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November 2016 - February 2017 Issue 27

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE magazine in English

Inside – Mistletoe & Wine Local Chefs & Seasonal Foods Anxiety, Perseverance & Secularism Cabaret, Gifts & Trick Cyclists

Pour la Protection de la Nature

Hearing aid not working?

We can repair it in time for Christmas. If you need your hearing aid repaired in time for the festive season send it to the Hearing Aid Repair Shop, by Friday 9th December, and we’ll get it back to you in time for Christmas. Contact us today for a free, no obligation quote. All standard repairs come with a 6 month warranty.

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elcome to the last edition of the magazine for 2016. It’s now 6 years since we started putting together the very first edition. This edition covers most of the winter season and whilst we don’t want it to be just a Christmas edition, it naturally has to include some of the festivities. We hope you will find some useful ideas for food and gifts within our rather increased number of pages! Somewhere amongst the mistletoe, sparkling wine, cabarets and trick cycling we hope you find something of interest. On a more practical level, there’s also some useful advice on finance, insurance, anxiety, perseverance and dealing with house break-ins. We would love any suggestions for things you feel should be included next year. Maybe you could contribute to one of our editions. The first edition for 2017 will be out for the start of March, until then have a wonderfully peaceful winter and stay well. Email:



CONTENTS Mistletoe Mistletoe’s feathered friends Club Jardinage de Lauzerte 10 reasons to be in the garden Russell Hayes – Motoring author Permaculture Am Dram – Montaigu de Quercy Fig, Armagnac and Coffee Cake Le Caillau – new restaurant Le Quercy je l’aime Leaving your home secure Quercy cat chat Recettes de Chefs Le Temps des Guitares All that sparkles Anglican Church – Cahors Weathering the sterling storm Tasting the Lot Cancer Support France Insurance Questions? Mastering Perseverance Anxiety – you bet! The devil is in the detail – trick cycling Miradance – cabaret Gift ideas Separation, States and Secularism Domaine des Sangliers


p.6 p.9 p.10 p.12 p.16 p.20 p.24 p.26 p.28 p.30 p.32 p.35 p.36 - 39 p.42 p.44 p.50 p.55 p.58 p.60 p.62 p.64 p.66 p.68 p.70 p.72 - 75 p.76 p.80


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

Quercy Counselling English-speaking counselling and psychological services on all manner of issues. Based in Belveze, we offer services face-to-face, via telephone and Skype. For more information please see the website: Or contact Elizabeth Cross on +33(0)788279014 or The Quercy Local ISSN: 2116-0392. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietor. No responsibility is accepted for any claim made by advertisers. All content accepted and printed in good faith. Please check that all advertisers are registered businesses in France or elsewhere in their relevant home country. The Quercy Local is owned and managed by A Atkinson (Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190): Siret: 518 460 605 00018. It’s produced by the Magazine Production Company, West Sussex, UK. Printed by Gráficas Piquer. Admin. Valérie Rousseau.


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Visit our website for more information on how we can help you increase your number of bookings. e:      Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017



Mistletoe by A Atkinson

uropean, white-berried mistletoe, Viscum album is the best known variety of mistletoe and the one that popular traditions and folklores are based on. It’s the only variety with the distinctively forked branches, paired symmetrical evergreen leaves and pearlescent white-berries that are associated with midwinter and Christmas. Mistletoe exists by parasitically attaching onto and then penetrating into the branches of trees or shrubs using a structure called the haustorium, through this they absorb water and nutrients from their host. Technically, mistletoe is a hemiparasite, because it can perform at least a little photosynthesis for at least a little of its life cycle. However, this distinction is largely academic. Some sub-species of Viscum album have adapted to live on evergreen trees such as firs. However, here

in France, it’s the main Viscum album that we see, particularly in winter, when it grows as large spherical plants (often up to a meter in diameter) in the branches of deciduous trees. This parasite prefers trees with softer bark, it traditionally loves old apple trees but can also be found on ash, lime, birch, hawthorn and larch but rarely on oak and strangely not on pear trees. Mistletoes have to be grown from seed, directly on a host, and cannot be cultivated directly in the earth. It is possible to encourage the growth of a new plant by rubbing the sticky white berries onto the bark of a host tree. Replicating the process usually undertaken by birds. Birds have developed very specific ways of dealing with the very sticky mistletoe berries that contains the seed. Some seeds pass straight through their digestive systems, the resulting (rather sticky) dropping then

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Sitting under the mistletoe (Pale-green, fairy mistletoe), One last candle burning low, All the sleepy dancers gone, Just one candle burning on, Shadows lurking everywhere: Someone came, and kissed me there. (From the poem ‘Mistletoe’ by Walter de la Mare)

adhere to tree bark. Whilst other birds dine on the berries and then wipe the sticky residue (often including the seed) off their beaks and onto tree branches. Mistle thrush and black cap are perhaps the keenest consumers of these mysterious, sticky white-berries. A few days after contact with tree-bark the seed projects a thread-like root which pierces the bark and firmly roots itself in the host. These roots draw up all the plant’s required sustenance. So effective is this process that mistletoes can contain greater levels of essential elements than their host trees. Mistletoe’s association with Christmas is a simple coincidence. It’s long been associated with mid-winter and this seasonal-association predates Christianity. Many people still consider it to be a pagan plant, with its history based in ancient winter-solstice customs. So even today it can be banned from some Church decorations. Over time, many cultures have celebrated mistletoe as a sign of peace, love and fertility. In Norse Mythology, it is said that the blind god Hodur was tricked into murdering Balder (the Beautiful) with an arrow made from Mistletoe. The plant then went on to assume the role of a symbol of peace and friendship to compensate for its involvement in the murder. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe has been recorded for many centuries. Traditionally a man could kiss any woman standing underneath some mistletoe. Some customs include the plucking of one berry for each kiss and then once all the berries have gone – the kissing had to stop. Perhaps mistletoe’s association with fertility developed following the annual sightings of the bright, evergreen growths on their deciduous, rather dead-looking hosts. This could let mistletoe give the impression of being a symbol of fertility; a continuing ‘life-force’. Maybe it’s no great surprise that after its association with so many fertility based myths and

legends; that the plant was also used to produce many ancient potions, either to enhance fertility or to attract a partner. Ancient Druids valued, even worshipped, mistletoe. Especially, when it grew on their sacred trees particularly their oaks. Priests would climb trees to gather the plant, cutting it with a special golden sickle and letting it fall towards the ground to be caught in a cloak. This catching was essential as if the mistletoe touched the ground it was believed it would lose some of its mystical powers. The druids would then use their precious crop for their rituals and the preparation of their medicines.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


MISTLETOE RELATED G IFTS! See p.73 for our suggestions for seasonal and romantic gifts

In France mistletoe is called Le Gui and traditionally a sprig was given as a Porte Bonheur (a good luck charm) particularly at New Year. In Brittany, where mistletoe grows profusely, the plant is referred to as Herbe de la Croix. A local legend tells that the biblical-cross was made from mistletoe wood, and so as a penance its status was degraded to that of a parasite. Historically, mistletoe held a reputation as a cure for ‘falling sickness’ – epilepsy and other nervous/ convulsive disorders including St. Vitus’s dance, delirium, hysteria, neuralgia and additionally even urinary disorders and heart disease. Such was its reputation as an aid to epileptics that reportedly, sufferers in Sweden, would carry a knife with a

mistletoe-wood handle to ward off attacks! It is important to note that digesting mistletoe and in particular its berries can cause, rather than prevent, convulsions. Keep all parts of the plant well away from children and dogs! As with many poisonous plants, handled correctly, it can be a source of very important drugs. An extract from mistletoe has, for many years, been used in drugs to help alleviate the side-effects of cancer treatments. Increasingly there are investigations into how extracts can also boost the body’s own immune system and perhaps even stunt the growth of some tumours. So maybe in the future this ancient plant will find a renewed place in the hearts and minds of people for more than just an excuse for a sneaked kiss! 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:

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Mistletoe’s feathered friends The Mistle Thrush & the Blackcap

just a summer visitor to northern Europe. Increasing numbers of these birds now travel from countries such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to spend the winter in the comparatively mild UK or coastal areas of northern France. Blackcaps are Greenfinch-sized birds, so unable to swallow mistletoe berries whole, but they are adept at processing the berries, wiping their beaks clean on branches as they do so and often placing the seed in just the right position to germinate in the spring. In the last 10 to 15 years an increase in the abundance of mistletoe in the counties that border the lower reaches of the River Severn in England and Wales seems to be associated with increased numbers of overwintering Blackcaps in the area. It may just be that the trend for milder winters in northern Europe is helping to swell the numbers of a plant that we all associate with Christmas!


istletoe relies on birds for propagation, and needs a bird to place the seed onto a suitable branch. This is greatly helped by the very sticky pulp of the berry that birds struggle to deal with, often wiping their bills on branches to remove both the sticky goo and, often, the seed. Mistle Thrushes are large enough to eat the berries whole, avoiding the problems of processing such a sticky berry in the bill. Consumed seeds are passed through the gut and are still sticky enough to adhere to branches, but it’s a very hit and miss affair. The Mistle Thrush is named for its close association with mistletoe. In French the common name for this bird is Grive Draine, but it is also known as the Grive Viscivore, or “mistletoe thrush”. The bird’s scientific name, Turdus viscivorus, translates literally as mistletoeeating thrush. Mistle Thrushes are jointly the largest thrush found in France, along with the Fieldfare. They have a fierce reputation for guarding a good supply of berries throughout the winter, and will sometimes drive off entire flocks of smaller thrushes such as Redwings or Blackbirds from a particularly good holly or pyracantha. The smaller thrush species can also consume mistletoe berries whole, assuming they can bypass a defensive Mistle Thrush, but very few other birds will do so. One exception is the Blackcap (Fauvette à Tête Noire), a migratory warbler that used to be

Martin George, Resident Wildlife Expert

visit: or call us on: 08 10 10 98 08 English speakers welcome (quote code: FRQUERCY)

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


These photos of our September Garden Show say it all!

We would like to offer sincere thanks to friends of the Club: the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Lauzerte, M. Giordana and Madame Boillon, and to Marie-Agnès Baudouin for their support; to the children of local schools for their imaginative drawings; to the staff and residents of the Maison de Retraite, to the judges of the children’s competitions, Sue Watkins and Beatrice Bennink; to the judges of all the fruit, flower, preserve and vegetable entries, Sue & Peter Gauntlett, together with member Christian Badoc; to the Master of Ceremonies, David Howatt; to M. Boggio of Crédit Agricole Nord Midi-Pyrénées; and to artisans M. Hubaut and Christine Gray. And a BIG thank-you to all of you who came and helped our members to make our show such a success. Our 2017 programme of events is growing fast and will be published in the next edition of The Quercy Local. If you’d like to come along for the ride, do contact our lovely secretary Pam Westcott on 05 63 94 19 25 or for more details. Photographs courtesy of Belinda & Graham Berry and Joan Temple The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


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10 Good Reasons... 12 • THE QUERCY LOCAL

to simply disappear into the garden

While it can be rather changeable, we have lots of lovely weather at this time of year, and the bright sunny autumn days are perfect for getting into the garden to put it to bed for the winter. Putting in the hours now will start you off well with your gardening season in 2017, so here are our top 10 tasks to do before the winter chill sets in. 1. Potager • Harvest autumn crops. If you’ve been busy this year, you might now be enjoying: artichokes, beetroot, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, parsnips, pumpkins, spinach, swede, turnips, etc. Enjoy the fruits of your labour! • Store crops (e.g. apples, carrots, garlic, nuts, onions, parsnips, potatoes, swede, turnips and winter squash) for use throughout autumn and winter. Inspect regularly and remove any rotten fruit and veg. • Remove all spent crops (except peas and beans – leave roots for their nitrogen fixing Rhizobium Bacteria). Cut back asparagus foliage (cut to the ground) and remove yellow leaves from brussel sprouts. • Plant garlic for overwintering Sept/Oct. Pot up strawberry runners (it’s useful to replace older plants with new propagation every few years, to maintain productive crops – select the most vigorous plants to propagate). Pot up herbs to bring inside. • Begin seedbed preparation – thoroughly weed and rough dig, ready for spring, when you cultivate further into a fine tilth. 2. Planting • Plant spring flowering bulbs, perennials, grasses and alpines (the latter – only in well-drained soil). • Divide perennials and take cuttings from plants such as Salvia, Euphorbia and Geranium. 3. Pruning • Shrubs: be careful not to prune out any buds that will flower next year. • Trees: remove dead wood – this is easier to do now, while still in leaf, so you can identify the dead branches easily. • Climbing roses: but not repeat-flowering varieties – wait until after flowering, in December/January, for these.

• Trim lavender: after flowering – September/October – two trims per year, autumn then again in the spring – this keeps the plant healthy and with good foliage, rather than “leggy” and woody. Be careful not to cut into dead wood, cut into the green growth. • Wisteria can be tidied now – cut back profuse shoots, but this should be a gentle trim, or you will inhibit flowering next year – the main pruning is done in February. • Summer jasmine – deadhead spent flowers – a light clip with shears, not a hard prune. 4. Trees & Shrubs • Plant bare root trees and shrubs from November onwards. This is much cheaper than buying plants in pots. Late autumn is a great time of year for planting, as the wet weather helps to water them in all throughout winter. • Evergreen foliage is more likely to die of drought than from cold if the roots are not engaged and able to draw water, so plant now, while the soil is still warm, but the heat of summer has gone. Even in damp conditions, water in, don’t just rely on the weather. • Check fruit trees – pear, apple and plum – for rotting fruits, which you should remove, to prevent disease. 5. Soil • Cultivate good soil for next year’s fertile garden. • Clear leaves and make leaf mould piles. • Weed, continuously and thoroughly, removing perennial weeds by the root. • Dig, but not in wet soil, as this ruins the soil structure. Digging is crucial for weed control, as it lifts up underlying weeds. • Soil improvement – dig in organic matter, which is especially important in clay soils. • Mulch, if you choose, e.g. well prepared compost or leaf mould, which can then be dug into soil in early spring, improving structure and fertility.

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ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste

6. Ponds • It’s a good time to clear ponds in late autumn as creatures are less active. • Remove decaying plants but don’t discard them immediately – leave by the side of the pond, so any smaller creatures within them can return to the pond. • Cut back overhanging trees and shrubs, to allow lots of light, so submerged plants and algae can photosynthesize effectively and replenish oxygen levels in the water. • Thin out underwater oxygenating plants, if necessary. As a rough guide, you want 4 or 5 bunches (each with 3 or 4 stems) to each square metre of pond surface area. • Float a ball on water in late autumn/Winter, to prevent freezing over. 7. Garden Structures • Clean & repair garden structures e.g. cold frame, greenhouse – yearly disinfectant helps prevent diseases; paint fences; check roof felt & tiles; fix leaking guttering to water butts. • Turn compost heap • Thoroughly clean and disinfect chicken houses (of course, this is an ongoing job, but do a very thorough job now, before the weather turns) • Tidy tool shed & thoroughly clean & maintain tools; service lawnmower, hedge trimmers, strimmer; sharpen axes, secateurs, chainsaw chains etc. 8. Planning • Assess successes and failures (garden and potager; species and varieties; germination and propagation;

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pests and diseases; flower and foliage proliferation, vibrancy and longevity; yield; flavour; texture etc.) • Browse plant and seed catalogues and plan next year’s borders, with regard to growing conditions (soil type, sun/shade, temperatures) and preferences for size, colour, year round interest etc. • Plan crop rotations in the potager, grouping into the four categories of roots, alliums, legumes and brassicas. 9. Indoor Gardening Continue producing fresh crops with window box herb gardens, cress and mustard seeds, and pea shoots. 10. Admire your garden Have a cup of tea and a slice of cake and congratulate yourself on all your hard work!

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

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017



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RUSSELL HAYES Motoring author and part-time Montaigu resident Russell Hayes tells of his car chronicles


’m sure many books have been written at Quercy tables, for certain all five of my hardbacks on motoring history. Each carries a little bit of Montaigu de Quercy (82150) time where I’ve come to our village house, strewn my notes and books across tables and chairs and made serious progress in rural peace, pausing only for meals or a dip in the pool. From being given a Matchbox car at about three years old I’ve always been a bit car mad, especially for the older ones. My early career was writing for British car magazines, national newspapers and then researching and directing on oldstyle Top Gear in Birmingham then Channel 4’s Driven. But in 2003 after a long spell of freelance hard times I tried a change as a civil service press officer and started a new path, now at the High Court in London in the judicial press office. But the car bug is still there. Every author likes to be invited to write a book rather than trail an idea round publishers and I was lucky enough to start my part time motor book career via a request from English firm Haynes – famous for its workshop manuals – to write a history of Lotus for 2007 publication. Luckily I had two years of evenings, weekends and holidays for words and pictures. Meantime Montaigu de Quercy had become my writer’s retreat. Having done a degree in French I’d always been a Francophile but didn’t know this part of the country at all. Then at New Year 2006 I was introduced to this little village with its stone houses and steep streets, and have been back and

forth ever since, finally buying into a village house with my partner in 2008, where we now spend as much time as we can, work in London permitting (it’s also rented out through Halcyon – Maison Granges). Lotus was well received, indeed translated into German and another book followed for 2009 publication, the story of TVR famous Blackpool maker of big loud sports cars. Pub fact: the name TVR comes from

Trevor Wilkinson, the man who set the company up in the 1940s and I traced this elderly gentleman to his home in Menorca where we spent two days going through his memories. I turned out to have had the last ever interview as six months later he passed away. I always try to track down people who were involved with the cars and the companies to interview, to add vital colour and context to what could otherwise be a list of

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paint colours and widgets. Like any industry, there’s a human side to cars. Sometimes you find somebody who’s been overlooked. For my 2012 Ford Cortina history I traced the man (then in his 70s) who as a very junior engineer at Ford had used his skills at Bristol aeroplanes to design weight and steel out of the bodyshell of the first Ford Cortina, still keeping it strong and helping Ford make huge profits. He felt he’d never been thanked for this and his place in the book gave him something for grandchildren and I nominated him for an honorary degree, which he gained from his old polytechnic.

My reward was a set of images of a prototype Ford Cortina coupé from his attic which had never been seen before. My fourth book was my own idea, I’d spotted that the Volkswagen Golf was coming up for 40 years old in 2014 and it’s good to have an anniversary to hook onto. Haynes took me up on it although panic ensued when it cut costs on all its historic car

books and handed it back to me three months before deadline. An ex editor rescued me and we published together. It was pleasing that we sold the book to a German publisher too. It’s easy to get my classic car fix in Montaigu. The newsagent in Rue des Frères Quéméré is well stocked with car magazines and I can wander into Cross Channel Sports Cars and gaze at the shiny classics. A French friend in the Dordogne has barns full of classic Citroens and Renaults in various states of repair and an old British friend and esteemed motoring author lives across the border in the Lot and always gets a visit to chew over book ideas. Any excuse for a drive on those beautiful roads! My latest book, a history of London’s Earls Court Motor Show has just gone on sale, the year the landmark building is demolished, but luckily I secured exclusive access to great archive photos of its construction in 1936-7 and evocative panoramas of the motor shows. Sourcing and negotiating fees for about 250 archive photos per book can be as much work as the writing. This summer I got the chance to chill out in Montaigu, but another idea’s brewing!

All Russell’s books can be bought via (just search his name) and he sells the TVR and Ford Cortina books exclusively there via Russell’s Car Books. You can also find a limited supply of signed copies for sale direct at Le P’Tea Salon in Rue des Frères Quéméré, Montaigu: Lotus 10 Euros, TVR and Cortina 20 Euros each.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


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A little more..

Permaculture? PART 2: Some Ideas to Consider and Where to Find Out More Taking care of Earth, taking care of men and sharing fairly

The concept of permaculture allows a new respect for nature and an interest in its ability to provide for everyone sufficiently. Here we’re looking at two great ways of boosting eco-systems, right on your door-step. The mound is an excellent way of increasing your available space and encouraging prolific output in a potentially less time-demanding way. It’s well worth researching the work of Emilia Hazelip, an organic farmer from Catalan, and an early pioneer of Synergistic Agriculture. She had in turn been inspired by, Japanese microbiologist, Masanobu Fukuoka’s pioneering permaculture book ‘The One Straw Revolution’ which promotes the building of mounds, on un-dug ground, made with topsoil, plant residue, grass cuttings, leaves, compost and then finally covering the mound with straw or dried leaves. Synergistic Agriculture avoids the need to dig into the soil (thereby damaging and reducing microscopic life). ‘In one gram of undisturbed soil there can be up to four billion bacteria. The dead bodies of the bacteria

can be up to 80 thousand kilos in one hectare of protected soil in one year. But in a cultivated soil this number falls to just 5 thousand to 6 thousand kilos.’ ( You can take this mound-building a step further and build a hugelkultur, the idea is simple it’s a wonder that we don’t all do this all the time. This is a perfect way of transforming woody debris into a great garden resource. For further research we suggest you look at the ideas of Austrian, Sepp Holzer he has provided some of the best examples. Fallen branches, logs and decaying wood are put at the bottom of the mound which is then covered with organic material. The wood improves drainage as it acts as a sponge to soak up rainfall and then release it slowly into the soil. Then as the wood decays it feeds the soil with microfaune and fungi. This whole process copies the nutrient cycle found in nature, tidies up the area around you, gives you strong, fertile soil for growing plants and vegetables on top of them. Again mirroring

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nature the mounds have a sunny and shady side and this gives you maximum flexibility. These ‘woody’ mounds last for several years and are well worth the effort in getting them started. Remember that all waste is a resource, lay your vegetable tops and waste on top, this will enrich and prevent drying-out. As an extension to this you may find the very successful gardening experimentation of Philip Forrer interesting. He grows vegetables on mounds of only green-waste. He was inspired by the success and beauty of trees and plants growing entirely wild and without human interference. When preparing a mound you can remove the layer of grass under the mound’s base and then lay this removed grass, grass-side down, on top of the wood/ logs. Or you can work directly on top of the soil and preserve the microorganisms underground. In Spring you can remove the very top layer of the mound to plant seeds, but don’t leave this too long as soon as the seeds are sufficiently grown, cover the bare soil with kitchen waste, straw etc. In winter you can use sheets of cardboard to cover the earth to prevent weed growth and to deter rainwater compacting the ground. Having covered the ground with various types of mounds, it is time to look up a bit. The second of our ways of increasing yields and encouraging eco-systems is the creation of a food forest. Creating a Food Forest allows you to recreate an abundant wilderness such as you might find in a tropical forest. Thinking of your garden space in more than one dimension allows you to multilayer your crops and achieve a productive eco-system where the plants are edible from ground to canopy! Take a look at the ideas produced by Martin Crawford (Agroforestry Research Trust) or Robert Hart and it may help you see how to fill the full volume of your garden. The taller trees, such as chestnut, can shade the smaller fruit trees (such as apples or pears) then you can plant raspberries, blackcurrants, or similar below these. Then finally, vegetables or aromatic plants can be put under these or in any clear space. Maybe there is now an opportunity to plant some climbing vegetable plants/vines, which will hang and fill yet more space. The effect of this three dimensional garden is to create several ecosystems which benefits from the light, heat and humidity of the small forest. The organic matter that the forest produces (leaves, branches and vegetable roots and stalks) is a complete ‘green’ solution it helps with water drainage, soil erosion and improving soil fertility. A self-supporting and fruitful ecosystem that creates a biodiversity and works without water or fossil energy. All of this does beg the question of ‘Why are so many forests in the world being destroyed when trees are so often the solution?’

Creating a food forest is a long-term project and the study of the prevailing conditions in your garden are essential as well as some knowledge and a lot of patience and a willingness to experiment. Gardening is not only a rural activity and permaculture can be viable in cities. In France a number of different cities have already opened community gardens (Verpopa in Montpellier and Koenigshoffen in Strasbourg). An extension to the notion of permaculture is the use of ‘green’ building materials (soil, straw, wood) for house construction. An example of this type of community ‘green’ building and collective gardening initiative can be found at Verfeil sur Seye in the Tarn et Garonne. None of this is new, permaculture is simply the rediscovery of previously held knowledge and skills that were used daily to work the land. Grasping the chance to rediscover allows everyone in some way to make changes for the good. One or two places of interest locally – •  Le Jardin des Oliviers in Montpezat de Quercy (82), a small permaculture farm •  Un Jardin Naturel en Pays Midi Quercy. 2 rue de Lacontrie, Caylus. An experimental garden in the centre of town (82) with a seeds exchange. Facebook - Un-jardin-naturel-en-Pays-Midi-Quercy •  L’Ecocentre in St Pierre de Frugie (24), Perigord’s Eco and Permaculture Centre •  Le Jardin Bourian in Degagnac (46), A workshop for adults and children – visits possible Some general websites of interest (there are many out there) • Canadian, Bernard Alonso, travels the world to help people bring changes to their lives. . •  The Permaculture Research Institute a great source of various international articles • Le Biau Germe in Montpezat d’Agenais (47) – Biological seeds • For information on training courses Researched by Valérie Rousseau This article wouldn’t be complete without noting that Bill Mollison, ‘the father of permaculture’ passed away on September 24th this year. We mentioned Bill and his work in our September edition. ‘A massive tree in the forest of humanity has fallen’.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


La Troupe D’Acteurs Du Quercy Foul Play at Montaigu de Quercy!

At the end of September La Troupe d’Acteurs du Quercy put on a baffling murder mystery evening at the Salle des Fêtes, Montaigu de Quercy. The audience were involved from their arrival; they were cast as a coach party, stranded at Talbot Manor and it was their job to solve a convoluted murder. The hall was the set and dressed to give the atmosphere of a creepy old Manor house, in the middle of nowhere, during a tremendous thunder storm. A death in these circumstances (a death in any circumstances) always provokes interest. This one was no exception. The sound and lighting department were on view and the sound department created instant effects with thunder sheets and bells – quite old-fashioned! The cast enthusiastically tackled their first experience of working in the round, notoriously difficult- as there will always be someone you have your back to. The characters were well drawn, and everyone in the audience enjoyed being involved, although some found it rather nerve wracking. The interrogation sessions gave the audience a chance to get their own back and they grilled the suspects in some depth. The detective, played by Louise Blackmore kept a strong hand on the reins, and managed to control the characters who reacted wonderfully to each new revelation, in response to the questions! The cast had been in fear and trepidation concerning the question and answer sessions, but they all handled it well, staying within character and leading the puzzle towards

a conclusion. Improvisation was demanded and the cast all rose to the occasion magnificently. Cringe, played to great comic-effect by Ian Blake, was based on an Igor/ Quasimodo type. Frau Schmidt, played by Lesley Blake with some authentic German touches, chilled the blood of Ruby the Maid, who herself had a very dodgy background and who was, well and truly hysterically played, by Jan Emery. Wetherby, the scheming and cool-headed solicitor, was portrayed by Phil Jones. The Victim, Marcus Talbot was madly and menacingly realistic in the hands of Peter Grey-Hughes. The American visitors, Liberty Talbot (Pamela Duker) and her Toy Boy – Thaddeus Kent (John Blaus) were a good contrast to the inhabitants of the Manor, giving an authentic transatlantic twang to both characters. There were large amounts of humour and fun about the whole production and the audiences were well entertained. The entertainment was over two nights, the second night proved just as good, coupled with an excellent five course meal served up by Troupe Member Viv Woffinden. Our next Production is Sleeping Beauty a bilingual Pantomime on Saturday January 28th and Sunday 29th 2017. Please note that we are trialling the Sunday afternoon instead of the Friday evening. Reservations: Tel: 05 53 49 19 51 Twitter: @LaTroupeQuercy Tickets also available on the door

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Fig, Armagnac & Coffee Cake

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


This festive season try our delicious

Fig, Armagnac & Coffee Cake Ingredients


For the cake

To make the cake:

8 dried figs chopped

2 tsp mixed spice

Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C Grease and line a 20cm cake tin Roughly chop the figs and soak in the Armagnac for 2-3 hours or overnight Roast the hazelnuts for about 8 minutes until a dark golden colour Turn down the oven to 160˚C Place the slightly cooled hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until roughly chopped Add the Armagnac soaked figs and blitz again briefly until you have a chunky paste Add the butter, sugar, vanilla, ricotta, coffee and eggs, blitz again until you have a smooth batter Tip your batter into a large mixing bowl and sift in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice and fold everything together Pour your cake mix into the prepared cake tin and bake at 160˚C for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean Leave to cool on a wire rack

For the icing:

To make the icing:

250g softened butter

In a large bowl or free standing mixer, place the butter and half the icing sugar, beat until smooth Add the cream cheese, vanilla extract and rest of the icing sugar and beat again until all incorporated

50ml Armagnac 100g hazelnuts 75ml strong espresso 200g softened butter 225g soft brown sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract 50g ricotta 4 large eggs 200g plain flour 2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract 400g icing sugar 250g cream cheese 6 tbsp fig jam To decorate: Winter fruit, cinnamon sticks, rosemary

To assemble the cake: Cut the cake into three layers and place the bottom layer on a cake stand Onto the bottom layer, spread 3 tbsp of the fig jam, then a quarter of the icing mix Place the middle layer on top then spread the rest of the jam and another quarter of the icing mix Finally place the top layer and use the third quarter of the icing mix to cover the cake entirely getting it as smooth as you can. Don’t worry if crumbs get mixed in a bit, just smooth it over then place in the fridge to firm up a bit When firm, use the final quarter of icing to smooth over the cake, using a spatula to give you a flat finish Decorate with winter fruit, cinnamon sticks and rosemary dipped in sugar for a Christmas frost look

Le Caillau: Nestled in the heart of the Cahors vineyards you’ll find Le Caillau is a family run Restaurant, Café and Pottery Painting Atelier. In 2011, Caroline and Chas Sharp opened the doors of Le Caillau, a renovated 300 year old winery. Our aim is simple – to produce great quality, simple and tasty food. In our restaurant kitchen our small team creates dishes based on vegetables from our own kitchen garden and local seasonal produce, (with some more exotic ingredients thrown in for variety and a different flavour from traditional Quercy cuisine). Our Café and Pottery Painting Atelier is perfect for an afternoon getaway, whether you’re after a coffee and slice of homemade cake (lemon drizzle and coffee and walnut are some of our customers’ favourites), or you’re feeling artistic and decide to get creative by painting some pottery. Opening Hours until January 2017: We’ll be closed from 7th November until 23rd November to move into our newly renovated restaurant. Opening Wednesday 23rd November, Reserve your place for lunch or dinner!! Restaurant: Lunch every day except Tuesday from 12pm, Dinner Wednesday to Saturday from 7pm (closed Tuesday) Café Atelier: Monday & Wednesday to Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Sunday: 12pm to 4pm (closed Tuesday) Le Caillau, 46700 Vire sur Lot. Telephone: 05 65 23 78 04 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


Le Quercy je l’aime

Pendant les 6 dernières années, j’ai été une Quercynoise à mi-temps. J’ai souhaité faire des études et comme la plupart des jeunes de mon âge, il a fallu partir pour faire ces études. Surtout quand on est étudiante en tourisme. J’ai ainsi commencé mon cursus par le pied des Pyrénées et ensuite les monts Lozériens. Les stages m’ont amené dans l’Agenais ou plus récemment en Touraine. Bref, j’ai vu pas mal d’endroits en France ou en Europe, des endroits où je me suis sentie bien, des endroits où je me verrai bien vivre mais au final, on en revient toujours au Quercy. Ses belles collines, ses vallées et surtout son accent ! Plutôt dur pour une fille du Sud d’aller ailleurs et d’entendre quotidiennement des petites remarques sur son accent, les mots bizarres qu’on emploie (cette poche qui ne veut rien dire ailleurs !). On est parfois obligé de le cacher ou plutôt de l’atténuer pour se faire comprendre correctement. Mais au final, notre accent, on en est fier. Il représente notre territoire plein de soleil et de bonne humeur ; notre région où il fait bon vivre et où on se sent en vacances toute l’année ! Parce que c’est souvent le cas. Les gens d’ici sont agréables, souriants et bons vivants. Ce qui est super, l’été, c’est de faire un tour au marché de Montcuq le dimanche matin. Pour moi, c’est un de ces marchés typiques du Sud où règne une bonne ambiance et où les étals en mettent plein la vue ! Ce qui me manque le plus quand je suis loin de chez moi, c’est la vue. De là où je vis, perchée sur mon bout de rocher, je vois les collines verdoyantes des environs, le soleil se coucher au loin et les Pyrénées quand le temps est clair et bien dégagé. En Lozère aussi il y a du relief mais on se sent parfois un peu coincé dans la montagne. Et puis, là-bas, à partir de 16 heures, le soleil s’est déjà quasiment couché. Et que dire de la Touraine : du « Nord ». C’est presque tout plat, on ne voit pas grand-chose à l’horizon mis à part des champs à perte de vue et des

châteaux par dizaines ! Il y a quelque chose qui manque pas mal aussi : le canard! Dit comme ça, cela peut paraître bizarre mais quand on a la culture du canard dans le sang, difficile de s’en passer, surtout quand on se retrouve en colocation avec des végétariens ! Bien évidemment, dès que je pars, j’essaie de vendre mon Quercy et surtout le village où j’ai grandi : Lauzerte. Ses belles pierres, ses ruelles pavées, son coin relevé et sa vue ! Là aussi, un petit tour au marché le samedi matin, l’occasion de boire un café en terrasse et de retrouver des visages connus. Bon, en général, je dis que je viens du Lot, bien plus facile à placer sur une carte que le Tarn-et-Garonne, qui est beaucoup moins connu. Bref, tout ça pour dire que le Quercy je l’aime, énormément. Je sais que cela va être compliqué pour moi de trouver du travail par ici et donc d’y vivre mais ce n’est pas grave ! Ma famille est ici et on ne sait jamais ce qui peut se passer donc même si dans les prochains mois, je risque de le quitter à nouveau, je sais que c’est l’endroit où je me vois vieillir, l’endroit où je me vois finir ma vie. Lorie BRUET, Miramont-de-Quercy

Et cette FRENCH PAGE n’étant pas à publication unique, nous attendons que d’autres personnes de langue natale française s’expriment dans cette tribune. Alors, à vos plumes pour l’édition de Mars, à vos choix de sujets, à vos billets d’humeur ou toute distraction onirique pour ravir nos lecteurs de toutes origines. The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


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Leaving on vacation or locking up your secondary residence? Read on. Recently some friends of ours were “visited by the movers”. In case you’re wondering: this is the literal translation of a euphemistic French description for a burglary (“visité par les déménageurs”). By Jeanne McCaul, Lauzerte


his unpleasant event was made even more so, given that the property is a secondary residence and that the friends live in Australia. After spending the summer in the Quercy, and returning home around 2 weeks before the theft, hopping on the first plane to once again cross half the planet was not a realistic option. Meanwhile, in order for any investigation to be opened, someone local had to be given the authority to accompany the police onto the premises and into the buildings and also to lay a formal complaint. In this case this person happened to be me. The experience was quite revealing and hopefully the following information, suggestions and tips will be of help to readers of the Quercy Local. •C  ommunication is key: be sure to inform your friends and neighbors about your arrival and departure dates, as well as the local Marie and, in particular, the gendarmes. In fact, your local gendarmerie has forms to fill in – even on-line – for this precise purpose. Visit their useful website for full information: Pour-des-vacances-en-toute-tranquillite • If informed, the local gendarmerie will undertake to keep an eye on your property. Also: the information on the form allows them to contact you, or someone designated by yourselves, if they notice anything untoward. •B  e aware that no-one, not even the police, may legally enter your property or your home without your consent or the consent of another person legally authorised by yourself. (Obviously, if your house is on fire and your life in danger, this would not apply.) Moreover: the police cannot investigate anything without a formal complaint. This means that even if they know there has been a burglary and even if they have a suspect in mind, they cannot proceed without a complaint

having been filed by an authorized person. It follows that if the police become aware of suspicious activity on a given property, but do not know who the owners are or how to reach them, precious time can be lost in the pursuit of justice. • Be sure to leave a set of keys to the property with the authorised person of your choice. • If you leave a vehicle on the property, be sure not to leave the keys and the papers on the property as well. Better to hold onto them or leave with a trusted friend or neighbor. If thieves have the papers, selling the vehicle is easy as pie, complicating matters for the police and with the insurance. • Be sure to take out adequate insurance on your property as well as its contents. • Be sure to keep an inventory of attractive items and objects in your home as well as invoices for such items as televisions, etc. Photos can also be very useful to the police when they come upon suspected stolen goods in the course of various, possibly unrelated, investigations. As we are all aware, precious little will stop experienced and determined thieves. After all, thieving is their “job”! Best is to make it as unattractive and difficult for them as possible. And considering that most thieves around our relatively calm villages and countryside are of the “petty crime” ilk, friendly neighborly vigilance can go a long way to discourage them. It is also a very good idea to ask someone to remove post protruding from your postbox, open windows and shutters from time to time, and especially to take care of the upkeep of visible areas such as the garden. Needless to say, it is also a good idea to ensure that who-ever you authorise to take any required action with local authorities on your behalf is fluent in French. Happy travels!

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


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Gillie and Anthony Pearce Tel 06 12 51 85 05 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


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TIPS FOR HUMANS ON GOOD FELINE ETIQUETTE Cats have boundaries and expectations for interaction. There is a right way and a wrong way to introduce oneself to a cat. If you approach a cat correctly, your relationship will be off to an excellent start. Introduce yourself politely. Cats greet one another by slowly approaching, sniffing one another around the head, and rubbing. To mimic this behaviour, introduce yourself to the cat by holding your hand out at a cat’s head level with your pointer finger extended. Allow the cat to sniff your finger and explore your hand. If she rubs your hand, that’s an invitation for you to stroke her. Don’t pick a cat up unless she asks you to. It is alien to most animals to be restrained by being held and quite a few cats prefer not to be picked up. Even cats that let their owners to pick them up and hold them probably won’t be enthusiastic about being restrained by a stranger. Let the cat approach you on her own terms. If you want a cat to come to you, don’t run after her. Don’t call her or slap your knees as if you’re summoning a dog. If you’re relatively quiet and sit in the same place for a while, the odds are that the cat will come to you. Be quiet. Cats don’t respond well to loud voices and excessive noise. Never yell at a cat.

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017



Two Chefs – both in the Tarn et Garonne but some kilometres apart but both in village centre locations and both sharing what we hope you will find very useful recipes.


‘Chef Ciril’ as he’s known to his friends or, more formally, Cyril Simon is the proprietor and chef of the lovely Auberge de Bardigues. A culinary gem hidden in the pretty, but little known, village of Bardigues (82340); not far from Auvillar in the Tarn et Garonne. Cyril learnt his skills at La Belle Etoile in Niort and then later from the 3 starred Michelin Chef, Bruno Menard and then Chef, M. Romain at the Logis Saint Martin in Saint Maixent (79) who developed Cyril’s passion for always sourcing the best of ingredients. Cyril, and his wife, arrived in Bardigues from the Deux Sèvres in1999. Their plan was simply to manage the Auberge for the summer season but they were then delighted to be asked to stay longer and keep the Auberge open. All the way along their journey Cyril, and his wife Camille, have been supported by the village’s enthusiastic Mayor, M. Abarnou and his team. The community was very keen to keep a thriving restaurant in its midst. The couple chose, to point the Auberge in a gastronomic direction, right back to Cyril’s training and passion. Very soon their reputation for inventive menus with fresh, original and local ingredients meant people came from near and far to dine. The building was soon too small and so it was decided to build a new one, across the narrow lane, this would be much larger and include a wonderful

terrace for 70 people. With a growing family Camille cut her work at the Auberge and Cyril’s brother Fabien came to join him. Fabien is now the ‘colourful’ sommelier within this dynamic duo. Amongst Fabien’s responsibilities is the 50 cheese, cheese board – truly something to behold. Cyril’s thoughts on the challenge of providing gastronomic food in such a small, out-of-the-way village are that ‘when you are far from everything, you must learn to be as original as possible and charge reasonable prices’. It is certainly working! During the winter the Auberge holds food-related theme evenings. It’s worth keeping an eye on their website or Facebook page. They are open all winter except for the 2nd week of November, the last week of January and the 1st week of February. The normal opening hours are midday and evening each day except for Sunday evening, all day Monday and Wednesday evening. You can arrange gift vouchers, so for the keen diner this may be in ideal present – see their website or give them a call. Cyril is also President of the association ‘Les Restaurateurs du Tarn et Garonne’ who provide a supportive network for chefs throughout the region. Cyril has shared with us one of his recipes ‘le moelleux pousse rapière’ maybe there’s some room in your seasonal menu planning to give this a go!

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


So what is Pousse Rapière?

Gâteau moelleux aux pruneaux parfumé au pousse-rapière For 4 people. Preparation time 1h30. Gâteau moelleux • 2 eggs • 150g butter • 115g flour • 150 g castor sugar • 100 g icing sugar • ½ packet of dried yeast • Pousse-rapière 2cl • Zest of 2 oranges • Squeezed orange juice 10cl Method: In a bowl or in an electric mixer, mix the softened butter with the castor sugar and orange zest until a soft and creamy mixture is obtained. Add the eggs. Continue to mix and then add half of the orange juice. Mix again. Add the flour, yeast and pousse-rapière. Place in a greased and floured cake tin and bake at 180°C (mark 6) for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin whilst still warm. Melt the icing-sugar into the remaining orange juice and drizzle over the cake. Add a few drops of pousse-rapière. Pruneaux macérés • 500g prunes • 500 g red wine • ½ orange • ½ lemon • 60 g castor sugar • 200 g water • 2 bay leaves • ½ cinnamon stick Method: Boil all the ingredients together, except for the prunes. After boiling, add the prunes to the syrup, then boil again. Cool and refrigerate (can be kept for one month) To Serve: Draw a straight line with the prune syrup on the side of a plate. Then place a piece of the soft pousse-rapière flavoured cake in the middle and arrange 5 to 7 prunes around this.

Pousse Rapière (pronounced pouss rap-yehr) is actually an Armagnac liqueur. The sweet and aromatic drink is 24% alcohol and is made from a secret recipe using Armagnac and orange. It is still produced by Château de Monluc in the Gascon village of Saint-Puy 32310, it is this family that are recognised as the developers of this regional speciality. The word Rapière comes from the ancient swords that were carried by mousquetaires. Blaise de Monluc, who was a Marshall of France is said to have favoured this particular weapon when he was a serving soldier. Drunk neat, Pousse Rapière, can be a little overpowering which is probably what gave the liquor its name. The name translates literally as ‘rapier’s push’ which is indicative of the sensation when drinking this liqueur ‘straight up’.

Most often the liqueur is used to prepare a cocktail and here’s how – 1 part Pousse Rapière to 6 parts of Vin Sauvage to prepare this aromatic drink. There is a special glass which is traditionally used to prepare and serve the cocktail. It’s similar in size and shape to a small Champagne flute but with a rapier etched on the side. This serves as a guide to measuring. You simply fill the liqueur to the bottom of the blade and then top up with your selected fizz. No need for a cocktail measure. Don’t forget to add some ice and a slice of orange! Vin Sauvage is a local sparkling wine that is fermented in bottles using traditional methods. Champagne, vin mousseux, blanc de blanc pétillant or indeed any dry sparkling wine could be used instead. Both the Pousse Rapière and the Vin Sauvage share a common base, the dry white wine produced in the hills of Gascony that surround Château Monluc.

So there’s no excuse not to treat yourself to a bottle of this mysterious liqueur, you can use it for the cake recipe opposite and then maybe for a small celebration to see-in 2017 in style. See your local speciality food and wine shop or one on-line stores that can send you the liqueur and even the glasses is

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017



Two Chefs – both in the Tarn et Garonne but some kilometres apart but both in village centre locations and both sharing what we hope you will find very useful recipes.


Chef, Phillip de Lang has worked at the Café du Centre, Roquecor since 2004. With a Grandad who was passionate about food, Phil was exposed early on to the delights of home-grown fresh produce. With a Grandma equally passionate about cooking the seeds were sown or rather the taste buds for a career in food. At the age of 15 Phil started working Saturday nights in the kitchen at a local pub. On Christmas Day when aged 16 at the last minute he helped out washing up in a restaurant and finished off being offered an apprenticeship. From then on he worked for 3 years for Trust House Forte, followed by a 7 year stint in a Gentleman’s Club in Henley on Thames. Following that, he spent some time with Sir Terrance Conran in London, before meeting up and working with John Burton Race.

While taking some time to work in France, Phil had a chance meeting with Martine, his future wife, strangely enough on a boat, whilst returning from one of his many working trips. With his new wife, Phil settled down in London for a while. However, when a new baby was on the way the decision was made to move to France on a more permanent basis. Both having lived in the countryside previously, the beautiful Quercy region soon became a very attractive choice. Phil was offered the job at the Café du Centre, now owned by Jean-Marc Debuf and he has been the Chef there ever since. Being able to source fresh produce, both seasonal and regional is an absolute pleasure for him. Phil specialises in using these quality products to inspire dishes of the region, all “fait maison”. Come and see for yourself and enjoy lunch or dinner in the charming village of Roquecor (82150). The Café du Centre, with its wonderful terrace sits in the centre of the village. Phil has given us one of his most useful ‘salmon’ recipes to share. This must be a great one to try over the holiday period either served as a starter or for less people a healthy main course option.

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Sharing Boards New at the Café du Centre – starting from the beginning of November and served on Friday nights – those boards of ‘a little of what you fancy’ ideal for sharing or for one-each for the more hungry – meat and cheese options. 8.50e each – an ideal accompaniment for one of the great wines behind the Café’s bar!

Ballotine de Saumon Recipe: • 600g Salmon Fillet (Skinned & Pinned) • Season with Cayenne Pepper & pinch of salt Method: Skin and remove bones. Roll Salmon (like a sausage) and double wrap in good quality cling film. Tie both ends firmly. Place in large pan and cover with boiling half milk and half water Cook for 3.5 mins. Turn off and leave in the liquid for a further 3.5 mins. Remove and place immediately in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Refrigerate overnight – cut into portions when ready to serve. Dressing: Bring to the boil the following: • 1 Glass Apple Juice • 1 Glass White Wine • 1 Packet Beetroot (save a little to shred later) – skinned & cooked Reduce down and then liquidise. Add • 1 egg cup White Wine Vinegar • 1 egg cup Olive Oil Serve with salad leaves, shredded beetroot, crème fraiche and a slice of peeled lemon.

If you have a restaurant or work as a chef - then why not get involved with next year’s ‘Recettes de Chefs’? We would love to hear from you and it’s a great way of telling more people about what you do. Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017

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

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The premiere, Cuvée 2016, of the new International Classical Guitar Festival took place as planned in Puy l’Eveque in July. The results delighted all concerned – organisers, supporters, artists and spectators... • 4 evenings of concerts and musical activities in the Theatre de Verdure, specially transformed for the occasion • 11 artists of international renown and with a variety of styles. Including Alexandra Whittingham, the 19 year old English guitarist already playing concerts in several European cities and in the United States • Over 1000 very enthusiastic spectators • 40 highly motivated volunteer helpers • Wonderful encounters, exchanges, discoveries, shared experiences and emotions • And, thanks to the enormous input of all concerned, a balanced budget! The President of the Temps des Guitares Association and his small organising team would like to thank all who contributed to the success of the festival and all those who came to enjoy it. See you next year 18th to 22nd July for Cuvée 2017. Tell your friends! Get involved as an adherent! See the website:

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


All That Sparkles The season for Tasting Everything!


hat a wonderful summer we’ve all had. The weather, the friends, the visitors, the food but most of all the wines we’ve all tasted. As I write this the sun is still warm and the days still very sunny, but I know that just behind the next corner, or rather falling leaf from the chestnut tree, winter is on its way. I heartily say Hooray! Ok, so I am not so keen on, the cold, rain, snow, wind, mud, frost and shorter daylight hours but I love the forthcoming celebrations for a variety of reasons, but for all it’s a time to come together with friends and family. Firstly, though not actually in anyway a French celebration, Bonfire Night, followed by Armistice Day, then the beginning of Christmas celebrations and the social whirl that follows, New Year and then with a ridiculous promise of spring – Valentines’ Day! What to drink on these occasions is all down to a matter of taste and also of budget! Buying a local wine means that you get a flavour of the region, the great saying of ”what grows together goes together” and also a chance to meet the local producers who spend their entire year making delicious produce! Locally we have sparkling Malbec, new to some I am very sure, but well worth trying, Chateau Triguedina, claiming the first in the region to make sparkling wine, Chateau Gaudou and Chateau Eugenie following to name but a few of the wines so far tried this summer, more to follow as we get closer to Christmas, all made in the traditional Champagne method, but from the region’s famous Malbec grapes! Moving further afield, there’s L’ Instant de Terride or Chateau Bastide from Gaillac, both delicious sparkling wines made with regional grapes , the delicious mauzac is heavenly with oysters and other seasonal, celebratoryseafood. Bruhlois, from just south of Auvillar, is a heavenly region for a wine tasting, there’s a very nice sparkling wine made from 65% sauvignon blanc, 25% muscat de hambourg et 10% gros manseng, the last 2 being nice table grapes as well. The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Champagne, was originally a red wine used in Reims Cathedral (the capital of the Champagne region) to crown 29 kings, and not the sparkle we know today. So the word Champagne went on to became synonymous with a wine of celebration. Burgundy the next closest wine region, felt their wine should have been used to celebrate new kings. Champagne was often diluted with water to make it more palatable and also to stop the wine fermenting in the bottle as spring arrived and the wine started to warm up. Christopher Merret in the UK and Dom Pierre Pérignon were the first to perfect the art of secondary fermentation (method Champenoise) although Blanquette de Limoux has been made for a lot longer!

Luncheon with Oysters, Jean François de Troy

Then further afield again we have Blanquette, Crémant and Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale de Limoux from Carcassonne, made also with mauzac, but also chenin blanc and chardonnay and then finally Vouvray from the Loire made with chenin blanc. So many wines to choose from and for fantastic prices without even visiting the most popular sparkling of all Champagne! I’ve always wondered why sparkling wine was the thing we reached for when celebrating. The first painting of sparkling wine in a celebration is said to be Jean François de Troy’s 1735 Luncheon with Oysters, commissioned by King Louis XV (who loved sparkling Champagne) it is housed at Conde Museum in Chantilly, which was opened in 1898 and remains totally unchanged since, beautiful paintings unseen worldwide as the collection is permanent.

Whatever you choose to drink this Christmas and New Year, I hope it sparkles for you all. Follow – Tasting The Lot, Quercy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more wines to try this season. Luci Cox

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017

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

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Phone: 06 95 20 92 01 www.figaro Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017



Beautiful chalk based paint, 150 stunning colours, paint for every project, easy to use. Ideal for painting furniture and so much more. Regular workshops now taking place. For more details about the range please call: Resa on 06 40 05 85 00 | |

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The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


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

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A new modern cattery which offers a high standard of care and accommodation Heated insulated suites each with private outdoor run Webcam access for remote viewing Pheromone release Suites suitable for cats of all ages and abilities Special care for individual needs Vetbed bedding, toys and scratching posts Contact Susan: or 07 81 62 17 29 See our website for more information: Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


Anglican Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

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

Service of Marriage As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5) Today more than a quarter of all marriages in England between a man and a woman take place in the traditional setting of a Church of England church. You are welcome to marry in church whether or not you are baptised and whether or not you go to church. Summer is a particularly popular time for weddings when families come to visit. This summer we have celebrated eleven weddings in our Chaplaincy. For all necessary information please consult our website.

These services have readings and carols in French and English. Refreshments after the service include mulled wine, mince pies and many other seasonal delights. Ecumenical service Sacré Coeur, Cahors Sunday 18 December at 15h00 Bétaille Eglise de St Georges Sunday 4 December at 15h30 Prayssac Eglise de St Barthélémy Friday 9 December at 19h00 Gourdon Eglise de St Pierre Wednesday 14 December at 19h00 Cahors Terre Rouge Sunday 18 December at 10h00

Christmas Day – Terre Rouge, December 25 at 10am This is a Holy Communion service, the Revd June Hutchinson will preside.

The Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany – December 25 to January 6 Remembrance Sunday – Terre Rouge, November 13 at 10am Each year we have a traditional Remembrance Sunday service with the laying of a poppy wreath, 2 minutes silence and the last post. Visit our website for more information for this and all forthcoming services and events.

Advent & Christmas “But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)

Advent Sunday – Terre Rouge, November 27 at 10am This day marks the beginning of the Church Year. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus we hold four services of Nine Lessons & Carols in and around Cahors as well as a bilingual Ecumenical service where all the churches get together.

This period is called Christmastide or the Twelve Days of Christmas. Epiphany, meaning an appearance, a showing forth, is the season when Jesus Christ is shown to be the light of the world. Epiphany symbolises the universality of God’s love, the universality of Christ’s saving mission: He is not just for the good, the faithful, the believers; He is for all people, for the sinners, the wicked, the unbelievers. In UK it is the time to take down all the Christmas decorations for another year. In past times Epiphany used to be marked by a candlelight feast and drinking of a medieval wassail called Lamb’s Wool. Three Kings Cake was eaten in honour of the three kings, one slice being set aside “for God”. In France it is time to eat Galette du Roi with a decorated bean hidden in it. The person who gets the slice with the bean or fève in it is the King or Queen of the day and gets to choose a consort. To mark Epiphany, there will be a service at Terre Rouge at 10am on January 8, 2017.

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – January 18-25, 2017 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19) During this week, situated between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Christians come together to pray for their unity, and congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary year of the beginnings of the Reformation, the theme for 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) has been chosen. This biblical text emphasises that reconciliation is a gift from God, intended for the entire creation. An Ecumenical Service for Christian Unity is planned for January 18, 2017 at 18h00 in Sacré Coeur, Cahors – the final date will be confirmed during October and will be announced on

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


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Vibrations Solidaires:

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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

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On Saturday 26 November at 21:00 in the Auditorium of the Cahors Conservatory, the ‘Association of the Paralysed in France’ is holding a benefit concert. Monies raised will go towards financing activities for disabled people living in the Lot. Two groups of musicians are taking part in this concert; the vocal ensemble Côté Cœur, directed by Martine Dufour and the l’Orchestre Divertimento du Conservatoire de Montauban directed by Nissim Arditti. Since September 2011, Côté Cœur has been dedicated to producing amicable recitals. Martine Dufour, a supporter of the Association’s aims, was happy, along with the groups 65 singers, to help raise funds for the Association’s activities. The Orchestra Divertimento of the Academy of Montauban, is headed by Nissim Arditti and brings together 30 people including amateur adults and senior students of the Conservatory. These two groups will be appearing in public together for the second time to delight both newcomers and regular lovers of classical music. Côté Cœur will perform various, diverse choral pieces both classical and contemporary. L’Orchestre Divertimento will be performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. L’APF du Lot is grateful to all the musicians, who give their time for free, to make this wonderful musical event possible and looks forward to a very successful evening. Vibrations Solidaires hopes that this event will become a popular and regular musical event in the Lot. Entry: 15e. Contact: 05 65 35 73 03

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


“Should my savings and investments be in Sterling or Euros after the Brexit result?”

Talk to the people who know.


Brexit is a wake-up call in terms of your investments. Make sure you hold enough assets in Euros to cover your living costs and spending in the Eurozone and avoid your income suffering due to fluctuating exchange rates. Now is the time to review your investments and pensions, considering both the currency and underlying investments. Contact us to discuss your situation and determine the best solution for you.

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05 56 34 75 51

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


The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


WEATHER THE STERLING STORM WITH FLEXIBLE INVESTMENTS One casualty from Britain’s decision to leave the EU has been the British pound. Since the Brexit vote, sterling has hit a 31-year low against the US dollar and dropped as much as 15 cents against the euro.

invest in sterling now and switch to euros later when the exchange rate improves. Or you could hold savings in several currencies to fit different purposes – euros for spending in France and sterling for UK spending and your legacy to heirs – and adjust them as your circumstances change. The path to currency flexibility

While it has since recovered, the pound remains unstable. Recently it slumped again as the Bank of England cut the interest rate to the all-time low of 0.25%. With Brexit likely to disrupt currencies and markets for a while, this is a good time to revisit your options. As a British expatriate in France, you can find opportunities to protect yourself from the uncertainty ahead. Should your savings be in sterling or euros? There is no simple answer, but generally it is a good idea to have both, and more besides. Like most things to do with your money, diversification is the key to managing risk. It is common for expatriates to keep most of their savings and investments in British pounds. However, if you are living in France and spending euros in your daily life, it can be much more expensive to take your income in sterling. This is especially true now that the fortunes of both sterling and the euro are tied so closely with unpredictable Brexit developments. You can limit exchange currency risk and maximise your income with investment structures that allow currency flexibility. This means you can hold investments in more than one currency and convert them when it suits you. You could, say,

One way to get currency flexibility is through the right kind of ‘assurance-vie’. This is a specialised form of life assurance that allows French residents to hold a range of investments in a highly tax-efficient package. However, not all products offer currency flexibility. There are many different types of assurancevie options based in various jurisdictions, not just France. These variations can make a huge difference to the advantages they offer, so it is important to seek expert advice. An assurance-vie issued in Luxemburg, for example, would benefit from French tax advantages afforded to EU countries. But as it would count as a foreign asset, it may be excluded from certain domestic liabilities, like wealth tax (for up to five years). And, of course, if it includes a multi-currency feature, you are not tied to keeping all your investments in euros, even if the assurance-vie itself is from an EU country. The right assurance-vie can bring all your investments under one tax-efficient roof without compromising diversification. To establish the most suitable option for you it is essential to get professional guidance, ideally through an adviser who lives locally and has in-depth knowledge of the complex French tax regime. They can help you take advantage of available opportunities and minimise risk – currency-related or otherwise – with a well-diversified portfolio tailor-made for you and your individual circumstances.

Peter Wakelin, Regional Manager of Blevins Franks France part of the Blevins Franks Group the leading international tax and wealth management advisers to UK nationals living in Europe, with decades of experience advising British expatriates moving to and living in France. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51 ~ ~ Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice. Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017

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

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Tasting The Lot What grows together goes together Learning and teaching about food and wine and matching them together is Luci’s passion – here she continues with her journey through some of our regional delights.

Chestnut soup 500 g chestnuts, tinned or fresh (If using fresh chestnuts, score a cross through the base and grill for 5-7 minutes. Set aside and when cool, remove skins) 50 ml extra virgin olive oil,1 onion, peeled and finely chopped,1 sliced leek, 2 slices of bacon chopped or 100g lardons (optional),1 bay leaf, 1 tsp salt,2 tsp ground black pepper,5 fresh sage leaves, 500 ml semi-skimmed milk, 500 ml water.


his summer I have taken many food and wine tasting all over the Lot and Quercy region. On each occasion I have mainly served 6 wines with up to 10 different foods to help the wine tasters develop their tasting palates for wine and food. My tastings are not designed to tell people what foods go with which wines, we all have very different likes and dislikes in the food spectrum (I can’t stand Tuna, coriander, dill or tomatoes that have been quartered!) but a chance for people to experiment with different flavours to get the most out of the fabulous local food and the amazing regional wine that they are presented with and learn more about the Cahors, Quercy and The Lot Valley. Either in pre-designated venues or travelling to holiday homes for parties of 6 or more, it has been fantastic season of wine and food pairings. As we head towards Winter, the harvest of some of our best produce is upon us. Chestnuts, walnuts, saffron, prunes and wine! Of course. Chestnuts are my particular favourite, Caroline at, the restaurant, Le Caillau made the most delicious soup this season for my tastings there. This recipe is one I have used many times adapted from an old Quercy cookbook I inherited from my Mother.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the lardons, bay leaf and onions. Sauté until lightly golden. Add the chestnuts, salt, pepper and sage and cook for a few minutes. Add the milk and water and bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Empty the mixture into a liquidiser and blend until smooth. Return mixture to the pan and add extra water to taste. Pour in less water if you prefer a thicker soup. Can be served with a lovely crisp sauvignon blanc from Domaine du Garinet, unoaked chardonnay Mirliflore from Chateau Saint Sernin or as it is a celebratory few months ahead a crisp and light Champagne.

Another absolute must for the harvest season is duck. It truly is a winter feast, after a cull of ducks earlier in this year, the flightless birds are now plentiful again. Everyone has their favourite recipe for duck and this is mine. It uses the best produce from the region, duck, prunes and Cahors wine.

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


Duck, with Agen prunes and Cahors wine

Saffron ice cream

12 pitted Agen prunes, 4 duck breast fillets, with skin, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 red onion – finely chopped, 2 bay leaves – broken in half,10 juniper berries – slightly crushed, 225ml Cahors wine,125ml chicken stock, 2 teaspoons demerara sugar, 1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional), 1 tsp butter.

100 grams sugar, 4 egg yolks, 250 ml milk, 250 ml cream, 1 teaspoon saffron.

Preheat the oven to 200oC. Cover the prunes in boiling water from the kettle and let soak while you prepare the duck. Pat the duck breast dry on both sides with kitchen paper. Score the skin with a sharp knife. Season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron frying pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the duck breasts, skin side down. Cook till the skin is golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn duck over and cook the breasts for 1 minute on the flesh side, then turn back over once again. Immediately transfer to the oven and cook for 4 to 6 mins for duck still pink in the centre (cook 2 mins longer for well done). Remove the duck from the frying pan and place on a warm plate and loosely cover with a piece of foil to keep warm. Pour all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of duck fat from the pan into a jar and reserve for another use, if you wish.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Grind most of the saffron in a mortar and pestle, and put half of the powder into the milk, and heat until boiling point. Pour the boiling milk into the beaten yolk/sugar mixture while continuously beating, and then return to the pan. Continue to warm on low heat until thickened, carefully stirring all the while. You probably measured the cream into a jug anyway, so pour the mixture into jug of cream, mix it briefly. Add the rest of the saffron powder. Follow ice cream maker’s instructions, or place in old ice cream tub and place in freezer, stirring occasionally before it sets completely. This is delicious with Chateau Gaudou’s La Charmeuse.

Place the pan with the remaining duck fat over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, bay leaves and juniper. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, till the onion is soft and has taken some colour. While the onion is cooking, drain the prunes and roughly chop. Pour in the wine, stock, sugar and prunes. Add the cinnamon, if desired. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to the boil. Allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, till the sauce is reduced by at least half and coats the back of a spoon. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Serve the duck with the sauce spooned over top, wild rice and green vegetables make a delicious accompaniment. Wine that tastes fabulous with this is Hauts St Georges, Malbec.

After a rich soup, prunes and duck, I like to finish my meal with saffron ice cream. Figeac and Carjac are places well worth the visit to buy local. After spending a week harvesting saffron, I have great pride in using my own harvested saffron, each recipe is well worth the effort.

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

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


Update from Cancer Support France This association is appealing for volunteers. Julia Hall, President says “Due to some of our Active Listeners returning to UK permanently and others moving onto pastures new, we need to recruit replacements. We also need volunteers with organisational skills for administration duties”. If you are interested, please contact Julia on the e mail address above, she will be delighted to hear from you.


e at CSF Dordogne Est & Lot are delighted to share in the Pink Ribbon Cancer Awareness month by incorporating their Pink Ribbon into our Logo. Pink Ribbon International is a non-profit organisation dedicated to create a global community to support breast cancer patients and promote awareness for breast cancer. The best protection is early detection and we hope that seeing the Pink Ribbon logo encourages women to selfassess or even organise a rdv for a mammogram. Implementation of breast cancer screening has been generalised in France since 2003: women aged between 50 and 74 years are systematically invited to perform a mammography every second year, at no charge. An ordnance can be obtained from medicine generalist, if not already in the system and if you are under 50 or over 74 years, and are concerned about changes you may have noticed. The next mammoth fund raising event is during November, to raise awareness of men’s cancer. So all you chaps out there, Why not Grow the Mo... for Movember. For 30 days, champion the moustache and raise funds for men’s health. From humble beginnings back in 2003 the Movember movement has grown to be a truly global one, inspiring support from over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas. The Movember Foundation wouldn’t be where it is without the enthusiasm of all of those men and women around the globe. Here in the Quercy Local area there are three CSF associations: Dordogne Est & Lot Eastern Dordogne (24) and Lot (46). Contact:

Sud de France which covers, Tarn et Garonne (82) and Tarn (81) If you are interested in joining this group please contact: Lot et Garonne (47), a new group… recently formed by President Cindy Shepherd, who would love to hear from anyone with time on their hands, would like to help in the organisation of fund raising events and also anyone who would like to join her team. Please contact her on 0670646882 or There will be a Xmas Fayre in Monteton, Lot et Garonne, on 20th November, 10.00am - 4pm. With over 30 stalls. Food available. Entertainment by The Mirabelles. All three associations offer access to information and the emotional, linguistic and practical help to Englishspeaking people of any nationality who are affected by cancer. Representatives of all these groups will attend the World Cancer Congress 2016, in Paris from 31st October until 3rd November 2016. Organised by the Union for International Cancer Control and takes place every two years in a different country. The purpose of the congress is to unite the cancer community, to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity and to integrate cancer into the world’s health and development agenda.

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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! • Carpentry and Joinery – All structural and general carpentry undertaken. Full restoration and fabrication services including beams and all supporting timberwork, staircases and flooring. • General Building and Restoration Works – Experts in complete internal and external renovation of old stone buildings. Everything from foundations up - new builds to internal partition walls. • 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! Call to arrange a free estimate. Always top quality service at an affordable price! Matt Piper: 06 72 56 73 77 Dave Howes: 06 08 52 71 60 Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017




My name is Maartje Schlepers (Dutch) and I have lived in the Lot since April 2014. Before that I lived for nearly 10 years in Burgundy where since 2005 I worked for a small independent Insurance Agency in the town of Beaune, well known for its Burgundy wines and hospices. encounter in France with administrative issues such as insurance. I hope to cover some of the common questions and queries relating to insurance in future editions of this magazine but if you have insurance related questions or if you are looking for a quote, please feel free to contact me.

Questions for Maartje We have heard that if we do not use a chimney sweep to clean our wood-burning stove chimney then our household is not covered by insurance for fire. Is this true? Does this vary with different insurers? What happens if I sweep my own chimney?


ince starting at Assurances Benoit, I helped international clients (mostly British, Dutch, Irish, Belgian and American). Initially with the basic insurances required when buying a property in France either as second home or the more extensive needs of new residents. We offer both private clients and professions a full service, ensuring that they understand their policies completely. We even have application forms in English and Dutch to help us provide a better and more accurate service. After 10 years my partner and I decided to move to the Lot, as we’d fallen in love with the region during many camping holidays. My employers agreed to set up a secondary agency in a self-built shepherds hut, equipped with all office facilities and in the garden of my home in Pontcirq. From this lovely space I continue to help our international clients on a full-time basis together with my Dutch colleague, Babice de Roon, who remains in Burgundy. Being a ‘foreigner’ myself, I understand the difficulties that many people

Many insurers have become stricter over the past years with regards to safety measures. Today most insurers oblige their clients to have the chimney swept once or twice a year by a certified chimney sweeper. This needs to be done at least once during the heating season. The chimney sweeper will give you a receipt. In the event of a fire claim on your house insurance, it is possible that the insurance expert that comes to look at the damage asks for this certificate. If you cannot show any justification that the chimney sweeper has done the job this may lead to the application of a penalty or no reimbursement at all if the expert finds the fire was caused by lack of maintenance of the chimney. We recommend our clients to send us a copy of the receipt provided by the chimney sweeper that we keep on file. This also protects you in the event of a total destruction of the house caused by a fire in the chimney and when the receipt may have gone to ashes. The application of safety measures does vary with different insurance companies. If you clean the chimney yourself I recommend to check with your agent if the company accepts this and if they do, to ask for confirmation in writing or a referral to the general conditions that stipulate this. Because if the company is not happy with this, it might lead to problems and

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penalties in the event of a claim. In the worst case scenario this could lead to the refusal of coverage. I have my family coming to stay at Christmas and they want to drive my car. Do I need to advise my insurers of the extra drivers and let them have copies of their driving licences? What happens if one of my nephews has some convictions on his UK driving licence? In France, insurance companies generally insure the vehicle (contrary to the UK where I believe most companies insure the vehicle and driver). In France it is the opposite: most French insurance companies cover the vehicle and allow any driver to use the vehicle provided that the driver has a valid license and that the owner of the car has given his or her permission. However, many insurance companies apply an additional excess for young drivers. The definition of a young driver (Generali Assurances) is someone who has held his or her driving license for less than three years. The expression ‘young driver’ is therefore not necessarily related to the age of a person. The additional excess can be up to 1500 euro or more and applies if a ‘young driver’ is responsible in an accident. Even if many companies ‘generally’ allow any driver (with permission

and a valid license) I recommend to check this in your policy or with your local agent. Some companies offer a ‘conduite exclusive’ which means that only the named driver is allowed to drive the car. The premium on this type of policy is often a little cheaper because the insurance company considers the risk to be lower with only one driver. If your policy allows any driver there is normally no need to inform your agent. If the driver has convictions on his or her driving license this should not be a problem for as long as the license is still fully valid. Maartje Schlepers, Assurances Benoit, La Plégade, 46150 Pontcirq, Tel Office 0972468223 (Mon to Thurs) Email: expat@agence.generali.f, Orias 07005354 - 15005887

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


Mastering Perseverance by Ian Gibbs (writer, trainer and coach)

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and you can be damn sure that during the Yuletide season it won’t be the only one having to adjust its clothing around the waistline. Which gets us on to the subject of New Year and all those well-meant resolutions. New Year resolutions are great, aren’t they? Full of optimism and good intentions. Hands up all those of us who’ve made New Year resolutions in the past? Now keep your hands up if you honestly stuck to your intentions all the way to completion? Ho hum... just as I thought (my hand used to be down, too).


ou see, the problem here is almost inevitably, New Year Resolutions are about something we choose to achieve by doing something else regularly over a long period of time, like saying no to chocolate gateau or going to sweat it out at the gym twice a week and the problem with that is it requires perseverance and the problem with that is almost always we erroneously confuse perseverance with willpower – that just by deciding to do something we naïvely believe we are going to do it. Willpower, along with tolerance, patience and world peace, is one of those commodities constantly in short supply. And this is no surprise as it’s one of those things we only have when we aren’t stressed, tired or inebriated and let’s be honest, what percentage of your time meets that criteria? If you want to achieve anything important through the application of perseverance (and there’s actually quite a lot of things that fit into that category) then you need to find some other way to bolster your ability to keep going. And how do you do that? Well, I’m glad you ask because that’s why I’ve written a book on the subject: The Sorites Principle: How the harness the power of perseverance. The word ‘Sorites’ comes from the Sorites Paradox or ‘The Paradox of the Heap’ which is about slow gradual change and how we (fail to) perceive it. When we want to lose weight, get fit or learn to play the accordion then we are essentially dealing with something that is going to take a long time, little by little. This has two dangers to it: the danger of confusing slow progress with no progress, and the danger of confusing insignificant actions as irrelevant actions. Addressing these two problems is the key to mastering perseverance. Drip by drip the jug is filled and little by little our small actions can slowly but steadily snowball into something that has an unstoppable momentum. Small daily actions have an ability to build up and accumulate.

The advantage of small actions is that they are relatively ‘easy’, and when we perceive something as easy then we don’t need so much willpower to do it. Trying to go without eating cake for a year is a formidable challenge. Trying to go without cake just for today (we’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes) is something else. Of course, I’m not trying to convince anyone that just one little thing everyday is going to produce miracles. Far

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from it. But doing lots of little things everyday just might. So the next question is, just exactly how many little things can you do everyday that will take you just that tiny bit nearer to your goal? If you want to learn a new language for example, how many little daily things can you do to help? Such answers could include using postits, listening to music, reading, talking to yourself, getting a language exchange, attending classes, memorising useful phrases, reciting poetry, forming a self-help group, singing in the shower, apps, podcasts, YouTube, ‘teach yourself’ books, playing games, competitions, blogs, forums, social media, etc etc etc. Get the idea? If we want to achieve something significant that is going to require a lengthy process, we aren’t likely to have much success by doing just one action like attending classes twice a week; we need to reinforce this activity with a myriad of supporting small actions and just like putting a couple of pieces into a 10,000 jigsaw puzzle every day, slowly but surely the whole thing will start to come together. But even repeating small actions can become a challenge over time. They can seem to become tedious or, even worse, pointless. If we can’t rely on ourselves to carry these out when things become tougher then what can we rely on? The good news is that there are at least 8 factors (or perseverance tools) you can employ to turn yourself into a perseverance pro and I should know because I used all of them to persevere away every day writing a book about them! (And what’s more, they all begin with ‘P’, which is sort of nice, isn’t it?) They are: Prizes, Progress, Passion, Peer Pressure, Pointers, Periodic Actions, Patience and Positivity. Prizes is about converting an action we might perceive as negative into something positive such as awarding ourselves a prize for doing it. Progress is about being able to measure, log and compare how we are doing to make sure we’re heading in the right direction. Passion is about finding something that motivates us in the right way. Peer Pressure is exactly that – getting the important people in your life to back you up. Pointers are those things which set us in the right direction when we are too tired or stressed to think for ourselves, such as an alarm, a reminder or a little man holding a sign. Periodic Actions are all those little routines, habits and programmed activities you do without thinking such as going to work or getting ready for bed. Patience is how we approach the task by focussing on what we have to do today and not bothering ourselves too much with that huge distance we still have left to go. And finally Positivity is about how we deal with the inevitable sense of General Futility when he comes to call with his ugly henchmen: Despondency, Lethargy, Procrastination and Distraction.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than there is space in this edition of the Quercy Local but if you’re interested in delving a bit deeper into the power of perseverance then there’s great news: Firstly, I’ve produced a series of worksheets that are totally free on Amazon (called ‘The Sorites Worksheets’). Yes, that’s right. It’s not a misprint. It’s a totally free, no-strings-attached set of worksheets in PDF format that you can download and print off to use immediately to strengthen your power of perseverance. Secondly, the book is also available in e-book form or, if you’re one of those people like me who prefer the good old fashioned wood-pulp and printers’ ink sort of publication that explains everything in detail giving lots of useful examples, in which you can underline the juicy bits and with which you can swat mosquitoes, then the full book form will (I’m promised) be hot off the press and available on Amazon by the time you’re reading this article. So what are you waiting for? It’s called The Sorites Principle, it’s a refreshingly practical and entertaining self-help book that really could change your life. And of course if you know of any other friends or relatives who could benefit from improving their perseverance, then now you know what to get them for Christmas. So all the best, Merry Christmas and may all your New Year resolutions be successful ones. Ian Gibbs (Writer, trainer and coach)

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


Anxiety - you bet!

Irena-Marie Makowska works as a mind management coach and here are her views and tips on how to deal with stress and anxiety. She uses a combination of BrainWorking Recursive Therapy®, clinical hypnotherapy and mindfulness:

I would say nearly every one of my clients suffer from some degree of stress and anxiety, and even depression. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is on the increase and its certainly tougher living in a country that isn’t quite ‘home’, no matter how much we love living here. You are not weird or mad, you do not ‘have a piece missing’, and anybody who believes you should just ‘pull yourself together’ hasn’t got the first idea what they are talking about… So, why on earth do you feel the way you do? Well it’s a necessary response to threat and danger that’s been handed down via DNA from generation to generation from the days of our ancient ancestors. Back then those survival instincts is what kept them alive – they were monitoring every split second of every day of their life. The problem is our basic structure is unchanged. Our brain still responds in the same way. It is overloaded with messages every second of the day from contact with the outside world concerning our survival and relationships, financial security, everyone from family and friends, to colleagues, the media… It also bombarded self-talk, negative thoughts, perception of needs, wants and demands. Phew its hardly surprising feeling the way we do. Of course, you are not even vaguely aware of all this activity going on in the subconscious because it’s completely invisible to your conscious mind and very powerful. Only last week I worked with two children, one seven-years old and one 13, both suffering from anxiety. One so serious it had developed into OCD. Two people will react quite differently to the same stressful situation, one of them going into a complete tizzy over something that the other thinks is no big deal at all. That has a lot to do with our childhood experiences and what we learned about the way we fitted into the world. Even as adults we are still responding to most of the things that you learnt back then.

Why is this? Information comes in as data into our Reptilian brain, the part of our brain that keeps us functioning, our heart pumping... It is also the ‘fight or flight’ part of our brain. A good example is someone who has a fear or phobia of spiders. Their immediate response is freeze, or panic and run. Conscious thought hasn’t even happened, before they spontaneously reacted. So information comes in as data, then travels into our Limbic brain. This is where value judgements reside - our emotional memory; anxiety etc. – and finally travels to our Neo-Cortex. This ‘executive’ part of our brain is responsible for our conscious awareness; decision making; working memory... What is staggering is it takes 1/3 of a second for data entering our Reptilian brain to come into our conscious awareness. This is why we react before we are even aware. Our brain is responding to a pattern already set up. Many of us don’t even know why we feel depressed, we just do. However there are things we can do such as meditation, mindfulness and hypnosis… One tip is the Emergency STOP*: Close your eyes “Imagine a clock face, an analogue clock with an hour hand, a minute hand and a second hand. Think about the colour of the hands and the face and if there are numerals or markers. The clock is working and you can see the second hand moving – make it vivid (we all can imagine to some degree, even if we think we are not visual).

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Now send your mind to “that issue/worry” and make that as powerful as you possibly can and when it is as strong as you can make it, zoom in quickly to what seems to be the most important part of it, the real nub of the situation. Now freeze that memory solid! Make it as though it’s a 3D model frozen in time, in which you can move but nothing else can. Be inside it looking out, rather than outside it looking in. Freeze it solid! Now see the clock face and this time notice that the clock is stopped – the second hand isn’t moving by even the tiniest amount. Focus on that clock that has

stopped at that time, absolutely stopped… and as soon as you’ve focussed on it, open your eyes.” Use this technique whenever the situation arises – even if it’s just that clock stopped. Breathing is another very important tip. I recently ran a workshop on stress in the workplace at Airbus Group in Toulouse. 100% of that group reported ‘regular practice of breathing techniques for stress reduction’. We need to breathe into our bellies, not our chest! Most of us forget how to breathe during our teens. If you place your hand on your stomach when stressed, notice where you are breathing and start to focus. Immediately physical changes take place in the body: heart rate slows down, our autonomic nervous system regulates and sends messages around our brain, spinal cord, and other parts of our body.” *BWRT®’ stands for ‘BrainWorking Recursive Therapy®’, a modern model of psychology and psychotherapy created by UK professional therapist, Terence Watts, MCGI. If you want to know more either email Irena-Marie Makowska (Dip Hyp, GHR, GHSC) at Rod and Irena-Marie run well-being retreats at their home in Lisle-sur-Tarn, 40 minutes from Blagnac airport


Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


The Devil is in the Detail “The only downside is that I could die”

On Saturday the 19th of March Canadian mountain biker Matt Macduff failed in his attempt to ride possibly the largest loop the loop ever made. Remarkably, Matt sustained only a broken wrist and ankle after been ejected from the top of the loop some 40 ft from the ground. It would be easy to think such risk taking/thrill seeking upon two wheels as a relatively modern phenomenon, after all, kids these days are always throwing themselves off or down something for anyone pointing a camera at their ugly mugs. However, the riding of a loop the loop has a long past; we are talking 1901 here.


icycle “stunts” first appeared in the Circuses that were the height of popular entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1901 the Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus introduced an offbeat act described thusly “Starr, the shooting star, in his dare devil dash down the ladder of flame”. In this act our hero, Starr, would ride his bike down a triple extension ladder placed at an angle of 52 degrees from a height of 60 ft. He would bounce his way down every rung of the 79 ft ladder to reach the safety of the Circus floor. Easy money. The following year a gentleman who went by the name of Diavolo (Italian word for Devil), real name Conn Baker, would up the game and introduce the first loop to the circus crowd dressed, naturally, in a devil costume. It was an instant hit; the crowd were in awe at every show. A 100 ft run up led to the loop where the rider must steer to the right during the ride to avoid falling off the side, which could easily be the death of the rider (no doubt an added attraction for the crowd). Diavolo, however, knew what he was doing: this was not a “hit and hope”, he performed his loop for all of 1902,’03 and ‘04 with the circus. He was eventually killed falling out of the loop whilst performing in Singapore. “The supreme limit of sensational novelty. Almost beyond belief, but it is a positive fact Diavolo loops the loop on a bicycle at every performance”* (*promotional poster) The Great Diavolo was not the only daredevil around at the time though, there were others, most notably a Mr. Ugo Ancillotti. Ancillotti had been “trick” cycling since 1868 and was not content with riding a standard loop in his shows. Instead, he decided to remove a section of the loop creating, in effect, an upside down jump to complete the loop. In 1905 for the “Greatest show on Earth” he added a brother and another ramp, creating a setup that has to be seen to be believed. The poster for the show announced “Double simultaneous

looping and jumping the quadruple chasms”. As you can see from the poster there is a lot that could go wrong! Indeed it did go wrong. On April 25th 1905 Ferdinand Ancillotti suffered a fall during the “loop gap” act and sustained serious injuries. The double act was not seen again. The popularity of the loop would eventually be its downfall. Demand for the act was high prompting circuses to employ other people to ride the loop the

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loop at other shows. Riding a loop on a bike looks relatively straight forward from the outside. The devil is in the detail, however, it is the only circus act that cannot be learnt. Success must come from the first attempt right through to the last, there is no middle ground if one is to avoid serious injury or death. We must not forget that the pioneers of these acts were very skilled and accomplished bike riders/racers; as with many things involving skill they made it look easy, allowing many people the idea that they could also do it. This small detail did not put off the brave men willing to make a career, though. Ultimately many men were killed, usually in front of huge crowds. On August 16th 1903 the second man in a week was killed on the “death trap loop” in front of 30,000 people (including his soon to be wife) at Luna Park in NY. Eventually the deaths got too much and the loop was outlawed, bringing an end to a very intriguing era….. Until Mr. Macduff came along. Next time you see some kids (or adults) trying to jump over/off/through something for no apparent reason, you can tell yourself that it was probably done years ago by a man in a top hat and suit or a devil costume. Or maybe you might fancy a go yourself. By Tom Burns

Tom, a Yorkshireman here in France, owns and runs, velo plus FIX, a cycle workshop and rental business based in 82190. Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017



A Spectacular Cabaret in a local village

MIRADANCE are a group of dancers who came together in 2005 to prepare the first Cabaret in Miramont-deQuercy (82190) in 2007. For some time this troop of dancers went on to perform routines in local shows and theatres. Valérie from The Quercy Local was invited along to one of the groups’ rehearsals to see behind-the-scenes and find out a little more. She reports... Severine Dalpozo dreamt of creating longer pieces of choreography which could tell stories. These routines are now well-known for being technically challenging and aesthetically enchanting. These musical extravagances are brought to life with beautiful, professional-style costumes and the passion of a, highly-skilled, group of ladies aged from 15 – 48 years old. The group are directed by Severine with rigor and energy and it’s clear that these girls just want to (and do) have fun! These spectacular shows are performed after 2 ½ years of rehearsals, up to 3 hours a week, 200 costume creations (half of them hand sewn and with some skirts taking up to 7 hours). For 2017 they will be presenting their new show ‘C’EST FORMIDABLE’ which will include 13 dancers in 13 totally different dances during a 4 hours cabaret. This eclectic evening of music, dance, song, special guests and sensational costumes will be completed with a wonderful meal prepared by Stéphane Blanchet, formerly of the Auberge de Miramont. The whole village and surround area likes to get involved with nearly 70 volunteers working on costumes (designing, sewing and dressing), decorations, sound, and administration. There will be 6 different performance dates split between February and October next year at the Salle des Fêtes in Miramont-de-Quercy (see their poster). Each performance is for 124 people and the tickets are priced at 45€ per person, which includes the 3-course meal, wines and a glass of champagne. During the evening there will be a bar serving wine, beer and champagne. What about purchasing some tickets for someone (or yourself) for Christmas or Valentines’ Day?

Tickets can already be purchased from Christine: 06 76 63 28 45. You can also find and follow the dance troop on Facebook. Are you ready for a real live Spectacular Cabaret – one that has grown from the hearts and hills of Quercy? Do try to go along and let us know what you thought.

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


ASHA is a local charity that works with horses in distress. Everyone has at least one horse-mad e here’s a chance person in their family and so mayb help some very to get them a present that’ll will is on sale via their needy horses. The 2017 calendar e plus 2,80e 9,90 for franc .asha website www and 5e ity) e prior for (3,20 ce postage into Fran group of ing work hard for the rest of Europe. This T shirts and caps volunteers deserve your support. this group on also available. You can also follow 8 nce0 AFra /ASH .com book .face www



Les amis des chats – a charity dedicated to the welfare of cats. Their 2017 calendar is beautifully illustrated by the professional photographer Isabelle Assante, from Roquecor. The calendar can be bought from the charity’s boutiques in Roqu ecor or Lauzerte or via their webs ite. The calendar costs 8e or 10e with for postage into France or 12e for postage to the rest of Europe.


s, Everyone loves donkey as and so especially at Christm a! You can this is a great gift ide of Liberté help the tireless work 50. Make des Anes based in 821 keys, a sort a donation to the don e you of virtual gift to someon e to abl be to love ld wou know person you are buying the d sen will rity cha help them and the nks. A local charity donkeys with their tha it for a card from the care for and to ive ens exp are s key and a local need. Don ds. nee ive extens some have some very; libertedesanes www.liberertedesane


One of the two options for cat lovers – Chats du Quercy, rescue, care for and rehome cats in over desperate need. Is there a cat-l ce in your life? Then this is the chan to organise a gift for them and help time. their ‘feline friends’ at the same e plus 3e for postage if required. This calendar is available for 15 0 Miramont de Quercy; Chats du Quercy, Caussados 8219; chatsduq

NIGHTS OUT 2 wonderful nights-out with musi c, wine and the best of local foods, drawn from this edition of the magazine. 1) Hotel Le Vert (see p.15) is offeri ng wonderful evenings of food, wine accompan ied by piano music – there’s even an option to stay the night! Various dates over Dece mber and of course February. www.hotelleve 2) Why not books tickets for Febru ary’s Cabaret for you and a loved one and do something a bit differ ent? See p.70 for details of a Cabaret Spectacular with Dinne r. If you are planning to do thing s a bit differently in 2017, this could be the way to start.


Massage, what could be more wonderful at this time of year than spoiling yourself or someone you love. Saisons (see p.79) offers different massages, body treatments a steam-room and facials. You can email or ring to arrange a gift voucher. Sometimes people just need a nudge to spoil themselves!



Have you ever thought about grow ing your own romantic gesture? Establishing a mistletoe plant all of your own. Here’s how you can do it – you simply order a ‘Grow your own box’ from The shop mails to France and the cost including p&p is £19.50. Just email your order to them rathe r than use the check-out facility. They’ll email you an invoice to pay by card. You can order now but the boxes will be despatched in Feb/March – you can chose which week.


For the romantic at Christmas of even Valentines’ day, here is ‘A little book about mistletoe’ (see our article on p.6). It is in full colour and is by UK-based mistletoe expert Jonathan Briggs. You can purchase the book via Amazon (which may be cheaper) or directly from www.englishmistletoeshop. The shop does mail to France and the cost including p&p is £11.50.

Just email your order to them rather than use the check-out facility. They will email you an invoice to pay by card.


ey images We make no excuse for more donk we love – it is the season for donkeys and ries been them. Donkey milk has for centu hair. Em’ane and skin to fits bene its for n know uces prod and eys donk erful keeps wond from soaps, moisturiser, shampoos etc. items or their milk. You can buy individual . There are wonderful gift sets. s (see their some shops stocking their good e store. website) but they also have an on-lin over ine) for purchases (on-l SPECIAL OFFER: 10% reduction use the code QLDonkey 50e from 1st Nov – 25th Dec. Just at the checkout.



Local lavender – either for yours elf or as a gift it is always welcome. Send ing something back to the UK or elsew here is sending a real piece of Quercy life. Lavande du Quercy at Ferme Laco ntal inTouffailles (82190) has a shop which is open during the winter from 2pm – 6pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Satu rdays. Alternatively they have a website which allows you to order online. There are gifts available from under 5e right up to complete baskets of lavender products including, soaps, oils, candles, sweets and lavender bags.


– totally Who can resist them r will not wicked but once a yea ck up on harm you. You can sto boxes this traditional treat with ce Min ury Lux s lker of 6 Wa tique Pies for 6,75e from Bou from Anglaise, Ales in France ays) their shop (open Saturd 400) near Castelsagrat (82 ine. onl or m


ds and also adore If you love romantic far away islan award winning being here in the Quercy, then the des Iles is the seasonal cy Quer Le ls’ solei des ritif ‘l’apé Moissac region’s famous treat for you. It is made with the from Martinique, then rum t oyan flamb es, Chasselas grap a little closer to and i Tahit from la flavoured with vanil Pays Basque. home, Espelette pepper from the cy has just taken over A new team in Montaigu de Quer be available soon. will ite webs new their production, www on ress prog You can follow their look out in all the good quercydesiles/. In the meantime as a gift or simply local shops for this local treat. Ideal 12 and 15e a bottle. for yourself. Priced at between


La Rapiette is a micro-brewery based in Montcuq (Le Cayrel, 46800). They have 2 great gift ideas for beer lovers. Nothing could be more local! The 1st is a decorated case of 6 x 33cl bottles (15e) and the 2nd is as assortme nt of 4 bottles and a special ‘brewery’ glass. (16e ) La Rapiette produces 4 different beers you can find them on these local markets – Prayssac, Cahors (Sat) and Montcuq. They ’ll also be at some Christmas markets, including Flaug nac (see their Facebook page Brasserie Artisanale de Montcuq - La Rapiette for more Christmas dates) or, make an appointment to visit the brewery. OFFER FOR OUR READERS – Pres ent a copy of this magazine and receive 10% off the price of a min. of 3 cases purchased.


Christmas has really started when the Stones Original Green Ginger Wine arrives! This seasonal favourite has been warming hearts and hands since 1740. You can get hold of a bottle from Boutique Anglaise, Ales in France for 13,75e from their shop (open Saturdays) near Castelsagrat (82400) or online



The perfect gift for the cyclists in your life! A ‘Pro Multitool’. Velo Plus is a bike workshop and hire business based in the heart of Quercy. can fix your bikes, supply parts and accessories. Great quality bikes to hire – ideal for gîte guests. You can get one of these kits by emailing your name and address to and they will organise the rest. 10e per kit and 3,50e for p&p.


Mondenard (82110); 0563958219; Corinne and Jean-Pierre Sicard, Boulbénes basses Mazères, Cazes that is hugely concerned business family-run l wonderfu a is This fr. @orange. jean-pierre.sicard-1 Noir de Caussade – a bird Poule famous the produces also re Jean-Pier stock. its with the welfare of eggs. and meat its highly acclaimed for à rôtir). Orders before Dec 1st Organic and free-range poultry producers, Geese and Ducks (canette ducks 9 euros per kilo. Do call or for Christmas. Geese will be between 12 & 15 euros per kilo, and email to get your order placed.


Belfort-du-Quercy) hand-reared, This is not just any turkey. This is a Domaine Du Merchien (46230, on the south facing, sunfree-range, turkey that has lived out its short but utterly fulfilled life days idly picking at the luscious drenched slopes of Domaine du Merchien, spending its carefree l tantalising beak full of green grass of Merchien meadowland supplemented by the occasiona the brewery. We have Norfolk Cabernet Franc grapes and the odd beak full of the spent grain from . Blacks and Bronze Birds. Reserve as quickly as possible for Christmas;; akin@oran ++, 10kg and 8/9kg e 6/7kg (4/5kg Kg per 12 Facebook - Sarah L Meakin. 00 33 (0)6 16 07 75 39

YS & GEESE CHRISTMAS CHICKEN, GUINEA-FOWL, CAPONS, TURKE Les Volailles de Combillou, This sounds like a very busy farm! Alexandre and Stéphanie Ducasse,; 05 51 81 01 25; Lieu dit ‘Combillou’, 82190, Brassac. (82190). www.volailles-com ie.ducas@ etstephan alexandre e (3.5 – 5 kg - 10e/kilo) Guinea-fowl (2 – 2.5 kg – 9e/kilo) Turkey (4 – 7 kg - 10 /kilo) Capon for Christmas birds. for other prices please call or email the farm. Remember order early


Quercy Comment Separation, States and Secularism “There is as yet no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from legislative power and the executive power” (Montesquieu)


omethings should just be kept separated, apart and distinct. Undoubtedly there are things that do improve for being together, tea and biscuits, for example. Then there’s blue and green that apparently should never be seen! So what about separating the different powers of a nation’s government? Do people understand and agree with where and how-well the walls of separation are constructed? Most modern constitutions, written or otherwise, call for their national powers to be, in some way, separated. In the United Kingdom there is a tripartite system, the Legislative (House of Commons and House of Lords) and the Executive (originally the Monarch, but now effectively the Cabinet) and finally the Judiciary are required to operate separately and to keep a check on each other’s powers. This is rather a simplification as things are more complex following the devolution of powers to regional Governments and bodies, however the principle remain the same. This arrangement is not perfect, there is some cross-over with Prime Ministers who head the Executive but who are there because they are the leader of the largest political party in the Legislative (Parliament). Generally speaking the Judiciary are more distinct. The process of the Legislative producing Statutory Laws and the Judiciary interpreting them and producing Judge-made law (precedent) is not perfect, but it works reasonably successfully. Most countries have a variation of this system, some more complicated and some completely unformed. France, in common with the UK has a tripartite system and was notably the birthplace of one of the greatest exponents of the need for the separation of powers; the political philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu, author of the seminal book The Spirit of the Laws (1748). Montesquieu believed that no sector of a state should hold too much power and that there should be ‘checks and balances’ to guard against any centralisation of influence. Understanding the different ways that powers are separated within different European countries

Baron de Montesquieu

helps you appreciate the challenges of imposing a Supranational Polity, such as the European Union. The EU has separated its own powers into 6 distinct realms, so these on top of the differing member states’ variously separated powers does create a potential minefield. We know that democracy is a fragile and illusive concept. So what happens when we add to the mix an established church guiding our political leaders’ belief structure? Following, the UK’s decision to deny the EU’s influence on its domestic politics; will a light now be shone on the UK’s unelected established church? Should modern countries be secular and keep all religions matters, private and separate from their governance. This is not a question designed to undermine individual religions or beliefs. It’s just that if transparency, democracy and due process are required from governments it seems like this is a critical question to consider.

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


La Séparation Furthermore, can only one religion be part of a nation’s governance? Where does that leave other believers and atheists? Should our political leaders be openly declaring their beliefs, what about leaders that believe in creationism when many Christians do not? To an atheist, a leader that believes in Father Christmas is as viable as one that believes in the resurrection. It is almost impossible to resolve these issues and so maybe the whole subject is best left entirely to the private sphere. I suspect that if you were designing a nation’s administration from scratch you would have to decide to leave all religions completely out of political and legal life. Modern nations have evolved through centuries of religious power-struggles, oppression and self-interest. Churches have controlled, inspired and devastated in equal measures and religions have long out-lived most political parties and ideologies. But the world is so now much more global, complicated and diverse than ever before. Interestingly, France is a secular state with a complete separation of its state and church. The principle of Laicité (which translates as secularism, but actually has a much more profound meaning to the French) was set in law by the 1905 law on the ‘Separation of the State and the Church’. However, this principle has driven and guided the country since its revolution. Back in 1789 the population was as keen to overthrow the shackles of the Roman

Catholic Church as it was keen to dispatch its nobility. The Roman Catholic Church lost its lands, money and virtually all its influence and there’s been no established French church since then. People of all religions and none are welcome in France, but no religious doctrine can form part of the running of the Republic. Individual religious beliefs must be kept private and never enter public life. The Government of the United Kingdom has always had an alliance with a church, originally the Roman Catholic Church and then the Church of England established by Henry V111 (in 1534) which remains in place today (not Scotland and Wales’s national churches and Norther Ireland has no national church). The British monarch has the constitutional title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The canon law of the Church of England states, “We acknowledge that the Queen’s most excellent Majesty, acting according to the laws of the realm, is the highest power under God in this kingdom, and has supreme authority over all persons in all causes, as well ecclesiastical as civil.” Currently, in the House of Lords there are 26 senior English Archbishops and Bishops who sit as the ‘Lords Spiritual’. Then in the House of Commons there’s the Second Church Estates Commissioner (generally a Member of Parliament from the majority political party) who guides church legislation and answers MP’s questions on church matters. There’s a Parliamentary

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017


Ecclesiastical Committee, made up of MPs and Peers, it scrutinises Church of England legislation, before it is sent for approval by both Houses of Parliament. The Speaker of the House of Commons also appoints an Anglican Chaplain, whose then leads the House of Commons in prayer at the start of each day. In France when there are matters before the Legislative (such as, for example, same-sex marriage) religion cannot be brought into the discussion or decision-making process. God(s) have no say in what is good for the people of the Republic. Citizens of France are seen as members of the Republic above and beyond any other affiliations, including religions. In the United Kingdom issues of legislation, particularly those that may affect matters such as ‘family life’ or ‘ethics’, can end up being convoluted with issues of faith, perceived morality and the religious belief of decision-makers who are actually making decisions on behalf of people of the same and different faiths and none. One of the reasons given for the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the EU was its unwelcome interference in British legislation; so how does the presence of an established and unelected church within the Palace of Westminster remain effectively unchallenged? It is interesting to note that, in theory, the United States of America has separated its church and state, however its banknotes suggest that ‘in God we Trust’ and all Presidents repeat ‘God bless America’. President Bush was a regular partaker of prayer meetings in the White House. Could an atheist be elected to the White House? This does not seem like particularly efficient separation of powers. So why does all this matter? Well, to understand how countries react to situations you need first to have some insight into the influences behind their reactions. Consider the European reactions to the public wearing of Islamic dress. In France, history suggests that this reaction may be to prevent anything from obscuring that essential first alliance to the Republic. An upholding of the principle of Laicité and a belief that religion is a private matter which should not visibly extend to those around you. Perhaps in the UK the instinct is to maintain the supremacy of the Church of England. Maybe neither is the case, but it is worth thinking about and when did you last here anyone discussing this? A solution is not obvious and maybe the status quo is entirely acceptable. It is however crucially important that in order to grow and to understand national differences and to help encourage national cooperation we all become more aware. By A Atkinson If you wish to comment on this – do please email us. We welcome all thoughts and may publish responses in future editions.


LAS RAZES Your perfect large gîte

Own pool All rooms en-suite Snooker, wifi, table tennis... Convenient for Lauzerte, Montaigu de Quercy and Montcuq

Las Razes, Touffailles (82190) Tarn et Garonne

The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local

SAISONS – Spa, Beauty-Salon, Hamman and Well-Being. Pascale Gibaud’s salon and therapy centre is quite unique. It has a warm and welcoming feel; a calm haven right here in Quercy in an increasingly stressful world. Pascale, a trained beautician, has always felt that her vocation was to help people achieve a greater sense of well-being... As well as the traditional beauty-salon services, such as facials, hair-removal, manicures, pedicures and eyelash/brow dying, SAISONS also offers a hamman (steam room). For your complete well-being Pascale offers body treatments which include those drawing from traditional Balinese ritual massages, Tibetan-bowl ‘sound and vibration’ massages and even beguiling silk-scarf massages which offer complete relaxation with an immense feeling of weightlessness. The soothing and relaxing treatment-room at SAISONS is designed for either one or two people. So whether you want to revitalise yourself during the depths of winter or star t the New Year with a promise to yourself, or a loved one, of a bit more me-time, then this could be just the place for you.

Pascale’s other great passion is for Raku ceramics. She creates her own jewellery and decorative objects which can be seen and bought at her salon or at the ‘Le Lion d’Or’ Gallery in Montcuq. Pascale also displays ceramic creations by Coralie Seigneur from Bruniquel, as well as the naturally pigmented necklaces created by the duo Pascale and Audrey Roccaro. If you visit the website you will find a complete list of treatments (also in English). Gift vouchers are also available.

SAISONS-SPA institut de beauté 46800 Saint Cyprien 05 65 22 77 19


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

Classification Clarified! During the year’s numerous wine tastings, vineyard tours and markets, I get asked a multitude of questions, but the one that is consistently asked most regularly, is if I can explain the French classification system in a nutshell. So, here goes:

History French wine classification began in its current form in 1935, with the creation of the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine), a division of the French Ministry of Agriculture; which was created to regulate the production of wine in France. Although the history buffs amongst you will know that man and wine have an exceptional past; there are examples of wine being classified by geographical location in the Old Testament of the Bible.

AOC/AOP AOC or Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée translates as Controlled Designation of Origin, it has relatively recently been replaced by AOP or Appellation d’Origine Protégée, meaning Protected Designation of Origin You may however see either of these on the product labels. AOC regions were officially put in place with the goal of protecting the consumer. A customer purchasing a bottle of Champagne or Chateauneuf Du Pape wants to know that this is what will be inside their carefully chosen bottle and nothing else. The aim is to guarantee the geographical origin, quality and style of the product (apart from wine, other products have their own protected geographical origins, e.g cheeses, such as Rocamadour).

Quality and Control Over the years more and more regions have obtained the AOC status, each one with its own specific set of rules and regulations. Geographical origin, grape variety, plantation density and yields, harvesting dates, production methods and record keeping are all controlled both internally and externally, by the producers themselves, a variety of governing bodies and independent quality control agencies. When the wine is ready to be sold, it must also undergo tests for chemical analysis and by blind tasting panels. These controls inevitably represent a significant financial cost, met initially by the producers and subsequently by the consumer The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local



Which One?

In 1971 Cahors was granted AOC status. There are currently around 4000 hectares in production, with approximately 260 independent producers and 120 in cooperatives. One hundred per cent of Cahors AOC is red wine and must contain at least seventy per cent Malbec (often called Cot or Auxerrois) grape variety with up to thirty percent Merlot or Tannat allowed. Ironically, in light of its relatively recent AOC status, Cahors is one of the oldest wine producing areas. Wine was being successfully produced here as far back as Roman times.

People often assume that any wine without the AOC/AOP classification is a lower quality ‘drinking’ wine, but that is not always the case. It’s true that an AOC/AOP wine will be of a certain guaranteed quality, but not having that classification does not mean that the wine isn’t excellent too. Sometimes the winemakers’ choices differ to those of the controlling body, and changing classification will allow them the freedom to make the wine they wish to produce. Of course, you can find excellent wines in all categories, just as there will also be wines that are not to your taste in every category too. The only fail safe way to tell if you are going to like a wine is to try it, so with the festive season on our doorstep, now is as good a time as any to go and try some new wines! Cheers!

The exceptionally good ageing properties of the wine, its high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants have led to an excellent reputation for quality and health benefits, with Cahors counting the rich and famous, royalty and popes amongst its enthusiasts!

VDP/IGP VDP (Vin De Pays) or IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) classified wines are often made from grapes grown outside an AOC/AOP designated area, but can still be within another designated geographical area. They may also be wines from within an AOC/AOP area that do not meet the typicity required for the AOC/AOP classification, or perhaps one of the regulations, such as the grape variety.

VDT VDT (Vin de Table) is a wine without a guaranteed designation of origin, and produced with less quality controls and restrictions.

If we are at the property, we are open (between 2pm and 8pm). However, as we are working across 10 hectares of land and often at markets, please call ahead if you want to be certain of a reception! Always drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation; pregnant women are advised not to consume alcohol; don’t drink and drive.

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

Metse, Les Espiemonts, 82160, Caylus, Tarn et Garonne Phone: 05 63 64 68 76 Mob: 06 81 76 02 30 Email: 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.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017




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The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017 Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw their advert in The Quercy Local


This is the last page of 2016 and a huge thankyou to our readers, contributors, deliverers and administration gurus. Not forgetting the businesses that act as distribution points and of course our advertisers, without whom we could do nothing. Please support them in 2017 and we look forward to working on next year’s editions for you. Thank you, have a wonderful holiday season and see you next year.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year The Quercy Local • November 2016 - February 2017

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The Quercy Local November 2016 - February 2017  

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

The Quercy Local November 2016 - February 2017  

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