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November 2015 – February 2016 Issue 22

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE magazine in English

Inside – NEW Short Story Competition Winter Garden Colour EU Succession Law Writing Groups Festive Food

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 3

N ORGA GAN M N N M O R A N M O R GSA A G R MOA A N M O G A N M O RI GS T RGAN M N MORG R R A O H RG N M RGAN R GEA R AN MO R YR G C M OM AN MO AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG OR GA M R O N M A RGAN MORG RGAN AN MO AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG OR GA M R O N M A RGAN MORG RGAN AN MO AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A O MORG AN M RGAN MORG RGAN AN MO AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A O MORG AN M RGAN MORG RGAN AN MO AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A O MORG AN M RGAN MORG RGAN AN MO AN MO GAN MORG N MORGAN MORG R A O GAN MORG AN M MOR MORG RGAN CE N AN R GR INEMN AN MO GAN MO ORGA E P MORG R A X O G N A N M NG AE N MOR AN MORGA RG M OM OR OARNGMA RG AN MO G MORG R O AN M MORG

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


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W

CONTENTS

elcome to issue 22 which sees out the old-year and

welcomes in the new. A hugely busy time for some and for others a time for rest, reflection and recovery. Maybe a perfect opportunity to have a go at our Short Story Competition, see p.9. I am delighted to see the start or our new cookery section on p.33, written by Caroline from Le Caillau, a chance to learn just how they do things at this very popular restaurant. So what will 2016 bring? I hope that the magazine will continue to grow, we’ll be looking at adding to our distribution routes – but really what we do is more or less up to our readers, we are led by what they tell us and talk to us about. So do tell us what is important and of interest to you.

Writing Groups

p.6

Two local Authors

p.8

Short Story Competition

p.9

The Black Virgin – short story

p.10

Garden Club

p.16

Robins

p.17

Recycling

p.21

Am Dram – Montaigu de Quercy

p.24

Festive Food

p.33

New Year Resolutions? Usually I give these a wide berth. However, there are two things in this edition that have made me think – the first is recycling (see p.21) having discovered that I am confused about this, I resolve to find out more. Secondly, Ian Gibbs’ lifestyle article on p.42 may help us resolve to start the next year without overloading ourselves.

Gardening – Winter Colour

p.36

Professional Local Guide

p.40

Do have a wonderful winter and great festivities. The next issue will be available from March 1st 2016.

Anna

www.quercylocal.com Email: info@quercylocal.com

Ian Gibbs – Just Say No!

p.42

Singing in the Lot

p.44

Wine – Which One?

p.46

EU Succession Laws

p.48

English Church – Cahors

p.50

Open Garden Scheme

p.52

Lot Dog Rescue

p.56

Photo credits – front cover “Erithacus rubecula with cocked head” by © Francis C. Franklin

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The Quercy Local ISSN: 2116-0392. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietor. 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 owned and managed by A Atkinson (Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190): Siret: 518 460 605 00018. It’s produced by the Magazine Production Company, West Sussex, UK. Printed by Gráficas Piquer. Distribution managers (47) – Lorraine & Pete Knowles; (46) and (82) Glenn Jackson. Admin – Valérie Rousseau.


THE QUERCY LOCAL • 5

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The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


6 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Creative Quercy It’s not even a well-kept secret that our region is bursting with talent. In this issue we’re hoping to coax out all the writers out there, those that have written before or who are just about to give it a go...

We will first take a look at some of the Writing Groups that can be found locally and then meet two ladies from the same hamlet who have recently published their quite different works. Then on page 9 we are launching our very own very exciting, Short Story Competition. We hope that this inspires people to either have-a-go for the first time or for others to pick up their pen once more! Finally we have featured a short story by Peter B Martin – The Black Virgin which we hope you will enjoy reading...

Writers Groups

Support, encouragement and experience – they are here in our region and ready to welcome new members. by Jacqueline Yallop

Is it the long views and open landscapes? The quiet? The picturesque villages or the conviviality of new friends? Whatever the reason, the Quercy has become a place of inspiration for a growing number of writers capturing the spirit of the region in blogs, stories and novels. And rather than lock themselves away in isolation, many are sharing their experiences at local writers’ groups. Anita Goodfellow has been running a writers’ group in Parisot for almost three years. It’s become so popular that new sessions have been added with members coming from as far afield as Auch, Montauban and Cajarc. “It’s a relief to find other The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

writers, I think that’s the thing,” Anita says. “It’s about being encouraging and acting as a springboard for people’s work. You have to earn each other’s trust, of course, but then you realise how valuable it is to have someone to talk to.” The group’s members are a variety of ages and from all kinds of backgrounds. Some have written before and for some it’s an entirely new experience. They tackle writing exercises together, arrange ad hoc critiquing sessions and learn both technical skills and creative problem solving at their regular meetings. Sometimes they invite more established writers to give workshops, but the group is not lacking in expertise of its own: members have found agents to represent their writing, had success with novels and won short story prizes. “It’s non-competitive, which is really important,” Anita explains, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t treat it very seriously. After all, people are busy. They need to get something worthwhile out of it.”

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 7

But what is it about the area that inspires so many writers? For some, moving to the Quercy gives that much needed breathing space to put pen to paper. But Anita also points to what she calls the ‘melting pot’ nature of the area which sparks new ideas and offers new perspectives. She also praises the annual literary festival, Festilitt, which draws world-class writers to Parisot to give talks and workshops. Creative writing summer schools at local venues from chateaux to hillside retreats are enough to bring out the holiday writer in anyone. But when it comes to a week-in week-out commitment then clearly the area has more to offer than just a break from routine. At the writers’ group in St Antonin, members are proud of their strong connection to the region. Many of the stories which emerge are rooted in the unique experience of Quercy living: “We’ve all written about life in France,” says Doreen Porter, who hosts the meetings. “Most of us are retired, so have more time to absorb the beauty and idiosyncrasies of where we live. There’s the humorous side of coming to a different place but also the problems and dilemmas of growing older in another country.” Doreen’s women-only group gets together weekly under the umbrella of Friends in France International (FiFi) which publishes members’ work in its monthly magazine. As well as sharing poems and stories and working towards putting together an anthology, there’s a strong social element to the meetings. It’s the chance to meet face-to-face that attracts many of the members, but that doesn’t mean more modern networks are not also put to good use by local writers. Doreen is also a member of Writers

Abroad, an expat community from around the world that has been running since 2009, allowing published writers to give feedback on each other’s work remotely. Vanessa Couchman, whose debut novel was published last year, explains: “We communicate almost entirely online; one of the big strengths is having one’s work critiqued in the private forum. It’s been a huge help to me in developing my writing skills.” While Writers Abroad draws members from all over Europe and from Japan to Australia, there’s still a good representation from South-West France, which suggests there’s something special about the area when it comes to writing. Local novelist Jacqueline Yallop agrees. She runs The Writer’s Wheel which mentors emerging writers on a one-to-one basis and has clients from the UK and USA. With the advantage of Skype tutorials, distance is no object. “But often when people approach me I find they have contacts in the Quercy,” she says. “Even if they don’t live here the whole time, they’ve spent lots of time here or have friends here. And the nature of the area really inspires their work: it’s difficult to put your finger on exactly what’s special, but I think it’s a unique combination of turbulent history, a strong cultural identity and spectacular natural beauty – which is all great fodder for writers.” Useful contacts: www.writersabroad.com Friends in France International – www.fifi82.org The Writer’s Wheel at www.jacquelineyallop.com or jacqueline.yallop@orange.fr

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


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TWO PUBLISHED AUTHORS... Here we have one small hamlet – with two published authors – Valerie and Sylvia, both from Cazideroque (47370) have recently published two very different books.

Valerie Salter

If you are looking for Christmas presents for children and grandchildren look no further than ‘Where oh where is Hombiss the Hare?’ A recently published, delightful picture paperback with beautiful illustrations – designed for children from 2 to 5 years old. It’s bedtime and Hombiss is nowhere to be seen. His mother can’t find him anywhere but children can and they will enjoy searching the pages for the naughty hare who is hiding but forgets that his ears are so long! This book was written by Valerie Jean Salter who retired to France in 2000 and is now living in the Quercy region at Cazideroque. Valerie worked as a primary school teacher and taught for many years in south west England.

Sylvia Hansford

English writer Sylvia Hansford has recently published her first novel Dreaming in Stone. It follows the fortunes of an English family, Alison and Brian Delaney

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

The beautiful illustrations are thanks to Valerie’s nephew Richard Salter whose work can be seen in in galleries, museums and private collections in the UK. Richard served for many years in the British Army and painted throughout his army career (www.armyartist). Many people may have also seen him earlier this year when he was a finalist in this year’s BBC, The Big Painting Challenge One of Richard’s paintings will be used as a postage stamp, this November, in the Royal Mail’s Remembrance Day special issue. A copy of the book has been donated to the English Library in Montaigu de Quercy and copies can also be purchased from a bookshop in Agen – ‘dans ma librairie’ at 32 rue Garonne (just off Place des Laitiers). The book is available from Hayloft Publishers – www.hayloft.eu. Or from Amazon – ISBN: 978 191 023 7069. Alternatively directly from the author – cliffordsalter@btinternet. com. Price £6.99 A second book about Hombiss will be published early next year.

and their son Steve, who are trying to live their dream of a good life in South West France. They planned to renovate their old house and barn as bed and breakfast accommodation. But the place is decrepit and the family is sinking into debt. When the Mayor puts a stop to the work, it seems the dream is over. In an attempt to stay in France, Alison goes in search of a job. She finds unexpected opportunities and hazards.Sylvia and her husband Peter Neumann have an old house in Lotet-Garonne. In the novel, she draws on the experience of buying and renovating the house. The descriptions in the book are also based on places in the area but the story is entirely fiction! Dreaming in Stone is available from Amazon.fr in paperback at 9,28e, and as a Kindle book at 2,99e. You can contact Sylvia on – sylvia.neumann@btinternet.com

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 9

Short Story Competition

Your chance (or even the perfect excuse) to leave all those other challenges aside and put pen to paper. Shake off those niggling doubts about whether ‘you’re good enough’ or whether ‘you’ve got time’. Just find a warm and comfortable place and spend some time this winter letting your creative side come to the fore. We are looking for short stories, between 2000 and 2500 words in length. Your story can have any title/ subject but it should be able to carry the subtitle – ‘different people, different places’

How do you enter? • Entries should be sent by email before the 20th March 2016 – please send to thequercylocal@gmail.com • Please submit your entry on a ‘word’ document – no illustrations or ‘fancy’ fonts • Do not put anything on your entry pages to identify you • Put your name and contact information on a cover sheet. All entries will be judged ‘blind’ • Please number your pages. • Entries must be written in English • Entrants should be 18+ • Only work that has never been published should be submitted and all work must be the authors’ own

What happens then? • The judge’s decision, which will be final, will be announced on the 1st of April 2016 • Our judge will provide helpful feedback to the three entries judged to be the best • The winning entry will be published in the May 2016 edition of the Quercy Local • We reserve the right to publish the 2nd and 3rd placed entries in later editions of the magazine • The magazine will suitably illustrate the entries before publication • 1st placed entry will receive 200 euro and 100 euro for their nominated charity • 2nd placed entry will receive 75 euro and 50 euro for their charity • 3rd placed entry will receive 50 euros and 25 euro for their charity

We are delighted that Maree Giles has agreed to act as a judge for this competition... Maree Giles is an award-winning Australian writer, creative writing teacher, and the mother of two grown-up children. She was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Kingston University London, 2009 – 2010, and a dissertation supervisor on their Creative Writing MFA, and taught creative writing at Esher College in Surrey. Maree moved to the UK in 1980, however, her links with Australia – and New Zealand, where she lived for six years – have remained strong. She has taught creative writing at some of Australia’s top Writing Centres, including Varuna, the Writer’s House in Katoomba; the Australian Writers’ Centre and the NSW Writers’ Centre in Sydney, and has been a guest speaker at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival and the Sydney Writers’ Festival. She has given talks and readings at many literary events in Europe, and has been interviewed on national radio in the UK and Australia. After moving to New Zealand in 1971 she studied journalism at Massey University in Wellington. Her writing career began with the Evening Star in Dunedin. Returning to Sydney in 1977 she worked at TV Times and Woman’s Day magazines. After arriving in London she wrote for SHE magazine and was Home Editor at Parents magazine. She was also a freelance television news reporter at Reuters, and a journalist at the Bucks Free Press, Buckinghamshire. Maree is working on her fourth novel, and a collection of poetry. She is also collaborating with an Australian production company Aquarius Films on a feature film based on the true-life story of the Forgotten Australians, and Girl 43, published in 2014 by Hachette. Girl 43 was first published as Invisible Thread by Virago in 2001. The author now lives in south-west France.

To discover more about Maree and her writing visit www.mareegiles.com you can contact her at mareemichelgiles@hotmail.co.uk.

Charities!!!

Do tell your supporters so that they can get writing and hopefully win you some funds. If you would like a flyer advertising this competition – so that you can pass it on to your supporters, please email thequercylocal@gmail.com and we will send you one straight back. Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


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THE BLACK VIRGIN A short story

L

atouze was like any other small, ancient, rural South West French commune in the department of the Lot. A scattering of houses clumped together, huddled under a limestone cliff that rose some 120 meters above the village, and named after the stream that ran through it. The only thing that distinguished it from many of the other hamlets was the mark of refined architectural details, such as the delicate, circular tower on the corner of the fortified manoir, the carved stone doorways on many of the houses, the frescoes in the church and the complex details on the pigeon lofts and barns; the vestige of more affluent times. The rust-red roof tiles were worn by years of exposure to the elements. The cobbled streets were robed in weed and various varieties of fruit trees had endured for ages un-pruned. Its last inhabitant died over two decades before, and the majority of the population

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

never returned from the Great War. With only a few ancestors ever claiming the properties, Latouze was an inert distant vintage quiescent in storage. At least it was until the early 1960s, when some adventurous souls looking for a bargain moved in to the abandoned village and set about restoring the houses. Several artists, a sculptor, a writer, two potters, a photographer and several retirees took up residence. They slowly eased the village back to life repairing the roofs, pointing up the stone facades, mounting new shutters and doors, cultivating again the gardens, pruning the orchards and even eventually bringing electricity and running water to the houses. Latouze entered a second renaissance. A young couple, Andre Granier and his wife Lea opened a café-restaurant in the town and named it “Auberge de Latouze”. It was in a typical village house comprising of a half enclosed courtyard, with stone steps leading up to a sunlit porch festooned with pots of red geraniums. There were tables with red-checked tablecloths and chairs arranged in the courtyard for summer drinks and dining. Andre and Lea had finished their university years in Paris a decade ago and they wanted to get out of city life and live in the countryside. Andre was built like a rugby linesman with a barrel chest and a bull neck. As powerful as he was, he was known to everyone as a gentle giant, with a sensitive and caring personality. His wife was a whisper of his stature, more like one of the fairies from children’s tales, with radiant flaxen hair framing her high forehead and cheekbones. Her questioning striking green eyes were certain to hold any man’s attention and in some way revealed her quick mind. Andre managed the cuisine and Lea served the clients, while Mario, their fox terrier, waited at tables hoping for a morsel to become obtainable. Andre prepared local dishes, such as foie gras, various soups like le tourrin, truffles and roast game in season and cassoulet in the winter months and of course the old standbys, gigot and steak and chips. On Sunday he treated the customers to a pastis, a delicate multi-layered gateau that was liberally doused with a generous portion of rum. The village was delighted to have its own restaurant at last, and the couple was kept quite

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 11

busy with the local customers and the passing tradesmen, particularly during the summer months. However, during the winter patronage was relatively light. They organized banquets for the local hunting clubs to help supplement their revenue during the “off season”. The occasional wedding reception helped out a lot as well. Nonetheless, over time they came to the conclusion that what they really needed was to attract tourists to the village, but that was no simple matter, as it was quite a way off the beaten track and it didn’t have much to offer historically, scenically or culturally. One day Lea came up with a clever idea, legality never having been her primary consideration. “Andre, the church and its frescoes, could be the key to what we need”, offered Lea. “But they are not that important, Lea, chapels and churches all around this region have frescoes like that.” Yes, Andre, but it isn’t the quality of the frescoes I am talking about, it is about one of the subjects.” “What subject?” “The black virgin of course, like the one featured in Rocamadour.” “Lea, I fail to see your point.”

“What we need is a black virgin statue, like the one in Rocamadour. Already there is one represented in our church, that could imply that previously one was originally here and somehow got lost.” “But how are we to find one?” replied Andre. “We don’t just find one, we have one made and then we find it.” “I am beginning to get your drift”. They went into a huddle and discussed the plan in detail. Andre would go to Italy where the best forgers have lived and created their dubious works for centuries. ****** During the winter months when the restaurant was closed, Andre drove off to Italy. He had done his homework. His objective was an area near Naples, more precisely the Campanic region of Southern Italy, where organized crime has been operating since ancient times, an august tradition of administering a cottage industry of forged artworks. Discretion is of utmost importance when probing that region for illicit trades, after all it is the home of the notorious ‘ndrangheta Mafia. Andre was aware of the dangers after having spoken to an Italian in

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


12 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

France who knew the region well, and who guided him on the protocol of making enquires down there. Soon he was to discover how well he had learned his lesson. He checked into a modest hotel not far from the sea in a small town called Ricadi, not much bigger than his hometown, Latouse. It appeared to be a suitable base to work from, nothing garish and a handy location. He chose the half pension plan and intended to stay at least a week. While there he would make an effort to befriend the proprietor who may know the local artisans. At least it would be a start. Sure enough, after a few days of gaining the confidence of the proprietor he got an address and an endorsement to see a certain Giovanni, who has a company that makes fake religious relics for the Vatican, which then distributes them for sale in religious shops worldwide. Andre found Giovanni in his company’s office going over accounts with his associate. Andre introduced himself and handed him his letter of endorsement the hotel manager had given him. Giovanni, a wizened man of an indeterminate age, examined the letter and then smiled an approval. “What can we do for you, Signore Granier?” “I need you to make me an antique black Virgin statue, do you know what that is?” “You refer to the medieval black Madonna, yes?” “Yes, exactly, then you know about them?” “Of course, there are hundreds in Europe, over 500 I understand, and quite a few are bogus. Do you want me to make a standing or seated copy?” “A seated one, like this photograph of the one in our local chapel”, as Andre eagerly handed it to him. Giovanni and his associate studied the photograph closely, nodding their heads and muttering phrases in the local patois from time to time. “This is entirely possible”, Giovanni said gravely. “We have quite a stock of medieval wood and we can blacken it using a combination of egg tempera and soot from candles. No problem.” “How long will it take you, Senore Giovanni?” “Our men can make that in about a week to 10 days.” They discussed the price and the deal was sealed with a handshake. Andre whiled the days away sightseeing, sampling the wines and discovering the local cuisine, which particularly impressed him. One morning a little over a week later, he received a message that his statue was finished. He hurried over to Senora Giovanni’s studio. The master and his associate were hovering The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

over what looked to the world like an Egyptian mummy bound in white linen. Senore Giovanni, with a good bit of theatrics, delicately unwrapped the parcel revealing the black Madonna. There was no doubt about it the replica was masterfully created. As Senore Giovanni’s associate pointed out, the wear on the patina was just right and not exaggerated to illustrate that it had been meticulously cared for. He drew attention to the paint flaking in certain areas of the statue and that even the wormholes were curved and not just straight as in so many fake antique pieces and that some of the holes even held dried woodworms that they excavated from ancient pieces of wood. Andre smiled and nodded his approval. As soon as a rather large wad of lire changed hands between Andre and Senore Giovanni, Andre said goodbye and headed back to France. The Madonna was safely tucked away in a sort of bowling bag in the back of his car. When his Peugeot arrived at the Italian-French border post, an Italian customs Agent approached his car. A sense of dread closed around him. Andre wound down his window and politely said, “Ciao signore.” The customs officer replied in French asking Andre for his papers, which Andre presented to him with a weak smile. After a perfunctory glance at the papers he then asked him if he had anything to declare. Andre told him he didn’t. The officer then asked him to open the back of the car whereupon he began to rummage through Andre’s bags. It wasn’t long before he opened the bowling bag and spotted the “Egyptian mummy.” “ And what is that?” he inquired and Andre mumbled, “A statue, signore”. He was then asked to unwrap it and show him the statue. Andre sensed that things were getting pretty uncomfortable. Following the unwrapping of the black Madonna, exposing it to the gaze of the custom officer, Andre heard his exclamatory “Whoosh!” succeeded by “an Antique religious relic, Monsieur!” He then inquired if he was aware that it is absolutely illegal to take such objects out of the country. Andre stammered, “Well, officer…the fact is it isn’t an antique, it is not genuine, it is a fake, a copy, I had it made up just this past week.” “You are telling me, a customs inspector for many years, that this is a fake? Monsieur, are you taking me for a fool?” “No, I mean yes, that is what I am trying to tell you.”

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 13

“Now why would you have ordered a reproduction of a black Madonna? You come all the way down here and spend money on a fake statue? No, Monsieur, this is an antique and you are probably a collector, and I will have to confiscate this and fine you.” This is a bloody shakedown, if I’ve ever seen one…Andre thought to himself. Cautiously he tendered, “But sir, isn’t there another solution to this just between you and me?” The customs officer looked over his shoulder, checking to see if anyone was listening to their conversation. Andre noticed the reaction and felt that he was making headway at last. “Monsieur, perhaps this whole issue could be settled with the possibility of a certain payment to me in cash.” Would you have 300,000 lira on you, for example?” Andre opened his wallet and replied, “I only have 250, 000, signore.” “That will do.” Andre handed him the money and the customs officer palmed it into his breast pocket, thanking him. With a salute from signore, Andre was on his way into France. Driving along, Andre wondered if, what he had been through at the border wasn’t a scam. It certainly wasn’t beyond the realm of probability that Giovanni had tipped off the customs people to obtain a little administration protection for his dubious enterprise. Andre was glad to get back to his home village after his adventure in Italy. He excitedly showed Lea the Madonna and she had to agree that it certainly looked authentic. Now they had to work out how they would discover the relic. Lea came up with a possibility. “We could say we were digging in the cellar, as we thought we saw what looked like either a well or an underground passage and that is where we found it buried.” “Lea that is an excellent idea, let’s get started by digging a hole deep enough to be convincing.” Pick and shovels in hand they enthusiastically bounded down to the cellar with Mario on their heels, he was wagging his tail sharing his master’s excitement. The red dry earth was easy to excavate and in no time they had a rather substantial hole. Andre went up to fetch the Madonna and placed her in the hole and carefully covered it up. “Lea, we are going to leave her there for several days so she will take on the smell of the earth and perhaps some of its color.” As they turned

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


14 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

their back on the excavation to go back upstairs, Mario started to dig up the statue, his paws churning up the earth as he spun around like a dervish. Andre pulled him back just in time before he reached the statue and filled in the hole. They waited a week before bringing the Madonna to the surface again…with Mario’s help. Now they had to introduce it to the village, feigning great excitement. “Lea, it would seem to me that the best approach would be to show it first to our mayor.” Lea agreed. They found the mayor in his office, and with great excitement they showed him what they had dug up in their cellar. The mayor was stunned as he stood over the statue, hesitantly touching it, his eyes wide and unblinking as he took in the discovery. “Just imagine what this could do for our little village? I must alert the appropriate authorities, the historical society and the church.” In due course the territorial history mavens arrived along with the Bishop of Cahors, the capital of the Department. The spent a good deal of time examining the relic and were shown where it was found. They told Andre and Lea that they had to take it away for further study. If they found it to be authentic on this their first examination, they would return it to the village church fairly soon. Several months later, the black Madonna was deemed authentic and returned to the village with noteworthy formality and liturgy. It arrived with the bishop of Cahors, the mayor and several of his cabinet, followed by several cars of newsmen from the press and television. The mayor was there to receive the dignitaries and the press, dressed in a suit with the mayoral red sash from his shoulder across his ample chest. He had arranged a banquet at Andre’s restaurant for his august guests and all the villagers in celebration of this great moment in the history of Latouze. After the gala dinner and all too many speeches, the statue was “restored” to the village church with great reverence, the whole event captured in photographs and film. The next day the event made headlines throughout the region. And shortly afterward the Latouze pilgrimage was spontaneously launched. The town was hardly prepared for the hordes of people who arrived from all points of the compass. There were no postcards, no souvenirs, no shops to sell them from and only Andre’s restaurant and café to appease the hundreds of visitors’ hunger and thirst. The mayor noted all that and The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

set about hiring a photographer to make postcards, and contacted manufacturers of religious articles. The next pressing problem was the lack of any shops in the village. So, the mayor went around the village trying to convince some of the property owners to convert their barns and outbuildings into shops. Several citizens took up the idea, particularly when the mayor offered financial assistance to do the alterations. He then tried to convince some to open a café on their property, but with less success. Only two residents volunteered, and only when they too were assured of some financial compensation. The mayor was not overly concerned over the present lack of facilities, knowing full well that there were still some empty houses in the village for sale, and that now with Latouze’s notoriety it wouldn’t be long before some enterprising developers showed up. And they did, submitting their bids like confetti after a marriage. Sure enough, by spring several cafes were underway, and an inn was being built as well at the end of the village. A deal had been struck between the mayor and Andre that would restrict restaurants, so only one other could be built, although cafes would have the right to serve snack foods. The flood of tourists and pilgrims continued at an everincreasing rate. Flowers now adorned most windowsills and various planters overflowed with blossoms. A fountain was even built in the church square. The tidy village had taken on a permanent festive allure. Lea and Andre were delighted with the increase in custom in their restaurant; their little secret was certainly paying off. ****** Roughly a year later, when the inn, the cafes and the one new restaurant were functioning, it became evident that a new sewer system had to be built to accommodate all the new facilities. The mayor reviewed several bids for the job before a construction crew from Cahors undertook the work. Trenches were dug crisscrossing the village like a spider web; pipes were laid and connected, the work progressed at a reasonable pace. One evening the mayor came over for a nightcap at Andre and Lea’s restaurant. After a glass of Armagnac the mayor started to leave when Andre suggested he join him, as he had to walk Mario before they retired.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 15

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It was a balmy moonlit evening. Mario bounded along in front of them, stopping only to lift his leg on anything upright. The mayor mentioned to Andre, “What a providential gift to the village the black Madonna proved to be.” And he became ever so effusive regarding all the changes that had come over Latouze thanks to the astonishing discovery. As they approached the church, Mario popped down into one of the trenches and began digging. Andre called him but he wouldn’t come out of the ditch. Andre looked down and saw his dog scratching away at what looked like a small stone sarcophagus. It had a stone lid on it, and Andre being curious climbed down and lifted off the cover. What he saw left him dumbfounded. The mayor seeing Andre’s expression in the lamplight, closed in for a better look. Amazement spread over his face as well, and they both looked at each other too startled to speak. Andre’s hands were clutching a black Madonna, very much like the one now in the church. Consternation. The first to speak was the mayor, “We’d have to think this over…put the cover back on and let’s take it to my office and hope we don’t come across anyone while going there.”

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With the mayor leading the way as a lookout, and Andre a little ways behind him, they made their way to the town hall unseen. The mayor turned the key to his office then unlocked a cabinet to store the statue from prying eyes. They both sat down to discuss the affair. “Just how many Madonna statues are going to turn up in this village?” “You found one in your cellar and now another surfaces in a ditch next to the church.” “Incredible!” On his behalf, Andre suggested, “We better keep this one secret, as there is a risk that people might start questioning the whole story.” The mayor raised his eyebrow on hearing that. A thought was now seeded in his mind. He wondered, Could it be possible that Andre’s Madonna is a fake, that he had it fabricated somewhere to lure visitors to the village? He had to think that over without letting on to Andre he had doubts about him. Thinking on the run, he said to Andre, “Lets sleep on this and discuss it further tomorrow, shall we?” “And not a word of this to anybody, not even to Lea, Andre.” Andre, a bit befuddled, aware that he had said something he shouldn’t have, nodded in agreement

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


16 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

and they made a date to see each other in the early morning, before he had to start preparing the food for the restaurant’s midday meal. The more the mayor thought over the discovery, the more suspicious he became over Andre’s find. Andre never mentioned a stone coffin when he found it buried in his cellar, I wonder why it never rotted during all those years in the soil? The more he thought about it the more he became convinced that Andre’s Madonna was a forgery. The question was, what to do about it? He decided not to confront Andre regarding it and to continue the deception, after all it was a blessing for the village, and, as mayor, his job was to see that the village thrived. Later that evening at his home, when there was little chance of anyone being outside, he took a pickaxe and a shovel and buried the casket with the Madonna deep in the garden of the town hall. He even took the precaution to lay back the sod that he had carefully lifted out and put to one side when he began digging the grave. When he had completed the task, he felt like an assassin that had just buried his victim. As he returned to his office he furtively glanced around to be sure there were no witnesses to his dark deed. It was so dark outdoors that night that there was little chance anyone saw anything. He then went home. Andre appeared at the town hall early the next morning, well before the staff would be arriving, and was greeted by the mayor holding out a cup of coffee to him. He followed the mayor into his office, sat down and waited for him to speak. “I took it upon myself to do something radical with that Madonna we found together. I reburied her last night in the stone coffin.” A noticeable jolt came from Andre that caused him choke on his coffee. “Cough…cough…yes, that certainly was a radical solution, Monsieur le mayor. Whatever made you take such a decision?” “The discovery of another Madonna would have caused too much uncertainty, and would have cast suspicions on both of them. The last thing we need is the church ordering another investigation that could have proved disconcerting, to say the least, and have the press nosing around asking awkward questions. All that would not be in the village’s interest.” “You were certainly right in your judgment, Monsieur le Mayor.” “Now I would like you to swear to me Andre, that you will never tell anyone about the second statue.” The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

“I swear to you that I certainly won’t, you have my word on that.” ***** Providence is not always propitious. Several years later an Italian custom agent took his wife on a holiday to France. She being a very devout Catholic, Rocamadour was high on her list of places to visit. When they saw the village clinging to the side of the cliff, they were, as all visitors are, in awe of the site. Naturally, the celebrated church of Notre Dame, with its legendary Black Madonna, believed to be carved by Saint Amadour, was their first stop. Their guide who spoke fluent Italian happened to mention the recently discovered Black Madonna in the village of Latouze, only a short distance away. Unsurprisingly, the wife wanted to go to see it, so they made plans to drive there the next day. They had no trouble finding their way to Latouze and the little church in the square. Something about the village’s name rang a bell but he couldn’t understand why. In the church they met the priest who spoke some Italian. He told them of the discovery four years before and the circumstances of the find, which they

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 17

found most interesting. They couldn’t resist having their lunch in the town’s restaurant and café where the Madonna was found. In the traditional manner of chefs, Andre came out to the courtyard to greet his customers. He went from table to table, and when he got to where the Italian couple were seated he said hello, inquired if everything was all right and then went on to another table. There was no sign of recognition from Andre. Often, people, once out of their uniform, are not recognized. After their meal, the Italian couple drove off to their next destination. All of a sudden he brought the car to a stop, he now knew where he had seen Andre before. His wife asked, “What is the matter dear, you look like you just saw a ghost.” He didn’t offer a reply and just said, “Oh it’s nothing, dear.” However, ‘its nothing dear’ isn’t always a very tolerated answer to a wife. And it wasn’t in this case. From there on the legend of the Black Virgin began to unravel. The church authorities were informed of the ruse, and they in turn informed the mayor, who feigned amazement and dismay. The church authorities confiscated the fake Black Madonna. Barren times fell upon the village; it recoiled into itself like a snail in its shell does during long dry spells. Nobody spoke about the Black Virgin and the press had long deserted the distressing episode. Andre, Lea and Mario had furtively retreated to Paris after putting their restaurant up for sale. A little after a decade later, Monsieur le Mayor decided to plant a tree in the town hall garden to commemorate winning his sixth consecutive election. And he knew just the spot to plant it. Peter B Martin From Peter’s book of short stories ‘The White Deer and Other Tales’

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18 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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Le Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte will be staging this event at 7:30pm on Saturday, 14 November in the Eglantine Room, Salle des Fêtes at Lauzerte. Entrance is free. A welcome aperitif will be served on arrival, accompanied by finger snacks throughout the evening, and more formal proceedings begin with a panel of three gardening experts drawn from the local community. For those faced with recurrent or intractable problems in their garden or potager, or just seeking general advice, why not send a brief summary of them to Fiona Forshaw, the Club President (telephone: 0563954542; email address: frenchflowerpot@ outlook.com) and come along on the night to hear how the experts would advise you to tackle them. Even if your horticultural life is all sweetness and light, why not come along anyway and see what the Club has to offer. Started 2 years ago, the Club now has over 70 members from a number of different countries and holds monthly meetings in the town’s Salle des Fêtes. Topics include talks on specific subjects (e.g. low maintenance gardens, flora of the area and shrubs for colour), practical demonstrations (seed workshops and pruning), visits to members’ gardens and tours of local gardens throughout the area, as well as quiz nights, summer barbecues and occasional lunches. And perhaps more importantly regular contact with friendly like-minded people. With all this for only 10e a year!

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 19

The Christmas Robin Why is the Robin a symbol of Christmas? The Robin Redbreast is heavily associated with Christmas. It was as early as the 1860s that this joyful little bird started to feature heavily on Christmas cards, trees, garlands and cakes. This rise in its popularity occurred when postman were issued with red tunics and became known themselves as ‘redbreasts’. At this stage the post was even delivered on Christmas Day and so the ‘redbreasts’ soon became synonymous with delivering the joy of Christmas. The Legend of the Robin in the Christmas Stable – how the Robin got its red breast. The English robin is connected with a legend of Christ’s birth. On that first Christmas, it is said, the night was wrapped in a bitter chill. The small fire in the stable was nearly out, and the Mother Mary worried that her baby would be cold. She turned to the animals about her and asked them for help. “Could you blow on the embers,” she asked the ox, “so the fire might continue to keep my son warm?” But the ox lay sound asleep on the stable floor and did not hear her. Next, Mary asked the donkey to breathe life back into the fire, but the sleeping donkey did not hear Mary either. Nor did the horse or sheep. She wondered what to do. Suddenly, Mary heard a fluttering of little wings. Looking up, she saw a plain, brown-coloured little robin fly into the stall. This robin had heard Mary calling to the animals and had come to help her himself. He went over to the dying fire and flapped his wings hard. His wings were like little bellows, huffing and puffing air onto the embers, until they glowed bright red again. He continued to fan the fire, singing all the while, until the ashes began to kindle. With his beak, the robin picked up some fresh, dry sticks and tossed them into the fire. As he did, a flame suddenly burst forth and burned the little bird’s breast a bright red. But the robin simply continued to fan the fire until it crackled brightly and warmed the entire stable. The Baby Jesus slept happily. Mary thanked and praised the robin for all he had done. She looked tenderly at his red breast, burned by the flame, and said “From now on, let your red breast

be a blessed reminder of your noble deed.” And to this day, the robin’s red breast covers his humble heart. (From “A Christmas Stocking” by Louise Betts Egan.) Did you know? • Robin skins were a popular accessories for ladies’ hats at the end of the Victorian period. • The robin is a member of the thrush family, so related to the blackbird and nightingale. • Both male and female are territorial during winter and both sing the same winter song. • The robin was declared Britain’s National Bird on December 15th, 1960. • Robins sing at night, usually under artificial lights. They’re often mistaken for nightingales. • Each robin has its own unique breast pattern. • Robins are omnivorous, eating everything from fruit to spiders. • Robins defend their territories from other robins, sometimes fighting to the death. • Robins don’t enter nest boxes with round holes preferring open-fronted boxes.

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The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


20 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 21

Sustaining the world around us –

how do we do our part?

W

e’ve all had years to realise that recycling is essential for the future, including hopefully our own sense of well-being. Over the last 20 years the ‘world of recycling’ has massively evolved and at times caused confusion. Just how much do we understand and how can we make sure we are doing our very best? For people that have moved here to France there is the need to understand new rules and instructions and this can be overwhelming. Here in the office, when we started to look at this subject, we realised just how extensive it was, and how many things we were already confused about. So we’ll be breaking the subject down and trying to cover a good deal of it over the next few issues. We’d welcome your comments, questions and ideas as we try to unravel – the great recycling questions. In this edition we’re looking at a couple of initiatives that combine the recycling/upcycling of unwanted items encouraging sustainable living and finding a way of helping those in need of work, training and the supply of affordable goods. No great technology required, just human endeavour and good will. In Lafrançaise there is a shop run by IDDEES (Insertion par le Développement Durable, l’Environnement et l’Economie Solidaire); a recycling shop which has grown substantially and provides a second-chance for many of the products it handles and also the eight people it employs. Creating genuine work-experience for people who’ve been unemployed for some time and who’ve a desire to be working and part of something important again. Situated next to the recycling centre/tip they rely on people bringing them goods directly (they do not collect from the tip). However, the staff at the tip will suggest to people that in some cases items would be better donated to IDDEES instead of being tipped. It is also possible for IDDEES to come up to 20km from Lafrançaise or Caussade to collect larger items that people no longer need. All donated goods are sorted and anything that can be re-used or repaired is kept for the shop/ workshop. Clothes that are not fit for re-sale are Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


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more the organisation in ‘SIEEOM’ (www.sieeom. sudquercy.fr) will offer 2 hens to each family, living in their region, who buys a hen-house from the IDDEES shop. Recognising the benefits of one of nature’s best recyclers – the family chicken (who can each eat 50kg of waste a year). So in Lafrançaise – other peoples’ waste is providing employment and training and offering a source of low-cost house-hold items and clothing to benefit everyone. RECYCLERIE IDDEES – ZA Rival 82130 LAFRANCAISE Tél. : 05.63.26.10.81 Open: Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat from 9am to 12noon and 1.30pm to 5.15pm given to the nearby Le Relais depot (whose bins you may have seen in local carparks) who amongst other things use waste clothing to produce insulation. Electrical equipment that is beyond repair goes to specialist recyclers. Some of the staff are trained to repair electrical equipment so where possible they give a second life (under supervision) to items which are then sold in the shop, with a one-year warranty. Inside (and outside) the shop you can find garden equipment either second-hand or upcycled, there are lovely wooden planters, tables, tools and bikes. Inside there is a huge selection of clothing, furniture and kitchen items – everything you might need to equip a house. In the carpentry workshop they’re able to create tables, chairs, garden furniture, bars, shelving, mail boxes, bird houses and many other useful things out of other people’s unwanted items. One of the first and most successful projects has been the construction of hen-houses from old doors, shutters and pallets etc., the team creates individual designs and can even work to your own specification. What’s

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

Our second example of a social enterprise attempting to slow (a tall order we know) society’s increasing need to consume is the ESPACE DE GRATUITE de LAUZERTE (82110); where you can deposit what you don’t need and others can take what they need without any money changing hands. So things that could have ended up as rubbish are given a new life by someone with a need. This shop was begun by the association RAINETTE DES PRES and opened in March 2014 and stocks, baby, children and adult clothes as well as books, toys, electrical items and all sorts of household items. This year the shop has benefitted from donations of over-produced fruit and vegetables and so they may consider developing a workshop for the processing of any excess local food. The idea behind the association is to curb excessive consumption. They believe that our planet provides enough for everyone if we are prepared to share; and that we don’t need to keep manufacturing to overwhelm the planet with waste and pollution. Whilst it’s not unique, this approach is still relatively new and we’d love to hear of similar ideas elsewhere in the region. The team behind this venture have expanded their activities to include the acquisition of mobile dry toilets which can be seen at some regular local events. Then there is the community composting programme. Composting is a subject that we will return to in the March edition of this magazine. Espace de Gratuite de Lauzerte, 22, rue de la Garrigue (nearly opposite to the Médiathèque) Open: Saturday from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm. Do call if you need to deliver goods outside this time. 05.63.29.19.13 / 05.63.39.51.80 / 05.63.04.38.29.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 23

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These two examples demonstrate who a desire for solidarity, responsibility and respect for others and the environment can offer hope and maybe encourage others to do the same, even in a small way. We will be returning to different aspects of recycling next year – in the meantime we are reproducing the most common symbols that you will find on packaging. The Triman symbol – this new symbol was introduced in France in January 2015. It’s an attempt to make things clearer for consumers. It means that the goods are recyclable and should be recycled. The Möbius symbol – tells us that the product or packaging is recyclable if proper facilities exist and correct disposal takes place. Sometimes there is a % figure in the middle of the symbol, this represents the amount of recycled content that is already in the item. The Green Spot symbol – does not mean the produce is recyclable. It means that the manufacturer of the product contributes to the cost of recovery and recycling. It’s the confusion caused by this symbol that’s led to the development of the Triman symbol. Valérie Rousseau Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 25

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The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


26 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

SEPTEMBER COMEDIES The new season for La Troupe d’Acteurs du Quercy The date unfortunately had to be changed at the last minute as a result of a double booking at the Salle des Fetes. A Thursday night was a new venture for us and was very well attended. The three plays were great fun and had very varied themes, the audiences enjoyed two evenings of great entertainment. OVER MY DEAD BODY by Pat Baker a spoof “whodunit” directed by Tom Hurst The cast played a 1930’s country house group, with all the usual suspects; the denouement had practically everyone in the frame for the murder. It was a great opportunity for new members to tread the boards for the first time and the company presented a good ensemble piece. The audience probably guessed the answer long before the play was over. It would have been quite difficult to get it wrong! The second play was THE PROPOSAL by Anton Chekov a short farce, set in Russia. The older neighbour comes to propose to his friend’s daughter. They immediately fall out and have a shouting match about ownership of land. The poor neighbour is so upset he is taken ill, then apparently dies. Poor father of the bride is beset by his daughter who on being told the purpose of the neighbour’s visit was to propose lays the blame at her father’s door. However the prospective groom is not dead, and recovers, in order to fall out with her – yet again – over the quality of each other’s dogs. Father finally intervenes with champagne and agreement on his daughter’s behalf – and to rising argument the curtain falls. The action was fast and furious The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

with a lot of physicality, the cast gave it their all and it was a great success.

The final offering was LITTLE GRIMLEY PRESENTS STRICTLY SEX FACTOR (ON ICE) by David Tristram and Directed by Sue Buck. The story of a failing am-dram group and their hilarious interaction as they try to compete with Saturday night TV (hence the title). Having been savaged by the critic in the local paper, they decide to have an X factor style evening, the hastily cobbled together show turns into a disaster as poor “Joyce” the dim-witted secretary of the group is nominated to be the first singing dancing act on roller skates, predictably, everything goes wrong, even though she is wedged in place with two house bricks. Joyce ends up inadvertently causing an accident (whilst rolling downhill out of control) to the vicious critic, whose car wipes out a butcher’s shop window. The quick witted repartee was portrayed to good effect and much laughter throughout and it was a sequel to the play of about the same am-dram group that was done last year. There are more of them so watch this space – next year may see a follow on. Our next Production will be the Bilingual Pantomime “Puss in Boots” 29th & 30th of January. Curtain up – Saturday Matinee 2.30pm; Evening performances 7.30pm Tickets available from Box Office: latroupeboxoffice@gmail.com or 05 53 49 19 51 www.la-troupe.org

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 27

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The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


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Sarah Edwards, Head of Recruitment. Email: recruitmentinfos@leggett.fr

www.leggettfrance.com Head Office: La Maison du Chapitre Route de Riberac 24340 La Rochebeaucourt France


LEGGETT

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST

Are you buying or selling a property? Leggett Immobilier was voted ‘Best Estate Agency in France’ third year running. We have over 25 years experience, with more than 13,000 properties for sale and a dedicated team of support staff ensuring clients receive the best possible service. Our professional, trained and multi-lingual agents are all living and working in the region. Please contact us on

0800 or900 324 email

lot@leggett.fr www.leggettfrance.com

Tel: 0033(0)5 53 56 84 88 Head Office: La Maison du Chapitre Route de Riberac 24340 La Rochebeaucourt France


G M Construction A skilled and loyal workforce of British & French tradesmen

All aspects of building projects both new and renovation, including project management, swimming pools & ground-works If you are looking for a British/French speaking builder operating in 46, 47, 82 & 24 Contact Greg:

06 37 67 49 89 / 06 76 92 28 68 ggmconstructionfr@hotmail.com www.englishbuilderinfrance.com Siret No:- 50741519800013


christmas

THE QUERCY LOCAL • 33

AT

Nestled in the heart of the Cahors vineyards you’ll find Le Caillau, a family run Restaurant, Café and Pottery Painting Atelier. In 2011, Caroline and Chas Sharp opened the doors of Le Caillau, a renovated 300 year old winery. Our aim is simple – to produce great quality, simple and tasty food. In our restaurant kitchen our small team creates dishes based on what we grow in our garden and seasonal produce, (with some more exotic ingredients thrown in for variety and a different flavour from traditional Quercy cuisine). Our Café and Pottery Painting Atelier is perfect for an afternoon getaway, whether you’re after a coffee and slice of homemade cake (lemon drizzle and coffee and walnut are some of our customers favourites), or you’re feeling artistic and decide to get creative by painting some pottery – we’re open every daytime except Tuesday.

Restaurant Winter menu Game terrine, fresh handmade tortellini with garden beetroot and local goats cheese, crab cakes, roast guinea fowl with bubble and squeak mash, chocolate and cardamom fondant with espresso ice cream are all on this winter’s menu. Everything on our menu is ‘fait maison’ and as much as possible contains our own freshly grown produce from our kitchen garden. This winter you’ll find golden and red beetroot, green and purple kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, leeks as well as winter salad leaves and a huge variety of chillies. In the restaurant we also have a selection of tasty chutneys for sale, all made from our garden fruit and vegetables.

Christmas Festivities This Christmas we’ll be hosting some special Christmas meals as well as serving mulled wine and mince pies every day in the Café. For full details please see our website www.lecaillau.com.

Café & Pottery Painting This December come in from the cold and snuggle up with a hot drink and slice of homemade cake, or mulled wine and a mince pie in our Café. Le Caillau is the perfect warm and cosy place to meet up with friends. And, if you’re feeling creative, we’ve a selection of pottery to paint in our Atelier that would make a lovely unique gift or something for your home, including plates, bowls, mugs, teapots, hanging ornaments, money boxes, small and large jugs and platters. Anyone can have a go. It’s not messy and the paints are easy to use. Once you’ve finished you’ll need to leave your pottery with us for about 4 days for it to be glazed and fired to 1000 degrees before it’s ready for collection.

Opening Hours Autumn Hours: until Sunday 1st November inclusive. Winter Hours: from 2nd December to early January 2016 (closed November for winter break). Restaurant: Lunch every day except Tuesday, Dinner Wednesday – Saturday inclusive Café Atelier: Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat: 10am - 5pm, Sunday: 12pm - 4pm, Tuesday: Closed Le Caillau, 46700 Vire sur Lot. Telephone: 05 65 23 78 04 www.lecaillau.com facebook.com/lecaillau New on the menu: Beetroot & Goats Cheese Tortellini


34 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

recipes from

Chocolate, Chestnut & Pistachio Cake Serves 14 - 16 If you’re not too keen on fruity style Christmas cake this makes a lovely alternative. This recipe would be great for a party or large family gathering. It can also be halved (using just one cake, cut into two layers) to make a smaller version serving about eight people. Cake: 6 eggs 390g self-raising flower 390g light brown sugar 390g butter (room temperature) 1 tsp baking powder 175g finely chopped dark chocolate 150g chopped chestnuts

game terrine With Le Caillau garden fruit & chilli chutney 600g mixed game meat (venison, hare/rabbit, wild boar, pigeon) 150g pork fat (gorge de porc) 1 clove garlic 1 tbsp cornflour 25ml olive oil Small handful of parsley and thyme Good pinch of salt and pepper 1 egg 180g cooked chestnuts Method: Place half of the mixed meat and the pork fat in a food processor along with the garlic clove, cornflour, olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper. Blitz to a coarse consistency. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the egg. Chop the rest of the game into chunks and add to the mixture along with the chestnuts. Give everything a good mix until well incorporated. Line a terrine dish or loaf tin with baking parchment then press in your mix until packed down. Put the lid on or cover with foil and place into a roasting tin, with water half way up the terrine dish. Put this into the oven at 160°C for approximately 2 hours until the centre of the terrine has reached 75°C. When cooled put some weights on top to press the terrine down and chill in the fridge overnight. Serve with rustic bread and a fruity chutney. Our garden fruit and chilli chutney goes perfectly with this dish and is available to buy at Le Caillau. The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

Filling: 500g mascarpone 250ml double cream 50g icing sugar 100ml Marsala 125g finely chopped dark chocolate 75g shelled pistachios chopped

To make the sponge: • Preheat the oven to 160°C • Grease and line 2 x 23cm round spring form cake tins • Whisk the eggs, sugar and butter in a freestanding mixer (or bowl with hand whisk) then sift in the flour and baking powder • Mix until you have a smooth batter • Fold in the chestnuts and chocolate then equally divide the batter between the two cake tins • Bake for 40-50 minutes • Test by piercing with a skewer that should come out clean • Remove from the oven and leave to cool on cooling racks For the filling: • Whisk the double cream until it starts to thicken (do not over whisk) • Add the mascarpone and icing sugar and continue to whisk until mixture is smooth and holds its shape • Add the Marsala and whisk until incorporated • Fold in the finely chopped chocolate and pistachios, saving some to sprinkle on the top. To assemble the cake: • Cut each of the cooled cakes into two layers and place one of the bottom halves on a cake stand • Use a quarter of the mascarpone cream filling and spread it evenly • Put the top half of the cake on and continue sandwiching with the filling until you have four layers of cake, filling, cake, filling etc • On the top, either use the final quarter of filling, or if you want to create a ‘naked cake’ just use half and spread the other half round the sides of the cake. Then using a pallet knife scrape off as much as you can round the sides so the naked sponge shows through • Decorate the top with the remaining chocolate and pistachios, and any wintery flowers for an extra special look.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 35

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


36 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Winter Interest in the Garden

Galanthus – Snowdrops

J

ust because the weather grows dull in the winter doesn’t mean your garden has to. While spring and summer give us an abundance of floral displays and beautiful fragrances, autumn and winter gardens can also provide us with a wealth of colour and scents. Whether it’s the bright berries and colourful stems of shrubs, the lush foliage of evergreens, or the cheery sight of winter flowering shrubs and perennials, a little thoughtful planting can keep your garden interesting all year round. Here is just a small selection of the multitude of beautiful plants you can choose from.

April. These hardy plants, which grow in either full sun or part shade, are a really safe bet in the widely alternating temperatures of this region, as they tolerate extreme temperature ranges of −37 °C to 46 °C. Hellebore

PERENNIALS

Bergenia

Bergenia (commonly called elephant’s ears, because of the shape of the leaves) have pink, red, purple or white flowers, with a long flowering period, from January to

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

Hellebore (Christmas rose) comes in a wide range of colours, such as white, pink, apricot, red and purple, and is a great choice for long-lasting colour, as it flowers

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 37

BEAUTIFUL CHALK BASED PAINT

Beautiful chalk based paint, 140 stunning colours, paint for every project, easy to use. Ideal for painting furniture and so much more. Workshop courses now running in Lauzerte. For more details about the range please call: Resa on 06 40 05 85 00 | resa@chalk-paints.com | www.chalk-paints.com

ISABEL & DIDIER WEBER Saturday 10h30 /12h30 et de 15h /18h30 Sunday morning 10h30 /13h Et sur rendez vous. 22 bd des thermes - 82 140 Saint Antonin Noble Val Tel: 06 83 15 33 59 histoiresetjardins.com

from December to March, thriving in partial to full shade. It’s longevity of bloom is because, rather than a corolla of petals, it has a calyx of sepals. The sepals, which are actually modified leaves, do not fall as quickly as the more delicate petals would, but remain on the plant, often for many months. Sedums

Colchicum Autumnale

Sedums (stonecrops) are hardy succulents, which come in both upright and prostrate varieties, with white, pink, yellow or red flowers and interesting foliage. They require very little water so cope extremely well with the dry summers over here, and, as long as they have good drainage, will also cope well with the winter.

BULBS Colchicum Autumnale (autumn crocus or naked lady), is an autumn blooming crocus, great for adding splashes of yellow and purple colour once summer flowers have faded. The “naked lady” common name

stems from its unusual growth cycle, as the flowers emerge from the ground, foliage-free, and the leaves appear separately, in the spring, and die back in the summer. Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite) provide carpets of bright yellow buttercup-like flowers in late winter. Their flowering time of January to February means they are one of the earliest flowers in the garden. Because they originate from damp woodlands they are great for naturalising under deciduous shrubs and trees. Galanthus (snowdrops) are another winter flowering bulb. They flower before the vernal equinox in March,

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


38 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Elaeagnus

silvery white flowers, between October and January. It can be used as either a specimen plant or as hedging.

Eranthis Hyemalis

Mahonia

their delicate white flowers appearing in January to February, heralding the oncoming of spring.

SHRUBS

Cornus Alba

Cornus – Cornus Alba (dogwood) is useful for its autumn and winter stem colour. Of all Cornus varieties, alba has the brightest stem and it glows a brilliant red in the winter sun. The vibrant colour is augmented and maintained by stooling (hard pruning, down to the ground) in late March/early April.

Elaeagnus is a shrub or tree which is often grown for its ornamental foliage, either silver or variegated, depending on the variety. It also benefits from fragrant, The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

Mahonia is a hardy evergreen shrub that is easy to situate as it grows in sun, partial shade and shade. It has a long flowering time, lasting through both autumn and winter, producing racemes of yellow flowers in November – March. It is fragrant, the racemes can be used for cut flowers, and after flowering it produces blue-black berries.

John and Debbie (Le Jardin des Espiemonts) lejardindesespiemonts@gmail.com, 05 63 64 68 76, www.lejardindesespiemonts.fr

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SARL TOUBELMONT Your local professional contact with Environmental Warranties (Qualisol, Qualipac, Qualibois) A WELL-KNOWN LOCAL FIRM WITH A GREAT REPUTATION

SWIMMING POOLS Since 2004 TOUBELMONT has specialised in the quality design, construction and landscaping of swimming pools, spa and saunas. Supplying and fitting pool-liners, water-treatment equipment, automatic pool covers and heating solutions. We are happy to guide you to help you achieve your project, provide maintenance and an after-sales service. We offer you a professional, quality service with a ten-year guarantee. For more information or to make an appointment please contact us.

LANDSCAPING The creation and maintenance of landscaped areas. Including grass-cutting, turf laying (either real or synthetic).

BUILDING Restoration of stone buildings, including re-jointing. Drainage both new and renewal. Electrical and plumbing work either new or renewal. Heating: including renewable energy (Red Label), boilers, fuel, gas, wood, granules, heat pumps, air conditioning and solar.

Laveroque 82150 BELVEZE TĂŠl. 05 63 94 30 51- Port. 06 70 72 37 75 toubelmont.sarl@orange.fr www.sarl-toubelmont.fr


40 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

INTRIGUED BY THE HISTORY AROUND YOU? Then you need to meet Sandy!

by A Atkinson

M

ost of us are drawn to this region by its wealth of history. But how many of us have really worked out the full history of what surrounds us? In September I had the chance to meet Sandy Communal-Perier who has a huge knowledge of the region – it’s her passion and even her day-job as a Guide Conferencier Indépendant. We met in the lovely old village of Beauville and I was able to ask Sandy a little about how she is spreading the word about local history. So Sandy what is it that you do? For the last 12 years I’ve worked as a professional guide in places like Carcassonne and Moissac. Then a couple of years ago I decided to work for myself to help bring the local heritage (including the built, religious, culinary, landscape and natural) to life. As I live near St Maurin I’m right in the middle of centuries of ‘history’! How could it not inspire me to discover more for myself and explain more to others? So I now offer a great range of guided tours in French or English to either parties of individuals or groups. What inspires you? This region is full of historical clues to its past, it’s been occupied by people since prehistoric times and lots of evidence of the passing centuries can still be seen. This is especially evident when you get glimpses of the middle-ages with, amongst other things, the many half-timbered houses still lining ancient streets. Closer inspection of many of these treasures can reveal secrets of earlier worlds and different ways of living.

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 41

Do you arrange themed tours? Yes, sometimes I arrange tours around subjects such as ‘Food in the middle ages’ or the ‘Evolution of landscapes’. Often working with the specific interests of groups.

I’m intrigued by the fact that what you see in any town, village or from any view point is a result of centuries of building, developing and changing cultures. My aim is to peel back the layers and expose the past. Many people regularly walk past things that they did not understand or perhaps notice. It’s a great joy to bring all the regional treasures to life. Where have the most popular tours been this year? The Abbey in St Maurin remains popular, there is so much to learn about this ancient and impressive religious site. Then there’s the medieval centres of Beauville and Lauzerte along with the ancient bastides of Puymirol, Vianne, Castelsagrat and Montjoi. On a slightly larger scale the historical centers of Agen and Nérac are always of interest.

What is your aim when explaining regional history to people? My goal is to help people learn things without them even realising they’re doing it! You can find out more about Sandy’s tours on www.jevisiteavecsandy.com. To make contact or book a tour email; perier.sandy@gmail.com or by phone 06 19 13 66 53. We are delighted that next year Sandy will be preparing some articles for this magazine imparting some of her knowledge of the region.

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


42 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

‘NO’isNO not a four-letter word NONO

I

the subject. Saying ‘yes’ is not always being helpful, especially if you already have too many things to do. And creating conflict and enmity has more to do with your diplomatic skills than with your actual lack of cooperation; in the immortal (cover version) words of The Fun Boy Three with Bananarama “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it” After all, your life is full of activities and commitments, just like everyone else’s and by saying ‘no’ you are assertively respecting and defending your time. If you can’t defend your own time then you will slowly end up ceding it all to others (beloved and notso-beloved) and from that moment you can kiss your work-life balance goodbye.

t seems that the word ‘no’ has got a bad name for itself. It’s a negative and in a world where positivity reigns supreme, ‘no’ can be seen as being somewhat undesirable; a bit taboo and unfriendly. Telesales people thrive on the fact that for many people ‘no’ is a four letter word and how many of us can deny the plea to “give just ten cents and save the life of a child” and not feel like some sort of social leper afterwards? Someone is always out to take your hard gotten gains and when it’s not some private company, it’s your friends, family and workmates trying to take your time (time is money after all, isn’t it?). If you want to keep your time and bank account in balance then sooner or later you are going to have to say ‘no’ but sometimes it can seem much harder than it should. Your conscience can invent an unlimited number of reasons as to why you should feel bad saying ‘no’ to someone. But most of them come from the primordial value of not wanting to be socially rejected. If we are judged to be unfriendly, unhelpful or uncooperative then we also run the risk of becoming unappreciated, unwanted and unprotected by our ‘tribe’ and that wouldn’t be fair because deep down you are a kind and caring helpful sort of individual who loves children and kittens (albeit from a safe distance). You want to be seen as reliable and trustworthy. You want to be seen as capable and as someone of their word. And saying to someone ‘no’ is tantamount to telling them to ‘bugger off’ which is a bad thing, right? The good news is that saying the ‘N’ word does not necessarily make you a social misfit nor create conflict regardless of what your guilty conscience has to say on

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

5 WAYS TO SAY ‘NO’ 1: I’d love to help you but… This is the simplest method. First, you carefully listen to what it is the other person is asking of you (nobody likes to receive a ‘no’ before being listened to). Second, show interest and, if appropriate, moral support. Once you have paid attention and validated their project then you can say that unfortunately you can’t help. Don’t get forced into giving a reason with too much detail. This can sometimes lead to arguments about whether your reason is genuine. “I’m afraid I have another commitment” or “Things are a little complicated at the moment” should be enough and if challenged you can say “I’d prefer not to discuss it”. After all, your life is yours and you aren’t obliged to justify it to anyone. 2: Let me consult my partner/diary/babysitter etc… but I can’t promise anything Some people are a little more persistent and refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer (I’m sure you know someone like that). So the second method is to postpone the ‘no’ by explaining that you don’t have all the information to decide right now (your boss uses this tactic every time you ask for a pay rise). The important thing here is to clearly state that the chances of accepting their request is very low. If you leave them with the idea that a ‘yes’ is ‘possible’ then they will mentally convert the ‘possible’ into a ‘probable’ and resent your ‘no’ all the more when you finally give it, feeling that you have betrayed them.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 43

3: It’s not a good moment right now but ask me again next week/month/year etc. This method gives a ‘no’ cushioned with a possible future ‘yes’. But only use it if that’s the truth. I was heavily pressured into joining the parents-teachers association of my children’s school and although I would genuinely have liked to help, at that moment I couldn’t commit and wouldn’t have been doing anyone any favours by cramming in more commitments. In a few years time when the kids aren’t so demanding I’ll have more time. 4: I’m not the best person to ask. Why don’t you ask Pat? This method is to divert the attention of the asker towards someone else. This way even though you are saying ‘no’ you are still helping by suggesting a solution. Again for you to maintain the ethical high ground it is important that the person you are suggesting is genuinely a better candidate and that they are more likely to help. It’s not good to suggest someone you know already has their hands full.

Quercy Counselling Quercy counselling offers English-speaking counselling and psychological services on all manner of issues. It’s based in Belveze and offers services face-to-face, via telephone and Skype. For more information please see the website:

quercycounselling.blogspot.com.

Or contact Elizabeth Cross on +33(0)788279014 or quercycounselling@gmail.com

5: Just a moment, please This last method I reserve for those phone calls you get from those poor souls who work for the telesales companies cold-calling you at the most inconvenient moments. Instead of wasting time and energy talking to them (especially as they are trained in the art of cold calling and some can be very persuasive) I use this simple tactic; I say “Just a moment, please” and leave the phone on the shelf. Half an hour later when you’ve finished whatever it is that they had interrupted and pick up the phone again you usually find that they have decided not to bother you after all, and you hadn’t even mentioned the word ‘no’! To summarise: Sometimes it’s difficult for us to assertively say no to requests which would otherwise occupy your valuable time for fear of offending someone. Fortunately there are simple methods of dealing with such requests which sometimes we forget due to our frantic lifestyles. Once you start to employ them you should rediscover how easy it is and, if done in the right way, won’t cause you to be crossed off of anyone’s social list. This way you’ll have more time for yourself, less stress and a better quality of life. Ian Gibbs Personal coach and writer Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


44 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Régis CASSÉ

Traditional Stonework ~ New and Restoration 82190 Fauroux ~ 06 40 20 68 94 ~ English spoken ~ angeregis@hotmail.fr

Musique Lot Sing and Meet people in the Quercy – Périgord

T

he Quercy hills are alive with the sound of music! Anke Debruyn, a singing and piano teacher (and Choir Master) from the Netherlands, aims to get the most out of singers on every level and offers singing activities that are fun and help people sing freely. This allows people to meet and enjoy making music together whilst getting to know each other. Especially for Anglophones (approximately every two months) there’s the Singalong Samedi; for people who like to sing their hearts out. On these Saturdays the group sing songs from the 60s and 70s and generally have a fun afternoon together. Then there’s the Chorale de Cazals, a choir that rehearses every Monday evening in the bastide town of Cazals. There are about 45 singers, all different nationalities and with different backgrounds. The aim of the choir is to include anyone that can hold a tune! Anke creates musical arrangements (mostly in two-parts) for the choir to avoid the need for battling through difficult sheet music and helping to create a happy atmosphere. However, for those who like a challenge, Anke leads the vocal group ‘Gaia’, consisting of fourteen women who sing 3 and 4 part songs. This group rehearses on Saturday afternoons. Here is where to find out more: www.musiquelot.net lachoraledecazals.blogspot.fr ensemblevocalgaia.blogspot.fr

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 45

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


46 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

By Lisa Stanton from – 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 www.domaine-des-sangliers.com or find us on Facebook.

Perfect Partners Celebrations

Christmas is coming! Closely followed by New Year Celebrations, and for the romantic among us, the New Year will soon bring us Valentine’s Day. Celebrations are times when we nourish ourselves spiritually and emotionally, spending time with our loved ones, families and friends. We entertain ourselves with a wide variety of activities, and part of this pleasure includes physical nourishment! In many households, food and wine have as important a role to play in the festivities as the presents. For many it is an excellent reason to open those special bottles that we have been saving for just the right moment; Champagne and a wellaged, good quality red wine spring instantly to mind.

Preparation

To prepare our celebrations, we will carefully select recipes, be discerning in our choice of ingredients, lay an artist’s table and light candles. Pairing flavours is another aspect of enhancing this multiple senses experience. Think chocolate and orange, tomato & basil, olive oil & balsamic vinegar, all fabulous apart, yet divine together. The right wine and food pairing will also bring out the flavours of both elements to their fullest and can be a sublime experience.

French Flair For Flavours

The French as a nation are exceptionally good with flavours. They understand the simple daily pleasure of good food and wine, and the more complex preparation and cooking skills involved to bring us a perfect dinner party experience. They are very noticeably the predominant nationality to ask me which foods they should pair with my wines.

Break the Rules

Many people, quite rightly, just eat what they fancy, and drink what they fancy, but there is no question that a great food/wine pairing can enhance the whole experience, and is worth a little of our time in trial and error experimentation. Don’t be afraid of the rules, it’s worth remembering, that rules are made to be broken! The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

For example, the old adage that chicken should be served with white wine – sometimes true, but not always. A coq au vin made with half a bottle of red, would certainly be better served with a red wine. Pork served in a buttery light sauce would be better with a white. The meat/wine rule is a little misleading; it is more important to follow the main flavour of the dish, than stick rigidly to the meat variety, often the dominant aspect of the meal will come from the sauce that the dish is served with, or perhaps the marinade used in preparation.

Helpful Hints

There are a few basic rules to help your choices: Acid needs acid. So, chicken or fish with lemon would better suit an acidic wine; not necessarily a white, it could be a more acidic, light, fruity red. Fat needs Tannin. Fatty foods go very well with tannins, achieving balance. A paté or terrine (be it game or aubergine) will be enhanced by a full-bodied tannic red. Heat needs Sweet! Hot foods generally aren’t recommended with tannic wines, instead a sweeter wine will bring balance to the palate. Although as a chilli addict, I break this rule regularly – I love the heat enhancing effect of a heavy red with a great chilli! Sweetness needs Sweetness. If you are serving a sweet dish, on the whole it is well matched with more sweetness,

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 47

red or white (but try a good port with a rich chocolate cake – delicious!).

Malbec Ideas

Malbec, the grape variety of Cahors, with its big, dark, rich fruit flavours, complex tannins, peppery and mineral notes is a perfect companion to other big flavours: roasted meats, casseroles, mushrooms, cheeses, aubergines and spicy sauces. Malbec is a versatile wine, with enough structure to compliment a wide variety of foods. I hope you are inspired to try some new flavour combinations with your favourite food and wines. Bon fête everyone! 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. Disabled access. Always drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation; pregnant women are advised not to consume alcohol; don’t drink and drive.

Administration & Business Management Could your business run more efficiently with the help of an independent assistant handling your paperwork and your French and English customers? No contract – just working when you need help. Leaving you free to concentrate on your business. Please call me or take a look at my website.

Valérie ROUSSEAU O6 70 64 54 97

vgr.secretariat@gmail.com vgr-secretariat.com

Bi-­‐lingual architectural  practice   Planning,  design,  project  management   Full  architectural  services     Sean  Rawnsley  RIBA,  AA  dipl.   www.architectesud.fr  -­‐  info@architectesud.fr   Tél  :  05  82  81  10  21  -­‐  82330  Verfeil-­‐sur-­‐Seye     Membre  de  l’Ordre  des  Architectes  

Domaine des Sangliers – Les Sarrades – 46700 – Puy-l’Evêque Kim-Louis & Lisa Stanton – 06 04 03 34 12 info@domaine-des-sangliers.com www.organicfrenchblackwine.com

PENSION ‘Bonnes Vacances’

Peaceful Cattery 5 spacious heated pens No dogs boarded TLC ensures ‘happy cats’ Per night: 1 cat 8e, 2 cats 10e, 3 cats 12e or 4 cats 14e

Sand, Gravel and Crushed Limestone – available from 3 sites (St Denis Catus, Cahors & Crayssac).

We deliver.

Lavolvene, Belveze 82150

Also, Building Materials, Pipe Laying and Skip Hire

jan.lemmy@wanadoo.fr

05 65 22 79 95

Please call me for more info or to arrange a visit 05 63 94 38 47 06 43 53 04 52 (mb)

English Spoken

www.sable-quartz-mangieu.com

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


48 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

NEW EU SUCCESSION LAW UK nationals living in France or owning property here need to be aware of the significant difference between the UK and French succession (inheritance) laws. In the UK, you are generally free to leave your assets to whomever you wish when you die (Scotland and Northern Ireland law does have some restrictions), as stated in your will. French law, however, imposes significant restrictions. The key issues are: • Under French law assets do not automatically pass in accordance with your will (unless your will happens to match French succession law, which for most British residents in France is unlikely). • Children are protected heirs, inheriting up to 75% of the deceased parent’s estate. • In the absence of a will, the surviving spouse is only entitled to 25% of the nue propriété, or 100% in usufruit, of the deceased’s assets. Spouses are not protected heirs. • There are ways of circumventing these laws, but care must be taken to ensure that these have the effect you are looking for. The term “children” includes children from earlier marriages and adopted children. Age is not relevant – they could be 8 or 80! This succession law applies to your worldwide assets if you are French domiciled (ie permanently French resident). It always applies to French real estate, even if you are not resident here.French law itself is not changing, but a new EU directive from 17th August 2015 allows expatriates living in the EU to elect for the succession law of their country of residence to apply on their death, as opposed to that of their country of residence. Nowadays many people own estates in more than one country, which can trigger the application of multiple inheritance laws and create conflicts of law. The new European Succession Regulation, or “Brussels IV” as it is commonly called, was devised to address this issue and lower the costs on and simplify cross border succession issues. Its main mission is to ensure the court of a single jurisdiction will apply a single law to an individual’s entire estate. The aim is to provide clarity and reduce the opportunity for conflict. The three main pillars of the regulation are: • The default position and most important criterion is that the law of the state in which the deceased was “habitually resident” at the time of death applies to

succession of assets located across the Brussels IV zone. • However, an individual can elect to apply the law of their nationality to all their assets across the zone. This selection must be made before death, through a statement in their will or a similar document. • The default position may also be overturned if there is a jurisdiction to which the deceased was “manifestly” more closely connected. It is important to note that Brussels IV does not apply to succession/inheritance taxes. The situation remains as before – where an individual has assets in more than one country the double tax treaty or national tax rules will determine where and how succession tax is paid. Therefore, if you are resident in France at the date of your death or if have assets in France, the French succession tax rules continue to apply. You cannot choose UK inheritance tax instead. So, UK nationals living in France can now elect for UK succession law to apply on their death, thereby avoiding French succession law. But is this the right choice for you? It may well not be. For a start, the UK, along with Ireland and Denmark, has opted out of the new regulation, and so are not Brussels IV states. The effect of this is not entirely clear yet. Secondly, even though the law does not cover tax as such, there are tax issues to be aware of. The French succession tax rates are high for distant and non-relatives, up to 60%, with negligible allowances. Even closer relatives like brothers and sisters only get €15,932 tax free and then pay tax at 35% or 45%, depending on the amount of inheritance. Also, because of the wording of the UK/France double tax treaty, it is possible that if you opt for UK law to apply, your estate may be liable to the UK inheritance tax rules, as well as French succession tax. This could have significant consequences. Brussels IV may therefore not be the panacea for estate planning in France. Although it was designed to simplify matters, it also changes the succession landscape. You need to understand all the implications for you and your heirs. There are tools available to help with estate planning in France, but you have to ensure that the arrangements you use achieve the results you are looking for. It is important to seek specialist, personalised advice, to review your existing plans and help you establish which law would work best for you.

Peter Wakelin, Regional Manager of Blevins Franks France part of the Blevins Franks Group the leading international tax and wealth management advisers to UK nationals living in Europe, with decades of experience advising British expatriates moving to and living in France. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51 ~ bordeaux@blevinsfranks.fr ~ www.blevinsfranks.com Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice. The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 49

“How does the new EU succession regulation affect me? Do I need to do anything?” Talk to the people who know.

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Under ‘Brussels IV’ British expatriates can now avoid the restrictive French succession law - you will need to elect for UK law to apply. However you have to be careful as some heirs could end up paying considerable succession tax. Contact the specialists at Blevins Franks for advice on lowering your tax liability and reviewing your estate planning.

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Blevins Franks Group is represented in France by the following companies: Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) and Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF). BFFM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided overseas, via the Insurance Mediation Directive from Malta, the regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, register number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissement Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on www.orias.fr). BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465.

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


50 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation (please see our website for full contact information)

Remembrance Sunday – November 8th at Terre Rouge at 10am At Terre Rouge we always have a traditional Remembrance Sunday service with the 2 minutes silence and the last post. For all enquiries and more information please visit our website on www.churchinmidipa.com Advent and Christmas Advent Sunday, which falls on 29th November this year, marks the beginning of the Church Year. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Anglican Church here will be holding four Carol Services before Christmas – throughout the area of Cahors, north, east and west – hopefully somewhere for everyone to celebrate the joy of Christmas. There is also an Ecumenical Service where all the churches get together for a carol service. Please put these dates in your diary now!

Cahors Terre Rouge Sunday 20 December at 10.00h There will also be a service of Holy Communion on Christmas Day at Terre Rouge at 10am. For further details on all the above services please visit our website www.churchinmidipa.com The Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany – 25th December to 6th January 2016 The Twelve Days of Christmas mark a festival in the Christian calendar starting on Christmas Day (25th December) and ending on Twelfth Night (5th January). The festival period is usually known as Christmastide and is followed by the celebration of Epiphany on 6th January.

Most of the Carol Services have carols and readings in French and English, they follow the traditional 9 Lessons and Carols format and everyone is welcome – there is wine and mince pies afterwards – a delightful way to spend an afternoon or an evening. The dates and venues are as follows – Remember to wrap up warmly – church buildings can be chilly places, but the welcome will be as warm as toast. If you need a lift or want to go with someone, please contact us through our website – under “contact us”.

Epiphany, which means to show, is the season when Jesus Christ is shown to be the light of the world. At the first Epiphany, the Wise Men (Magi or Kings) followed the light of the star to Bethlehem to find the Baby Jesus, as reflected in the words of the carol “We three kings of Orient are”. Apart from the church’s celebrations, Epiphany in the UK signals the time to take down all the Christmas decorations for another year but is not otherwise marked.

Ecumenical Service Sacré Coeur, Cahors Sunday 6 December at 15.00h Gourdon Eglise de St Pierre Wednesday 16 December at 19.00h Prayssac Eglise de St Barthélémy Friday 11 December at 19.00h

In France, however, it is the time to eat Galettes du Roi – a wonderfully tasty and fattening cake with almonds and a little fève (decorated bean) lodged inside. Whoever eats the fève becomes the King or Queen and wears the gold crown wrapped around the Galettes du Roi. There will be a service at Terre Rouge on the 3rd January 2016 at 10am.

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – 18th to 25th January 2016 The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity involves Christian communities across the world and from almost every denomination. The Week lasts for 8 days and covers the period from the feast of St Peter to the feast of St Paul. Many people see it as their duty to pray not just for the unity of Christians but for the unity of all people who are made in God’s image and a desire to achieve unity in a way that enriches rather than diminishes the diversity of local churches. The week in 2016 has been prepared by Christians of Latvia, and adapted by the Britain and Ireland writers group, based around the verses 1 Peter 2:9-10. Peter’s first letter is an encouragement to the newly baptised to live holy lives and to answer the calling shared by all the baptised to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord.

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There will be an Ecumenical Service on Monday 18th January 18.00h in Sacré Coeur, Cahors – to be confirmed Finally on our website www.churchinmidipa.org – you can contact your nearest church, see what services we have, see photos of our activities and put photos to names of people you may have heard of but not met! It is reaching parts we have never reached so far!! A Very Happy Christmas and a peaceful 2016 to all our readers.

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


52 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Open Garden Scheme

There was a late season, open garden on Sunday 13th September at John Massey’s garden – Pardissous, (47140) Massels where the plant stall did a roaring trade and raised over 170e. John’s friends helped man the ‘tea room’ where homemade cakes and scones were available; the proceeds from this were added to the entry fees to raise almost 400e for charity.

V

isitors were able to look at a display charting the progress of the garden and in particular the Roman Villa that was discovered in the process. An extra attraction during the day was an exhibition of sculptures by, local sculptor, Peter Hillard, from Laroque Timbaut. The Meteo had threatened thunderstorms, heavy rain and even hail, but thankfully the day of the last Open Garden event only produced a couple of light showers; not enough to deter keen gardeners. There were about 45 hardy individuals who came from as far afield as Duravel and Lauzerte, and even a couple who were visiting from the USA. The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

The Open Garden scheme aims to expand the number of private gardens open to the public in this area. We were able to offer one more garden this time at Dausse, where Tom and Jenny Hurst have lovingly created a colourful display of annual and perennial plants on a difficult sloping site. The Open Garden Scheme organisers hope to continue to expand further and if all goes to plan they should have at least 4 gardens open in the area next year. So please do ‘watch this space’! If anyone has a garden they think would be suitable, or know of one in their area, please contact John (johnvmassey@gmail.com) so that he can arrange to offer advice where appropriate.

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ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste – October 2015

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DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR! If you would like to get the next 5 copies of the magazine delivered directly to your home in France or another address in Europe then this is very simple to arrange. You can also arrange this for a friend or relative as a gift. You can either visit our website, and follow the link to ‘Subscribe’ and fill in the simple form with your address. Submit this and then you will very quickly receive an electronic invoice to cover the cost of postage and packing. The costs for getting 5 copies sent to you are – 19 euro for an address in France or 11 euro for elsewhere in Europe. Or, if you prefer, you can complete the form below and send this to us in the post: The Quercy Local, Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190 www.quercylocal.com If you prefer to send a cheque, please make it payable to A. Atkinson Name.............................................................................................................. Email................................................................................................................ Tel. No............................................................................................................ Address (for delivery)............................................................................ ............................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

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 info@allezsouthwestfrance.com www.allezsouthwestfrance.com

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SAT CONSTRUCTION (82150)

SPECIALIST IN Travertine, Wall and Floor Tiling, Plaster Boarding, Plastering & General Building References available Mobile Phone: 06 12 82 49 04 Evening Phone 05 63 29 27 31 Email: stephen.tyler@sfr.fr Siret: 802 145 706 00015

Place de le Croix – 82150 Roquecor General supplies, Bread, Newsagents, Postal Point We also stock a supply of British products and a great selection of wines from local producers

Local and convenient – a true village shop 05 63 95 25 78 / 06 82 84 56 30 lacroixroc@orange.fr (SARL Lacroixroc) Delphine and Jean Longueteau

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


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Your support will help a dog in need

BEETHOVEN needs a loving home

PIMOUSSE needs a loving home

Many dogs in France are much loved and well cared for, but many others are not so lucky. You may already know of the Refuge Canin Lotois in Cahors, a charitable association run by volunteers, set up to help abandoned and distressed dogs in the department of the Lot to find happier lives with loving families. At any one time there are about 30 dogs in the Refuge, with others being cared for in foster homes, and all are awaiting adoption. Fortunately, a devoted group of proactive, caring volunteers keep up their efforts to help the Refuge and the dogs. People of all ages and nationalities, including several English speakers, are involved with doing whatever they can to care for the dogs. No matter how little or how much time volunteers have available, any practical help they can give is very much appreciated. There are plenty of ways to lend a hand. Walking the dogs is a vital contribution, giving them the opportunity to socialise, beneficial exercise (for dogs and walkers!) and, of course, some happy times out of the Refuge. Helping with fund raising or publicity events, fostering or even adopting a dog are also amongst important contributions towards helping homeless dogs. The main aim is to find kind and welcoming families to adopt, while doing all that is possible to fit the right dog with the right family. Every happy adoption makes room for another from the never ending flow of new arrivals. Some are adopted quickly; others spend many months awaiting their chance (they are all cared for for as long as it takes, because one day their chance will arrive). If you are looking for a really rewarding activity, one which offers the chance to get involved with a very

worthwhile cause here in the Lot, why not get in touch? It’s a great way to meet new people, brush up on your French (although French speakers are not obligatory!), keep active and help dogs in distress to boot. The smallest efforts do make a big difference. Our motto is “Adopt a Refuge Dog”, and thankfully more and more people are thinking of this first when seeking a four-legged friend to join their family.

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

To find out more about getting involved or adopting, please contact us (in English if you wish!). Telephone : 05 65 22 66 32 Email : refuge_canin_lotois@yahoo.fr www.refugecaninlotois.wordpress.com

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Cancer Support France Sud de France Tarn & Borders

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Supporting all English speaking people who have been touched by cancer Soutiens aux anglophones touchees par cancer

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sud-helpline@cancersupportfrance.org For further information about the group or if you would like to join contact Helene Telephone: 0563349401 Email: sud-tarn@cancersupportfrance.org

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Every Sunday afternoon in December in our boutique, “L’aChat Curieux”, at the Cat Adoption Centre in 82190 Miramont de Quercy we have a boutique de Noël with lots of lovely Christmas items, present ideas, cards etc. Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2016


58 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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The Quercy Local • November-February 2016

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We are recruiting agents in Cazals, Lauzerte, Montcuq, Cahors, and east of Cahors 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. These qualities are far more important than previous experience. Full training and support are freely provided by us. Beaux Villages Immobilier Email us on: enquiries@beauxvillages.com Visit our website: www.beauxvillages.com Call us on +33 (0)8 05 69 23 23 – Freephone

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The Quercy Local Issue 22 November-February 2016  

A free regional magazine for the ‘English Speakers’ of the Quercy region of S W France – covering the Lot, Lot et Garonne and Tarn et Garonn...

The Quercy Local Issue 22 November-February 2016  

A free regional magazine for the ‘English Speakers’ of the Quercy region of S W France – covering the Lot, Lot et Garonne and Tarn et Garonn...