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Autumn 2019


r e t n i W s w a r d on! To advertise in

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published by: Les Editions de l’Etier 1, Les Bruyères - 56200 Saint-Martin-sur-Oust Tel: 02 99 91 59 77 Web: Director of publication & advertising: Christine Prédéry email: Editor: Mick Austin email: Production layout: Delphine Le Breton email: Editorial contributors: Malcolm Casson, Peter Cross, Arthur Cutler, Lisa Green, Karen Manuel, David Nicholls, Jennie Poate, Daryl Price, Bradley Warden, Niki Welch. Printing: Imprimerie PrintCorp - France Distribution: La Poste Copyright reg: 4th quarter 2019 - Les Editions de l’Etier

All reproduction, in part or whole, is strictly forbidden without prior permission. While every care is taken to ensure articles and features are accurate, the publisher accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher.

Where to find us

Check out your local distributors at: Le Mini’mag - the magazine in English

covering NW France




How men and women deal with stress in different ways

When going private can be good for your health





The perfect time to try these jewels of our coast

Renault 16 is almost a hot hatch – and comfy as well





When it can make sense to look to the short-term

How to avoid a casse-tête at your local hairdresser






Turbocharged magazine. One of a kind. Regularly serviced. Lift the bonnet and you’ll find fresh features, pictures and humour. Plus low-mileage local, national and international businesses the enthusiast can’t get enough of. Oh, and one careful lady owner... After 16 years driving magazines in this part of France, owner Christine Prédéry is changing lanes to concentrate on other passions. If you fancy being No1 in the driving seat, put your foot down and contact Christine at

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# Business, Finance & Legal

What are social charges? Newcomers to France soon learn that income is subject to two forms of tax here – income tax and social charges. Non-residents may also have to pay this tax if, for example, they rent out French property or make capital gains on the sale of local real estate. There have, however, been a couple of changes this year. Social charges are levied on most forms of income in France, in addition to income tax. They are called social charges (prélèvement social) because the money is used to finance the French social security. However, they do not provide health benefits and should not be confused with social security contributions (which are also payable on employment income). Social charges are actually made up of six elements, with the rates varying according to the type of income. The rates for 2019 are:

Social charges on investment income – what changed in 2019?

Individuals covered under the health care system of another EU or EEA country are no longer subject to CSG or CRDS on their investment income or capital gains. Instead they now pay a new Prélèvement de Solidarité at a flat rate of 7.5% - a tax saving of 9.7%. You can benefit from this 7.5% social charges rate on investment income if (a) you hold Form S1 or (b) you are a non-resident of France earning French source income and are covered by the health system of another EU/EEA country. For investment and passive income, such as bank interest, dividends, withdrawals from Assurance-Vie etc, this new 7.5% rate applies from January 1, 2019. For capital gains on the sale of securities like shares, capital gains on the sale of real estate, and rental income deriving from unfurnished properties, it applies from January 2018. Note that the 30% flat tax charged on investment income since January 2018 – the Prélèvement Forfaitaire Unique (PFU) – already includes social charges.

Tax planning

How are these charges paid?

Social charges are paid in arrears and usually calculated on the income declared in your income tax return. Each autumn you receive a notification of the amount you owe for the previous year’s income. For certain types of income/gain (Assurance-Vie under special rates, real estate capital gains, dividend/interest advance payment, etc), the charges are paid by the 15th of the following month.

With the French tax regime being so complex, it is always a good idea to take personalised advice to ensure you are following the rules correctly. A tax and wealth management adviser can also explain what tax planning opportunities are available in France, particularly for your investment capital and pensions. The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

Are UK pensions liable to social charges?

Social charges on pension income are only payable if you are subject to the French health care system (you are either paying cotisations sociales or PUMA contributions). If you are not, and/or you have Form S1, you escape social charges on pension income. One of the 2019 reforms was to reduce social charges payable on pensions, from 9.1% to 7.4%, for individuals in receipt of pension income of less than €2000 per month (€3000 for a couple).


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With thanks to Bradley Warden Blevins Franks 05 49 75 07 24

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# Business, Finance & Legal

Choosing the right adviser When you search for a financial adviser, how can you be assured the one you choose will be right for you? In principle, there are three categories of adviser: Tied, restricted and independent. Tied advisers: In France there are many insurance company agents working in almost in every town. They typically represent just one company – AXA or Credit Agricole, for example – and they will offer you only the products of that company and will be limited to ‘French only’ products. They will not have a specialisation in UK or international pensions or investments, for example. Typically, any product will only be in euros rather than a choice of currency. The person you are dealing with is known as a courtier, or broker, so they are not highly trained advisers, but rather they are trained in knowing their products and will ‘sell’ those they think are appropriate for you. They won’t generally look at other areas of financial planning. You certainly need a French bank account when living in France and bank products like a Livret A are generally a useful bolt hole for your liquid cash - up to certain limits. But it is important not to necessarily tie yourself into products or accounts that might have a limited investment selection, or which do not work in other countries outside France. Remember, things like UK ISAs do not work in France, so you will understand that ‘French’ products and bank products are not designed to work outside France either. These companies - whether banks or insurance companies – will only offer a limited range of investments and savings and funds as well as they are tied to just the one company. Restricted advisers: They are limited in who and what they recommend. In the case of the popular (and essential in good investment and tax planning in France) Assurance Vie investments, for example, they will likely only offer one or two alternatives and also a limited range of investment funds for you to invest in. Charges may also be higher for this type of product and there may be restrictions on how much you can withdraw in the early years, thereby limiting your flexibility. There is nothing wrong with this, but you are ‘limiting’ your advice and missing out on a whole-of-market approach and a significant range of investments and investment companies which ultimately may be more suitable for you. Again, they may not have the experience or ability to look at other areas for financial planning for you. Independent advisers: They can offer you advice rather than product placement. Known as a conseiller in France, they are highly trained and will not ‘sell’ you anything. This is a person who plans. This is an adviser who collects information on all of your financial assets and provides a full report across areas such as inheritance/ estate planning, pensions and investment. They will search the whole marketplace for a product that is appropriate for you and take into account your thoughts and wishes to achieve the very best outcome for you. >> p8


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Beacon Global Wealth Management Please contact Jennie Poate

0044 (0)3332 416966 0033 (0)634119518

The financial advisers trading under Beacon Wealth Management are members of Nexus Global (IFA Network). Nexus Global is a division within Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited (BFMI). All approved individual members of Nexus Global are Appointed Representatives of BFMI. BFMI is licenced and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and bound by their rules under licence number FSC00805B

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# Business, Finance & Legal << p6 In France, this can mean you will have a choice of a number of Assurance Vie products, a portfolio can be tailored to your specific needs and requirements and you are not limited to any particular Assurance Vie product. Everyone’s needs are slightly different. You might be moving inside Europe or moving to Europe from another jurisdiction and need someone who understands that what you have needs to be fluid. Also, on the investment side, you will have a wide selection of funds to use, tailored to your aims and to your individual risk profiles. This is an adviser who will see you regularly to make sure what has been set up still fits, so you are properly looked after.

This also applies to your pension investments, where you don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. You are individual and your family’s and personal financial requirements are personal to you. Therefore you need flexibility in approach, flexibility and independence in selecting your providers and flexibility in your investment selections. Given the choice, you might have to pay a little more for a highlytrained independent adviser. But you will get good service, regular contact and far better value for money in the long run. The information above is intended as an introduction only and is not designed to offer solutions or advice. Beacon Global Wealth Management can accept no responsibility whatsoever for losses incurred by acting on the information on this page.

With thanks to Jennie Poate Head of Operations, Beacon Global Wealth Management +44 333 241 6966 Tax returns completed from € 225. TVA registration and returns. Leaseback returns. SIRET registration/cancellation. For a no obligation quote on your French Tax requirements please contact us at: or call +44 (7773) 3732 55 8

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Divorce, separation and family law advice Woolley & Co specialise in English divorce and family law for British expats.

Using the English courts to divorce is often quicker, cheaper and less complicated than the French system.

Let us take care of your divorce and separation concerns.

Call: 00 +44 1789 330310 Visit: Skype available

Over the last 20 years’ national law firm Woolley & Co, Solicitors has provided expert divorce advice to thousands of individuals. Recognised by Legal 500 as a Leading Family Law Firm our large team of partner level lawyers has over 340 years’ experience advising clients in the UK and overseas.

Head office: Warwick Enterprise Park, Wellesbourne, Warwick, CV35 9EF

Woolley & Co, Solicitors is a member of the Law Society and authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Also in: Barnet • Bedford • Bicester • Birmingham • Bournemouth • Bristol • Burton upon Trent • Cardiff • Coventry • Derby • Great Yarmouth call 02 99 91• 59 77 • Truro • Wells • Wolverhampton9 advertise in • Market Harborough • MelbourneTo • Northampton • St Neots • Stoke onplease Trent • Sutton Coldfield Thetford


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Business, Finance & Legal #

Keeping up to date with investments With EU financial regulations constantly changing, it is essential that you review your investment portfolio on a regular basis with a qualified financial adviser.

Your financial circumstances and priorities change with time. For example, your family may grow with time, you relocate to another country, you retire earlier, you are made redundant or your retired parents move in with you. These all affect your financial obligations throughout your lifetime. Different circumstances require different financial commitments. Also, new financial regulations could dictate how your assets are to be managed. Because of this, your investment portfolio needs to be updated and reviewed to ensure you have the best tailor-made strategy in place to grow your assets throughout your ever-changing financial lifecycle.

Why you need regular overviews

• To ensure you are on track to achieving your financial goals. The goals you have in your 20s are different from the ones you have during your 40s. For instance, at a younger age you would give holidays a priority, or you would like to save for a car. As you become older and perhaps have children, you start thinking about their education.Therefore, as your goals change and you progress in life, it’s important to update your financial strategies to match your financial goals. • To ensure you are tax-efficient for the future, so you can make the most of your assets and eliminate the risk of reducing your returns. • To ensure your investments are in line with your financial risk profile. Risk changes with age and as we get older it is very likely our risk tolerance diminishes. By completing a questionnaire, you would be able to determine your tolerance to risk as it will identify your behavioural response to a range of scenarios, which will include your personal opinion on risk, your level of understanding of how markets work as well as your experience level as an investor. • To ensure your portfolio is globally diversified to mitigate risk and to have more stability for your investment in the long term. Shortterm unstable economic events in certain markets are buffered by other unaffected markets in your portfolio.

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• To ensure you are regulation-compliant if any new laws come into effect. When the government updates legislation, it affects personal finance. So, if it’s been a long time since you’ve assessed your investment portfolio, it may result as being inefficient as it was originally. • To ensure your will is still relevant, up to date and valid in whichever country you reside. Think of your will as your car, it needs regular maintenance to function well. Over time, life and circumstances change so your will should mirror those changes. • To inform you of any new trends that could potentially benefit your portfolio. Following emerging trends can help you capture timely market opportunities and improve your portfolio performance. • To assist with any taxation issues with regards to moving funds internationally. Taxation on transferred money is affected by a number of factors, such as the amount of money you’re transferring, the tax laws of both countries, your residency status and the source of funds. Therefore it’s imperative you research the specific country involved and seek the right tax advice before transferring funds. It is also important to review your current pension plan on a regular basis. This allows you to evaluate your current portfolio and the value of your assets, consider new options, help you keep up with market trends and movements and choose the right investment path that meets your changing needs. • Please note, the above is for education purposes only and does not constitute as financial advice. You should always contact your financial adviser for a personal consultation.

With thanks to David Nicholls Senior Financial Advisor deVere France +33 (0) 983898757

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# Assistance

Time to ‘speak out’ about mens’ mental health Global statistics indicate that one in six of us over the age of 16 will experience stress, anxiety or depression at some point in our lives. Although both men and women encounter similar levels of stress, men are less likely to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress or seek help. Stress can be described as a reaction to a threat. This is an inbuilt response humans and animals have when faced with frightening situations. It’s known as the ‘fight/flight’ response. This response, a primitive survival mechanism, was crucial for our early ancestors frequently confronted with life-threatening events. Nowadays we may not face the same physical threats, but our brain will still react in the same way when faced with emotional ones. Stress is part of life and in some cases can be helpful (think back to primitive man). Stress becomes problematic when it occurs over a long period of time, or when we experience too much at a time. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and can lead to other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. A key difference between a man’s and a woman’s responses to stress is how they deal with it. Although both experience similar stressors

around work or financial issues, relationship difficulties or dealing with significant life changes, such as their own or a family member’s ill health, women tend to search out support and talk about it. On the other hand, research suggests that on the whole men are reluctant to seek help, being more likely to bottle up their feelings or use ‘escape’ strategies such as alcohol, drugs or withdrawing socially to cope. Gender stereotypes and expectations in society of having to be ‘strong’ and not show vulnerability are thought to be part of the problem of not talking about it and can increase the chance of depression. In fact the ‘average suicide rate across all countries among men was 3.7 times greater than that for women’ (Health at a Glance Europe 2018). Things to look out for Signs and symptoms can be physical, emotional or behavioural. Being aware is the first step in making changes. If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, ask for support. • Anger and irritability, feelings of despair or hopelessness. • Feeling tired, low energy, not being able to sleep well. • Finding it hard to make decisions or concentrate. • Experiencing headaches, backache, muscle pain and stomach problems. • Withdrawn, not wanting to go out. • Suicidal thoughts. • Smoking or drinking more. • Not feeling hungry or eating for comfort.

Chris ChurCh Brittany WElcomEs you!

Worship in English at Ploërmel, Redon, Rostrenen and Huelgoat see our website for details 12

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Assistance #

Recognising and responding to stress early on is key in stopping more severe mental health problems from developing. If you or someone you know is experiencing stress, follow the tips below and don’t suffer in silence.

S · seek support from family, friends or professionals. P · pace yourself. Break down tasks and jobs so you don’t become overwhelmed. E · eat healthily and regularly. A · activate yourself. Movement/exercise releases endorphins, our ‘happy hormones’. K – kick back and relax. Take time out for yourself, keep up with hobbies or start one. O · objective not subjective. Try not to personalise, try

a different view. U · utilise positive strategies and your skills to help when you feel down. T · talk about how you feel with someone you trust. It’s OK to ask for help.

With thanks to Niki Welch Counsellor at Humansense


y wife’s in the kitchen making our usual breakfast of soft-boiled eggs and toast, wearing just a T-shirt. As I walk in, she turns and says aggressively: ‘Make love to me, right now!’ Well, I’m either still dreaming or this is my lucky day. So I hug her and give it my all - right there on the kitchen table. Afterwards, she just says ‘Thanks’ and returns to the stove, her T-shirt still around her neck. Happy, but a little puzzled, I ask: ‘What was that all about?’ ‘The egg timer’s broken.’

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# Food & Entertainment

≈ Jewels of the sea ≈


The delectable taste and texture of Pecten Maximus have made them a favourite dish around the world. They say the best scallops, or Coquille Saint-Jacques, come from the Normandy and Brittany coastlines. Now is the perfect time to try some of these mouthwatering recipes.

Seared scallops with leeks and lemon chilli butter Scallops, plus lemon, plus chilli. What could be better? And ready in minutes. INGREDIENTS • 12 scallops, with or without roe • 4 young leeks, trimmed • 1 tbsp light olive oil • lemon wedges to serve For the butter • 250g softened butter • 2 cloves garlic, crushed • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped • bunch of parsley leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve • zest of two lemons

METHOD 1: Mix all the butter ingredients together in a large bowl, then beat well with a wooden spoon until there are no butter lumps left. Spoon on to a large sheet of cling film, then wrap tightly into a sausage shape. Chill until firm. 2: Set up a pan with a steamer. Cut the leeks in half lengthways, then slice into long strips, about the thickness of tagliatelle. Cover and steam until tender (about six minutes). Season and set aside. 3: Dry the scallops on kitchen paper and season. Heat a heavy-based frying pan and add the oil. Once hot, add the scallops. Cook for two minutes until caramelised, then turn them over and fry for a further minute. Take off the

heat, then add a few thick slices of the chilli butter to the pan, spooning over the scallops as it melts. 4: To serve, wind a nest of warm leeks in the centre of four plates, top each with three scallops, spoon over the buttery sauce and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and serve. Serves four.

INGREDIENTS • 350ml tomato juice • 50ml freshly squeezed orange juice • juice of one lime • ½ tbsp grenadine • 1½ tbsp Worcester Sauce • Good shake of Tabasco • ½ tsp salt and pepper • 140g scallops, roe removed • 100g cooked prawns

• ½ avocado • ¼ cucumber • 2 spring onions, finely chopped • 1 tbsp tequila • handful coriander, chopped • c rackers and/or buttered bread, to serve

METHOD 1: In a jug, mix together the tomato, orange and lime juice with the grenadine, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and salt and pepper. Check the seasoning. Look for a nice balance of heat, saltiness, citrus and enough sweetness from the grenadine to balance the rest of the flavours. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 2: Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Finely dice the flesh into 4-5mm cubes. Dice the scallops and avocado into similar sizes and mix everything into the chilled tomato juice, along with the prawns and chopped spring onions. Serve in small glasses, drizzled with the Tequila. Scatter with coriander and serve with crackers and/or bread on the side. Serves two.


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Scallops and prawn‘cocktail’ A light and spicy Mexican-style starter

Food & Entertainment #

Scallops with chestnuts and a cep compote

Seared garlic seafood with harissa bisque

Make the most out of autumn’s mushroom harvest

Luxurious – and speedy – starter for two.

INGREDIENTS • 12 large scallops with coral removed • 12 cooked whole chestnuts • 8 medium ceps (about 400g), cleaned • 1 small onion, finely chopped • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 85g unsalted butter • 150ml dry white wine • 8 lge sprigs of thyme, two whole, six with the leaves picked from the stalks • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

METHOD 1: In a medium saucepan, heat half the butter and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes. Meanwhile, remove the stalks of the ceps from the heads and cut them into chunks. Cut the heads in half and set aside. Stir the chopped stalks in with the onions, raise the heat and fry for two minutes until coloured. Pour in the wine and reduce by half. Add the chestnuts, two thyme sprigs and 400ml of water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. 2: Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Put in the cep heads, cut side down, around the outside, followed by the scallops in the centre. Fry over a high heat for one minute each side until golden. Turn over and fry for two more minutes. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves, season if you want and turn off the heat. 3: Remove the thyme sprigs from the compote and stir in the second half of the butter. Spoon the compote into four deep plates and top with the scallops and fried ceps. Serves four.

Saint-Jacques dates for your diary Erquy, Saint-Quay-Portrieux and Paimpol (on the Côtes-d’Armor coastline in Brittany) are all well known for their scallops and every year in April they organise a festival to celebrate the end of the scallop-fishing season. Next year’s Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques is in Erquy on April 18-19, 2020. Why not celebrate with the very sailors who fish for these jewels of the sea. Website: Can’t wait until then? Why not try the scallop and shellfish festival at Villers-sur-Mer, in Calvados? You’d better be quick, though. It takes place on October 26-27, 2019. Or perhaps Le Goût du Large Festival at Porten-Bessin-Huppain, also in Calvados, on November 10-11, 2019.

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INGREDIENTS • 6 scallops, roe removed • 8 lge raw king prawns, peeled • 400g can lobster bisque • 1 tbsp harissa • 1 tbsp garlic butter • zest and juice of half a lime • small handful coriander leaves • 2 tbsp single cream, plus • ½ red chilli, thinly sliced extra for drizzling • toasted bread, to serve METHOD 1: In a small pan, heat the lobster bisque, harissa and lime juice until bubbling. Add the cream, reduce the heat and keep warm while you cook the seafood. 2: Season the scallops and prawns. In a frying pan, heat the garlic butter until it starts to foam. Add the seafood and cook for one minute on each side until the prawns are pink and the scallops are cooked and starting to brown, but still have a little bounce. 3: To serve, pile the prawns and scallops into the centre of two shallow soup bowls, pour around the bisque, scatter with a few coriander leaves, chilli slices, lime zest and a drizzle of cream. Serve with the toasted bread. Serves two.

Scallops with lime and coriander A quick, easy and healthy starter. INGREDIENTS • 6-8 scallops, with or • 1tsp chopped fresh red chilli without the roe • juice of half a lime • 1 tbsp olive oil • roughly chopped coriander • 2 lge garlic cloves, chopped • salt and pepper METHOD 1: Fry the scallops in the olive oil until golden (about a minute), then turn them over and sprinkle the garlic and chilli into the pan. Cook for about another minute, then squeeze over the lime juice. 2: Finish off with the chopped coriander and salt and pepper and serve straight away. Serves two.

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Food & Entertainment #

Say cheese! General Charles de Gaulle once said: 'How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?’ If he thought he had a problem then, what about now when numbres are into the 4000-plus range? We are spoilt for choice, but there are always little gems to be found...

• • Bleu du Haut-Jura (AOC) • • This mild blue cheese is also known as Bleu de Gex, or Bleu de Septmoncel, but its official name is Bleu du Haut-Jura. It’s a naturally blued cheese from Franche-Comté and, like many cheeses of its type, has an interesting history. The story goes that in 1467 Brother Anselme, a monk from the Abbey of Chézery, was on a pilgrimage when he was caught in a snowstorm. Numbed with cold, he finally found some shelter slumped behind a big rock. Meanwhile, a local peasant called Constant Grossiord was on his way back after delivering honey from his hives and found footprints in the snow, which led him to the rock. He found the half-dead monk, wrapped him in his big cloak and started to carry him home. Tired and struggling with the effort of carrying the monk, Constant was attacked by a pack of wolves but managed to fight them of with his cudgel and struggled home to his wife. When he woke, Brother Anselme learned of the hardships endured by Constant and he wanted to reward him for his courage. Not having any cash, he chose to reveal to Constant the secret of the cheese made by the monks of the Abbey of Chézery. This sweet cheese is made from raw milk from Montbéliarde cows grazing in the mountains of the Jura and it’s said the mould of the mountain grass and flowers pass into their milk, where it flourishes. The cheese comes in the form of a grinding wheel around 34cms in diameter and 8-10cms in height and weighing between 7-8kg. The word Gex is stamped on the surface of the crust, which often has tiny holes in it. Today, spores of the blue mould Penicillium glaucum are introduced into the milk. During maturation, air is inserted with a

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syringe into the cheese to allow the mould to grow internally. That’s where the tiny holes come from. During maturation of around three to five weeks within specified AOC areas, the cheeses are dried and ripened naturally in the cellars of a coopérative at a humidity of 80%. The rind is covered with a layer of white, powder-like mould that should be wiped off before eating. The inside is smooth white, marbled with deep blue. Lightly pressed, it has a faint smell and it is characterised by its nutty taste. Locally, this cheese is often eaten with boiled potatoes or as a gratin d’aubergines au Bleu de Gex Haut Jura, but another tasty recipe to try is Bleu Fondue à la Poêle. Simply cut the cheese into slices and melt them slowly in a frying pan. The slices make an excellent topping for chicken breasts, or are just as yummy spread on slices of country bread and accompanied by a glass of local wine.

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Laugh Out Loud


Traditonal English Butchers in North Mayenne 8 place de la houssaye 53120 Gorron Tel: 02 43 30 46 89 email:

All of our meat is locally sourced 21 day matured beef

Premium quality Pork, Lamb & Poultry


man wakes up in hospital, bandaged from head to foot. The doctor comes in and says: ‘Ah, I see you’ve regained consciousness. Now, you probably won’t remember, but you were in a huge motorway pile-up. You’re going to be OK, you’ll walk again and everything. However, your penis was severed in the accident and the paramedics couldn’t find it.’ The man groans, but the doctor goes on. ‘You have €19,000 in insurance compensation coming, though, and we now have the technology to build a new penis. They work great, but they don’t come cheap. It’s roughly €2000 an inch.’ The man cheers up, so the doctor says: ‘You must decide how many inches you want. I understand you have been married for 30 years, so this is something you should discuss with your wife. If you had a five-incher before and get a nine-incher now, she might be a bit uncomfortable. If you had a nine-incher before and you decide to only invest in a five-incher now, she might be disappointed,’ he says with a smile. The doctor comes back the next day and sees the man standing there, a little crestfallen. ‘Have you spoken with your wife?’ he asks. ‘Yes,’ says the man. ‘And has she helped you make a decision?’ ‘Yes,’ says the man. ‘We’re getting a new kitchen.’’


Angus beef, free-range turkeys, capons & geese, rolled turkey breast joints, gammon joints, pork joints with crackling, pork pies, cocktail sausage rolls, cocktail sausages & chipolatas + a selection of English cheeses (i.e. Stilton & cheddar) and more. Check our website for a full range of products

Now delivering throughout France with Chronofresh 18


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young executive is leaving the office late one evening when he finds the chairman standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. ‘Listen,’ says the chairman, ‘this is a very sensitive and important document here and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?’ ‘Certainly,’ says the young executive, and he turns the machine on, inserts the paper and presses the start button. ‘Excellent,’ beams the chairman as his paper disappears inside the machine. ‘I only need one copy.’


ive surgeons are discussing who the best patients are to operate on. The first surgeon says: ‘I like to see accountants on my operating table because when you open them up, everything inside them is numbered.’ The second says: ‘You should try electricians. Everything inside them is colour-coded.’ The third surgeon says: ‘I think librarians are the best. Everything inside them is in alphabetical order.’ Then it’s the fourth surgeon’s turn: ‘I like builders. They always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end and when the job takes longer than you said it would.’ But the fifth surgeon shuts them all up: ‘You’re all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There are no guts, no heart, no spine and the head and backside are interchangeable.’

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Food & Entertainment #

Le Moulin de Pont Samoël Bar - Crêperie - Restaurant - Gîte D’étape

French & English Cuisine incl. Sunday Carvery

Regular Live Music Events Private Functions Fish and Chips every Friday Evening

Curry every Saturday evening Full English breakfast served every day all day

02 57 72 01 00

Christmas booking now being taken

Pont Samoël 56480



Monday:10am to 8pm Tuesday: CLOSED Wednesday: 10am to 8pm Thursday: 10am to 8pm Friday: 10am to 10pm Saturday: 10am to 10pm Sunday: 11am to 6pm Times may change on events days/ nights

The Red Lion Bar/Restaurant Le Bourg Desertines - 53190

Tel: 02 43 32 14 74

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Le Viking RestauRant

Formule ur chaque jo


Hors d’œuvre Entrée chaude Plat Fromage, dessert Café

salle pour réception – 140 couverts

NouVeau ! Diffusion Championnat 1ere ligue anglaise / Champion’s ligue & évènements sportifs internationaux Choix de bieres françaises et anglaises, comme la London Pride et la Guinness

02 33 59 20 11 Le Bourg

notRe dame du touchet

Roger and Kay Cox have recently opened the ‘Reflexions-Restaurant’ in Saint-Vincent-Sur-Oust, in premises previously run as ‘Le Rosbif’. Roger is the Chef, while Kay looks after front-of-house. They have been working in the hospitality industry for the past 30 years, running pubs, restaurants and hotels all over the UK, as well as in several other countries.

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They class Reflexions as Cuisine de Monde, or World Cuisine and, as well as the classic British dish of fish and chips, Roger prepares authentic Indian curries, Spanish tapas and Italian pastas. He loves to mix it up a bit with his Chef’s Specials, which will likely include dishes like succulent duck breasts in a whisky and raspberry jus, Greek-style lamb Kleftiko, or a local Brittany dish of seafood chowder. of

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Check out the Reflections website or Facebook page for current menus and events such as live music nights on the first Saturday of each month. Email: |

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≈ Spuds we like! ≈

Let’s face it, not only are they nutrient-dense and high in potassium and vitamin C, potatoes are also one of the most versatile – and delicious – vegetables around.

Hasselback potatoes Originating in Sweden, Hasselbackspotatis are a type of baked potato which can be served plain or by adding a range of toppings. INGREDIENTS • 4 medium potatoes. A starchy potato works best, but you can also use new potatoes • 25g butter • 2 tbsp of oil • ½ tsp sea salt METHOD 1: Heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6/400°F. 2: Wash the potatoes and then gently slice thin sections about twothirds of the way down, leaving a solid base. Place on a baking tray. 3: Melt the butter and oil in a pan and pour over the potatoes, starting with the slits. Make sure all parts are covered. 4: Sprinkle each potato with salt and cook in the oven for about an hour, depending on the size of your potatoes. Serves four. Variations: I add rosemary and garlic to the recipe above. I’ve also made them for a finger-food buffet using small potatoes and inserted slices of strong cheddar cheese in the slits two-thirds of the way through cooking. They crisp up well and once ready I top with creme fraiche and chives. You can equally use larger potatoes and top with anything of your choice – diced red peppers and red onion, bacon, ham etc.

Pommes Grenailles The term refers to very small potatoes that are often on the root with the larger potatoes. I first ate these in a local restaurant and have adapted the recipe. INGREDIENTS • 1kg small new potatoes. Use whole or cut larger potatoes into small pieces • 4 tbsp olive or sunflower oil

• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped • 2 sprigs of thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD 1: Heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6/400°F 2: Wash potatoes before boiling until barely cooked. Strain and cool under cold water to prevent further cooking. Leave to drain. 3: Add oil to a non-stick tray and place in oven until hot. Add the partcooked potatoes, sprinkle over chopped garlic, thyme and salt and pepper. Stir well to coat them with oil. 4: Leave the grenailles to cook, stirring from time to time, until nicely browned. Serves four.

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Potato Rösti Also known by various names in different cultures – such as Latkes or Boxties – these are basically potato pancakes and can be served as an accompaniment to any meal or topped with something gorgeous as a snack or starter. INGREDIENTS • 1kg starchy potatoes (they contain less water) • ½-1 tsp salt • ½ tsp cracked black pepper • 4/5 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil for cooking METHOD 1: Peel the potatoes, grate them into a colander over a bowl and leave for five minutes to drain. Then, using a cheesecloth or clean cloth, squeeze out as much of the water in the potato as possible. 2: In a bowl, add the salt and pepper and mix. At this point you need to decide if you are making individual röstis or one whole one that can be sliced. 3: In a heavy-based pan, heat the oil until a shred of potato sizzles when added. For individual röstis, drop handfuls into the pan to create 4”/10cm discs about 1cm deep. Flip these to cook on both sides. Rest on kitchen roll to drain any excess oil. For one large rösti, gradually drop in the mixture in handfuls until you fill the bottom of the pan with an even layer. Build up the layer, gently pushing down with a fork, until it is around 1in/2.5cm deep. You’ll hear the pan sizzling. Cook like this for 10-12 minutes. Then flip the rösti to cook the other side. Use a plate to turn it out and then slide it back into the pan and cook the other side until brown and crispy. Rest it on kitchen roll and then cut into wedges to serve. Optional additions: Parsley. Onions. Garlic. Nutmeg. Smoked paprika. Peppers. Many recipes also include flour and eggs, making them much more of a pancake. As above for ingredients and method, but add: 3 eggs, beaten. 2 tbsp plain flour. 1 onion, grated and squeezed with the potato.

With thanks to Karen Manuel Owner Le Jardin de Froulay 02 43 00 93 79

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# Food & Entertainment

How Smart



Clued up on food? If you crave to test your culinary knowledge, try this challenging foodie quiz. Once you’re done, make sure to check the correct answers, where we’ve hidden some interesting food-related facts. Q1: Which one of these is NOT a relative of broccoli? A: Cauliflower. B: Brussels sprouts. C Asparagus. D Cabbage. Q2: Which of these ingredients is found in dairy? A: Muriatic acid. B: Lactic acid. C: Glycolic acid. Q3: Where do mangoes come from? A: Egypt. B: China. C: South America. D: India. Q4: Why is ginger added to sushi? A: To counterbalance the hotness of wasabi. B: To cleanse your palate. C: For aesthetic purposes. Q5: Which of these cheeses can you throw on a grill? A: Halloumi. B: Mozzarella. C: Feta. D: Cheddar. Q6: Roux pastry is the basis for cream puffs and eclairs. What makes this pastry so special? A: It uses less eggs than other pastries. B: It can be prepared both sweet and savoury. C: It is cooked on the hob before being baked in the oven.

Q7: What is bug juice? A: Strong, low quality liquor or whisky. B: When you leave a watermelon outside on a hot summer’s day. C: A type of sweet, sticky syrup. Q8: Which of the following is NOT a word used to describe fried potatoes? A: Shoestring potatoes. B: Irish potatoes. C: Frites. D: French fries. E: Chips Q9: Which US state is famous for its peaches? A: Georgia. B: California. C: Hawaii. D: New Hampshire. Q10: What is black pudding? A: A sausage made of pig’s blood. B: Another word for chocolate pudding. C: A special kind of blackcurrant jam that originated in Belgium. Q11: Which of these is not technically a berry? A: Watermelon. B: Avocado. C: Strawberry. D: Banana. Q12: Fortune cookies were invented in which city? A: Shanghai. B: San Francisco, C: Seoul. D: Beijing. Q13: Which of the following foods is NOT a bean? A: Peanuts. B: Peas. C: Lentils. D: Green beans. Q14: What does the ‘coco’ in the word coconut stand for? A: It means ‘skull’ or ‘head’ from Portuguese, named for the three holes on a coconut resembling said body part. B: It stand for ‘pal’ or ‘buddy’ from French, referring to the many uses of the coconut. C: It’s a contraction of the French exclamation ‘cocorico’ meaning cock-a-doodle-do. Answers on page 50 >>

PUB, home-made and fresh FISH N’CHIPS & BURGERS Possible Vegetarian & Vegan

LE MOINE JOYEUX Pub, grocery, tobacco, fresh bread...


02 31 68 61 00 English spoken


n elderly woman decides to prepare her will and tells her lawyer she has two final requests. First, she wants to be cremated and, second, she wants her ashes to be scattered in her local Asda supermarket. ‘Asda?’ the lawyer exclaims. ‘Why Asda?’ ‘Then I can be sure my daughters visit me twice a week,’ came the answer. harmacist to customer: ‘Sir, please understand, to buy an anti-depression pill you need a proper prescription. Simply showing your marriage certificate and your wife’s picture is not enough!’

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YEARS AGO... 25 1994

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May 10: Former political prisoner Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as President of South Africa. Mandela had won the first free election in South Africa despite attempts by various political enemies to stop him. May 25: After 20 years in exile, Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returns to his homeland. He had been expelled from Soviet Russia in 1974 after his work exposing the Soviet prison camp system, The Gulag Archipelago, was published in the West. July 12: Germany’s Constitutional Court ends the ban on sending German troops to fight outside the country. The ban had been in effect since the end of WW2. The ruling enabled German troops to join in United Nations and NATO peace-keeping missions. On July 14, German military units marched in Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, the first appearance of German troops there since WW2.

YEARS YEARS AGO... 50 AGO... 25 1199 69 94 YEARS YEARS AGO... 100 AGO... 50 191 9 1969

August 15: Woodstock begins in a field near Yasgur’s Farm, at Bethel, New York. The three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000 young people. The event came to symbolise the counter-culture movement of the 1960s. August 31: Boxing legend Rocky Marciano is killed in a plane crash on the eve of his 46th birthday. Born Rocco Francis Marchegiano in Brockton, Massachusetts, he fought Jersey Joe Walcott for the world heavyweight title on September 23, 1952. He was knocked down in the first round but recovered to knock Walcott out in the 13th. Marciano went on to defend his title six times, winning five by knockouts, before retiring in 1956. During his career he won 49 straight fights, 43 by knockouts. December 16: MPs in the House of Commons vote 343-185 for the permanent abolition of the death penalty for murder. However, the death penalty was retained for offences like treason and piracy with violence until 1998. As a result, the gallows at Wandsworth Prison remained in place.

25 100

YEARS AGO... 1 9 YEARS 94 AGO... 1919

YEARS AGO... 50 1969


YEARS AGO... 1919

January 5: The German Workers’ Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) is founded by Anton Drexler in Munich. Adolf Hitler became member No7 and changed the name in April 1920 to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), commonly shortened to Nazi or Nazi Party. October 28: Prohibition begins in the USA with the passage of the National Prohibition (Volstead) Act by Congress. Sales of drinks containing more than one half of one percent of alcohol became illegal. Called a ‘noble experiment’ by Herbert Hoover, prohibition last nearly 14 years and became highly profitable for organised crime, which manufactured and sold liquor in saloons called ‘speakeasies’. December 1: American-born English socialite Nancy Astor enters the House of Commons to become the first female MP in British history to take a seat in Parliament. She was not the first woman to be elected, however. That was achieved in 1918 by Constance Markievicz, an Irish Republican who was detained in Holloway Prison at the time and, as a member of Sinn Fein, disqualified herself by refusing to take the oath.

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Property #

Looking short-term can make sense When people talk about ‘buy-to-let’ property in the UK, it generally relates to long-term letting. In France this is also possible, but it often makes sense to offer short-term lets - holiday lets, for example – so you can also enjoy the property yourself. There are pros and cons for both, of course, but it really depends on your objectives and your situation. Let’s start with a main factor. Are you resident in France and a French tax-payer? Because if you are, investing in the right kind of property can offer some interesting tax breaks. The Loi Pinel was introduced to promote affordable rental housing and allows French taxpayers who buy a new home or building to let out to benefit from a reduction in their income tax. The building must meet the energy and thermal regulations and economic standards. The amount of the reduction in taxes on income is spread over six years, nine years or 12 years. In order to benefit from the tax advantage, investors should comply with various conditions relating to the value, rent achieved and period of rental. Agents can advise further if it’s for you. If you are based in the UK and wish to buy a French property for long-term letting – perhaps to take advantage of incredibly attractive French mortgage rates – then a property in town is a good choice. Location, location, location is, as ever, a key factor in choosing a property. Pick a location near a university to capture the student market, or in an urban area with good employment opportunities to get young professionals as tenants. If you pick a student rental you might be able to get a double bite at the cherry – rent out through the academic year to students and fit in a couple of months of seasonal rental through July and August. Capital growth is likely to be lower in France, but if you can have a mortgage paid off over 15 or 20 years, cover all costs and end up with an interesting asset, then it’s a great result. There are various advantages to financing your French rental property with a French mortgage, including the fact that your French property will serve as security so you don’t have to place a charge on property in your home country. Interest paid on your French mortgage will reduce the taxable rental income from your French buy-to-let and by financing with a low-interest French mortgage you increase the internal rate of return on your investment. Interest rates can be variable, fixed for a limited period or fixed for the entire duration. Interest-only mortgages are even occasionally available in certain cases. With a mortgage, you also avoid currency exchange loss by borrowing the maximum in euros (French euro mortgages for rental property are currently available for 70% to 100% of the purchase price) and you can match your debt payment currency to the rental income currency you will receive. French banks do not use the same rules to determine >> p28

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This charming stone cottage with pool is established as a gite rental

please call 02 99 91 59 77

25 0033 (0) 2 97 27 01 71 Mobile : 0033 (0) 6 77 35 67 34 Entreprise créée en février 2004

Low Cost Estate Agency Sales 2.5 % Commission It will always be a good idea to buy your property in Brittany with Bel Air Homes, as our sales commission is the lowest at just 2.5 % including VAT. Other agencies charge varying commission rates, typically between 5% and 10 %, with the average being around 8%. It is therefore well worth asking an agent BEFORE viewing how much commission they will be asking you to pay them, should you proceed with the purchase of the property !

Bel Air Homes - About us Bel Air Homes is a fully French registered and insured estate agency, and a member of FNAIM (Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier), the national association of estate agents. We offer our clients a full bilingual estate agency service in English, or French. We are not property finders, or a property portal. Every property in our sales portfolio has been visited by us so that we can take a full range of photos, and gather the relevant information to enable us to prepare a description. Vendors benefit from our proactive marketing campaign, advice, and help, which is all absolutely FREE. We do not ask for exclusivity when selling a property, as we believe that exclusivity only limits the exposure of a property to potential buyers. Local and international potential buyers searching for property in Brittany cannot miss our publicity, wherever they are in the world! Buyers benefit from our low commission rate, plus our experience and knowledge of the local property market, from the moment they first contact us. We help all the way through the buying process, from the selection of suitable properties according to search criteria, to viewings, negotiations, and sales contracts. We can also help with structural surveys, mortgages, setting up bank accounts, subscribing to insurance, connecting to services, creating accounts with the utility companies, and good deals on currency exchange if required. By responding to all questions from vendors, buyers, notaires, and helping wherever necessary, we aim to make the process of buying and selling properties as trouble-free and smooth as possible for our clients.

Bel Air Homes - Join Us Become a commercial agent in real estate. Anywhere in France. 80% commission paid. please call 02 99 91 59 77 26 To advertise in

72 47 47 500 500 €€

87 72 52 500 500 €€

117 875€€€ 72 85 500 000

123 000€€€ 96 87 500 500

143 500€€ 119 925 92 500

148 124 999 112 625 750 €€

225 125 050 128 500 125 €€

281 179 375 131 875 200 €€

12 184 500 133500 250€€€

62 184 500 138500 375€€€

LoW cost estate agency 169 184 500 143 125 500 €€

2.5 % commission

317 189 625 153 750 750 €€

42 192 700 189500 625€€€

72 205 000 194500 750€€€

97 220 375 214500 328€€€

123 235 750 225 000 500 €€

133 256 235 250 750 €€

143 276 750 338 500 250 €€

153 358 358 750 750 €€

235 445 875 360 750 000 €€

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# Property << p25 eligibility to borrow as UK lenders. The rentability of the property will be factored in, as well as the borrower’s disposable income, as a primary consideration of their financial situation. Last, but certainly not least, the most frequently chosen form of investment is a gorgeous French property you buy outright with a lump sum from savings, downsizing your main home, an inheritance, etc. Instead of leaving the cash languishing in a building society attracting teeny amounts of interest, invest in a French property you can both enjoy and rent out to holidaymakers to cover its running costs.

New-builds can qualify for Loi Pinel tax advantages

Choose a rental with a ‘hook’ to bring in holidaymakers again and again. It could be close to a tourist attraction, a tranquil setting, have a nice pool or a delightful interior you find or create. A good season of holiday rentals can provide enough income to cover the cost of changeovers, gardening, local taxes and utility bills, so your own holidays there are ‘free’. Whatever option you decide suits your needs, the diversity of the French market and number of properties available ensures the choice is there to make a perfect match. With thanks to Lisa Greene Area Co-ordinator of Leggett Immobilier Grand Ouest Tel.: 02 96 42 63 46


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General Contracting Design & Build Pre-build Services Construction Management

maison bretagne

Creating modern homes sympathetic with the age and history of a house Our Story Maison Bretagne comprises a team of renovation experts based in Brittany led by Jon Tuson. An accomplished joiner and carpenter, Jon ran his own building business in the UK for 16 years before relocating to France. Since 2009, Maison Bretagne has undertaken a diverse range of work including the renovation of a listed town house in Beaune, a barn conversion in the Burgundian countryside and the design & build of a pool house in Normandy. Our mission is to respect a buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s origins, enhance or maintain the character within, and provide a full renovation service for clients with older properties. Maison Bretagne is registered and insured to carry out carpentry, joinery and masonry work and can call on a trusted team of French-registered artisans including electricians, plumbers and architects.

Fo r a f re e q u ot e p l e a s e c o nt a c t u s at : or on:

02 99 48 07 28 / 06 65 91 05 76 30

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Ignore that red tape at your peril

The subject of retrospective planning permission in France – known here as a ‘regularisation’ – can certainly be both challenging and ‘entertaining’! In some cases, the planning authorities may require any work carried out without a permit to be put back into the condition it was in originally, though this is generally only where the work is not possible due to planning restrictions. On occasion, people have been known to ignore written instructions not to undertake work without a permit, then to be surprised when they are subsequently told to undo everything. Bear in mind before you carry out any work on your property that at some point it is likely to come back and bite you if you haven’t obtained appropriate permissions. In practice, the process is very similar to a normal planning application, including ‘existing and proposed’ plans and drawings. This can be quite challenging where the owner of a property has carried out significant works without planning approval and no longer has any record of what the property looked like beforehand. This sometimes leads to some creative interpretation! A standard planning application needs to be made, with all the usual attachments – plans, drawings, photographs, etc. The dossier needs to show that the work has already been carried out and that the application is to formally recognise this fact and to seek a planning permit for it. The same processing period applies to a regularisation as any normal application (usually two months), although some authorities may handle retrospective applications more quickly if pressed. Recently, we dealt with a case where extensive renovations and conversions had been carried out seven years previously, which only came to light when the property was sold. The buyer of the house discovered the absence of a planning permit during the purchase process and agreed to proceed with the contract only if a permit was granted by a certain date. Through some creative work and rapidly arranged meetings with the authorities (which involved a good degree of begging), the permit was granted within a week and the sale was concluded. Conversely, another case took 18 months to sort out because the planners were so annoyed that unauthorised work had been To advertise in

carried out, they sat on the dossier for a very long time. Many people are under the misapprehension that all manner of things can be done to a property in France without a permit, so here are some of the main points to be aware of: • Any external change of appearance to a property needs a permit of one kind or another. This includes changing the style or material of doors and windows. It also includes, in some cases, changing the colour of shutters, masonry, etc. Always included are the installation of Velux windows or dormers, creating new door or window openings or, indeed, changing a door to a window or vice-versa. • Any increase in the habitable or taxable floor area of a property. This includes converting a lean-to, attic, stable or barn into living space. • Building a garden shed or polytunnel requires permission and there will be taxes to pay as well! In some cases, local planning regulations specifically forbid sheds and polytunnels. • The fact that a change to a property cannot be seen by a neighbour does not alter the requirement for a permit. • A neighbour may have carried out similar works or modifications to their property, but that does not mean approval is not required for your property. Neither does it mean that undertaking similar alterations will automatically receive approval. Internal modifications that do not create additional living space may be exempt from the need for a permit. However, caution is needed where attic conversions are concerned because special rules can apply. If in doubt, get advice. With thanks to Arthur Cutler

SARL French Plans 02 97 39 38 72

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# Artisans

Be energy efficient from the start Whether you are at the planning stage of your new ’Grand Design’ dream home in France (or preparing to build it) or just about to convert that old barn, considering the energy efficiency of your home will pay dividends in the end. As fuel costs will only increase, it makes sense at the earliest stage possible to consider how to make your home as cheap to run as you can. Any efforts at this stage will save your hardearned euros or pounds year after year. There are various reasons why you should to look to the energy efficiency of your home and how you can improve it: • T o reduce CO2 emissions by reducing the amount of heating fuel(s) consumed. • T o save money by using less heating fuel(s). • T o live in a more ‘sustainable’ home and be able to pass it on to your family. • T o increase the value and ‘marketability’ of your home. • T o ‘future-proof’ your home to avoid fuel poverty in the years to come. There are five basic design principles you should try to incorporate into your building or design:

Orientation Allow for as many glazed openings in the walls and roof to

face south. Solar radiation (insolation NOT insulation!) can provide from a little background heating to most of the heating requirement, depending on the energy demand.

Glazing Double-glazing was considered new in the 1970s, but is now commonplace. Triple-glazed windows and doors are worth the extra expense, as the prices come down. Not only can they keep more of your heat inside, they can also help to reduce overheating in the summer.

Air-tightness Air-tightness is sometimes confused with the term ‘breathability’. However, they are not connected. Air-tightness refers to uncontrolled ventilation, or leaks, in the fabric of your building. These leaks allow the warm air (that you have spent money to heat) to escape and, in turn, allow cold air from outside to enter your home. This leads to drafts, increased heating bills and lower comfort levels. If you can allow for it, MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) known as VMC double-flux, gives a better indoor air quality, reduces ventilation heat losses


very sick man is lying in bed. He realises he doesn’t have

much time left, so he asks the nurse to bring his wife, daughter and both sons to him, as well as witnesses and a camera to record his last wishes. When they’re all assembled, eyes misty and faces drawn, he begins to speak. ‘My son Sam, I want you to take the houses on the seafront. My daughter Sybil, you take the apartments between the seafront and the town centre. My son Jamie, I want you to take the offices above the shopping centre. Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the lakeside.’ The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realise his extensive property portfolio and, as the man slips away, the nurse says: ‘Mrs. Smith, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property.’ The wife just grunts and replies: ‘The b**d has a paper round.’


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Artisans #

and can help with indoor humidity/condensation issues.


What to look for in a truly energy-efficient house and how it can cost you so little to heat

This is the most evident part of your design. More insulation equals less heat loss – to a point! The law of diminishing returns applies here, so there is a cost/benefit analysis to be done. Insulation comes in different forms, from the readily available rolls and slabs of mineral wool or glass-fibre (laine de roche or laine de verre) through polystyrene (EPS or XPS) to the rigid boards (PU, PIR phenolic). Generally, the more expensive the insulation the better the thermal resistance and the more heat >> p35 energy you will save.


Diagnostiqueur énergétique Energy efficiency consultant

DKP Services lieu-dit La Poupardière, 61320 Ciral

Mob: 06 05 56 23 24 Tel: 09 87 04 12 47 +44(0)78 86 26 91 12 Siret: 83805144900018

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Artisans # << p33

Thermal bridging

Thermal bridges (ponts thermiques) are the junctions in a thermal element (wall, floor and roof) that make up your building. These are, for example, around windows and external doors, where the walls meet the floor, where the walls meet the roof, and corners in the building. These junctions can become a significant source of heat loss and lead to condensation issues if not â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;designed outâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or reduced as far as practical. These principles should be used to help you design your home, or to guide your architect or contractor to deliver you a better, warmer, more comfortable home that does not cost the earth to heat year after year. There are many terms used to describe insulation, thermal performance and energy efficiency. R-value, Y-value, Psi-value, U-value, Uw-value, Ud-value, lambda-value, nnm3/m2.h to name but a few! These terms have precise meanings in a specific context, but sales people who would have you purchase their products may throw them around like confetti in order to distract you from the reality. For sensible advice or guidance, you would be

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well placed to seek an independent consultant and explain to them what your goals and requirements are and how they can be achieved. Any improvements at an early stage will result in savings multiplied many times over.

With thanks to Daryl Price Consultant, DK Property Services +44 (0) 1978 851199 +44 (0) 7886 269112

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# Artisans Along with orbiting the sun at around 67,000mph (108,000kph), Earth is also rotating at its axis at about 1070mph (1721kph). On top of that, our whole solar system is rocketing through space around the centre of the Milky Way at around 559,234mph (900,000kph). On top of that, our galaxy is hurtling through space at around 671,080mph (1,080,000 kph) with respect to our local group of galaxies. And the point is? You are presently moving really, really quickly on this giant spaceship we call Earth! Bed bugs reproduce via the male bed bug literally stabbing the female in the abdomen with his hypodermic genitalia, rather than using the female’s reproductive tract. Once he’s stabbed the female, he then releases his sperm inside her body cavity. The sperm ultimately travel via the female’s blood to sperm storage structures in her body. The males are also perfectly happy to do the same to other males, with their sexual attraction to one another primarily based on the size of the bed bug. So, if you’re a pleasantly plump bed bug – male or female – expect to have a male trying to stab you with its genitalia.


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Artisans # On September 11, 2001 – the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks – the American Federal Aviation Administration grounded all domestic flights and turned away any incoming international flights for the first time in history. The man who ordered the airspace closure was national operations manager Ben Sliney. It was his first day on the job in that position. Two local men were injured when their pickup truck left the road and hit a tree in Arkansas, USA. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported how Thurston Poole and Billy Ray Wallis were returning home after a ‘frog-gigging trip’ when Poole’s truck headlights packed in. The two men concluded the headlight fuse had burned out, but no replacement was available. Wallis found the .22 calibre bullet from his pistol fitted perfectly into the fusebox next to the steering wheel column, so he inserted the bullet and the lights came on. They set off again but some 20 miles later, just before a river bridge, the bullet apparently overheated, went off and struck Poole in the right testicle. The truck swerved and hit a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions but required surgery to the ‘other’ wound, while Wallis only broke his collarbone. ‘Thank God we weren’t on the bridge when Thurston shot his nuts off, or we might both be dead,’ said Wallis afterwards.

Steve Abbott Heating and Plumbing Services Agent for ‘Woodwarm Stoves’

Now, here’s some really good news. In the event of a nuclear explosion, beer is still drinkable! This is known because the US government placed beer containers close to an atomic testing back in 1956 to find out just that.

or email:

To advertise in We are happy to announce that after operating for 13 years near Carcassonne we have moved to Normandy. Fully registered and insured in France Steve Abbott has been a heating and plumbing engineer for since 1983. Now based near Tinchebray-Bocage

For enquiries please call:

06 04 14 51 57 Siret 513 896 308 00014

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# Technology

Going private can The internet is the biggest public network of computers so, by its nature, it has to be accessible to all. That means unless you take precautions your personal information could fall into the wrong hands. Perhaps you should look at a Virtual Private Network... A VPN essentially creates a private network on the public network – the internet. This means that when you use a VPN provider’s service your data is encrypyted even before your Internet Service Provider (ISP) sees it. The data then goes to the VPN server and then on to your online destination – anything from your bank website to a search engine. The online destination sees your data as coming from the VPN server and its location (in whichever country that might be) and not from your computer and your location. No-one can easily (nothing is ever perfect!) identify you or your computer as the source of the data, or what websites you’re visiting, what data you’re transferring etc. There are several reasons for using a VPN.

You have to access work: Accessing resources on a network you are not physically connected to. You live in another country: Because your internet

address is locked to your country, you may be prevented from accessing goods and information you want as it is officially only available in your home country.

Travelling: You will probably connect to the internet in a cafe, hotel, station, airport – basically any free WiFi. Downloading: Many people download information from the internet, some legal and some not so! If you do this using ‘torrents’, Peer2Peer, or some other sharing technology, the only way to keep it private is to use a VPN. Censorship: Many countries censor internet content. You

can get around this with a VPN to pretend you are accessing the internet from another country that does not have the censored content. When you connect to the internet without a VPN, all your data is out there in the open and any interested party can take a peek at what you’re sending and keep statistics. The internet is a collection of servers responsible for storing websites and serving them to anyone who wants to see them. Those servers are talking to each other all the time, including sharing your data with each other to ultimately let you browse a page. Great for you to be able to surf, but not great for privacy. Early VPNs were mostly used by companies to link their offices around the world using the internet. Although that’s still the case, it would now be done with a VPN server and a client. The server would be at the office and at home you would be the client. The use of a VPN has expanded into the mainstream and other uses far removed from office work. The average user now doesn’t want it for connecting to their work, but for security and TV services. For TV services, VPN is used to trick the geo-restrictions implemented by companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime or the


Technology #

be good for your internet health BBC. This was fine for a while, until Netflix imposed new detection methods to make it harder for a VPN to fool their services. Other companies soon followed suit, making it more difficult/expensive to fool all the services. More recently, things have got better as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are getting licences to show their content in many more countries. In my opinion, it’s no longer worth getting a VPN for these services. As far as security and privacy goes, there are differing points of view. If you’re not doing anything wrong on the internet, then you will be OK and shouldn’t have to hide yourself. On the other hand, however, should ‘establishments’ be allowed to spy on us, even if it is for security? As users, we have very little choice in the matter, but this is where a VPN can help you surf more anonymously. But don’t get into a false sense of security with a VPN and think you are 100% secure. You still have to be vigilant with emails, unknown websites and public WiFi and public places. A VPN would not protect you from a Near Field Communication (NFC) attack. NFC is one of the systems used for contactless payments and can be used for short-range communication between devices. Most new devices feature NFC technology, but most users won’t know it’s there or even if their device has it. There are different ways to install a VPN, depending on what devices you want to use. Take a Smart TV, which is a TV with an internet connection and the ability to play TV through the internet. Not all Smart TVs are as smart as each other! For example, you have a modem supplied by your internet provider which plugs into or connects wirelessly to your Smart TV, so the TV now has the internet. Once iPlayer, for example, is loaded you will get a message along the lines of ‘this service is unavailable in your area’. This is where a VPN would come in handy. But it can’t be installed on the modem as the modem comes locked by the provider. Many TVs don’t have an app for a VPN, so you would need another piece of hardware between the modem and the TV to change the geo-restriction of anything connected, be it a TV, computer, phone etc. Other ways include using VPN provider apps on individual devices - providing they are compatible – or using a router with VPN capability. This is where you need to be careful. Most good routers will have VPN listed in their features, but this could only be for connecting to an office or company network and not for connecting to your VPN provider. It can get even more complicated. All hardware/software devices will only let you select one server to connect to, like in the UK or USA for example. Some VPN service providers will have multiple servers dedicated to BBC, Amazon and Netflix and would require changing the server when you want to use either of those services. Now to protocols, which are the set of instructions and processes between a VPN server and a VPN client to make a stable and secure connection. Not all hardware can handle the different protocols. Nearly all protocols are made by Microsoft, which can cause issues with Linux and Apple devices, but there are a few newer ones around now that offer better security but come with different levels of difficulty in setting up.

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PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol) is the best-known as it has been around for a while now. It’s the lowest in security, but it’s better than nothing. The next level up would be L2TP/IPsec (Layer 2 Tunnelling protocol). This is an upgrade from PPTP and is also considered to be not that well secured. Here are some protocols that are worth using. SSTP (Secure Socket Tunnelling Protocol) is the level you would want from a VPN provider. After that you have IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2), which is just about the best you can get. But top of the protocol tree is OpenVPN. If you go for this one you will need to check with your VPN provider that they support it. Open VPN uses software (Client) and is available for almost all devices from https://openvpn. net along with set-up guides (which should also be available from your VPN provider if they support Open VPN) to make set-up easier. However, with Open VPN needing software (Client) to work, hardware can get a bit tricky. A router that supports VPNs may not support Open VPN – but that should be made clear on the specififaction or packaging. It’s also worth checking the principles, ethics and data-logging policies of the VPN provider. Most don’t log details, but if you don’t check you’re still not as secure and a request can be made by the authorities for a log of your activities. Also, some don’t support Peer2Peer file-sharing. This infringes on copyright, is illegal worldwide and action against it is aggressively enforced in most big countries. Using a VPN to download illegal content set to the wrong country can get you in trouble with your VPN provider and the authorities. You can use Peer2Peer legally, but you must own the copyright on the data being sent or received. Something else that can get confusing is the difference between On-demand and Live TV. On-demand refers to online content like iPlayer. You don’t need live TV for this, or even a TV, as a computer can get it through a VPN. Live TV doesn’t require an internet connection, but does require a satellite or aerial with a fast internet connection. Some French internet service providers can give you a TV box that works through the internet for mainly French TV. This only requires an internet connection for Live TV. At the time writing, there is no official UK TV box that supplies all UK TV channels through the internet that is both legal and reliable. It’s also worth remembering to turn a streaming device off once you’ve finished with it. If you don’t, it will be using your internet bandwidth and so slowing internet speed down for computers on the same network. For people on a metered connection, this can have a big cost implication For most home users, it’s best to have a VPN service and hardware (if needed) with the same provider, to make problems less likely to happen. It’s also the best option for TV and peace-of-mind security. Peter Cross Owner - Orne Communications 02 33 30 83 64

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# Sport & Leisure / Motoring

VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS I can carry out all the formalities necessary to register your vehicle in France via the ANTS system online Please email or leave a phone message for further details



Tel: 02 33 30 83 64 06 70 40 02 47 LES LANDES NORD, 61350 MANTILLY


siret No. 792 693 160 00014


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French Classics

Sport & Leisure / Motoring #

Renault 16 (1965-1980)

Pioneer of the modern hatchback The message from Renault’s boss at the time, Pierre Dreyfus, to designer Gaston Juchet was clear enough: “We need a different approach. Instead of seeing the car as four seats plus a separate boot, let’s treat all that as a single volume.” The message got through loud and clear. At the 1965 Geneva Motor Show, Renault had a brand new concept – two compartments with a hatch for accessing the boot. The Renault 16 combined practicality with elegance, its offbeat styling raising many an eyebrow at the show. And the adventurous, stylistic approach paid off. Just one year later, the 16 won the European Car of the Year award – ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow! The car was to prove highly successful with upwardly mobile French families at the peak of the baby boom period. Around 1.8 million were made from 1965 to 1980, most of them at the Sandouville, plant, near Le Havre, which was specially built for the purpose. The Renault 16 stood out in its ability to adjust to motorists’ needs and desires – an adaptability that was fairly uncommon at the time. The boot could take four different stowage configurations and the rear bench seat could be slid, folded down or removed as required. For many motorists it was their first taste of a do-everything car. ‘Family car’ meant everything from bread-winning delivery van to seating five people, to the act of procreation itself! With its front wheel drive layout, still unusual in its class at the time, and centrally-placed front engine, it had excellent road manners. The long-travel, fully-independent suspension, which employed all-round torsion bars, guaranteed a soft ride. Soft and supportive seats and a well-trimmed cabin merely enhanced the feeling of luxury.

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The column-change gearbox was popular on the continent, but British buyers couldn’t get on with it, although this wasn’t a problem for most owners as it was light and smooth to operate. The engine, like the gearbox and cylinder head, was made of aluminium and produced using a pressure die-casting process which was a European first and would go on to power millions of Renault vehicles well into the 1990s From 1968, with the TS (Tourisme Sportif, or sports tourer) version, a range of innovative new features became standard, including a defrosting rear window, additional quartz halogen headlights, twospeed windscreen wipers with four jet washers and an interior rear-view mirror with day/night settings. The following year, the 16 gained reversing lights, electric front windows, an electric sunroof and leather upholstery. It became a prestige vehicle. The marque even drew plaudits from racing driver Stirling Moss, who in 1970 said: “There is no doubt that the Renault 16 is the most intelligently engineered automobile I have ever encountered and I think that each British motorcar manufacturer would do well to purchase one just to see how it is put together.” The Renault 16 underwent several changes in its 15-year career, including a phase two version in 1971. Launched with a 55bhp 1470cc engine, it moved upmarket with a 86bhp 1565cc TS version in 1968. In 1969, the 16 became the first French car to feature a >> p43

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Sport & Leisure / Motoring # << p41 French-built automatic gearbox. Available only with the R16 TA (Transmission Automatique) in the first instance, this gearbox was included as an option for all the engines in the range from 1972. It even had an ‘Automatic’ badge on the tailgate. From 1973 until the end of its career in 1980, the Renault 16 shipped with a 93bhp 1647cc four-cylinder engine, five-speed transmission and quad headlights on the TX version, which was able to reach a top speed of 175kph (110mph). It also included central locking and inertia reel seatbelts – more features that added to an R16 owner’s quality of life. The 16 was an innovative, middleclass family car that proved Renault’s front-wheel-drive concept pioneered in the Renault 4 could be scaled up successfully – where the profits were much higher. It could also be described as being one of the fathers of the modern family car, offering a hatchback and front-wheel drive years before it was popularised by cars like Volkswagen’s Passat and the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2. Practically a hot hatch – and a very comfortable one at that!

This image from Renault’s brochure shows six different seating arrangements.

TV at its finest, Guvnor! For anyone not familiar with this truly ground-breaking car, there was a guest appearance in the MoneyMoneyMoney episode of the Sweeney on YouTube (Renault 16 – Ford Granada Chase 1978). John Thaw and Dennis Waterman in hot pursuit in their Ford Granada Ghia.

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# Health & Beauty


Cutting-edge stuff

BASED IN VIREY, 5 mins from St Hilaire du Harcouet Monday - Friday: 9am - 6pm Tel: 02 33 90 87 53

Describing how you’d like your hair done can be a real challenge, even in your own language. In French it can be a real casse-tête (headache). You can always take along a picture of how you’d like to look, but here’s Le Minimag’s guide to some common words and phrases to help you at your local coiffeur (or coiffeuse)?

25 years salon experience

mobile: 06 06 70 64 47

Basic services ~~~~~~~~~~

English Hairdresser

Blow-dry or straightening - le (un) brushing Colouring and highlights - les couleurs et mèches Haircare and treatments les (des) soins et traitements Haircut - une coupe Local salon – (un) coiffeur de quartier Perm - la (une) permanente Set or styling - la (une) mise en pli Shampoo - un (le) shampooing Top salon - un coiffeur (ou salon de coiffure) haut de gamme Trim – couper les pointes Unisex salon – un salon mixte

Basic terms ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cowlick - un épi Curly – bouclés


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Damaged – abîmés Dandruff – pellicules Dry – secs Dyed - colorés Fine – fins Frizzy – frisés Going bald – devenir chauve Lock of hair - une mèche Mixed – mixtes Normal – normaux Oily – gras Permed – permanentés Smooth - lisses Thick - épais Your hair - vos cheveux (always masculine, most often plural)

Getting a haircut ~~~~~~~ Asymmetrical - asymétrique Bangs/fringe - une frange Blunt cut - au carré

Health & Beauty # Clean cut/well-defined - bien dégagée Hair ends - les pointes Hair part - une raie Hair weaving or foiling – un balayage Highlights or streaks - les mèches ‘Just out of bed’ look – indiscipliné Layered on top dégradé sur le dessus Layered - en dégradé Short or long - (la coupe) courte ou longue Short, layered look - une coupe courte tout en dégradé Short ‘windblown’ layered look - dégradé déstructuré Square tapered style carré effilé

Treatments and styling ~~~ Anti-dandruff treatment - un traitement antipelliculaire Blow dry with curls - un brushing bouclé Deep-conditioning hair mask - un masque (capillaire) Hairdryer – un sèche cheveux

Hairdryer (overhead) - un casque Hairspray – de la laque Hair conditioner - une crème ou un après-shampoing Hair-loss treatment - un traitement antichute Put in curlers – mettre en bigoudis or faire une mise en plis Slightly turned up at the ends - un brushing avec un léger mouvement sur les pointes Straightened - un brushing raide Straightening irons – un lisseur

… and for the men ~~~~~~ Beard – une barbe Clippers – une tondeuse Crew cut – une coupe en brosse Hairline - l’implantation Nape of the neck – la nuque Sideburns – des (les) pattes

Useful phrases ~~~~~~~~~ I cut this out of a magazine. Do you think it would suit me? J’ai découpé ça dans un magazine. Vous pensez que ça m’irait?

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I haven’t made up my mind about the colour – a permanent or semipermanent colour. J’hésite pour la couleur – une couleur permanente ou une simple coloration. I’ve come to have the colour touched up. Je viens pour faire une retouche de ma couleur. I just want the roots

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redone. Je veux seulement une coloration des racines. Can you give me highlights? Vous pouvez me faire des mèches? Is that possible with my hair type? C’est possible avec mon type de cheveux? Could you take a bit more off at the nape/the sideburns? Vous pouvez diminuer sur la nuque/sur les pattes?


# Sport & Leisure / Gardening

A garden fit for a king Louis XIV’s Potager du Roi, near Versailles, covers nine hectares, three of which still produce 20 tons of vegetables while the rest houses 5000 fruit trees producing 50 tons of fruit annually. Perhaps a bit grand in scale for the rest of us, writes Malcolm Casson, but an illustration that the potager is a

kitchen garden with the word itself hinting at the purpose: Food for the pot or to produce pottage, a thick, mainly vegetable, soup. Originating in monastic gardens, it also incorporates herbs (edible and medicinal) as well as annuals to please the eye and, in its basic form, a four-bed, cross design. The design is still ideal for a modern potager as the beds can be compact, the centre reachable from all sides and perhaps raised for ease of working, and not walked upon, so ideal for the in vogue no-dig methods. Paths between the beds can be covered with a weed suppressant, perhaps with a covering of bark or gravel for low maintenance. Low box hedging around formally-shaped beds is traditional, but I feel do use up valuable soil nutrients and moisture – and box tree caterpillars are the latest threat to their good growth. It’s usually recommended that potagers should be sited in full sun, with rows north to south but, on the experience of the last two years in particular, some shade is welcome, especially for leafy vegetables, and rows sited east to west are best. The 2018 climate conditions mentioned in my Spring 2019 article have been replicated in most places this year and the emphasis on good soil preparation, mulching and the capture and use of water are vital for a successful new potager. I’ve still had a productive 2019 in the potager, limiting watering to transplants for a few days (I have not direct-sown any seed) and using collected water for that. However, I have increasingly moved my potager over to ‘tender’ vegetables


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Sport & Leisure / Gardening #

that have flourished, while some of the few vegetable bed stalwarts I still grow, like potatoes, have suffered badly. The peppers, aubergines, sweetcorn, summer squash, tomatoes, French and Borlotti beans have provided me with a more than steady stream of fresh produce. As the autumn progresses, kales, cabbages, broccoli and the like will come to the fore to provide fresh vegs through the darker months. Unlike many French potagers I see which seem to be bare except for the ubiquitous leeks! Fruit can be incorporated and raspberries, strawberries and a fig tree all have a place in my potager. My blackcurrants, blueberries and gooseberries are housed separately but that’s a personal choice.. The potager also houses some herbs, which would have been used to add flavour to the pottage: Perennials like rosemary, chives, thymes and sages, as well as annuals like fennel and basil (lettuce leaf variety highly recommended!). I also include flowers, not so much to look good but for picking for indoor display, as pollinator attractors and also – appropriate for a potager – for eating. Sweet peas (not edible!) have proved again that the more you pick the more you get and have been producing flowers with accompanying glorious scent since the end of June. Sunflowers tower over the rest of the potager inhabitants and are used to supply winter birdlife. Annual dahlias self-seed and amaranth, with bright plumes of orange or purple, provide a nutritious grain. The original creation of a potager does obviously entail some work and ‘no time’ is an oft-repeated reason for not To advertise in

creating one. From mid-March to mid-June I’m busy with final preparation, sowing, pricking out, planting and hoeing. But I do have two potagers, a fruit patch, grape patch and a small polytunnel. For the rest of the year, around 30 minutes a day, including watering, enables me to keep on top of it. Although I’ll admit you do have to then factor in extra time for the harvesting, preparation and eating of fresh, healthy produce!

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# Sport & Leisure / Animal & Pet care

Why you should give a hoot! Two out of three owls don’t survive their first year. Of those that do, only 30% survive the second year. And now winter is on the way... Feared and revered, admired and despised. Throughout history people have looked at owls with both fascination and awe. They have represented wisdom and foolishness and been associated with witchcraft and medicine and birth and death. With all that aggro, you’d think the poor owl would do the wise thing and chuck in the towel. But no. As superstitions gradually die out – there are still occasional reports of people in France nailing owls to their doors to ward off evil spirits – the owl has finally returned to its mythical position as a symbol of wisdom. With its large round head, huge forward-facing eyes and sharp downward-facing beak, it’s instantly recognisable. Exceptional vision and acute hearing play a major role in this bird of prey’s hunting technique. Add powerful talons and beak and the ability to fly silently and you have a formidable predator. France has about the same population as the UK but covers an area around five times the size, so there’s plenty of room for the owl to thrive. Open countryside, mile after mile of forests and plenty of room between major conurbations all add up to the perfect habitat. But things might not be all that rosy for them at present – and the influx of ex-pats to France could be having a detrimental effect, especially on barn owls. The British dream of a home in France often means renovating country properties – old farm buildings and barns that have been home to owls for generations. Historically, barn owls often inhabited or visited farm buildings that were infested with mice and rats. Being able to hunt indoors when weather conditions were severe was a tremendous advantage, but this has been lost on virtually all farms due to changes in feed storage and rodent control. Add that to the combination of pesticides, poisons and road traffic and you can see how everything seems to be ganging up on them. Here we look at the owls you can expect to see in this part of France, what to do if you find one and – perhaps most important of all – how you can help keep them safe and well.

Barn owl, Tyto alba, Chouette effraie or Effraie des clochers

Hunting and food: Shrews, voles and mice, but also frogs, bats and baby rabbits. Prey is usually found by quartering up and down land but it also use low perches like fence posts to seek its quarry. It uses sound to detect its prey. The short feathers that form the facial disc enhances its hearing by forming a groove, which helps direct sound to the ear opening. Reproduction: Clutch of 4-7 white eggs on a nest of disgorged pellets in April to early May, which hatch after about 33 days. The male helps feed the young and the chicks can fly after 9-12 weeks. Sometimes breed twice a year.

Tawny owl, Strix aluco, Chouette hulotte Commonest, most widespread owl in Europe. Plumage is chestnut brown, heavily mottled with grey, brown and black streaks. The face is round with deep-set black eyes. It makes the characteristic twit-twoo call, although it’s normally a duet between the female (twit) and the male (twoo). Habitat: Usually broad-leaved woodland and forests and open parklands, occasionally coniferous forests. Can be found in cities with wooded parks and gardens. Average size: Length 38cm, wingspan 95-105cm, weight 400g (male), 590g (female). Habits: Generally nocturnal, but sometimes active in the day. Territorial, using the same range throughout its life. Flight is agile around trees, with relatively quick wing beats. Also glides on extended wings over open spaces. May also hover. Hunting and food: Hunts almost entirely at night, usually waiting, watching and listening quietly on a perch. It also snatches birds from their roosting perches or young from their nests. Other prey includes rabbits, moles, mice, earthworms, insects (beetles especially), frogs and lizards. Reproduction: Clutch of 2-4 white eggs in March or April in a hole in a tree, an old crow’s nest or occasionally in an old burrow on the ground. The male feeds the brood for about 21 days and then both parents. Chicks leave nest after 32-37 days.

Little owl, Athene noctua, Chouette chevêche or Chevêche d’Athéna

One of the most widespread of all land owls. With its large heart-shaped face, white underparts and pale golden back and wings, at night it looks like a ghostly apparition. It doesn’t hoot. It’s more like a drawn-out screech (hence its alternative name, the screech owl). Habitat: Hunts on open farmland. Usually roosts by day in tree hollows but also in farm buildings, churches and sheds. Average size: Length 34cm, wingspan 90cm, weight 300g (male), 360g (female). Habits: Generally nocturnal, although not uncommon to see it hunting in full daylight. Flight is noiseless, with wing beats interrupted by gliding.

Grey-brown plumage barred and mottled with white, short tail and rounded wings. Underside is white with broad, broken streaks of grey-brown. A large head, long legs and yellow eyes with white ‘eyebrows’ gives it a stern expression. Main call is a plaintive kiew, kiew repeated every few seconds. Habitat: Open countryside like mixed farmland and parkland. Usually nests in holes in trees or rocks, but also in buildings and custom-built nest boxes. Average size: Length 23cm, wingspan 54-58cm, weight 170g (male), 174g (female). Habits: Mostly crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) but also hunts during the day. Perches prominently during the day – often in full view when humans are around. Has a bounding flight, like a woodpecker.


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Sport & Leisure / Animal & Pet care # Hunting and food: Mostly insects, but also mice, voles, shrews, small rabbits, earthworms, slugs and snails. Reproduction: No nest material. Usually in a hole in a tree but also in walls or burrows in the ground. Clutch of 3-5 white eggs in early May, incubated for 29 days. Only the male feeds the chicks at first. Chicks leave nest after 30 days.

Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus, Hibou des marais Medium-sized owl. Buff-brown plumage with streaked breast, black patches under long, rounded wings. Colouring provides good camouflage but if this fails it will feign death to avoid detection. Stockier and longer-winged than the longeared owl. During courtship they emit a lowpitched voo-hoo-hoo-hoo or boo-boo-boo call (like an old steam engine) and clap their wings together with sharp pistol-like cracks. Habitat: Prefers open ground with a good view, where it can seek prey under continuous grass cover. Tends to roost in trees only when snow covers the ground. Average size: Length 35cm, wingspan 105cm, weight 350g. Habits: Often hunts in broad daylight as well as dusk, quartering the ground in slow-flapping flight. Hunting and food: Hunts over open areas a few feet above ground. In dense vegetation it will hover over its prey before pouncing. Sometimes hunts from a perch or while standing on the ground. Eats mainly small mammals like voles, but may also take small birds and insects. Reproduction: Nest is a depression in the ground lined with vegetation. Lays 4-8 white almost spherical eggs. Incubation is about 28 days by female only. Chicks fed by female on food brought by male and fly after about 26 days.

Long-eared owl, Asio otus, Hibou moyen-duc Medium-sized woodland owl. Prominent ear tufts are not actually ears but feathers and have no connection with hearing. Plumage is buff with pale mottling and dark streaks, yellow eyes. The main call of the male is one of the most eerie of the woodland night – a low hoo, hoo, hoo repeated hundreds of times with a note every few seconds (sleepless nights or what?) The female responds with a soft shoo, shoo call. Habitat: Mostly coniferous woodland but sometimes hunts over open country. Average size: Length 35cm, wingspan 90-100cm, weight 250-300g. Habits: Nocturnal, with activity normally starting at dusk. It appears slim and slouches forward when perched. Flies noiselessly. Very manoeuvrable and can fly through dense brush, often hovering to look for prey. When roosting it will stretch its body to make itself appear like a tree branch. The male has a special courtship display flight where it claps its wings together and then jumps in the air. In winter, long-eared and short-eared owls will often form groups with communal roosts which can be up to 50 birds. Hunting and food: Hunts mainly over open clearings and fallow fields and mainly from late dusk to just before dawn, flying close to the ground with its head tilted to one side listening for prey. Feeds primarily on voles, squirrels, bats, moles and rabbits, but birds are also taken – occasionally on the wing – and can include barn owls. Reproduction: Clutch of 3-6 glossy white eggs, often in an old crow’s nest, in March-April. Incubated for 25-28 days and young leave the nest after about 25 days. >> p50

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How Smart




Q1 C: Asparagus. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli are all Cruciferous vegetables and all originated from one plant - wild cabbage. Q2 B: Lactic acid. Q3 D: India. Q4 B: To cleanse your palate. Q5 A: Halloumi. Q6 C: It is cooked on the hob before being baked in the oven. You have to pre-cook the flour and butter mix to make roux dough. Q7 A: Strong, low quality liquor or whisky. Q8 B: Irish potatoes. Q9 B: California. Q10 A: A sausage made from pig’s blood. Q11 C: Strawberry. Unlike the rest of the fruit on the answers list, in a botanical sense strawberries are not technically a berry but an aggregate fruit (as are raspberries). Avocados, on the other hand, are considered a berry! Confusing? Yep! Q12 B: San Francisco. Modern fortune cookies were inspired by a Japanese cookie from the Kyoto region, but they actually originated in a San Francisco bakery called Benkyodo. Q13 D: Green beans. They are legumes, but they’re not beans. Yes, these two are not synonymous, as beans are fruit that grow in pods, whereas legumes are the plants that grow beans. Because of this, all beans are legumes, but not all legumes are beans. According to the same logic, peanuts are considered beans because they grow in pods! Q14 A: It means ‘skull’ or ‘head’.

<< p49 What to do if you find an injured owl First priority is minimising stress. Birds are often killed by shock rather than injury, so swift action is needed as delay increases stress. If the bird allows you to pick it up it’s likely to be in a serious state and may be more traumatised by being handled. Don’t try to examine it yourself. This causes more stress and should be left to a trained person. • Gently throw a jumper or blanket over it to keep it warm and put it into a well-ventilated, darkened cardboard box - not so small that the bird will sustain further damage, but not so large that it can jump around inside. Line the box with a towel or shredded newspaper. Never use straw or sawdust and don’t put water in the box. • Don’t try to feed it. Get it to the nearest bird of prey centre or rescue organisation asap. • Note exactly where you found the bird so it can be returned to the wild in its own territory. Most ‘orphans’ are actually just in the process of testing their wings. Many leave the nest long before they can fly to prevent overcrowding as they grow. A grounded chick may look lost and vulnerable, but chances are its parents know where it is and will continue to feed it. Many young birds are quite capable of climbing back into their tree using their beak and talons. Before doing anything with a deserted chick, check the following: • Is it obviously injured? If yes, see above. • Is it in immediate danger from vehicles, people or predators? If yes, put it into the nearest tree and leave. The parents won’t abandon it because you have touched it. If the answer to both questions is ‘no’, then just walk away quietly and let nature take its course. Only ever remove the bird from the area if you are positive it has been abandoned or if it is clearly injured. Seek expert advice immediately and do not attempt to treat or feed the bird yourself. One option is to call your nearest vet and ask if they are experienced with wild birds or can recommend a vet who is. If this draws a blank, contact your nearest wildlife rehabilitator and ask them which vet they use. Build your own home Why not build an owl box at home? Whether it’s in a tree for a tawny owl or in a barn for a – yep, you guessed it – they are easy to make. Instructions can be found on websites like or


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Le Mini'mag, October 2019  

Free magazine, in English, for North-West France

Le Mini'mag, October 2019  

Free magazine, in English, for North-West France