, it is more like a long-term savings account, as a withdrawal can take up to 2 weeks, so this is not to be used as a current account. Conclusion: This is a brilliant product, but you need to look if it is made for you or not. I always like to look at people’s personal situation (family structure, finance, projects, etc.) to check if it is suitable for them. This appraisal is free so don’t hesitate to contact me for any further information on this subject. And note that as a broker, I use different companies which allows us to choose from a wide range of different assurance vie; some have stop loss options to protect from market crashes, some offer a guaranteed income for pensions, some secure your gains, etc.

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Unleashing Local Magazine Advertising for Tradespeople


n the digital age, getting caught up in online strategies is easy. However, traditional advertising methods can still pack a powerful punch, especially for selfemployed tradespeople. Local magazines offer a unique and often overlooked opportunity for self-employed tradespeople to reach their target audience effectively. “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time” Henry Ford Let's look at how self-employed tradespeople can maximise their advertising impact in local magazines. Know your audience: Understanding your target audience is vital to creating a compelling advert. Self-employed tradespeople should consider the demographics and interests of the local readership. What are their needs? What problems can your services solve? Tailor your message accordingly.

Consistency with Branding: Your advertisement should align with your overall branding. Use the same colours, fonts, and logo as your other marketing materials to create a cohesive and recognisable image. Call to Action [CTA]: Include a strong CTA encouraging readers to act. Whether it's calling for a free devis, visiting your website, or mentioning a special offer, make it clear what you want readers to do next. Use testimonials/reviews: Positive feedback from satisfied clients can go a long way to building trust. Include brief testimonials or snippets from online reviews to bolster your credibility.

Monitor and adjust: Advertising in local magazines often requires a longer lead time than digital marketing. Monitor the effectiveness of your ads and be prepared to make adjustments. Ask new clients Stopping advertising how they heard about you to gauge the impact of your to save money is like print advertising.

Craft a compelling message: Your advertisement should be concise and attentionstopping your watch Measure ROI: While grabbing. Use clear and to save time tracking the direct impact of persuasive language to print advertising can be highlight your unique challenging, try to measure selling points. Focus on the return on investment (ROI) by the benefits of your services and how they monitoring the number of inquiries or can improve your potential clients' lives. leads generated through your ads. Eye-catching design: The visual aspect Self-employed tradespeople can make a of your advertisement is crucial. Invest in significant impact from consistent professional design services if necessary to advertising in local magazines. Remember ensure your ad stands out. Use highthat print advertising is a long-term quality images that showcase your work strategy. Be patient and persistent to and a layout that is easy to read and maximise its impact on your business. visually appealing.





Amanda is a registered Naturopathic Nutritionist and Nutrigenomics Practitioner. Gut, Digestion and Microbiome Specialist Email:


tress is a word that covers a multitude of meanings to many people. We all have differing tolerances to stress and for some people one situation can be extremely stressful while other people breeze on through or even thrive in and enjoy that same situation (take bungee jumping for example).

We have a well developed stress response system which served us well around ten thousand years ago. When we are triggered into the fight or flight state, our body expects us to either need energy to run as fast as possible away from the advancing man-eating tiger or to need energy to fight for our life. In order to have The problem is that we Stress is broadly defined as this ready energy, the acute or chronic. Acute stress aren’t living in caves and body dumps a kind of is often in the moment, a running away from mansugar called glucose response to a stressful trigger. eating tigers in the into the bloodstream. It’s easy to think of things that modern world This is instant energy cause us instant stress. An which our fast unexpected bill lands on the doormat, we beating heart gets quickly around the body are held up for an important meeting in to be used in the muscles for whatever we traffic, or we knock something over by are about to do. accident and it smashes. In those triggering moments our sympathetic The problem is that we aren’t living in nervous system is activated and we enter caves and running away from man-eating into what is called the fight or flight state. tigers in the modern world. We aren’t

using up all that ready stress energy to fight off a pack of hungry wolves from our camp. So where does all that sugar go? When sugar is released into our bloodstream it is known as blood sugar. If this goes too high, we can develop hyperglycemia which can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage. The pancreas releases insulin which brings down the blood sugar. Insulin causes sugar to be stored as fat and it is essential for a healthy metabolism. People with Type 1 Diabetes cannot produce insulin so they are dependent on taking insulin for life. If the body is exposed to too much insulin over too long a period of time though, our

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health you need easily. Throwing away, selling or gifting things you don’t need any more, not hoarding unneeded items ‘just in case’. (Marie Kondo has written many excellent books on tidying.) 4. Having strategies for the stressful moments like box breathing Box breathing is a technique involving four long breaths. Slowly in and count to four and slowly out and count to four. Imagine that each breath is drawing a line to create a box. Breathe in - imagine a line sideways. Breathe out - imagine the line going down. Breathe in - the line comes back parallel to your top line. Breathe out your line goes up to join the corner where you started. You can repeat this several times until you feel calmer. There is a growing body of research showing that breathing techniques are highly effective for stress management. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.) Other lifestyle changes that are proven to reduce stress include: − Regular exercise − Eating a wholefood diet, rich in Omega-3 and healthy animal proteins − Getting regular sleep − Being in nature at least once a day pancreas gets ‘desensitised’ to the levels and stops responding as well. This is called insulin resistance and is the pathway through to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. The dance between blood sugar and insulin is part of what we call the metabolism and is considered to be at the root cause of most cancers, heart disease, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, and cardiovascular diseases, some scientists have recently called Alzheimer's disease Type 3 Diabetes. So, if we imagine that every time we experience stress and we cannot burn off the sugar that is released, we also have insulin being released to keep the blood sugar in a careful safe balance. That, coupled with our unnatural diets of refined carbohydrates, processed foods, sugary drinks all day long, sugary or carbohydrate based snacks throughout the day plus sedentary lifestyles, and we start to see the effects of stress on our body over time. Stress that is constant like chronic pain, a boss that you don’t get on with or being in a job you hate, a lack of exercise, unresolved trauma, a poor diet is also a stress, chronic illness, nutritional deficiencies. These all come under the category of chronic stress and most of us have a number of chronic stressors. Imagine you have a rucksack and each of these stressors represents a rock. Over time, you are gathering more and more

rocks which weigh you down. Management of stress is an essential part of being healthy, taking the rocks out of the backpack will lighten the load overall.

Some techniques for stress management include:

− Being a part of a community − Having a creative outlet like journalling, painting or writing − Sex and intimacy − Spirituality and meaning, connecting to a higher purpose

When we are stressed our body uses up vitamins and minerals at a higher rate. In Many of us find it hard to say no when particular our immune system is people ask us to do things for them. suppressed which is why we often become Learning how to kindly but firmly decline ill following periods of intense stress. requests that are going to put too much Ensuring that we have a diet with a large pressure on you is an range of fruits and important way to set vegetables, herbs and boundaries. Healthy spices, and healthy A lot of stress is caused boundaries mean that animal proteins with unnecessarily by a lack of you are caring about healthy fats and oils, helpful systems will give us the solid your own workload and foundation to navigate taking care of yourself. the inevitable ups and 2. Avoiding downs we all have to contend with. self-sabotage The vitamins in particular that are useful Making decisions that you know your to cope with stress are the B vitamins; a future self will thank you for is a great life quality broad spectrum B complex can be strategy. Choosing to go to sleep at the useful. Zinc and magnesium. Vitamin C to right time. Saying no to the chocolate bar boost the immune system and of course that you kind of fancy but know will regret Vitamin D3 which is used in many body later. Showing up for your workouts. systems and which many people are deficient in. Only take supplements under 3. Being organised the guidance of a health professional. A lot of stress is caused unnecessarily by a lack of helpful systems. Like having one These articles are for information purposes place for your keys all of the time and only and do not constitute personal advice. putting them there, helping you to avoid For personalised advice, reach out to the stress of losing keys and being late. your healthcare provider. Making sure you create a filing system for Feel free to contact me for individual your papers so that you can find the things consultations (contact details on page 25). 1. Learning to say “No”!

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here are many and varied ways to make your garden a welcoming place for nature and humans; these will include water management, choice of plants, and installation of shelter and cover for wildlife. Take time this winter to see what you can do to protect, preserve, and improve the biodiversity in your garden. A garden is where you can feel alive and improve your personal health. It is also a place which now needs to adapt to climate change, so why not increase the interest in your garden and help to preserve nature? Action to promote biodiversity is within everyone's reach, by taking some very simple steps: ▪ Welcoming wildlife ▪ Adapting to climate change and managing water ▪ Growing plants suited to your garden and encouraging pollinators ▪ Using biodiversity in your vegetable garden as a way of working There is always something to marvel at in the garden – watching flowers grow, birds, bees and butterflies feeding, and insects and lizards crawling! Once you do this you can realise the significance of biodiversity in the garden. This is essentially what permaculture and organic gardening offer – but you may need to learn to unlearn! Welcoming Wildlife It’s not difficult to slightly adjust our gardens and gardening habits to make our gardens attractive to hedgehogs, birds, lizards, frogs, and bats. The hedgehog is an excellent growing aid, though its life is fraught with pitfalls, but we can all make our garden welcoming to this little mammal. A hedgehog-friendly garden is an ecological garden! Start by banishing chemicals from your garden slug pellets, ant powder, insecticides, rat poisons, herbicides, and chemical fertilisers kill the potential prey of the hedgehog and risk poisoning it at the same time. Instead, use natural products: ash against slugs, coffee grounds as aphid repellent (and fertiliser), and nettle manure as fertiliser. Think positively plants and features in the garden will encourage the hedgehog; hedges provide shelter and nesting materials; flowering plants and shrubs can provide shelter and encourage insects, the hedgehog’s main food; store a pile of wood against a wall with a space underneath to provide shelter from wind and rain.

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!

through. Try to keep the soil surface open Our bird populations are declining at an to reduce runoff. alarming rate but some action from us will help them to survive. In the winter, put Growing Plants Suited to Your Own out food on a regular basis, providing Garden and Encouraging Pollinators high-energy (high-fat) foods to maintain It is important now, more than ever, to their fat reserves to survive the frosty buy or propagate plants which will survive nights. During the summer months, birds and prosper in our changing climate. require high protein foods especially while Drought-tolerant plants, usually native to they are moulting, such as black sunflower dry regions such as the Mediterranean, seeds, pinhead oatmeal, soaked sultanas, have evolved to thrive in dry soils with raisins and currants, mild grated cheese, little rainfall. With climate change and mealworms, waxworms, extreme weather events mixes for insectivorous such as drought birds, and good seed A garden is where you can increasing, growing mixtures without drought-resistant feel alive and improve loose peanuts. plants means you can your personal health still have an attractive Birds need water for garden during a drinking and bathing. This hosepipe ban. But it is still possible to is particularly important during the winter have a lovely garden with drought-tolerant when natural supplies may be frozen and plants and your plant palette may be even in dry, hot weather during the summer more colourful than you expected! The key when water can be hard to find. Water to thing to find is plants which benefit from bathe in is just as important, especially in lean, well-drained conditions, but be winter. Keeping a bird bath clean helps to warned many plants in these groups don’t prevent birds catching diseases and you like to be very wet in winter. Droughtshould clean your bird bath regularly and tolerant plants do not remove the need for change the water. some water; it’s just that they will survive Adapting Your Garden to Climate and even thrive with a little neglect! Change and Managing Water Drought-resistant plants are also useful The climate is changing, and we are all for growing in a sunny border with freedraining soil, and work well in lowalready facing it in our daily lives. Heat maintenance planting schemes such as waves, windy episodes, late frosts, gravel gardens. They can save you time, prolonged droughts are becoming longer too – for example, you can avoid a lot of and more frequent. We can each change back-breaking watering by using droughtour practices and our living environment resistant plants in container displays. to adapt to these changes and help limit them. Water management is one of the And finally pollinators allow the crucial issues. Flowers produce less nectar reproduction of wild and cultivated plants, in times of drought, so keeping your plants by carrying their pollen from one plant to watered will help ensure that bees and another. Honeybees are the most easily other pollinators don’t suffer. recognised pollinator but in France there are nearly 1000 species of wild bees and a The first objective is to collect as much multitude of other insects that provide rainwater as possible to water the plants. pollination. All of these depend on the There are lots of different shapes and sizes nectar and pollen of flowers. The use of of water butts available, including some insecticides and the destruction of natural very large underground ones. Once you habitats have been collapsing pollinator have saved your water the next important populations for several decades. Doing thing is to use it in the best and most without plant protection products is an effective way. The key tips to maximise essential first step. Not all "natural" or your use of water are quite simple - mulch "organic" products are harmless: vinegar, the soil to help retain moisture, water salt, biological insecticides, etc., have an early in the morning or later in the impact on the soil and it is important to be evening, and protect the garden from the well informed before using a product, even wind. Most soil can absorb moisture, "homemade", and to respect the though very sandy soils will need lots of prescribed doses. humus adding to retain moisture. But problems do arise when the rain is very A good idea to welcome biodiversity to the sudden and very heavy and the moisture garden? Let the natural dynamics happen and observe! runs off the soil before it can drain

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Sarcococca, the 'Sweet Box'

Bee-Friendly Winter Garden

Caroline W right Le jardin cr éatif

Caroline has been a lecturer in horticulture for 20 years and now runs a nursery and ‘garden craft’ courses in the Haute-Vienne at Le jardin créatif



nectar to replenish their dwindling t has also made us even more aware of planting and management of our garden supplies and to prepare for the new season of laying thousands of eggs and generating in order to supply the bees with pollen and new workers. They will be nectar all year round. drawn towards flowering Although we have always It is no coincidence that plants by their scent and been very keen on winter many winter flowering colour. It is no coincidence interest plants ourselves and have deliberately plants are highly scented that many winter flowering planted winter flowering plants are highly scented; it is nature’s way of signalling plants for the bees as well as for our benefit, we have been learning that there is a supply of food to attract the pollinators. On a still day bees can detect just how important this is for the wild bees as well as our honey bees. the scent from up to 2 km away! On warm winter days bees will become active and start looking for pollen and

30 34 etcetera etcetera

We have found that we can actually hear the buzzing of many bees on some of the

best bee plants that we have in the garden before we can see or smell the plant! Here are some recommendations of plants that the bees ‘make a beeline’ for and that also add scent and colour to our winter planting schemes. I will start with two outstanding shrubs that provide masses of highly scented flowers in the deepest darkest months that are also lovely in winter flower arrangements: Lonicera fragrantissima – this is a shrubby honeysuckle. It doesn’t climb but makes a medium sized shrub with arching

garden Bee collecting nectar from ivy flowers

lonicera fragrantissima

stems. At each leaf node it produces pairs of creamy white flowers. They are not as showy as the climbing honeysuckles, but they are just as fragrant, and produce flowers from late December through to April. Second in line is Sarcococca confusa. This low, spreading evergreen is known as the ‘Christmas Box’ because its shiny green leaves and growth habit resemble the Box plant commonly used as hedging, but it is in full flower at Christmas again with masses of scented flowers produced at every node. It makes a lovely posy for the Christmas table too. Helleborus orientalis also begin flowering very early in the new year and although they are not as scented, they are a valuable early flower for your borders as well as for the bees. With good pollination they self-seed quite happily and over a few years they will form carpets of delightful early colour.

Helleborus orientalis Mahonia x media

All of the winter Viburnums as described in my article last month, but for me Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is the best for scent and Viburnum tinus is also a vital source of pollen and nectar. Mahonia x media cultivars – a large spiky evergreen shrub that produces long spires of scented yellow flowers. It does need a bit of space but if you have room, it is another excellent winter nectar plant.

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garden Allow daisies to grow in your lawn

Pack your borders with spring bulbs and naturalise them in meadow areas, starting with the snowdrops and aconites and followed with the crocuses and hyacinths. Leave some areas of your garden to ‘rewild’ allowing wildflowers to grow and adding winter cover for ground living bees. Actively encourage clover, daisies, buttercups, and violets in lawn areas and cut them less frequently. Daisies start flowering from late January, closely followed by the clover which is a favourite of bees - it will also help to keep your lawn looking green during the dry weather as it adds nitrogen to the soil. We have a large wildflower meadow area close to our beehives but this year we have also experimented with leaving our small lawn much longer

Actively encourage clover, daisies, buttercups, and violets in lawn areas and cut them less frequently between mowing - it may not look as neat but we try to demonstrate low environmental impact management of our garden. We have also noticed an increase in other wildlife since we started this practice, many more different species of butterflies and moths, and a huge increase in the number of glow worms. Another plant often thought of as a weed is ivy. While it can be a little invasive, it is an excellent nectar plant and is the last nectar of the growing season for the bees before they settle down for winter, so avoid clearing it too much, and if you have to remove it, do so in deep winter when it has finished providing nectar for our buzzy bees. Bee collecting nectar from Vinurnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

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Our nursery is now closed until early March, but you can still browse our plant list online and order plants for collection. We will open again in early March when you will still be able to see our winter borders in full swing. Also check out our website for our Christmas workshops:

latest news


MUSHROOM PICKING Last year, just under 2000 mushroom poisonings were reported in the latter half of the year. Experts are warning people not to use Smart phone ID apps as these can be inaccurate. Unless you are certain that you know what you are doing, take the mushrooms to your pharmacist who will be able to identify it for you. Pharmacists should have knowledge of over 100 mushroom species as part of their mycology training.

Pharmacists and doctors have received another warning from France's medicines safety authority, ANSM, against prescribing certain cold remedies due to safety concerns. This advice is endorsed by general practitioners, pharmaceutical authorities, and unions. In extremely rare instances, these medications may result in severe side effects. These drugs are already deemed unsafe for individuals with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, a history of stroke or convulsions, heart issues, hyperthyroidism, ocular glaucoma, and during pregnancy. The director of ANSM, Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil, told Le Parisien that heart attacks and strokes can happen following their usage. The risk, though minimal, exists irrespective of the dosage and treatment duration. Her message to everyone in France is clear: stop using them. The medicines to avoid are those in tablet form that aim to stop a runny nose (decongestants), including: Nurofen Rhume, Rhinadvil Rhume, Dolirhume, Actifed Rhume, Humex Rhume (decongestants containing pseudoephedrine).

FINES NOT POINTS France will eliminate the double penalty of fines and points deduction for minor speeding offenses up to 5km/h over the limit starting January 1, 2024. While fines remain, the points deduction, applicable on roads with speed limits of 50km/h or higher, will be abolished. The legal amendment is expected to alleviate administrative

responsibilities for resident drivers holding foreign licenses. Currently, you are obligated to exchange your licence for a French one if you incur point-related penalties. With the elimination of points being deducted, minor speeding offences should no longer require a switch to a French license as of next year. etcetera 35

free time

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free time

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Autumn Opportunities

preferable. Hook links of between 30cm and 60cm will be suitable and the lead weight should always be attached with a sliding arrangement, never fixed.

My tactics are to fish in locations that I have previously checked out and found to be suitable. In order to avoid scaring any fish already present, my first cast is made using a small bait without any pre-baiting. By Clive Kenyon If I believe the location to be good then I don’t see any point in frightening them AFTER ANOTHER HOT, DRY SUMMER WE SHOULD NOW BE ENTERING away by using a large feeder or piling in a kilo of bait. Our local barbel are not street A PERIOD WHEN ANGLING IS MORE COMFORTABLE AND HOPEFULLY wise like their English counterparts and MORE PRODUCTIVE are possibly more likely to initially spook at a feeder or bombardment. Fishing with feeders can be a good tactic in open water, employed. Barbel can often be found ovember provides opportunities for but I find that this method also attracts where faster water runs alongside slower species like roach, perch, and of bream, chub, and carp. When specifically water, called a crease or seam, and almost course the larger predators, pike and after larger barbel I try to avoid using always where the river bed is sand, gravel, zander. The metabolism of our fish is feeders or ground bait and rely on my or stony. choice of the location. After around 30 slowing down as temperatures drop so we minutes without a bite then I make a use less bait in order to not overfeed them. Barbel are mostly bottom feeders, almost choice of trying another swim or using the Quality, not quantity, is important. Fish exclusively so in the winter months as bait and wait tactic. In France good swims will be found in deeper water and on lakes there are no suspended pupa drifting in can be very few and very far between so the best place is often facing the wind the water column. They feed methodically, moving can entail packing up and driving when that wind is warmer than the working upstream using their four elsewhere. Bait and wait can be a good ambient temperature. That goes for barbules to probe for food items that are option in these circumstances. That could cyprinids and predators. Too often you see found in or just under involve using a bait anglers choosing to fish for their own the sand, gravel, or dropper to add some comfort when the most productive stony river bed. A Our local barbel are not hemp seeds, micro pellets, locations are on the opposite shore. On barbel’s mouth is street wise like their and other particles, or rivers the increased flow can provide good underslung so that the more usually just sport for those trotting for dace or roach English counterparts fish cannot see what it attaching a small PVA bag that, along with chub, will often take a bait is taking into its mouth. full of mixed pellets to the on even the coldest days. That is why it has the rig and re-casting along sensitive barbules. This also gives the The Prince of Fishes with a fresh hook bait. It is all about intelligent angler the edge when trying to confidence in the location. Barbel bites Barbel have been a passion of mine for avoid the attentions of chub and bream can be violent affairs and so it is over 50 years and this month historically when barbel fishing. Using small particles imperative to be able to reach the rod has been associated with captures of larger such as micro pellets, hemp seed, and when a bite occurs otherwise it could be fish. During the summer months the small maggots like squatts (sic) gives pulled into the river. A baitrunner (sic) larger barbel can be difficult to locate. barbel the advantage over sight feeding reel is often employed to take the sting out They can spend much of their daylight competitors. Hook baits for barbel can of the initial rush of a hooked fish. They time holed up in shallow, oxygenated range from 20mm pellets or boilies right are powerful fish for their size, but over water, only moving out to feed in open down to a bunch of maggots. There is no here are rarely caught above 8lb in weight. water during the night. I have been right answer, but for my part I have caught observing a small shoal of large fish that You will find barbel in the Charente and more 6lb plus barbel in France on maize, are always found in the same place, less Vienne rivers and many of their sweetcorn, and 6mm pellets than on larger than a metre from the bank, safe from tributaries. Be careful to check the baits. My preference is to start out with catfish, herons, cormorants, and anglers. category of any tributary that you might two 6mm krill pellets banded onto a loop By the time you read this article they will choose to fish as some are classed as that forms the hair below the hook. Using have moved to deeper water and will feed Category 1 and are closed to all angling two independently mounted hair rigged heavily day and night putting on weight outside the trout season. There are some baits such as small pellets or whole maize before winter. This is the time to lovely ‘Mr. Crabtree’ type stretches of the grains has given me a lot of success. A size target them. Charente around the Mansle area where 10 or 12 hook to a 6lb fluorocarbon leader barbel to around 7lb can be encountered is used to present this bait. If using a piece In England barbel tactics have been and around Aixe-sur-Vienne is a good of luncheon meat or other large bait then a influenced by fashion, much like carp winter venue. larger hook to suit the size of the bait is angling, and the rods advertised as being suitable for barbel are getting progressively heavier as the trend for chucking large feeders to the far bank of Barbel tidal rivers prevails. For my part I prefer to fish much closer to the bank that I am standing on and seek out swims that provide the right conditions within 20 metres of the bank. Large barbel can often be found very close in, especially on the exit to an outside bend in the river, where there is a deep channel or where overhanging trees give security. For this sort of fishing lighter tackle can be


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A mother Red Fox with two half-grown cubs

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nature A small group of bats hibernating in a cave



ome of our residents have gone to sleep for the cold spell (sensible creatures!) but there is still a lot going on that does not at first meet the eye. Foxes These always keep a low profile. Unless you are blessed with a family of urbanised foxes living in your garden, you probably hardly ever see one. If you are so blessed, you probably see far too much of them – or at least their traces.

increase their feeding rate while food still exists in order to lay down enough fat to survive, then seek out a suitable hibernaculum and settle down for a winter sleep. The hibernaculum will probably not be their summer roost or nursery, as it must be weatherproof, cool, and of a reasonably even temperature.

The start of the hibernation, of course, depends on the availability of food, but it is not unusual for it to begin in October; it is usually well established by midAll summer long the parent foxes have November. The bat’s temperature will been raising cubs, feeding them, teaching drop to 7° or 8° centigrade, and its body them survival skills and will feel cold to the touch hunting strategies. Now, (though of course, without they are ready to launch a licence you should not be The interesting thing out on their own. anywhere near a bat about them is that, when hibernaculum, and This does not necessarily certainly not be touching they leave, there’s no mean that they will go far. the bats!). sign of them all summer The bigger male cubs may try to establish a territory Barnacle Geese and find a mate, and this While we won’t see any of these here, I may mean that they must seek out new must share this with you. They fly in territory, but others may settle for being November to the coasts of Ireland, subordinate members of an extended Scotland, and North-east England and group of related foxes, some of whom may spend the time from now to April assist with raising next year’s cubs. In that commuting between inland grazing areas case they may well stay close to home. and fox-free coastal mud-flats and roosts. Bats Then they fly away. As the population of insects drops as the weather becomes chillier, so the source of food upon which our bats rely is lost. They

The interesting thing about them is that, when they leave, there’s no sign of them all summer. Everyone in the Middle Ages

By Mike G eorge

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

wondered where they went, until some enterprising person pointed to bits of floating driftwood festooned with big, long-footed barnacles now called “Goose Barnacles”. “There they are,” said he (the barnacles are large and pointed and, with their long greyish foot, look superficially like the neck and head of a small goose). “They go and live in the sea.” The corollary to this was that they must be fish. If they are fish, then it follows that one can eat them on meat-free fast-days. The Church (rather reluctantly, I feel) agreed, so for quite a long time, goose was permitted on Fridays and fast-days. One of the few times when bad biology scored a beneficial goal (unless, of course, you happened to be a Barnacle Goose). Hedgehogs We all know about hibernating hedgehogs, don’t we. Or we thought we did. However, recent surveys are beginning to suggest that Global Warming is reducing the incidence of hedgehog hibernation. It seems there is evidence that the little darlings are pottering about all through

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A pair of Barnacle Geese - definitely not fish!

A Peacock butterfly at rest

Raw Goose Barnacles. The shell is up to 5cm long; the "stalk" is very variable. Note the (distant) similarity to the head of the Barnacle Goose!

A stranded waterlogged tree-trunk covered in Goose Barnacles

A hare, contemplating where to pass the colder months

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nature the winter, snacking on the other denizens of the leaf-litter that Global Warming is encouraging to stay awake. Some naturalists think that this result is due to the fact that folks have become more “hedgehog aware” and are now reporting sightings they would not have made before. I am content to wait and see. And I would still urge all of you with gardens, especially any planning to celebrate Bonfire Night, to check your bonfire for small mammals that have made it their home, especially hedgehogs – just in case. And please take the fuel to the fire – don’t just fire-up a long-standing pile of wood! Hares Hares do not hibernate. They have no system of burrowing or hiding away, but they will move away from the open fields they love to the edges of woodland, where there may be some shelter and protection from the cold and rain. They tend to lie-up during the day, and do most of their foraging at dusk and dawn. Their diet, not surprisingly, tends to be more woody!

A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (left) and a Red Admiral butterfly (right), both at rest

Butterflies You don’t expect to see any butterflies, do you? They are summer creatures. Well, to a great extent that is so – I mean you wouldn’t expect to find a Swallow-tail drifting across your lawn in December. However, some of the more robust butterflies are capable of over-wintering. The Red Admiral has been recorded doing this, as have the Peacock, the Large and Small Tortoiseshells, the Comma, and the Brimstone. The last often spends the winter deep inside ivy masses, where its shape and colouring make it invisible; the rest rely on quiet, weatherproof, spiderfree areas of human construction. If you find one, please leave it alone if you can to sleep out the winter. Occasionally a warm spell can wake them up and get them flying again. They can return to sleep if the cold returns – the transition between torpor and wakefulness is less energydepleting for an insect than for a mammal. About 20 years ago I saw a Red Admiral flying in Devonshire on a warm day in January – and they were not then believed to overwinter in England! Hedgerows Most of the berries have gone by now. The blackberries were early, thanks to the drought, and humans and birds have cleared them, but as the hedgerows die back as winter approaches, you may see some berries you aren’t familiar with. Bright red and shiny, hanging in festoons of small clusters rather than bunches, and looking very tasty, are the berries of the Black Bryony Dioscorea communis. DO NOT BE TEMPTED! The Black Bryony is very toxic in all its parts, and the berries no less so. Extreme irritation of the digestive tract, with diarrhoea; kidney damage and weakened breathing are all associated with Bryony intake. Curiously, this plant is related to the yam, and is the

Berries of The Spindle Tree Euonymus europaeus. Poisonous to humans, but good food for birds and small mammals

only native European representative of that group, but is not to be eaten, except that, around the Mediterranean, the very earliest young shoots are often cooked and eaten in season. Perhaps the oddest berries you may see at this time are the berries of the Spindle Plant Euonymus europaeus. This is an unassuming shrub that throws out thin, wandering branches that wind through the hedge. They are very low-profile and normally go unnoticed, even by hedgers, until their berries appear. These are multiple-lobed, lipstick or bubblegum pink, with an orange pulp inside and a black seed. Birds and small mammals can eat them (if they avoid the black seeds), but they are poisonous to humans.

mushroom season, but you may still have some luck in sheltered places. Please don’t forget though that, in France, fruit and vegetation – and mushrooms – belong to the person who owns the land, and the locals are very protective of their mushrooms!

We are reaching the end of the

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

prime ministers apologising for historic wrongdoings. Large corporations and city police forces have acknowledged deadly errors, countless celebrities have hoped to salvage a career by begging for forgiveness following publicised misdemeanours. My all-time favourite here is the moralising TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggert, head of a multi-million dollar American religious empire. In 1988 he was caught in a motel with, let’s call her a ‘professional lady’, and made a tear-stricken apology to his wife and family which called upon God’s help in finding redemption. Three years later - you guessed it - he was caught again doing the same thing, prompting Robin Williams to joke that Swaggert’s parish magazine had been renamed “RePenthouse”.


he most British thing I’ve ever heard? A lady who said ‘Well I’m sorry, but I don’t apologise.’” A good gag by US comic Liz Guterbock which was voted one of the best at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival. It’s a textbook non-apology of the sort usually practised by those “you know me, I’ll tell you straight” types who parade their brutal bluntness as some kind of virtue. I remember my mother once being very pleased with her new shorter hairstyle; or at least she was until a work colleague put her straight, “I’m sorry, Astrid, but that really doesn’t suit you at all.” Ouch. That faux-apology signals that what’s coming is likely, or even intended, to hurt. In contrast, a sincere act of contrition caught my eye recently. Descendants of 19th century plantation owner John Gladstone issued a statement acknowledging his part in the Transatlantic slave trade. Describing Gladstone (the father of British Prime Minister William) as a “vile man” whose actions were “a crime against humanity”, members of the family travelled to Guyana in South America last August to apologise for the impact their ancestor had on that country and to also make a large financial contribution towards Guyana’s progressive educational programmes. I applaud such a courageous gesture of atonement and reconciliation.

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These apologies from the rich and powerful are generally met with a shrug from a public only too aware that what the individual is most sorry for is getting caught. It’s more in the personal realm that a heartfelt “I’m sorry” can alleviate problems, although it’s not guaranteed. An apology is a balm to dissolve tension but if misused it can equally explode the very peace it seeks to bring. In my college days I remember emerging very late from a party in a quiet village and having to wake a seriously angry gentleman at 1am to explain that his Land Rover was blocking my car. Through clenched teeth he pointed out that I had actually parked in his garden. Then he threatened to set his dog on me.

Saying sorry necessarily involves a degree of climb-down, an acceptance of being in the wrong. An apology owed yet unoffered is an open wound. There’s a great line in “Gone With The Wind” when Scarlett O’Hara declares, “And apologies, once postponed, became harder and harder to make, and finally impossible.” Inevitably, today’s ‘feel-good-about-yourself’ world offers a helpful range of options. For example, if Propelled by a variety of But sincerity is always seeking forgiveness is motives, recent years impressive - especially when too harsh on one’s selfhave seen presidents, it’s faked. I once read of a esteem, there’s the popes, and prime retired British ambassador passive-aggressive ministers apologising for recounting an overnight response, employed train journey he had made only to make the historic wrongdoings across the Indian subrecipient feel bad, (“I’m continent in the 1950s. Outraged to find so sorry for being a nuisance”); or even the his compartment filthy with cockroaches aggressive without the passive, a mea on the floor and fleas in his bed, on arrival culpa hurled to shut down further at his destination he fired off a blistering criticism, (“Alright, I’m sorry – ok?”). letter of complaint to the head of the The “mistakes were made” option is always Indian railway company. Shortly popular, subtly shifting responsibility for afterwards came the stricken response, a the problem and making the whole thing letter drenched in abject apologies. The conditional. Still unbeatable in this railway chief was bewildered and category is the then UK Home Secretary embarrassed with no idea how such an Priti Patel when forced to account for NHS aberration could have occurred. He would staff left wearing bin bags to combat a launch an immediate inquiry, promising lethal virus - “I’m sorry if people feel that that “heads would roll”. Unfortunately, there have been failings.” See what she attached to his message was not only the did there? ambassador’s original complaint but also Propelled by a variety of motives, recent the boss’s instruction to his secretary, “Please send the usual bug letter”. years have seen presidents, popes, and


Jupiter and Ganymede


Night Sky

By Claire Wardlaw

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



hether you enjoy viewing or imaging identify these and other constellations you can use a Planisphere or a free mobile the planets in the day or night sky, phone application such as Skysafari. If November offers a few very special treats, your phone has a built-in compass you will and one of the most active meteor showers be able to identify what you are looking at will be visible under favourable while you scan the sky. conditions. As the stars of 'Summer Triangle' slide You will be able to To help search for and across the darkening skies search for a Waning identify these and other and begin to slip over the Gibbous Moon close horizon, astronomers can constellations you can use a to and just below the anticipate the return of Planisphere or a free mobile two Geminid stars darker, cooler nights. We Castor and Pollux on phone application can still enjoy a portion of the evening of the 3rd. The Milky Way in the northern skies and Look at around 23h00 towards the North the constellations of Gemini, Orion, and East. On the early mornings of the 6th and Auriga are becoming more prominent 7th a Waning Crescent Moon will pass every evening. To help search for and close to the Leonid stars Regulus and

Algieba. A very pretty show will be put on during the mornings of the 25th - 27th when a bright Moon will pass Jupiter, Uranus, and The Pleiades. Look towards the west at around 04h00. Well, sleep is very much overrated! The Planets for this Month Mercury - an evening planet which is too low to be easily observed Venus - a bright morning planet which will be spectacular in darker skies Mars - will be in conjunction with the Sun, and so too close to be visible Jupiter - is a brilliant planet now, at opposition on the 3rd and very high

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Moon and Venus

The beautiful 14% phase Moon will seem to pass in front of Venus on the 9th, creating a lunar occultation visible from Uranus - reaching opposition on the 13th, Europe, western Russia, Greenland, best now viewing with a small telescope Africa, and Asia. Although the occultation will only be visible across part of the world Neptune - reaching its highest position – because the Moon is so close to the and visible with binoculars Earth that its position in the sky varies by As Jupiter reaches as much as two degrees 'Opposition' - on the across the world – a close opposite side of the Earth conjunction between the It will begin with the from the Sun - on the 3rd, disappearance of Venus pair will be more widely it will be shining away at its visible. The occultation will behind the Moon best. On the 10th, with a be visible from Bordeaux, for example. It will begin telescope, the transit of with the disappearance of Ganymede and its shadow (one of the Venus behind the Moon at 11h07 CET, brightest of Jupiter's Moons) will be a though in daylight. Its reappearance will great sight. Again, times will vary be visible at 11h55 CET, though in depending on your own location, but this daylight. You can use binoculars to enjoy will be during the early evening and will this spectacular event, or even try to image last for a couple of hours. it with a small telescope and a DSLR The Moon phases and camera. The planet will seem to disappear Observing highlights behind the Moon on the lit, left hand side of our natural satellite. Venus will then Last Quarter phase - 5th just after 09h30 reappear around 1 hour later on the New Moon phase - 13th at around 10h30 shaded side of the Moon. You can check exact times for your own location as these First Quarter phase - 20th around midday will vary depending on your latitude Full Moon phase - 27th after 10h00 and longitude. Saturn - very good this month and close to the Moon on the 20th

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Meteor Showers in November The Leonids This year this shower will peak while the Moon is in a 21% phase, setting early in the evening, so we have lots of lovely darkness to enjoy a great show. These meteors are the fastest recorded at around 70 kms per second, so have a coffee and be ready! The best night, the peak of activity, is the 17th to 18th. We can expect around 10 meteors per hour this year, emanating from the constellation of Leo. These meteors are associated with the Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle and will be active between the 14th and the 21st of the month. Remember to get a blanket, a friend or two, a warm drink, and let your eyes become adjusted to the darkness 30 minutes before you begin your little star party! Images of the Month : Catching Meteors Meteor showers can be amazing to witness, and to try to photograph. It is a game of patience, and at times of luck. The most active showers, such as the Leonids, Perseids, and Geminids always attract a lot of media attention. While this is great, to raise awareness of astronomy on the one hand, the information and some of the

astronomy NASA's Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is a groundbreaking space probe that continues its historic odyssey beyond our solar system's boundaries

My image: Star trail Perseids

images presented on the television, for example, can be, at best misleading and at worst just a little silly. If you read in an astronomical magazine or website about a meteor shower with an hourly rate of 100 for example, it will be easier to discern that you will probably see just a few of these - given that you cannot observe all of the sky at any one time or from one place. The images presented - to add drama to the upcoming meteor event will often look like the one below, where a number of bright meteors are displayed in the sky at one time. This will not be what is visible as you lie back in your garden in anticipation. The images produced where multiple shooting stars are present take a lot of work and manipulation to produce and provide an interesting record of what you could see over a few hours. My image of a startrail, taken over the course of one night, was created using a computer program. Amongst the beautiful star patterns you can see two of the meteors I was lucky enough to capture during imaging. I did see many more while outside that night, but not all were within range of my wide-angle lens.

Hopes are fading for the “re-awakening” of India’s moon lander after Indian scientists were unable to make communication with the spacecraft since it went into shutdown mode to survive the freezing lunar night conditions. India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission made a historic landing on the south pole of the moon in August, after a 40-day journey, and the rover had spent over a week collecting data from the lunar surface. It is not clear whether the Lander will be able to be reactivated......Watch this space....


When the Earth passes near to the orbit of a comet, it sweeps through the dust and debris left behind by that comet. Each little particle, often ranging in size between a grain of sand and a pea, which hits the Earth's atmosphere turns into a meteor.

Join our Facebook group ‘Astronomy & Astrophotography France’

Happy Stargazing!

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home and specialist

New French Law Chimney Sweeping Obligations Everything You Need to Know NO SOONER HAD WE GONE TO PRINT LAST MONTH, THE LAW CHANGED


y article last month in the October 2023 edition contained a feature discussing the topic of whether or not you ‘have to’ have your chimney swept in France. Since going to print, a new law was introduced changing the legal obligations of the homeowner under new governmental decree 2023-641. Below is an update which replaces the information from last month’s issue, dissecting and explaining everything you need to know about the new law if you rely on a solid fuel (wood, pellets, coal, etc) chimney heating system. 1st October 2023 marked a significant change in the world of chimney maintenance for solid fuel heating appliances. A new national law, issued by governmental decree, has replaced the previous municipal and prefectural regulations that governed this aspect of home heating. This means that every individual using a solid fuel heating appliance is now obligated to adhere to the new national standards. In this article we'll be taking a look at this new decree, exploring the practical implications of this transition, and condensing all the legal jargon into applicable and understandable information that applies to all homeowners reliant on solid fuel stoves for their winter warmth.

enforcing national requirements for sweeping by official governmental decree. If you have a particular love of French law and fancy diving down a seemingly endless rabbit hole of decrees, codes, and provisions, and their infinite articles, sections, and subjections, you can find a full dissection of this new decree at For the rest of us, and in the interest of brevity for this article in print, we will be taking a look only at the key takeaways and what this new decree means for you. Key takeaways ▪ Decree 2023-641 applies to professionals responsible for maintaining and users of solid fuel heating systems. ▪ All solid fuel heating systems must undergo maintenance at least once every 12 months. ▪ Chimney sweeping must be performed by a professionally qualified individual using mechanical methods; alternatives like 'Bûche de ramonage' are prohibited. ▪ A certificat de ramonage (maintenance certificate) must be provided following the appointment.

▪ Professionals are now Every individual using a obligated to offer advice to Previously, the users, covering optimisation solid fuel heating regulations of chimney of appliance performance, appliance is now obligated potential system sweeping maintenance were set at a local level, to adhere to the new improvements, and the either by the municipalité benefits of upgrading to national standards or prefecture, depending more efficient on where you live. Each stove models. municipalité/prefecture had its own rules ▪ Systems that have been inactive do not by which local citizens were obliged to require sweeping, but if unused for 12 comply, based on the 6 sections of Article months or longer, maintenance is 31 of the ‘Règlement sanitaire necessary before use. départemental Type’ (RSDT) from November 1979. As of 1st October 2023, ▪ Open fireplaces are exempt from Decree 2023-641 came into effect, maintenance obligations outlined in superseding the old local obligations and Article 1 (you can visit my website

48 etcetera

By Kristia Jennings n

Kristian of Jennings Chimney Sweeping specialises in Chimney problem diagnosis and is a member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps for more info), but users are still obliged to keep these systems clean and well-maintained. ▪ Maintenance responsibility rests with the occupant, not the landlord, unless otherwise specified in the lease agreement. ▪ Special provisions apply to shared appliances, such as those in apartment blocks, with details provided above. So, what does all of this mean for you? In reality, for most solid fuel appliance users, not much has actually changed. Although there is now a national legal obligation to do so, most users already have their chimney swept annually to satisfy home insurance policy requirements. Customers of chimney sweeps can now finally expect that all sweeps will take the time to explain how their appliances function, how to get the most out of them, and maybe even discuss upgrading the stove. No more 'in and out' sweep appointments. This alone should prevent the need to have a chimney swept more than once a year. However, those who choose to sweep their own chimneys can continue to do so, as long as they have professional intervention for the system at least once a year.

home and specialist

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED Since launching the above article online via a blog post, we have received multiple questions regarding the new decree and what it means for you. We have consolidated these questions and answered them below.

Is this an actual law or just a change in regulation? This is a new law which came into effect by governmental decree on 1st October 2023.

Do I have a year in which I need to have my chimney swept i.e. before 1st October 2024?

I haven’t used my chimney in years, do I need to have it swept before I can use it again? If you have not used your chimney for a period of 12 months or more, you will not need to hold a valid certificat de ramonage over this period. However, if and when the time comes to light a fire, you will need to arrange for the chimney to be swept before you use it again.

I haven’t used my chimney since it was last swept more than a year ago, do I need to have it swept before use, even though it’s still ‘clean’? Yes. Unfortunately, there are no additional provisions made for this situation. Chimney systems can and do change over time, so getting it inspected during the sweep is never a bad thing in any case.

No, this is not how the new law has been applied. If you plan to use your chimney this coming winter, you must either hold a professionally issued certificat de ramonage dated within the last 12 months or must arrange for the chimney to The new law does not take be swept before using it.

I am a holiday home owner, does this apply to me?

into account the amount of use the chimney receives

Yes. There have been no additional provisions made for residents and nonresidents. If you use your chimney, the law applies to you too.

What if I don’t use my fire very much? The new law does not take into account the amount of use the chimney receives. Bear in mind that you can take a brandnew flue liner and block it completely with tar, etc. in just 60 hours if burning poor fuel at low temperatures! If you are using your chimney, even just once, legally you are required to hold a professionally issued certificat de ramonage.

I don’t use my chimney at all, do I still need to have it swept?

No. If you have a chimney which is functional but you choose not to use it, you do not need to have it swept

I am renting, do I have to arrange to have the chimney swept or does my landlord have to do it? The obligation to have the chimney swept falls to the tenant who is responsible for making sure the chimney has been swept and for paying for the service. If, however, there is an appliance servicing multiple dwellings such as a central heating boiler for a block of flats, the obligation then falls to whoever is responsible for the entire residence i.e. the property’s trustee.

My home insurance policy doesn’t require me to hold a valid certificat

de ramonage – do I still need to have it swept? Yes. This decree is a legal obligation and has nothing to do with insurance obligations. We still recommend, nonetheless, confirming with your insurance agent that you are fulfilling your policy requirements.

I’ve always swept my own chimney and never had a problem. Why do I now need a professional to do this for me? If you have never had your chimney swept by a professionally trained chimney sweep before, you may be surprised to learn that the cleaning of the chimney is only a small part of the appointment. Qualified chimney technicians are incredibly well versed in the complexities of solid fuel heating systems. By looking at the deposits removed from the chimney, in tandem with inspecting the entire system, we are able to offer bespoke advice, helping you reduce the amount of fuel you are burning (many of my own clients report reductions of 25% or more after their first appointment), and confirm your system is working correctly, efficiently and safely. And by teaching better burning techniques, we are able to help significantly reduce the polluting potential of your appliance. It is for these reasons that the government now requires professionals with expert knowledge to maintain appliances.

Disclaimer: The information provided below is intended as a discussion of the new law and its implications. It is not to be construed as legal advice. Readers are advised to seek legal counsel for their specific circumstances or if they require legal assistance regarding the matters discussed herein. The content is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal advice.

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getting connected top of each other. Sometimes it’s not too bad as the unit may have vents in the sides to allow warm air to dissipate. But, many have the main ventilation on the top. So if you then cover these, it can soon get hot. If you need to stack devices on top of each other then it’s worth ensuring that air can circulate between them. One solution I used to use was black Lego bricks to act as supports! Of course, that’s easy when your children have more Lego than the state of Denmark. Anything will do really, just ensure there’s a gap to allow heat out and air to circulate.




h my, November already? You know what that means. It’s time for the Christmas countdown. By the time you read this, it could be as little as 50 days! It’s not something I worry about too Don’t forget that the BBC will stop much. Being generally dislikeable means broadcasting in standard-definition at the that I have no friends or family to whom I end of March 2024. So, if you haven’t need to reciprocate either done so already, you cards or presents! I think really need to think If you need to use a pole in about upgrading to a I might have hit upon high-definition the garden on which to something there. Maybe I should give lessons? mount your satellite dish, it’s (HD) receiver. Anyway, let’s get to the It might seem a good idea to stop the pole real reason you’re here. obvious to some, but from spinning in its hole To immerse yourself in if you need to use a the always exciting, never pole in the garden repetitive, and sometimes vaguely on which to mount your satellite dish, it’s interesting world of satellite TV. a good idea to stop the pole from spinning in its hole. I won’t mention why I’m Freesat good, Freeview bad. Right, move raising this (well, Andy, maybe I will…). on. OK, maybe slightly repetitive. Use concrete or such like to provide the One thing that often gets overlooked is weight at the bottom and consider putting how warm items like satellite receivers, a piece of metal through the pole to allow the concrete to form around it. This will DVD players etc can get when stacked on

stop the pole from spinning. Or, you can just bang a scaffold pole into the earth and hope it works! Please remember that I no longer cover the same areas as I used to. I cover a 90 mins radius of 79240. Google Maps will help you with this. Just put in my postcode and your address to see the distance.

Puzzle Solutions Words that can be made from the wheel include:


brim, elm, emir, emit, gem, germ, gimlet, gremlin, grim, grime, item, limb, limber, lime, melt, melting, merit, met, mien, mile, miler, mine, miner, mingle, mint, mire, mite, mitre, nimble, remit, rim, rime, term, terming, timber, timbre, time, timer, trembling, trim













































52 etcetera







8 6 3 9 2 4 7 5 1

5 7 1 6 8 3 9 2 4


4 2 9 5 7 1 3 6 8

2 8 6 7 4 9 1 3 5

3 4 7 1 5 2 8 9 6

9 1 5 8 3 6 4 7 2

1 5 2 3 9 8 6 4 7

7 9 8 4 6 5 2 1 3

6 3 4 2 1 7 5 8 9








I 3






















































R 13



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

For a free quotation please contact: Howard (fully bilingual, living in France since 1990, 10 yr décennale Insurance)


Tel: / Email:

Based Saint-Junien. Covering Depts 87-16-24

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

Siret : 531 655 231 00 11

Sean’s Painting & Decorating Services

Interior & Exterior Other work carried out Sean Morrison 06 74 56 89 11

BUILDING / MULTI SERVICE All aspects of building work undertaken: � Renovations � Barn Conversions � Plasterboarding / Plastering � Brick/Blockwork/Stonework/Repointing Troy Davey (EI) � Tiling Andrew Hadfield (EI) 05 55 60 47 78 06 10 49 49 57 siret: 49895173000015

Based 87330 References Available

05 55 60 72 98 07 81 53 71 91 siret: 53229047500013

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motors & removals Moving In France? Full and Part Loads Relocations in France Packing & Storage Options ADVANCED OILS, LUBRICANTS AND TREATMENTS SINCE 1887

Tel: 05 49 07 24 85

Franglais Deliveries

Secure, dry, insulated storage

Advertise Your Business

PLUS Cherry picker hire

From as little as 39€ ttc

A Family Run Storage Firm in the Heart of the Limousin

Now storing cars, caravans and camping cars Est. 2007

Call Karen for a quote

09 66 03 52 89

Reasonable Rates








OFFICE: 0044 (0) 1522 686764 ANDY: 0044 (0) 7876 504 547




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motors & removals


Siret 948 832 852 00016

● 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

Motorbike Tyres Repaired and Replaced T. 06 34 05 77 56 Dept 87

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

TRANSITION REMOVALS 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 arrange customs clearance for export and import to and from the UK. We are a professional furniture removal company NOT a man and a van.

Phil and Jean Evans (+33) 05 55 34 19 46 Mobile (+33) 06 80 75 87 14 Email Visit etcetera 63

property ÉTUDE COURIVAUD et LORIOT-CHEYRON 27 av Henri Barbusse, 87200 Saint Junien

Service Immobilier: 05 55 02 11 11 email: site:

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Bringing your French dream to life

Moving you since 1986




LISTINGS with Scan to discover more


Contact us for a free appraisal


Stunning manor house & park

Lovely home & gite complex

Unspoilt natural beauty

Montaigut-le-Blanc €432,550 CREUSE Ref: vated house set in a 7020m2 park, with heated swimming pool.

Ruffec €421,000 CHARENTE Ref: plus five, two-bedroom gites lovely in-ground pool.

Affieux €248,000 CORREZE Ref: house, two barns & above-ground swimming pool + 5,022m2 garden.

Stunning character property

Beautiful barn conversion

In the heart of the countryside

Mortemart €252,400 HAUTE-VIENNE Ref: bedroom house in easy walking distance to a bar and restaurant.

St. Leger Magnazeix €137,800 HAUTE-VIENNE Ref: three-bedroom cottage with country views & 3,500m² of land.

La Souterraine €126,000 HAUTE-VIENNE Ref: bedroom bungalow on a substantial 2,080m² plot of land.




We’re recruiting in your area

*All prices include Agency Fees

Visit our website now to find our latest listings etcetera 67

Let’s Get THIS Cosy WINTER

▪ Up to 14,000€* in Grants for Pellet Boilers and Solar Hot Water Systems *Dependent on revenue ▪ Installation of Pellet Stoves, Wood Burning Stoves and Boilers (Includes Guarantees, Maintenance and Repairs) ▪ French Brands = Products and Parts Are Readily Available ▪ Free Assessment of your Insulation, Double Glazing, Radiators ▪ English-speaking Service ~ All Paperwork Taken Care of ▪ Assurance Décennale (10-year Guarantee)

Alexander Lawrence Government Approved Installer

6 allée Edmond Malinvaud


Tel: 07 55 05 35 81

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