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March - April 2017 Issue 28

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE magazine in English

Inside – Old Dogs, Donkeys & Gastropods Easter Puddings, Non-Conformity & Classic Cars

Welcome to Spring



Welcome to the first edition of the magazine for 2017. Well, we thought that 2016 was extra-ordinary but sadly 2017 is shaping up to compete nicely. However, as pertinent as many issues are to those living-in and with an interest-in this region, we’re going to avoid running a blow-by-blow account on what is still generally ‘Brexit’ speculation. Instead we’re looking forward to the colours of spring as well as the start of another season of great food and wines. Indeed we’ve got plenty of chocolate, lemon curd and caramel. Diets forgotten, we move towards a delicious Easter! We’re delighted to be able to highlight some of the very many joys of adopting senior dogs. We then take a look at a few places where you can meet some lovely local donkeys (if you need an excuse – then wait for the grandchildren to arrive). You will also find some background to a few local businesses, some new and some less-so. Please do try to support our advertisers, it’s their support that gets the magazine to this point each time. The next edition will be out for the start of May, we hope to catch you again then.

Anna Email:


CONTENTS Montjoi – Art Gallery Classical Speed Parisot – Charity Shop L’ Occitanie Cancer Support France Le Temps de Guitares Gastropods Spring Cleaning Club Jardinage de Lauzerte Old Dogs and New Lives Insurance Questions? Eco-housing Am Dram - Montaigu de Quercy Professeur de Chant Cat’s Tongues 2 Chefs – Easter Puddings Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Cake Anglican Church – Cahors Beauville Tasting the Lot Quercy Comment – Non-Conformity Making Your Money Last Need More Energy? From Testicles to Brandy and Beyond Donkey Milk Donkey Refuge and Walking Domaine de Sangliers


p.8 p.11 p.14 p.18 p.20 p.22 p.24 p.28 p.32 p.34 p.42 p.44 p.46 p.47 p.48 p.50 p.52 p.58 p.60 p.66 p.68 p.70 p.72 p.74 p.76 p.78 p.80


From our website you can – Subscribe to receive the magazine directly to your home, read the magazines on line, sign up for our newsletter, add your business to our free on-line directory and find our advertising rates. You can also follow us on twitter @QuercyLocal or ‘like’ us on Facebook –

The Quercy Local ISSN: 2116-0392. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietor. No responsibility is accepted for any claim made by advertisers. All content accepted and printed in good faith. Please check that all advertisers are registered businesses in France or elsewhere in their relevant home country. The Quercy Local is owned and managed by A Atkinson (Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190): Siret: 518 460 605 00018. It’s produced by the Magazine Production Company, West Sussex, UK. Printed by Gráficas Piquer. Admin. Valérie Rousseau.


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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017



The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local

ART GALLERY WITH PERMANENT EXHIBITION OF 30 PAINTERS, SCULPTORS & VISUAL ARTISTS Open from April to the end of October and then in December. Wednesday to Sunday from 10h30 to 19h and then in July and August – every day from 10:30 to 19:00. By appointment at other times.

There will be vernissages in May, June, September, December – please see our website for confirmed dates.

1 - 15th May this year – a private sale of artists work art27galerie - rue du Porche - 82400 MONTJOI edwige capelle -


Historical Walls Embracing New Art The shock of discovering joy in an unexpected place makes its charm all the more seductive


ontjoi (82400) which sits high on the side of a lush green valley is truly one of the region’s most attractive villages. Visitors park outside the village and then enter on foot under the arched gateway to the narrow streets, quaint houses and stunning roses clinging to white, quercy-stone buildings and half-timbered façades. Without the addition of any further attractions Montjoi is reason enough to pass time in this lovely corner of the Tarn et Garonne. Tucked away in this fairy-tale 13th-century, bastide is Galerie Art 27; a haven and oasis of colour and gaiety. You’ll find the gallery just after you enter the village on the right hand side of the cobbled street, in one of the renovated medieval houses. All of the work involved in bringing this ancient building back to life and filling it with wonderful collections of art has been a labour of love for its owner, a lady motivated by a passion for the arts and thankfully this perfect village setting. The gallery’s owner, and Montjoi resident, Edwige Capelle, greets all her visitors with a warm smile. It’s a warmth that reveals much of the spirit and attitude of the gallery. The minute you cross the threshold your curiosity will be aroused, your appetite and interest to discover more is awakened. The exhibits are eclectic and include iron, bronze, terracotta, paper, mosaics, resin, oils, and acrylics. All of which lead visitors along a pathway to the discovery of texture, media and different artistic techniques but above all to the heart of inspiration and emotion. The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


As well as displaying works of art, the gallery is a place for painters, sculptors, engravers and other visual artists to exchange ideas and enjoy seeing the juxta play of each other’s work, colours, techniques and textures. A veritable palette of artistic joy! Edwige’s commitment to making her new gallery a unique venue, a place where artists and visitors can take pleasure in lingering; is matched only by the commitment of the artists. Artists both young-up-and-coming and confirmed exhibiting-celebrities all of whom are so pleased to show their work in her airy, renovated yet ancient space. So whether your pleasure is simply to visit beautiful regional villages or to take the time to appreciate different artistic works (hopefully both) then a trip to Montjoi should surely make its way onto your list of ‘things to do’ and ‘places to go’.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


CARETAKERS REQUIRED • Large property near Belfort Du Quercy • Seeking assistance with property management, cleaning (rental turnaround) & gardening • Caretakers must be experienced with references Please contact: for information

CHRIS CONNELLY DRONE & GROUND PHOTOGRAPHY Gîtes, Real Estate, Receptions & more


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Emergency numbers Medical Help/SAMU 15 Out of hours Doctor 3966 Police/Police Nationale (Gendarmerie) 17 Fire & Accident/Sapeurs Pompiers


SOS – All Services (calling from a mobile) 112 Child in Danger (child protection) 119 Missing Child

116 000

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local



idier Cruvelier is an enthusiast, with two passions, classic cars and business. In April 2013 he created Speed Classic. Two years later he was joined by fellow enthusiast and associate Guy Calbet. Didier was in his fifties when he started racing, enjoying success at the wheel of his favourite ‘73 Porsche 911. His greatest memory? A wet day at Nogaro, passing numerous Morgans, Alpines and Escorts to take the chequered flag. Guy, a pilot who combines his knowledge of cars with speed and precision at the wheel, won several hillclimbing races with his Alpine 1300, 1600, 1800’s before changing to his current Porsche 911 3.0 SC.

Speed Classic is to be found on the outskirts of Agen in the heart of the Industrial zone ‘Jean Malèze’ in Castelculier. With its showroom and workshop, it is a place dedicated to the pleasure of driving through time on four wheels! The location has become the meeting place for lovers of beautiful classics, drawing like-minded people from all over France, Italy & England. A visit to their showroom is enough to capture the hearts of any classic car enthusiast. Lined up like soldiers at a parade boasting their former glory and their new youth acquired through the expertise of Speed Classic. The establishment offers pre-owned cars for sale and a full restoration service for those wishing to give

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


their car a new lease of life. Workshop technicians are capable of undertaking restoration and repairs on all car models, old and new. “Be it for mechanics or bodywork, we are uncompromising”. Technician David comes from the Ales school of performance and worked with ART Grand Prix on the MACLAREN MP4 12C and rally cars. Colleague Guillaume hails from the Nogaro School of performance, and has worked with IMSA, a Porsche dealer and Racing team and with VIP Challenge, who organise touring car championships. With our passionate and competitive technicians “we commit ourselves to the highest standards, only the very best is good enough.” clarifies Didier. As part of their comprehensive service, the Speed Classic team also help you find the vehicle you are looking for. You can trade-in your current vehicle, or we can sell it on your behalf. We offer a delivery service anywhere in France. Everything is serviced by us in our workshops and has a comprehensive guarantee. The Speed Classic team look forward to welcoming you so that you can discover for yourself what they have to offer. With Speed Classic you are on the right track! “We don’t just sell great cars, we preserve history and instil emotions, and we make a point of building excellent relationships with our clients.”

Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 9h-12h / 14h-18h. Saturday – 9h-12h – afternoon by appointment only Speed Classic, 61 Rue Ferdinand Buisson, 47240 CASTELCULIER (+33) 05 53 99 74 26 – The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Speed Classic, your privileged classic car and Porsche specialist, offering a top of the range service & expert advice. • renovation & repairs on all models • Vehicle Sales & Purchase

• Vehicle consignment service • Spare parts

Z.I. Jean Malèze ❙ 61, rue Ferdinand Buisson ❙ 47240 CaStelCulIer Tél. +33 (0)5 53 99 74 26 ❙ Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017



A small village with a beating heart! By Debra Okitikpi


n 2016 in the small but dynamic village of Parisot (82160), in the Tarn et Garonne, a group of local English residents raised the idea of starting a charity shop. They wanted it to be a French/English enterprise with the aim of raising money for Médecin Sans Frontières and Restos du Coeur. After a discussion with the village Maire, who allocated them a vacant space in the village, ‘Fripaffaires’ opened in March 2016. The shop is based on donations and happily takes clothes, linens, kitchen and gardening equipment, bric-a-brac and even pieces of furniture. It is run by an enthusiastic group of French/English volunteers offering opportunities of integration, language learning and friendship. Since opening there hasn’t been a day when donations haven’t arrived and customers haven’t bought – it has been a huge success and has even managed a move to larger premises on the edge of the village. The Maire offered them a large hall in the old secondary school which volunteers cleaned and painted before

moving in with self-constructed racks for clothes and shelves for kitchen items. Part of the store’s success is the quality and quantity of the donations, along with the very reasonable price of goods from 1e to 50e, with most being under 15e. Over the first year Fripaffaires has held extremely well attended one-off events, the first being an evening fashion show at the start of the autumn season. Over 100 people watched local ‘models’ wear end of summer outfits, walking down a ‘cat-walk’ to music that matched the clothes worn. Clothes displayed were then sold off and customers were offered refreshments. It was a super, fun evening, well organised by the team and well-attended by French and English villagers. Fripaffaires then ran two daytime events – a linen day and a Christmas day – the latter with mince pies and mulled wine, of course! The dynamic team at Fripaffaires makes sure stock changes every two weeks so that regular customers, of which there are many, always have the opportunity to buy. After only 6 months the charity shop was able to donate 5000e to the charities of their choice and the donations of goods to the shop continue to arrive. For 2017 they already have a spring fashion event on the calendar – watch this space! At Fripaffaires, whether you are a regular or occasional shopper, you will always be welcomed with a smile, a cup tea or coffee and a wide choice of goods. Fripaffaires (Site de Pole Medical, Rue Jean de la Valette, Parisot 82160) is open Tuesday/Wednesday afternoons and Friday/ Saturday mornings. Happy shopping!

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Auberge de Miramont David & Karine look forward to welcoming you

Tapas Evening on the first Friday of each month. Lunches - Monday to Saturday, & evenings Friday & Saturday. For groups (min 15 people) other evenings & Sunday lunchtime are possible.

Catering for Special Events. 05 63 94 65 57 auberge de miramont Miramont de Quercy (82190)

Specialist holiday home rental agency with 25 years experience in the area Personal service for Owners, Caretakers, Property Managers & Guests Fast friendly response to all enquiries Global marketing and strong repeat customer base How do we differ?

- One package price to Guests with no hidden extras - Full payment to Owners a month before Guests arrive - All administra�on including Security deposits on behalf of Owners - Personal approach to Owners and Guests alike - No up front charges for Owners: Commission on bookings only

For a no obliga�on discussion please contact Halcyon Leisure

Bringing Owners the benefit of 25 years experience of letting holiday homes throughout Quercy & Lot

+44 (0)1 46 03 02 00 @HolHomesFrance on Twi�er for news

Follow our Facebook page for Guest informa�on & offers

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


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

Robert Atkinson Work can be seen References available Roofing Stonework Plastering l



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Las Razes, Touffailles (82190), 06 02 23 98 51,, Siret: 499 560 654 00026 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


L’OCCITANIE, « qu’es aco »? (L’occitan, qu’est-ce que c’est ?)

L’Occitanie n’est pas un pays, c’est une grande famille qui a ses origines dans le Sud de notre beau pays. Si je parle de famille, c’est une image, mais qui se concrétise assez souvent, par des alliances entre jeunes de hameaux ou de villages voisins. Outre cette réalité, l’image est belle, car, ce qui nous rapproche, c’est principalement notre accent. Cet accent qui chante partout en Occitanie pour accompagner tous les patois parlés chez nous. Chez nous, c’est aussi un ensemble de régions où la langue d’Oc domine, d’où le nom de Languedoc, ancienne province du Sud-Ouest dont la capitale était Toulouse. La langue d’Oc représente l’ensemble des dialectes romans parlés en Occitanie. Il est important de savoir que les frontières de l’Occitanie ne sont pas limitées au Languedoc. Elles s’étendent du Piémont italien, traversent les Alpes, remontent jusqu’à Clermont-Ferrand, glissent vers l’ouest pour inonder la Gascogne, sautent les Pyrénées dans leurs parties méridionales pour aller s’éteindre en Catalogne espagnole. Chez nous, en Quercy, « la lengo nostro », notre langue occitane est plus précisément un patois local dont la prononciation et l’écriture varient, parfois, d’un canton à l’autre. Malgré ces variations, nous sommes capables de nous comprendre et de nous entendre, de nous regrouper lors de manifestations festives locales et régionales. Ce patois, pour nous, personnes d’un âge certain, est un parlé que nous chérissons ; nous l’avons entendu, compris et parlé dès notre première enfance et, bien que nos parents s’efforçaient de nous parler français pour nous faciliter l’entrée à l’école publique, d’où l’occitan était banni, certains d’entre nous ont eu beaucoup de mal à assimiler le français. De ce fait, avant d’avoir fait de grandes études, nous étions déjà bilingues !

Au niveau local, à Miramont de Quercy, il existe un groupe de danseurs (ses) qui pratiquent des danses du folklore régional ; de temps en temps, ils sont invités à participer à des animations, des fêtes et festivals dans un contexte joyeux et festif. Nous maintenons aussi sur pieds une petite troupe de valeureux comédiens amateurs qui aiment jouer quelques petites pièces en patois ; mais pour toutes ces activités, les effectifs se réduisent car les jeunes générations parlent très peu le patois et ne le comprennent pas assez bien. On peut regretter, chez nous, dans le Quercy, un manque de volonté de la part de nous tous et de nos élus, d’avoir négligé de faire enseigner l’occitan dans les écoles primaires. Alors que dans certains départements voisins, il existe des écoles primaires privées enseignant en même temps l’occitan et le français. Pour celles et ceux qui ont à cœur de perpétuer les traditions de cette grande famille, il y a du grain à moudre ! De temps en temps, de grands rassemblements ont lieu dans différentes villes du Sud. On y revendique notre appartenance à la grande famille occitane ; les foules présentent ces jours là, joyeuses et colorées nous prouvent par leur musique, leurs danses et leurs accents nuancés et chantants que cette grande famille est en bonne santé.

Et cette FRENCH PAGE n’étant pas à publication unique, nous attendons que d’autres personnes de langue natale française s’expriment dans cette tribune. Alors, à vos plumes pour l’édition de Mai, à vos choix de sujets, à vos billets d’humeur ou toute distraction onirique pour ravir nos lecteurs de toutes origines.

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Sur cette note optimiste, je termine en citant le dernier couplet d’un chant qui glorifie notre accent: Toi qui cherche un ami en pays occitan S’ils prononcent des mots que tu ne comprends pas Dès le premier regard, tu le reconnaîtras Il aura dans les yeux … une pointe d’accent ! Et à toi qui t’en va, ami de mon enfance, Je dis : n’emporte pas ma terre à tes souliers Mais accroche à ton cœur ce joli coin de France Et sa pointe d’accent, qu’on ne peut oublier !... Paul CALVET, Montbarla On ne doit pas oublier de mentionner aussi que, récemment, notre administration nationale a décidé de simplifier en regroupant les régions. Les régions Midi Pyrénées et Languedoc Roussillon se sont regroupées pour former la région Occitanie. D’autre part, le Conseil Départemental du Tarn et Garonne a mis en place entre l’été 2015 et l’été 2016 des panneaux occitans, ajoutés à ceux existants, à chaque commune du département, suite à une idée née en 2014 et votée début 2015, proposée par le groupe des conseillers. La traduction des noms de nos villes et villages a été assurée par M. Bedel de l’Institut Occitan de l’Aveyron, et c’est 650 panneaux pour 195 communes qui ont été installés ou livrés aux communes, afin que l’identité occitane s’affiche partout dans le département. You may be aware that the regions of Midi Pyrénées and Languedoc Roussillon have been grouped together to form a new region known as Occitania. The Conseil Départemental du Tarn and Garonne has also decided to add signs with the Occitan names of towns and villages throughout the Department. It is hoped that these new signs will help enhance the Occitan identity.

Get Your Business Seen. Contact us about advertising in the May edition. the or see our website

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 (SARL Lacroixroc) Delphine and Jean Longueteau

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

We deliver.

Also, Building Materials, Pipe Laying and Skip Hire

05 65 22 79 95 English Spoken

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


An Interview with Pat Lockett, National Training Coordinator for Cancer Support France


at is a busy lady and a wonderful example of that old maxim – if you want something done, ask a busy person. She is the National Training Coordinator for Cancer Support France, which is a network of independent associations throughout France that provide free confidential support for English-speaking people of any nationality who have been touched by cancer. We spoke to her about her work. Can you tell us a little about yourself? I came with my husband Barry to live in France almost nine years ago. With our three children, we had many holidays in different parts of France over the years, but like so many of us found the Quercy area and fell in love! In my previous life I worked in the special needs sector, including Head Teacher of a secondary school for students with special needs. One aspect of my job was staff development, which I particularly enjoyed, and I was subsequently appointed as a training consultant to the Department of Education. How did you become involved with CSF? Six years ago I met the President of CSF Dordogne Est & Lot, Julia Hall, at a fund raising book sale. This led to an informal interview to join as a client support worker and Active Listener. As I had by then fully retired I had time to give something back to the community and I had also recently lost two friends to cancer so was aware of how important support is for those facing serious illness in a foreign country. I went on the two day Active Listener training program and shortly after I accepted my first client. What is an Active Listener (AL)? CSF has volunteers undertaking many different support roles but the key direct one is that of AL. The clue really is in the title. Clients are supported by establishing and maintaining a relationship by telephone, email or face to face, and the key is in listening to the client’s situation and using questioning skills to help them identify their concerns and how they can be helped. Who are the AL clients? Clients might be facing a recent cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment themselves, or they may be a relative or carer of that person. In addition to

maintaining communication with clients, support can include accompanying them to a medical appointment, helping with translation or sourcing information for them. All ALs are backed up by a small team of translators fluent in French. So how did you become involved in training for CSF? At the time I joined, there was a need to recruit and train more ALs. Due to my previous experience I was invited to team up with an experienced AL and form the training team. The skills needed for Active Listening are very much aligned with those of coaching – helping people to find their own solutions to a specific problem they are facing. Can anyone apply to train as an AL? Our volunteers who are recruited for AL training come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, and often have excellent communication skills. Our role as trainers is to guide them to understand which skills are most helpful in undertaking the role, so we can offer the best possible service to our clients. How did you become involved with the CSF National Council? There are 15 Associations across France affiliated to National, whose Council comprises a representative from each Association and in 2015 I became the National Representative for CSF Dordogne Est & Lot. In 2016, our new National President decided that a unified training programme was needed, so I was invited to be the National Training Coordinator, giving me the responsibility of guiding both new and established trainers throughout France. And the future? I am looking forward to welcoming new ALs across the country and developing new training strategies nationally and locally, to guide them to fulfil their potential in helping our clients. If any Query Local readers are in need of support, telephone the Local Helpline: 06 35 90 03 41 or email Heather Moorhead:

CSF Dordogne Est & Lot is recruiting Active Listeners and would very much like to hear from you. If you are interested in receiving more information, email Pat: She might be a busy lady but will always have time for you. The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local



Rob, van Leeuwe Siret. 823 903 117 00013

Gardening, landscaping, tree felling & logging Entretien spaces verts et abattage bucheronnage Tel: 06 89 27 30 96 ‘Les-2-Lacs’, Beauville, 47470


Large, air-conditioned car for 7 people. Service to and from stations and airports Also ‘medical’ transport – Conventionné assurance maladie Child seats and wheelchair access 24 hrs / 7 days – Any distance Mob: Tel: email: Based – 82200 MONTESQUIEU

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DIAMOND DECORATING & GENERAL MAINTENANCE Plastering, painting and decorating. Building Maintenance. Bourg De Visa 82190 References Supplied

For all your catering needs up to 50 pers.

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Orrom Informatique All your Computer, Website & Graphic Design needs English Spoken - Free Quotations Mark Orrom

46700 Puy l’Évêque - 09 67 46 02 63 - 06 42 69 83 92 Si re t: 503806275 0 0 023

International Classical Guitar Festival of Puy l’Eveque and the Vignoble

Téteu et Alexandra Wittingham

After the success of the first festival in July 2016, work is well advanced to prepare the next ‘Cuvée 2017’ this July. It will again take place in the open-air theatre near the church in Puy l’Eveque – le Theatre de Verdure, transformed for the occasion into a lively oasis of magical atmosphere. The programme will follow the same format over four evenings, each with a different style: Tuesday 18 July – Soirée Duos: Duo Bensa-Cardinot (our own local artistic directors) – guitar, lute, voice Duo Verso (guitar and pan-pipes) Wednesday 19 July – Soirée Brasilienne: Celso Machado – Brasilian classical guitar and percussion Thursday 20 July – Soirée New Young Talent Leonora Spangenberger – winner of the 8th Andres Segovia International Young Guitarists competition Antoine Boyer – Winner of the Guitare Classique magazine ‘Revelations’ competition (classical and jazz guitar) Friday 21st July – Soirée Argentine Trio Rudi Flores – 2 guitars and double bass

Cécile Cardinot et Olivier Bensa

Once again, each evening will feature a different wine-maker from the Cahors area – with a special Argentine Malbec for the Argentine evening. And again, there will be delicious organic food available, a guitar-maker, guitar lessons and other entertainments during the early evening. Put the dates in your diary now. Or better still, become an adherent of the Le Temps des Guitares Association to support the festival preparations and to receive ongoing information and priority bookings. Information can be found on our new website: The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Gastropods Getting rid of

It is spring, and people everywhere are getting busy in their gardens. Unfortunately, so are slugs and snails. These pesky gastropods are a nuisance all year round, but in the warm, damp climate of spring, they thrive, and young spring shoots in your ornamental beds and pottagers are particularly vulnerable.


hese molluscs are partial to many plants, especially beans, celery, lettuce, peas and potatoes in the veggie garden, and dahlias, delphiniums, hostas, sweet peas and tulips in the ornamental garden. They eat many parts of the plant: buds, flowers, fruit, leaves, stems, roots, corms, bulbs and tubers, and are especially fond of, and inflict catastrophic damage upon, fresh young seedlings and new, soft growth. Signs of slug and snail infestation include slime trails, holes throughout plants, and entire seedlings being completely devoured. Most damage occurs at night, especially during warm humid periods. It’s virtually impossible to eradicate these ubiquitous creatures, so the best course of action is to target your efforts around your most vulnerable plants, and to consider employing a number of pest control techniques. Delay transplanting fragile seedlings until they have grown bigger and sturdier, growing them on in pots instead, and utilise any or all of the following methods. Prevention, of course, is better than cure. Hopefully you have been raking up fallen leaves throughout autumn and winter, for a tidy garden and to create leaf mould; as well as cultivating your soil ready for the spring season. This also has the benefit of exposing slugs’ eggs so that birds and other predators can easily eat them, thus reducing your future slug population. One of the easiest but most effective things you can do is time your watering schedule so that it is beneficial for your plants but not for molluscs. They thrive in damp conditions, so avoid watering late in the day, which creates an optimum environment for their nocturnal activities. Instead, irrigate in the early morning. The water has time to soak down to the plants’ roots and the heat of the day will dry out the surface level of the soil by the evening. A basic and time-consuming, but effective, method is to manually remove these voracious pests. Go into

your garden (preferably in the evening) and remove them by hand, relocating them far away from any gardens, killing them with salt, or feeding them to your chickens or ducks. Similarly, you can encourage other predators into your garden to pick them off for you: hedgehogs love to eat them, as do various birds, ground beetles, frogs and toads. Creating a pond or boggy area will attract these beneficial creatures. Gastropods, either dead or alive, make a good addition to your compost heap. Dead ones rot down and add to the compost, while live ones will love that environment, and stay there, and do a good job breaking down the compost. You can put spent kitchen products to good use. Coffee is a repellent, and you can sprinkle coffee grounds around vulnerable plants, to both form a mulch and to dissuade slugs and snails. A coffee solution is even more effective, so that leftover coffee that’s

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gone cold in the bottom of the pot – don’t tip it down the sink, pour it onto the soil in your garden, or spray directly onto your plants. Any craft beer fans out there? I’m rather partial to Domaine du Merchien beer from a local producer in the Lot, and I like to use the dregs of each bottle, with the yeasty sediment, to make slug and snail traps. Sink a steep-sided pot into the ground, leaving it slightly protruding so beetles don’t fall in (you want them alive and munching on the molluscs) and half fill it with beer. The slugs and snails will be attracted to the beer (can’t blame them for that!) and will fall in and drown. Surely the classiest control method around – almost too good for the slimeballs! Fruit rinds also make a good lure. Place empty halves of orange, lemon, melon or grapefruit in your garden. The gastropods love them and will gather underneath these fragrant domes, in search of food and shelter, ready for you to collect and dispose of in the morning. Similarly, wooden planks will attract slugs, as they seek shelter from the sun. Copper gives slugs and snails an electric shock. You can buy ready-made strips, rings, tapes and barriers in different sizes, or create your own with coppers from your small change. Ensure that no leaves cross over the copper barrier to form a bridge. Alternatively, you can buy, or make, a battery powered electric slug and snail fence. You can also use companion planting to repel them, forming a barrier with fragrant plants that gastropods dislike. Chives, garlic, geraniums, lavender, mint, sage, rosemary and thyme can all be planted around the edge of the garden to help keep them out. Diatomaceous earth is a chalky powder that looks like flour but is very sharp at a microscopic level. It consists of the fossilized remains of diatoms and can be sprinkled on the garden to kill slugs and snails. Other sharp textures can be used to create barriers: sand, gravel and broken eggshells are all worth considering.

Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita nematodes are another excellent natural solution. These microscopic parasitic worms live in the soil and they infect and kill slugs and snails but do not harm humans and animals. They occur naturally in your soil, but for them to provide an effective pest control, you need to increase their numbers. You can buy them online and they arrive in packets which you add to water and then water into the soil. This is best done from spring to autumn, as a moist, warm soil, with temperatures of 5-20ºC/ 4168ºF, creates an optimum environment. While all of the preceding methods have been natural, you can, of course, use chemical slug pellets. There are two different active ingredients used in slug pellets: metaldehyde or ferric phosphate. Metaldehyde is highly toxic and should be kept away from animals and young children, while ferric phosphate is a safer choice. Slug pellets, if used, should be applied sparingly. Gastropods lay up to 100 eggs after each mating, several times a year. They can live for up to 6 years, and it is estimated that each cubic metre of garden generally contains up to 200 of them. Reproductive activity is most prolific and productive during warm, damp conditions, and while you will never eliminate the entire population, ongoing preventative measures are advisable, especially at this time of year.

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

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017

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On Spring Cleaning & the Power of Persuasion by Ian Gibbs (writer, trainer and coach)

I know a woman called Isabella. She’s from Ecuador and works in Barcelona as a cleaner, putting order and gleam back into people’s homes. One of the remarkable things about Isabella is she loves her job. There’s something about cleaning and tidying that satiates her soul. I asked her what she did in her free time to relax. She looked at me as if I’d gone mad. “There’s always something to clean and tidy” she said, “I never get bored!”. And do you know what? I think she meant it.


f you, too, are as fanatical about cleaning as Isabella is, then the following words are not for you. Life is short – skip to the next page. This article is aimed at people like me, who balk at the resulting mayhem and carnage of a 6-year-old’s party with a mixture of resignation, reluctance and a personal pledge to get in a home-help as soon as I win the lottery. For me, housework is the unacknowledged bastard sibling to death and taxes: a regrettable certainty there’s no escaping from. When I wrote The Sorites Principle: How to Harness the Power of Perseverance, I intended it to be a self-help book for people who were struggling to achieve a life-changing goal. But as I’ve experimented with the ideas, accumulated feedback and deepened my knowledge base, I discovered that a number of the techniques work for all sorts of situations, including those of housework and spring cleaning. And as we seem to be approaching that time of year, I thought it might be a good idea to share three perseverance techniques which can be directly applied to giving your ‘springs’ a jolly good seeing to. For the first one, let’s consider the kitchen cupboards for example. Taking out the entire contents of all the cupboards and cleaning the insides is a daunting task.

But if you say you’ll do just one cupboard today, then that’s less daunting. But even that might still be enough to put you off. So how about just removing the items from the top shelf of the cupboard and just cleaning that (the next shelf you can do tomorrow)? Or if that’s still too much, why not just remove the contents today and do the cleaning bit tomorrow? Now before you start thinking what a palaver just to do a bit of cleaning, hear me out. The interesting bit is that almost immediately after you’ve emptied the contents of your first shelf, you’ll say to yourself, “Well, that wasn’t too bad. Now that I’m here, I might as well save myself a bit of time tomorrow by wiping the shelf down now” and once you’ve done that and dried it with

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a couple of sheets of kitchen roll, you might even be tempted to put everything back straight away (except for that hideous thing for serving aperitifs which you only used once seven years ago and which you’ve now decided to donate to charity) and save yet another day’s work. And suddenly you find that it’s 30 minutes later and you’ve done the whole cupboard. This technique I call ‘Minimum Entry’. Starting unpleasant tasks is difficult, after all, there’s always something more palatable to do. But if you make the first step so small that the willpower needed to do it is almost negligible, then your chances of setting the initial wheels in motion are much greater. This can be applied to almost anything, loading the dishwasher, doing the hoovering or tidying the livingroom (after hurricane Katrina or the kids have passed through it). A second similar technique I use is the ‘One-minute Blitz’. In this case, the idea is to do the maximum amount of work but for just one minute maximum. This works best for tidying, cleaning work-surfaces, washing dishes etc. (not so good for more complicated tasks like hoovering as it takes me more than a minute to just get the bloody thing out, up and working and even then it’s Sod’s law the thing needs emptying before it’ll work properly). But just doing an undesirable task for merely one minute is hardly going to spoil your day, is it? And can you guess what? After those 60 seconds are up, you’ll say ‘Oh, I’ll just finish this bit I’m doing now and then suddenly you’ll realise 5 minutes have passed and, once more, you’ve done much more than you initially intended. It’s the power of the ‘little by little’ over and over again that brings the biggest results. It’s difficult to refuse a tiny task that is so small it is easy to carry out. In fact, the main difficulty lies not with carrying them out but with REMEMBERING to carry them out. This brings us on to the third technique. I’m ashamed to admit I have a large transparent plastic box (acquired from IKEA) that used to be full to the brim with various sheets of paper, bills, notes, cards, opened envelopes, photocopies, articles, magazines, brochures, cut-outs from newspapers, business cards, etc., etc., etc. I’m a busy fellow and it always seemed that ‘next week’ would be the best time to start sorting, filing and binning my accumulated mountain of paperwork. This, I think actually went on for six months. As far as sorting my inbox was concerned, I had turned into Captain Procrastinator without knowing. Then I thought ‘Why not do it little by little? Starting today I’ll process four pieces of paper everyday till the box is empty’.

And so it was, for the following few weeks I filed or binned four or more papers and as you might guess, the mountain started to go down until the box was less than a third full. But then I became complacent. I could see it was working and so became less concerned with the thing. I became rather blasé with the need to sort out my in-box. The result is that the third-empty box is still occupying a quiet corner of the kitchen floor slowly gathering dust till I get my act together and finish off what I started. So my final tip for carrying out your more unsavoury tasks, little by little, is to devise a cunning plan to help you remember to do it every day. Here are three options to try out. The first is to include your little task in one of your morning or evening routines. We all have our little routines. If yours is, say, wandering downstairs in your dressing-gown, putting the kettle on and deciding what to have on toast, why not incorporate into that the business of tidying up or cleaning just one little bit of the kitchen while waiting for the water to boil? Or while you’re locking up for the night and turning off the lights, why not put three items back where they belong so it’s just a bit tidier in the morning? If you can dovetail your small task into a routine you always do, you’ll find yourself doing it automatically and that would be marvellous. The second option is to plan it. It might sound trivial but if you write down ‘sort out four papers’ in your agenda, the likelihood of you doing it increases dramatically. Now, more than ever, our smartphones help to remind and prompt us to do whatever we programmed it to. It sounds obvious but, just like the nose on your face, there’s lots of ‘obvious’ stuff we so often overlook. Finally, why not try keeping a running check on your daily tiny task. Every day, give yourself a tick, cross or gold star on the calendar when you carry it out. As the month marches on, so will your chain of crosses until the mere psychological pressure of not breaking the chain becomes enough to keep you going. This technique is used by many study-apps such as Duolingo, and they can be very effective. To summarise: Unsavoury tasks like spring cleaning, housework or filing can be made more easily digestible by reducing them to tiny bite-sized bits. These bits can then be dealt with using the techniques of Minimum Entry, One-minute Blitz or cultivating a regular daily routine. But however you apply it, after just a few days you’ll start to see that, little by little, a little can achieve a lot.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Provence Rose Provence Trip

Our program for the remainder of 2017 is shaping up as follows: March 4 Quiz + Fish n’ Chips, Salle des Fetes at 7pm. March 14 “Carnivorous Plants” Talk by M. Damien Hubaut April 11 “All About Clematis” Talk by M. Vaux April 16 CJL Stand at Lauzerte’s “Le Place de Fleurs” May* Visit to Lauzerte Garden to View Irises May 9 “Alpine Garden – How to create one” Talk by Debbie & John from Espiemonts

The Club has just held its 3rd Annual General Meeting and with the growth in membership, now standing at over 90 members, and with the Club’s increased activities, we have expanded the capacity of our enthusiastic Administrative Group in order to share the co-ordination of our activities. 2016 flew by – and no wonder, as every month held at least one event ranging from talks, presentations, demonstrations and slide-shows during the cooler months to visits to glorious gardens; a garden show – with competitions, displays, tea + cakes, a tombola and the ubiquitous face-painting; a garden tea party; a summer hog roast; and our pièce de résistance – a 4 day coach trip to explore several stunning and varied gardens in Provence. In fact, the visit to Provence was so enjoyable, we’re returning again this year and taking 5 days to explore the many wonderful gardens we couldn’t fit in last year. There are still just a few seats available. The first 3 months of 2017 saw members puzzling over a pictorial quiz (anyone eaten Oca?), being introduced to the Club’s private Facebook group – a great vehicle for sharing ideas, information and photographs – voting at the AGM, and being presented with a light-hearted look at the serious subject of compost.

May 22-26 Coach Trip to View Gardens in Haute Provence and Côte d’Azure June 13 Visit Water Gardens near Villeneuve, Temple sur Lot July 11 Tea Party in Fiona’s Garden – Sauveterre Aug 8 Summer Hog Roast Sept 12 All About Dry Gardens” Talk by TBC Sept 17 Portes Ouvertes / Garden Show Oct 10 “A Presentation on Permaculture” Nov 14 “Indoor Plants / Patio Plants” Nov* CJL Stand at “La Journee de l’Arbre” Dec 12 A Really Delicious Club Christmas Lunch *Date to be confirmed

Meetings and Dates are correct at time of going to print, however may be subject to change. The Club meets every second Tuesday of the month, usually at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte from 2pm to 4.30pm. Our meetings cater for both French and English speakers. Come along and meet us with no obligation you’ll receive a warm welcome! And if you do decide to join the Club, our annual subscription is only 10 Euros. If you would like to join us at a meeting or to know more about the Club generally, please contact our Secretary, Pam Westcott: 05 63 94 19 25 or Pam will be delighted to hear from you.

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Bordering on the Brilliant


ordure Concept is a new company that fabricates decorative concrete curbing on-site for your property. Their custom borders are available in a range of colours, textures and shapes to suit any situation. The concrete bordering is extruded in place with a special curbing machine, this means that slight changes in shape, direction or level of your land is no longer a problem. The possibilities with this unique system are endless: tree circles, borders, edging for driveways, patios and paths, around swimming pools and terraces etc. Adrien (Arjan) Neeleman, originally from the Netherlands, moved to Puy l’Évêque in 2009. He saw the possibilities of this product and went to the United States for training and then purchased the necessary machinery. A lot of planning was then done so that all the machines, equipment and materials can be brought to your property in one journey, so that work can begin immediately and promptly. Arjan designed and constructed a trailer especially for this task and it ensures minimum disruption or time loss for your project. After your initial contact, Arjan will come to your property and discuss your requirements. He will then suggest solutions and possibilities, he will also give you a free quotation for your project. When the quotation is accepted,

a date is arranged for the work to commence. On the agreed date, Arjan and one or two other people (depending on the size of your project), will arrive with all necessary machines and materials and begin the work to produce the curbing. Proudly Arjan says: ‘’This is a totally unknown product in this part of France, so nobody makes it and now I do! I offer a good quality product that lasts for years and simplifies the maintenance of your garden. It is even possible to install a line of LED lights into your new border to bring light to your garden at night. We can make the curbs in nearly any colour you want, they can be straight, with sharp corners or flowing curves; every desired shape of curb is possible! There are also, a selection of different textures that can be applied to the concrete. It is a beautiful product and it is really fun to do!’’ To date Bordure Concept have already several proud owners of their decorative curbing, and Arjan has a display area at his own house so potential clients can see the finished article.

You can find more information and examples of what is possible to beautify your property, on their website:

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017



Over the next few pages we hear from some of the people caring for ‘homeless’ dogs in our region as well as from some people who have opened up their hearts and homes to an elderly friend in-need. Some of the dogs featured are no longer with us but their love has clearly left huge and lasting impressions on human hearts.

There are many ways to help the Refuge Canin Lotois: could you take in an elderly dog? Fostering and or/adopting an older dog is just one very important way to help. The Refuge Canin Lotois in Cahors is a charitable association run by volunteers, set up to help abandoned and distressed dogs in the department of the Lot to find happier lives with loving families. Our dogs find families far and wide, all regions of France and beyond. Refuge conditions are, for obvious reasons, not ideal for the older, more vulnerable dogs that are unlucky enough to find themselves there. If an elderly dog is brought in or found abandoned, the volunteers often need to act quickly to find him or her a warm loving home where her or she can be kept safe and will be well cared for. It is certainly well worthwhile considering offering your help in welcoming an “oldie” into your home. A reserve of helpers/families for elderly dogs is essential to the Refuge, kind hearted people ready and able to step in quickly to offer assistance. Help can mean fostering on a short or long term basis. Or adopting, of course! Many wonderful people who have helped the Refuge in this way in recent years can

vouch for the fact the rewards are well worth the effort. A dog, as we all know, is for life, but some unfortunate souls are not lucky enough to find themselves cared for in old age for many different reasons. The people who step in to help us with them know how important it is not to forget that old dogs need love and care as much as, if not more than, the youngsters. It is very easy to fall in love with a puppy, but older dogs are so often overlooked. They need our help too. You could join the numerous families who have found this to be very true, give it some serious thought! Our motto is “Adopt a Refuge Dog”, and thankfully more and more people are thinking of this first when seeking a four-legged friend, young or old, to join their family. “Help an old dog” is equally as important as a motto! To find out more about fostering or adopting an elderly dog, or about just getting involved generally in helping the Refuge, please contact us (in English if you wish!). 05 65 22 66 32,

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Continuing the Praise of Older Dogs... Sue Glibbery

“You have been thinking about, weighing up the pros and cons and have made the decision. You have the time, you would like to adopt a dog. Great! Now comes the choice. A puppy would be nice and the grandchildren would love it. However you are no longer spring chickens and the grandchildren come over just twice a year, so would only see the puppy as an actual puppy, once. You are too young to have grandchildren but don’t fancy the whole puppy training thing. Solution why not adopt an older dog? (ADOPT, don’t buy – don’t get me started on breeders!) There are in refuges all over France, thousands, if not millions, of older dogs, who through no fault of their own, live less than happy lives shut up with a very small likelihood of ever knowing anything else. No dog chooses to go to a refuge, it is always the fault of a human. The lovely cute puppy, surprise, surprise, does not stay a lovely cute puppy. Cute puppy grows! Cute puppy pees, poos and chews things. Not his/her fault, he/she has never been taught how to behave, easier just to chuck it out and let someone take charge of training. Puppy is adopted, family move house “Oh, sorry, cannot take dog” no problem dump the poor beast at a refuge. (In my opinion dog is better off without ghastly owners like that.) Result, older dogs end up needing new homes. Think of the advantages of adopting an older dog besides the most wonderful action you are taking. Many older dogs have already had a home so are more than likely to be

toilet trained. They have got through the stage of chewing everything from old slippers to chair legs. (By the way, contrary to popular belief, dogs do NOT chew things when you are out ‘to get back at you’ as some people say. When dogs are anxious it activates something in their gums which is eased by chewing. Get some separation anxiety advice.) Older dogs do not have to be played with all the time, they just need a good walk, daily if possible (so, perhaps, do you!) somewhere cosy and dry to sleep and to know they are loved. If you are a truly wonderful person and adopt a much older dog, the daily walk will not even be necessary, your dog will love you for your company and be more than happy to sit by your side, help with the crossword and watch reruns of Midsomer Murders! I’m not saying that all older dogs are easy, of course there may be some setbacks –possible cat chasing for example – you just have to be sensible in your choice of dog and refuge. A serious refuge will make sure you have the right environment for the dog you would like to adopt and not just want to get rid of any dog who, if not the right one, will go through the unbearable experience of being dumped again. Many people, when losing their dog, say to me they will never take another dog because they cannot stand the pain when they die. The best people in the whole wide world are the people who adopt the very old dogs and make sure they are happy for whatever time, however brief, is left. When that dog dies, they take another and do the same thing, how wonderful is that? I started Poorpaws quite by accident and have had fourteen years of rehoming abandoned and unwanted dogs. Inevitably some dogs have never been adopted and will live out their lives here with us. This number has risen to 20 so I am now unable to take in any more dogs, there is just no more room, so all adoptable dogs go to Danielle who runs La Mère aux Bêtes and we work at rehoming them together. This article is not to ask you to adopt an old dog from Poorpaws in fact, please don’t, the dogs here are loved and happy, much better you go to one of the large refuges who are bursting with poor older dogs needing comfy homes. In conclusion, please read the Dog’s Will overleaf and if you get to the end without a tear in your eye, well, you are a stronger man than I Gunga Din!”

USEFUL WEBSITES La Mère aux Bêtes: National Animal Protection – SPA: Poorpaws: Refuge Canin Loitois:

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


The SPA in Carcassonne received a letter from an elderly lady who was writing on behalf of her elderly rescued dog. The letter was titled – Last Will and Testament. The letter read...

Before humans die, they write their last will and testament, give their homes and all they have to leave behind. If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I would ask. To a poor and lonely stray, I’d give my happy home, my bowl, and cosy bed, soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I loved so much, the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name. I’d will to the sad, scared shelter dog the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds. So when I die, please do not say “I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand”. Instead, go and find an unloved dog, one whose life was has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him or her. This is what you did for me. This is the only thing I can give.... The love I left behind.

TAO Tao was a big, black Newfoundland cross and 11 years old when I adopted him. He was amazing, not just from the first day, but from the first minute we met, calmly stepping into my car without being asked, good as gold on the journey home and quietly lying down in the kitchen when we got arrived as if he knew he was home.

A bit arthritic but very fit for his age he loved long walks, never pulled when on the lead, never attempted to run off when not. The first few days he was so glued to my heels I had to be careful not to trip over him but his confidence increased daily, he would happily stop to investigate interesting smells while I walked on or trot a few paces ahead if I was a bit slow for him. By the winter he was walking ahead, even out of sight round bends but always trotting back to check.

Tao’s Birthday July 2016


that plant for ages, seemed to be deep in thought and when he eventually stopped, lifted his head and saw me his face suddenly lit up and he bounded across with his ears and fur streaming behind – the first time he had looked really joyful. I think he had been totally lost in thought until he looked up and remembered me, and was so full of joy to see me.

Old dogs come with a wealth of experience. Tao was very obedient, always came when called and sat when told. It became routine on coming out of the woods at the end of a walk for him to sit and stay while I carried on for about twenty metres when I called him. Then he would get a little treat and was put on his lead. He always enjoyed this. There was only one occasion when he strangely did not obey. When I started to walk on he hesitated, was obviously not happy staying and then he made a very determined decision. He ignored my command, ran to me then started barking at what I thought was my neighbour mowing his lawn. As we passed his house I realised it was actually a stranger. Actually a very nice man but not my neighbour who Tao loved. Clever boy had spotted there was something different going on! Older dogs are calm and loving. They have already learned from the daft and mad things they may have done in their youth and they appreciate the simpler things in life, a cosy bed, food, walks and someone to cuddle up to. They are happy to have a nap after exercise which suits me just fine!! Don’t hesitate, adopting an oldie is well worth it. Iris, Charente

There are moments that bring tears to the eyes when you adopt a golden oldie and the first of many with Tao was exactly two weeks after he arrived. Half way round our favourite circuit through the woods is a small, rectangular grassy area which we crossed to get to the track towards home. He walked on a few metres to sniff a plant while I walked across, waiting for him before going between the trees. He sniffed

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Replacing your dearest friend Poufi aka Charlie - the ‘most chilled’ and most loved dog on the planet passed away prematurely Christmas Eve 2015 after a short respiratory illness in a very very damp Ireland. Often referred to as the ‘Fonse’, Charlie our ultra-cool ‘happy-days’ dog was gone after just two wonderful, way too short, years. The new moon in the clear chill midnight-blue night sky hung like a giant golden orb over Ireland’s most westerly island of Valentia that night – Charlie’s moon! Oh! How we treasure those two years how sad we were. How could we ever think of homing another dog? How could we forget Charlie’s heart-shaped grey beard?

Yet, Charlie or Poufi, as he was called then, had waited over six months in the Canin Lotois refuge despite winning the hearts of the devoted volunteers and notching up a devoted following by dog lovers on the refuge’s website. Unfortunately, the larger, black, older mongrel dogs like Charlie (a French Griffon cross) often wait and wait while younger dogs, cuties or pure breeds are more quickly rehomed. When his adoption day came, Charlie had excitedly greeted us and after a few short formalities and tears from his carers at the refuge he jumped quietly and calmly onto the back seat of our car and into our lives and the lives of our friends in France, Ireland and England. It had been one of the best days of our life. Whilst, we could never replace Charlie nor eliminate the sadness that we felt – why we asked ourselves, should we let that stop us filling the ‘love vacuum’ that Charlie had left behind and more importantly give another older, black mongrel dog a new home – sooner rather than later?

We were convinced Charlie would have wanted us to do just that. And so, we returned to the refuge in Cahors; where with the help of our friends at the refuge, we found another older black mongrel called ‘Before’ a Labrador cross.

On the day that we were due to pick up ‘Before’ (now Sherlock) from the refuge, we left the hotel and stopped for a coffee at a nearby café. Whilst at the cafe we noticed that the words ‘Je suis Charlie’ scrawled on a nearby bridge over the road, a reference to another sad loss, that of Charlie Hebdo in Paris – it seemed to us to be a poignant reminder that our Charlie would have approved of what we were doing.

Sherlock on Remembrance Day


perhaps? Weighing in at over 35 Kg and running down the wing at full gallop directly toward you can be a rather daunting experience.

When we first got Sherlock, he managed to connect with me at full speed and at around 96Kg I left my legs behind in what could only be described as a perfect tackle. Fortunately, we have learnt to spot the glint in his eye and dodge the loving onslaught. Sherlock has a love hate relationship with water. When the hose comes out Sherlock disappears pronto. Yet, in the summer heat he loves to dive into his own personal waterhole – a nearby pond. In Spain, he enjoyed some new sensations – that of sand, sea and grabbing a tan! It is not all frolicking on sandy beaches for Sherlock he also takes his civic responsibilities very seriously too – remembering the many service dogs and other animals who lost their lives in two world wars.

Sherlock has become a full member of the team and like Charlie before him has succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of all our friends. During Christmas Eve 2016 we cracked open a bottle of fine Cahors red wine and drank a toast to Charlie and Sherlock – two very special “vintage” dogs! Thank you Refuge Canin Lotois.

Peter, Karen, James, Sherlock and Charlie

Sherlock has now been part our family for more than six months. At around eight he is slightly younger than Charlie and more inquisitive and demonstrative than chilled like our Charlie had been. Hence we, or rather our son, renamed him Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock for short). Sherlock is a dog with an unlimited amount of love to give. This is fortunate as we believe that in a previous life he was a New Zealand ‘All Black’. Jonah Lomu

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017



Tiper, Teddy Edward, Boy

After seeing a picture of Ginie and reading her story, I just had to offer her a cosy foster home. Born in 1999. Ginie was just a beautiful old girl who now needed love and care after a change in her life found her at the Refuge in Cahors.

I am more than happy to spread the word about the rewards of adopting an older dog, 11 out of my 13 are oldies!

Despite having bad eyesight, arthritis, a dicky heart and breathing problems – you name it, she stole my heart and the thought of her staying a moment longer in a cold refuge was unthinkable. A volunteer brought Ginie to me one cold October afternoon. As soon as I set eyes on Ginie I was smitten. She came in and, because of her poor sight, she kept bumping into things but she settled in very quickly and she was very happy with us.

My other 3 dogs accepted Ginie and seemed to know she was a poorly old girl. They all respected her, even giving up their beds if she decided she wanted to sleep in one. Ginie wasn’t expected to see the winter through – but I am really glad to say that instead of a couple of months, my Ginie was with me for 15 months. I still shed a tear when I think of her final day with me. I have always loved my animals, but Ginie stole my heart.

Taking an “oldie” into my home is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. All she ever gave me was love. I would definitely have another oldie in need of a safe haven. If you are thinking about it, don’t hesitate – just go ahead and re-home one - they bring you so much happiness, the rewards far outweigh anything. Jennie, Limousin

As a semi-retired person in France, I have more time to devote to older, more fragile dogs. I am home for most of the day. With a large enclosed garden, my oldies are safe to roam in and out at their own pace. A couple of the oldies do appreciate a decent walk, but the majority love to go out in the car for a trip to the beach or woodland and a short walk. I have welcomed several oldies from the Refuge in Cahors.

Tiper used to love to paddle and run with seaweed in his mouth. Teddy Edward was with me for several years, bit of a Mr Grump with other dogs, but the most faithful of companions who would go anywhere to be with me. He even attended my art lessons on a Monday afternoon, snoozing on a cushion under my easel and occasionally going around the class for titbits. Everyone who met him loved him. Some people get anxious about vet bills if adopting an older dog but on the whole mine are not getting injuries caused by reckless behaviour like a younger dog. My eldest griffon, who is 17, has not incurred any vet bills, except a check-up when I rescued her in an appalling state starved and unloved. With decent food and plenty of love, she is full of beans playing and chasing her toys. I also have a lovely Tibetan spaniel called Boy from Cahors. One failed adoption behind him, but here it took him no time at all to become part of the gang and when he has one of his whirling dervish moments, the others all ignore him until he is back to normal. Within my “gang” of “pensioners” I have several handicapped dogs who have never known kindness but they have all responded, given time and TLC. The satisfaction and joy of their company cannot be measured, be they here for only a month or years. All have found a safe haven for however long they have left. By Elaine, Brittany Tiper

Teddy Edward



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Mégane Minnie

An older dog is a jewel. They are gentle, grateful, affectionate, far less trouble than a young one as they are happy with a garden to potter round and quiet days in the sun and warm evenings by the fire.

They love your company and enjoy restful times in easy companionship without demands. They deal with other animals with patience but obviously prefer the company of other older dogs – emphasis on peaceful days and nights, and are so less intrusive and easily happy with just a quiet gentle household and routine. Despite this I found Minnie to be extremely good with my small grandchild, happy to accept respectful and supervised cuddles and even trotting behind her round the garden curious for the company of a small human.

Several years ago, in June, we were on holiday in France when we heard about a dog that had been found in the woods with 7 pups. It was thought she was about 6-7 years old. She was only just found in time, any longer and she would not have survived. We heard that the pups were soon rehomed but that the Mum was still homeless. Mégane

I looked at my partner and we both knew we wanted that ‘old lady’. She went into a foster home whilst we returned to Holland, gave notice on our jobs, houses and in fact just about everything.

Old dogs are wise and understanding of many things and a pleasure to have around at all times.

Mégane who was previously a hunting dog, had changed our lives forever. She brought us to the Lot region of France and she is still with us. She loves to sleep and eat and we love to spoil her. We now work on some of the markets, but the ‘old lady’ is happy now to just sleep comfortably until we are home. We would miss her now more than anything in the world.

By Evelyn, Aveyron

Karin van Dijk & Helma Besseling, Lot

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271 Gites ad 132mm x 94mm landscape.indd 1 May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local •28/06/2016 16:15 Published March, March - April 2017

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017




Maartje Schlepers has lived in the Lot since April 2014 and is happy to answer your insurance related questions. Q. I’m unsure how to arrange the insurance for our new ride-on lawnmower. Do I need to tell my insurance company that I have bought one or is it automatically insured with the contents of my garage? A. It may be surprising but in France a ride-on lawn mower is considered a motorised vehicle because it has both a seat and an engine! Therefore it’s a legal obligation to insure a ride-on mower for at least ‘public liability’ which can be extended to cover ‘fire and theft’ if you wish. Ride-on mowers cannot be insured as contents, they come in the same category as trailers, caravans, tractors, diggers, etc., – these are not considered ‘contents’ and are not automatically covered by your house hold insurance. Some household insurance policies provide public liability cover for ride-on lawn mowers but not all of them do it automatically. It’s important, therefore, to inform your insurer of your mower’s arrival. Please remember – anything that is equipped with a seat and an engine needs at least public liability insurance! Q. We’ve just bought an existing gîte and chambre d’hôtes business and we’ll be starting to welcome our own guests this spring. I was told by the previous owners that no special insurance is required. Is this true? A. Running a gîte and/or chambres d’hôtes business is often considered a semi-professional occupation. It’s very popular amongst (second) home owners in France who enjoy their home and make some money at the same time while others may run a fully professional business. In both scenarios, and for all scenarios in between, it’s important to realise that as soon as you accept fees to pay for your services you are considered commercially active in France and you need a legal liability insurance to cover your activities. When you let, short-term, part of your property as a gîte or a chambres d’hôtes you are potentially

liable for injuries to people or their property. Many scenarios spring to mind: a guest may fall down the stairs and hold you responsible. The orange juice you served was out of date and a guest falls ill. What if you double-book your accommodation or there’s an accident in your swimming pool or sauna. Maybe a guest becomes unwell after a tables d‘hôtes meal. There are many situations which may result in you being held liable for something. Do remember to let your insurer know if you have a swimming pool, sauna or a hot-tub to ensure you’re fully covered. You will also need to make sure your pool is protected/alarmed in accordance with the legal requirements. So do inform your insurer of your activities and make sure that your liability risk is covered. It is sometimes possible (depending on the company and the situation) to extend your household insurance policy with a simple clause if you only rent from time to time to family and friends and mainly use the property yourself. However, if you run a larger business or if you own a house in France that you never use yourself but solely let as a gîte, you need a professional policy. Most policies are multi-risk - covering your professional liability, the building(s) and the contents. It is possible to add extras such as cover for loss of income and legal protection. Maartje Schlepers, Assurances Benoit, La Plégade, 46150 Pontcirq, Tel Office 0972468223 (Mon to Thurs) Email: expat@agence.generali.f, Orias 07005354 - 15005887

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local

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Is your home

kind to the environment? We must re-learn how to live on our planet, everyone has a role to play and each small step is a great advance. We need to stop ‘making’ and ‘consuming’ and take care of what we already have; thereby reducing our carbon footprint and lowering our energy needs.

Embracing eco-housing means focusing on 3 main principles: 1. T he use of ‘green’ building materials (sourced locally and without environmental harm) 2. The harnessing of renewable energies 3. Preservation of water Creating eco-housing brings the issue of sustainability to the forefront of our quest for comfort, health and reducing environmental impact. We need homes that consume less fossil fuels, integrate into the environment and are safer for the inhabitants (air quality, and materials used). Eco or green-housing has to be a reconciliation of social responsibility and affordability. It’s a chance for man to balance the relationship between himself and his living space; a philosophical choice that blends comfort and respect. In this edition we are considering only the use of ‘green’ materials the other points will be visited in May. Before starting any construction it‘s necessary to consider all the implications of the work and how its impact can be minimised. – positioning (area, orientation, weather, geotechnical data) – architectural design – materials – building methods – energy sources – how the building materials might be re-used/recycled at the end of its life Perhaps the self-sufficient house feels like ‘just one of those dreams’. If this dream seems rather too hard to reach it’s important to remember that these principles apply also to simple renovations around the home. A wall, a window, or roof, every step is a step further towards sustainability. Without doubt insulation is the most important step you can take. Insulating your roof is like covering your house in a warm waterproof jacket, fuel efficiency will immediately be amplified. ‘Green’ insulation means using breathable materials that allow your house to release the moisture it gathers.

The best materials to use (with reduced impact on air quality and CO2 emissions and sound-proofing properties) are cellulose, wood fibre, hemp, straw, linen, coconut fibre, lavender straw, feathers, cork, wood and wool. Many of which can be sourced locally. Currently, cellulose is most commonly used in Europe, it’s also relatively easy to apply and remains competitively priced. More and more traditional construction methods are becoming available again. Wooden houses, straw houses, or homes made with earth materials such as terracotta, adobe, hemp bricks, slaked lime, and wattle/daub. These materials don’t harm the environment during production or their disposal as they can all be recycled. Thanks to the Réseau Français de Construction en Paille building a straw house is becoming easier in France. This organisation will help you find a

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Insulation specialist Indoor and outdoor Organic cellulose insulation Works 50 kms radius from Moissac Specialising in Cellulose Insulation

Expat Citizen Rights in EU - ‘ECREU’ ECREU is a lobby and self-help group set up to make sure your rights are foremost in the minds of those negotiating your future within the EU. We are working to get British MPs and Brussels representatives on your side and willing to state your case in any discussions and negotiations resulting from the UK’s decision to leave the EU. So if you are concerned for your wellbeing as an expat citizen living in another EU country after Brexit, you will not be alone.

You can join ECREU (no charge) at professional eco-builder. Straw houses are firstly You can find more information on these building constructed with a wooden frame before filling the wall techniques (in French) on spaces with straw. You must then smooth these walls permaculture-construction-naturelle-la-terre-crue-de/ over with a lime or other breathable material to provide some protection from fire, regulate humidity and simply Workshops are held in Montricoux (with the specialists aesthetically. A suitable replacement for straw is hemp, ‘Façon Terre’, Jérôme Tugayé et Bertrand Fourtanet) or either in fibre rolls or in bricks.Luncheon with Oysters, Jean François de Troyin Lafrançaise (with Benoît Massip). The Quercy area is Perhaps one of the oldest global ‘green’ materials home to at least 3 different eco-constructions. ‘Green’ is terracotta. People are re-discovering how to harvest hamlets designed as self-sufficient, eco-housing projects earth from the ground to obtain thermally efficient for people in search of a healthy more communal life. building materials. Terracotta stores the sun’s heat Their projects are on-going and it’s possible to visit and and slowly releases this into the house. Conversely talk to those involved. A great way to learn! this same material protects the home from the impact of full-summer heat. Verfeil sur Seye (82) near St Antonin Noble Val, The styles and colour of terracotta bricks vary depending on location and earth types. Warm, Masquières (47) ‘Tera’, sustainable and cheap you could even try making Le Vigan (46) ‘Le Mas d’Andral’ near Gourdon, bricks from the earth on your own land! Among the techniques used for building with terracotta are the ‘pisé (rammed walls), and ‘torchis’ (daub walls) The environmental approach to housing is aimed at and of course the adobe brick-making technique. Adobe saving the planet’s resources; using the natural energies is made from earth and other organic material. Adobe around us; reducing our waste and attempting to means ‘mudbrick’ in Spanish, but in some regions this minimize pollution. In this way we can leave our children names refers to any kind of earth construction, as most a cleaner earth. adobe buildings are similar in appearance to cob and rammed earth buildings. Adobe is amongst the earliest By Valérie Rousseau building materials, and is used throughout the world. (In the May Edition: Energy and Water savings) Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


‘I feel blessed to have found the joy of music in this region!’ Inspiring Singing Workshops near Gourdon/Salviac All levels

La Troupe D’Acteurs Du Quercy artwork, prepared in time for the show, helped decorate the set in the classroom scene. The teachers were rather surprised by the math’s lesson that Nanny Fanny gave – they might have had a bit of “unlearning” to do!

For the last 14 years La Troupe d’Acteurs du Quercy has brought a touch of traditional British theatre to the Quercy residents. Each year, at the end of January, the Troupe puts on a bi-lingual pantomime based on a well known fairytale. This year the show was Sleeping Beauty. The Troupe’s adaptation of the original tale by French author, Charles Perraux, was written by long-serving Troupe member, Philip Jones. The show was a challenging production incorporating five scene changes, song and dance routines, a growing sunflower and several modes of transport including a scooter, a 2CV and a bus! The 26 strong cast included 5 children and several newcomers who were treading the boards for the very first time. The panto followed the classic tale with a few twists, blending together the “Once upon a time” with modern day – pregnancy tests, Holby City, the One Show, Roundup, smart phones and Pokemon Go! to name but a few. The costumes and set were colourful and ever changing – the Dame, Nanny Fanny, managed to have 5 costume changes in the space of the two acts. You can imagine the fun the wardrobe department had trying to source and make the wacky outfits. The Troupe put on four shows this year – the Friday afternoon performance is always by invitation only for local schools. 156 children from 8 Quercy primary and secondary schools attended this performance and their

This year the Troupe decided to trial a Sunday matinee performance, with great results and looks like a popular choice. We noticed interesting cultural trends – admittedly the majority of the audience was British across all shows, but we saw increased numbers of French, Dutch and American spectators, and, for the first time ever, 3 Estonians! The French preferred the Sunday rather than the Saturday matinee and the Dutch preferred the evening performance. However, feedback from all shows was that a good time was had by all. The Directors of the show, Sarah Pegg and Jenny Hurst would like to thank all the cast, backstage crew, costumes, makeup, music, choreographer, props, sound, lighting, set designer, front of house team, publicity team and administrator who all helped bring the show together. The Troupe works as a team, with people of all abilities and a wide range of experience but we are always looking for newcomers wanting to try their hand at having fun and learning new skills. The Troupe meets on Monday and Thursday evenings in the Montaigu de Quercy hall to put on a range of theatrical productions and social events. Interested in joining us? Then please contact the President Sarah Pegg: or visit the website Diary date: The Troupe’s next production will be a play, “The Reunion” by Peter Gordon on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th May. Save the date!

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Montaigu’s very own It’s coming up for my 1st anniversary of living in France. How a year flies by!


he thing that seems to shock most people about my move to France is my age. You don’t see many 33 year old single women and their dog upping sticks and setting out to start a new life, a new beginning in such a quiet corner of France. “Why the South West of France?” I am often asked. “Spend two days here and you’ll know why.” Is my reply. That’s because all it took was two days for me to decide to change my life. My parents had always planned to retire in the South West of France. At first my thoughts were, wow! What wonderful holidays I’ll be able to have, that was until I accompanied them on one of their trips to go and view the house they had bought in Tournon D’Agenais and I simply fell in love. I have always wanted to live in a different country, so the idea of emigrating was not a terrifying one for me. In the past it had never been the right time, so I asked myself the question, “when is the right time?” In truth, it never is the right time, you just have to make it so. There is always going to be something standing in your way, so go over it, go around it or just plough it down! I am amazed how settled I feel after just 11 months. My French home, which I lovingly named Mon Rêve, is in the quaint little village of Montaigu-de-Quercy. I have to keep pinching myself, just to check it’s all real. People tell me I live in my own little world, and I have to agree that most of the time I am lost in my own imagination. But now the lines between fantasy and reality are blurring as the South West of France really is full of storybook villages, beautiful countryside and mouth-watering cuisine. I couldn’t have asked for a warmer reception from the people I have met and made friends with. I was soon referred to as ‘that singing girl with the cute little dog’ as Stanley goes everywhere with me, people got used to seeing us as a pair. Singing is what I’ve always done and always known, it’s part of who I am. For the last fifteen years I have been a qualified singing teacher and performer in the UK and felt extremely fortunate to have a job I was so passionate about. That must have shone right out of me, because I’d only been here a few

months before it was suggested I start a little informal choir at the Club International du Quercy, I guess this was the moment I truly felt I belonged here. After my first choir session, with just 6 singers, I felt so happy that I think my heart was singing too! The choir gave me a purpose, a sense of belonging and a chance to share my experience and skills with others who wanted to learn and sing together. The choir, ‘la joie du chant’, grew and flourished and with the member count now being in the twenties, Monday nights have become my favourite time of the week. Inspired from my enjoyment with the choir I am now once again building a career ‘Professeur de Chant’ teaching private singing lessons and music to any age and ability. “As a nervous, first-time singer I was keen to give it a go but very unsure of how lessons would work out. Three lessons in I am sure Jenny wishes I would hold back a bit! She’s given me lots of confidence already, has a great knack for picking just the right songs and I am loving every minute.”

“Jenny is a wonderful teacher, she makes you feel totally at ease and emphasises the fun and joy of singing. I had forgotten how uplifted you feel after singing! I sing all the way home in the car and can’t wait until the next week” Jenny Grimshaw

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


A CAT’S TONGUE Do you remember the very first time you were licked by a cat? If you had been used to the smooth sensation of a dog’s tongue then it was probably quite surprising to experience the rough feel of a cat’s tongue. If, however, you’ve lived with cats for many years, you probably don’t even think twice about that sandpaper sensation. Here are some facts about the cat’s tongue: The tongue of a cat has tiny, backward-facing barbs (papillae) on it and they’re the things that create that rough sensation. The barbs serve several important functions. They make it easier for a cat to rasp the meat from the bones of his prey. The barbs also aid in grooming as they collect dirt, debris and loose hair from the cat’s coat. The downside to the backward-facing barbs though is that anything the cat collects on her tongue can end up getting swallowed and that’s how your cat may end up with hairballs. Grooming for Survival After a cat has eaten his prey he will groom to remove all traces. This is an important survival strategy because he doesn’t want to alert any other prey in the area to his presence. Additionally, a cat is small enough so he is not only a predator but potential prey as well. Removing traces of a fresh kill would be very important to his own safety as well. Grooming for Comfort Your cat will also use his tongue to groom himself to help keep cool through evaporation.

Grooming for Behaviour Grooming is also a displacement behaviour and your cat may use his tongue to groom areas of his body if he feels stressed or anxious. Repeated grooming in the same area can actually cause bald patches. A cat will also use his tongue for social grooming. You may notice this if you have a multi-cat environment and you see two cats engaging in grooming. Taste Buds The cat’s tongue has fewer taste buds than a human has and interestingly, the cat, in general doesn’t have a taste for sweets. We probably create that habit and desire in our cats by feeding inappropriate foods. Food Texture Preference The texture, size and shape of food are important to the cat and he may like or reject a certain food based on how it feels on his tongue. Drinking Water It used to be that experts thought the cat laps up water by curling the tip of the tongue into a makeshift spoon but recent research has shown that the cat actually drinks by curling the upper side of the tongue downward and then darts it across the surface of the water at a remarkably fast speed. This causes a column of water to rise up and the cat closes his mouth just in time to collect it before gravity allows the water to fall back down.

If you would like more information please contact Lynn Stone at The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


PENSION ‘Bonnes Vacances’

HELP US TO HELP THEM! In March 2017 will be held our General Assembly (details will be on our website) to present our 2016 annual report. Take this opportunity to come to know us better and meet members and volunteers of our association. In 2016, Les amis des chats had more than 150 stray cats sterilised under the Trap Neuter Return (TNR) programme. Our charity has now authorisation from the local council to work in 75 municipalities. The number of Neutering Vouchers issued for domestic cats increased by 20% compared to 2015 with more than 350 vouchers, mostly for female cats.

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For more information on forthcoming events, please visit Les amis des chats website and our Facebook page

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Top specification Scott bikes available (mountain & hybrid) All necessary accessories supplied Bikes serviced & maintained by a Cytech certified mechanic +33 (0)7 80 57 81 49 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Time to start celebrating spring – Easter and Mothering Sunday – for starters


Two chefs, both of whom have recently taken on their culinary roles in new restaurants. Alex from Montcléra and David from Miramont de Quercy. Each chef has shared with us a great ‘sweet-treat’ recipe. Ideal for an Easter or Mothering Sunday extravaganza.


There’s a busy year ahead for Montcléra, it’s their third season and already some exciting changes have happened. Alex has taken over the kitchen, leaving Rosie Paddon to put her full energy into other areas of the business, allowing the restaurant to be able to offer more of the popular music and food soirees that they are passionate about as well as meet the increasing demand for their catering and wedding planning service. This is not the first time Alex has cooked in France. As a young ‘stagiaire’ at the Birmingham College of Food he was lucky enough to do a season in Strasbourg to complete his training. Time spent at the two-rosette, New Hall Country House, hotel in Birmingham quickly gave way to a slightly different direction as he spent 15 years in the wine trade as both wine buyer for

supermarkets and running his own wine company specialising in Italian wines and spirits to the UK and Germany. A return to the fire of commercial cookery was, however, not long in coming as a move to the south west of England ignited his passion for local businesses, communities and produce. He ran kitchens and restaurants in Somerset, Cornwall and Birmingham before making the move to France and our beloved Lot. After a year running his own successful restaurant in Uzech, family illness offered the opportunity to form a partnership with Rosie at Montcléra in 2016 and this business relationship continues to go from strength to strength. Now, in 2017 he and Rosie have set up a lively winter of events looking forward to the summer, where their ongoing commitment to fantastic local flavours and exciting and contemporary dishes will be certain to bring a smile to your face. Alex is sharing his recipe for an Assiette de Chocolat, a chocolate lover’s delight comprising three elements: Mousse, Cake and Hot Chocolate. This recipe has come to life over Alex’s time in France, taking his and customers passion for chocolate and presenting it in a fun, light hearted way...

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Assiette de Chocolat Ingredients: For the Mousse • 3 Eggs • 40g Caster Sugar • 120ml Water • 200g Chocolate (70% cocoa)

For the Sponge • 225g/8oz plain flour • 350g/12½oz caster sugar • 85g/3oz cocoa powder • 1½ tsp baking powder • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda • 2 free-range eggs • 250ml/9fl oz milk • 125ml/4½fl oz vegetable oil • 2 tsp vanilla extract • 250ml/9fl oz boiling water

For the Hot Chocolate • 50g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) • 25g butter • 125ml double cream • 1 tbsp caster sugar • 1 tbsp dark rum (optional)

Method: Mousse 1. Melt chocolate over a bain-marie until liquid 2. A  llow to cool slightly and separate 3 egg yolks into the chocolate, mix and then… 3. Whisk the egg whites till firm 4. Add 40g of caster sugar then whisk into glossy peaks 5. With a metal spoon add a portion of the egg whites to the chocolate and combine 6. Add the rest of the egg whites gently until combined 7. Pour the mix into a jug 8. Fill 9 small ramekins with the mousse mix and refrigerate for at least 1 hour

Sponge 1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F 2. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment 3. C  ombine all the ingredients except the water and combine (by hand or with a machine) 4. Add the water whilst folding the mixture until you are left with a very runny mixture 5. Fill loaf tin and place in centre of oven for 30 mins or until a knife comes out clean

Chocolate Sauce 1. M  elt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water until completely smooth 2. H  eat all of the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan until evenly combined. Remove from the heat and stir through the melted chocolate 3. Pour warm into a shot glass Plate design is up to you. In Montcléra we serve a slice of cake, the mousse ramekin and the shot glass of hot chocolate in the centre of a plate with finely chopped nuts and chocolate shavings.

Mothering Sunday in the UK & British Summer Time begins March 26th St Patrick’s Day – March 17th Spring Begins – March 20th

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


CHEF 2: DAVID ROLAND THE NEW OWNER AT L’AUBERGE DE MIRAMONT 0) L’Auberge de Miramont, Miramont de Quercy, 82190

Auberge de Miramont

David Roland originally comes from Castres (81) he studied at the Ecole Hôtelière in Mazamet and then went on to gain experience working in restaurants such as ‘L’Esprit du Vin’ and ‘La Table du Sommelier’ in Albi. Then in 2016 when visiting Miramont de Quercy with his partner Karine Marischi he met Stéphane, the then current owner of the Auberge, who was intending to sell the business. David and Karine had wanted, for some time, to open a business together and so this seemed like the perfect opportunity, they loved the Auberge and they loved the village. Karine comes from a catering/events organising background and clearly all the couple’s experience has paid-off as the couple were able to quickly re-open the restaurant after the change of ownership in autumn 2016. They are now busy getting to know people locally and becoming involved with catering for various local events and weddings. The TAPAS evening that they have arranged for the first Friday of every month is proving very popular locally. David has also prepared a delicious treat; a Banoffee Pie which is likely to be on, or soon to be on, people’s ‘most favourite’ list. The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Banoffee Pie Ingredients: • 4 Bananas • Un-sweetened cocoa powder for decoration • 1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (400 g) or a tin of confiture de lait already prepared. • 180 g speculoos biscuits • 80 g half-salted butter – for melting • 40 cl liquid whole cream • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Method: The condensed milk/confiture de lait can be prepared several days before and kept sealed in the fridge. •U  sing a pressure cooker, put the tin of condensed milk in the cooker and fill the cooker ¾ of the height of the tin with water. Let this boil for about 35 mins. Do not open the tin until it is completely cooled down. Alternatively immerse the tin of condensed milk in a pan of boiling water and heat it gently for 2 hours. Again – leave to cool completely before opening. • Crush the biscuits with a food processor or a rolling pin. • Mix the melted butter and biscuit crumbs to make a pliable paste. • Cover the bottom of molds (removable bases if possible) with greaseproof paper. Spread the mixture and press with the palm and then a spoon to make a firm base. • Place in fridge for 45 min (20 min in freezer) to harden. • Put the whisks of your electric mixer (or hand whisk) and the bowl into the freezer – to cool them. Whisk the cream and just before it is done add the icing sugar.

Easter Sunday this year April 16th

• Remove the crushed biscuit bases from their molds. • Cover the biscuit bases with the confiture de lait

St George’s Day – April 27th

• Cut the bananas into rounds and lay them on the confiture. • Spread the cream on the bananas and smooth the top with back of a tablespoon. Let cool in fridge for 2 hours. Sprinkle a little cocoa to decorate.

Save the Date! Mothering Sunday in France – 28th May

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017

Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Cake


With spring on the way, try our delicious

Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Cake Ingredients


For the cake

To make the cake:

4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line 2 x 23cm round spring form cake tins. Into a freestanding mixer (or bowl with hand whisk) put the eggs, sugar, butter and ground almonds then sift in the flour & baking powder. Mix until you have a smooth batter Fold in the lemon zest then equally divide the batter between the two cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean Take out from the oven and leave to cool on cooling racks

200g self-raising flower 260g caster sugar 260g butter (room temperature) 1 tsp baking powder 60g ground almonds

For the lemon curd:

zest of 2 lemons Lemon curd (makes enough for 2 cakes: 230g sugar 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk zest and juice of 3 lemons 110g melted butter

200g cream for whipping 200g mascarpone

For the mascarpone cream: Whisk the whipping cream until soft and luscious. Add in the mascarpone then whisk again until all combined.

To assemble the cake:

Mascarpone cream: (at least 35% MG)

Whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth in a microwaveable bowl. Stir in the melted butter, lemon zest and juice. Microwave on high for 1 minute intervals stirring after each minute until thickened, normally 5 minutes. Store in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to a month.

Cut each of the cooled cakes into two layers and place one of the bottom halves on a cake stand. Use a quarter of the mascarpone cream filling and spread it evenly. Top with a layer of lemon curd. Place the next layer of cake on top and continue with the mascarpone cream and lemon curd until all 4 layers are done. Finish with mascarpone cream on top and decorate with flowers or seasonal fruit.

Le Caillau: Nestled in the heart of the Cahors vineyards you’ll find Le Caillau is a family run Restaurant, Café and Pottery Painting Atelier. In 2011, Caroline and Chas Sharp opened the doors of Le Caillau, a renovated 300 year old winery. Our aim is simple – to produce great quality, simple and tasty food. In our restaurant kitchen our small team creates dishes based on vegetables from our own kitchen garden and local seasonal produce, (with some more exotic ingredients thrown in for variety and a different flavour from traditional Quercy cuisine). Our Café and Pottery Painting Atelier is perfect for an afternoon getaway, whether you’re after a coffee and slice of homemade cake (lemon drizzle and coffee and walnut are some of our customers’ favourites), or you’re feeling artistic and decide to get creative by painting some pottery. Opening Hours from March 1st - April 30th: Monday: 10am – 5pm, Tuesday: Closed, Wed-Sat: 10am – 5pm and 7pm – 11pm, Sunday: 12pm – 4pm Le Caillau, 46700 Vire sur Lot. Telephone: 05 65 23 78 04 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017

The Quercy Local • November-December 2016 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local Â


g s es tin nt né ui e ré cr Ag Py Re es idil Sa M e th



Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Anglican Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation For detailed information visit our website: All services are held at Centre Paroissial, 75 av J Lurçat, Terre Rouge, 46000 Cahors

Shrove Tuesday - February 28 It is the first Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and it officially ends the season of Epiphany and is the vigil for starting of Lent. The name is derived from the word “shrive”, which means to confess and receive absolution. The English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before Ash Wednesday began. In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras. (No service).

Ash Wednesday - March 1 Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar open-ing Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday, and plac-ing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. This year’s service will be at 11.00am in Lagardelle church followed by Lenten lunch of soup and cheese. Please join us.

Women’s World Day of Prayer Friday, March 3 This is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women who welcome you to join in prayer and action for peace and justice. You may also wish to join us on March 3 at 6.30 pm at Terre Rouge for the 2017 worship celebration service written this year by the Christian women from the Philippines and the theme is: Am I being unfair to you? Based on the parable in Matthew 20:1-16 where Jesus clarifies the rules of entrance into the kingdom of heaven - entrance is by God’s grace alone. There is a traditional cultural practice in the Philippines known as dagyaw - a communal way of labouring each other’s farms and equally benefiting from the harvest - which builds and sus-tains a community and by showing compassion and care for each other. Therein probably lies the answer to “Am I being Unfair to you?”

Mothering Sunday March 26 Holy Communion service at Terre Rouge Sometimes also known as Mother’s Day or Refreshment Sunday it is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or ‘mother’

church once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their ‘mother church’ – the main church or cathedral of the area. This inevi-tably became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away returned home, picking wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a gift. The fasting rules for Lent were relaxed that day, hence Refreshment Sunday, and the food item specially associated with that day is Simnel cake, a fruit cake with two layers of almond paste, one on top and one in the middle. Eleven marzipan balls are placed on top representing the 11 disciples, Judas excluded. Traditionally, sugar violets would also be added.

Palm Sunday April 9 Holy Communion service at Terre Rouge Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, an especially solemn and important week in the Christian calendar, focusing on the last days of Jesus’ life anticipating Easter, the most important holiday in Christianity. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, where he would be crucified five days later. According to the Gospels, Jesus rode into town on a donkey as exuberant crowds hailed him as the Messiah and spread out palm branches and cloaks in his path. The usual observances include processions with palm branches, the blessing of palms (which will be burned and used on Ash Wednesday), and the construction of small palm crosses.

Maundy Thursday April 13 It is the last Thursday before Easter, commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. The word

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‘Maundy’ comes from the command or ‘mandatum’ by Christ at the Last Sup-per, that Christians should love one another, just as he has loved them. The ceremonies involved on this day are inspired by the events occurred during the night Jesus observed the Passover with his disciples. One such ceremony is the washing of feet, which was incorporated around the fourth century, and involved the bishop or cardinal within the church washing the feet of the priests and acolytes. In Rome, the Pope would wash the feet of selected Cardinals. This was seen as fulfilling the mandate that the greatest among the brethren will be the servant of all. Today, the priest of a particular church or diocese does the ceremonial foot washing. (No service).

Good Friday April 14 On this day we remember Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion and death on the Cross as the ulti-mate sacrifice for our sins. The main service on Good Friday often takes place between midday and 3pm. In many churches it takes the form of a meditation based on the seven last words of Je-sus on the cross, with hymns, prayers, and short sermons. It is traditional to eat Hot Cross Buns’ on Good Friday. These buns, with their combination of spicy, sweet and fruity flavours, have long been an Easter tradition. The pastry cross on top of the buns symbolises and reminds us of the crucifixion of Jesus. Please join us for a meditative performance of The Nail at 3.00pm at Terre Rouge.

Easter Sunday April 16 Because of the distances to Terre Rouge we are unable to celebrate Holy Saturday with a Light Vigil, instead we do it at 8.30am on Easter Sunday, followed by Easter Day Holy Communion. This is the culmination of all of Lent and the day when Jesus rose again. The church at Terre Rouge is usually full – nearly 100 people, the hymns are joyous as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ – three days after he was crucified. We shall be holding an Easter Light Vigil at 8.30am followed by a light breakfast and an Easter Day Holy Communion Service at 10.00am at Terre Rouge. Please join us – you will be most welcome.

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Your copy of The Quercy Local can be delivered to your home in France or elsewhere in Europe. 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. Simply visit our website and follow the link to ‘Subscribe’ you can made the subscription immediately by using either a bank card or paypal. If you prefer to pay by cheque then simply forward a cheque (payable to A Atkinson) to Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190, France – do include the address that you want the magazines sending to. We will always start the subscription with the next edition to be published unless you email to ask us to start with the current one. The costs for getting 5 copies sent to you are currently – 19 euro for an address in France or 11 euro for elsewhere in Europe.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


BEAUVILLE Some of its history, life today and what’s on...

Beauville is a small town on the top of a hill in Lot et Garonne – it has a commanding view of the valley below, the chateau has been extensively reconstructed over the centuries, but still commands the valley. Although not recognised as a formal Bastide (there isn’t any sign of the charter), the town was built in a defensible manner with high surrounding ramparts in a defensible position.


uring the 100 years war the town had sided with the English king (Edward III), in 1352 the village was besieged by the French who came out from Agen – this was unsuccessful, and in 1354 the French forces , a stronger force from Toulouse attacked again. Once more this was repulsed, but after a negotiation for a consideration of 1000 gold crowns it changed to ally with the French. A massive wall painting in the Mairie depicts the siege, whilst a ceramic plaque which was in the old post office (now private) depicts the exchange on the tumulus which is still visible (though tree-clad) at Noë just below Beauville by the road junction in the valley.

The current church tower that dominates the square was the defensive tower, whilst the town wall went all around (the entrance road at the Chateau was a later addition) access to the town was up the small street (now Rue de Couvent) just to the West of the Mairie and comes out next to the Bon Coeur boutique. In the back of the Bon Coeur boutique a system of communication from the time of the siege can be seen – a small prepared archway with a very thin section of wall that could be broken through to allow messages, arms or soldiers to pass quickly and securely from one house to the next above the ramparts.

ST ROCH Another historical event that is recorded in the archives is the Fête de la St Roch. In about 1600 the villages prayed to St Roch that they would be saved from the plague which had reached Agen – they promised that if saved, they would build a chapel and honour St Roch. The village did not succumb to the plague so this was built, the cross from the chapel is still seen at the foot of the water tower on the road from Bourg de Visa, whilst an effigy of St Roch adorns the church. Each year “particularly since 1630” there has been a fete de la St Roch on the first Sunday after the 16th August. For archives from about 1912 see Beauville in: Over the years, St Roch’s association with animals (he was allegedly saved from death by his dog who collected food to keep him alive when he was himself suffering with illness) has meant that this became the “benediction of the animals” as well. The event is still held, normally on Place du Carre with a mass at the church, procession carrying the effigy, the blessing (domestic animals welcome) followed by a meal and pétanque competition.

SUMMER ACTIVITIES In the main summer season there are a lot of events in 2017 at Beauville including:

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• the popular Friday night markets every Friday throughout July and August, plenty of choice to eat and a live band to accompany your meal. If it’s poor weather – we have large tents so the show can go on! • 13th July traditional meal (spit roast lamb / ball / fireworks) for the fête nationale, • 14th July a Franco-Britannique pétanque competition, • a giant Brocante 13th August under the trees on the second square, • the Fête de la St Roch on 20th August, • a regular Sunday morning farmers’ market.

BON COEUR The association Bon Coeur (loi 1901) was registered and founded in June 2013 – the shop premises have been kindly loaned by Diane Twilley, whose husband Nick initiated the pétanque competition. The boutique is just next to the Mairie under the arches. Bon Coeur raises funds through both the boutique and with various events – the next of which is on the 1st May a giant book sale in the Salle des Fêtes at Beauville 1000 to 1600. We usually have around 10,000 books, a number of which are themed ones (biographies / history / art etc.), in addition a number of DVDs and CDs and even a few LPs. Sometimes we get larger donations so there will be a few items of furniture too. The boutique is run by a number of dedicated volunteers organised by Brian Gauntlett the President, who man the shop, and behind the scenes sort the donations and arrange the gifts we make. The funds we raise are used to make gifts to other mainly local “bon causes” both animal and human. We have helped over 30 different organisations and have passed on nearly e30,000 that has been raised so far in about 3 ½ years. In addition, a grant from the UK allows us to help people with sterilising and neutering local cats and kittens. Examples of recent beneficiaries have been Liberté des Anes, Mere aux Bêtes, animal rescue centre in Agen, Cancer Support France, A women’s refuge in Agen, the Centre de Loisirs in Beauville, Mouth Cancer Awareness – a full list is displayed in the boutique.

More volunteers are always welcome for Bon Coeur – or of course if you have any donations or good quality Brocante, clothes, books, jewellery they would be appreciated too! The shop is normally open 2 – 4pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings 10 -12 noon. Contact us via: or 0553 687742 – there is mailing list which you can be added to in order to hear about details and dates of local events of interest & how to get involved. The Tourist Office also has a comprehensive, bi-lingual calendar and the staff will be happy to assist (check site for hours).

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


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Tel. 05 82 95 05 73 Port. 06 27 71 94 51 Refer to this advert to receive a 10%discount Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


When things change & suddenly needs must


any people who move to France are faced with questions on what do to for the best with elderly parents. Quite often when they move away, their parents are enjoying a healthy and active retirement. But sadly, in older age circumstances can change pretty quickly. Either one parent dies leaving the other alone and vulnerable or perhaps illness strikes requiring a higher level of support for one or both parents. For many the only practical solution is to move their loved ones to France to either live with or near them. Of course there are lots of things to consider with such a move, not least ensuring access to the French healthcare system and adapting properties to suit the needs of the person. However, one element that can be overlooked, is the need for additional support beyond the

immediate family. Often the people who have moved to France have done so having fulfilled a busy working life and raised a family and are looking forward to a well-earned retirement. What they hadn’t bargained on was becoming a full-time carer! When Sarah and her husband John found themselves in this situation they decided to have John’s elderly mother, Audrey, to live with them. As they were both trying to find their way in a new country, undertake renovations work and meet new friends; they decided to use Helping Hands at Home to give them the time they needed for other activities. “At first John was still working part-time in the UK so it made it difficult for me to go out. Most of the time I just needed to get to a builder’s merchants shop to make decisions on anything from new taps and tiles to buying a chainsaw. But I couldn’t leave Audrey on her own as she had become a bit wobbly on her feet and I was afraid that she would fall,” said Sarah. “At first a member of the Helping Hands team would just come and sit with Audrey for three hours twice a week allowing me to get out to the shops etc. Then, when John was home, we decided to take a short trip to explore our new region of France and Helping

Hands were able to stay for 24 hours ensuring there was always someone with Audrey. They cooked for her and helped her to shower and get dressed. It was vital that they spoke English as Audrey did not speak French and she really enjoyed chatting with her carers and playing scrabble with them. Knowing that Audrey was being looked after meant we were able to really relax and enjoy our trip,” she said. Caroline Sweeney of helping Hands, said: “Sarah’s story is very typical of people who move to France and need to take care of elderly or poorly parents. Her story demonstrates the flexibility of Helping Hands in offering from three hours a day to round-the-clock care and everything in between. Another typical scenario happened just before Christmas. We received a call for help from a woman who had undergone a five week hospital stay and just needed some support to fully recuperate without having to worry about housework and shopping. After five weeks of daily visits which included shopping, cooking and cleaning she was strong enough to take over the running of her house again.” If you need support or are thinking about bringing an elderly parent to France and want to discuss care options, please call Caroline on 05 63 05 17 35 / 06 37 22 88 16

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Tasting The Lot: Spring lunch Welcome to Spring!

Each new month brings new foods into season that we can’t wait to try. This winter I have been busy trying out new recipes for a cookbook. Each month/chapter has been dedicated to a different seasonal food and matching wine that are produced in the Lot Valley. Check out the website, twitter and Facebook for the A-Z of wines villages and recipes throughout the year.


arch has been designated to the glorious sheep, including meat, in many various cuts, sheep’s cheese and of course wool. April is all about Goats! Well to be honest, it’s the cheese, rather than the animal! I love it, so delicious, so versatile though I am no doctor, but I think it is better for me than cow’s milk cheese. Whether the local Lacaune sheep, usually kept for cheese production (more can be read about them on p. 8-9 May-June 2014 edition in an article about Ferme de Lacontal a superb place to visit) or the beautiful, black-eyed Caussenarde sheep (more about these on p. 32-34 March-April 2015 by Jeanne McCaul) if you don’t have a copy – both articles are available online from It’s traditional in many countries to have lamb for Easter lunch either for religious reasons or family tradition. Lamb always seems to taste nicer in the spring and if family are coming, to be convivial, it needs to be a simple but delicious lunch. In this edition I thought I would write about this year’s celebratory Easter lunch. My first ever without my parents to discuss what was on the menu! Or rather without my father’s wine cellar to guide me! The French word “Pâques” derives from the Latin “pascua”, meaning “food”, which comes from the Hebrew “Pessah” meaning “passing way” (hence the word “passage”) and is the Jewish name for the Passover celebration, which remembers the Exodus out of Egypt. According to the Gospel, it was during this Jewish celebration that Jesus rose again. For Christians, Easter celebrates both the day Jesus rose from the dead and the end of the fast of Lent. Renewal and rebirth are major themes of Easter, and many of these traditions began before the birth of Christ. The prominence of the egg is a symbol of that rebirth. Likewise, the tradition of eating lamb on Easter

probably comes from the availability of the first lamb of the season, which historically came to market around the time of Easter. A lamb is a lucky omen. Centuries ago, people believed the devil could take the form of any animal except a lamb. The devil could not transform into a lamb because of its religious symbolism. The lamb also symbolizes new life, as it happens in Spring time. We are so lucky to have chosen to live in this rich region for foods and wines, the choices are endless.

Leg of Lamb, Stuffed with Bleu de Causse Cheese The first ever French cookbook that I loved properly was Len Deighton’s ‘French cooking for men’. Given to me for my 30th by an amazing man called Gordon Thompson, sadly now passed away. His son Harry, sadly also passed away in 2005, was the first producer of ‘Have I Got News For You’, those with UK TV

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Goats Cheese and Asparagus Ingredients are per person

1 goats cheese (cabecou), 2 tsp honey, 2 tsp brown sugar, a handful of mixed salad leaves, 4 tsp French dressing, 6 tips of asparagus, 2 tsp pesto (you can leave the pesto out if you want a simpler dish). Take the goats cheese, drizzle over the honey, sprinkle with the brown sugar and place under a hot grill until golden and bubbling. Mix the salad with dressing and arrange on a plate. Grill the asparagus until golden. Place a slice of goats cheese on top of each salad. Place the asparagus tips nicely around the goats cheese and drizzle the pesto sauce around. Serve immediately. To accompany this – Esprit de Latuc Sémillon 2014. Something that would be lovely as an aperitif and continue to this course and try it with dessert also.

Chocolate and Lemon Curd Tartlets Makes 12

2 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp icing sugar, 200 g plain flour, 1 good pinch salt, 150 g chilled unsalted butter – diced, 2-2½ tbsp iced water. 2 jars of lemon curd. (Caroline has a great recipe this month in her Le Caillau cake recipe, easy, quick and brilliantly versatile.)

Put the flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar, salt and chilled butter in the bowl of a food processor. Use the pulse button to process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the water and use the pulse button to process briefly until the mixture just starts to cling together (don’t let it form a ball). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured, cool benchtop. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 30 seconds or until smooth and soft. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest. Butter and flour some a 12-hole muffin tin (tarts are lovely the deeper they are! You can make small tarts if you prefer. Cut appropriate round shapes to fill tray, slightly push the pastry into the edges of the cases to get neater edges to tarts, fill with lemon curd and cook for 15 minutes in oven at 200°C, (it’s possible to blind bake the cases and then fill and reduce the cooking time) leave in tins for 5 minutes to cool and then remove, can serve warm or cold with melted chocolate or as my partner prefers vanilla ice cream! This is delicious with the starter wine or if collecting friends from Bergerac airport this Easter, Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure in Monbazillac is also a family tradition.

will know this programme. We had many a lovely chat talking about French food and the simplicity of cooking. This Easter we are having one of Gordon’s favourite lamb recipes which I have prepared before with lamb from the Cotswolds, whilst living there. Leg of lamb, stuffed with Bleu de Causse cheese instead of garlic and rosemary, overstuff the pockets (slits made in meat with a knife) and the cheese melts on the surface making a delicious crust! I will be serving it with Château de Cedre’s Le Cedre (a Christmas gift), with a back-up of my current favourite, Hauts St Georges. Most favourite Cahors fluctuate, by the time this article is printed, I might have changed my mind about the back-up wine. Follow on Facebook, twitter or Instagram for more wine choices.

Many thanks to those who have contacted me since I have started writing recipes and wine choices for the Quercy Local. Wine tastings for local and holidaymakers alike start in earnest in May, so look forward to meeting more of you. Happy Easter to you all

Luci Cox Wine tastings are available on request. Please contact me Luci Cox on for more information or follow me on Facebook – Tasting The Lot, Quercy

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Quercy Comment Worried about the world? Self-Reliance, Non-Conformity and leaving the ‘Experts’ behind us. Ne te quaesiveris extra – ‘Do not seek outside yourself’ in other words, ‘Look within’ By Anna Atkinson


obody needs reminding that these are trying times. Many people feel like ‘rabbits in headlights’ not entirely sure about what to do next. Some of the current stress emanates from the United States of America and so we look to the States for some solace. What would the renowned American thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson say? Emerson, (born in Boston 1803) spent a life-time writing and lecturing. One of his most interesting works is known simply as ‘Self-Reliance’. It could’ve been written about today, when many people have resigned from the job of working-out solutions for themselves in favour of waiting for the next instruction from one of the endless ‘experts’ that fill our column inches and airwaves. Constantly waiting for instruction renders people powerless. Emerson was a transcendental philosopher, a movement developed in the USA out of Romanticism, Unitarianism, and German Idealism in the 1820s and 1830s. He felt that the influence of organised society(s) and governance had destroyed the original strength of the individual; and that people would be stronger and feel empowered if they were ‘self-reliant’ and they thought independently. He believed that individually we should trust ‘subjective intuition’ over ‘objective empiricism’. That is, people should

be encouraged to act intuitively and with original insight without the need to consider what has gone before or what experts extol and importantly without seeking the approval of their peers. These original responses to situations allow for new development and progressive change, as opposed to repeating the same actions and possible mistakes. Original thought should strengthen our resolve to question the agenda and intent of those purporting to lead us. Non-conformism – this isn’t a cry for revolution but a reminder to act independently and not to feel threatened when people don’t agree or approve. Sadly so much modern reasoning/thinking is done via mediums that seek approval or comment. When you act, it must not matter if people don’t like your ideas, your hair cut, or

your new car. What matters is that you have expressed yourself, your personality is acknowledged and that you’re happy with your free choices (as well as your hair and car). Trying to live your life in the wake of the approval of others is time-consuming, constraining and unpleasant. Similarly, expressing yourself only by agreeing (and liking) other people’s statements does not constitute having your own independent thought. Lemmings live in a world of conformity and consistency and that can end badly. Greater strength lies in exploring new paths to success and relying less on what you thought you knew. To take back personal power and stop the corrosive effects of global bad news detrimentally affecting you, Emerson would say we need to take responsibility for making our own immediate worlds better. Sign petitions, share internet content but remember that taking control of your world and relying on yourself means not waiting for others to sort things out and not just following where others lead. Put simply, if you want a beautiful garden – then you need to get on and plant yourself some flowers.

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


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Please contact Jon on (from UK) 00 33 5 53 79 26 48 (in France) 05 53 79 26 48 Mobile (from UK) 00 33 6 50 54 86 80 (in France) 06 50 54 86 80 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


“I’ve retired to France. Can I continue to use my UK financial adviser?”

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UK advisers do not have the deep understanding of the French regime necessary to provide the most tax-efficient financial planning solutions. Your adviser needs to live here to be up to date and react fast to changes. Blevins Franks has long-established offices in France and the UK and unique insight into the needs of British expatriates in France.

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The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


MAKE SURE YOUR MONEY LASTS AS LONG AS YOU DO As life expectancy increases, so does the length of time needed to stretch your income in retirement. Taking the right steps now can help you afford the lifestyle you want for as long as you need. Today, people can expect to live into their 70s and beyond, and life expectancy is continuing to rise. The European Commission’s 2015 Ageing Report predicts men are, on average, likely to live an extra seven years by 2060 to reach 84, and women an extra six years to reach 89. While this is generally a positive trend, it comes with some downsides at both a personal and state level. Simply put, can we afford the cost of living longer? From a personal point of view, you can start gauging whether your resources are on track to last your lifetime by considering some key questions.

retirement. Remember, you could live for 30 years or more after you reach pensionable age. If you are relying on your pension savings to provide an income for life, you need to be sure that whatever you decide to do now will leave enough to go the distance. For example, just because you may be able to withdraw as much of your pension as you like in cash under the new UK pension freedoms, it does not mean that you should. With something as important as your pension, you should seek expert advice on the best course of action for your particular objectives and circumstances.

How long will you need your money to last? This is a sobering question and not one most people can answer with certainty. Underestimate this, however, and your money could run out too soon, leaving you unable to live the lifestyle you want. Noone wants to be forced to reduce their quality of life or benefits like private healthcare, especially in their later years.

Making your investments last It is important to make sure your savings, investments and assets are working as hard as they can for you, and that they are protected from unnecessary taxation. For example, are you making the most of the tax-efficient opportunities available in France? Or are you holding on to UK assets that make you fewer gains and cost you more in tax than alternative investment options? Do not underestimate inflation here too. While it is tempting to go for low-risk investments in your later years, your capital still needs to keep pace with inflation, and cash in the bank is unlikely to do this. Your financial adviser can recommend an appropriate, diversified investment strategy tailored for you.

How much will you need? If you are happy with the income you are receiving now, you probably have your answer. You may want just enough each month to live comfortably, or a bit extra so you can afford some luxuries. You might even settle for a modest income so long as you have access to ‘rainy day’ funds. If you are still employed, you need to consider what happens when you stop working. Will your pensions or savings be enough to replenish that income and sustain your existing lifestyle? Does it need to, or will you cut back when you retire? Remember to factor in the effect of inflation on reducing your spending power each year. Say, for example, you typically spend e5,000 a month. Assuming an inflation rate of 3% a year, in 10 years’ time you could need about e6,720 a month to maintain the same spending, and e9,030 in 20 years. How much do you want to leave behind? You also need to consider your legacy. If you want to leave something to your family, you need to make sure you do not spend it in your own lifetime, without compromising your quality of life. Making your pension savings last Your pension is a key part of your financial security in

Limiting the effect of taxation One side-effect of rising life expectancy is a general trend for tax rises. That’s because the greater the proportion of older people in a population, the more money the government needs to pay for state pensions and services like healthcare. This does not just affect the UK. There are arrangements available to expatriates living in France that can legitimately minimise taxation. Reducing the amount of tax you have to pay will make your money go further and help fight the effects of inflation. You can even take steps to reduce the amount your heirs will have to pay in inheritance tax and maximise the value of your legacy. To achieve this, it is essential to take personalised, professional advice. Good financial planning can provide you with what you want for as long as you need, so you can focus on enjoying the long, comfortable retirement you always wanted.

Peter Wakelin, Regional Manager of Blevins Franks France part of the Blevins Franks Group the leading international tax and wealth management advisers to UK nationals living in Europe, with decades of experience advising British expatriates moving to and living in France. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51 ~ ~ Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice. Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


Need More Energy? “Imagination and visualisation is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world…” Albert Einstein.


thought I would give some tips on energy management and breathing techniques to help combat anxiety and stress that is so common in our society. Many people ask me what exactly do you do and I reply: “we use creative visualisation and mind management tools to stimulate emotional, physical and mental change within.” Energy comes from four main sources in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In each of us, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific behaviours that are intentionally practised – with the goal of making them subconscious and automatic. 1. The physical body – focus of energy: · Nutritious meals. Breakfast being the most important meal of the day. · Exercise. · Sleep. · Rest (break). Periods throughout the day to recharge energy. If any of these are inadequate our physical energy becomes depleted, we cannot focus, and our emotions become unbalanced. 2. The emotions – focus of energy: · Is there never enough time? · Do I overreact in ‘uncomfortable’ situations? · Do I allow people to take my energy? · Do I feel a victim? We are not physiologically capable of sustaining highly positive emotions for long periods. It is normal to have negative and positive emotions throughout the day. What is important is to understand our reactions simply by listening to our body and mind: – Am I breathing rapidly/shallowly? – Do I feel irritated or anxious? – Has my heart rate increased? – Are our thoughts often self-critical? STOP! BREATHE and be kind to yourself!

When people are able to take more control of their emotions, they can improve the quality of their energy, regardless of the external pressures they are facing. 3. The mind – focus of energy: Many people view multitasking as a necessity to all the demands they are trying to organise, however it actually undermines productivity. Distractions are costly: A temporary shift in attention from one task to another – stopping to answer an email or take a phone call, for instance – increases the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25%, a phenomenon known as “switching time.” So much energy is depleted from over thinking: Do you know we have a staggering 34 to 50 thoughts occupying our mind PER minute! Now that is exhausting. Over 90% of these thoughts are repetitive day in and day out. · Dump these thoughts in an imaginary bin – as and when they enter your head and they stress. Just try it for one day and see how you feel! 4. The human spirit – energy of meaning and purpose in life: · Enjoying time with self – such as meditation, mindfulness, creative thoughts and creative problem solving. · How often do we ask ourselves, if ever: “What do I want to be remembered for?” Change our “Story” Another way of viewing difficult and challenging situations is called the NEW LENS scenario. It is like changing the lens on a camera, to create a different prospective. · Reverse Lens – to reverse the situation to another angle: “What would the other person involved in this conflict say, that might in some way be true?” · Long Lens – “How might I view this situation in six months?”

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


· Wide Lens – “Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I learn/grow from it”’ The importance of breathing Our autonomic nervous system (ANS) is generally controlled by our breathing. Our nervous system sends messages to and from our brain to our spinal cord, and other parts of our body. Negative stress activates the ‘fight, flight for freeze’ mode which is unhealthy if we are constantly in this state. This is called the ‘sympathetic’. Positive stress activates the ‘rest and digest’ mode which is healthy. This is the called the ‘parasympathetic’. By changing the way we breathe we can influence millions of biochemical reactions in our body that produce and increase feel good endorphins – and decrease anxiety producing chemicals like adrenaline and higher blood acidity. Most of us ‘lose the ability to breathe correctly’ in adolescence.

If you observe a baby you will notice that they instinctively know how to breathe – into their stomach, not their chest. The perfect breath: · Relax your shoulders. · Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. · Breathe in through your nose to a slow count of four. Notice where your breath goes – stomach or chest? · Whilst you are breathing in allow your stomach to expand. · Pause · Release your breath slowly through your mouth to a count of seven. · Pause · Repeat three times. If possible practice this three times a day for 28 days. This will create a habit and have a remarkable effect on your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Irena-Marie works as a mind management coach. She uses a combination of BrainWorking Recursive Therapy®, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Transformational Coaching and Mindfulness. If you are interested in knowing more please email or visit websites and Irena-Marie works from her practice just outside Toulouse and via Skype. Irena-Marie Makowska, Dip Hyp, MIBWRT, GHR, GHSC, Focus Well-Being & Mind Management Coach, Landline +33 (0) 5 63 41 76 73


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From Testicles to Brandy and Beyond It would appear that cycling is the most drug-riddled sport around. A view skewed by the fact that professional cycling undergoes many more drug tests than any other sport; so naturally more people are caught. By Tom Burns


he most famous case (possibly now 2nd most famous following the recent scandal of Russian track and field athletes) of course involves Lance Armstrong. Lance was not the first (and will not be last) to be caught, however, the manner in which he cheated was pretty shocking. At the height of his powers he used bullying to involve people around him. It’s worth remembering that in many of the Tour de France races he won using PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) the 2nd and 3rd placed riders were also cheating (whilst riding for different teams) so he wasn’t alone. He became the figurehead for drug-taking sportspeople but drug-taking has been going on as long as competitive sport. The Ancient Greeks’ ‘performance enhancing potions’ were consumed to stave off the effects of fatigue. These included herbal and hallucinogenic wine-cocktails, and the consumption of animal hearts and testicles to get that extra boost! In the late 19th C French cyclists, as well as a champion Lacrosse team, drank ‘the wine of athletes’, a mixture of wine and coca-leaf extract. The cocaine and coca were a popular choice as they kept hunger and fatigue at bay during hard physical exertion. During WW2 American, British, German and Japanese soldiers regularly took (were given) amphetamines as these were believed to increase endurance, heighten mood and again keep fatigue under control. They were used as a substitute to cocaine as they could be taken in tablet form and the effects lasted much longer. In the 1950s the amphetamines used by the soldiers would find their way into cycling and other endurance sports. Up until 1928 the taking of drugs in sports was considered fairly normal so no harm- no foul. The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) was the first governing body to ban doping for athletes but this did not concern the cyclists. Pressure on sporting agencies/governing bodies to ban drug taking/

performance enhancing substances did not really start until 1967. During the 1967 Tour de France British cycling star Tommy Simpson died during the 13th stage, whilst ascending Mont Ventoux. His body effectively shut down, whilst still on his bike, due to the excessive mixture of brandy and amphetamines he’d consumed to combat an illness picked up during the race. Tommy was at the pinnacle of his sport when he died, and although people had died during the Olympics it was this fateful event that lead to the drug testing and banned substance list we have today. It’s easy to look at the professional pelotons of the 1960s and find it almost amusing to discover what they would take to boost their performance. The thing to remember is that almost everyone did it, as Tommy Simpson said “if 10 will kill you, take 9 and win”. The big difference between then and now is the science involved in sport. Modern training methods and equipment are much better so that it’s possible to race a 3-week Grand Tour race without the need for PEDs; even so a few still try to cheat and undermine the efforts of the clean athletes. However, it’s worth remembering that even if you are doped ‘up to the eyeballs’ you still have to train hard, and that doping in cycling is often initiated by the team managers and not just the individual cyclists who, on discovery, are sacked on the spot. So maybe if there’s a particular climb you find tough on your cycle routes a big glass of brandy might be the answer. I would, however, leave the amphetamines alone as it’s hard enough to find your bike with those things let alone ride up the Tourmalet! The 2013 documentary ‘The Armstrong Lie’ is well worth a watch to see the lengths Lance Armstrong went to for the sake of winning. Tom, a Yorkshireman here in France, owns and runs, velo plus, a cycle workshop and rental business based in 82190.

The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local



SPECIALIST IN Travertine, Wall and Floor Tiling, Plaster Boarding, Plastering, General Building & New Builds References available Mobile Phone: 06 12 82 49 04 Evening Phone 05 63 29 27 31 Email: Siret: 802 145 706 00015 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


What’s not to love? Everyone surely has a soft spot for donkeys. In the next few pages we take a quick look at 3 ways these clever animals play parts in Quercy life. As milk producers, as those less lucky and in need of rescue and then finally as partners in exploring the countryside.

Les Grandes Oreilles du Quercy


he only thing larger than the hairy ears you will spot in some of the paddocks around St Vincent Lespinasse (82400) is the heart of the lady in charge of these wonderful donkeys. Donkeys that are the key ingredient in Cécile Boudon’s artisanal business. Cécile started her business in 2009 fuelled by a love of animals and donkeys in particular. I think many of us can imagine the potential problems trying to register a business which aims to raise donkeys for milk to then use in the production of soaps and cosmetics. When I met Cécile in January, this year, she explained that she had spent many-a-month being passed between different ‘administrative’ departments as nowhere seemed willing to admit to being the responsible office. Not put off by the challenges and 8 years later-on and she’s happily surrounded by her wonderful donkey friends. There are worse ways to spend a freezing afternoon than surrounded by inquisitive and very friendly donkeys with steamy breath and each vying for its own, oversized, ears to be tickled next. The little herd of 10 included a mixture of sizes, colours and ages and who could resist the young donkeys with their soft foal hair mixing with their appearing adult locks. The donkeys all live around Cécile’s house and can be seen from most of her windows. Having them so close is essential as milking donkeys is a frequent event – a few times a day, by hand and for only a little reward, which is why the product is expensive. Donkeys do not produce very much milk and so it is, quite literally, a labour of love. Animal welfare and absolute donkey contentment are the guiding principles for this enterprise. Importantly, the breeding of donkeys (when so many exist to be neglected) has to be done ethically and provision has to be made for the colt foals who are not going to be kept for producing milk. These little boys are voluntarily declared unfit-for-consumption (to protect them) and are placed in families or become companions to other donkeys and horses. Many of the current adult females have come to Cécile from rescue situations.

It takes a year for a foal to arrive and so there is nothing rushed or impatient about this enterprise. Foals then have first call on their mother’s milk and as they start to wean then some of the milk can be gathered for making soap and cosmetics.

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Traditional Stonework ~ New and Restoration 82190 Fauroux ~ 06 40 20 68 94 ~ English spoken ~

Some Donkey Milk Facts... It’s the milk closest, nutritionally, to human milk.



It contains less fat than cow’s milk. It contains plenty of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.


It’s a natural immunity enhancer – good for treating asthma, eczema and psoriasis.


Donkey milk was used medicinally in France up to the 20th century.


Hippocrates (the father of medicine) extolled the virtues of donkey milk.


Cleopatra, who famously bathed in donkey milk, travelled with 700 donkeys to ensure her supply.


Pliny the Elder (the ancient Roman ‘know-it-all’) claimed that the milk ‘erases facial wrinkles, makes the skin more delicate and maintains the whiteness’.


Donkey milk is used to produce the most expensive cheese in the world, known as Pule.


From her home Cécile makes the many different types of soap herself, using essential oils (including locally grown lavender) or minerals. However, the skincare products and shampoos are produced in a local laboratory and then all the products are either sold on-line, at a few local shops or at the little shop at the entrance to Cécile’s home (open Wednesday and Saturday afternoons). You may come across

Cécile at some seasonal markets and quite regularly at the Tuesday market in Valence D’Agen. To buy on line or find out more about the donkeys you can visit You may also like to follow the life of these lovely donkeys on Facebook - Em’ane - Cosmétiques au lait d’ânesse By Anna Atkinson

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


If there is a place in your heart for a donkey, maybe you can do some real good. Here in the Quercy region there’s a donkey sanctuary that’s always looking for help and support – Liberté des Anes.

Who are Liberté des Anes?


iberté des Anes is a registered charity started at the end of 2009 to ensure the welfare of donkeys in need. They are situated in Belveze (82150) the Tarn-etGaronne on a refuge of 11 hectares of pasture land dotted with stone barns and wooden field shelters to protect the animals from sun, cold and rain. The tranquil setting is currently home to 26 donkeys, horses and mules, who are cared for by Jan Lemmy, who has worked in animal welfare since 1984. Many of the donkeys come in directly from the butcher’s yard where they have been taken for premature euthanasia as there is a meat value on all equines in France. The donkeys often arrive with overgrown, very deformed feet, which are attended to. Left untreated hoof problems affect the donkeys’ tendons and eventually cause them extreme pain. Others are slowly recovering from severe injuries. Then there are the cases of badly traumatised donkeys that have been tied up in dark barns – sometimes for years. Caring for these animals is expensive with high veterinary and farrier fees. Feed and bedding are major on-going costs. In order to meet these expenses, the charity is always engaged in fund-raising. They hold regular lunches for the charity which they have found to be the most effective way of fund raising with their limited time and, of course, donations, however small, are always welcome.

Want to help? Join us at one of our fund raising lunches (and meet the donkeys). If you are inspired to lend a hand occasionally please send an e mail and go along to volunteer; there’s a job for everyone. The refuge also currently have 3 Shetland ponies looking for permanent adoption. Please contact the refuge for more information and photos. The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Slow but steady (Neddy) wins the day! (Aesop)


alking with donkeys. Well I don’t know about anyone else but to me this sounds like the perfect antidote to modern living. Timelessness, kindness and mindfulness that is what a donkey brings. I think that people of any age would love to wander through our stunning region with a donkey carrying their picnic, spare clothes and other bits and pieces. What a way to give some real quality time to your grandchildren when they visit this year. Or maybe you just fancy a day of peace yourself but with a gentle soul to admire the views with you. This is not donkey riding, this is walking with a donkey(s) by your side, with paniers for your belongings. Your very own long-eared friend for a day or even longer. Donkeys can be hired at a number of places around our region. The owners will provide you

ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste

with routes and instructions on ‘donkey care’ and then your very own adventure can begin. If any of our readers do take a walk with a donkey this year – we would love to hear about it. Here are three possible places for you to try – each with a website to look at. Les Cadichons – Les Bouygues, 46330 Sauliac sur Célé 05 65 30 91 56 Les Anes de la Vallee du Lot 47300 Villeneuve Sur Lot 06 50 01 69 11 Saint Anton Ane 82140 Saint Antonin Noble Val 06 46 39 14 35 Tours 47340 Cassignas 05 53 95 80 27/ 06 45 25 65 58 SIRET NO. 5025222200004

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017


By Lisa Stanton. 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 AOP Cahors, Vin de Pays du Lot and Vin de France red and rosé wines, and aperitifs. Family run, we personally undertake every step of the wine making process, from pruning to corking, all on the estate. Our aim is to achieve the highest quality product, naturally and ethically produced, at fair prices. For further information please visit our website – or find us on Facebook.

Pruning & Preparation Chasing Tails Spring is many people’s favourite season; sweet, frolicking lambs, cherry blossom, daffodils, trees bursting back into life and the valley reclaims its verdant hues. Spring’s arrival in the vineyard (well, to be honest, it might be just this vineyard!), is mostly about me chasing tails (not lambs’, my own!), trying to get ahead! Farming is always on a time schedule; one that is non-negotiable and unpredictable; it’s not my schedule, it’s Mother Nature’s.

Pruning Pitfalls Each December, as autumn (my favourite season) fades and Winter takes hold, the last gloriously coloured vine leaf tumbles to the floor indicating that the sap has gone back into the roots and the vines can be safely pruned. Every year, at this point, I think that this will be the year, the year that I start la taille early, keep on top of things. Needless to say, with a dilapidated farmhouse mid-renovation, a menagerie of animals, a plethora of children, Christmas shopping, school plays, music events and the ubiquitous paperwork, this never happens! One of the downfalls to not starting before Christmas, is that once we hit January and February, we often get the worst of our weather. The trouble with self-employment is, if you want a teabreak to defrost every hour, you take one! I’m English, I drink a lot of tea. It’s a standing joke among the neighbours, whenever they drive past, I’m holding my trusty mug, freshly filled from my gigantic flask (mais oui, l’anglaise et son tasse de thé)! If I’m still pruning by the time you actually read this, then I’m really in trouble. The sap will be starting to rise, buds will perfectly form and start to burst into life. When the pruning is very late the plant will bleed sap. Removing the cut branches, which cling more tenaciously than you can imagine, pulls on the post and wire system (le pallisage) and damages the buds (les bourgeons).

Tying Troubles Then of course, the pruned and stripped vines must be tied down to the wires. If the buds have already burst open, and the first shoots have emerged, this takes about twenty times longer than it should. Each branch must be wrapped around the wire The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


LAS RAZES Your perfect large gîte

and tied on. If it springs back, or catches a bud at any point in the process, you’ve basically just thrown a bottle of wine away (and we really don’t want to do that)!

Spring Sprang Spring brings with it the crazy season of growth, side shoots, excessive foliage and growth. All need to be removed or cut back, or guided into place. It really is a non-stop season (I’d better enjoy those tea-breaks whilst I can!). By the time you read this, I should have pruned and stripped around 15 thousand vines, with hand secateurs. If you come by and shake my hand at the market, you should notice one of the benefits: by the end I have a grip of steel. Luckily this means I never need help to open a jar, and I never drop my wine glass! Santé! Cheers! If we are at the property, we are open (between 2pm and 8pm). However, as we are working across 10 hectares of land and often at markets, please call ahead if you want to be certain of a reception! 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

Simon & David Hitches A Tours, Cassignas 47340

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Heated Salt Water Pool, 8 en-suite bedrooms. Snooker, table-tennis, wifi, large garden and terraces. Ideal for family get togethers and special events. Also ideal location for people running courses (art, yoga, walking, biking etc.) Convenient for – Lauzerte, Montaigu de Quercy and Montcuq Instagram lasrazes Twitter lasrazes Las Razes, Touffailles (82190) Tarn et Garonne

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017




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The Quercy Local • March - April 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Ironwood Motif Artist Blacksmith, Ferronnerie d’Art

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Take a look at our website and follow us on Ironwood Motif, Ferronnerie d’Art and on Instagram Ironwood Motif 46330, BLARS, 00 33 (0)5 65 30 53 99, SIRET: 481 198 638 00019

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • March - April 2017

Profile for The Magazine Production Company

The Quercy Local Issue 28 March - April 2017  

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

The Quercy Local Issue 28 March - April 2017  

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...