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July - August 2014 Issue 15

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE magazine in English

Summer Issue with – Seasonal - Music, Art and Theatre plus – Quercy Melons, Historical Rail-Lines, Stone-Carving & Gardening with Children

Open-air Shakespeare in English 3-14 AUG 2014 3 DOMME 4 LAUZERTE 5 BELVES 6 MONFLANQUIN 7 LHERM 12 MONPAZIER 13 MONTCUQ 14 PUY L’EVEQUE

www.ad-tour.com www.quercylocal.com


Stefaan Eyckmans paintings

OPEN STUDIO

weekends 12-13 and 19-20July 2014

14 h.-19 h.

L’Ancien Presbytère de Troniac

lieu dit Troniac, 46800 SAUX info@stefaaneyckmans.com

www.stefaaneyckmans.com

Stefaans studio can be visited throughout the year by appointment


WWW.JLRIVIERE.COM

THE QUERCY LOCAL • 3

Pool design & construction

Traditional swimming-pools Liner – reinforced PVC Automatic water treatment Automatic cover – automatic cleaning Heat pump – Equipment - Chemicals

EURL Jean-Luc RIVIERE

Swimming-pool renovation Liner replacement Maintenance & reparation

ELECTRICS

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


4 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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CONTENTS

elcome to issue 15 of ‘The Quercy Local’ magazine.

A Quercy summer is always a feast of ‘the arts’ often served-up on warm summer evenings during or after wonderful al fresco meals – no doubt many of these meals will include helpings of the sweet, orange-fleshed Quercy Melon. Jeanne’s article (p.42) looks more closely at this summer crop; read this and then try not to impart interesting ‘melon’ facts across the table next time it’s served! This issue highlights some of the very busy and talented ladies living in the area. There’s Judith (p.6), Hassanah (p.31), Christine (p.34) and of course our regular contributor Lisa on (p.44) all of whom have moved around the world, had diverse and interesting lives and chose to live and work here and add to our diverse, regional-fabric. It’s also worth taking a moment to find out about the Journée de Père Quépas (p.18). There are very few opportunities to see this skill performed in public and to join in the excitement produced by Laurent and his team of French stone-carvers as they combine their skills with those of two visiting British artists. I hope that this issue will encourage you to visit some of the places, restaurants and events we’ve included.

Anna

The next edition will be available at the start of September. I hope in the meantime the season treats you well. www.quercylocal.com info@quercylocal.com

Judith Spoelhof – Bi-Lingual Child Care

p.6

Nuits de Lauzerte

p.8

Association de Sauvegarde de la Séoune

p.10

Gardening with Children

p.12

Romeo and Juliet

p.16

Journée de Père Quépas

p.18

Award Winning Estate Agency

p.24

Hassanah Burton – Design and Nature

p.31

Roquecor’s Christine Minnée’s

p.34

Popular French Savings and Investments

p.36

Roman Roads X

p.38

Montcuq and the Café de France

p.40

Summer Side Salads

p.41

Quercy Melons

p.42

Summer, Scavenging, & Scaring the French! p.44 Historical Train Lines

p.50

English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

p.52

18

40

42

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

ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste

Tours 47340 Cassignas 05 53 95 80 27/ 06 45 25 65 58 matt@arbreservices.com www.arbreservices.com SIRET NO. 5025222200004

Régis CASSÉ

Traditional Stonework ~ New and Restoration 82190 Fauroux ~ 06 40 20 68 94 ~ English spoken ~ angeregis@hotmail.fr The Quercy Local ISSN: 2116-0392. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietors. No responsibility is accepted for any

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


THE QUERCY LOCAL • 5

MANOIR LE BIGOURDA Chambre d’hotes / Bed & Breakfast

Opening in June 2014, new luxurious Chambre d’hôtes between Beauville and Bourg-de-Visa offering: • Quiet, tranquil gardens• Heated swimming pool • Table d’hôtes, by reservation • Wi-fi • Table tennis, library, bikes, boules, Children’s outside play area

Robert & Carol Ann Wheeler look forward to welcoming you to Manoir le Bigourda

www.lebigourda.com Email: crwhlr@aol.com Tel: 05 53 98 23 47 Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


6 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Bi-lingual Child Care

by A Atkinson

A chance opportunity brought Judith to France and now local children benefit from her patient skills

J

udith Spoelhof was born in New York State and trained to work with children with handicaps and special needs. Later she moved to New York where she took a job in the Guggenheim Museum and in one of life’s twists of fate this brought about a huge change of life and direction. Judith was spotted as a model, signed by an agency and sent to work in France. This all happened 26 years ago and Judith is still here in France, she married, had three children, and eventually moved from Paris and is now living between Brassac and Bourg de Visa (82190). With her children grown-up, one studying in America, one serving in the American Air Force and the third studying design in Toulouse; Judith now has the time to work towards a working-life based on her own interests. One of her greatest passions is working with young children and with her earlier training and then more recently taking the time to work in the Crèche in Lauzerte; Judith knew that caring for children would form the basis of her new career. It proved almost impossible to do any further training in childcare as her earlier qualifications were not acceptable to the French authorities to help access higher education. However, with sufficient determination to overcome a number of administrative hurdles, Judith has established herself as a bi-lingual assistante maternelle (child-minder), working from her peaceful, rural home. Being fluent in French and English, Judith provides a great opportunity for pre-school children to be cared for in both languages, either replicating an existing The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

bi-lingual home environment or to help English speaking toddlers prepare for life in a French School. How many of us would find learning French so much easier now if we’d had this sort of opportunity to learn, so comfortably, at such an early age? Child-minding has to be one of the most important jobs in any society. Here in France children are able to go to school between 2 ½ and 3 years of age, and the majority of even younger children are cared for in large crèches. The difference for children that are looked after by an assistante maternelle, is that they are able to form a strong bond with their carer and they also learn to work on close socialisation skills with the other children, these are all aspects of care that resonate loudly with Judith who is able to provide a caring, loving and learning space for her young charges. Offering a family-type environment is just what Judith has managed to do with the added value of the opportunity for children to become confident in more than one language, preparing them for a life where skills in more than one tongue can make such a huge difference. Anyone who has cared for children will know that it can be physically and emotionally tiring. To make childcare your life’s work takes a special person, a whole load of patience and an energy source that can allow you to out-run the liveliest of young people! Alongside all of this Judith is developing a handicraft business; she is a keen quilter and also makes soft furnishings and accessories for children, including rucksacks and play-mats. Hopefully, very soon Judith will be able to bring her creations to a wider audience and everyone will get the chance to appreciate her talents. Judith can be contacted on: jaspoelhof@meshnet.fr

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 7

Info: Office du Tourisme et Musée des Bastides – Place des Arcades – 47150 Monflanquin Phone: +33 (0)5 53 36 40 19 –

Full details on www.monflanquin-tourisme.com or www.monflanquin-museedesbastides.jimdo.com

A classic ‘Bastide’ – Monflanquin and its Heritage and Festivals One of the most beautiful villages in France and a Station Verte de Vacances; located on the edge of the Dordogne region in the area known as Haut Agenais Périgord; Monflanquin is the perfect place to discover the area’s rich and interesting history. Visit ‘le Musée des Bastides’ with 2 floors of exhibits including – audiovisual, models, information panels (also in Eng), and contemporary sculptures to illustrate Bastides (the new cities of the middle ages). Independent guided visits or follow the family discovery route ‘Monflanquin a Bastide?’ (also in Eng). Hiking – discover the countryside around Monflanquin on foot, bike or on horseback. Maps are on sale at the Tourist Office. SOME OF THE MAIN SUMMER EVENTS IN MONFLANQUIN: Day of Sculpture & Pottery: 6th July Antiques Fair/Flea Market: 14 July (dance and fireworks in the evening) Baroque Evenings: between 12 & 25 July | Evening of the Stars: 1 August Antic Disposition – Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet: 6 August | Medieval Days: 15 & 17 August Not Forgetting: Guided Tours with Janouille, all summer – day and evenings Local Producers’ Food Market on Thursday evenings – come and dine. Traditional market Thursday mornings.

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


8 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Enchanted and – wheel-rim-less?! Nuits de Lauzerte

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recently asked our local recycling unit if they accepted old tyres. Yes, was the answer, provided they were déjantés i.e. removed from the rim of the wheel (la jante). Figuratively, this useful little word also means out of kilter, off-beat, just a bit wacky; which is how it comes to be part of the theme of this year’s Nuits de Lauzerte, “Monde enchanté / déjanté” or “Enchanted / wacky world... “ For those of you who don’t already know this annual celebration of Lauzerte’s medieval cité through a festival of contemporary arts, here’s a quick run-down. Cars are banned and streetlights turned off, and 2,000 candles guide you round courtyards, gardens and streets , with giant projections highlighting (literally) the spectacular architectural heritage of Lauzerte, deservedly listed as “un des plus beaux villages de France”. Artists from all disciplines (music, dance, photography, sculpture, installations ...) interpret the year’s theme as they please, providing altogether 12 performances or events, many of them interactive, for you to discover at your own pace from nightfall (10 pm) to 1 am. And for those of you who do know the Nuits, read on! This year the festival will be open for a third night, and there is a half price rate for anyone wishing to return for a second visit. On the main square, live music, a restaurant, bars, and stalls selling dishes for you to sample at long tables, village fête style before nightfall. From 10 pm onwards, leave the square and lose yourself in the enchanted and – yes! – wacky world of this year’s Nuits de Lauzerte. Fri 1, Sat 2 and Sun 3 August. Free parking and minibus from the bottom of Lauzerte hill 8.30 pm 1.30 am. Candle lit circuit opens and performances etc. begin from 10 pm to 1 am.

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

Tickets 12e (access to 12 events) for 1 night, 6e for any second night. Children under 13 free. Advance purchase until 25th July at reduced rate of 10e from www.nuitsdelauzerte.fr , from the Lauzerte tourist office, and from shops and bars displaying the ”Nuits Ambassadors” sign.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 9

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


10 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Association de Sauvegarde de la Séoune A local environmental group is looking to welcome new members

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

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M. +33 (0)6 95 01 55 56 H. +33 (0)5 53 75 05 51 E. micgorst@hotmail.com

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

Since 1982 the Association de Sauvegarde de la Séoune has aimed to protect the environment and the quality of life of the inhabitants of the region that they feel is at risk due to the activity of the Bouloc Parachute School (82110). The Association believes that the rural peace and calm should not be compromised by economic arguements. The Association has increased discussions with elected members of the local community. They also constantly monitor the school’s activity, providing information to and building links with the Prefecture. responsible for the authorisation of the parachute school’s activities. Activities which the Association feels are detrimental to the local residents. In 2012 the major legal constraints governing the school’s activity were removed and the Association is now calling for the application of the ministeral circular of Dec. 6th, 2005 which limits the permitted noise level from light aircraft. To help facilitate this noise-reduction the Assiociation has proposed and is now taking part in a ‘Commission for Discussions’ – with the aim of reducing the noise levels imposed on the inhabitants of the neighouring communes and supporting proposals which ensure that the rights of everyone are respected. The Association’s long held aims are for – • The situation to be monitored by the elected members of all the ‘communes’ affected by the noise pollution. • Adherence to the agreed flying procedures; up to now these are only partially followed. • A commitment by the Parachute School to compromise on flying time and time for peace and quiet for local residents. • Regular monitoring of all the school’s flying procedures as it was originally envisaged, but which currently does not take place. The Association is collaborating with other French and European ‘associations’ to review the inadequate legislation covering this type of activity. If you would like to know more about the association please contact – The president : C.Pouré, “Ratelle” 82150 BELVEZE, tél.: 05 63 94 42 44 or mail: cpoure@free.fr or Christopher Marks (French/English speaker): tel: 05 63 94 67 59 or mail: falsegarre@yahoo.com

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 11

Restaurant ‘La Sirene’ Place de l’Hotel de Ville Montaigu de Quercy (82150) Varied cuisine and a warm welcome guaranteed During July - August, Tues-Sat Lunch – 12.00-2.00 Dinner – 19.00-21.00 & groups (10 or more) any evening – (reservations in advance for evenings)

Reserve by phone on 05 63 94 44 82 email: t-mermaid@hotmail.com ‘BARBECUE & BLUEGRASS’ Food by La Sirene – Montaigu de Quercy (82150) Music by Tildon Krautz, Sat, July 19th, 7,30pm - 22e. Contact/reserve: t-mermaid@hotmail.com or 05 63 94 44 82

WANTED

British child-minders and nannies for French families Please contact us: Les Polyglottes phone: 05 65 20 12 55 - 05 65 31 92 46 email: lespolyglottes@yahoo.fr

English Builder with 23 years experience

Robert Atkinson Estimates freely given Work can be seen References available Roofing l Stonework l Plastering l Tiling l Paving Blocking l Concreting l Door/Window openings Las Razes, Touffailles (82190), 05 63 94 32 80 robert@lasrazes.com, Siret: 499 560 654 00026

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


12 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Gardening with Children How do you get them into gardening and how do you sustain that interest? From both working with children, and bringing up our own, here are our top tips.

I

t’s school holiday time, and lots of you will have your own children home for the long summer break, or (for the older generation) will have visiting grandchildren running around your gardens, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, and generally making their presence known. The beautiful big gardens over here are so child friendly, and were certainly a big draw for John and I when we moved our young family over from the UK. These large open spaces lend themselves perfectly to swimming pools, trampolines and swing sets, footballs, mini boules and badminton, but I always think that, as well as letting children loose to play in the garden, it’s also rather nice to put them to work! There’s so much for children to enjoy and learn from when working in the garden. Developing fine and gross motor skills; exploring creative, artistic expression, experimenting with colour, shape and form; learning about biology and geography, plants and the earth and eco systems, etc. Back in the UK we pooled together John’s background in horticulture and mine in teaching and youth work, and we ran children’s gardening workshops. The Early Years Education Framework (EYFS) was emphasising the importance of outdoor education and increasing children’s contact with the natural world, and in a society that is saturated with media and technology, I believe that there is much to be gained from encouraging children to enjoy a more natural childhood. Grandchildren who are visiting from the more urban environments of the UK will certainly benefit from the rural spaces of South West France, and gardening with their grandparents will provide them with wonderful experiential education opportunities that are far removed from their city-based lives back home. That’s all very well in theory, but what, in practice, does this actually mean? What do children like about gardens? The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

• Get Mucky Kids aren’t interested in keeping clean. Dress them in old clothes and wellies, plan to dunk them in the bath afterwards, and let them get on with it. While children will enjoy some fine motor skilled work such as seed sowing, the pursuits that they really tend to enjoy are the messier activities, like digging and watering. Something that’s worked well for us in children’s gardens is creating a designated “digging pit” – an area devoid of planting, where children can get on with the important business of digging and raking, with minimal supervision, and without causing any harm to the garden. This could be as simple as leaving clear a little corner of soil, or it could be a more formally defined space, e.g. a raised bed made from planks of wood or railway sleepers. When occupying children of different ages, this is really useful, as the younger ones will lose focus more quickly than the older ones, and will enjoy the less structured, open-ended play of the digging pit, while the older children continue assisting you with more involved tasks. • Get Kitted Out There are lots of wonderful children’s gardening products available: miniature trowels, forks and rakes, tiny wheelbarrows and watering cans, basically, everything that you have, but smaller and a lot more colourful. They’ll love having their own equipment and tools for working alongside you. • Keep it varied Children have short attention spans and don’t tend to concentrate for extended periods of time. Break tasks up into 5 or 10 minute periods. They’ll enjoy pulling up a few weeds – just don’t expect them to commit to a whole hour to it. Switch their tasks regularly – a bit of weeding, a good bit of digging and raking, a nice little bit of seed sowing and planting, a lot of watering, and the hours will fly by. • Go on a Bug Hunt One of the most popular activities in our garden is hunting for bugs. We have conversations about ”goodies” and “baddies” in the garden, and the children are really interested in the benefits that worms, spiders and bees bring, and the damage that caterpillars, slugs and snails cause. The baddies, once found, are all duly fed to our chickens, which both the birds and the children thoroughly enjoy!

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 13

IN THE HEART OF THE CAHORS VINES YOU’LL FIND

RESTAURANT

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• Have a Sense of Ownership Creating a sense of ownership and responsibility is a really important aspect of children’s development. It’s lovely to assign a little space to each individual child, and allow them the freedom to manage that part of the garden themselves. Let them decide what they want to do with it, be it a planted pot, a hanging basket, a flower bed or a veggie patch. Help them explore planting ideas, and guide them through the groundwork process, selecting their seeds and young plants, planting it up and watering, feeding and weeding etc. This project works equally well for visiting grandchildren as it does resident children, as once the visitors have returned home, the grandparents can be delegated the responsibility of maintaining the patch until the grandchildren’s return, and this can be a topic for ongoing conversations that foster the children’s capacity for loving relationships as well as their awareness of the need for the ongoing care of living plants. • Create Sensory Gardens Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. All of the senses can be stimulated with the right planting. For gardens that appeal to children, select a range of vibrant flowers. Helianthus annus (annual sunflowers) and Callendula (pot marigold) both provide cheery colour and are easy to grow from seed. Use ornamental grasses to add movement and sound to the garden. Miscanthus oligostachyus rustles nicely in the wind

03/06/2014 16:59

while Pennisetum villosum (feather top grass) has beautiful tufts that are soft and irresistible. For extra fun, Nigella (love in the mist) has bright blue flowers that form seed heads which rattle when shaken. To stimulate the taste buds, grow culinary herbs. Children as young as 3 are capable of identifying parsley or thyme in the herb garden and will achieve a sense of pride when given the grown-up task of going out to pick some for use in the kitchen. Lavendula angustifolia grows really well over here and not only smells beautiful, but attracts pollinators, and lends itself well to arts and crafts activities, while the deep red flowers of Cosmos atrosanguineus give off a delicious chocolate/vanilla scent. The geometric shapes and rigid, succulent leaves of Sempervivums make them interesting on both a visual and tactile level, and are an excellent introduction into easy plant propagation. Finally, for touch, Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ears) is an essential plant for children’s gardens, as the soft, furry leaves just have to be stroked. • Create Edible Gardens Picking your own vegetables and preparing a delicious, home-grown, home-made meal is a joy that not all city dwellers experience. Friends of ours who live in Manchester have just received their own allotment plot after being on a waiting list for FOUR YEARS! With childhood obesity rates a growing cause for concern in these times of ready meals and

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


14 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

junk food diets, encouraging children to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables is a high priority for most parents, and getting them involved in the food growing process is a really good way of doing that. Last year, a survey by the British Nutrition Foundation which questioned over 27,000 pupils revealed that many children don’t know the origins of basic foods. Nearly 10 % of secondary school pupils think that tomatoes grow under the ground, while 19% of 5 – 8 year olds don’t know that potatoes grow underground, with 10% speculating that they grown on bushes and trees. Add to that the belief by nearly a third of UK primary school pupils that cheese is a plant based product and that fish fingers are made from chicken or pork, and it’s clear that many children are lacking in the most basic knowledge of the food chain. Gardening is the essence of life. Without plants, none of us would be alive. What better gift to give to our children and grandchildren? By teaching them to take care of the natural world, we produce a next generation that’s aware of sustainable living and reducing carbon footprints. Talk to children about how they can do their individual bit and how if they sow just a few seeds, no matter how small, they are doing something good for the planet. Talk to them about photosynthesis. Choosing your level of difficulty, from the

simplistic notion of plants breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen, to the more involved discussion of the chemical process, children of all ages are usually pretty impressed with the concept that, without plants maintaining our atmospheric oxygen levels, we wouldn’t be able to breathe!

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 15

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Beaux Villages Immobilier, 45 rue des Frères Quéméré, 82150 Montaigu de Quercy 0033 (0)8 05 69 23 23 info@beauxvillages.com www.beauxvillages.com Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


16 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Romeo & Juliet

performed right here in our local villages and town squares

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n August, London-based touring theatre company Antic Disposition will be back in the Lot and Dordogne valleys for a landmark tenth consecutive year. The troupe will be performing Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of doomed love, Romeo and Juliet, in a number of stunning open-air locations around the region. ‘I really can’t believe it’s been ten years since the very first Antic Disposition production in France,’ said director Ben Horslen. ‘The tour is so much bigger now: In 2005 we put on just four small performances, whereas this year will see us in eight different towns across the region. We always look forward to seeing our regular audience members, who have supported us from the very start, as well as meeting new people coming for the first time.’ Shakespeare’s tale of ‘star-crossed lovers’ is one of his most popular and accessible plays. Romeo and Juliet are the heirs of two warring families, who secretly fall in love and marry, in defiance of their parents. But when the longstanding hatred between the Montagues and Capulets erupts into violence, it tears the lovers apart, with tragic consequences. The story has gone on to inspire ballets, musicals such as West Side Story, and a number of Hollywood movies including Baz Luhrmann’s famous updated version. Tickets for Antic Disposition’s Romeo and Juliet are already selling at a record pace, so do book early to avoid disappointment. This year, tickets are free for children sixteen and under, making the show a perfect family night out.

‘This fast-moving production is, at its best, as real and moving as if it had never been seen or read before.’ – The Stage on Antic Disposition’s Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet will be performed around the Dordogne and Lot valleys from 3rd – 14th August 2014 3 August 4 August 5 August 6 August 7 August 12 August 13 August 14 August

Domme Lauzerte Belvès Monflanquin Lherm Monpazier Montcuq Puy l’Evêque

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

Jardin de la Rode Place des Cornières La Halle Place des Arcades Centre of the village Place des Cornières Esplanade Nino Ferrer Théâtre de Verdure

Tickets:e20 – e35 Free for children 16 and under (maximum two per adult) For more information and to book tickets, please visit www.ad-tour.com

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 17

imprimeur

graphi

12450 Luc-La Primaube - Tél. 05 65 69 41 20 - B 322 864 265 RCS Rodez

le spécialiste de l’h abitat

For that French home you’ve always dreamed of! Tel: 05 65 75 75 33 caonline@ca-nmp.fr

Annonce réalisée par la Caisse Régionale Crédit Agricole Mutuel Nord Midi-Pyrénées, société coopérative à capital variable, agréée en tant qu’établissement de crédit, immatriculée au RCS d’Albi sous le numéro 444 953 830, siège social au 219, avenue François Verdier 81000 ALBI. Société de courtage d’assurance immatriculée au Registre des Intermédiaires d’Assurance sous le numéro 07 019 259. Organisme prêteur, proposant des prêts habitat destinés au financement de biens immobiliers à acquérir, sous réserve d’acceptation de votre dossier de prêt immobilier. L’emprunteur dispose d’un délai de réflexion de 10 jours pour accepter l’offre de prêt. La réalisation de la vente est subordonnée à l’obtention du prêt. Si celui-ci n’est pas obtenu, le vendeur doit rembourser les sommes versées.

Auberge de Miramont (Chez Bernadette) 82190

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

05 63 94 65 57 / 06 30 64 79 43

www.aubergedemiramont.com – check opening hours Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


18 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

PHOTO CREDITS – ISABELLE ASSANTE & ARTIST’S OWN

QUERCY STONE Taking centre stage and performing with skilled sculptors from France and the UK by A Atkinson

Père Quépas

M

any people living in, or regularly visiting Montaigu de Quercy (82150) during August may have come across the annual Journée de Père Quépas. Maybe you’ve seen a gathering of artisans in the middle of the town, all considering a huge slab of stone and wondered what it all meant. Where does the name Père Quépas come from? Well, it’s a play on words and derived from the Occitan, Perqué pas which means – ‘why not?’ When, Laurent Donnadieu, the event’s founder and passionate drivingforce, first proposed this eclectic and all-inclusive artistic Journée to the Mairie in Montaigu he found himself answering the question ‘why do you need to include this?’ with ‘pour-quoi pas’ – why not? So it wasn’t long

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

before the Occitan term, Perqué pas evolved into the character Père Quépas, the relaxed, jovial and welcoming personality that now heralds the annual Journée. The event is not designed to be a money-maker; its purpose is simply to explore man’s involvement with the ancient art of stone-carving. So it presents a truly unique event to come along to with your family, informal and open to all sorts of artistic possibilities. The not-inconsequential cost of staging the event is met by contributions from State and Regional Authorities and then a number of private donations and

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 19

importantly as much as possible is achieved by an exchange of labour/favours. What is it all about? Each year a skilled team of stone-carving artists, come together to work ‘as one creative team’ on a huge, boundary-pushing project over a 6 day period. The team only have 5 days to design and complete the sculpture, all in an open public space. The sculpture is then veiled ready for an evening of celebration and a grand unveiling on the evening of the 6th day. The passion and excitement comes from the confluence of astonishing talents, each with different approaches and individual strengths. When these craftsmen unite to jointly sculpt a huge lump of stone which has been cut and delivered from a local quarry then the event is likely to deliver the very best of artistic temperament, adrenalin-infused passion and animated teamwork. For these men who usually work individually this creates a hugely different experience. Each year the team alternates between a sculpture that is purely technical (almost scientific) creation and then the following year a creation with huge technical demands but perhaps a little more of a personality, for 2014 the creation will be of a huge stone puppet! The carving team includes two Englishmen, Ben Dearnley, an expert carver of faces and Duncan Elliott a master of the human form. Both of whom were introduced to Laurent and his team when the Frenchmen travelled to the UK to take part in the highly successful ‘Bristol Festival of Stone’ in June 2013. The ‘Bristol Festival of Stone’ had been inspired by Montaigu’s own annual Père Quépas. For more details of the ‘Bristol Festival of Stone’ see www.festivalofstone.com As a pre-cursor to this August the team gathered here in France in May to get re-acquainted prior to the highly pressurised and public display of teamwork later in the year. Where and when? This year the project begins on Monday 4th of August and work continues each day up to and including Friday the 8th. Work will take place from about 9 am in the main car park area of Montaigu’s lower town area. Work will finish each day about 7pm when visitors can then help celebrate the end of each day‘s toil. Local restaurants will be offering food, drink, to people on the square and different free entertainments and music will help make sure that each night is a fitting celebration all in an intimate and family-friendly atmosphere. Everyone is welcome to come along and join in the fun. Then on Saturday the 9th it’s time to start to connect the lower town with the upper, much older part of town, so that the whole of the Montaigu can be included in the week’s events. Starting at 6 pm, people are invited

to make their way from the lower car park area and walk up rue Frères Quemere, the route will be lined with animations, street art and readings. At the square at the top there will be live music being performed and a selection of food’s being served, so that people can stay and enjoy the magical un-veiling of the sculpture. This part of town is very beautiful but not overly spacious, so people are asked, if possible, to reserve for the evening by contacting the Tourist Office in Montaigu de Quercy (05 64 94 48 50/montaigu.de.quercy@ wanadoo.fr). No money is payable when booking it’s simply to try and control/predict the numbers. The only cost for the evening will be whatever food you chose to purchase – all of which will be reasonably priced, making this an ideal event for families to attend. For more information about the Journée de Père Quépas – 06 75 83 92 03 or email: association.ajt@gmail.com or look for Père Quépas on Facebook

Ben Dearnley One of the British sculptors joining the team this year – Ben Dearnley www.bendearnley.com Ben’s works are an exploration of the figure. The narrative he creates fuses techniques of the sculpture masters of the past with the best natural materials while using a contemporary approach. He draws the viewer into a personal dialogue with the sculpture by bringing out the spirit of the figure within, reflecting the inner truth of the material. His work is in The Royal Academy of Music, London, and in private collections around the world. With large public commissions in the cities of Bath and Bristol, and corporate clients such as British Telecomm, Aviva and Bacardi, Ben has gained an international reputation for the quality of his work and is a highly collectible artist. In Ben’s words... “In the summer of 2013 I was asked to be a principle carver for the Bristol based Festival of Stone, this would be the first time I would meet the amazing French team of stone carvers. On our first day of the festival we were all thrown together with our common love of one of the oldest traditions of the arts, carving stone. The sun was shining, our stone was waiting for us to give it life and there was a great sense of the unknown surrounding us all and the 15 tonnes of Bath stone we had been given to carve in 10 days. Heading up the French team was Laurent Donnadieu who had brought a full quiver of talented artists

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20 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

including great musicians and the fantastic DJ Herv’e Detournel. I can’t tell you enough how important these guys were to helping to lift the spirits when the carving seemed to be an impossible task. As I had been given a 5 tonne block of stone to myself, (twice as much as I had asked for) I was really up against it. Their lust for life was contagious and with the great music to accompany us, we soon fell into a happy rhythm and the work of carving stone progressed. It was a great time to share our love of stone and for me to experience Laurent’s team’s final showcase on the last night was a revelation. Some great friendships were made that summer. So now to this year; I recently visited Montaigu-deQuercy again to meet the team again and set about the early stages of putting the August festival in place. I was delighted to be asked to come over join in helping to create a very special piece of work. Both Duncan Elliott and I will be bringing our own unique flavours to mix in with the French team. This combination will produce an incredible mix of different sculptural talents all helping to create a finale which will blow the roof of anything having been seen before. I can’t wait to come out and get started and to enjoy the great food and wine of this beautiful part of France, and I look forward to meeting many of you during the Journée de Père Quépas.”

Duncan’s inspirations and words about his materials: My sculptures are assembled from natural pieces of found rock. I pick up a piece of stone because I respond to its form. If I don’t have a piece that works in the way I want, I look for another piece or, rethink my conceptions of how the stones will make their connections. I drill and pin the forms together, as though I were restoring a classical sculpture. The method means that I can extend the dynamics – allowing the stones to reach and stretch.

Duncan Elliott One of the British sculptors joining the team this year – Duncan Elliott www.duncanelliottsculpture.com In Duncan’s words... “I met Laurent Donnadieu and the sculptors of Montaigu De Quercy when they came over last summer for Bristol’s Festival of Stone. They were a fantastic presence in Bristol and it was easy to be impressed by their energy and performance. I’m always The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

up for hauling a few rocks, drinking a few beers and having a good old dance. We clicked right away. I do something slightly different with stone than any sculptor I know, searching out naturally formed rocks which have eroded to resemble human form; finding a shoulder here and a bit of a ribcage there. I collect pieces that I fit together, drilling and pinning as though restoring a classical sculpture. The piece that the team from the Père Quépas festival were working on in Bristol also had this element of assemblage. They created a seed that opened out to form a tree. A bit of cross-fertilisation in our working methods emerged and watching the energy of their “performance sculpture” got me thinking about my work in a new light. The piece for the upcoming Festival in August is going to be based around the idea of a marionette. I spent a few days with Laurent last month seeking out the natural limestone forms revealed in the fields around Montaigu De Quercy and we picked out some substantial pieces that will form part of the figure, combined with carved pieces that will be informed by their natural counterparts. Truly – Nature and Nurture!”

As I make connections, I can tell stories, and allow the natural form of the stone to express. Limestone is formed from the remains of sea creatures, and carries evidence of its origin with fossilised forms visible through the rocks. Limestone when pressurised transforms into Marble. Sculpting with Limestone gives the classically based pieces a flawed individuality that contrasts with the pressurised perfection of monumental marble sculpture and the civilisation it represents.

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In our restaurant you will find only the very best of Quercy’s gastronomy, meals prepared with only fresh local organic ingredients. Whether you dine in the exquisite dining-room or on the beautiful summer terrace you will be in the perfect place for an experience never to be forgotten. Set in beautiful landscaped gardens Le Manoir St Jean offers peace and tranquility as well as a real sense of style with its neoclassical elegance. If you are looking for somewhere for a special treat, a celebration or simply somewhere to try the best of the region’s products then a table at Le Manoir awaits. We recommend calling us to reserve a table. (Eng. Spoken) At Le Manoir St Jean we have a selection of individually designed rooms/suites which will help you make the very best of your visit to the region. Le Manoir St Jean 82400 Saint-Paul d’Espis Tél. : + 33 (0) 5 63 05 02 34 info@manoirsaintjean.com www.manoirsaintjean.com


THE QUERCY LOCAL • 23

QUERCY OAK F o n b i g o u , M o n s é g u r, 4 7 1 5 0 05 53 70 84 41 tel

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Charpentier * Menuisier * Couverture * Maison Bois Published March, May, July, September and November each year

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Award-winning Leggett team leads real estate in Quercy

Joanna Leggett

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ast year, Leggett Immobilier scooped ‘best estate agency in France’ in the International Property Awards sponsored by Virgin Atlantic. The secret? Not only do Leggett now handle the sale of more than one in ten houses sold in France to UK buyers, but they are also one of the fastest growing estate agencies in the country. Leggett Immobilier marketing director, Joanna Leggett, says winning the award was tremendously exciting.

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

“The 70-strong judging panel took almost three months deliberating – a long process and it was keenly contested! We were judged over a comprehensive range of activities – from customer service standards and marketing through to overall excellence in delivery – we clearly demonstrated our unique mix of local knowledge with international marketing skills and won each of the individual categories!” She says Leggetts place enormous emphasis on marketing and promoting every property listed:

“we believe this gives us our edge in the marketplace. We’re present at all the big property exhibitions in the UK and France, and we’ve excellent working relationships with the media – the properties we sell often appear in high profile publications such as Country Life International, The Daily Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal. “Vendors know no other agency in France offers their property the kind of international exposure we can – and do! Over the past few months we’ve had a substantial presence at property exhibitions in London, Birmingham, Yorkshire, Brussels and Bordeaux.” A vital key to Leggetts’ success is its rapidly expanding professional team: “We’re growing substantially year on year. All our Leggett people know their locality well and have a passion for property!” From just 67 agents in 2010, Leggett’s sales team has now expanded to more than 220: “we’re continually looking for highly motivated, bilingual and professional people to work with us. We provide the best possible training and our dedicated head office team is there to support our people and clients throughout the entire sales and purchase process. “In Quercy, our team members are well-established within their local communities, having lived here with their families for many years. Everyone is bilingual and ready to help you with your property decisions – to go that ‘extra mile’ that really makes the difference – so if you are looking at buying or selling your property please contact us on 0800 900 324 or email quercy@leggett.fr”

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LEGGETT

IMMOBILIER

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST

Are you buying or selling a property? Leggett Immobilier was voted ‘Best Estate Agency in France’. We have over 25 years experience, with more than 10,000 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 900 324 or email

lot@leggett.fr www.leggettfrance.com Tel: 0033(0)5 53 56 62 54 Head Office: La Maison du Chapitre Route de Riberac 24340 La Rochebeaucourt France

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26 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

“If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die” Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare The annual “Rencontres de Violoncelle de Bélaye”, which takes place again this year during the first week of August, was established by the cellist Roland Pidoux 26 years ago and has become a not-to-bemissed event for music lovers in the Quercy. Acclaimed violinists, cellists and pianists will be interpreting works by famous composers from the 17th century Bach to the contemporary Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki. Interspersed with the concerts there will also be several seminars, as well as a special event for children. There certainly will be musical activity to suit all tastes. The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

The 2013 season attracted over 2000 people and reached many thousands more via the broadcasts of France Musique, who will be present once again this year. The association is based in the beautiful town of Bélaye, overlooking the Lot River and most of the concerts take place in the local church with its excellent acoustics. While the permanent population of the town is only 216 strong, the association is very active. It is managed by a dynamic group of volunteers under the presidency of Philippe Lagard and with the active support of the commune and the mayor, Jacques Baijot, as well as a significant number of loyal music loving members. For further information and to purchase tickets, visit http://violoncelle-belaye.voila.net

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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 – 15 euro for an address in France or 20 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

www.poorpaws.com For information and enquiries about rescue dogs – so many dogs desperately looking for their ‘forever’ homes. Donations and help with funding always welcome contact Sue on 05 65 24 53 03 email: susan.glibbery@orange.fr

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Advertising Your Business Our readers are your customers OK, so how do you make the very best of your advertising? We’ve gathered some opinions from our readers with one of our straw-polls. Based on the feedback we received – this is what you need to consider. • Firstly, it’s better to advertise regularly even if this means using a smaller advert. An advert for a new business appearing once only and then disappearing does not instil confidence. Readers like to see that you and your business are going to stay around. Remember that people reading your advert may not need your business/service right away it may be months or even next year that they go back to look for your advert. • Secondly, if you advertise a website – this is your most important tool – your shop window! If people read the magazine and look at your website and it is less than ‘very good’ ‘easy to use’ ‘up-to-date’ and ‘confidence inspiring’ they generally go no further. A good clean style with simple information and where appropriate pricing, hours of business and simply contact details are critical. • Thirdly, where possible, provide an email address as well as a phone number and not just a mobile number in your advert. • The forth point is that changing and updating an advert is a great idea but try to keep to a similar theme and style so that it’s clearly your advert that is continuing to run. • Finally, a great logo that carries through from your advert, website, headed paper, business cards is a big plus – this is your businesses identity and makes you instantly recognisable. Getting professional help with this can pay huge dividends. The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

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Metse, Les Espiemonts, 82160, Caylus, Tarn et Garonne Phone: 05 63 64 68 76 Mob: 06 81 76 02 30 Email: lejardindesepsiemonts@gmail.com www.lejardindesespiemonts.fr 44°16'12.15"N 1°44'0.92"E Perennial and Alpine growers. Small, specialist nursery. Open Mondays 10 – 4. Visits on other days by appointment.

VILLAGE PRODUCE SHOW Salon Horticole, Sunday 20 July 2014 at Salle des Fetes, Lauzerte (82110) Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte

The timetable for the day will be: 08h30 – 10h15 registration & displaying of entries. 11h30. Hall closed for judging. 14h00. Hall re-opens for public viewing & teas. Everyone welcome. 17h00. Presentation of trophies. To obtain a copy of the schedule & entry form or for more info please email: browngarden@orange.fr

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

BOOGIE IN LE BOULVE PICNIC AND CONCERT

Organised by the association QUERCY UNPLUGGED

Friday August 15th from 8pm until midnight Le Boulve (46) is a sleepy village halfway between Prayssac and Montcuq with a modest medieval chateaux overlooking a modest medieval church and a modest medieval... well you get the idea! Very little happens here for most of the year but each August that most wonderful of settings is where the great and good gather for the Boogie in Le Boulve. This year the date is Friday 15th August – the village square is set with tables and decked with lights. Come along and bring a picnic and we’ll put on a great concert with three excellent local bands. We’ll provide the wine and water (and glasses in case you forget to bring them!). First to play will be a Sophie Celdron and Daniel Prevoteau – otherwise known as Soledad. Sophie has an unforgettable voice and you’ll be amazed when she fills the night with her songs in Spanish, French and English. Then Brian Harpwood and Mike Gardiner – playing as Harpwood- bring their country and bluegrass style

renowned throughout the Lot. After the acoustic music, the main group will be the ‘Dolly Blues Band’. The lead guitarist is Eric – not the Eric of course – our Eric leads this brilliant band in some great rhythm ‘n blues and rock ‘n roll classics. We guarantee you’ll be dancing the night away! We start at 8pm and finish towards midnightdepending on how many encores you demand! The price which includes wine from two local producers is 12 euros for adults – (no charge for children under 12 years). It’s a great French setting, music you know and love, and great company – exactly what we all love about summer in France! Reservations before 13th August to; jones.michael@alsatis.net or quercymusic@yahoo.com or via Quercymusic page on Facebook. See you there!

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A passion for design and nature

THE QUERCY LOCAL • 31

by Jeanne McCaul, Lauzerte

Hassanah Burton’s creative passion for fabrics and design can be traced to her childhood, which she describes as “blessed”.

T

he family home was in North Hampstead, London, right next to the heath and Hassanah and her siblings and friends spent their days walking and running in the grass among hedgehogs and rabbits and swimming in the pools. The beauty of nature was everywhere and many family friends were artists, no doubt influencing her two sisters to become an architect and an interior designer and her brother a graphic artist. Also, her mother was a silversmith and her solicitor father was passionate about movies, the kind that would today be termed “art” films, or “cinema d’auteur”. So much so, that he and his wife bought a small theatre called “The Everyman” and turned it into a repertory cinema, which has remained famous to this day. Here, as a young girl, Alice Fairfax-Jones, much later to become Hassanah Burton, watched all those marvelous classics, from The Battleship Potemkin and Ivan the Terrible to the movies of the French masters Cocteau, Renoir, Truffaut and others. After school Hassanah would retreat to the cinema basement where she set up a workshop and began doing silk screen painting. She trained as a school teacher with art, including pottery, as a major. Her first job was incorporating arts and crafts in a playgroup for the pre-school Save the Children Fund. Meanwhile, she continued to produce printed textiles for family and friends. And always her designs were inspired by nature, with a preference for flowers. Her personal life took her to Toronto where she opened a workshop and shop and it was at this time that she began designing clothes. She sold the business as an ongoing concern, permitting her to travel through the US and Mexico and on to Belize, keeping an illustrated diary as she went along. The experience had a major influence on her professional as well as personal development. Next, confirming her dislike of cities and her preference for living in the country, she bought a house with a barn in Wales. The barn was converted into a workshop, so she could continue developing

her creative skills, while also becoming a wife and mother. She regularly participated in arts and crafts fairs, folk festivals and the London Fashion Fair. But it was when she met architect Raymond Burton, that she knew she had found her soul-mate and true “home”, even agreeing to move to Manchester where he worked! With Raymond’s support she set up a studio in the garden and produced clothing for the well known “Nightingales” catalogue. A sabbatical took the couple to Egypt and it was on the return journey that they discovered and fell in love with the Quercy, while visiting with friends. They purchased a rundown property, returned to Manchester and came to the conclusion that Egypt and the Quercy had forever changed their preferences. Raymond managed to secure a teaching post in Cyprus and off they went. As in the past, Hassanah had to “do her own thing” which came in the form of collaboration with a factory where thread imported from Turkey could be woven into custom made fabrics and dyed and printed to order. This presented Hassanah with an unexpected, unique opportunity and was when she created her own label “Comfy clothes”. Comfortable clothing, flattering to all types of physiques, made from easy-to-wear, natural fabrics and beautifully decorated with individual prints, became Hassanah’s hall-mark. As Raymond had exhausted the teaching possibilities in Cyprus, the couple now decided to settle in the Quercy. The house near Montagudet was renovated and extended, with a studio for Raymond and a spacious workshop with generous cutting tables for Hassanah, while her son happily enrolled in a local French School. Until his passing a couple of years ago, Raymond designed and renovated many homes in the area, collaborating with local entrepreneurs and artisans. Hassanah continues to design and make her special

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

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comfortable clothes with beautiful prints for adults as well as children. Those who know her clothing always come back for more, either ordering from her directly or purchasing them in the boutique on the medieval town square of Lauzerte, “La petite Gandillone”. It is run by an association by the same name, grouping together 7 independent artisan/artists, all living and working in the immediate vicinity of Lauzerte. Here you can find ceramics and pottery, knitwear, essential oils, homemade jams and much more. If you are looking for an original gift for yourself or someone else, this is the place! An amusing legend is attached to the name of the boutique. Here is one version: During the 100 Years’ War English soldiers were posted in towns all over the region, including Lauzerte. One evening a poor widow by the name of Gandillone, counted the soldiers - one horse chestnut per soldier deposited in her apron pockets - as they left the village to go out drinking the much appreciated white wine of Touffailles and dancing in Sauveterre. When she realized only two or three soldiers were left in the

village, she ran to the town consul suggesting the gates should all be closed so the soldiers would not be able to get back into town. The unfortunate fellows who stayed at home, were thrown over the walls. Thus Lauzerte became the first town of the area to be “liberated from the English yoke”. Madame Gandillone had the gates next to her house named after her, her son was given an education and became wealthy and influential and the town was awarded the seat of the first senechal * in the Quercy. The association chose the name Gandillone because it the meaning is said to be “the one who saves and preserves”, perfectly matching the aim of the association to save and preserve history, cultural traditions and the Quercy landscape and environment. *Senechal: “a royal officer in charge of justice and control of the administration in southern provinces… equivalent to the English steward ” (Wikipedia)

Hassanah also teaches silk screen printing to children and adults and can be reached via her website: www.alicefabrics.fr

Getting together for fun, friendship and romance

Expat Dating France is an on-line dating service for those of us who live here in France. We are a growing community and welcome friends and romantics from all over France. Come and join in and get involved with some of the nicest people around. We’re looking forward to meeting you! From Katie May and the team at www.expatdatingfrance.com

Quercy Builders (82150) Stone work and all aspects of renovation Subcontractors to the trade and a professional service to the public References available No obligation quotations

info@quercybuilders.com www.quercybuilders.com 06 52 24 49 95 06 52 49 03 57

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

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www.grenier-aux-artistes.com Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


34 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

A passion for art and writing Roquecor Resident – Christine Minnée

W

hen I was a child, my grandmother used to say: “can’t you just do one thing at a time?” No, I couldn’t; I always had to explore something new. Fast forward sixty years – guess I haven’t changed; I’m still after everything that seems interesting to me. No wonder I chose art and writing; here I can have it all. I’ve written three books under my own name – one about positive thinking, one about marketing for small businesses (both in German); and, in 2000, a little one about Roquecor (82150) and life in this beautiful area (in French, English and German). I wrote for a newspaper and I was a ghost writer. People trusted me with their stories; which gave me insight into subjects as different as family secrets, fashion and fireplaces and many things in between. Well, I had never taken a single writing class. This said, it won’t surprise you that I can’t brag about a decent art education either. But I have a lot of enthusiasm and courage, which seems to make up for a couple of years in school. At least that’s what people talked about who came to my Upcycling Art Exhibition at “Le Grenier aux Artistes” in Roquecor last year. Perhaps you came too, in which case you could see that I’m thoroughly enjoying myself experimenting with ideas; trying out all kinds of things and adopting those that resonate with me; taking nothing and making it into something; and most of all, making people smile. This year, from the 14th of July till the 15th of August, I’ll be exhibiting Mixed Media Wall Art at the Café du Centre in Roquecor. Just by the name of it you can tell that this is made for crazy people like me. I can put any number of techniques into one and the same work. Wonderful! Since my little book about Roquecor will be out by then, I’ll be linking most of the artwork to the themes in the book. So that is the second subject you may want to know about. Perhaps you’ve read the first one from 2000; here is now the second edition of “Roquecor – my centre of the world”, with some of the content unchanged or updated, new subjects added and lots of coloured photos included. There are 100 pages and it’s bilingual in French and English. The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

While I’m at it, there is another good reason to come to Roquecor: the village has had a big make-over with new roads, sidewalks, a beautiful new terrace for the restaurant and some hidden corners developed. It’s really worth coming. For those of you who don’t know our village: Sunday morning is market time in Roquecor. So why not visit, you’ll be glad you did! Christine Minnée – www.christineminnee.com

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Bastille Day Open Air Celebrations in Roquecor Sunday 12 July Evening starts at 7.30pm. Live Music and dancing til late, apéritif, 5 course meal with coffee and wine included, fireworks display after the meal. Price: 18e per person (10e) for children. Reservation advised. Tickets can be reserved/bought at Epicerie Vival, or Café du Centre in Roquecor. Or by telephone – 06 03 88 11 95 (English spoken).

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

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


36 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Popular French Savings & Investments

W

orld equity markets have recovered from the days of the ‘credit crunch’, recently reaching new highs although for many, there remains a general lack of confidence with equities, coupled with a continued strategy by central banks to keep interest rates at record lows. With this backdrop, a large number of you are no doubt unsure of what to do to generate a tax efficient return on your capital. We have therefore detailed below an overview of the most popular available French savings and investments.

Bank Accounts French banks offer a variety of accounts from the current account “Compte Courant”, instant access savings account “Compte sur Livret” to fixed term deposits “Compte à Terme”. For large amounts a “Certificat de Dépôt Négotiable” can offer slightly more interest and a shorter term, if necessary. For French residents, there are also various tax-free bank accounts, most notably the “Livret A” and the “Livret de Développement Durable” (LDD) which have a maximum deposit per person of e22,950 and e12,000, respectively, plus accrued interest. The general conditions of these accounts are the same and are regulated by the government. Interest is free of all taxation and is currently 1.25% pa. For low-taxpayers, the “Livret d’Epargne Populaire” (LEP) offers an interest rate of 1.75% for savings limited to deposits of e7,700 each. To qualify currently, you must prove, via a tax certificate, that you paid less than e769 of income tax (in 2012) in France. The “Plan d’Epargne Logement” (PEL) is a four year savings plan, aimed at saving for house purchase and home improvement. There is no tax payable on the interest earned whilst you are saving, if the sum is then used for the above purpose and has been blocked for four years, it can be withdrawn free of income tax but will be subject to “social taxes”. Life Assurance Investments A very popular form of investment for French residents is the “Contrat d’Assurance Vie” (investments with a Life Assurance company). These policies are popular because they offer significant inheritance advantages, as well as beneficial tax treatment for any growth and/or income generated. To benefit from the preferential tax treatment, the insurance company provides the ‘wrapper’, allowing the investor to then choose either from a list of funds produced by the insurance company, or, for larger sums, a discretionary investment manager can be appointed to run a bespoke portfolio. All French insurance companies also offer access to their “Fonds en Euros”. This fund guarantees that the value cannot fall and at the end of each year they calculate how much they have made and distribute the investors’ shares of the ‘profits’ as interest. These investments are obliged to be very conservative, due to the level of guarantees offered and, as a result, make about 3% a year at present. The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

A recent addition to the market this year has seen the introduction of the “Euro-Croissance”. This is aimed to be an intermediary option between investing in a range of equity funds and the “Fonds en Euros”; and whilst offering a capital guaranteed, this is only after an 8 year investment period. In exchange, the “Euro-Croissance” will seek to obtain a higher return than the standard “Fonds en Euros”, with most commentators suggesting an extra point higher on average. Importantly, it is now possible to also benefit the same French inheritance advantages and beneficial tax treatment for an investment in Pounds sterling by investing in certain insurance companies based in Luxembourg. An alternative to the “Contrat d’Assurance Vie” is a “Bon de Capitalisation”, Capital Redemption Bond. The basic contract terms are the same for both types of contracts, as is the income and “social tax” treatment. However, a “Bon de Capitalisation” provides no inheritance advantages and the value on death forms part of your estate. There are however two clear advantages of using a “Bon de Capitalisation”. Firstly, for wealth tax purposes, the amount declarable is the initial investment amount (or the current value, if lower) and secondly, it can be gifted during your lifetime or left on death, which could be useful if the aim is to pass on a “family portfolio”. Share Dealing You can hold a share dealing account at your bank, a stockbroker, or on the internet. The normal safe custody account is called a “Compte Titres”. A share is an “action” and a Government or Corporate Bond is an “obligation”. Most people deal in shares through a specific form of investment called a “Plan d’Epargne en Actions” or PEA. This account allows you to hold and deal in French and European shares and provides considerable tax advantages ON CONDITION THAT no withdrawals are made for the first five years. In that case, no tax is payable on dividends nor gains, during the five year period of saving, and the withdrawal of the sum is then free of Capital Gains Tax, with only the inevitable “social taxes” being payable at 15.5% of the total gain. Withdrawals between 5 and 8 years must be made in one lump and the account closed. However, if the account is not touched for 8 years, it can then be left open and partial withdrawals can be made indefinitely. Note: Siddalls are qualified and registered independent financial advisers in France and are not lawyers or accountants. The above comments are merely a summary of our understanding of current legislation and do not cover all the details of French savings and investments. Appropriate advice is recommended before deciding on any changes to your arrangements. Peter Wakelin is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Adviser, specialised in tax, inheritance, pension and investment planning for the British community. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51, bordeaux.office@siddalls.net. www.siddalls.fr

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ROMAN ROADS PART X By Angela Richards: angerichards@aol.com

ST VICTOR – PETITE SEONE RIVER Right back in 2011 when we started our survey we reached a fork in the road at the hamlet of St Victor on the D656. The Na Bruniquel continues along the plateau towards Lacadeyre (with the Villa of Massels situated on the left about 500 metres from both the D656 and the Voie Romaine), already documented in Part III (June Issue 2012). The Carte Archeologique de la Gaule, Le Lot-etGaronne by Brieuc Fages wrote about the commune of Blaymont and mentioned “At the heights of SaintVictor, a secondary ‘voie’ which leaves the Camino de Na Brunique, passes La Merline and Monplaisir and descends down to the Petite Seoune valley. This ‘chemin’ conserves in several areas evidence of pathing.” (A.Martel, the width is again 20m: Tholin (G), 1900, p.40-41.)

types of crosses situated at crossroads on our ‘voie’ and we believe these would indicate that older pagan statues or mileage markers placed during the Roman and pre-Roman era were replaced with crosses with the arrival of Christianity. The next few photos show the ‘voie’ descending downhill to the Petite Seoune Valley.

One sunny cold winter’s afternoon we decided to retrace this ‘voie’ as part of our survey and to see if we could discover any trace of the pathing. We found no traces of anything Roman, but it was a nice walk! The point of depart where the D656 carries on to the left, the Na Bruniquel disappears underneath or next to the modern villa, parallel with the D656 and the old Roman road to the Petite Seone goes straight on passing by the same villa heading towards Merline and Monplaisir. Beside the modern villa there is a curious shaped old stone cross. During our survey we have found several The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

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A short pause to check all our maps, both modern and the Cantonale 1870’s copy downloaded from the Archives 47 website.

We finally arrived in the valley and went to check the bridge over the Petite Seoune. This could originally have had a Roman bridge but we have been informed that the one we see now is Medieval. The Cantonale map from the Archives 47 website shows the modern D656 outlined in black with the Na Bruniquel in Red running roughly parallel. The Petite Seoune River shows the original contributories before the construction of the modern reservoir. Our outing

is outlined in purple and shown as Voie Secondaire No.1. Although we have not walked the second voie we believe it must exist as the Massels Roman Villa is on the plateau in the same direction and this would have been a more direct route. We are unsure where the road went after the junction with No.2, but believe it could have continued along the river valley towards Montaigu de Quercy (previously called Montaigu d’Agenais), as shown on the map. It could also have arrived at a crossroads which turning right, crossed over the river joining up with another Voie that we believe comes along the same valley all the way from Castelculier, heading up past where Beauville is now, and on towards Bourg de Visa. These will be subject to further investigation at a later date.

Silhouettes of Angie and David in the late afternoon sunshine taken in the valley near the river.

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


40 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

A LOT OF

GREAT FOOD

Stewart Andersen visits a village in south-west France and has lunch at the Café de France

T

he truth is, there’s absolutely nothing better than waking up with the sunlight making stripes across your bedroom walls. As the day peers through the shutters you can feel its warmth. You get dressed and stroll into your local village to buy fresh, hot bread, have a coffee and a pastry in the café and then there’s the slow walk home feeling the heat of the day gathering strength. It’s a fact that there are thousands of people living exactly that lifestyle right now because they have bought a home in the sun. And there are almost certainly as many thousands who are thinking of little else but the day they can wave goodbye to the removals van.

Friendly people People are no longer as worried about the distances separating them from their home country. The brake on many couples moving to a home abroad was the fact that they would rarely see their loved ones. Now, thanks to cheaper and faster flights and the Internet, it’s so much easier keeping in touch. The south-west of France has attracted many newcomers for a variety of reasons – climate, delicious food, exceptional wines and above all, friendly people who make other nationalities feel at home. A small town in the Lot region of France, Montcuq, has had, for the last 30 or 40 years a strong pull on people from around the world. Sit on the terrace of the Café de France, for example, and you’ll hear languages and accents from places as far apart as Holland, Denmark, Belgium, the UK, America, Norway, Australia, Spain, Portugal, South America and, of course, France.

The Café de France Two people, who have made France their home, Patrick Henrotin and his wife Penny, chose the village for a variety of reasons. “I’d been working for a major restaurant chain for a number of years,” explained Patrick, “and we felt that the time had come for me to branch out on my own. “We had owned a holiday home in the country near Montcuq for some time and when the Café de France became available we decided to give it a go. I suppose in a sense, because we had lived in the area for some while, we had a pretty good idea what would appeal to our clients. And we’ve lots of friends in the region.” They took over a business that had been a success for a number of years and was well known to both locals and The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

expats. Explained Patrick: “The Café de France had always attracted clients who enjoyed sitting out on the terrace in the shade of a chestnut tree in the summer and in the winter having relaxing lunches and dinners in our cosy dining room with the wood burning stove.” “We decided to modernise the kitchen’s infrastructure and to change the menu to suit the ever-increasing number of international clients. One of the great advantages of being located in the heart of such an amazing agricultural region is that we are able to buy most of our meat, cheese, bread, fruits and wine from local producers. “Our starters range from beef or salmon carpaccio to goat’s cheese on toast drizzled with golden honey, while our main courses include such dishes as scallops and prawn Thai curry served with jasmin rice. Another popular dish is a delicious Piece du Boucher, flambé with brandy. In addition to our regular activities, we’ve wine tastings and special curry nights. Making our home in the Lot and taking on the restaurant has changed our lives completely and definitely for the better.”

Ease of access One of the reasons a specific destination becomes so popular is ease of access. For most people it’s no use owning a second home if getting there takes a great deal of money and even worse, time. In the case of Montcuq, the nearest large town is Cahors, some 20 minutes drive away (and home to an exceptionally strong red wine) and with a direct rail connection to Paris and Toulouse. And of course, the French capital and Toulouse have superb airports with global links. In addition, from northern Europe, a network of motorways leads from Calais, Caen and Saint Malo to within a short drive to Montcuq. www.cafedefrance-montcuq.com

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Summer Side Dishes

One of the most memorable salads I’ve ever had was so simple I almost feel silly telling you about it. Picture a ripe local tomato, perfectly juicy, bright red and picked at the height of the season. Now imagine the taste of that tomato, thinly sliced, scattered with sweet, purple shallots and dressed with nothing more than a drizzle of good olive oil, fleur de sel and freshly-grated pepper. I ate that gorgeous salad one summer at the Sunday Marchés des Producteurs in Soumensac, and I will probably never forget it. Once, in a moment of desperation, I tried to recreate it at home, with a tomato I well knew just wasn’t going to cut it. It wasn’t in season, and it probably came from a greenhouse. Needless to say, the disappointment was substantial. The key to making great salads and side dishes all comes down to the use of seasonal, local products. It’s something that the French seem to do effortlessly, almost intuitively. But interestingly enough, they can also work magic with an ordinary can of beans, as you’ll see in the recipe below (inspired by a side dish I once ate at a barbecue in France). Great food is all about simplicity. It’s about letting the ingredients shine. This summer, forget the fussy cooking and let the market (and your taste buds) be your main source of inspiration. In the meantime, here are two easy side dishes to enjoy at your next picnic, barbecue, or with your next roast chicken; and should it happen to come from the local market, all the better. Stay cool, eat well and

Bon Appétit !

Flageolets à la Dijonnaise

Method Combine the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, paprika powder and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Add the beans along with the ham and parsley and mix well. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour and serve.

Serves 4 ¾ tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsps Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp paprika powder, fleur de sel, freshly-ground pepper, 2 cans of flageolet beans (400 g), drained and rinsed, 150 g ham, cut in small strips, 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salade de Poivrons

Method

Serves 4 2 tbsps mild olive oil 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced 3 peppers, cleaned, halved and thinly sliced fleur de sel freshly-ground pepper 100 g green garlic olives, chopped 60 g capers

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently soften the garlic. Increase the heat, add the peppers, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until soft. Transfer the warm peppers to a bowl, and stir in the olives and capers. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve.

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

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


42 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Summer in the Quercy =

Melon time! by Jeanne McCaul, Lauzerte

As you read this the first Quercy melons should be available on your local farmers’ market as well as in your favorite supermarket. Perhaps you already know how to choose a good one, but perhaps you were unaware of just what a wonderful fruit it is and how many varieties exist!

M

elons belong to the cucurbitaceous family and the cucumis genus and originated in South West Asia. Interestingly, watermelons belong to the citrullus genus and originated in Africa. In China melons have been well known for centuries for their digestive and diuretic qualities, and the seeds are used to this day to keep fevers in check. The fruit is also considered to be anti-cancerous and, like grapes, is a favorite for “de-tox” cures. Per 100 grams weight, melons contain a mere 48 calories/200 kilojoules. The vitamin C content is higher than in apples, pears or apricots, while melons also contain significant quantities of vitamin A and B, as well as minerals and trace elements such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine. Potassium content is high at 300mg per 100gr. Several varieties of melons were introduced to Europe by the Romans and were known by the generic Latin name “malepepo” and, it seems, was one of the earliest plants to be domesticated in both the so-called “old” and “new” worlds – taken there by European explorers and settlers. The delicious Quercy melon belongs to the Charentais type, of which there are many, literally dozens, of different varieties, all displaying the distinct characteristics of a whitish, green striped, mat or slightly shiny, but usually rough skin (professionals speak of the “écriture”), with highly aromatic, orange flesh. A ripe Quercy melon should show nuances of yellow with the stem beginning to detach at its base and have a distinct aroma. Melons are cultivated from seeds which are developed by a number of different large seed companies such as Clause, Nunhems, Sakata, Syngenta… These companies all pride themselves in developing improved, new varieties by crossing The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

between plants (they do not modify the genes, so they are not GM’s) to obtain varieties suitable, or ideal, for different climates, seasons and soils. The seeds are then passed on to a producer of market garden plants, who will in turn sell the plants on to growers, from large local or foreign concerns to small holding farmers and in some cases also individuals. Large concerns will typically sell their produce to supermarkets, while farmers will sell at nearby street markets or even from home. If you find yourself on the road between Lauzerte in the Tarn & Garonne department and Montcuq in the Lot, you will notice a large expanse of hothouses and a board indicating “Fraunié Plants” and perhaps you’ll wonder what it is all about. Well, that is where our melon plants are cultivated and exported far and wide. The hothouses cover 4.5 hectares, sheltering thousands upon thousands of tiny plants, all carefully ensconced in small compartments in specially adapted soil, including peat, brought all the way from Northern Germany. But the real surprise comes when you look closer and notice that, delicate as they are, they are all grafted and held together with miniature pincers. No wonder that Fraunié employs a dedicated staff of over 100, trained to do the grafting and take care of the plants. The Fraunié family have been in the plant growing business, initially cereals and pulses, since 1987. Today the range includes garden vegetables and herbs and the company has been Ecocert organic certified since 2009. They have been grafting melon plants since 2005. “In the early days, melons were grafted exclusively onto squash rootstock. Very hardy, but with the drawback of a slight pumpkin undertone. The Italians, being very particular about taste, began grafting melons onto melon root stock and we followed

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suit around 2008”, Jean-Claude Fraunié explains. “Grafting prevents the development of fusarium oxysporum, a fungus that thrives specifically on melons, much like phylloxera attacks grape vines and indeed all but destroyed the wine industry a century ago, leading to the generalized practice of grafting of vines.” Equally importantly, grafting enhances the selection of varieties well adapted to the needs of growers in different areas as well as those of consumers, who have become very demanding and selective. “One of the positive aspects of the organic movement is that growers are more and more inclined to respect the end-user: you and me, especially our preference for tasty as well as healthy food. In the past, growers were tempted to comply primarily with the needs of supermarkets, meaning that resistance to bruises during transport and manipulation and shelf life were primary considerations, along with visual appearance. Today, this approach is changing fast. The days of beautiful, but tasteless tomatoes and strawberries – the two most famous culprits – are all but gone. Even consumers with very limited resources prefer to consume less, but better and give preference to taste as well as nutritional and health concerns. By developing a large range of different grafted varieties, we are able to grow excellent melons under varying conditions and over a longer season, typically getting a quality product to the consumer roughly from July until October in the Quercy region. If you eat a good melon early in the season, chances are it might be, for instance, an Alonso, an Arapaho or a Gandalf. Later in the season it might be a Hugo or a Match. However, don’t be disappointed if the vendor is unable to tell you which variety you are buying, there are simply too many”. By the way, if you are wondering why you see so much white plastic covering orchards and other

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plantations, the reason is that many insects, such as aphids, are repulsed by white, which means limiting the use of pesticides, while of course also creating micro-climates. But what makes Quercy melons so special? The secret is in the soil. The clay-lime soil of the region is ideal for melons. Clay is an excellent natural support for retaining moisture and the lime is what gives melons – and for that matter many other fruits – their aroma. And what about melons from Cavaillon or the Gers? According to Mr Fraunié, “they are essentially all the same plants, and in fact most likely from our hothouses but, in addition to the grower’s talents, the terroir will make all the difference, just like for grapes and wine. Of course, the locals will always claim their terroir and product is the best!” And on that note, a final comment: many nutritionists argue that fruit is best eaten separate from meals and, in particular due to their digestive and diuretic qualities, this certainly applies to all types of melons. They are best eaten before meals and on their own and even better first thing in the morning. A melon a day keeps the doctor away! For more information and for purchasing plants visit www.fraunie.plants.fr

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


44 • 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.

Summer, Scavenging, & Scaring The French! Summer has finally arrived (was Spring especially long this year, or is it just me?)! The vine is now in full growth cycle, and we have just finished l’épamprage. This is the process of removing the suckers growing up from the base of the vine (just like you do with rose bushes), this extra growth would otherwise draw energy away from the main plant, and of course the fruit. In some vineyards this is done chemically or mechanically; we do it by hand using a long tool with a blade at the bottom (to save ourselves from too much bending down). The cuts need to be done quite accurately in order to prevent the sucker re-sprouting and so as not to damage the main vine trunk. This is followed by a selective removal of shoots on the branches themselves, allowing better airflow (essential in organic farming) and improved quality and complexity of flavour in the fruit. Throughout the growth season we will be mowing and strimming between and beneath the vines. The grass is prevented from reaching the fruits and inhibiting their “breathing space”, and the cuttings are returned to the ground as a natural fertiliser. Fortunately, as the weather heats up and the growth slows down, we have a little bit of extra time to do other things.

Recycling and Culture

As usual, this year in Puy l’Evêque and the surrounding area, we are lucky enough to have a fantastic selection of entertainment and events available to us; sometimes the only problem is which one to choose! There is music (every genre imaginable), theatre (even in English!), gourmet markets, fine dining, dancing, sport, wine tasting – in fact, almost anything you can imagine. Apart from the obvious wine tasting, one of my favourite things to do, is hunting through the vide greniers on a Sunday morning. Some people would accuse me of hoarding junk, but in fact, I’m recycling! The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

PHOTO CREDITS – LOU BOPP - WWW.LOUBOPP.COM

Summer is Here!

Haggling in France is a slightly different ballgame to the one you might be used to. The standard phrase in use seems to be “Quel est votre dernier prix?” putting the onus on the seller to come up with a figure. If you make an insultingly low offer, you will probably get a “pffffffff” (fast exhalation of air) followed by a very firm “non” – end of negotiation. Whatever you do, start off with a “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur”, or you will have already lost the battle! Second-hand prices are much higher here, however you will come across an interesting array of random (one of my favourite words, that doesn’t really have a single translation) stuff! Keep your eyes peeled for museum worthy old agricultural implements, and items of treen or glass long redundant in a local chai. If you are lucky, you may even find a truc machin bidule (translation answers on a postcard)!

Hand Signals and Hugging

Every week in my French lesson, I seem to discover another way that I have been offending. This week I discovered that I have surely been upsetting my French musician friends! During a particularly good rendition of a song, I have been encouragingly (or so I thought) giving

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 45

them the “A-Ok” sign (the one where you make an “O” by putting your thumb and first finger together). Now I’ve found out that to the French, this actually means “zero/ rubbish”. I also found out that many French are afraid of hugging (I have a lot of American friends, so I’m definitely a “hugger”). To top it off, I learnt the importance of saying goodbye – apparently to leave without saying it is called “filer a

l’anglaise”! So, in a nutshell, over the last ten years or so, I’ve been arriving, terrifying everyone, criticising them and finally, insulting them by slipping away discreetly! How many more years before I stop offending people by accident? Enjoy your summer, and don’t forget to try the wonderful Malbec (and if you live here, try one from a domaine that you don’t already know)!

Visitors are welcome to the property. We are open from June to Sept, from 2pm to 7pm. Wed and Sun 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.

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

Regular van deliveries to and from the UK

Mob 0044(0)7841220980 www.fourgonconclusions.co.uk

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


46 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 47

FOR ALL YOUR BILINGUAL ADMINISTRATION NEEDS Having lived and worked in France for 15 years, I can help with all your French bureaucracy problems, phone calls, letters, bookkeeping, AE etc. SIRET: 4499428790049

Contact: Melinda Aldous on 0603881195 or melindaaldous@gmail.com The Association Maxou Brouelles Eglises et Patrimoine organises concerts in one or other of the churches. The aim is to raise money for the refurbishment of the churches of the 2 villages and the local places of interest. Our summer concert will take place at Maxou Church (46090), Tues 29th July at 21h Free entry – donations to raise money for the refurbishment of the two churches We are presenting a duo – Sylvie Pons – Mezzo Soprano who has the most superb voice and Matthias Berchadsky – Guitar an excellent guitarist. The programme is classical music – spanish and italian composers A very listenable programme even if you’re not a classical music fan! Contact: sheila.antaki@wanadoo.fr – 06 73 32 67 62

Les Amis des Chats – Annual Balade Sunday July 27 Join around 30 classic, vintage and road cars in a 50km drive through the beautiful Quercy countryside ending with a BBQ lunch. For details and a booking form see:

www.les-amis-des-chats.com

Orchestre du Centre Philharmonique – 26 July to 1 August

“Grand Gala d’Opéra” Many of our audience remember with pleasure the operas and lyric concerts which the OCP presented in the open air each summer for many years – Marriage of Figaro, Carmen, Daughter of the Regiment, Don Pasquale, Music on a Summer’s Night, Mireille… Alas, after 2009 it became just too difficult financially to continue this tradition. But this year we have decided to take the plunge again, and hope you will too! There is bound to be a concert near you. The programme is still ‘under construction’, but will include duos, trios, vocal ensembles, overtures, ballet music… There will be extracts from Mozart’s Cosi van Tutte, Bellini’s Norma, Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, the quartet from Verdi’s Rigoletto… The soloists are all well-known to our recent audiences – soprano Marie-Caroline Kfoury, mezzo-soprano Sandra Mila, tenor Joseph Kauzman, and baritone Benjamin Welsch. The enthusiastic and talented youngsters (and some less young!) of the orchestra are already looking forward to participating in this late July/early August extravaganza, which will as always be under the direction of Richard Beswick. The concerts all start at 20.30, but you can benefit from the wonderful settings and summer evening weather by bringing your picnic from 19.00 onwards: in the unlikely (we hope!) event of bad weather, an indoor venue is held in

reserve nearby for the outdoor concerts. Please come and bring your family, friends, and visitors and enjoy a fabulous evening! Verteuil d’Agenais 47260 Saturday 26 July at the Château Castillonnès 47770 Sunday 27 July in the Cour de la Mairie Bergerac 24210 Monday 28 July in the Cloître des Récollets Puy l’Evêque 46700 Tuesday 29 July at the Château du Cayrou Casteljaloux 47700 Wednesday 30 July in the Salle de la Bartère Duras 47210 Thursday 31 July at the Château Penne d’Agenais 47140 Friday 1 August à la Grange de Nègre Adults 20e, 12 to 25 years and concessions 10e, less than 12 years free Tickets at the entry and reservations on 05 53 88 27 83. Enquiries in English 05 65 36 45 98 Check our website www.ocp-verteuil.com nearer the time for more information!

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


Our fully equipped local workshop provides a full range of bespoke joinery. We can provide made to measure doors, windows, staircases, wardrobes, fitted kitchens, shutters, libraries, or even double glaze your existing windows. We can also supply flooring, skirting, architrave, mouldings and finished timber. To make an appointment for an initial consultation and a free personalised quote call us on 06 03 88 11 95. As a bilingual company, we can also liaise with a range of local ÂŤ artisans Âť to facilitate any size of project. (46, 47, 82). Mail : paul.dixon0666@gmail.com

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50 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

O

A Train Near You

nce upon a time rural France rejoiced in a network of cross country railways just like rural England. Then, just like rural England came their Beeching moment when the service was axed as unprofitable and this was before Monsieur Everyman owned a car. In fact the rural chug-chug lasted barely 15 years and was probably out of date even before it came into service. One such Line in the Tarn and Garonne, Line No.6 went from Valence d’Agen to Montaigu de Quercy. Known as the Tramway in spite of the engine being a steam locomotive it was a small feat of engineering given the various gradients en route. The Regional Council on instructions from Paris enacted the plan Freycinet to link all Prefectures, sub Prefectures and cantonal towns no matter how rural. The line was first mooted in 1907 although plans for crossing the region had already been discussed years before. Completion date was expected by 1914 but the Great War intervened with an urgent need for materials and the line finally came into service in 1919. By 1934 it was already losing money and rural bus services were springing up offering cheaper competition and a hopefully more reliable service. Thus the Tramway was closed down and the assets sold off. Even so, the service was never a commercial success as it took 2 hours, 15 minutes to cover the 43 kilometres. It ran twice a day with a modified timetable on fair and market days and jogged along at around 17kph. The line started at Valence d’Agen ( near the current SNCF station), went through Lalande to St Clar/ St Paul d’Espis, along the valley floor parallel with the D953 to just short of Fourquet. There it turned north to Castelsagrat, after which a tunnel of 200 metres was built between Castelsagrat and Brassac to manage the incline. The line then followed the current D7 to Bourg de Visa, the highest point in the journey at The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

220 metres above sea level, then taking a route east round the Bourg went down to below Lacour. Further on another tunnel of 157 metres was built and emerged just below Roquecor and finally the line continued to its destination at Montaigu. Much of the construction work was done by foreign labour, probably by Italian immigrants who had arrived in the region to replace many agricultural workers who were already migrating to the cities. Compared to national railways the tramway was rather dinky consisting of a steam locomotive, possibly a Corpet-Louvet weighing around 17 tonnes. This was coupled to a first and second class carriage and finally a goods wagon. Passengers told the conductor when they got on where they wanted to be dropped as there were various halts along the way, perhaps some optional and timetables were fairly flexible due to the amount and type of freight loaded and unloaded during the journey. Occasionally the train came off the track, particularly on the gradients, which offered passers-by a little novelty to their rural lives and which presumably made the timetable even more unreliable. Adults were also invited to walk alongside the train to relieve the weight on steeper gradients. No wonder that the company running the tramway had a disclaimer in their terms and conditions stating that the tramway could not guarantee to arrive at a major railway station in time to connect with the main line trains. There are still some vestiges of this service in the area although it is mainly seen in the small stations built to similar specifications and now turned into dwellings. Usually one main hall and a smaller goods section attached, on a higher level to facilitate loading. Examples of these similar stations can still be seen at St Clair, Castelsagrat, Brassac, Bourg de Visa, Lacour, Roquecor and Montaigu. The two tunnels have now been sealed off and difficult to locate and the railway lines are long gone.

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There is a trace of a rail line just east of the roundabout at Fourqet in the lieu dit Bordeneuve Bas. This was part of another line which was being built between Cahors and Moissac. The planed route would have taken in Montcuq, Lauzerte, Miramont/Montesquieu and Castelsagrat, where presumably passengers on Line 6 could change trains for Moissac. This line was mooted around the same time as Line 6. The war halted progress, then various construction issues arose, primarily financial and the line which was never completed was finally abandoned near Fourquet during World War2. While the tramway system was taking years to complete, bus and road transport companies were springing up and competition became quite fierce. Thus eventually the bus companies took over rural transport and like the tramway could transport parcels as well as passengers and could manage the gradients better. Although they lasted longer than the tramway, as rural populations diminished and personal transport became easily available the regular bus service went the way of the tramway. Such is progress. The buses were useful though; I remember one daily service through the villages in the south of the Dordogne in the 1970’s, which terminated in Perigueux, the regional town. If you gave the bus driver your vehicle papers plus a small tip he would queue up at the Prefecture during his waiting period and bring back your new log book on the evening return journey, thus avoiding a tedious day out. Now, that was service! Jeannette Mc George

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

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Also, Building Materials, Pipe Laying and Skip Hire

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


52 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation (please see our website for full contact information) Religiously July and August are quite quiet, so this piece will be about Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals in the Midi Pyrenees & Aude, the area the Chaplaincy covers. Many ex-pats only get in touch with the church when a loved one dies and they are overcome with grief, but we also have much happier occasions. Many members of our congregations have families and we offer baptisms – from small babies to adults. We are always delighted when someone asks about Baptism for their baby, sometimes known as Christening. We can help you prepare for one of the most important days in your baby’s life. Baptism is open to everyone and it costs nothing. If you would like to know more speak to the Chaplain, or one of the Assistant Chaplains, who will advise you on what you need to do before a Service of Baptism takes place. Baptism is normally part of the Sunday church service where your baby will be welcomed into the Christian Family. It is possible to use other churches but we will need the permission of the local Catholic priest or Reformed Church pastor. Godparents and parents make promises for the child, and for themselves, to help the children grow in the Christian faith. They should all have been baptised, and they are normally always adults. Godparents should be chosen because they will be there to help and support appropriately the children as they grow to maturity. The special form must be completed and returned to the Chaplaincy Secretary at least 4 months prior to the anticipated date of the church ceremony in order to ensure that the Minister and the church building are available and all the formalities completed. We take about 10 weddings a year around the Chaplaincy – most of them in the summer months. We’re always delighted that you plan to marry and would like to help make your day very special. All ceremonies relating to marriage normally take place in one of the church buildings we regularly use. A church ceremony relating to marriage can only take place following civil marriage either in France or in a country recognised under French Civil Law. Needless to say there are certain criteria, but they are not burdensome – you are eligible, both here and throughout France, if one of you is on the chaplaincy electoral roll, OR one or both of you, or a parent, live for at least part of the year in the chaplaincy. If one or both of you is divorced please do not hesitate to contact The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

us. We know that, sadly, marriages can break down for many reasons, and we do not pre-judge. Once we hear from you, the Chaplain will be pleased to meet you both to discuss your individual circumstances. What we do require is a commitment to God and to each other in marriage preparation classes. These are arranged in your discussion with the Chaplain. The chaplaincy fee is e450 + travels costs – this is the same as in the UK. In fact the only things we will NOT do are “destination weddings” where the venue is more important than the ceremony and the commitment, and weddings where there have been pre-nuptial financial agreements. We take between 15 – 20 funerals every year and often there is an urgency especially as the process can be quite complicated. It’s not just a question of contacting a Funeral Director and letting him/ her organise everything. In France a death must be registered within 24 hours and that burial or cremation must normally take place within 6 days. No cause of death is given on the death certificate. Repatriation of a body can cost in the region of e6,000 however, it’s cheaper to have a cremation here then take the ashes back to your chosen country. It is illegal to disregard the legal last wishes of the deceased; likewise it is against the law to keep the ashes of a loved one in the house and to do so would incur a fine of e15,000. But, your loved one can be buried on his/her private land, subject to certain conditions; and in the case of a cremation, their ashes can be interred, in an urn, on private land. It’s also wise to take out some kind of insurance to cover funeral costs as the bank will immediately freeze the account of the deceased (although banks will allow the release of funds to cover funeral costs up to 3,000e). One can have a funeral service in English here, either in church or at a crematorium, as well as a memorial service, if desired. The Chaplaincy of Midi-Pyrenees and Aude is happy to give you advice on how to prepare for your funeral; they have produced a form to help you compile a list of your wishes; which hymns you would like (up to 3), which bible readings(or poems), whether you would like any special music played and so on. A copy will be kept by the clergy and a copy should be given to your next of kin. The service costs e300 – to cover the cost of the clergy (as in the UK) – and although it sounds hard it is worth getting estimates if your loved one is ill and likely to die sooner rather than later – the

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Benjamin Cuzange Debt Collection Agent 09 79 05 78 30 / 06 82 79 44 94

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Funeral Directors’ charges can vary. The Chaplaincy website also has a French language piece for Funeral Directors so that they too can get in contact with us if we are needed. We try and keep in touch with the bereaved family members each year in November when we hold a special All Saints, All Souls Service in Cahors – the French remember their dead at the same time by visiting cemeteries and placing chrysanthemums on the gravestones – we remember by placing white roses in a vase. All the services, baptisms, weddings and funerals can be organised on a bi-lingual basis and we are always grateful to our Roman Catholic friends whose churches we use for all the services. If you are interested in any of our services and the Sunday services held every week throughout the Chaplaincy please visit www.churchinmidipa.org where all this information can be found.

Coping with Bereavement A few years ago we published an article by English Undertaker Angela Clohessy Dip. FD LMBIFD giving advice about what to do when faced with bereavement in France. This is a difficult subject; but the sort of information that may be invaluable. If anyone would like a copy of the article emailing to them, then please email info@quercylocal – simply stating Angela’s article. We thank Angela for allowing us to use her article again in this way.

And finally, 2014 is the COMMEMORATION OF THE CENTENARY OF THE START OF WORLD WAR I This year we commemorate the centenary of the start of the WW1. Serving as Christians in Continental Europe gives us a special opportunity and indeed, a deep responsibility, to engage as a Diocese both locally and ecumenically in marking this important event. Within the Chaplaincy, it has been agreed that we would commemorate the centenary on Remembrance Sunday throughout the Chaplaincy on 9th November 2014. There are events taking place in the UK, but most of them are in August which was the month the war started. For us in France, this is a time when many of our regular worshippers are away, which is why we thought November would be better. If you need further information, helpful websites are: www.churchofengland.org and www.westminster-abbey.org. Information should be on these sites now.

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

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014


54 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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• Roofing – Leak finding and fixing, cleaning and moss removal, guttering, ridges, tiles, battens, beams, insulation. We can make small repairs, carry out preventative maintenance or fit a whole new roof. No job too small or too large! • Satellite Television – Everything from new installations to servicing and adjustments for all service providers, including, Humax, Freesat, Sky, Sky+HD, TF1, Orange, SFR and many others! • Wifi and Local Area Networking – Fault finding and repairs, installations of local area networking systems and general maintenance. • Gite Cleaning and Maintenance – Full service for resident or absent owners, cleaning, gardening, Meet & Greet, pool cleaning, you name it! Call to arrange a free estimate. Always top quality service at an affordable price! Matt Piper: 06 72 56 73 77 or 06 88 88 28 62 email: mattsnipe@live.co.uk

The Quercy Local • July-August 2014

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APM

Profile for The Magazine Production Company

The Quercy Local July-August 2014  

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 July-August 2014  

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...