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November - February 2014 Issue 17

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE magazine in English

Winter Issue with – One woman’s motor-biking thrills Christmas food & drink + a splendid Tarte Tatin Oysters, mobile cinemas, bare-root gardening, Romans & more

www.quercylocal.com


LEGGETT

IMMOBILIER

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST

Are you buying or selling a property? Leggett Immobilier was voted ‘Best Estate Agency in France’.

We have over 25 years experience, with more than 10,000 properties for sale and a dedicated team of support staff ensuring clients receive the best possible service. Our professional, trained and multi-lingual agents are all living and working in the region. Please contact us on

0800 900 324 or email

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


4 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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elcome to issue 17 of ‘The Quercy Local’ magazine. It’s hard to believe that it’s now nearly 15 years since the start of 2000. I suspect everyone remembers just where they were at the start of the new millennium. Everyone had hopes that night and made promises to themselves, so 15 years on how did we all do? 2014 has been fraught on the international front, there haven’t been many days when it hasn’t felt a blessed-relief to be waking-up here in Quercy rather than in one of the many places descending into anarchy and misery. So, even if plans made 15 years ago haven’t been completely realised; if you’re reading this peacefully in France there’s so much to be thankful for. The calm and quiet of our mid-winter is something to cherish. In this edition there are some suggestions about where to find some Christmas essentials and a few possible gift ideas. Hopefully, there’ll be something you’ll find useful there. There’s also a ‘getting-out-there’ theme with Jennifer taking to the roads in the Lot on her motorbike, Tom on his cycle to see just what the Tour de France was doing to his Yorkshire home and our suggestion for packing a case and driving off for a quick break in the “Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne”. Whatever you are doing over the winter season, take care and stay well. Have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful start to 2015. This is the last edition of the magazine for 2014. The next edition will be available at the start of March 2015.

Anna

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

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CONTENTS Mobile Cinema A Quercy Christmas

p.8 p.10

Bare Root Season

p.16

Club de Jardinage

p.19

Oysters

p.22

La Troupe d’Acteurs du Quercy

p.24

New Regime for Wills

p.25

Succession Rules & “Contract D’assurance Vie” p.27 Church Update

p.28

Tarte Tatin

p.30

Roman Roads X11

p.32

Selling the Dream

p.36

Elizabeth Finn Care

p.37

A Grand Day Out

p.38

Riding in the Lot

p.39

The Good Life France

p.40

Ex-Pat Tax Allowances

p.47

Getting Away From it All

p.48

38

48

From our website you can – Subscribe to receive the magazine directly to your home, read the magazines on line, sign up for our newsletter and find our advertising rates. You can also follow us on twitter @QuercyLocal or ‘like’ us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/quercy.local

BEAUTIFUL CHALK BASED PAINT Arriving very soon in 140 stunning colours, a paint for every project, very easy to use. Ideal for painting furniture, walls and so much more. For details on the range please call: Resa on 06 40 05 85 00 | resa@chalk-paints.com | www.chalk-paints.com

ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste

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

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 Newman Thomson (UK). Distribution managers (47) - Lorraine & Pete Knowles; (46) and (82) Glenn Jackson. Regular contributors; Paola Westbeek, Angie Richards, John and Debbie Wilson, Jeanne McCaul and Jennifer Capron Iddon.


THE QUERCY LOCAL • 5

• • • •

Premium bird food Specialist wildlife products Developed by ornithologists Free delivery on orders over €50

FREE Request your FREE Catalogue from Europe’s leading supplier of garden wildlife products Visit: www.vivara.fr/catalogue Call: 08 10 10 98 08 (English spoken) Quote code FRQUERCY

For an English language guide to our website, visit

www.vivara.fr/english Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


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

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

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


THE QUERCY LOCAL • 7

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

Mick Bates – Monflanquin (47150) General Electrician

Certified & Registered Business in France for all Electrical Works | New & Renovation Works Plumbing | All works guaranteed | Free quotation

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Pool design & construction

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

EURL Jean-Luc RIVIERE

Swimming-pool renovation Liner replacement Maintenance & reparation

ELECTRICS

PLUMBING

HEATING RENEWABLE ENERGY

Jean-Luc RIVIERE

Suppliers of VIESSMANN

boilers & DAIKIN Heat pumps

30, avenue Louis Resses – 82150 MONTAIGU DE QUERCY T é l : 0 5 6 3 9 5 3 2 7 7 – e m a i l : c o n t a c t @ j l r i v i e re . c o m Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


8 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

The Movies come to town! By Jeanne McCaul, Lauzerte

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he setting is a town square, a school hall, a “salle de fête” or a café. Whatever venue the local community suggests or is able to offer. The sense you get is of being an “extra” in a movie on movie theatres of former times. It’s great. You buy your ticket – at e4 full price or e3 reduced – from the projectionist or his assistant, your beer or glass of wine from the café owner, and sit down with neighbours or friends for a chat before the film starts rolling, almost under your nose. Excitement and anticipation are in the air, as when you were a child. You take what you get. The movie may be happy or sad, it may be one you’ve seen before, or one you were disappointed to have missed when it first came onto the circuit or was aired on TV. It may be quite different from anything you would have expected or chosen if you had a choice. Here it is about appreciating the opportunity of some good entertainment close to home and being sociable at the same time. As it happens, you can be pretty sure to see something special, one way or another: interesting, revealing, stimulating, inspiring… Certainly that is what the founder of Quercimages, Marc Vacquié, is aiming for. “I love searching for those special gems that are perhaps unusual, but always of high quality. I enjoy creating a surprise. I want people to wonder what we The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

have in store for them. What matters for me is that people get talking about what they saw. Be it positive or negative, good or bad. Actually, apart from being passionate about movies, this is probably the main reason why I invest time and effort in this activity. It is certainly not for the money! If a movie can touch a cord and get people to communicate their impressions: happy, sad, amazed, indignant, angry, whatever, I feel I have achieved something worthwhile. Fortunately, the committee members who help me choose, share this approach”. The association Quercimages was founded in 2007 and started public screenings in 2010. This past summer a major investment in new equipment was made. A giant blow-up screen was purchased for the outdoor shows and a digital projector, costing e50,000, will gradually completely replace the traditional 35mm film on bobbins. Quercimages toured 8 villages in the Quercy summer months, showing 21 feature movies as well as documentaries and cartoons. There were dramas and comedies made by directors of many different nationalities and in different languages, sometimes dubbed into French but most often shown in VO with French subtitles. The projections essentially all took place in the open under the stars, after dark at around 21:30.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 9

The coming winter in-door season will include over 30 feature movies to be shown in a probable total of 14 villages (with some agreements still pending), sometimes once only, or monthly, sometimes more regularly, even weekly, depending on the potential turn-out as well as the willingness of the local community to help with the inevitable co-ordination, publicity and organization. But these screenings to the general public are only part of what the association has to offer. There are also screenings in establishments, such as schools, retirement homes or hospitals, as well as in private homes. “When dealing with schools the choice of films that get children talking, is all the more important. They should provide opportunities for teaching them to really listen, to understand and analyze the content, to learn to debate and how to deal with differences of appreciation and opinion”, says Marc. Needless to say, the choice will once again differ for an elderly crowd, where the accent will fall on optimistic, up-beat content, but again in the hope that people will get talking and share their experience. Private screenings for special occasions are also on offer and cost anywhere between e250 and e800, depending on the choice of movie, who the distributor is and how difficult it is to get hold of a copy. In theory, anyone can request a private viewing of any movie of

their choice. There are over 100 film distributing companies in France, such as Gaumont, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, to mention only a few of the better known ones. Then there are of course the laws and regulations to comply with for all public screenings. One legal requirement is for instance that there should be no commercial movie theater within a distance of at least 15 km. And in any event, permission has to be officially granted by the Centre National du Cinéma (CNC) in Paris. Another regulation is that every member of the public has to be in possession of a ticket. If someone cheats, the association is held responsible and can be fined if there is an inspection. This has actually happened! Earnings are also strictly controlled with 50% going to the distributor and 50% to the association. Fortunately, Marc is not put off by red tape. His next ambition is to screen movies on boats, for instance on the canals. He is also dreaming of a grand European tour taking in, among others, Austria, Poland, Romania, Spain and Portugal, this time with classics of the silent movies. So, before he sets off, be sure to book your agendas for the next show close to home. Information: (http://www.quercimages.webou.net/) or quercimages@laposte.net

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


10 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

A Quercy Christmas If you’re spending Christmas in France then there’ll be decisions to make soon about whether to invite people to your home and make a ‘day-of-it’ or accept an invitation to join in somewhere else. Or maybe arrange a simple, quiet and relaxing day at home with the ‘other-half’ and a bemused but satisfied dog. A Quercy Christmas can be blissfully peaceful and quiet. Sometimes it’s this same peacefulness that drives people away to find a bit more hustle and bustle. However, for some it creates just enough of a twinkle of warmth, in the middle of the dark and slumbering winter, to be just what is needed. Personally, the most important element of the whole season is the Christmas tree. I could do without every other element of the celebration as long as I could look forward to the glimmer of a tree from the corner of the room. Always a living tree and with a root ball so I can try and keep the tree going and plant it in the garden, with mixed but nevertheless some success.

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fter a number of different Christmases spent celebrating the freedom from having to cook the huge family meal. I’ve experienced a sort of culinary non-compliance that has meant opting for anything other than the traditional. However, it’s with a certain amount of relief and glorious anticipation that the decision has been made to revert to the traditional this year; embracing all the memories of past family Christmases with a proper roast turkey. If you think this might be the way forward for you too then you need to contact Sarah Meakin. Sarah tells me that hers are not just any old turkeys… “These are Domaine Du Merchien hand-reared, free-range turkeys that have lived out their short but utterly fulfilled life on the south facing, sun-drenched slopes of the Causses National Park in the Valley of the Lot. Spending their carefree days idly picking at the luscious green-grass of Meakin meadowland supplemented by the occasional tantalising beak full of Cabernet Franc grapes whilst sauntering unfettered through the vineyards!” A superb, free-range, Quercy turkey – could be yours for 11e per kilo, if you call Sarah (Belfort du Quercy) and book one of her birds. The turkeys will range in size from small 4/5 kg, Medium 6/7 kg, Large 8/9 kg and her special Dinosaur – 10kg plus. You can reach Sarah on sarah.meakin@orange.fr tel. +33 (0)6 16 07 75 39

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o with the festive bird chosen – it’s time to consider an extra special bottle of wine to serve with lunch. Or, for those not cooking this year, to take as a ‘thank-you’ for the Christmas hosts. Lauren from Château de Chambert offers some advice. “Turkey is a pretty lean and low-fat meat that can easily be thought to be on the dry side, a wine with high tannins can emphasize this dryness so it is important to serve a wine that is rich in fruit concentration with just a hint of tannin. A perfect suggestion would be, the 2009 Château de Chambert, which makes a perfect accompaniment to roast turkey. It’s 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot. The addition of Merlot gives the wine a kick of luscious fruit and acts like a pillow, cushioning the palate and making it a fuller and more approachable wine. The 2009 is a very good vintage, famous for its ripe red fruit characters – this will be a great match with the turkey.” Priced at 14,20e and available from www.chambert.com The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 11

S

o if you’re going to follow the traditions of Christmases past then there simply has to be room for a traditional pudding. Maybe you’re ahead of the rest of us and you’ve already mixed and stirred away and your pudding is waiting nicely in the pantry! If not, then David Pemberton will be stocking a great selection of them at his shop ‘Boutique Anglaise’, near Castelsagrat. Puddings vary in size but some of the most popular are; 350g Xmas pudding @ 5.95e – Festive Fayre/Matthew Walker Simply. Then there is the twin pack, Huntley & Palmer Puddings @ 4.95e and new this year the twin Pack, Huntley & Palmer Tangy Orange Puddings @ 4.95e. For larger appetites there is the 750g large Xmas pudding by Huntley & Palmer @ 13.75e. See www.alesinfrance.com for directions and contact information. The shop is open on Saturdays from 10am to 6pm. SPECIAL OFFER – Boutique Anglaise is offering a 15% discount on all puddings for readers of this magazine – so do give us a mention when you are there!

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ell, with all this food already planned any damage to the waist-line has already been secured so a further indulgence with a spectacular dessert wine is hardly going to make any difference. What to drink with the pudding or cake or simply as a delicious tipple on its own. Lauren suggests something for us to try. “Rogomme is a magnificent ‘pudding wine’! It’s a 100% Malbec, but what makes this drink unique is that the malbec berries are gently cooked after the harvest, rather like making a malbec jam. The juice is then fortified to 17% alcohol and matured in old French oak for numerous years. It’s sweet because no fermentation takes place, the original sugar in the grapes at harvest time remains. Best served cold it’s a great match with fruit cakes/puddings, tarte au tatin and dark chocolate desserts.” Priced at 20,40e /500ml and 10,11e /200ml, the attractive bottles makes this especially suitable as a gift! What’s more Rogomme will keep once opened. Replace the cork and put the bottle in the fridge. It will conserve for up to a month so it’s perfect as a little nightcap and to ease gently the arrival of 2015. You can purchase Rogomme from Château de Chambert – see www.chambert.com for directions and contact numbers.

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hen lunch is well and truly over and the night is starting to draw in, it might be time to start thinking about the leftovers waiting in the kitchen. Maybe this supper of second-helpings should be served with a bottle of locally brewed beer? Bottles of Quercy-beer make a refreshing seasonal drink at home or as an original offering if you’re going to eat with friends. Maybe even the ideal Christmas gift for any ‘beer’ lovers amongst your friends and family. At Domaine Du Merchien, David has been brewing bottle-conditioned, live beers since 2006 and he explains the “range includes “Green Pig” Pale Ale (alc. Vol. 4.3% 3e/bottle) which is a light style of beer with a rich golden brown colour. Goldings hops gives it a pleasant hop balance, making it an excellent choice for easy drinking. Then there’s “Pink Pig” IPA (alc. Vol. 5.6% 3.25e/bottle) which is an old English style of beer dating back to the times of the British Empire. The recipe is based on an IPA (India Pale Ale). It has a blend of two hops Goldings and Fuggles giving a beer that is light hoppy in taste. Just serve lightly chilled!” Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


12 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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reparation for the festive season starts well before all this cooking and eating. So, if you’re looking for some traditional Christmas Cards then the person to contact is Ann Marie from Roquecor (82150) Mobile: 07 88 55 81 03 www.studiocreative. fr/cartes she has a lovely range of cards from the traditional to the humorous, priced from 4e to 6,50e per pack.

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raditional, decorative and essential for any Christmas table dressing (or a thoughtful gift) – Crackers are not just for children, they are essential for anyone that loves the sparkle and fun of Christmas. Boutique Anglaise will be stocking a supply of these. So that’s a perfect excuse for a trip out to discover all sorts of Christmas treats. www.alesinfrance.com

Some more ideas... For the wildlife enthusiast maybe a stylish bird feeder allowing hours of fun and flocks of contented birds. Perhaps the Jupiter Peanut Feeder! Peanuts are a traditional food and popular with a wide variety of species. They are high in essential protein and oil. These feeders allow you to feed peanuts safely to your garden birds year-round. This popular Jupiter feeder has a continuous mesh feeding area and will attract clinging species such as members of the tit family, Siskins and Redpolls. As well as peanuts, this feeder is also suitable for feeding Suet Pellets. Capacity 800 g. Size 22 x 22 x 16 cm priced at 16,49e available from Vivara – Europe’s leading supplier of garden wildlife products. Call: 08 10 10 98 08 (English spoken) email: info@vivara.fr visit: www.vivara.fr or www.vivara.fr/english for an English language guide)

5 editions delivered to an address in France (15e) or anywhere in Europe (20e). Go to our website and remember to mention that it’s a gift and we can arrange a gift card to the recipient explaining that a subscription has been made for them. They will receive the first of the 5 editions for the start of March. www.quercylocal.com

Issue 16

July - August 2014 Issue 15

magazine Region’s FREE

May – June 2014 Issue 14

The

The

The

The

in English

The Region’s FREE magazine for English

readers

The Region’s FREE English Magazine

The Region’s

March – April

2014 Issue 13

FREE

English Magazine The Spring Issue with – Local Lavender Growers Inside – Summer Birds, Salad Days, Moulin Theatre - Music, Art and s, Wines, Cooke plus – Local Rouge &Garden Summer Issue with – Seasonal ry and Wildlif HistoryTickets plus – Roman Roads,&Malbec Children with Wine, , GuitarShakespeare &Makin Inheritance e Stone-Carving Gardening g andTax... plus – Quercy Melons, Historical Rail-Lines, Feng Shui...

with – Autumn Issue Thermal Cures, Wines, Biodynamic Walking Groups

plus –

O’Hara, Author, Eamon Trama & Chef, Michel Philippe Lejeune Winemaker,

2 FOR 1

Open-air Shakespeare in English 13-14

AUG 2014

on lunchtime mains at Le Caillau 6 MONFLANQUIN 7 LHERM for Quercy Local readers. 3 DOMME 4 LAUZERTE 5 BELVES Print out your voucher at 14 PUY L’EVEQUE 12 MONPAZIER 13 MONTCUQ 5th - 24th May 2014 inclusive www.lecaillau.com/quercylocal

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The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

- October 2014

al uLocal uercy ercy Local ocaly Loc uercy Luerc September

A very simple gift that lasts all year – a subscription to ‘The Quercy Local’.

cal.com

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RESTAURANT

See page 13 for details.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 13

Do you know a real wine enthusiast; someone with a passion for more than simply picking up a bottle at the shop? Imagine their delight at being able to serve their own wine, especially if they can also meet the winemakers and maybe even pick some of the grapes. Why not rent them a row of vines as a very special present – making them a ‘Partner in Wine’ of an award winning family run French vineyard is a perfect and highly original Christmas gift. Each recipient of a ‘Partners in Wine’ gift will receive a pack with all the details of the wines, the vineyard and the location of the row(s) of vines, along with an invitation to visit the vineyards for a tour and private tasting. Becoming a Partner means you commit to renting a row of vines for an initial period of two years. In return you are entitled to buy 10 cases at a special ‘Partner’ rate which when taken together with the rental cost is some 20% below the retail price. Do call the vineyard for more details and amaze someone with this original idea. Email David and Sarah at wine@merchien.com or call on 06 16 07 75 39.

Any car enthusiasts in the family? Give someone the chance to drive a classic Morgan, MGB, or even an iconic Citroën 2CV. Cross Channel Sports Cars offers personalised gift vouchers which make it easy for you to give the ultimate present on the ‘special day’, allowing the recipient to plan their adventure at a later date. For example there’s the MORGAN ‘SELF-DRIVE’ EXPERIENCE. The perfect experience of a lifetime! Gift Vouchers are available for a single day’s hire, weekend, week or longer. e340 per day, reducimg to e295 per day for bookings of 3 days or more. (incl. full insurance). There are different cars and packages available – so it’s worth checking out the options on www.ccsportscars.com

Whatever you decide to do over the holiday season – I hope you have the best time possible. Anna GET YOUR BUSINESS SEEN! Advertise from only 36€ per edition for 1/8th page or 18€ per edition for 1/16th page See all the options at: www.quercylocal.com or email us for details info@quercylocal.com Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


14 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Caroline Rendell The Textile Studio (46250) – caroline.rendell@orange.fr : 0565201673 Soft furnishings, loose covers, curtains and upholstery carried out in my workshop... I can source fabrics for you and will provide written estimates. I also specialize in the care and conservation of historic heirloom textiles.

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

- October 2014

July - August 2014 Issue 15

Issue 16

May – June 2014 Issue 14

Local photographer captures cats for 2015 charity calendar

al uLocal uercy l Loc ercy Local ocacy uercy Luer September

The Region’s

The

The

The

The

e in English FREE magazin

The Region’s FREE magazine for English

readers

The Region’s FREE English Magazine

Sprin

March – April

The Region’ s FREE English

g Issue with Inside – Art and Theatre – Gardens, - Music, Wines, Cooke plus – Local Summer Issue with – Seasonal ry and Wildli History,Tickets plus – Roman Roads,&Malbec Children with Wine, Shakespeare Guitar-Mak & Inheritance fe Stone-Carving Gardening ing andTax... plus – Quercy Melons, Historical Rail-Lines, Feng Shui... Summer Birds, Salad Days, Moulin Rouge & Local Lavender Growers

2014 Issue 13

Magazine

with – Autumn Issue , Thermal Cures Wines, Biodynamic s Walking Group

plus –

O’Hara, Author, Eamon Trama & Chef, Michel e Philippe Lejeun Winemaker,

2 FOR 1

Open-air Shakespeare in English 13-14

AUG 2014

on lunchtime mains at Le Caillau 6 MONFLANQUIN 7 LHERM for Quercy Local readers. 3 DOMME 4 LAUZERTE 5 BELVES Print out your voucher at 14 PUY L’EVEQUE 12 MONPAZIER 13 MONTCUQ 5th - 24th May 2014 inclusive www.lecaillau.com/quercylocal

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DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR! If you would like to get the next 5 copies of the magazine delivered directly to your home in France or another address in Europe then this is very simple to arrange. You can also arrange this for a friend or relative as a gift. You can either visit our website, and follow the link to ‘Subscribe’ and fill in the simple form with your address. Submit this and then you will very quickly receive an electronic invoice to cover the cost of postage and packing. The costs for getting 5 copies sent to you are – 15 euro for an address in France or 20 euro for elsewhere in Europe. Or, if you prefer, you can complete the form below and send this to us in the post: The Quercy Local, Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190 www.quercylocal.com If you prefer to send a cheque, please make it payable to A. Atkinson Name.............................................................................................................. Email................................................................................................................ Tel. No............................................................................................................ Address (for delivery)............................................................................ ............................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

Philippe Lissart, a photographer based in Penne, has provided photographs for the 2015 charity calendar from Les Amis Des Chats. The calendar which includes endearing black and white photographs of both stray and pet cats is one of the main fundraisers for the charity which works to improve the well-being of cats in local villages. Money raised from the sale of calendars goes directly into improving and prolonging the life of pets and strays through a programme of sterilisation and education. Available now at Les Amis des Chats shops in Roquecor and Lauzerte and also online at www.les-amis-des-chats. com, the calendars cost just 8e each. Les amis des chats president, Yolande Bishop, said: “The Les Amis des Chats calendar is now an annual offering from the charity. It is eagerly awaited by those looking for Christmas presents, stocking fillers or just a useful planner to note appointments or anniversaries throughout the year.” Anyone unable to purchase directly from the shops or online can send a euro cheque to Les Amis des Chats, 82150 Roquecor, France allowing an extra 2e per calendar for postage.

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 15

David PRICE

Carpenter/Menuisier d’agencement Tous intérieurs, cuisines, salles de bains, 06 30 99 72 21 (82150) English spoken

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

www.quercygite.com Tél: 06 71 71 77 22 bosredon46@wanadoo.fr

FOR ALL YOUR BILINGUAL ADMINISTRATION NEEDS Having lived and worked in France for 15 years, I can help with all your French bureaucracy problems, phone calls, letters, bookkeeping, AE etc. SIRET: 449942879

Contact: Melinda Aldous on 0786033942 or melindaaldous@gmail.com

www.libertedesanes.com

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


Bare Root Season 16 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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ith the large gardens that we enjoy over here in France, it’s often useful to plant some shrubs and trees to fill some space and add some interest to our acres. The good news, if you’re looking at developing your garden at the minute, is that it is now bare root season, a great time of year for cost-effective purchasing and successful planting of a wide range of shrubs and trees. For anyone who doesn’t know what bare root means, it is, very simply and literally, plants whose roots are bare, i.e. no soil or compost, and bare root season is the time of year (October – March) when you can purchase bare root trees and shrubs. The alternatives to bare roots are root balled or container grown plants, and if you’re purchasing new trees or shrubs then it’s important that you know the difference between them and the plus points and negatives of each. Bare rooted plants are dug out from the ground, keeping as much of the root system intact as possible, and all soil is shaken or washed off, leaving the roots bare. The benefits of bare roots are that they are cheaper, easier, faster, and more environmentally sound. The reason that they are great value for money is that you are paying for the plant alone, not for the pot, compost, and fancy label as well – all of which are actually more expensive than the plant itself. Bare rooted plants are also easy and light to handle, sans compost, and are quick to establish once planted (with correct aftercare, of course). In addition to this, they are also the more environmentally friendly option, as they generate less waste, with no pot to dispose of. These days we’re all conscious of reducing packing; with bare rooted plants you have the ultimate product with no packaging! A potential down side is that bare rooted plants will quickly dry out if not dealt with immediately. The best course of action is to plant them as soon as possible after purchase, or if not, to keep the roots moist. It is also worth bearing in mind that bare roots are young, small, plants – trees under 20 cm. in girth, know in the horticultural world as “whips”. This does not always appeal to impatient instant gardening types who want to see immediate, stunning results, though of course, experienced gardeners know that planting smaller specimens gives increased chances of success, as the young plants have reduced sustenance requirements, so can survive on smaller amounts of water than larger trees which will need substantial daily irrigation in order to survive. Root balled plants are trees and shrubs that are dug out with the soil intact around the root system. The root The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

ball is typically wrapped in biodegradable material such as hessian and non-galvanised wire, and the positives points with these plants are that the root systems remain undisturbed during handling, transportation and planting. Again, they are only available during the dormant season of autumn and winter, when the plants are not actively growing and can be easily transplanted. Container grown trees and shrubs are those which are lifted as either bare-rooted or root-balled specimens and then planted in a container to be grown ready for sale with

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 17

complete root systems. Unlike bare root and root ball plants, container grown ones are available all year round. As everything is neatly contained within a pot, plus points are that no roots are lost with this method, and the planting season is greatly extended. Negative points, however, are that container plants are considerably more expensive, are more susceptible to girdling roots (small roots crossing over the larger buttress roots, causing restrictions than can eventually kill the tree) and that vigilant, ongoing irrigation is necessary. Also, of course, while you can purchase and plant container trees or shrubs at any time of the year, success is more likely and much easier if you plant them during autumn or winter, as they will need much less watering than ones planted in spring or summer. When it comes to planting your bare root stock, it is a fairly straightforward job, but it is one that you will want to do correctly to achieve the best results. The major factors are: root health, weather, soil conditions and aftercare.

Whatever type of tree or shrub you opt for, planting is best done between October and March. Early autumn is the optimum planting time, as you benefit from the residual heat of summer, the warm soil providing a hospitable environment to encourage root growth of the newly planted specimen, and with the promise of the rains of autumn and winter to help water the plant in. If you are not able to place your new plant into its final position immediately then you can take the intermediate measure of heeling it in (loosely planting in a temporary place) to prevent the roots from drying out, until final planting is possible. For the final planting, a little work preparing the ground will go a long way to increasing survival success. Air, nutrients and moisture are all essential in the correct proportions, as either too little or too much will impede establishment and growth. What you’re aiming for is well-established roots that run deep into the soil that will sustain the plant for many years to come. Preparatory work should include loosening the soil, to reduce compaction and improve drainage;

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


18 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Régis CASSÉ

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

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

quercycounselling.blogspot.com.

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

increasing soil fertility by adding fertiliser, organic matter, and lime, if required; and creating an optimum growing area by clearing the surrounding perimeter of weeds and turf, which would compete with the new plant for water and nutrients. At this point, spread out the roots as this will enable you to clearly see the diameter, and thus dig a big enough hole, and by unfurling the roots you will guard against girdling. Dig your planting hole so that it leaves you extra space all around the circumference and ensure that it is the same depth as the roots but no deeper. You want to position your plant so that the root flare out position is at exactly soil level. The root flare (also known as the crown or root collar) is where the main stem transitions into the roots, and planting at this depth is beneficial for both aesthetic and practical purposes. Aesthetically speaking, trees look more attractive when unfolding gently from the earth, rather than jutting directly up like telephone poles, while on a practical level, planting too deeply, below the root flare, may cause stability issues as well as increasing the chance of insect and disease problems, such as rotting roots or girdling roots. If the sides or base of the planting hole are compacted, break the soil up with a fork as this will help the roots to make inroads into the surrounding soil. A small amount of additional fertiliser and organic matter can be added to the planting hole at this point to help the plant along, but

be frugal with quantity for two reasons: firstly, excessive amounts will decompose, leading to the plant sinking, and secondly, creating too easy an environment will leave the plant with little incentive to spread its roots into the surrounding soil in search of nourishment, thus leading to less well developed root systems. After planting your new purchase, firm it in gently, avoiding compacting the soil, as this would hinder the absorption or water and nutrients. On-going after care involves irrigation when necessary. Generally speaking, the warmer and windier the weather conditions, the more you need to water your new plant (while most people realise that lots of sunshine and little rain lead to dry conditions, not every gardener is so aware of the extent that winds can wick away the moisture from the soil). It is also advantageous to keep the circumference area clear, either by weeding or mulching. If mulching, make sure that you keep the immediate base of the tree free from mulch, as this may rot the stem, and if weeding, do so by hand or hoe, and avoid strimming around the base of young trees, as it is easy to cause accidental damage. Young trees might require some assistance to grow straight, especially if they are positioned in exposed, windy sites, so support their straight growth by staking them. You may also need to protect the plants from wildlife such as mice, voles, rabbits and deer, with such devices and products as tree collars, wire mesh or repulsive chemicals.

John and Debbie (Le Jardin des Espiemonts) lejardindesespiemonts@gmail.com, 05 63 64 68 76, www.lejardindesespiemonts.fr The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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Regular van deliveries to and from the UK

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

CLUB DE JARDINAGE DE LAUZERTE This club, based in Lauzerte, is for all residents of the Quercy area who have an interest in gardening and wish to share friendship and ideas with like-minded people. We also welcome those who may be new to the gardening scene and are looking for advice and encouragement on what may be their first foray into the ‘plant world’. We are a very friendly group of almost 70 members and we try to cover most aspects of gardening at our monthly meetings which are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 14h00 in the Salle des Fetes, Lauzerte. New subscriptions of 10 euros per annum commence in January 2015 and we warmly welcome you to our first meeting of the New Year on Tuesday 13 January 2015. In July we held our annual ‘Salon Horticole’, the equivalent of the British Horticultural Show. Our 2015 show will be on Sunday 19 July so please book this in your new diary! At the ‘Salon Horticole’ cups are awarded to the winners of the various sections and the competition is open to members and non-members alike. Congratulations to the following winners in the 2014 show: Vegetables: Mairie Cup – Tricia Geary, Special Vegetables: Auberge des Carmes Cup – Ginette Vigouroux, Flowers & Foliage: Café du Commerce Cup – Melanie Sage, Pot Plant: Jardins d’Aulery Cup – Margaret Brown, Fruit: Quincaillerie Cup – Joan Temple, Handicrafts: Intermarché Cup – Gill Laver, Food & Drink: Hotel du Quercy Cup – Rachel Sharp, Show Champion (most points in show): Cynthia Gauld Memorial Cup – Joan Temple. We are looking forward to 2015 with an exciting programme including illustrated talks by specialists, plant and seed exchanges, a pruning demonstration, seed workshop and visits to large public gardens and some members’ gardens. We also hold two Quiz Nights per year which are open to all and include a meal. If you would like more information about Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte and its future activities please contact: Chairman, Margaret Brown on 05 63 95 29 80 browngarden@orange.fr or the Secretary, Pam Westcott 05 63 94 19 25 pamwestcott47@hotmail.com Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


20 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Auberge de Miramont (Chez Bernadette) 82190

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

05 63 94 65 57 / 06 30 64 79 43

www.aubergedemiramont.com – check opening hours

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

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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APM

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


22 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Oysters

festive, raw and fascinating

F

rance is the world’s largest producer of oysters and consumes domestically about 95% of its own crop. The remainder being eaten by its immediate European neighbours; 70% of this annual French consumption takes place during the Christmas and New Year period. During this time it’s hard to miss the boxes of them piled high in all the supermarkets. I suspect that the world’s population divides pretty neatly into two categories, those that have and those that haven’t tried eating oysters! Maybe there’s also room also for a category for those that have tried but wouldn’t do so again! As divisive as their appeal seems to be there’s something about this peculiar looking food source that has allowed it to continue to be served up for thousands of years. Oysters may be seafood but for them there’s no bobbing about on sea-beds; in reality they’re simply static water-filters. Their young, which are simply tiny dots, cling to something static in the water and remain stationary whilst they grow. They’ve no method of propulsion or brain to assist them. Whilst clinging they filter up to 8 litres of water an hour to feed off plankton. It can take up to 4 years for an oyster to mature and so there is a considerable amount of clinging and filtering done! This uncomplicated, self-contained creature is also (ironically for a reported aphrodisiac) a hermaphrodite, reproducing only with itself. As far back as Roman-times oysters were simply harvested from the sea. Their popularity meant that The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

By A Atkinson

by the 17th century their numbers were so reduced that consumption of them was banned during any month without an ’r’ in its name. This seasonal abstinence has often been associated with possible health issues in warmer months, whereas it was, in fact, an early attempt at conservation. There are two main types of French oysters. Firstly the Ostrea edulis known locally as Belon or Gravettes, ‘flat’ (plates) oyster which are still produced in very particular locations on the northern French coast; they are difficult to cultivate and so remain the most expensive oyster. Then secondly there’s the Crassostrea gigas ‘cupped’ (creuses) oyster. The former variety was all but wiped out in the nineteenth century by a parasite. A different strain was then introduced (allegedly) from the sinking of a Portuguese sailing ship off South West France in 1868. However, in 1970 parasites struck again and the oyster population on the French coast was virtually decimated. French producers now tend to use a Japanese variety. Producers encourage the young oysters to attach themselves to their submerged supports and these immature oysters are then left for between 2 to 3 years to mature. Then they’re lifted from their place at sea and finished in the producers’ own salt-water ponds also known as ‘claires’. Before being taken (alive) to the shops and markets oysters must spend a minimum of 24 hours in controlled, clean water. Production is geared for consumption in the winter months when the oyster is more rewarding

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

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

to eat; as it will have stopped circulating water and have the maximum bodily stores of glycogen (ready to get it through the winter). Some producers have developed ways (including sterilization and genetic modification) of adapting the oysters’ life cycle and its subsequent seasonal availability. Much of this is frowned upon by the traditional oyster producer. As with most things French and ‘gastronomy’ there are rules and complications. Getting to know your oysters is rather like getting to know your wines! Much depends on the shallow claires. You may find oysters labelled as ‘huîtres fines de claire’ these are oysters which have been finished in small salt ponds for at least a month before harvesting, at a density of twenty oysters per m2. Whereas, ‘huîtres spéciales de claire’ means they have been finished in salt ponds for at least two months at a density of ten oysters per m2. Or you could find the ‘huîtres spéciales pousse en claire’ which has languished for at least four months at a density of between only five and ten oysters per m2. Finally, there is the plain ‘huîtres fines’ with a simple rating (between 6.5 and 10.5) based on the weight of their meat and liquor contained within their shells. Normandy oysters can often have more meat as they are not finished in the less salty claires before harvesting. Instead, muscle growth is encouraged as they’re moved gradually into shallower water, ending up virtually dry when the tide is low. As well as these grades there are also five sizes, the weight range in each of the five sizes is fixed annually by the French and can vary. Weight limits are generally set higher following a good growing season than after a poor one, but grade 1 oysters are typically about 100 g, and grade 5 are 35-40 g. With all the filtering they perform, these small creatures are susceptible to absorbing pollution,

including heavy metals. So it is vital that they are produced in clean and tested waters. As they are largely eaten raw it is important to know the provenance of the oysters you buy. Only ever eat an oyster that is firmly closed or that closes when you tap it – an open oyster is dead and should be discarded. As well as considering where an oyster has come from it’s important to think about how long they’ve been out of the water. It’s possible for an oyster to live for about 17 days after harvesting, but at this end of the scale it may not be the best experience. The fresher the better! Opening an oyster (shucking) has to be done with care. Firstly scrub off any loose grit and then hold in a towel or oven glove. It is not advisable to use a normal knife as the risk of injury is just too high. Oyster knives are blunter and are worth the investment. Some people have been known to use a flat headed screwdriver but really a couple of euro to buy a knife seems like a solid investment. Most oyster aficionados insist that they’re best eaten raw, with maybe freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice or perhaps a drop of Tabasco sauce. However they can also be steamed, grilled or even poached, and they make an excellent seasonal canapé. For the more adventurous, oysters can be battered in tempura, simmered into a sauce to serve with robust flavours such as beef or pork. Historically when crops were more plentiful oysters were used to bulk out the meat for pies and stews. Whether you fit into the ‘have’ or ‘haven’t’ camp when it comes to oyster eating, it’s hard to argue against the huge volumes of ripe oysters eaten every season here in France. So maybe served with a crisp cold wine they offer a lighter and refreshing interlude to seasonal game, poultry, ham and red wines, particularly over the this coming holiday season.

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


24 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Benjamin Cuzange Debt Collection Agent

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

09 79 05 78 30 / 06 82 79 44 94

Also, Building Materials, Pipe Laying and Skip Hire

www.creancial.fr creancial@orange.fr

We deliver.

05 65 22 79 95

Training in French Law Individual/Group Lessons

English Spoken

Introduction to French Property and Tax Law

www.sable-quartz-mangieu.com

Naughty Nights

an Evening of Merriment

O

n the 26th and 27th September, at the Salle des Fetes in Montaigu-de-Quercy, La Troupe d’Acteurs du Quercy performed ‘Naughty Nights’ – a selection of three one act comedies. Both evenings were ‘picnic evenings’ and the audience enjoyed the new curtained division of the hall as well as a free aperitif and nibbles. The performance began with ‘Temptation Sordid or Virtue Rewarded’ a Victorian melodrama by Winifred Phelps. This play follows our pure young hero, Clarence, as he travels to America to find his fortune, in the shape of gold bricks, so he can win the hand of his true love, heiress Arabella. He is ‘aided’ in his quest by Arabella’s wicked first cousin once removed and twice convicted, disguised as Honest John, and a barmaid Clarence meets in America, who both plan to steal the gold and leave Clarence for dead. When they return to England, Clarence is reunited with Arabella over the dead bodies of his enemies. The next comedy was ‘A Decent Exposure’ a short sketch by Harry Allstock. Set in France in a future where all resident couples are required to have at least one child within 2 years. For any couple unable to comply, a suitable surrogate is provided to finish the task in the couple’s home. We join the Finches at 9 Colombard Buildings as they, nervously, await the ministry man but because their no. 9 is missing a screw and looks like a 6 Mr. Minstrie arrives, expecting to photograph a mother and her new baby, with hilarious results. After the interval the evening continued with ‘Last Panto in Little Grimley’ by David Tristram. This one act play comprises three scenes. In Scene 1 Gordon, Margaret, Joyce and Bernard, the members of Little The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society, are having a committee meeting in which they decide their next production will be a panto written by their President. Scene 2 is the first rehearsal of ‘Pussy in Boots’ where the stage lights blow one by one leaving them in the dark. In Scene 3 we join them as they get ready for the first performance where Joyce forgets to tell Gordon that Margaret has broken an arm and a leg, slipping on a banana skin dropped by Bernard, until 5 minutes before the curtain call. The Troupe’s next production will be Pinocchio, a French/English language pantomime, on 30th and 31st January 2015. The Troupe always gives a free performance of their panto for the local schools, on Friday afternoon. This will be followed by 2 evening performances, starting at 8pm, and a Saturday matinee, starting at 2.30pm. A bar will be available, including soft drinks, and there will be a raffle. Tickets: matinee – e5 adults,e3 children; evening – e10 adults, e5 children. For tickets ring: 05 53 49 19 51.

Want more information? www.la-troupe.org Sarah Pegg: pegg.sarah@orange.fr Tel: 05 53 49 19 51 Stephen Mercer: stephen.mercer@orange.fr Tel: 05 65 35 69 91

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FINALLY – some real change to the way in which you can determine what happens to your estate after your day... People with property in France will know that French law currently governs the taxation and disposal of your French real-estate. In practice the French legal system will decide who receives your property when you die. The existence of protected heirs means that it is very difficult to direct your estate exactly as you wish. This is all changing in 2015, thanks to the EU regulation 650/2012, (commonly known as Brussels IV) so that after 17th August 2015, any British national with assets in France can choose either the law of the country of their habitual residence, or the law of their nationality to govern the disposal of their French estate. If people do not make an active choice about the law they wish to govern their estate then the law of the country of residence will be used. Making this active choice will involve making a nomination in a Will which is valid France. This nomination will state which country’s laws will apply to their estate. This can be done via a

French Will or via a carefully drafted English Will. This is not an arena for the ‘do-it-yourself’ will; careful legal advice and drafting are essential. In some circumstances it may be advisable to seek advice and take action sooner. The new regulations will not apply to any deceased’s estate before the 17th August, however, in some cases (for example a person with declining mental capacity) this could be a vital piece of early planning and preparation. The UK has opted out of the rules, this only means that under British law you cannot opt for a foreign law to apply to British assets and does not affect those ex-pats who wish to elect this rule for their assets in France. There are a number of grey areas about how UK Law will work in relation to assets held in France (see article on p.27 for example). It is critical that careful professional advice is sought at every stage. This article should not be deemed as advice, it simply suggests that people seek further information.

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


THE QUERCY LOCAL • 27

Valérie ROUSSEAU Secrétariat Gestion Recouvrement Efficiency of experience Flexibility of independence Administration, Secretarial & Commercial Management Focus on your business whilst I take care of all your administration and commercial tasks. No contract, working to your timescale, prices on request

O6 70 64 54 97 vgr.secretariat@gmail.com vgr-secretariat.com

Future European Succession Rules & “Contrats D’assurance Vie” Question: I have the typical problem in France, that my husband and I want to leave assets to each other and then to our two families in equal shares. We have already been advised to set up “Contrats d’Assurance Vie”, to solve the problem for our capital. Will these still be valid under UK law? Your question demonstrates just how many “grey areas” still exist as to the potential consequences of using the new European succession rules and choosing UK law. Currently you have effectively arranged for your husband to receive your invested capital, while ensuring that it will ultimately be divided between your children and step-children, in the percentages you require, with little or no inheritance tax. You have done this through your “beneficiary clause” under French insurance law.

It is logical to assume that this should still be valid, since, under French law, the benefits of life assurance investments are taken outside your estate and so are not governed by a will. However, UK law, which you plan to use to govern your inheritance, does not recognise “beneficiary clauses” and the beneficiary of a life assurance policy is normally your estate. In theory, therefore, the policy could be reintegrated into your estate, meaning that your stepchildren would end up paying the 60% tax you have managed to avoid. Importantly, it is too early to tell how this (or other areas of conflict between the two laws) will be dealt with in practice. However, it is vital to remember that French solutions to inheritance problems do exist. Moreover, the new rules could have unforeseen consequences and it is therefore vital to take expert advice before writing a new will.

Peter Wakelin is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Adviser, specialised in tax, inheritance, pension and investment planning for the British community. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51, bordeaux.office@siddalls.net. www.siddalls.fr

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


28 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation (please see our website for full contact information) Remembrance Sunday November 9th at Terre Rouge at 10am At Terre Rouge we always have a traditional Remembrance Sunday service with the 2 minutes silence and the last post. For all enquiries and more information please visit our website on www.churchinmidipa.com Advent and Christmas Advent Sunday, which falls on 30th November this year, marks the beginning of the Church Year. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Anglican Church here will be holding four Carol Services before Christmas – throughout the area of Cahors, north, east and west – hopefully somewhere for everyone to celebrate the joy of Christmas. There is also an Ecumenical Service where all the churches get together for a carol service. Please put these dates in your diary now! Most of the Carol Services have carols and readings in French and English, they follow the traditional 9 Lessons and Carols format and everyone is welcome – there is wine and mince pies afterwards – a delightful way to spend an afternoon or an evening. The dates and venues are as follows – Remember to wrap up warmly – church buildings can be chilly places, but the welcome will be as warm as toast. If you need a lift or want to go with someone, please contact us through our website – under “contact us”. December 7th: 15.00 Ecumenical Service: Cahors – Sacré Coeur December 8th: 18.00 Carol Service: Bétaille – Eglise de Saint Georges December 16th: 19.00 Carol Service: Le Vigan/Gourdon Gourdon – Eglise de St Pierre December 19th: 19.00 Carol Service: Prayssac – Eglise de Saint Barthélémy December 21st: 10am Carol Service: Terre Rouge – Cahors There will also be a service of Holy Communion on Christmas Day at Terre Rouge at 10am. For further details on all the above services please visit our website www.churchinmidipa.com The Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany 25th December to 6th January The Twelve Days of Christmas mark a festival in the Christian calendar starting on Christmas Day (25th December) and ending on Twelfth Night (5th January). The festival period is usually known The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

as Christmastide and is followed by the celebration of Epiphany on 6th January. Epiphany, which means to show, is the season when Jesus Christ is shown to be the light of the world. At the first Epiphany, the Wise Men (Magi or Kings) followed the light of the star to Bethlehem to find the Baby Jesus, as reflected in the words of the carol “We three kings of Orient are”. Apart from the church’s celebrations, Epiphany in the UK signals the time to take down all the Christmas decorations for another year but is not otherwise marked. In France, however, it is the time to eat Galettes du Roi – a wonderfully tasty and fattening cake with almonds and a little fève (decorated bean) lodged inside. Whoever eats the fève becomes the King or Queen and wears the gold crown wrapped around the Galettes du Roi. There will be a service at Terre Rouge on the 4th January 2015 at 10am Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th to 25th January 2015 The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity involves Christian communities across the world and from almost every denomination. The Week lasts for 8 days and covers the period from the feast of St Peter to the feast of St Paul. Many people see it as their duty to pray not just for the unity of Christians but for the unity of all people who are made in God’s image and a desire to achieve unity in a way that enriches rather than diminishes the diversity of local churches. There will be an Ecumenical Service on Monday 19th January 18.30h in Sacré Coeur, Cahors. At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The focus in 2015 will be Brazil. Finally on our website www.churchinmidipa.org – you can contact your nearest church, see what services we have, see photos of our activities and put photos to names of people you may have heard of but not met! It is reaching parts we have never reached so far!!

A Very Happy Christmas and a peaceful 2015 to all our readers.

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JOIN OUR BUSY TEAM If you live in the St Antonin de Noble Val or Granges sur Lot area – we need you! Helping Hands @ Home is an agency which enables older people to remain in their own home by providing companionship and assistance with everything from food shopping and preparation to washing and dressing. We are currently looking for people in the St Antonin de Noble Val and Granges sur Lot areas to join our team.

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

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Tarte Tatin

PERFECTION ON A PLATE (finally)

Confession time – I love tarte tatin. From the moment I first tried it at a wonderful little restaurant in Lyon, I couldn’t help but fall madly in love. Those soft, caramel-coated apples kissed with the merest touch of cinnamon and blanketed by that flaky, buttery pastry! Heaven on the lips, especially if served warm, with a nice blob of crème fraîche – or even better, a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. But that’s not my confession. I’m here to tell you that I’ve tried to make my own tarte tatin many times; and failed – again... and again... and again. Why is anyone’s guess! I can produce just about any French dessert with my eyes practically closed, but oh no, not a tarte tatin! Sometimes the pastry was too soggy. Other times I burnt the caramel (and the pan I made it in). Sometimes it looked OK, but it just didn’t taste quite right. That was until today, when some slightly wrinkled little apples gave me the push I needed. Facing my fears and fully aware that this attempt might lead to failure yet again, I installed myself in the kitchen, turned up some Charles Aznavour (a little romance always help, no?) and set to work like a French girl on a mission. I made the pastry, rolled it out on a sheet of parchment paper and then popped it in the fridge while I peeled the apples, made the caramel and preheated the oven. An hour later I had produced the most beautifully delectable tarte tatin ever! All of those failures were suddenly forgotten! A thing of the past! Just don’t ask me why it worked this time around. The only thing I can say is that I’m thrilled to bits it did! Here’s the recipe. Now excuse me while I go cut myself another slice…

Bon Appétit !

Paola’s Tarte Tatin Serves 8 For the pastry: 250g flour pinch of salt 110g cold butter, cubed 40g margarine, cubed 1 egg 2 tsps water

For the filling: 8 small apples (about 750g) peeled and cored 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out 1 tsp cinnamon 120g butter 200g granulated sugar

Note: Preferably, the tarte tatin should be made in an authentic tarte tatin pan measuring 25cm. A pan that can also be used on the stove; you can also use an ovenproof pan of the same size.

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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Method Preheat the oven to 180°C. In the bowl of your food processor, mix the flour, salt, butter and margarine until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Then add the egg and the water, and mix again until the dough comes together. On a sheet of parchment paper roll out the pastry to a circle that is slightly larger than the pan you’ll be using. Put the pastry in the fridge while you get on with the rest of the recipe. Cut the peeled and cored apples in half, add the vanilla and cinnamon, and toss well to mix. Put your tarte tatin pan on the stove and slowly melt the butter. Once the butter is almost fully melted, add the sugar and stir well for about a minute or two. Now increase the heat to about medium and leave the caramel until it starts to turn golden and smell wonderful. This will take about 10 minutes. Whatever you do, do not stir! Simply swirl the caramel every now and then. Add the apples (cut side down) and then gently turn them around (cut side up) so they are completely coated with the caramel. Turn down the heat a bit, and leave the apples to cook for about five minutes. In the meantime, take your pastry out of the fridge. Once the apples are cooked, take the pan off the heat, and carefully cover the apples with the pastry making sure to tuck in the sides and fold over any remaining pastry. Prick the pastry a few times with a fork. Bake the tarte tatin for about 45-50 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack for at least ten minutes before turning it out on to a plate. To serve, place a plate on top of the pan, put on some oven gloves, and flip the whole thing over so that the tarte tatin ends up on your plate. Enjoy as is, with some crème fraîche or with some vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

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

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


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ROMAN ROADS PART XII CHEMIN DE LAVANDE Our research on the possible Roman or even preRoman (Gaulois or Celtic) track that was detailed in the last article heading north from the St Gervais area (north of Touffailles) is reported here coming from the direction of Maux (and Masquieres) on the border between the Aquitaine and Midi Pyrenees southwards towards Couloussac where we finished in the last article. Our research has been complicated because this area has been fought over several times since the Roman period. During the Hundred Years War the area changed hands several times back and forth between the French and English moving the boundaries and in the early 19th Century Napoleon Bonaparte decided to form the new department called Tarn & Garonne taking chunks out of the surrounding departments which meant more changes. The current border between the regions zigzags about all the way up to the Lot River and our research shows that the possible Roman SouthNorth road is much straighter and having followed it for about 15 kilometres, it does appear to give convincing evidence of an older boundary between the regions. We were also interested to find that although Couloussac is a very quiet ‘commune’ nowadays, it has many old stone buildings and has the ‘air or feeling’ of antiquity – perhaps there was some kind of Roman ‘mansio’ or villa here and the stones were reused? The village was certainly used as a coaching station in recent history and although their church is of a late construction it does appear to be made with a mishmash of different size stones. The same thing has been observed in Maux, which has some impressive stone buildings. This also means it could have had more importance in antiquity but is now just a small quiet hamlet. We were given copies of documents and maps by Didier Rigal, Inrap, Cahors, and amongst these were copies of a report by an author, E.Castagné, who in the late 19th Century wrote ‘Notice sur Les Voies Romaines du Departmentement du Lot’ (1877). The area of one of the maps covering our region between Cahors and Tournon d’Agenais, shows an old route following The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

the plateau which is now replaced by the D656, and in St Matre the map shows a split or fork with one part following the line of the edge of the plateau in a southerly loop and the other inland and towards the north. These two routes then come back together again at Maux forming an ‘eye’ shape. Our theory for the reason there are two routes is that one went towards Maux to continue on towards Tournon or to turn south. The other also went towards Maux but half way along there is a turn off northwards towards Vire and Duravel. These two routes strengthen our idea of a South-North route heading straight for this ‘eye’, which we will call the Chemin de Lavande because we understand there is a group from the Touffailles area endeavouring to protect a walking route with this name – and we believe it is one and the same. We will endeavour to get in touch with this group to talk about their project and to see if it is indeed a continuation of the track we followed coming from Maux/Masquieres south past Couloussac and Pervillac towards St Gervais/Touffailles. Our outings to continue northwards will hopefully be some time in 2015 with the group from the Association Historique de Duravel, who are at the moment fully occupied with their work on the old ramparts. The search to follow the traces of the Na Bruniquel proved extremely difficulty going west to east in the Couloussac area and although we have finally decided

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 33

on a track that has been in use for a long time and appears very old, we are still unsure whether it is old enough to be Roman. At some time in the future we will be digging trenches across sections of this old track-way to see if we can find any proof that it dates back to the Roman/Gaul period. It is precisely because of our difficulties in finding a continuation of the Na Bruniquel heading West-East with distinct T junctions into other old tracks in the Couloussac area that we decided to do this extra investigation. We are also looking at an alternative theory that the Na Bruniquel, followed a road towards the area of the church of St Andre de Carabaisse, passed by the sites of at least one known Roman villa, crossed the river Boudouyssou and turned east towards Tournon, passing the town (which may have been occupied at that time by the Gauls – a theory that needs proving) and joins up with the route drawn by Castagne in the 19th Century, arriving at Maux to continue onwards towards Cahors. This could mean that our voie Na Bruniquel was only used since the 1st millennium… Setting off from Maux we drove south towards the edge of the plateau and the river Boudouyssou valley on a section of tarmac road and parked near the area called Homs (again lots of old stone buildings here).

The track we followed was parallel with one far older situated to the right of the track and trees in the photo. This older track with a deep U shape continued all the way down the slope towards the river Boudouyssou.

As we continued down the steeper part of the valley the U shape track continued beside us and then the track split into two – one part continuing down more steeply and the other doing a gentler descent in a zigzag. Presumably one for horses and pedestrians, with the other being used for carts.

The photo shows a distinct difference in ground level from the left of the picture and the right. This is also right on the border of the two regions with Aquitaine on the right and Midi-Pyrenées on the left.

Nearby we discovered an old source surrounded by a stone built structure which could be very old.

This photo was taken where the two routes join back together and head towards the river crossing at the farm Cirgou. Some of our track has followed the regional boundary. Here at Cirgou this goes off to the right, but our track went straight uphill passing underneath Castelas. We were worried about the width of the track here but studies elsewhere of Roman roads have shown that

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

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this could still be authentic. From the twin track marks it also looks as though it is still being used by some form of vehicle.

This photo taken from Couloussac church across the valley shows a straight line across the photograph in the form of a hedge. We believe that this straight route changed at some time probably due to a steep slope to the right of the area on the photo. The ‘new’ track, which is now a road, is shown in red on the map, heading south from the Na Bruniquel, also marked in red and ends up in the same place on the D41. It is clear from the map that we have followed various tracks in all directions. As already mentioned, this area was fought over during the 100 years war, so trying to sift through the evidence to find one that is possibly Roman is not going to be easy until we dig for it – which will most likely require the permission of two regions.

Arriving at the top of the hill the track continues in a straight line right past Couloussac and although we couldn’t access it, it appears that it continues towards the D41 and the road arriving in from Pervillac.

This shows the voie on the south side of the D41 which joins up with where we left off in the previous article. For more information contact Angie Richards, angierichards@aol.com The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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Selling the dream “Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Debbie Heeley

M

ost of my working life I have been lucky to use this as my job description – how many people can say that? My working life started in the UK in the travel agency business many years ago in the days when the only way to book your holiday was to go to the agency on the High Street and spend some time there discussing your dreams. We provided a personal service and got to know our clients and looked forward to seeing them each year. Not like the impersonal way we all make our travel arrangements now: at home on our own in front of the computer. I am so glad I Ieft the industry before it all changed. For the last ten years I have been spending my days selling the dream again but this time I sell houses here in this lovely area of south west France. I have clients of different ages, different nationalities, different backgrounds and of course all with different requirements and budgets. However, what they all have in common is that they are buying a dream, a change of lifestyle, a new future and above all a home. Home is where we feel safe, where we relax and where we are happiest. There is the young couple who is just starting out in life and is

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

looking for their first home together. Somewhere they can call their own and somewhere that can grow with them and their family. There are the clients who have just discovered this area and now want to have a base of their own to come for their holidays. They are dreaming of all the future holidays they are going to spend with their children and grandchildren and they want a house that will be a happy home filled with sunshine and laughter. There are the foreign clients who are looking for a new lifestyle and the challenge of living in a new country either for part of the year or as a permanent move. They are excited about learning a new language and a new way of life. They may be planning their retirement or looking for a new adventure with their children as we did some twenty five years ago. Then there are the clients who have to move for work. They may be based in another region of France and are being moved to this area. This is a challenge too and also a new lifestyle. Moving maybe from Paris or another big city to our quiet rural villages is quite a change and takes quite an adaption. There are the clients who already live in the area and want to move within the area for many different reasons. They’ve already restored their house and want another project or having done that maybe they now want a more modern

house with less work so they can pursue their hobbies and spend time with all the new friends they have made in the area. There are many reasons. Finally there are the British clients who are selling their dream and leaving France. They bought their dream, they’ve lived their dream and now their dreams are elsewhere maybe with the grandchildren, maybe they dream of being able to go for a pint, order a takeaway or just walk into Sainsbury and get their Marmite whenever they want. For every client it is a personal choice and a new journey and I am privileged to be part of that journey good and bad whether they are buying or selling their house here. Sometimes it can be sad as they have lost a loved one or it is a divorce but they are all still planning for the future. None of us know what is round the corner and sometimes life has a nasty habit of biting us on the bum with health issues and accidents. So my advice is always make the best of life and enjoy it. If you are selling, be reasonable when you get an offer. Of course that extra money would be useful but all the while you are waiting for that miracle, life is moving on and you are still not living their new dream. And if you are thinking of buying, stop hesitating and go for it. Jump in and meet that challenge. Life is for living so follow your dreams. By Debbie Heeley: IMMO46: Prayssac

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www.immo46.com The experienced team of IMMO46 are here to offer their friendly professional advice on both the selling , purchasing and renting of your home in this beautiful area of France.

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Elizabeth Finn Care – Here to Help Elizabeth Finn Care is a UK-based registered charity, which grants money to help people who have less than £4,000 in savings and live on a low house-hold income. What many people don’t realise is that this help is available to British people living in France. It is not immediately obvious from the charity’s website – but there’s a contact here in France. How did it start? The founder of this charity, Elizabeth Finn, was born in 1825 in Warsaw into a missionary family. Her adult life saw her living in Palestine providing aid to hundreds of families in need. Elizabeth and her husband, James, also established the Jerusalem Literary Society, library and museum. On returning to England and following her husband’s death Elizabeth and one of her daughters founded the Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association. By 1920, when Elizabeth Finn died the Charity had established itself as an essential source of support for those in financial difficulty. The name of the Charity changed in 1999 to the Elizabeth Finn Trust and then was modified again to the current Elizabeth Finn Care in 2005. The Charity is actively raising funds and more information can be found on the website along with a donations page. Who can get help? The charity helps people whose working life is interrupted or ended through circumstances beyond their control: physical or mental illness, redundancy, family breakdown, or those struggling on low income in retirement. Applicants must be of British or Irish nationality but can be resident in France. They can also help you if your partner (current or past) meets or met our eligibility criteria during his or her working life. Therefore, if your partner may have qualified for our help, so may you. A full list of the qualifying occupations or previous occupations for you and/or your partner can be found at: www.elizabethfinncare.org.uk/get_support/elizabeth-finn-grants/who-can-apply/ How to get help If you, or someone you know, has reached a point where some help and understanding is due then it has got to be worth getting in touch with Elizabeth Finn Care (or passing these details on) and see if the Charity can help.

Contact for France – Mary Hughes, L’Escargot, 46 Le Village, 11270 Cazalrenoux, 04 68 23 43 79 mary.hughes@elizabethfinn.org.uk www.elizabethfinncare.org.uk Published March, May, July, September and November each year

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2 different sets of wheels in 2 different regions and 2 different countries... A Grand Day Out A Yorkshireman’s memorable ride

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he 2014 Le Tour de France will be remembered for a number of inspiring and dramatic events: the retirement of the race favourite Chris Froome on stage 5 and the subsequent demise of Team Sky trying to continue without a team leader. Alberto Contador being forced out on stage 10 with a broken leg (despite continuing for 10km before the pain was too much!). Mark Cavendish getting it all wrong in Harrogate on stage 1 and crashing out, the legend that is Jens Voigt leading the Peloton out front and on his own over Buttertubs Pass (one of the best hills in the country), but perhaps the Grand Depart itself will stand out for many as the greatest moment of the Tour. The greatest sporting event in the world in the greatest place on earth for 2 days. What’s not to like! I hadn’t made a plan for where to go and watch until breakfast-time on the Saturday morning. I decided to head from home (Settle, N Yorks) over the tops to Hetton and then as far up the race route as I could before the road was closed. The climb out of Settle is a bit of a beast (it’s one of my favourite hills and the only way to ride the hills is as fast as possible!). It is 12 minutes of pain on a gradient that touches 22%. Once you reach the top and roll along the moors the feeling is great and you are usually wide awake by then! On reaching the village of Hetton the number of people out on their bikes was pretty amazing, soon we all reached the road the race would travel along and it was already closed to cars. Riding along closed roads in Yorkshire is a truly great experience, the atmosphere was superb with people of all ages out on their bikes for the same reason. Throw in a couple of strategic beer stops (purely to soak up the atmosphere) and you already have the makings of a day to remember. Just outside the village of Kilnsey there is a short but steep climb, The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

riding towards it I could see there were already hundreds of people on the side of the road enjoying the weather having found their spot for the day. Climbing this small hill was quite surreal as everyone was cheering and clapping, for a couple of short minutes I felt famous!

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I pressed on for about another 10 miles to the tiny village of Buckden (home of the Buckden Pike fell-running race, which is one of my favourite races and includes a real lung-busting climb). From the pub in Buckden I could follow the race on the TV as it made its way up the road I’d just ridden along, then as it got close I stepped out onto the village green as the caravan of sponsors’ cars

passed playing music and throwing out freebies. Shortly after the caravan the Peloton went by, 190 riders passed in a matter of seconds to the cheers of the people lining the road. After the team cars passed it was over for the people of Buckden and all there was left to do was ride home, back down the closed roads with the sun still shinning. By the time I had got back home I had done a steady 45 mile round trip, looking back the actual race passing by was just a part (albeit a large part) of the day, the atmosphere of the day is something I will probably not experience again, it makes me proud to be from and live in Yorkshire. For those 2 days in July the landscape of the greatest place in the world played out the start of the most demanding race on earth and the 4 million people who turned out to watch on the 5th and 6th of July will agree that it was an awe inspiring sight. Sunday saw the race head over Holme Moss (another classic hill), however I was back in work and had to watch it all, this time, on TV. By Yorkshireman, Cyclist and Bike Mechanic – Tom Burns

riding in the lot A whistle-stop tour of vineyards in the Lot Valley

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ooking out of the window at the few white clouds did nothing to dampen the ache, nor calm the increasingly insistent call of the road outside! A good forecast for the next few hours… Decision made ‘Today was going to be mine and my KTM’s’. Dainese leathers on, Sidi boots squeaking and tinted visor firmly fitted to my Shoei lid, it was definitely time to hit the road! The garage doors swung open to reveal my ‘stable’, 2 x DRZ400S and the KTM 950 SM ‘07. Today the trails would have to wait though, I needed speed and crazy fun! The twisty roads in the Lot Valley are on my doorstep, and the KTM is more than manic enough to cope with all of them… a torquey 67 ft-lb of power, rather than top end speed (it peaks at around 135mph). That’s what is needed around here with the tight hairpins and poor surfaces. I love my sports bikes, having ridden them all my motorcycling life, but even with the incredible routes and plenty of tarmac, I would pick the KTM Supermoto any day of the week for these roads! Many a time the KTM has left litre sports bikes behind on the tight twisties. With a new tyre on the front that needs scrubbing in – a Pirelli Rosso slightly grippier than the rear Pirelli Angel – today I would oblige. Key in the ignition, kill switch flicked to start, lights showed me all was OK. The ‘07 still has carbs, not fuel injection like the later models, so it means

a little choke is often needed to help get it warmed up. I can feel the thunking V twin engine vibrating the concrete under my feet! Fantastic! While it warms up I give the bike a quick check around to make sure all is ok with nothing hanging off. Indicators present and working, chain tightened and waxed (my preference is Würth chain wax rather than oil) and lights clear from the huge bugs I regularly collect around here. Choke off, idle engine now blapping through the standard exhausts (I’d love the Akrapovic system but funds won’t allow, and hey, I keep telling myself that it’s not really needed anyway!). Earplugs in, lid on, gloves settled and throttle blipped… just for fun… I’m out of here!

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

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Canon EOS camera stowed safely in my bag I pull out of the garage and head towards my first destination, Cahors. Initially along the main roads to get the small French market towns behind me, but I’ll soon have the twisty roads under my tyres. The roads are clear as it’s lunch time, and for the next hour at least I have the roads pretty much to myself, plenty of time to play! The 17.5ltr tank carries enough fuel to go about 200 kilometres on average, depending on how I’m riding, so I know I have enough to take the twisty route to Cahors, 64 kms away. At the fork in the road between the main route and the tight twisties, I need to make a decision, no contest today though, I take the twisty one! Bumpy but warm, dry roads mean I can really open the throttle hard, bouncing it off the rev limiter on the straights with the front wheel skipping just slightly. It’s amazing, hard on the Brembo brakes, scrubbing off enough speed to hit the tight corners, rear tyre bouncing now and again just before I release the front brake and chuck it into the corner, typical supermoto style. I have to scrub that new tyre in and the grip is awesome. Not a second of instability at any point, just a skip here and there from the tyres as the road surface isn’t great. Off the narrow lanes onto the tiny twisty road over the hills and together we overtake the slow vans that crop up now and then around here, smooth overtakes, but I’m not hanging around today… I have an hour to play and I’ve taken the longer twisty route, so no time to dawdle and enjoy the beautiful countryside. Put the power down hard coming out of the corners and back onto the main road to Cahors. Sweeping bends on the main road give the top end of the power range a try out… Again up through the gears, knocking them up just before they hit the rev-limiter, getting the most out of the power, enjoying the good tarmac for a while, and then back onto the smaller lanes to cut across the valley and The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

drop down into Cahors. Over the top of the valley with its superb views, the KTM is enjoying the hard push and we barely have enough time to flick around the corners before entering Cahors, just in time to sit down in the cafe and enjoy a leisurely lunch sat in the sun with a friend. An hour later with us both refuelled, and a caffeine boost for me, the KTM and I head towards the vineyards that are the main reason for today’s blast. I want photos to go in my wine folder and to help with my understanding of the Cahors Black Wine, so it’s on to Clos Troteligotte first off along the main road towards the pretty village of Villesque. Power down, rear tyre gripping and around the sweeping bends with good tarmac, a few good overtakes of the trucks along the road, plenty of view and time to really push the KTM. I’d had a sticky throttle the last ride out so I wanted to make sure I had the full throttle range this time… I did! Smooth gear changes up and down around the clear open bends, then down into the

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tight twisties and up behind a car with the solid white line down the middle of the road! I respect the painted road lines and today it gives me a chance to just pootle along, enjoy the stunning scenery and lovely sunny day – the tinted visor is really working hard today! Onto a short straight with a broken line, the first chance to overtake and with a twist of the throttle, the KTM obliges without hesitation. Passing just in time for the really tight, fun bends, then far too quickly I see the turning for Troteligotte. Off onto a dirt track, time to stand up on the pegs to have a bit of a play along the gravel lane. I’m a short-arse at 5’3”, so this also gives me the added view of the road over the fluffy green hedges. Manu has a little gravel area in front of the tasting cellar and the KTM has an excellent turning circle, totally unlike my Gixer! So we turn round and find a stable point to put down the side stand. Thank God for long legs!! The KTM has quite a tall seat height 885mm, so the supple leathers and long legs really help. A few photos later and I’m ready to get back on the road again.

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

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


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No wine tasting for me today, it’s purely the thrill of the ride and the photography. As the KTM and I hit the main road again, that ‘feeling’ kicks in and we power through the corners, blast along the straights, flick around the tight twisties and balance each other out as if we’re one machine. Fantastic! The KTM just has it all, and on good road tyres, it is more than capable of handling anything I could dream of throwing at it. Low down torque, mid-range power, easy to flick around, and more than enough top end to cope with the straights around here before another tight bend appears. I don’t have the disadvantage of a tall body, so with a short screen added to the front, I don’t suffer wind buffeting, or extra drag on the Supermoto, and although the upright sitting position is better than being scrunched over all the day, I can sit forward a bit to put what weight I do have, a little more over the front end if I need to. One more vineyard off the main road before we take the bumpy tiny back roads across the top of the Plateau. Chateau Tour de Miraval is owned by a fantastic woman who has the most impeccable taste in wines – well worth being part of my Black Wine Tours. She knows her stuff, but unfortunately isn’t there for a photo opp. So a few snaps of the barn and vineyard, and we’re off again. I’ve been looking forward to getting off the main road, and the tiny lanes don’t disappoint!! Switchbacks, ever-tightening corners, farmers in the middle of the road and tractors appearing from the fields – I have it all and not once does the KTM baulk at anything. A minor stoppie at one point, but that’s my mistake in almost overshooting a turning. No problems, tight turn in the middle of the road and we’re back on track. Up through the high fluffy green hedges, the smells of the warm day enhanced by my increased endorphin levels and the adrenaline rush of riding the bike! As we blast along the top, I recognise Chateau de Chamberts first sign indicating their top vineyard. The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 43

Time for a quick photo and slurp of water, the leathers are definitely keeping me warm as well as safe… must think about some Hood Jeans. A few cars go past as we’re sat there, and then off to the Chateau. I’d let the owner Philippe Lejeune know I’d be out on the bike on a sunny day to take some photos and he was happy for me to stop by. Turning the corners from the local village, Floressas, there are glimpses of the Chateau, the most stunning place I’d seen in Cahors. Small and beautiful, suddenly it appears at the end of the driveway. I stopped for a few photographs, and although the tarmac road runs around to the main bureau, I felt it would have been rude not to ride along the enticing gravel driveway on the KTM… Sure footed and with only a slight wiggle now and then along the gravel, with its road tyres, we picked our way up to the Chateau – riding around the old stone steps to the main car park. Pulling up, I took a good 10 minutes of photographs before knocking on Philippe’s door to drag him out for some photos! Deciding to mix business with pleasure I took some pictures for my Black Wine business as well as a few of the bike and the gorgeous setting. Philippe, as usual, was kind, patient and more than happy to show me the vines, and several photos later, I knew, once again, yet more than I had before about the Malbec grape, the terroir, and what they are up to at Chambert. Always an excellent visit, time with Philippe is invariably a pleasure, he loves what he is doing and, as with all the vineyards chosen for my Tours, he has some of the best wines in Cahors. I eagerly await his white wines in a few weeks – if his perfect Malbecs are anything to go by, this will be as impressive as the rest of the red wines at Chambert. And who could resist a few arty shots of the KTM as well – with such an incredible backdrop for some perfect pictures! Time to ride back down that far too tempting driveway and out along the Lot Valley back onto the tiny twisty

roads towards my last vineyard of the day. Nothing is particularly far away on the main roads but they don’t hold any appeal for me right now. It’s the little roads, the tight corners and the call of the throttle today! Riding along the valley, the threat of rain and a slight dampness present on some darker lanes, it was time to be a little more cautious, even though the warm tyres and capable KTM rarely worry me on the poor road surfaces. Puttering through a village, a black cat decides to run across my path, spookily just as my trip meter click onto 66.6kms since filling up!!! Taking it steadily through that village, a huge wine bottle was sitting just past the town sign! I couldn’t resist taking a picture… Then onto Luzech via the little lanes… which is easier said than done of course, given the lack of signposts! Still, it’s not too late and luckily the rain held off for another hour. Finding narrow lanes straight through the many vineyards in this area, it really is a fantastic route, and finally arriving in Luzech, I took the twistier way alongside the Lot River. The smooth sweeping road with its good tarmac provided a nice change from the bumpy surfaces of the tiny roads and for a short while I opened the throttle hard. Out through Caix where I have been using a small vineyard for a couple of years, a quick stop for a photo, then carrying on following the lanes across to Caillac and Lo Domeni vineyard, my final stop of the day before heading back. Pierre Pradel is a one man band, he has around three acres of third terrace vines. This makes his wines smooth, intense and complex, but easy to drink! I stock his perfect rosé (in my humble and amateur opinion, the best in Cahors!) and also his 100% Malbec, hand pressed wine… incredible! As I pulled up I saw a couple heading into his small tasting area and, given that the last time I visited him 18 people turned up for an impromptu tasting, I figured we could be in for another busy evening! He looked a little puzzled at first but then, as he recognised my leathers from my Facebook profile, he laughed. A big welcome from Pierre, as always, he is a very nice, kind guy, and willing to help with my poor French as well! It helps that I love his wines and think so highly of his rosé, but he is always very welcoming. We had a good visit, I chatted to his American visitors and waited out the brief rain-shower, then found the smallest lanes I could to head back out towards Cahors. However, time is ticking on now, so back to Rocamadour. After Cahors I kept mainly to the larger roads giving the KTM beans where I could, and enjoyed it. Back in the ‘stable’ the KTM sat and ticked happily while it cooled down – we ride hard together, but we love every minute! By Jennifer Capron Iddon, Rocamadour

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


44 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

The Good Life France Ever since I can remember I’ve had an affinity for France. Maybe it was because I was named after a French racehorse. My Dad won 50 guineas at Brighton on a horse called Janine the day I was born in London. Returning home he informed my mother that I would no longer be called Ethel as she wanted but Janine; he felt I would a “lucky filly”.

I

certainly feel as though some of that luck has rubbed off. After a career as a writer and editor of a glossy magazine and then in finance in the city, I chucked my high heels in for wellies and a life of rural bliss in northern France. It wasn’t exactly planned. I used to take my Dad to Calais for day trips to buy smelly cheese and cheap red wine. One wet, cold February afternoon we decided to venture further inland and on a whim popped into an estate agents office in the Seven Valleys area when he offered us coffee. Despite my protestations that I was not interested in buying and even if I was, I had no money, the agent gave me details for his cheapest properties. Two hours later I was telling the owner of one of them that I wanted his house. Three months later it was mine. That was ten years ago. For several years I spent all my holidays and free time with my husband attempting to renovate what was essentially an old barn. It wasn’t one of those romantic old barns you see on Grand Designs. It was a real old barn, the type you can see the sky through the roof, the corrugated iron door rattled in the wind and it came with an old sheep we called Trumper on account of the rather vile smell she gave off. Eventually we decided to take some time off work to move the renovation on, doing it piece meal just wasn’t working – it would take several decades if we didn’t grab the bull by the horns and just get on with it. Six months later I realised I didn’t want to return to London life. My ex-city friends called me “The Good Life France” after the British TV sitcom series The Good Life when I started taking in stray cats (6), dogs (3) and got chickens, geese and ducks. I started blogging about my French life in 2012 and named my website after my nickname. The first month I got 400 views – I was completely thrilled. Six months later I was getting 60,000 visitors and I was hooked.

In just over two years, www.thegoodlifefrance.com has become one of the most popular websites for anyone dreaming of a new life in France, with real-life stories and lots of advice. It’s grown in stature and is packed full of fantastic features for holiday makers and visitors to France about where to go, what to see, recipes, gastronomy, property tips, culture and language, book reviews, our famous photo galleries and a whole lot more. These days we reach more than 650,000 people a month, the site is funded by advertisers and we are about to branch into the digital magazine world. As a travel writer I tour all over France – it is such a diverse country that I’ll always find something new to discover and share. Other writers based in France have joined me at The Good Life France, journalists, authors and passionate bloggers all keen to share their favourite places to visit and their experiences. I’ve met some fabulous people, like Query local and author Peter Schoenmaker, and made thousands of friends through The Good Life France Facebook page where we have a really active community. People share photos, advice and tips there and it one of the things I like best about my job. For me, it really is The Good Life France. By Janine Marsh

FACEBOOK – The Good Life France, facebook page – is a great source of information on all matters French – worth a visit and ‘liking’ to make sure you keep up to date with all sorts of things you might otherwise have missed. Also – do look up the Quercy Local facebook page and ‘like’ that – local events and information can then come straight to you. Remember when you ‘like’ a page you need to click ‘get notifications’ on the ‘like’ button so that messages get to you. The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 45

La Chaumière Immobilier was established in 2005 by the owner Marie-Annick COLAS who has been joined by Daniel TAYLOR who has 14 years experience particularly with an international clientèle.

We are looking for properties (country and village houses of all types and condition) in the Quercy and surrounding areas to meet an increased demand from French and foreign buyers.

If you are selling or thinking of selling don’t hesitate to contact us!

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


46 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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

SIRET : 517 514 733 00016 The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 47

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

Email: stephen.tyler@sfr.fr Siret: 802 145 706 00015

Proposed Changes to UK Tax Allowance for ex-pats Many people may be aware of the UK Government’s open consultation document “Restricting nonresidents’ entitlement to the UK personal allowance”. It’s now too late to comment on the document as that had to be done by the 9th October but it’s well worth non UK residents being fully aware of the proposals and all the possible ways they may be implemented. If you have any property in the UK or derive any income from there then this change could adversely affect you, so it’s important to be aware of the possible changes particularly if you are planning any changes to your investments, property ownership or residential status. Currently (and unlike virtually every other country) Britain allows non-residents with financial/property interests in the UK, from which they earn income, the benefit of a full personal tax allowance, in line with all those who remain resident in the UK. The proposal is that this allowance will be stopped and so tax will be payable from the very first pound of income/rent/ interest that is earned. Currently people living in France and drawing a private pension from the UK are taxed in France and so this should not be affected. However, many Government pensions are taxed in the UK and so these could theoretically be reduced if the personal allowance is removed.

If the decision is taken to remove the tax allowances, potentially saving the UK Treasury £400 million annually then the issue for all those living abroad is where and how (and if) any exceptions will be allowed. These may well have to include those on Government pensions and/or on low-income and perhaps those whose main income is deemed to be drawn from the UK (in which case at what percentage of income derived from the UK will this exception apply 50, 75 or 90 %?) The issue, as always, will be where the qualifying lines are finally drawn and for individuals living here in France, which side of those lines they end up on. If this proposal is taken forward it’s likely that the preparation of UK tax-returns will become more cumbersome, it will be necessary to prove far more about where income is derived from and potentially to have to prove your income from France on UK assessments. All financial decisions should be taken after appropriate, professional advice.

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


48 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

Old Volcanoes, Cow Bells and getting away from it all...

By A Atkinson

If you would like to get away from home for a short break and to explore a bit more of the vastness of France; then there are interesting places to visit whichever direction you travel from Quercy. The problem is that there’s always some reason not to take the time off and simply go and explore.

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f 2015 is the year when you are going to start to take time and do more things for yourself then here’s a suggestion for a location that I hope may inspire you to pack an overnight bag and just set off. Salers lies high up in the “Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne” at an altitude of 950m. Its unique 16th century architecture with houses made of dark lava-stone and topped with turrets; give the village a magical charm. A fortified village with ancient ramparts and sweeping grassland slopes leading into almost Alpine style valleys. The views are wonderful and the herds of heavily belled cows add a very particular and memorable charm. This is a lovely area for walking and as well as the walking directly from the village, a short and very picturesque drive away is the Col du Pay de Peyrol most exceptional I have ever seen. I strongly suspect Quercy which at 1589 meters is the highest road passMiramont through de this is the same at any time from the start of spring. the Massif Central. This Col regularly features in the57 / 06 The 30 village is famous for a couple of related things. 05 63 94 65 64 79 43 Tour de France and it is well worth exploring. At the time Firstly–itscheck unique variety hours of cattle and secondly its www.aubergedemiramont.com opening of visiting (June) the roadside flowers were amongst the famous and very enjoyable cheese. The cattle, legend The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 49

tells us, were designed by God to reflect the original bright-red lava that originally spewed from the regional volcanos. There is much written about the origins of the Salers Cattle. The peoples of the region were historically a mixture of Celts and Iberians, suggesting that the cattle perhaps also migrated from Iberia and that there was then an onwards migration to the United Kingdom as they do have many similarities to cows native to Devon. Other research, including the use of DNA suggests that the cattle migrated from the direction of Turkey maybe even 10 000 years ago. The cattle are very resistant to extremes in temperature and have been exported to areas as diverse as Texas and Russia. Secondly, the cheese. Le Salers is a semi hard, pressed, uncooked cheese made only between the 15th April and 15th November when the cows are at grass. It’s similar to Cantal cheese – which is produced from the same cows’ milk when they are fed on hay during the remaining months of the year – and it is thought to have been produced in this region for at least 2000 years. The maturation lasts a minimum of 3 months but can be prolonged to 1 year depending upon the flavour required. Salers, as with Cantal, is a cheese with a

dry rind. However, in contrast to Cantal, the raw whole milk must be processed on the farm, immediately after milking. After maturation, Salers cheese wheels weigh between 30 and 50 kg and about 400 litres of milk is required for each one. This cheese became popular when Maréchal de Senneterre served it at the table of Louis XIV. Maréchal de Senneterre is also responsible for the popularity of the Saint-Nectaire and Cantal cheeses. Salers cheese has benefited from the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) since 1961. Back to the village itself. There are interesting small streets to explore and a good number of options for eating and drinking. There is a lovely enclosed park area which is ideal for anyone travelling with a dog that needs to have a run around and the views from this park area are just wonderful. Close to this park area there is plenty of free public parking and the hotel that we stayed in for our visit. Hôtel des Ramparts (www.salers-hotel-remparts.com) which was very comfortable and with a location that would be hard to beat. We did not eat at the hotel as we chose to explore the village but there is a restaurant and the rooms were comfortable and in our case had wonderful views across the valley. The hotel is also suitable for anyone travelling with a dog. Driving to Salers takes about 2.5 hours from Cahors (approx. 170 km). The access is by small roads and so it takes a little longer than the route on a map suggests. Well worth the effort for a short break which leaves you feeling like you have been somewhere very different without any security checking and queuing for your luggage.

More information – www.salers-tourisme.fr

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


50 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

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

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

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015

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THE QUERCY LOCAL • 51

Cakes & Bakes

Restaurant ‘La Sirene’

Freshly baked English cakes ranging from the traditional to the fantastic!

Place de l’Hotel de Ville Montaigu de Quercy (82150) Varied cuisine and a warm welcome guaranteed Winter opening hours

Cakes for a celebration or just because you fancy one

Tuesday - Saturday Lunch Friday & Saturday Evening for Dinner

Cupcakes a speciality – go on, treat yourself

Groups of 8 or more can book for any evening by prior arrangement

Contact Jill on 06.40.43.34.81 cakesandbakes2@yahoo.com

Reserve by phone on 05 63 94 44 82 email: t-mermaid@hotmail.com

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

The Quercy Local • November-February 2015


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Profile for The Magazine Production Company

The Quercy Local Nov-Feb 2015  

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 Nov-Feb 2015  

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...