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March – April 2014 Issue 13

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE English Magazine

Spring Issue with – Gardens, Wines, Cookery and Wildlife plus – Local History, Guitar-Making and Feng Shui...


Our agency offers:

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A warm and personal service whether you are a buyer or a seller Lynn Longley and Sara Baker, your Quercy Locals on the ground Properties from under e100k to e100 million Country homes, building plots, townhouses, businesses and chateaux Office-based bi-lingual point of contact and an expert legal liaison team Help with finance, foreign exchange, moving and afterwards!

Beaux Villages Immobilier was founded at the start of the financial crisis in early 2008 by Lynn Longley. These beginnings, in Monségur, Gironde were soon followed by offices in Verteillac and Lalinde (Dordogne). Now we are also well established in Aubeterre-sur-Dronne (Charente) with satellite teams in many other Départements across south west France. Since that time the team has grown to include several nationalities speaking many languages and incorporating different cultures. Our common denominator is a love of the area that we have chosen to live and work in. Lynn has recently made her own home in the beautiful Quercy region so beloved by readers of Quercy Local. Success breeds success and we are opening a new shop in Montaigu de Quercy. We would like to meet those of you we do not know yet, who are selling, or considering doing so. Perhaps you wish to introduce property hunters? We pay commission for such successful introductions. Our experience tells us that we will soon need to grow our team, so if you like people and property, believe in hard work and providing a service, speak two languages and want a job (not a hobby), please email us on These qualities are far more important than previous experience. Full training and support are freely provided by us. Beaux Villages Immobilier, 45 rue des Frères Quéméré, 82150 Montaigu de Quercy 0033 (0)8 05 69 23 23 Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014



elcome to issue 13 of ‘The Quercy Local’ magazine – the first edition of 2014 – heralding the start of the warmer days of spring. Flinging back the shutters and leaving the dark-days of winter behind us, it’s time to get out and about and be busy again. Whether spring turns your mind to the challenges of the garden or gatherings of friends and families, maybe getting out to appreciate the birdlife or exploring the history around you we hope you’ll find something in this edition to interest you. Perhaps you should treat yourself to a change of scene (and something to eat) and visit one of the lovely restaurants advertising in this edition. Maybe treating yourself before all the visitors start to arrive in the summer – perfect timing. Don’t miss the article about Godefroy (p.32) – a truly skilled-man producing stunning guitars from deep in the Tarn et Garonne, a testament to the depth of skills and talent in every corner of the region. Planning a project? We have a good number of the different trades advertising at the rear of the magazine, do give our advertisers a call and please tell them where you saw their advert! Have you found one of our ‘display bins’? We are trialing these in some local supermarkets – find out where on p.42. Watch this space for further developments


CONTENTS p.10 - 13 Gardening matters p.14         Spring arrivals (Birds) p.16         Bourg de Visa – a litte history p.16         Monflanquin reliquary  p.18         Roman Roads part VIII p.20         In Shape or Shirking (Keep-fit) p.23         What is Feng Shui? p.24         Jane Greenwood – artist p.30         Update from the English Church of Cahors p.32         Guitar making workshop – Parisot p.34         Zee Band – a 3 piece band p.35         Spring – time to celebrate

The next edition will be out for the start of May – so until then – please keep well and happy!

p.36       Easy soup recipes for Spring


p.40       Pleasure of the apéro


p.42       Supermarkets hosting our new display bins


p.38       A case for organic wine




From our website you can – Subscribe to receive the magazine directly to your home, read the magazine on line and find our advertising rates. You can also keep in touch by following us on twitter @QuercyLocal or befriending us on Facebook –

ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste

Tours 47340 Cassignas 05 53 95 80 27/ 06 45 25 65 58 SIRET NO. 5025222200004

The Quercy Local ISSN: 2116-0392. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietors. No responsibility is accepted for any

claim made by advertisers. All content accepted and printed in good faith. Please check that all advertisers are registered businesses in France or elsewhere in their relevant home country. The Quercy Local is published by Red Point Publishing Ltd, (reg. in Eng. and Wales, No. 761556) It is produced by the Magazine Production Company, West Sussex, UK. Printed by Newman Thomson (UK). Editing in France – Anna Atkinson; Distribution managers (47) – Lorraine & Pete Knowles; UK admin/accounts – Vicky Byram. Regular contributors; Angela Clohessy, Lisa Stanton, Paola Westbeek, Angie Richards, Caroline Sweeney, John and Debbie Wilson, Jeanne McCaul, David Beddow and Anna Atkinson.


Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014






Restaurant serving fresh, seasonal food, all ‘fait maison’. Our café with a selection of teas, coffee and homemade cakes every day. Pottery painting atelier - come and paint your very own masterpiece. LE CAILLAU, 46700 VIRE SUR LOT - OPEN EVERY DAY EXCEPT TUESDAYS TEL:05 65 23 78 04 | WWW.LECAILLAU.COM | FACEBOOK.COM/LECAILLAU

Auberge de Miramont (Chez Bernadette) 82190

A very popular restaurant serving local specialities in lovely, cosy dining-room and in summer on the beautiful terrace. Great atmosphere and food. Popular for Great value lunches and special evening meals – reservations recommended Stephane & Karen look forward to welcoming you. Miramont de Quercy

05 63 94 65 57 / 06 30 64 79 43 – check opening hours The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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RESTAURANT VILLA SMERALDA Le Bourg - 47300 PUJOLS - Open from Tuesday Night till Sunday Lunchtime

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Menu 15e (during the week) Tasting Menu 25e and 35e

English Spoken




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Email: Tel: 06 32 96 92 94, 06 82 57 01 47 or 06 02 36 47 71 Lot


Published March, May, July, September and November each year



The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


Early Spring Essentials in the Garden


n my previous gardening column, I talked about the fair-weather gardener, spending the winter months sitting comfortably in front of the fire, flicking through seed catalogues. I promised you something grittier this month, and so here we are. Now is the time to put on your wellies, get out into the garden, and get busy! Spring is such a wonderful time of year. Eagerly anticipated throughout the winter, the weather grows warmer, the days begin to lengthen, and the increased temperatures and light levels wake up the garden. Beautiful, bright, spring-flowering bulbs are a cheerful sight - crocuses, narcissi and tulips bring instant smiles. The blossom is on the trees, the skies are blue, the sun is shining, and there’s a sense of new life and energy. And also, for gardeners, the knowledge that it’s time to get down to some serious work! We’ll all soon be busy with lovely seed-sowing, growing and nurturing our gardens. However, before we can enjoy this, there’s some essential preparation to be done. Put in the effort with a good spring clean now, for a tidy, orderly garden, and it will make the busy spring and summer growing seasons much more manageable. Perennials and grasses that you left over the colder months for winter interest should be cut back now, which will enable new growth. Spring bulbs, however, should be deadheaded, but the foliage left to die down naturally, as this will allow the energy to return from the plant back into the bulb. Trim lavender, taking care to trim the new growth only; do not cut into the old wood, as this stops new shoots from developing. Lavenders require pruning twice a year, in the spring and the autumn, to keep them in shape and stop them becoming leggy. Treated correctly, these fragrant, pollinator friendly plants will last for years. They’re low maintenance and do really well over here. Prune summer-flowering deciduous shrubs, e.g. Hydrangea paniculata, Lavatera, Leycesteria, Perovskia, hardy fuchsias, and deciduous Ceanothus. Don’t prune spring-flowering shrubs just yet though – wait until after they have flowered. When it comes to Buddleja and Cornu, give them a really hard pruning, to prevent them from growing out of control. This will also augment the stem colour of the cornus. Then, when you have finished pruning, mulch and feed all of those plants, to assist with their post-pruning growth spurt. Remove reverted shoots from variegated evergreens, to safeguard the variegation, otherwise the green shoots will become dominant, as they grow more quickly and vigorously than the variegated shoots. Of course, an

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

essential basic task at spring time is weeding. Warmer temperatures will encourage weed growth so get on top of it now. It’s an ongoing task, but the more weeds you can remove before they go to seed and spread themselves around your garden; the easier it will be to keep them at bay throughout the season. Make sure you pull perennial weeds out by the root to prevent re-growth. Remove any spent annual plants from your winter planting and clear away any remaining debris of leaves and twigs, all of which can be added to your compost pile. You can then work on your soil condition by digging in some organic matter (well rotted compost or manure). Don’t dig wet soil though – this will spoil the soil structure. A good rule of thumb is if the soil sticks to your spade then it’s too wet to dig. Beds and borders prepared, you can now enjoy a bit of planting. Plant summer flowering bulbs (aliums, anemones, calla lilies, freesias, gladiolus, iris, nerines etc.). They’ll be glad of all that organic matter you’ve dug in, as it improves drainage, essential for preventing bulbs from rotting. This is especially important for bulbs such as anemones, which require especially well-drained soils. Now is a good time to plant herbaceous perennials such as echinacea, geranium and oriental poppies. You could also include some ornamental grasses in your scheme. This will add movement to your garden and the grasses can be left late into the year, providing winter interest. We’re finding that, like the lavender, grasses, do really well over here. They are an increasingly popular choice, and again, they’re an easy option, low maintenance plant. This is also a great time for planting roses. We’re often asked whether it’s true or if it’s a myth that you can’t plant a rose in the same place that a rose has already grown. The basis for this belief is sound, in that the new roses, when planted in the old spot, can be susceptible to rose replant disease. However, it is

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possible to plant into the same spot if you use suitable preparations. Replenish the soil by digging in lots of well rotted manure or compost and then treat the roses with Mycorrhizal Fungi. These are fungal organisms that work symbiotically with plants – they assist plants with extracting nutrients and retaining water, and also act as a buffer against harmful microbes and pathogens that might be left behind by the previous roses. The fungi in turn benefit by obtaining carbohydrates such as glucose and sucrose from the plants. With established roses, prune them now, as they start growing, but before the leave unfurl. Beds freshly weeded, established plants tidied and any new planting in place, it’s time for some mulching. (Though if the weather has been particularly bad, wait until the soil is warm and dry enough, particularly with heavy, clay soils.) Mulching is a marvellous thing to do to your garden. A nice deep layer of organic matter (leaf mould, compost, manure) helps to condition the soil, suppresses weed growth, insulates plant roots from temperature fluctuations, and retains the soil’s moisture levels, which is especially important during the hot summers we have here. Avoid the stems and crowns of your plants when applying your mulch, as that could cause rotting, and if you want any of your plants to self-seed then delay mulching until after the plants have germinated. Of course, you don’t mulch your alpine beds. These can be given a fresh application of gravel, which performs the same weed-suppressing role, and also helps prevent stem rots. Further prevent rotting by removing dead leaves from around the basal rosettes of your alpine plants. Finally, it’s a good idea to make regular pest patrols at this time of year. As the weather grows warmer, pests re- emerge. Inspect crowns of perennial plants for overwintering pests such as slugs, snails and aphid colonies. Inspect pots and containers and compost heaps for vine weevil larvae. Early infestations can often be removed by hand, thus avoiding excessive use of insecticides. Just like with weeds, the more proactive you are in dealing with this problem, the easier your ongoing management will be.

John and Debbie (Le Jardin des Espiemonts), 05 63 64 68 76,

The Asiatic Hornet (frélon) a danger to our honeybees. Please help keep them under control


f you love honey and you’re aware of the importance of bees for the pollination of flowers, fruit trees and plants, please read this and help.

The Asian Hornet is a very big wasp. Its sting is much more dangerous than the sting of an ordinary wasp. It is very painful and can cause a coma and even death for those who are allergic to it. There are two species of hornet, the European and the Asian. The Asiatic specie came accidentally from China in 2004 in a load of garden pots and is the most dangerous predator known to bees. It’s spreading across the South West of France and creeping further east and north each year. In summer a hornet can eat a bee every ten minutes, a colony can consist of a few hundred up to a thousand or more hornets! Only the newborn queens survive in winter. In spring the Queens appear from their winter resting places and start searching for a place for a new colony. That’s the time to catch them! You can buy a trap. The ones with the entrance at the underside work well, they cost about e4 at Gifi or Gamm Vert etc. but it is easy to make them for yourself. Just take a plastic water-bottle, cut it in half and place the top half upside-down in the bottom half. Fill it up with some brown sweet (not blond) beer and sugared water (not honey!!). It also works very well with strawberry-lime syrup. Hang them in your garden or on your balcony, not too low and out of the rain if possible. Every hornet you will catch in spring will be a Queen, so the start of a new colony. Last year I trapped some Queens but nevertheless in August some Asian Hornet-workers appeared in front of my bee-hives and started catching honey-bees. I trapped a great number of them, but they ate so many of the bees that one of my bee colonies was too reduced to survive the winter. Nevertheless, every Asian Hornet Queen trapped means that greater numbers of bees survive! So please help bee-keepers and reduce the number of Asian Hornet-colonies. If you do find a bee-swarm in your garden please contact a bee-keeper (Mairies should have contact details) and they will come and collect the swarm to start a new colony. By Ed van Weerd (bee-keeper),

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


New Gardening Club for Lauzerte and District gardening experience. You only need to have an interest in plants and gardens! Our programme for 2014 includes talks by expert speakers on various gardening topics; workshops about flower, fruit and vegetable gardening; visits to local gardens and coach trips to gardens and nurseries further afield. We are also planning some social occasions including a summer barbeque. There will be opportunities to share seeds and plants among fellow members. Our main event of the year will be the Salon Horticole to be held again this year in the Salles des Fetes. Last year, our first one, we had over 200 exhibits of flowers, fruit, vegetables, cookery, needlework, art and craft work. This year we will be adding new categories including photography and home-made drinks. Please put this date in your dairy... 20 July 2014 and watch this space for further details. A year’s subscription to Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte costs 10 euros, which is great value for money. Why not come and see what is on offer before you decide to join. We are a very friendly bunch and would love to meet you!


o you love plants and flowers? Do you enjoy eating your own home-grown vegetables and fruit? Perhaps you have no gardening knowledge but would love to be more self-sufficient? More people than ever are growing vegetables, saving money and enjoying a taste that they have not experienced for many years. Just imagine how many air-miles you could save! If any of these statements applies to you, then please read on! From 14th January 2014, Lauzerte had a new club called ‘Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte’. This is open to all residents of all nationalities in Lauzerte and the surrounding area. Meetings are held in English and French whenever possible. Join us in the Eglantine Room of the Salle des Fetes every second Tuesday of the month at 14h00. Don’t worry if you have never gardened before! We welcome everyone. Just as long as you know one end of a spade from another you will feel at home. Our members range from absolute novices to those with a lifetime’s

For further details please contact Margaret Brown : The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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WillowWeave Workshop VISITORS WELCOME BY ARRANGEMENT Come and learn about the versatility and beauty of willow and other pliable woods. Create your very own useful and decorative items for your home and garden. 05 53 87 69 33 DOT HUMAN – ARTISAN VANNIÈRE, Rustre, 47470 Cauzac – on D215 between Beauville & La Sauvetat de Savéres

Flower Markets

Spring brings many chances to stock up the garden – here are just a few dates for your diary. All details obtained from the Tourist Offices that replied to our request for details (not all do!) 20th April, Sun, all-day Lauzerte (82110) Town Square. Flower fair, exhibitions, catering & minibus transport from the lower town. 1st May, Thurs, all day, Tournon d’Agenais (47370). Flower Fair. 1st May, Thurs, all-day, Cauzac (47470 ) the Salle des Fêtes. Organised by the Tourist Office, Exhibition of children’s art, refreshments, plant & flower sales. 3rd May, Sat, all day, St Maurin (47270) at the stadium. Flower sales, entertainments & catering. 4th May, Sun, all day, Roquecor (82150). Flower fair and vide-greniers. 8th May, Thurs, all day, Agen (47000). Flower fair – Boulevard de la République, between the Tourist Info kiosk & Place Wilson. 25th May, Sun, all day, St Nicolas de la Grave (82210). Flower fair.

Getting together for Fun, Friendship & Romance... Expat Dating France is an on-line dating service for those of us who live here in France. We are a growing community and welcome friends and romantics from all over France. Come and join in and get involved with some of the nicest people around. We’re looking forward to meeting you! From Katie May and the team at Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


Spring arrivals Article and Illustrations by David Beddow –


t the time of writing this article (the very end of January), it is difficult to think what sort of spring we will have. With an average temperature of ten degrees throughout this month it feels like spring is already here – albeit a wet one. Daffodils are breaking through, there are catkins on the hazels and I saw a pair of Lapwings displaying this morning. It has meant that what we normally consider the winter months for winter birds has been a bit of a let-down with few of the shyer birds feeling the need to venture on to our bird tables. None of the larger winter flocks of Finches and Larks have appeared (yet) nor have we seen Redwings or Fieldfares being pushed south by cold weather in northern Europe. If the winter weather does come late, keep feeding the birds in the colder spells until the frost and snow have gone as this will delay the start of the breeding season. Normally, by the end of March, we shouldn’t need to feed the birds in the garden as there is enough natural food around. Let’s assume by mid-March things are as they should be – the first Nightingales arriving (males before females to set up their territories) singing their little hearts out from deep inside a thorny bush or bramble alongside Chiffchaffs and other Warblers and Flycatchers. Some Black Red Starts should be back but many have over-wintered here due to the mild weather. Listen for an early Cuckoo and Hoopoe and the soft purring of Turtle Doves as well Skylarks in the open fields. With April around the corner the migration should be in full swing. Swallows should be arriving closely followed by House Martins and then Swifts so keep an eye to the sky. Some of the most colourful and spectacular of birds come to the Quercy region to breed. Look out for the elusive acid-yellow Oriole, Bee-eaters, Hoopoes, Nightjars with their churring evening call, Red Back Shrikes, Stonechats and Cirl Buntings and the rare Rock Sparrow and Short-toed Eagle. A trip to St-Nicolas-de-la-Grave in March and early April can be very rewarding as it is a good stop off point for birds that breed further North. I saw three Ospreys fishing this time last year.

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

Golden Oriole

Bee Eater


Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Sandpipers of various species, Geese, Ducks and Terns all use the confluences of the Tarn and Garonne on their migration. Good binoculars are recommended equipment at such a place but it is always amazing what can be seen with the naked eye. Some of my most memorable views of birds have been by chance when I have had neither binoculars or telescope with me. Bird and wildlife watching is something you can do almost all of the time – driving the car, gardening, walking etc… Things appear in the oddest places – it’s a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time!

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


DOWN YOUR STREET... BOURG DE VISA (82190) COMMERCES By Jeanette McGeorge Photograph by kind permission of Syndicat Initiative, Bourg de Visa


hen you drive through Bourg de Visa on a wet winter’s afternoon and you see the village dead to the world, you would find it hard to believe that it was once the vibrant heart of the local universe. Imagine one main street and a couple of small squares being the home of up to 60 businesses around the turn of the 20th century, dwindling down to around 30 by the second world war when improved transport and desertification of rural areas meant less demand , then finally succumbing to the bare necessities of today. Once it was a microcosm of independence providing everything the cantonal population needed. In terms of administration Bourg had its Mairie, Gendarmerie and Perception (where you paid state and local taxes). The latter was situated in part of the Gendarmerie building. There was a post and telegraph office at the top end of town, a bank on the lower corner of the marche couverte (note metal grill still seen today) and a bailiff where the

current district nurses have their office. An elementary school at the top of the village with separate entrances for boys and girls catered for children up to the age of 11. Until the end of the Second World War, education

A LITTLE LOCAL TREASURE: The Monflanquin Reliquary (A reliquary is a container for relics, referred to as Chasse in French) This beautiful work of art measures 18.8 cm high, 21.7 cm long and 9 cm wide. It is displayed in the Medieval Art section of the Louvre Museum, Paris. It is well worth a visit to see it along with many other fine examples of medieval reliquaries. This information has been obtained from the Louvre curators: It is made of wood, covered with copper in a style called Champlevé (similar to cloisonné), engraved, carved, enamelled and gilded. It dates from about 1190-1210 and represents two rare scenes, the Massacre of the Innocents which is depicted on the front and on the lid there is the Presentation in the Temple. The back and the sides are adorned with more depictions in ‘the work of Limoges’ of Angels in Circles. The dancing attitudes and demonstrative gestures are inherited from the Romanesque style in the West of France (see the tympani in the churches of Souillac or Moissac). The flowing lines of the legs and bodies indicate a neat careful engraving. Notably, the scene depicting the Presentation in the Temple is more static and calm, while the Massacre of the Innocents is more violent in its treatment. This reliquary came from a church in Monflanquin (according to J. Forestié - 1885). The date of manufacture (1190-1210) predates the construction of the bastide (1256). It was found in the collection Lagravère, Montauban (1866 and 1885) and acquired by the Louvre in 1971. By Francoise Paul. 1st published in ‘Sous les arcades’ by the MJC, Monflanquin. Translated by Angela Murray. Images by kind permission of Francoise Paul The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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although obligatory was fairly irregular due to the demands of labour on the family farms which in those days were still fairly labour intensive. Although most of the satellite villages also had their own elementary school, children often walked miles there and back and if unable to return at midday took a can of soup for lunch which they warmed up on the wood burning stove in the classroom. At one point there was also a small college (secondary school), run by the church and staffed by teaching nuns in a convent facing the cemetery on the B road leading out of the place des Ormeaux to Lacour. To cater for the health of the community there was a doctor and a dentist, the latter practising in place du Foreil. There was a pharmacy, located under the arcades of the marche coverte, then later opposite the old bank on the main road. A small group of nuns living near the church provided social services until the state took over the role in the 1930s. They were nursing sisters who looked after the sick and needy, widows and orphans and acted as midwives. This was common in rural areas and each satellite village however tiny had its own convent with complement of 2 or more nuns to provide the same social services. Bourg de Visa also boasted 3 hotels at one point all on the main street, although they were simple auberges with a few rooms to let, catering to passing commercial travellers especially on fair and market days. The Hotel du Nord was opposite the gendarmerie and later became a cafe. The Hotel du Midi with the ironwork balcony is now the newsagents cum grocery shop and the Hotel du Commerce was next to the former bank on the left just before the current tourist office. At any given time there were 3 bars in the town, including under the arcades and the place du Forail plus a restaurant/bar on the sharp left hand bend at the lower end of the village. One can still see Cafe engraved above the entrance to what is now a dwelling. The local population was well supplied with shops most of which cluttered up both sides of the main street with other businesses on the place des Ormeaux and place du Forail. Although businesses often changed hands and services, until 70 years ago there were at least 3 grocery shops, 3 butchers, one baker and a patisserie plus a couple of ironmongers who would supply all kitchen, gardening and farm goods along with shotguns and pellets. For the more aesthetic requirements the old bank had once been jewellers. Opposite was a tailor. Next to the Hotel du Midi was a bookshop, followed by hat makers. Further down the road was a printers, haberdashers cum clothes shop, hairdressers, shoe shop and mattress maker. There were even a couple of petrol pumps on the narrow pavements; one near the gendarmerie, the other was further down the main street.

When these were installed with the advent of motorized transport, the blacksmith on the place du Forail (now the hairdressers) acted as mechanic before garages became popular. Other services included a cartwright situated where the road forks off from the gendarmerie down to the current garage. A cycle shop was just behind the current Credit Agricole on the place des Ormeaux, a cobblers on the place du Forail and a grain merchant under the arcades. Bourg even boasted its own abattoir which was a necessary adjunct to is role as a cattle market on fair days when the place du Forail would be crowded with beasts driven into the village and traded. All this died off when middle men appeared with their modern transport, trading directly with the farmers at home and shipping the cattle off to the state controlled abattoir at Moissac. Although I have only touched on some of the businesses that made Bourg a prosperous village. I haven’t even mentioned all the other rural trades and professions which existed in the area and provided the population with everything it needed to be self supporting and vibrant. Is there a story ‘Down Your Street’? A great chance to learn about where you live and share it with our readers – we’d love to hear from you!

Benjamin Cuzange Real Estate, low cost and debt collection agent (Cahors) 09 79 05 78 30 / 06 86 78 31 25

Quercy Gite & Quercy Services Property Management, Maintenance & Holiday Rentals around Montcuq & Lauzerte. Project advice for renovations or rentals. Preparing estimates & finding tradesmen Overseeing, coordinating & monitoring projects. House, garden & pool maintenance Rental management – making income from your property. Marianne Charpentier Tél: 06 71 71 77 22

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014




s mentioned in the last article, many sections of the Voie have disappeared during the construction and reconstruction of the D656 from St Matre to Sauzet. There have, however, been enough traces to follow and a section from Tuque de Lagarde which follows a rough line parallel to the D656 eastwards that we will need to survey properly at a later date. The Voie then crosses the D656 as the road turns northwards towards Sauzet and we picked up traces on the other side in the woods going east which then turned into a farm track just to the north of an area called Combe de la Seoune. The D656 goes north-east to pass through Sauzet, coming back south-east to continue towards Villeseque, whereas our Voie continues steadily eastwards passing to the south of Sauzet and the hamlets of Ligounen and Beliben.

In between the area of Beliben and le Camp de Bagat our Voie which we call the Na Bruniquel, meets up with the famous Clermontoise. This is reputed to have been the road used by the tribe called the Nitiobroges who were called up to help fight against Caesar, when before that time the local tribes from the Agen and Villeneuve sur Lot area (Aginnum and Excisum), had been trading with and were called ‘friends of Rome’. We intend to do a full survey from this junction to Clermont Soubiran (previously called Clermont Dessus) where we hope to meet up with a possible Roman Road which followed the River Garonne from Agen to Moissac, Montauban and Toulouse. The explanation for the name Clermontoise is that it went all the way from Clermont Dessus to Clermont Ferrand but as Clermont Ferrand was known as Augustonemetum, this indicates that the name is more recent and searching through the archives the situation becomes even more confusing. The name Cadorca The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

was also used in medieval times, along with references in archives from the 19th Century that the Cadorca or Clermontoise passed via Duravel and Tournon to Agen. For the moment, to keep things simple, we will continue with the known routes and names till they can be proved or disproved. So we still have a lot of walking still to do... So back to our Voie; as we passed below the hamlet of Beliben we could see the course of the River Seoune. Just after a fork in the Voie we passed the area where the junction of the Na Bruniquel and Clermontoise should be. This is right at the beginning of the source of the River Seoune. We were informed that the field area around the source of the Seoune sometimes turns into a lake which could have had pagan religious significance.

Unfortunately, the local farmers have dug up and redirected several of the local tracks over recent years but we believe we found the junction in some woodland, though it was difficult to photograph.

Searching back westwards on the south side of the River Seoune we found traces of the Clermontoise in the woods heading west, and this crosses over a local road and then the D37. While endeavouring to find the traces of the Clermontoise we discovered a ruin of a Borie, which is

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a shelter used by shepherds made in a circular shape with dry stone walls. The landowner, who is one of our group, is keen to preserve this beautiful old ruin. When we arrived at a ruined building called Lamoules, the farm track carried straight on towards Villeseque and our route eased away slightly north-east as a boundary lined with trees where it passed in front of a curious outcrop of limestone called the ‘Bald Man’s Head’ (in the French archives it is called Gardpelada).

The following photos shows the Na Bruniquel combined with the Clermontoise. There were now strong indicators that the track we were following is Roman, with Roman style banks and ditches, something that perhaps due to the type of stony territory, has been missing on our study for some time, with more often walls made of stone on either side instead. Until we can investigate with trenches we are still uncertain that our Voie is Roman – as although it is old, it more often shows medieval evidence rather than anything older.

Our Voie now runs parallel with the D656 dropping down gently to join it before crossing over to the other side to run in between the D27 and another outcrop of rock with a hugh white cross, continuing towards Les Salles and Trespoux-Rassiels. We took a deviation to the south of our Voie to be shown an even older chemin used by the Gaul’s and our guide, Xavier Deruppé, showed us what he believes to be a Gaul Borne, or way marker. It was pretty convincing as there was a deep gully running north/ south, and the Borne was situated at the side and on the edge of a plateau with a magnificent panoramic view. It was easy to imagine how the ancients used the notch in the stone to show them the way onwards, which we discovered when looking through the notch was St Pantaleon.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


The maps are from Geoportail: the Cassini map (18th Century) showing the roads used during the time of the Revolution into the early 19th Century. It is extremely difficult to tie these in with the modern National Geographic style maps (see other IGN example), as the scale of the Cassini is inaccurate. The main things that do not change are the rivers, contours and natural features, such as the Bald Man’s head. Our survey has also relied on the continuity of walking the tracks we have found, eliminating others, and marking some to be walked at a later date as worthy of investigation. So as far as we know, our Voie the Na Bruniquel has finished and has joined the more well known Clermontoise towards Cahors. Report by Angie Richards, The next article will be a report of our adventures on the plateau towards Cahors. However, the final walk into Cahors will be put on hold while we make a start on the scientific/archaeological reports in English and French for the section in the Aquitaine. We are receiving official status and grants from the SRA in Bordeaux to cover trenches over parts of the Voie that we believe have been the least disturbed over the last 2000 years. When our work has finished for the Aquitaine section we will then be approaching the SRA in Toulouse to do the same thing for the continuation of the Voie through the Midi-Pyrenees. Only then will we do the final entry into Cahors.

In Shape or Shirking?


ny of you make a new year’s resolution to get in shape this year? Get fit, lose weight, work-out regularly? How’s that going? If, like me, you find your January enthusiasm tends to wane by February and is pretty much non-existent by March, then maybe you could do with a bit of a

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

by Debbie Wilson

motivational boost. Yes, I have every good intention of sticking to it each Christmas when I ask for the latest fitness gadget or celebrity workout DVD, and the dog certainly enjoys the couple of occasions when I take her for a run instead of the usual leisurely walk, but some days, if I’m honest, I just can’t be bothered. It’s hard to motivate yourself sometimes. I find that, if it’s just me, I’ll put if off for a bit – just one more cup of tea, or maybe a quick read of my book... and then suddenly I don’t have time, and, oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow. Which of course, I never do; so the DVDs go unwatched, the dumbbells, kettlebells and fitness balls gather dust, and my waistline continues to increase. When I left England last year, I was pretty happy to leave behind my business (I’d set up another one), my family and friends (they’d visit) and the weather (who wouldn’t be?) but what I wasn’t so happy about leaving was my gym. That was my sanctuary, the place I’d go to when I needed to escape the demands of my work,

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my children and my husband. It was my ‘me time’, where I’d relax – relaxation doesn’t have to be passive and I find that a good workout does it for me. I also find that, when you have somewhere to go, and people to see, it seems so much easier than when you’re trying to motivate yourself at home, and I think that the change of scenery does you good. I then return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and have a much happier, more productive time with my to-do list and my family. Now in France, we live in Les Espiemonts, Caylus, Tarn et Garrone. Caylus is a beautiful village and has restaurants, bars, shops and a local school, which tick all the boxes of essential amenities for my family, but I was sad about ending my gym membership as I didn’t expect to find anything similar in my new, rural community. I was right, I didn’t find anything similar, but what I did find was something so much better! I was intrigued when I heard about La Salle Fitness Studio, a converted barn in the pretty hamlet of La Salle, Tarn et Garonne. I heard it from a few different sources, in the space of a couple of weeks: our English estate agent, who raved about it; the French woman from whom we rented while waiting for our house purchase to go through; and a new neighbour, who stopped for a chat whilst out walking. I accompanied the new neighbour (now a firm friend) to the next available class – first session free, so no excuses not to try it out – and was immediately hooked and signed up for the term-time block of classes. The studio is owned by Kim Ilsley, an experienced, qualified fitness instructor, who has a real passion for what she does. She runs a range of classes at the studio in La Salle, which is 5 minutes from Caylus, 15 minutes equidistant from Caussade and St Antonin Noble Val, and 25 minutes from Villefranche. In addition to this, she also runs classes in the salles de fêtes in Montdoumerc, Parisot and St Paul. Classes are run in the mornings in La Salle and in the evenings in the outreach locations (see Kim’s website for an up-to-date timetable). There’s something to suit all tastes: cardio work for calorie burning; a range of hand-held weights for strength training; Zumba, for those who enjoy dancing; and Pilates, for a gentler, but still highly effective route to fitness. You can choose the class that suits you, and pay per session, or, for those who wish to attend regularly, there’s the cost-effective option of paying for half-term blocks. No matter which class you go to, you’ll find an engaging workout that will burn calories, tighten and tone your wobbly bits, increase your energy levels, and make you look and feel fantastic! And that for me is the key: feeling good. OK, looking good is pretty great too - and incredibly, I have lost over 2 stone in weight and dropped two dress sizes since

going to Kim’s classes! But it’s the buzz that I get from the classes that makes them so special. Kim has an amazing ability to lift up a room, to get everyone going, working hard, improving their fitness, and ENJOYING themselves. On a slow, sluggish Monday morning, when everyone’s trying to get back into gear after the weekend, Kim gets her clients moving. I spoke to some of my fellow classmates about what Kim’s gym means to them. ‘Life changing’, ‘amazing’, and ‘extremely effective’ – an integral part of my health and well-being were the responses. If this sounds like hyperbole, just cast your mind back to the last time you went to a gym and were subjected to the disinterested, juvenile instruction of a spotty youth, straight out of college. I’ve found that, with no understanding of what it means, physically or mentally, to be an adult woman, many an instructor is completely lacking in understanding of my individual needs, even when advertising as a personal trainer. Kim, however, displays an awareness of and respect for every single client in her class. I guess that’s due to a combination of her professionalism, her caring, supportive personality, and the fact that she’s an adult woman (though her enthusiasm and energy levels are often reminiscent of a juvenile). With Kim’s classes I always feel welcome, and that’s really important. There’s always a friendly smile from Kim herself, and from fellow class mates, and that makes me feel at home, that I’m in a safe, supportive environment. I also love the fact that everyone is encouraged to push themselves. Not beyond their capabilities, everyone is always reminded to work to their own level, but we’re certainly encouraged to challenge ourselves. ‘I can’t do the work for you’, is one of Kim’s favourite sayings, as she cranks up the music, jumps around even more, and spurs us on into fat-blasting action. She’s dynamic and fun, she’s one of the most effective fitness trainers that I’ve ever come across and you WILL get results if you go to her classes. And the lovely thing is that, while you’re working hard, you’re enjoying yourself too, and engaging in a really lovely local community, and that makes it a whole lot easier.

Contact: Email: Website: Phone: 05 63 24 21 72

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


A helping hand to stay at home


s we get older our needs inevitably change and we can sometimes find ourselves in need of extra support in order to be able to continue to live independently at home. Moving from home where we are surrounded by friends, family, neighbours, pets, treasured memories and all things familiar is not always a welcome option. This is where Helping Hands @ Home can provide assistance. In recent months we have helped a woman returning from hospital by undertaking households tasks for three hours a day. Another woman in her 90s needed help getting washed and dressed in the morning and enjoyed a few games of scrabble after her breakfast. Others require more help and enjoy the peace of mind of having another person in the house 24hrs a day. For

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

some the thought of being home alone at night is a bit overwhelming and fearful whilst others prefer company and assistance during the day. The main feature of Helping Hands @ Home is that the level and time of support is determined by the person in need. We are completely flexible and have an experienced team offering emotional and physical support enabling people to enjoy their own home for as long as possible. As well as providing companionship, the Helping Hands @ Home team is willing to provide whatever is needed to ensure the smooth running of the house whilst also safeguarding desired routines and activities. Tasks can include assisting in washing and dressing to shopping and cooking. What we offer depends entirely on the needs of the person. For some we provide 24hr live-in help that allows people to continue with their chosen lifestyle and interests safe in the reassurance that someone is on hand at all times. Others may require shorter periods of time to help with personal and household tasks or support in pursuing hobbies such as gardening, cooking, shopping or walking. Very often the team provides support when the regular carer is on holiday or for a short period of time during recuperation after a stay in hospital when a little extra help is needed. Staying at home has a profound and positive effect on wellbeing and with tailored support however small or large the need, older people can often not only preserve their quality of life but have it significantly enhanced. To discuss your needs or those of a loved one, call Helping Hands @ Home on 05 63 05 17 35 or 06 37 22 88 16 or email

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What is feng shui? We create our own paths and through our words and acts anything can be possible…


physical beings. Chinese acupuncture demonstrates the importance of this easy flow. In very simple terms where a body has freely flowing vital energy you have life; whereas with no flowing energy in a body you have death. In our bodies energy circulates along the ‘meridian lines’ and these must be unblocked and open for good health but with blocked ‘meridian lines’ then you may experience problems. Acupuncture keeps energy moving along clear ‘meridian lines’ for optimum well-being. Feng Shui works along the same principles as acupuncture but considers your surroundings rather than your body.

ll her life Karen Blanchet has contemplated the mysteries of the human state. Originally her interest was academic with 4 years study at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Aix en Provence. Gradually her interest was taken towards the pursuit of fulfillment, well-being To Karen the importance and happiness and this of the living environment led to the discovery the cannot be overstated. ancient art of Feng Shui. She knows that modern Later ‘The European life disturbs the Earth’s Institute of Feng Shui ‘gave Karen the motivation to natural currents. Electric, start her business and bring the world of Feng Shui electromagnetic and even to the Quercy region and beyond. wifi may interfere with our Feng Shui is a Chinese ancestral art, considered by environment and create some to be an aesthetic and by others to be an ancient problems in our lives. superstition; but for Karen it’s a science and truly a way Controlling how we live of life. You cannot mention Feng Shui without reference with these conveniences to Taoism. Feng Shui along with other practices such can enhance the power as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, dietetics, and and energy of our meditation is a Taoist art. Taoism’s philosophy fits ‘perfect spot’. with Karen’s view of the world a world which leads Sometimes the energy in a building can become individuals towards a life in harmony with themselves blocked, perhaps with lingering memories which disturb and their environment. the present. When this happens Feng Shui can help to ‘Feng’ means wind and ‘Shui’ means water bringing re-balance the energy and repair the space. together two of the earth’s most powerful forces and If any of this rings true with you, you can contact helping us understand the energies around us and how Karen who can help you achieve that ‘special feeling’ to harmonise these for well-being. It also examines the in your own home or work space. She also can physical attributes of the world around us, everything arrange workshops and training sessions to help you from altitude, wind exposure, wind and light direction. see how to achieve this for yourself in the future. From this study it is possible to identify the most harmonious points around us – ‘QI’ or ‘perfect spot’ Karen Blanchet (pronounced ‘chee’ in English, ‘ki’ in Japan andMiramont ‘prana’ de Quercy in India). facebook page: Spirit feng shui 05 63 94 65 57 / 06 30 64 79 43 Karen stresses how important it is that energies Mb. 0630647943 – check opening hours flow easily in the space around us and also in our

Homes are a reflection of ourselves – their space allows us to live and dream

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


Jane Greenwood Artistry and Joie de Vivre


t’s just such a creative mind that’s carried Jane Greenwood across Europe and prompted a lifetime of artistic achievement. From the early years at the School of Art in Tunbridge Wells to a glorious time spent studying the History of Art in Florence, Jane’s painted the world around her. Anyone who knows Jane will know that virtually everything surrounding her has, at sometime, inspired her great love of paint and colour. Later, back in London and as well as working as in illustrator for many of the larger magazines, Jane also took up the study of ‘Theatre Design’ where she discovered a different form of artistry; a world of creativity which offered a chance to work collaboratively. Or, as she now remembers it, without that all-important, satisfying control over the final result. Jane’s experience with set design confirmed the need for her to continue with solo work rather than joint enterprises! The world of performing arts did, however, take the young Jane, aged 21, back to Europe, this time to Amsterdam with her then husband, a Dutch film director. For the main part of her working life Jane remained in Amsterdam where she worked enthusiastically as a commercial artist, illustrating and designing everything from posters, book covers, advertising campaigns and packaging. Life’s twists and turns later took Jane to The Côte D’Azur, Spain and then finally back to France and Montcuq, in the Lot. Life in Montcuq, a village she loves, re-fuelled her artistic-appetite for life and stoked her enthusiasm and joy for creativity. Jane went on to develop her career as an illustrator, stencil designer, professional portrait painter and even produce books about water-colour painting. Encouraged by the region’s vibrancy, climate and light she’s been able to cultivate her love of painting, including working with trompe l’oeil and with nature inspired images. More recently (as some readers may have discovered) Jane’s discovered the joy of painting her designs onto silk to create a unique and extremely popular range of scarves. Jane can sometimes be found on the market in Montcuq with a display of these colourful scarves and other works.

However, even amongst such a varied creative career Jane is still probably most at home when she’s painting portraits, sometimes these are of pets but more often of children and family groups. When she’s commissioned for one of her portraits, Jane loves to meet and get to know the subject as well as possible, taking lots of photographs and capturing the vital essence of the proposed new portrait. These portrait paintings are a very popular option for grandparents wishing to capture a reminder of their visiting grandchildren. Jane believes that even in this age of easy photography there remains a timeless joy that exists when someone else captures the essence of a loved one through their own eyes and artistry.

You can find out more about Jane or contact her – EASTER BARN BOOK SALE – In Aid of Poorpaws Dog Rescue and Cancer Research, Easter Saturday at Lesley’s Barn, Beliben, Sauzet, Lot. 10am to 3pm, Hundreds of books at 1 euro, DVD’s, Coffee, Tea and Yummy cakes! To donate books and/or for more info please contact Sue on 0565245303 The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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The Quercy Local • March-April 2014



Regular van deliveries to and from the UK

Mob 0044(0)7841220980

Charity Shop for good causes – Beauville 47470 Open: Tues/Wed/Fri 2-4pm, Fri/Sun 10-12am Enquiries:

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

buggs – 28 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

spreading across SW France! ‘Buggs...where did you get that name from?’ seems to be a question that’s asked more and more frequently by visitors hiring rental cars at Bergerac and now Limoges airports.


uggs Car Hire, in case you did not know, was the brainchild of Simon Parr and Karl Ayling way back in the days when the airline Buzz flew into Bergerac. The initial idea was that the new company name would be linked to Buzz for advertising and brand recognition and so the name Buggs was born! Soon after, Buzz sold the route to Ryanair, but the Buggs name had stuck and has proved to be a sound commercial decision, it is instantly recognisable and easy to remember and the distinctive corporate colours of lime green and purple only add to ‘the once seen never forgotten’ feel. Since those early beginnings, Buggs has been grateful for year on year success and growth. This is all down to the simple ethos, of keeping the process easy, matching the customers’ demands, providing a personal service, giving the end user the best possible value for money and making sure the customer is satisfied enough to use Buggs again and again! Car hire is not complicated, but it couldn’t be simpler with Buggs. From the moment that you make your initial enquiry, you get the feeling that you are dealing with real people and not some sterile multi-national organisation. The booking and payment process is personal and simple and this theme continues when you arrive at the Buggs desk at the airport. Because the car rental is pre-paid and Buggs have collected all your personal details in advance, the rental agreement requires only a signature and you are away with the keys in your hand! The average completion time is around 2 mins! Compare that to the customers who regularly queue for over an hour with the other rental companies.

You will never pay over the odds for this service either, Buggs pricing is always very competitive. Just as important is their guarantee that there will be no extra charges on arrival and no nasty surprises on your credit card statement; a guarantee which cannot be found with their competitors. Based on the ever growing success of Buggs at Bergerac, it was a logical move to open at another airport. Limoges was chosen, because of its year round flight timetable and Buggs 2 went live in November last year. Bookings are strong for 2014, a sure indication that Buggs have firmly established themselves in the car rental market and are continuing to satisfy their customers. Looking forward, Buggs do not want to stop there and they would like to add further airports in the very near future, Brive, La Rochelle, Carcassonne, Lourdes and Biarritz...with the prospect of many more visitors asking ‘where did you get that name from?’ visit to find out more

TAC PROPERTY SERVICES ‘Think of us as part of you – working in partnership’ We are a property maintenance and cleaning company registered in France. We can provide a complete range of services to clients who either live here permanently or who own a second property in France. TAC Property Services has had many years of experience as Property Managers; we provide a service that is competively priced, reliable and respectful of your property. Siret No. 502 126 550 000 16

Please visit our website to see the full range of services that we provide Contact: 05 63 39 55 97 email:

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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buggs for your car hire at Bergerac or Limoges Airports, book direct with buggs, as we guarantee...

the price we quote is the final price you will pay


English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation (please see our website for full contact information) Lent, preceded by Shrove Tuesday, spans 40 days and takes us from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Today, Lent is marked by a time of prayer and preparation to celebrate Easter – the greatest festival in the Christian Church. Christians today use this period of time for self examination and repentance, and attempt to identify with Christ’s time of self-denial in the wilderness by giving something up for 40 days. You are most welcome to join us for services at the English-speaking Church of Cahors which is part of the Anglican Chaplaincy of Midi Pyrénées & Aude. Services are held at the Centre Paroissial, 75 av Jean Lurçat, Terre Rouge, Cahors at the times shown below. Our website address is Shrove Tuesday – 4th March Shrove Tuesday is derived from ‘shrive’ meaning ‘confess as part of a penance’. Its French equivalent, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), has a similar origin. Shrove Tuesday was traditionally the time when all food had to be used up so that people could fast – pancakes were often eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were not permitted during Lent – hence Pancake Tuesday or Mardi Gras. (No service). Ash Wednesday 5th March Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent in the Christian Church. For some Christians, marking a cross on the forehead with ash (usually obtained from burning the previous year’s palms) shows their commitment to Jesus Christ and demonstrates their sorrow for the wrong things they have done in the past year. This year’s service will be at 11.00am in the church at Maroux as in previous years, followed by a frugal soup and cheese lunch in the Salle des Fetes at Maroux. Women’s World Day of Prayer – Friday March 7th The service for 2014 – STREAMS IN THE DESERT prepared by the Christian Women of Egypt – Mentioned in Genesis, Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Variously called ‘motherland of the world’ and ‘cradle of civilizations’, Egypt was populated soon after the Flood by Mizraim, grandson of Noah. His name gives the Arabic for Egypt – ‘Misr’. There will be a service at Terre Rouge. It will be emotional service as Egypt has gone through so much over the last year, particularly Christians. The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

Mothering Sunday – 30th March Also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday’, ‘Pudding Pie Sunday’ and ‘Mid-Lent Sunday’, Mothering Sunday is always the middle (that is the 4th) Sunday in Lent. Traditionally, it was a day when children, usually daughters who had gone to work as domestic servants, were given a day off to visit their mother and family and return to their Mother Church. Today children give presents, flowers, and home-made cards to their mothers on Mothering Sunday. The food associated with Mothering Sunday is the Simnel cake. A Simnel cake is a fruit cake with two layers of almond paste, one on top and one in the middle. The cake is made with 11 balls of marzipan icing on top representing the 11 disciples (Judas is not included). Since the fasting of Lent could be given up on Mothering Sunday, everybody was able to enjoy a slice of Simnel cake! Palm Sunday 13th April The most solemn week of the Christian year, Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, and is the week during which Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus’s life. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday which commemorates Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd. A week later they were calling for Jesus to be crucified. In many churches, during Palm Sunday services, large palm branches are carried in processions or small hand-held pieces of palm are distributed. Please join us for the Palm Sunday Holy Communion Service at Terre Rouge at 10.00am. Maundy Thursday – 17th April Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday and is marked in UK by the distribution of the Royal Maundy to a number of pensioners. Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, said (John 13:34): “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” During the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. This act has sometimes been followed literally in history as a good way for rulers to acknowledge that they have been there to serve their subjects. Indeed, the custom of washing feet by the Sovereign was carried out in England until 1689 although the feet were first washed by Yeoman of the Laundry before the Sovereign had to wash and kiss them! (No service).

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Good Friday – 18th April The most important events in Christianity are the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. During Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, recognising that this has enabled their sins to be forgiven by God and the gift of eternal life secured through their faith in Christ. The main service on Good Friday often takes place between midday and 3pm. In many churches it takes the form of a meditation based on the seven last words of Jesus on the cross, with hymns, prayers, and short sermons. It is traditional to eat Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. These buns, with their combination of spicy, sweet and fruity flavours, have long been an Easter tradition. The pastry cross on top of the buns symbolises and reminds us of the crucifixion of Jesus. (No service at Terre Rouge).

Easter Sunday – 20th April Because of the distances at Terre Rouge we are unable to celebrate Holy Saturday with a Light Vigil, and we do it at 8.30am on Easter Sunday, followed by Easter Day Holy Communion. This is the culmination of all of Lent and the day when Jesus rose again. The church at Terre Rouge is usually full – nearly 100 people, the hymns are joyous as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ – three days after he was crucified. We shall be holding an Easter Light Vigil at 8.30am and an Easter Day Holy Communion Service at 10.00am at Terre Rouge. Please join us – you will be most welcome!

The services listed are sometimes changed – see or email the secretary, Gill Heyworth on



ot all pet cats have been chosen by their owners – in some cases the cat may chose you. For many people this can be a welcome intrusion with both owner and cat happily settling into the new situation.

However, for some the experience is not so pleasing. Maybe you already have a feline friend or another pet who is not open to new pals sharing the house, your affection or food. Or perhaps you work, travel or have another reason why a cat just doesn’t fit with your lifestyle. The first course of action is to find out if your visitor is indeed a stray. Given the very nature of cats, they often wander and frequently cats believed to be strays do, in fact, belong to someone in the local area. Remember – if you feed the cat, it will stay, and someone may be missing a much loved pet. Is the cat wearing a collar? It may have the owner’s contact details attached or written inside. To find out if it has an identification chip or tattoo you will need to take it to a veterinarian. They will then check a national database for details of the owner. Another way to find the potential owner is to print and place posters showing the cat in well visited local places such as the Mairie, shops, post offices and local veterinary surgeries. Also tell your neighbours, the local pound and rescue centres and put details of the cat on In cases where the cat has no identification and no owner, it is simply not enough to care for the cat by only providing food. It is important to be responsible and to do the best for this abandoned animal to ensure its safe future. Have the cat NEUTERED NOW, thereby stopping the cycle of unwanted stray cats. Don’t wait until a female cat has a litter because there will then be more cats and kittens to feed! Check the Les amis des chats website for advice

on trapping feral cats and the support that is available. Even if you are not resident in France, you may decide to keep the cat yourself. The procedures for travelling within Europe with a cat are now easy and simple. Any cat or kitten of at least 3 months of age can travel outside France, 3 weeks after identification by microchip, rabies vaccination and issue of a passport. And if the cat is really not for you, do your very best to find a happy and permanent home for it. Rescue centres can help but they may be inundated with unwanted domestic animals so often the best course of action is to pass the cat to a loving owner. Note, you will need to get the cat identified before handing it on. For more information on cat welfare and handling strays, take a look at

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


Guitar making skills, stylish-necks and endless strings By Sandra Pisano

Last summer, the rusted window shutters of the former post-office building in Parisot (Tarn and Garonne), between St Antonin and Villefranche-de-Rouergue, were thrown open for the first time in several years, and work was started on its new incarnation as a guitar-making workshop. Rolling up his sleeves to tackle the job of converting the ground-floor rooms into a work space was Godefroy Maruejouls, back in his homeland after 15 years in the UK.


hen Godefroy, aged 19, left his home in the Tarn countryside for London, to follow his dream of becoming a guitar maker, neither he or his family and friends imagined it would be so long before he found his way back. As a young boy, the seeds were being sown that would lead Godefroy to his particular career: the strong guitarbased music that he heard at home – the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa – plus the regular outings as an 8-year-old to watch his uncle’s band rehearse. It was no surprise to the people who knew him when he attempted to make his first electric guitar from a crude plank of wood and some electrical wire at around the same age. Later, when it came time to thinking about what to do on leaving school, a close family friend asked Godefroy if he might want to learn how to make guitars for a living. It seemed a natural enough if not-so-common profession to consider and the same friend took him to the village of Cordes-sur-Ciel one day to meet some violin makers at The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

a fair that was going on there. It was here that the idea began to take shape in Godefroy’s mind and one of the violin makers suggested the UK would be a good place to learn the craft, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy to find a course or an apprenticeship in France. School over and one successful application to the London Guildhall University later, Godefroy left rural southwest France to take up a 4-year course in modern fretted instrument-making (preceded by a 6-month stint working at a hotel in less-than-glamorous Edgware to improve his English – something the University insisted he do to ensure he would be able to keep up with the course). Godefroy found both London and college life suited him. His eyes were opened to the particularities of student life in a large city – including waking up one morning to find students had pushed an orange Mini into the entrance to the halls of residence! He and his student friends came to know east London well, and a regular feature of college life were football matches in Victoria Park – England vs the Rest of the World – reflecting the mix of nationalities that

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made up the student population of the college. As for the course itself, Godefroy loved it from the start, finding himself quickly at home in this place where likeminded students were fulfilling their passion for music and instrument-making. It cemented the idea in his mind that this was something he wanted to dedicate himself to. On completing the course, the original plan had been to move back to France but an opportunity to work with the well-known guitar maker Dave King (who had been a lecturer on the University course) presented itself. King asked Godefroy if he would be interested in helping with guitar repairs and developing his skills as a maker in a professional environment. The offer was too good to pass by and it marked the start of a period of post-study apprenticeship (which included working in Hanks guitar shop in London’s famous Denmark Street and later for Bernie Goodfellow, a reputed maker of electric basses) that prepared Godefroy well for the next stage in his career. In 2005, Godefroy took a leap of faith and decided to set up on his own, operating out of a small room in the flat he was renting in London’s Forest Gate. The knowledge that only a handful of instrument-makers actually made their living by it – the market for bespoke, handmade instruments being a niche one – wasn’t enough to put him off. Neither were the late nights in his tiny workshop, which witnessed more than a few abandoned and bungled projects. Where many of his fellow students had by now found alternative ways to earn a living, Godefroy decided to stick with it. Next came a move to a proper set-up in Limehouse (by which time east London was becoming as familiar as the Tarn countryside) and the start of a productive period when skilled players from around the city started to visit the workshop with repair work and a trickle of orders. It was at this time too that Godefroy started to develop ties with the gypsy-jazz community in London – players like Stuart Blagden and Tim Robinson – and had his first orders from serious players for gypsy-jazz guitars. His growing expertise as a maker of this type of guitar soon led him to become known as one of the best makers of gypsy-jazz guitars in the country. At the same time, he was perfecting his skills in making steel-and nylon-stringed acoustic guitars and electrics. When the London Guildhall University contacted Godefroy to ask if he would be interested in joining them as a part-time lecturer teaching on the same course he’d attended a few years earlier, it was an encouraging sign that his reputation was building well. Business continued to grow, until word found its way across the pond and orders from the United States started to come in. Fast forward to 2011. Business is going well but the prospect of being permanently based in London, with its high rents, small spaces and rushed pace, is less and less appealing. The prospect of rural France, of coming home,

Phototography – Richard Storchi –

starts to feel like a good plan. With an established business Godefroy realises he can base himself anywhere. Fast forward again to late 2013 and all signs of the former post office are gone. Routers and circular saws crowd the new workshop and the wooden work bench that once graced the Limehouse studio (made from timber salvaged from Old Spitalfields Market) is littered with hand planes, chisels and gouges. An assortment of amps is arranged in one room for players to crank up and test out their new instruments; and a smart row of guitars lines a wall above them, their stylish necks displaying the MJS (for Maruejouls) logo. Among them is a Parisot-made, black-stained, figured maple electric guitar – its perfect, mirror-like finish a fitting testament to this labour of love of the past 15 years. The workshop at, 1 rue du Savoir, Parisot 82160 is open to professionals and amateurs alike for handmade, bespoke guitars, custom work and repairs. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am– 7pm. Godefroy can be contacted on 06 52 46 92 90 or at More information is available on his website –

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014



ZEE BAND is a three piece band formed in 2012, with a lineup of keyboards and vocals (Chris Buckley) lead guitar, mandolin, banjo and vocals (John Harris) rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals (Barry Brown). • In 1978 joined The Temperance Seven on Sousaphone! Been doing it ever since, and as band leader since 1986. • Now living permanently in France and flying backwards and forwards to the UK for Temperance 7 gigs. • In 2012 joined up with Barry and John on keyboards to form ‘ZEE BAND’, where anything is possible, Johann Strauss to Elton John, Ravel to Rolling Stones, Bach to Beatles and Chopin to Clapton.


he members have all had musical success in a variety of other bands over the years and decided to form ZEE BAND, in the first instance as a hobby and a means to have fun with music. During 2013 ZEE BAND played a number of venues at Roquecor and various private parties, with some very good feedback. ZEE BAND has a wide repertoire of music catering for all tastes from open air concerts through to private parties and even Un-Plugged for a more intimate venue. Bookings are already coming in for 2014 and ZEE BAND hope to be playing many Gigs during the year and look forward to more of the fantastic support we had during 2013. Chris Hook/aka Captain Christopher Buckley! • Began piano and cornet lessons aged 5. • Played in brass bands around Manchester from age 8 onwards. • Studied for three years at The Royal Academy of Music in London gaining LRAM and ARCM diplomas. • Worked on trumpet with BBC Orchestras, Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and many others! • Worked as a Peripatetic Brass teacher and eventually a Director of Music in private school in London. During this time wrote up to six musicals for schools and dozens of original songs. MD’d hundreds of shows and ceremonies on piano during a ten year period.

John Harris – Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Vocals • John was raised in Gloucestershire and started playing guitar at the age of 7 much to the disappointment of his father who wanted him to play the Fiddle as had previous generations of the family in Ireland. • He played in rock & roll bands in the 70s but then girls, football and eventually work got in the way! • In his late 30s he picked up the guitar again, strumming in bands performing a variety of musical genre, ultimately with the highly successful Gloucester band ‘30 MAX’ playing local and regional gigs and festivals. • He moved to Ireland where he had a guitar school and released his first solo album of original and traditional Irish music which received critical acclaim and significant sales after airtime on local and national radio. • After purchasing a property in this beautiful part of France John has joined together with Barry and Chris to make music again. Barry Brown – Guitar, Harmonica and Vocals • Barry started his musical career at 14 forming a Skiffle Group with three other lads from school. • An apprenticeship put a stop to music, until the age of 17 when he joined a band called Downbeats Ltd which was successful in Singapore and Malysia; where the band opened for Herman and the Hermits and The Dave Clark Five. • Barry played with various other bands, duos etc through the 80s and 90s after which music took a bit of a back seat (work dictated) until meeting up with Chris and John and forming ZEE BAND here in France in 2012.

To book ZEE BAND please contact: Barry Brown: 0563 94 08 53 or, Chris Buckley: 0563 04 17 95 or, John Harris: 0563 39 51 15 or The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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Spring – Time to Celebrate!


ith the murky skies of January, and snowed-in days of February behind us, now Is the time to start thinking about your next fabulous get together – and I can’t emphasise enough that this lovely part of the world provides the perfect setting whatever you wish to celebrate. What’s more, I am a firm believer that it need not be stressful, nor cost you a fortune, to go all out and enjoy a memorable gathering, from a perfect intimate dinner party to a wedding or fête on a large scale. We all know how lovely it is to be eating on a sun soaked terrace or outside on a balmy evening, so don’t make it a big deal to invite people over and turn it into a meal to remember. Use the barbeque as a brazier to provide warmth if needed and light as many candles as you can. Crack open – and try a new – local wine. Take advantage of our local fare; try the foie gras nearest you, or buy some marinated olives from the market for no fuss nibbles. Don’t attempt fancy dishes or boring burgers, just marinate some chicken thighs and they can be done in the oven first and finished on the Barbeque. Make some big salads, serve only one nice local cheese, and don’t forget big crusty bread and a tart from the bakery – voila, a no fuss local feast. For Weddings, birthdays or even business meetings with a difference, there are a wealth of castles or fabulous properties that can be rented as gîtes, thus providing a venue and accommodation - not to mention copious amounts of crockery etc - in one go. (nb. if you have a fabulous place of your own, there is often no need for a marquee in case of rain, you would be surprised at how many people can be seated in a cleared out room or barn.) Spit roasts or barbeques provided by a caterer can not only be a comparatively cheaper way to feed a

hoard, it can also give a focus and a festive air to a reception. A caterer should be able to provide as much or as little as you wish, so if you want to source your favourite cheese/coffee/ aunt-sallys-banoffi-pie as part of the meal you can do so. It is well worth it, however, to pay out on staff to serve so that you can relax and enjoy your event. Don’t forget that tables and benches can often be borrowed from your local mairie, purchase flowers from the market to be put in jam jars, use white sheets as tablecloths if necessary and don’t forget as many of those candles as you can again… Set against the warm stone architecture and the beauty of our local countryside, this all adds up to a film-set vision of a party to remember. So, now that we can walk up our muddy driveways again without completely ruining our heels, why not gather together with friends family and celebrate all the reasons we enjoy living here so much – good food, good wine, some sun, and most importantly the time to share it with others. by Rosie Paddon, Caterer and Events organiser both in France and abroad.

Music for your Parties & Events Jazz, Folk, Rock ‘n Roll, Classical, Brazilian Solo Musicians or Groups Very reasonable prices

Richard Beswick

0622524226 Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


FRENCH EVENTS @Party in France

EVENTS & CATERING SERVICES Planification de Mariage Évènements & Service Restauration Please contact Rosie Paddon for a bespoke service 0565530332 / 0650554299


Esprit Feng Shui

Celebration Cakes

I can help with – Homes, Gardens and Personal Well-Being: Training Courses

Cake Decorating Workshops

Karen Blanchet facebook page: Spirit feng shui Mb:

Easy Soup Recipes for Spring Spring is almost here! Time to ban the heavy winter clothes up to the attic, clean up the garden, eat healthier and lose the cold weather bulk! These three tasty soup recipes are light yet decidedly satisfying. Enjoy them out outdoors while basking in the first of the season’s sunshine.

Bon Appétit !

Soupe de Poisson


This simple recipe for a fabulous French soupe de poisson makes for a healthy and delicious springtime meal. If desired, serve it with a few rounds of baguette and a crisp, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onions, garlic, fennel, thyme and bay leaves. Cook on a gentle heat for approximately 10 minutes. Turn up the heat a bit and add the tomatoes and their juices. Also add the cognac. Let this cook for a minute or two before adding the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the cream. Allow the soup to come to the boil, immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, remove the bay leaf, add the cream and blitz the soup, making sure it’s not too thin. Serve with a swirl of cream.

Serves 6 2 tbsps mild olive oil, 2 red onions, finely chopped, 3 cloves of pink garlic, finely chopped, 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped, small bunch of thyme, leaves picked, 2 bay leaves, 5 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped, 800ml good quality fish stock, 2 tbsps cognac, pinch of saffron, 500g frozen seafood (I used a mix of prawns, scallops, mussels and cod), pinch of fleur de sel, freshly-ground pepper, 4 tbsps cream The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup

Method Put all of the ingredients in the blender and blitz until the soup is smooth. If desired, add a little more bouillon to thin out the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lime juice or salt and pepper if desired. Chill for at least an hour. Serve the soup with a little crème fraîche, a drizzle of good olive oil and freshlygrated pepper.

Not all fats are bad fats. Good fats like those found in avocado will help keep you full and satisfied. Avocados are also rich in Vitamin E and C. Healthy and very delicious. Especially in this chilled, cooling soup.

Serves 4 2 ripe avocados, 1 cucumber, peeled and cubed, 2 spring onions, finely chopped, juice of 2 limes, 2 tbsp crème fraîche, plus extra for serving, 300-350ml cooled vegetable bouillon, small bunch of coriander, save a few sprigs to use as garnish, fleur de sel, freshly-grated mixed peppercorns

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Smoked Salmon Serve this silky soup with a nice glass of Riesling. Green or white asparagus may be used. If using green asparagus, you might want to grill them for added taste.

Serves 4 Knob of butter, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 leek, only the white part, sliced, 1 large potato, peeled and sliced, 1 L chicken stock, fleur de sel, freshly-grated pepper, 1 kilo cooked asparagus, chopped, 100ml single cream, chopped chives, 100g smoked salmon, sliced in strips

Method Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan and gently sweat the leeks. Add the sliced potato, bouillon, salt and pepper. Put a lid on the pan and bring this to the boil. Lower the heat and allow everything to gently cook for 5 minutes. Add the cooked and chopped asparagus, and cook for a further 4 minutes. Add the cream and puree the soup. Serve with the chopped chives and the salmon.

Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel writer with a good dose of joie de vivre. She is passionate about French cooking, old-fashioned chansons, Rembrandt and life. Paola is available for all kinds of recipe development and culinary advice. For more information visit or contact Paola at

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


A case for organic wine According to recent statistics, Spain is number one worldwide in terms of hectares under vines, while France is the largest producer of wine. Meanwhile, wines from the Quercy region have been famous since antiquity and Cahors wine is considered to be one of Europe’s oldest. Over the years the local wine industry has encountered many vicissitudes, meeting the challenges and moving with the times. By Jeanne McCaul, Lauzerte

and in particular during the 60ties, the term “organic” would not exist today. By the same token, the term “conventional” agriculture is a misnomer, as it in fact refers to relatively recent, industrial agriculture. Yet, the simple fact is that there is good food and bad food, good wines and bad wines. Good and bad in this case meaning healthy, well made and good tasting as opposed to unhealthy, badly made and tasting of old socks.

Philippe Bessières at Antenet

The very topical subject of organically grown food, as opposed to industrial food production, has to do with a growing consciousness about what we put into our bodies. In other words: the quality and (often hidden), content of what we eat and drink. Giving preference to produce free of synthetic additives, locally grown fruit and vegetables, free-range poultry, etc. and practicing low temperature slow-cooking, is part of a growing desire to improve our health and quality of life, while also preserving the environment for ourselves and the next generations. For some it is a form of unrealistic nostalgia for a romanticized past, for others it is, on the contrary, a thoroughly contemporary concern and responsibility.

The irony in the on-going debate is that, without the surge towards industrial agriculture after WWII, The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

But let’s first check that we are on the same page with respect to some terminology, in other words, what is meant by: Viticulture: the science, production and study of grapes Viniculture/oenology: the art and science of making wine Vinification: the process of making grape juice into wine Cépage: grape variety Biological/organic agriculture: no synthetic additives (chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides…) in the soil or on plants Biodynamic agriculture: inspired by the writings of Rudolf Steiner, for instance in his 1924 Agriculture Course; understanding and respecting the ecological, energetic and spiritual aspects of nature (more below) Agriculture “raisonnée”: as close as possible to synthetic additive free, organic production Agriculture “en conversion”: in the process of converting from industrial to organic production Sustainable: ecologically sound, socially responsible (healthy) as well as economically viable Natural/authentic/alive (in the case of wine): little or no additives, in particular sulfites, sometimes overused to prevent oxidation and purify wine by killing microorganisms It is not superfluous to remind ourselves that it all begins with the soil, its health and its quality. As the highly respected French agronomic engineer and researcher Claude Bourgignon, began warning in the 1970’s:

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soil cultivated with synthetic chemicals (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides…) will, sooner or later, result in sick or dead soil and sick or dead animals and humans. Healthy soil is alive with natural microbiological activity, creating humus and nutriments. However, research by his laboratory has shown that, across Europe, 90% of natural micro-biological activity (creation of bio-mass) in the soil, has been destroyed. It would seem that it is time to take heed and begin to repair the damage.

Fortunately, for some years now, reducing the amounts of synthetic products in agriculture and in vineyards, as well as in the wine making process, has been a general tendency, even among those who are not formally certified organic growers or wine makers. There are several organizations responsible for certification, each with its norms or “cahier de charge” and sometimes the procedures can be time consuming and expensive. Some are recognized mainly or only in France, others are international. They include: AB (Agriculture Biologique), Terre et Vie, Nature et Progress, Ecocert, FESA (Fédération Européenne des Syndicats d’Agrobiologistes) or Demeter. In any event, it is important to note that whether certified or not, regular phyto-sanitary controls by official bodies are a minimum legal requirement for commercialization. For some, growing and producing organic is an inner conviction, for others it is an acknowledgement of market tendencies, for yet others it is an ideal to work towards, depending on circumstances sometimes beyond their control. Climate and soil types, weather conditions and other circumstances sometimes make it difficult to avoid using synthetic products to help stabilize and preserve the wine. It is not useful to consider some as “good guys” and others “bad guys”. Some can move faster than others. Conversion to organic production is a long process and can be expensive. However, so are the approximately 150 officially allowed chemical products (in “conventional” wine making) that are available on oenological supermarket shelves in France! In short: for producers juggling between the parameters of what they cannot change or influence and what they can, while earning their daily bread, is what it is all about.

The type of soil in any given area is determined by climate, geology and topography. In the wine world it is referred to as terroir. For some producers, terroir is a determining factor for quality and character. This is the case for Manu Rybinski of Clos Troteligotte. For this reason he practices micro-vinification: harvesting and vinifying the grapes of each of his plots separately – some of it in earthenware jars that enhance the unique mineral quality of his wines. The ovoid shape ensures

Jérémy Illouz in an old farm wine cellar

good breathing, while sediment remains at the bottom and no sulfites are added. Manu has taken over a family vineyard and wine cellars and has been converting to organic growing and synthetic-free vinification for a few years. He sees this activity as being at the centre of his and his family’s quality of life, with all else around it: being in nature, appreciating the seasons, having access to healthy and tasty regional produce and meeting people. He is in the process of installing a large kitchen in his wine tasting area so that he can invite chefs and propose food and wine tasting events. Jérémy Illouz is another young man with a passion for wine making. He hails from Paris but studied oenology in Bordeaux where he met his partner Paul Parlange. Jérémy dreams of owning his own vineyards and cellars, but meanwhile, takes care of vineyards belonging to an elderly couple on the environmentally intact limestone plateaus near Villesèque. Some plots are planted with the famous original cépages of the region, such as Jurançon noir and Valdignié, which have become quite difficult to find. Jérémy takes care of these vineyards and makes his wines in the family cellars as it has been done for decades. Naturally, he avoids all herbicides and pesticides in the vineyards and additives during vinification. He also insists on handpicking the grapes, retaining only healthy berries and discarding waste material which could contaminate the juice. The berries also remain whole during harvesting which prevents oxidation. The Illouz/Parlange partnership sells their wine (La Pièce and La Haute Pièce) to selected restaurants and wine shops such as the Le Chai des Halles and Plaisirs du vin in Cahors. And then there are those who have been making wine for many a year... Philippe Bessières of Domaine d’Antenet has been an Ecocert certified organic grower

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


since 1983. In addition, his wines have been free of sulfites since 2002 and today he is also certified by FESA. But he maintains: “wine is made in the vineyard. If the work is done properly, and the soil and vines cared for with respect, the wine will be good. So: with or without certification, just take a close look at the vineyard. If it is spotlessly clean around the plants, oh là-là, there may be a problem.” Philippe produces a range of wines, a Vin de France blend of several cépages, a 100% Merlot, a 100% Malbec, an AOC Pays du Lot… Anne and Olivier Godin of Château Vent d’Autan have been certified (Ecocert and Demeter) as biodynamic wine producers for 23 years. “Biodynamic is comparable with homeopathy”, Olivier explains. “It consists of treating soil and plants with minimal doses of minerals, such as quartz (beneficial for photosynthesis) and other organic substances that stimulate the life-force memory of all vegetation. These substances are first activated in water which is churned up to produce a vortex. Activity in the vineyard is dictated by the biodynamic calendar, which is based on

the movement of the planets and the specific particles they release into the atmosphere”. If this sounds like hokus-pokus it is well to note that, over the past years, these theories have been tested and proven by scientific research, for instance by NASA and some scientific programs have even aired on TV. The Godins produce a range of wines, including a late harvest ice wine. All are made from handpicked grapes and are free of additives. Anne relies solely on the natural yeasts found on the grapes for fermentation and regularly siphons off and transfers the wine during the aging process, leaving unwanted residues behind. In addition to wine, the Godins also produce health and beauty products under the registered trade name Vino-cure. These are made from grape seeds, rich in phenolic compounds and obtained by molecular extraction in a special machine which Olivier had made on his specifications. It is even possible to enjoy a 2 hour spa treatment on the domain. Just goes to show: the pleasures and wonders of producing wine are unlimited.

Domaine des Sangliers is an independent, organic vineyard located in the hills of picturesque Puy-l’Evêque, one of the best terroirs of the Lot valley. We produce organic AOC/AOP Cahors, Vin de Pays du Lot and Vin de France red and rosé wines, and apéritifs. Family run, we personally undertake every step of the wine making process, from pruning to corking, all on the estate. Our aim is to achieve the highest quality product, naturally and ethically produced, at fair prices. For further information please visit our website or find us on Facebook.

Pleasure of the Apéro! Appreciation

Pre-dinner drinks and nibbles – even the translation lets you know how much more seriously the apéritif is taken in France. We don’t even have our own solitary word for this important drink and its rituals. The word routed in Medieval Latin now represents far more then just a beverage, it is an event. The French have a well-used abbreviation and an elaborated version. Originally, an apéritif was a drink intended to stimulate the appetite. Lightly alcoholic drafts, infused with bitter herbs, often used in medicinal treatments for stomach ailments, were drunk before food to increase the flow of gastric juices. France was very quick to take The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

this utilitarian practise and improve upon it, filling it with pleasure and social value.


For the new ex-pat resident or visitor to France, it may well be your first experience of the local social life. In the Lot, apéro time is taken very seriously. Here, arriving uninvited at someone’s house at 7pm is a bit of a faux pas, they will feel obliged to provide you with drinks and snacks. The first time our neighbours invited us, we felt very honoured (and rather prematurely thought that we could now be considered integrated!). We were offered a drink from an enormous selection, far too long to list,

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but that night the favourite choices were a kir (mostly for the ladies) or a pastis. Traditionally a splash of crème de cassis topped up with white wine, the kir, named after Félix Kir, the canon and mayor of Dijon (of mustard fame), is as recent as 1951; this delightful drink is traditionally made with a dry, white wine, Bourgogne aligoté (aligoté is the grape variety). Kir Royal is made with champagne (or any sparkling white), but don’t worry if you don’t like blackcurrant, it seems that all you have to do to change the flavour is to ask for a kir à la pêche (or whichever fruit flavour you prefer).


The same dear neighbours invited us again a few weeks later. Being the designated French speaker in the house, I managed to understand the words apero, vendredi and dix-neuf heures. I also thought that I may have been tutoyer’d, as I definitely heard a “toi” in there too. Recently arrived in France, English and with young children, we were still, at this stage, eating our main meal at 6pm. Not wanting to embarrass ourselves by drinking on empty stomachs (as I said, newly arrived and with very low tolerance levels), I made a huge pasta dish. Duly (over) fed and watered, we drove to our hosts’ property (we’re not really lazy; it was winter, we had toddlers and next door here is just over a mile away!). Looking forward to my second ever kir, we entered to find a feast spread out before us. Not just any feast, this one was epic and consisted of the most intricate and beautifully prepared selection of dishes I’ve ever seen (outside of a Turkish wedding, but that’s another story). Madame and her daughter had clearly spent at least a day producing the most exquisite local delicacies for our delight. Of course we couldn’t say, “oh sorry, we’ve already eaten”. We really should have walked home despite the cold and the dark; we were barely able to get into the car, closely resembling our newly purchased oak wine barrels! Explaining our evening to a fluent ex-pat, she told me, “Well, that was an apéritif dinatoire, of course there was food!” Dee-nah-toi-re! So, I wasn’t tutoyer’d after all!

deposit of organic matter, including the spent yeast). Some of this has to go to the government as a tax, but what is left can be distilled to produce strong alcohol. We don’t have a licence to have our own still, so our very charming local distillateur ambulant brings his museum worthy alambic up to our winery and spends the day with us; we feed wood into the fire at one end, and collect our organic eau de vie from the other. Once heated, the wet marc or lees gives up its residual alcohol by evaporation, this is at a lower temperature to the water, therefore they are naturally separated, a little bit of magic!


Once we have the basic organic alcohol, we can then make a selection of drinks. We steep our own organic produce, such as cherries, walnuts or chestnuts, or local specialities, such as les violettes de Toulouse or locally roasted coffee beans, in the alcohol and extract the flavours. As with wine, a lot of patience is required. Ratafia, is a name used very broadly throughout France for a variety of apéritif recipes; ours is made by combining the distilled alcohol with unfermented grape juice and a secret selection of herbs. Although, if you want to buy any of this from us, you’ll usually have to reserve it a year in advance! We are always careful to keep the alcohol levels in our aperitifs at a reasonable level, after all, we hope to encourage appreciation not inebriation! À la vôtre! Visitors are welcome to the property. We are open from June to September, from 2pm to 7pm. Wednesday and Sunday by appointment. Other dates and times by prior arrangement. A variety of tours of the vineyard and wine tastings are available year round. Learn about the organic wine making process, the basics of wine tasting, or just enjoy trying some new wines or aperitifs. Group and corporate bookings are welcome (musical entertainment/catering can also be arranged). Purchases can be made directly from the cellar door. Children welcome. Always drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation; pregnant women are advised not to consume alcohol; don’t drink and drive.


Nine years and many apéros later, fortunately my comprehension has improved enough (although I still have a long way to go) to decide to produce some of our own apéritifs. As a bi-product of the wine making process, we have the marc (the solid matter left after the liquid is removed, predominantly grape skins and pips) and lees (after the secondary fermentation the wine is racked, the fining leaves a residual sludge-like

Photo credits – Lou Bopp –

Domaine des Sangliers – Les Sarrades – 46700 – Puy-l’Evêque Kim-Louis & Lisa Stanton – 06 04 03 34 12

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


Orchestre et Choeur du Centre Philharmonique Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle (not at all petite, and certainly not solennelle!)


CP (the orchestra and choir of the Centre Philharmonique) follows the successful series of New Year concerts given in Lot-et-Garonne, the Dordogne and the Lot with a series of performances of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Easter Week. This very lyrical mass was written by Rossini (immensely popular in his lifetime in France) at his country house at Passy at the behest of Count Alexis Pillet-Will as a present for his wife Louise. Rossini was 71, and had officially been retired for 34 years. He dedicated it rather jokingly to the ‘Creator’ as follows:

« Dear God. There it is finished, this poor little mass. Is it really sacred music that I’ve just written or just some damned music? (both adjectives are sacrée in French, the heart of the joke). I was born for comic

DISPLAY BINS We’re gradually introducing ‘display bins’ into supermarkets. It’s very much a case of trial and error (and has proved more complicated than expected). Below are listed (at the time of writing) the supermarkets that we’re using in the 46 and 82 postcode areas. We will be introducing some further locations in the 47 region in March this year so do keep an eye on the website as we update the locations. On the website you will also find a full list of other distribution points and partners. Montcuq - 46800 - Carrefour St Nicolas de la Grave - 82210 - Carrefour Beaumont de Lomagne - 82500 - Intermarché Prayssac - 46220 - Carrefour Puy L’Eveque - 46700 - Intermarché St Antonin Noble Val - 82140 - Carrefour Contact Vazerac - 82220 - Intermarché Montauban - 82000 - Leclerc (445 rte de Nord) Moissac - 82200 - Intermarché (rte de Lafrancaise) Valence D’Agen - 82400 - Casino Cahors - 46000 - Intermarché (Terre Rouge) Montaigu de Quercy - 82150 - Intermarché Lauzerte - 82110 - Intermarché The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

opera, you know! A little science, a little heart, all is there. So feel yourself blessed and grant me entry into Paradise. » In the dedication of the work itself, he spoke of « this little composition which is, alas, the last mortal sin of my old age ». It was performed by four soloists and twelve choral singers, accompanied by a harmonium, in the private residence of the Count in Paris, before an audience which nevertheless included the composers Auber, Meyerbeer and Ambroise Thomas. The critics varied between one who said ‘the fugue is worthy of Bach’ to another who said ‘go back and write another Barber of Seville’. It was never performed again in his lifetime, but he did create an orchestral version « in order not to leave others to do it later ». The OCP will be performing it in its orchestral version: come and judge which critic was right! Let us give the final word to the Penguin Guide to Music: “The Petite Messe Solennelle must be one of the most genial contributions to the church liturgy in the history of music. ‘Petite’ does not refer to size, which is comparable in length to Verdi’s Requiem....but what a spontaneous and infectious piece of writing it is, bubbling over with characteristic melodic, harmonic & rhythmic invention” Dates are still being finalized, but will be in Easter week extending to Easter Monday, and include Bergerac and either Prayssac or Puy l’Evêque, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, and possibly Nérac. Please see the OCP website for details as they emerge, or contact Martin Milnes at or on 05 65 36 45 98.

PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN TARN, TARN ET GARONNE, AVEYRON AND THE LOT. We are an English speaking agency based in the village of Caylus with many years of experience selling properties from full renovation projects to beautifully renovated stone houses and chateaux in this area of the Midi Pyrénées just north of Toulouse. We network in partnership with major UK Estate Agencies so we are able to provide a first class service to vendors. Anthony & Gillie Pearce AllezSouthWestFrance, Ave de Pere Huc 82160 Caylus 0563 250 956 / 0612 518 505

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The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


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The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

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The Quercy Local • March-April 2014




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French Tax changes for 2014 Following debate of the various proposals in December; the various finance acts were eventually adopted and are now in force. How the new changes will affect you will of course be dependent on your own specific circumstances. Detailed below is a brief summary of some of the main changes we believe may have an impact for some if not all of you:

Plan d’Eparngne en Actions (PEA) reform • From January 1st 2014, the maximum investment into a ‘classic’ PEA has been increased from e132,000 to e150,000. • To encourage investment in small and medium size businesses, a new PEA-PME has been created; enabling a maximum e75,000 per taxpayer in a household.

Income Tax – ’Impôt sur le Revenu’ • Starting on a positive note, the tax bands or ‘Baréme Scale’ has been increased for 2014, after being frozen for the previous two years. This will mean slighty higher levels of income being taxed at lower band tax rates for 2014. • The tax deduction for low taxpaying households, known as the ‘décote’, has increased to e508.

Assurance Vie The ‘Assurance Vie’ remains the second most popular investment in France after the ‘Livret A’; and despite much rumour and discussion, only minor changes have been adopted: • For amounts invested before age 70, each beneficiary will first benefit an abatement of tax on the first e152,500 and then taxed at 20% on amounts in excess of the abatement up to e700,000 (reduced from e902,838) • The tax rate increases to 31.25% on amounts in excess of e700,000 • Death benefits paid to a spouse or PACS partner remain free from these above detailed taxes. • For contracts that were established prior to the end of 1997; ‘Social Charges’ at the current full rate of 15.5% will apply on the ‘gain’ element, rather than the historically lower rate of ‘Social charges’ when the gain was made.

Capital Gains Tax on secondary property – Plus Value Immoblléres • Effective for sales from 1st September 2013, the tapper relief granted against capital gains was changed. Whereby, relief of 6% pa is applied from the sixth year of ownership to the twenty-first year and 4% relief in year twenty-two. Meaning the property will be free from capital gains tax after twenty-two years of ownership. • Importantly ‘Social Charges’ has a different scale of taper relief; and will only become free from ‘Social Charges’ after thirty years of ownership. • The introduction of an exceptional 25% reduction of the taxable gain for sales from September 1st 2013 and up to 31st August 2014; although this reduction will not apply for property transfers between married spouses or PACS couples or other close family members. • For non-residents of France, different rules now apply; which may benefit an exemption up to e150,000 of the gain provided certain conditions are met. Capital Gains Tax on Financial Assets – Plus Value Mobilléres • The resulting capital gains from the sale of securities or other ‘collective investments’ will be added to income and taxed according to the ‘Baréme Scale’ after deduction of an allowance. • The deductible allowance being determined by the length of ownership of the asset. Namely, 50% allowance if held from two to less than eight years, increasing to 65% allowance for holding an asset for eight years or more. • To encourage investment into new small and medium enterprises, higher allowances against capital gains will be provided. The Quercy Local • March-April 2014

New ‘Euro-Croissance’ This new type of Assurance Vie has been introduced to encourage investment into small and medium size businesses. • As this is intended to be a longer-term contract; it will offer a ‘capital guarantee’ at the eighth anniversary. Changes to VAT (TVA) • With effect from 1 January 2014, the “standard” rate of VAT (TVA) in France increased from 19.6% to 20%. • However, there are actually three rates of VAT applicable in France and the other two are also changed. The 7% rate increasing to 10% and the 5.5% rate reducing to 5%. The information contained is a summary of our understanding of some of the main changes. We recommend you seek professional advice for any specific review and requirements of your circumstances. Peter Wakelin is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Adviser, specialised in tax, inheritance, pension and investment planning for the British community. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51,

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • March-April 2014


Profile for The Magazine Production Company

The Quercy Local – March - April 2014  

Magazine for English people and businesses in the Quercy region of France

The Quercy Local – March - April 2014  

Magazine for English people and businesses in the Quercy region of France