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FREE Issue 7

DEC 2012 Monthly


THT December 2012

Contents THT

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Every Month

This Month

04 Editorial


05 Letters


06 My Place 07 And Another Thing 09 Apicius Dines Out

08 The Not So Hidden Costs 14 Lerab Ling

Lerab Ling

19 A Winemakers Diary

10 Wine Times

22 Photography- Luc Micola

11 Business / Legal

23 Art - Gerard Calvet and the Groupe Montpellier-Sète


12 Garden / Nature 13 GTBY

24 A Table For Two Please


25 The Act of Giving

16 Days Out 17 Lifestyle

Want to do something special this holiday?

20 Subscribe


21 Looking Back 26 Recipe Times 28 DIY 28 E-Male 31 Sport

The Act of Giving Cover Photo “Comedie” All rights reserved © Barry Beckett2012 3

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ISSN: 2261-561X



Do we write about Happy Holidays and festive cheer and enjoy yourself as all is good in the world? Well yes, and no. As we approach the end of this year there is so much to look back on with a positive slant. As a region we live in one of the best prepared areas for economic recovery. 80% of new startups are still in business 3 years later. There is a young and vibrant demographic to the area and technology and medicine is still at the forefront of their respective fields. Tourism is holding its own and culturally the Languedoc just gets bigger and better every year. Politically it is an uncertain time for France as a whole and also for Anglophones wherever you originate from. Taxes, Inheritance law, secondary incomes all await us in 2013 but these are not times to panic. It really is the same every year wherever you may live. But as you prepare for the dark nights and warm fires that make this such a good time of year with family and friends close by spare a moment to scratch below the surface to see what lies in wait....

Sparks of a less festive spirit are flying, ignited by Carla Brunei’s recent comments that feminism is a thing of the past, “You don’t need to be feminist in my generation” which seems right on par for a woman who although was once renowned for her bohemian image, then put on her bra to become the First lady of France. French feminists however have taken to the social networks like raging byte streams, comedienne Isabelle Mergault commented, “We need feminism as long as blokes passing by try to guide women as they parallel park” or, rather more somberly, European Parliament member Corinne Lepage tweeted, “as long as there are no women at the ECB (European Central Bank), we need feminism.” And none of this is frankly surprising. France has not embraced gender equality with the same enthusiasm as some of its European neighbours; in 2010 it ranked only 46th in the world. This might be because France has a more universalist approach to equality, focusing on the rights of the individual rather than differentiating between the needs of different groups.

Meanwhile, on the subject of individual rights, there is little seasonal cheer around many Roma hearths as Hollande’s government upholds the enforced deportation initiative of the Sarkozy-era, a situation that has the doves at Amnesty International fretting in their cots, fearful that the continual destabilization will lead to a population sinking deeper into poverty. Don’t worry, as EU citizens, many of them will be back. And what of the uprising of emotive rhetoric against the gay community. Small villages very close to you right now are suddenly blooming under a graffiti of anti homosexual and lesbian rhetoric. And why do I bring this up now? Just as you sit comfortably and let out that comforting sigh as the festivities begin? Because it is the holidays and it is a time of goodwill to ALL men and women and wouldn’t it be good to start 2013 with an open heart and mind? Thank you to all of you for supporting The Herault Times. It is your magazine. Happy holidays, we’ll see you next year.

The writers and contributors are the stars of this magazine and without them I would have all of my hair and would not be drinking gin at 9 am every day. Having said that, you should know more about them. All their bios can be found at Please read them, they deserve to be recognised for their fantastic contribution and for being patient and generous to me.



his magazine is intended for the use of the individual(s) who picked it up.

This magazine may contain information that is helpful, opinionated and can at times be unsuitable for overly sensitive Persons with no cultural credibility. If you are not sure then may we politely suggest that you pass it onto someone else as to continue reading is not recommended and may constitute an irritating social faux pas. No animals were harmed in the making of this magazine, and believe it or not one single opinion is definitive- period.


Letters Far and away I found your magazine in Perpignon the other day and wondered if this meant you were going to supply outside of the Herault? Please say yes. I will happily distribute here for you and you would only need to add a page to involve us. Wonderful magazine and congratulations to you and your team, the writing is excellent. Fiona Re Immigration. I read with interest your article in the November issue about immigration. There is a growing anger against certain nationalities in my hometown and this is terrible but you are missing one of the biggest issues here; homphobia. I wonder if you are brave enough or interested enough to write and comment on the growing wall of hate against the gay and lesbian population of the Languedoc and of France in general. I suppose I’ll wait and see.Withheld We have witnessed the grafiti ourselves and we have a writer looking at this as we write. Anybody out there want to give christmas a miss? I want to have a christmas without the commercial and religious connotations. Shall we start a campaign? Let’s all write to this magazine asking for a village without christmas! Anne France This country is going to the dogs. It costs more to live here than it ever did. Building around my village looks like it was planned by a child after drinking cola.

Shops now carry more English, Spanish and Mexican food than I can get back home and the French are bloody ruder than ever. Come back the way it was 10 years ago. (And I doubt your lovey lovey magazine will print this will you?) David, 34000 I hear you David. And I’ve sent you directions to the nearest airport. Bye! Pub Quiz I took your offer on twitter of joining your pub quiz night (22 nov) and had a very enjoyable evening. May I just ask if the music at the beginning be a little quieter. I was transferred back to London in the 80s with the ending of punk. This was a great time but I am now in the Languedoc and in my 50’s! A great night though, thank you. DIY Plumbing May I point out that the article on DIY plumbing has a no-no statement where it relates connecting hot water pipework of copper to iron piping – and as shown in the bottom pic. Mixing copper and iron or copper and zinc metals can be troublesome, causing ‘electrolytic action’ and particular care is required in the case of heating or hot water systems to avoid corrosion from this cause. In prewar days in the UK we had galvanised iron cold water storage tanks in the attic spaces and when copper was introduced into the system many tanks corroded and discharged their contents through ceilings and floors ! André Goddard

The Other Letters A selection of excerpts fom letters that we will post anonymously.... I met you in Lodéve last month. And.....? (...) and in summary I think that all of us should live together in a commune style environment where we share thoughts and love and happiness, this will stop racism in (...) Soooo good. You know Woodstock is over don’t you? (...) when I was in the scouts 50 years ago. So well done to

Mrytille for showing us what is here. I may just get out my scouts uniform and knock on some (...) Yes, she wrote beautifully didn’t she? BUT... not a good idea for a 60 year old to walk around in a scouts uniform you know. Do you know Speedo man? (...) is it true that you think you are Rupert Murdoch(...) Yes, but better looking and I’ve tapped your phone .......... 5

Food One of the letters to the Editor caught my eye too .....Dee Wright wrote how the quality of cuisine in France had fallen......well obviously you do not eat in Marseillan at perhaps La Tavern Du Port or La Pacheline really should get out more.

would die. I assume you are expats living in France so you must appreciate that flexible borders, like languages, further foster internationalism. Unless you’re headed back to ‘your’ country – forever - “Thou dost protest too much, methinks!” Heather

English I was shocked to read a chastising note to the editor questioning HT’s status as: “The English Language Magazine for the Herault” but dismayed to read that it was one of many. Why? Because it uses too many ‘Americanisms’. Language is not static but fluid. It changes with the times and people. Admittedly I’m occasionally, momentarily thrown by a British word; such as, boot-meaning the trunk of a car, but I always, ultimately understand what is being said. By contrast in French, a language in which I do not yet have fluency, this is not the case. As an expat I’ve even adopted useful sayings such as: “get it sorted” (Brit), ciao (Italian) and “no worries” (Aussie). Some may not like how others use English but communication is really the key. I think HT’s goal is to communicate in English as opposed to, say French. Please stop harassing HT and let them proceed with the wonderful service they are providing the anglophone community of the Herault. Maybe you could write something positive to share your vast knowledge of the English language or teach Shakespearean classes. The English language will continue to spread and thus change as we become a global community. If it couldn’t it

What a load of c*** HeraldTimes, Bla bla, provence sun, bbb, languedoc pages. You are all self serving slaves to the corrupt powers of Montpellier and you think we don’t know. You should be ashamed. (Anon) And no name! Go and work for one of the magazines above for 1 day and see how much work they put in to give you a choice in our region. You sir are a buffoon. And what is this about Montpellier? Oh let me guess, men in black and alien abduction.....yawn. Re Letters issue 6 What is wrong with men in Speedos? I think they are sexy. I’ll wear a pair on the front cover next lucky people! Christmas Merry Christmas to one and all and if you prefer Seasons Greetings then I offer you those. Please continue to do the superb job of introducing where we live to us and others. You are by far the best researched and well written magazine in the area. But please do not forget those that have little over this time. There is suffering and hardship 12 months of the year so maybe at this celebratory time your readers could spare a thought or a donation to those less lucky. Thank you. Trevor Matheson


tale of three brothers – Guiral, Clair and Loup



he Legend of the Three Mountains of Languedoc

ccording to an ancient popular belief dating from the middle ages, the names of the three mountains - Saint-Clair in Sète, Saint-Loup in the north of Montpellier and Aigoual in the Cévennes, - have their origins in a beautiful, yet sad story about three sons of a great lord in Saint-Martin-de-Londres. Handsome, rich, but not yet accomplished, they had the misfortune to fall in love with

a tradition among women at this time. A new crusade had just been proclaimed (there had already been nine, if one counts the crusade against the Albigensians), which gave God an idea. He whispered His clever idea to the indecisive beauty: what if she sent her suitors to deliver Jerusalem? Accordingly she made a promise; she would give her hand to the brother who returned from the expedition

the same woman who, as you will probably gather, was neither ugly nor poor and whose reputation for being virtuous and gentle was widespread. The contenders gathered in their numbers around her uttering her name with adoration: Bertrade.

having accomplished the most glorious deeds. Thus, our three gallant young men set off, while their beautiful girl sat at her spinning wheel, armed with patience while she waited for their return. It is important to remember that leaving on a crusade to the orient has nothing to do with summer holidays, the

My Place

In this amorous fraternity we can ascertain that the eldest was called Guiral, the middle brother Clair and the youngest Loup. Troubled by the three brothers’ love for her, Bertrade did not know who to give herself to. With regards her heart, it raced in her chest for all three of them: the eldest pleased her with his grave nature and strength; she was attracted by the tenderness and insouciance of the second and melted before the kindness and dedication of the third. She could easily have chosen all three of them, but her parents were very formal: she must choose just one, at least to be her husband… Not able to choose, she turned to God to ask Him to guide her choice. It was

longest voyages went on for four years, while the average meant at least two years of absence. Mad with love, the three brothers fought like lions, vying with each other in terms of valor and daring in the hope of conquering the heart of the young maiden on their return. As for Bertrade, she started to find the wait long. There was no news and she feared the worst, blaming herself for the probable death of the three knights. Overwhelmed with worry, she became melancholic and reserved, refusing to eat. She cried day and night and finished by falling into a dark depression that even in our day psychologists would not have been able to cure, however, we cannot re-make history. 6

When the three brothers finally returned home from their crusade, covered in wounds and scars, fraught with impatience to know Bertrade’s decision, it was to assist at the funeral of the fair maiden, who had succumbed to her grief the day before they arrived. Devastated, the three lovers decided to withdraw from the world to live as hermits. They chose to go and live in the three mountains far from Saint-Martin-deLondres, which formed a triangle around the place where their beloved lay. Before leaving one another they swore to light a large bonfire on the anniversary of Bertrade’s death in order to honour her memory. The years passed. Every year on the same day – the 25th December – the inhabitants of the plain would see three enormous fires burning in the night, from Sète to mount Aigoual all the way to Pic Saint –Loup. And then one winter, only two lights burned in Bertrade’s memory. Guiral had surrendered

his soul. The following year there was just one fire: Clair too was gone. Loup survived them for a few years, and then he slipped away. Bertrade and her lovers would have fallen into oblivion if it wasn’t for the vigilance and the acknowledgment of the villagers. The three hermits had lived out their daily lives; they had prayed for the salvation of their souls. But they will never be forgotten in Languedoc, as it was to preserve their memory that the three mountains were baptized with their names. NEXT MONTH: Paul Elliott

And another thing.......says Abse Christmas is coming…oh no it’s not!


n my house we have a rule: no one is allowed to talk about Christmas until December 8th. Why? Because it’s my birthday on December 7th, obviously.

What do you mean you haven’t got me a present???? I don’t know, I light up your life with this column every month and what do I get in return? Nothing. Typical. Bloody readers. Anyway, this year I am making an exception to the rule – we have talked about and planned Christmas already in November. It’s all sorted, all done. Why? Because for the first time ever, my wife and I have got no kids with us for Christmas. None at all. Our son is in London with

other family, and our daughter will be in the US with her grandmother. So it’s just the two of us. Will we be living it up? Not really, we have decided that the absence of kids means actually we’ll be living it down. Lying-in as long as the pets let us and staying in out of the cold (apart from walking the dog) drinking as much red wine as we can. We have agreed no presents for each other – and we will have already sorted the kids out. And for Christmas dinner we both fancy a pizza. Saves on the washing up. So no manic Christmas shopping this year. And for various reasons I’m not attempting to flog my stuff at jolly Christmas markets. Instead I may visit a couple and do what all French people seem to do – walk around and make admiring noises without actually buying

anything. Which will make a change from sitting out in the cold (and the rain) for 10 hours to make a lousy 20€. And no Christmas tree, no Christmas decorations, no wrapping of presents and no frantic organisation of family games and quizzes that always end up in rows. And no it isn’t always me that starts them. Not always. Bloody cheek. Yes, for once I am actually looking forward to Christmas. It’s going to be relaxed, calm, and stress-free. You may feel sorry for me missing out on turkey and all the trimmings, sitting around with family and friends in front of a roaring log fire, sipping mulled wine, eating mince pies whilst singing “Good King Wenceslas” around a Christmas tree. But don’t waste your time, don’t waste your energy . I’m

not all that fond of roast turkey, can’t stand mulled wine, log fires give my wife breathing problems and who the bloody hell is King Wenceslas anyway? And what’s so bloody good about him? And don’t get me started on pine needles. No, no, I’ll be fine with my regular wine thanks, and maybe we’ll get some crisps in. And some chocolate biscuits. The only thing I’m a bit worried about is my wife. What if it’s all a put-on? What if she’s secretly bought me a present? Oh no. She doesn’t expect me to have bought her one does she? Oh god, maybe she’s expecting me to organise a surprise Christmas stocking full of goodies. Damn it!!! What do I do?

As a thank-you to our readers, we thought we would share a family recipe with you for this festive season. Actually, I use it throughout the year ... Something special for your recipe book !!!

Once again this year, I’ve had requests for my Vodka Christmas Cake recipe so here goes. (Made mine this morning!) 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 cup water, 1 tsp. salt , 1 cup brown sugar, Lemon juice, 4 large eggs, Nuts, 1 bottle Vodka, 2 cups dried fruit.

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Sample a cup of Vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality then Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it is best to make sure the Vodka is still ok so have another cup to test. Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the fruit up off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit getas stuck in the

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beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver Sample the Vodka to test for tonsisticity. Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something. Check the Vodka. Now shit shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the Vodka and wipe the counter with the cat

Haspy Halidoors!

English Bookshop Pézenas Christmas Crackers, cakes, puddings and pies, plus your favourite English foods. Delightful & unusual gifts for family, friends and you! A wide selection of English books. Rue St Jean between the Post Office and Church. 9am - 6pm Tuesday - Saturday

The not so hidden cost © Hugh MacCamley 2012


Market deregulation and financial freelancing have come at a heavy price for which society is paying dearly.

f the state had been capable of solving one of the greatest problems in our corporatist world, then the human tragedy of unemployment would have been solved years ago. Unfortunately, as Shylock pleaded with the Duke of Venice,”You take my house when you do take the prop/ That doth sustain my house; you take my life/ When you do take the means whereby I live.”(The Merchant of Venice,Act IV Sc I William Shakespeare).Therefore, as we approach another Christmas, a word signifying spiritual joy for some, indifference or alienation for others, it is important to sift through the apparent chaotic socio-economic debris of contemporary society, while attempting to make sense of the economic catharsis around us. Anyone who has experienced being out of work without immediate prospect of finding another job, will know the daily challenges endured. Each person out of work has their own story to relate. George Orwell, gives us a literary yet realistic description of what it is like being unemployed or in low-paid work as he claims, “ illiterate man, with the work habit in his bones, needs work even more than he needs money. An educated man can put up with enforced idleness, which is one of the worst evils of poverty.” (Down and Out in Paris and London). Orwell’s accounts provide self-imposed situations but authentic material for mature reflection about being a social outcast in relation to what are socially divisive issues. Sociologically, being out of work can have decisive human consequences.One of the worst repercussions is the loss of social capital. This entails a reduced capacity to network socially. I do not refer to the virtual skill of online communication but the interface of real people in real time. Thus, depending on variable factors such as age, qualifications and personal resources we can lose physical and emotional contact with the community around us especially when unemployed. Older people are more susceptible to this trend according to studies for example, Sarah Burgard(in “Social Forces” September 2008).

to home, for example, in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina with 45% unemployment.Therefore, how can we estimate the total loss of human social capital from such a fragmented environment? Significantly, across the EU there have been demonstrations against many of the social, political and economic injustices perpetrated in the name of laisser-faire economics; deregulated financing and profligate banking practices.Many of us have become cognizant with “Derivatives”, “Hedge-funds”, “Subprime Loans”,“Credit Default Swaps”, with Wall Street and other stock market managers and administrators who have made billions of dollars dishonestly from the heart-rending misfortunes of countless ordinary citizens.

One of the worst outcomes from these so-called “creative solutions” is mass unemployment. In the USA, for example,those who advocated a laisser-faire, deregulated system and who profited most from what amounts essentially to state white-collar crime, are the same who demanded that the resulting financial catastrophe be supported and bailed out by the tax-paying public.Indeed, the same public who suffer today’s situation of austerity measures, social insecurity and growing unemployment. Is this not crude hypocrisy? Further, the obvious relationship between unemployment and low-paid insecure work with poverty has been demonstrated in economic studies. In contrast, December is the time of year when rampant commercialization unleashes irresistible temptations to spend as we become market-consumers and media-driven to the Eldorado of endless material happiness, buying without constraint. In consequence, those whose poverty or social isolation has been a cross difficult to bear throughout the year have it made more unbearable as the “festivities” begin. The fact is the essential Christmas message has nothing to do with mass consumption or material ostentation but has an entirely antithetical spiritual signification not understood by most people. At time of writing, Stéphane Gatignon, the mayor of Paris’s impoverished northeastern suburb of Sevran, is sitting in front of his tent before the National Assembly in Paris, on the seventh day of a hunger strike. He draws our attention not only to the bankruptcy of his district but many others also. He decries a situation existing for 20-30 years but which is now unsustainable. The leftist government replies to “pigeons” but it must answer to the suburbs,he reminds his street audience. Government ministers understand nothing, he explains, as allocated regional funds are either unavailable or inadequate. There can be no conclusion here as unemployment will undoubtedly continue for some time to come. Nevertheless, is it not time that we saw those who have willfully profited most from years of economic laisser-faire, being brought to justice? If governments are sincere about making wealthier citizens pay more, they must begin with the ministerial and stock market profiteers who have turned our economies into glorified gambling casinos and left millions of people without homes, jobs or hope.

Younger members of our communities also suffer commensurately when there are fewer real job opportunities. Longer term, this may mean the negative development of resentments; anti-social behaviours; lapses into delinquency and loss of social identity. Personally, as someone who works mostly overseas, it is impossible to think of a worse feeling than being out of touch with the surrounding community, even more so with those closest. Reluctant as I am to resort to the depersonalizing nature of statistics, they do illustrate the depth of the ever-worsening problem. In France, officially 10.2% of the working population does not have work. In the UK, it is 8%. Unimaginably, in one month alone in the USA, November 2008, 533,000 workers lost their jobs! Unofficially, estimates in most countries are much higher. At the other extreme, there are failing societies where 95% have no real work such as Zimbabwe. However, this can hardly be used to create a false sense of security. The tragedy of Zimbabwe only serves as an admonition to all of us what could happen if we do not eradicate the underlying cyclical socio-economic problems experienced closer 8

Restaurant Review

Apicius Eats at..... La Table de Stephane

Hidden Corners in Agde When I was first informed about La Table de Stephane I was warned that it was off the beaten track, difficult to find but that it would be worth the effort. In truth, if one is coming from Sète you don’t have to be Columbus. As one leaves the highway going into Agde you will pass a small traffic circle. Shortly after that, there is a road going off to the right. Take it for about 300 meters and you will encounter wholesale food distributors and pool cleaning companies. You’ll know that you have arrived. The restaurant is located in a small industrial area. The interior space is divided into two salons, an inner somewhat more formal room that is used more in the evening and a room that looked to me like a closed off extension of someone’s veranda. This area has a very informal atmosphere with a simple décor of director chairs, some plants and a tile floor in neutral colors highlighted with a splotch of red. Luckily, it is not so informal as to exclude cloth napkins, which left me feeling more optimistic. The slate carrying our amuse-gueule arrived and while it was nothing too fancy the results looked inviting: warm prune wrapped in bacon, a small vegetable pastry and a tiny potage. Unfortunately, I happened to find a rubber band in the soup. What can I say, at least, it was a small one and while this is not the best way to kick off a meal especially if you are there to review a restaurant, I know these things happen and to her credit, our

server, who is also the chef’s wife, seemed as shocked as I was. My starter consisted of a delicious creamy mussel and fish soup, tapenade on toast with some fresh vegetables and a tasty sweet onion and tomato confit. While arguably a somewhat strange collection of participants, the result was quite satisfying, due to the different tastes working off one another but not

colliding. Another very tasty appetizer was the salmon terrine, a semolina pancake and olive oil with basil dressing Up next was a filet of sea bass accompanied by a risotto of black ink, fried fennel and green beans. The fish was made nicely doing justice to the delicacy of its flesh, the vegetables crunchy while still properly cooked

but the risotto was too glutinous in texture to be considered a success. The desserts threw up a series of the known but in unexpected ways. For example, there is a cigar “Montecristo” of white and dark chocolate, a baba au rum with salty caramel and rum raisin ice cream and a crème brûleé carambar (à la caramel candy). I opted for the last offering. While the caramel flavor was great, the burnt sugar covering was so excessively sweet that it was an invitation for a visit to my dentist or worse. The wine card while not devoid of other French regions certainly spotlights the Languedoc and goes from mid-range houses up to the heavy hitters. Going through the wine menu is not going to disappoint anyone who is familiar with the best of our regional offerings. However, at lunch there is also an abbreviated list of wines that are local and decidedly lighter on the pocket with glasses starting at 3€ and bottles going for 15€. More serious bottles for the evening start at 20€. To sum up, there is a lot of good, creative cooking going on here with attention to interesting combinations and pairings without becoming silly about it. There are, however, drawbacks in the location and décor but after having eaten well they become part of the wood- work, literally. Menus: Lunch- 15€, 23€; Dinner-28€, 42€, 60€, 80€

2 Rue des Moulins à Huile-PAE des 7 Fonts Tel: 0467.264522 (closed Sun. & Mon)

Dutch Christmas

In the Netherlands, families celebrate St Nicholas’s birthday the night before his feast day, December 6th. At one point during the evening, a loud knock will herald the arrival of Sinterklaas and at the same time candy may be thrown from upstairs; when the door is opened, a bag of gifts will be on the doorstep. Sinterklaas is a bishop who lives in Spain and has black helpers (zwarte pieten). For families with older children and adults, different twists are added to gift giving, which may include joke gifts or the drawing of gift ideas or names, often accompanied by poems with a “personal touch” that poke gentle fun at the recipient (or not, depending on the families). Wrapping the presents up in odd packages and planting a trail of clues is also part of the general fun, and can sometimes be pretty tricky to get to, depending on the squeamishness of the recipients. 9



Rosemary George



hristmas is a time for indulgence and one of the most delicious forms of indulgence is dessert wine, of which the Hérault has several, notably a range of Muscats from Frontignan, Lunel, Mireval and St. Jean de Minervois. These are classified as vins doux naturels, or naturally sweet wines, but they are really fortified wines; alcohol is added to the fermenting grape juice, so that the fermentation stops, leaving a certain amount of residual sugar. The art is to stop the fermentation at just the right moment, to obtain the required balance of sugar, alcohol and acidity. The flavour should be fresh and grapey. Most Muscats are best drunk within a year or two of the vintage. Amongst my favourites are Château de la Peyrade, with its smart caveau just outside Sète, and Chateau de Stony, the other leading producer of Muscat de Frontignan. John and Nicole Bojanowski make an elegant Muscat de St. Jean de Minervois, Douce Providence. Roussillon was known for its vins doux long before the creation of the table wine appellation of Côtes du Roussillon. Wines like Maury, Banyuls and Rivesaltes could be considered France’s answer to port. The young vintage wines are bright ruby and fresh with red fruit, while the rancio wines are aged in old cask casks for several years and develop some wonderful rich nutty flavours, not unlike a fine old tawny port. These really are an indulgence for Christmas, offering wonderful after dinner drinking, or a perfect accompaniment to a chocolate pudding. Domaine Cazes in Rivesaltes is one of the best exponents of the style, which is at its finest in Cuvée Aimé. And then there are any number of dessert wines made by

enthusiastic wine growers who have taken the chance to leave the grapes in a plot of vines after the main harvest. With the dry climate of the Languedoc, the grapes will start to shrivel in the wind and sunshine and their flavours will become rich and concentrated. The fermentation is stopped by chilling and filtering, once the right balance of sugar and alcohol is obtained. Amongst my favourites is Soulenque, a blend of Muscat and Sauvignon from Domaine de la Croix Belle in Puissalicon. It is rich and honeyed, but with refreshing acidity on the finish. The same process can also be applied

to red grapes, such as the delicious Caprice de l’Engarran, made from late harvest Grenache at the beautiful château of l’Engarran at Lavérune. Rosemary George / 2012

Busy, busy, busy Bobbie Trickett




aBSE 2012

To express this idea in French the phrases vary according to who / what is busy. For example, a busy day can be expressed as une journée très chargée; a busy town is une ville très animée and to say I am very busy this week you would say je suis très occupé(e) cette semaine. For a busy line on the telephone the word again is occupé: la ligne est occupée. If someone leads a busy life you could say that ils mènent une vie active. You can follow the logic....can’t you? Page 1

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ots of times prospective customers don’t know about your company, products or services, or can’t tell the difference between your company and what it has to offer compared to others. It is your job, once you know who your « best customers » are - your

keting tools that are used to satisfy customers and company objectives. Consumers often call the marketing mix “the offering.” Your offer is controlled by the following variables often referred to as « the 4Ps » in marketing: •Product: what the product or service is


Reaching your company’s goals through your target market

target market (see last month article) - to make yourself known to them. This is part of both your marketing strategy and plan. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. The marketing strategy is an explanation of the goals you need to achieve with your marketing efforts. It is shaped by your business goals. The marketing plan is how you are going to achieve those marketing goals. The issue is that most people try to set out to achieve the “how” without first knowing the “what.” This can end up wasting resources for a company, both time and money. Strategy is the « what », planning is the « how » and implementing the « doing ». Your Marketing Strategy should clearly state what you, your products or services are about along with short and long-term goals and

objectives. Your Marketing Plan is the document that will go into details as to how you are going to achieve the goals set out in your marketing strategy. The marketing plan is likely to cover the following points: -An executive summary with a brief description of products or services to be marketed and a recap of your goals -A situation analysis which will identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses compared to the existing market and competitors -A customer analysis based on the previously identified target market -A competitors analysis -A description of your marketing mix -A summary of actions to be implemented based on all of the information gathered above. Your Marketing Mix is a combination of mar-

about, its purpose, its packaging, name etc. •Price: how much your product or service costs; •Place: where the product or service is distributed or on offer; •Promotion: how you ensure your target market gets to hear about your products or services By using variations of these four components you have the ability to reach multiple consumers within your target market.Creating a successful marketing mix that will increase results often takes experimenting and market research. The key is to not always depend on “one” mix but to always explore other avenues and review the success of any marketing effort you make against the goal it was supposed to reach. One of the main keys to the success of any marketing program is the ability to work effectively in shaping marketing mixes that meet the nature and needs of your specified target market. It usually takes just one small element not to work in unison with the others to make the whole plan fail. Say your business specialises in baby fragrances, here are some example of things that could go terribly wrong if your mix doesn’t « make sense » to the target market… You would never dream of packaging a baby fragrance in a black or deep red box would you? Instead you would almost certainly go for soft pastel colours. You wouldn’t manufacture a fragrance that is heavy and spicy, but more likely a light delicate floral fragrance that smells soft and natural… Similarly, you wouldn’t chose to advertise your product in Bikers Monthly would you? Why? Simply because it is not what your target market – most likely mothers of young children between 0-5 years old with enough income to consider buying a non-essential « cosmetic » aspirational/luxury product for their young children – reads the most. These sound obvious and almost ridiculous, and yet it is astonishing how often companies, however big or small for that matter, make mistakes that obvious simply through lack of basic goals being set to reach a well-defined target market with clearly defined steps and actions.

Text by Alexandra Thevenet



f you are resident in France, you are considered also to be domiciled in France for inheritance purposes and your worldwide estate becomes taxable in France, where the tax rates depend upon the relationship to your beneficiaries. You may also be considered domiciled in your ‘home country’ and if so, this could cause some confusion, since your home country may also have the right to charge succession taxes on your death. What rules exist, therefore, to avoid double succession taxes? Furthermore, there are strict rules on succession and children are ‘protected heirs’ and so are entitled to inherit a proportion of each of their parents’ estates. Whilst French inheritance allowances may be reasonably generous between a parent and a natural child, this is not the case for other beneficiaries, particularly step-children. Hence, when people become French resident, there are usually two issues: -how to protect the survivor; and -how to mitigate the potential French inheritance taxes for other beneficiaries. There are a number of solutions for addressing these issues, for example, changing your marriage regime, buying property en tontine, making a ‘donation entré epoux’ or perhaps entering into a ‘family pact’ with your children. For financial assets, investing in a Contrat d’Assurance Vie provides a solution to meet both of the above issues, as well as providing you with control over who receives your financial assets after your death. However, everyone’s situation is different and so it is important to seek professional advice before taking any course of action. More information on French inheritance planning can be found in the full article at . If you would like to discuss your situation, in confidence, please contact me by e-mail at or by telephone on + 33 (0)4 68 20 30 17. Daphne Foulkes SIRET 522 658 194 00017 Numéro d’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800

French News - CARLA Bruni-Sakozy has spoken out in support of gay marriage and adoption in an interview with Parisian Vogue.


Business / Legal / News


Gill Pound

Colin Trickett

Nature Notes

In The Garden A

s I write we have had quite a mild autumn with just a slight ground frost once or twice. Apparently, the long range weather forecast is for a

relatively mild winter, after the “grand froid” of February 2012 here’s hoping! There is still time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials but make sure they are well watered. If you plant trees remember to stake them well so that they aren’t rocked by the Languedoc winds. During December think about the following tasks: •giving your tools a good clean and a wipe with an oily rag before storing them over the winter •if you have a lawn clean up the mower and aerate the lawn with a fork. Over winter is a good time to service the mower, and any other garden machinery you have. Clear dead leaves off the lawn and any low growing ground cover plants but remember that dead leaves are a resource! They can be added to a compost heap or they can be compressed into a plastic bag, tucked away in a corner of the garden and forgotten about – in a year or two you’ll have a bag of leaf mould – excellent organic material for your garden

•it’s a good time to manure rose bushes •if you haven’t already done so remember to protect any plants (e.g. bougainvillea during it’s first two winters, citrus etc) that are a

little tender – mulch the rootstock and have some winter fleece (voile d’hiver) handy so that you can protect foliage when there is frost. Other tender plants can be brought into a cold greenhouse or veranda for protection. •It is a good time also to thin out over crowded branches and to do cutting back generally of trees and shrubs, much easier to see what you are doing when the plants have lost their leaves •check all tree ties and stakes to avoid wind damage over the winter, similarly make sure that climbers and wall shrubs are tied to their supports •if you have plants in pots on your patio or terrace make sure that the pot is lifted by standing it on “feet” (old bits of tile or

similar) – this enhances drainage and avoids the possibility of water logging in the pot which would make the root system more vulnerable to cold The mild weather means that there are still many late flowering shrubs and perennials giving colour but this will all disappear as soon as we have some real frost. There are also many deciduous shrubs and trees also still giving autumn colour such as the Cotinus coggyria (Smoke Bush or Arbre à Perruque). But, once these leaves have fallen and frost has claimed late flowers then interest in the garden during winter is often from the structure of evergreen shrubs such as the native lentisc (Pistacia lentiscus) and the Portugese laurel (Prunus lusitanica). If you are looking for a Christmas gift for the gardener in your life why not think about a La Petite Pépinière Gift Voucher? For further information contact Gill Pound at La Petite Pépinière de Caunes Tel: 04 68 78 43 81, email 12

When When Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves...


have a feeling that here in Languedoc the seasons are defined not so much by the weather but more by what we see around us. The middle and southern parts of Hérault are dominated by vines and coniferous trees whereas the more northern, hillier parts of the Department have fewer vineyards and a far larger percentage of deciduous broad leaved trees. (This I find somewhat of a paradox because as a child I always connected conifers with Northern, mountainous countries such as Scotland, Norway and Canada). These different environments in the Hérault can lead to very different feelings of the seasons, particularly of autumn. Where there are vines and coniferous landscapes autumn can seem to go on until January and February when the pruners finally sweep away the last of the browns and golds of the vines, whereas the more northern part can see the end of the feeling of Autumn in early November when the harvest of the walnuts and chestnuts finishes and the leaves of the broad leaved trees fall to the ground. On the subject of nuts is that hairy old chestnut “Marron ou Chataigne”. Both are edible fruits of the Chataignier tree, the only real difference being that the Marron has only one nut in the outer case whereas the Chataigne can have two or three or even four nuts to the case. Neither should be confused with the inedible “Marron d’ Inde” known in the United Kingdom as Horse chestnut or Conker. The more northern villages and towns of our department celebrate this bounty of nuts with Fetes and also of course with their presence at the wonderful markets. The sheer sight and smell of the roasting chestnuts evokes autumn to perfection. Not that long ago the chestnut in particular was a very important part of the agricultural economy with thousands of tons being milled into flour and considerable quantities going into the production of beer ( still the case in Corcica). As little as a dozen years ago these feelings of autumn lasted until Christmas appeared in the shops. Here in Hérault that wasn’t normally until December! Now in 2012 the manmade environment of supermarkets has had the effect of foreshortening autumn in order to ever increase the span of “Christmas”. Perhaps by directing our focus more on the natural environment we may be able to conserve the season of “Mists and mellow fruitfulness” !

Good Be To Young Publication Day 12 December In 1913, The “Mona Lisa” painting, stolen in 1911 from the Louvre in Paris, was recovered in Florence, Italy.

Turtle Hospital


s part of a special trip organized for AGLR ‘tweens’, HT Young Journalist Lorelai Royal writes about The Sea Turtle Hospital, Seaquarium, Le Grau

The Seaquarium in Le Grau de Roi is amazing. It has sharks, eels, jellyfish, rays, seahorses and many beautiful, colorful fish. I can’t even begin to describe all the animals but here are some of my favorites: scorpion fish with white and brown stripes and funny little fins; big gray sharks and smaller, vivid purple-gray ones; and eels including a gigantic, neon moray. The graceful rays swim up the glass, their mouths and nostrils making smiley faces on their bellies. I also enjoyed

Listening to right now:

Diamonds -Unapologetic (Deluxe Version) -Rihanna Scream & Shout (feat. Britney Spears) - Coup de cœur (feat. Soprano) - Kenza Farah Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki Extended Remix) [feat. MGMT & Ratatat] - Kid Cudi Lovesexy - Prince

Tél: the fascinating sea cucumbers that would normally call the bottom of the ocean their home. There was a sea lion show too! I couldn’t believe the size of one sea lion; he must’ve been a grandpa! Trainers got in the water and swam with the sea lions and seals, encouraging them to do tricks. Awesome, yes, but what really sets this Seaquarium apart is its Sea Turtle Hospital (CESTMed). I felt very special when the marine biologist in charge of the on-site hospital, Jean Baptiste Senegas, gave us a private tour - on his day off. While telling us interesting things like sea turtles’ average lifespan is about 80 years, Senegas allowed us to feed the turtles. Of the six loggerhead turtles in the rescue: four had been trapped in nets and two had been hit by boats. One adult sea turtle that was struck by a boat is missing ¼ of its shell. The teen turtle is a little kooky as she has brain damage from a sharp boat propeller. It is sad that these incredible creatures (that have been around since the dinosaurs) now face extinction due to humans. It gives me hope that people like Jean Baptiste Senegas,

with the support of the Grau de Roi Seaquarium and its benefactors, are championing them. I found it heartwarming that whenever the CESTMed gets a call, Jean Baptiste Senegas personally rescues the turtle, takes it back to the center and nurses it to health. Once they are healthy the sea turtles are released into the Mediterranean. A rare exception is the teen turtle with brain damage. I find it devastating that she will never be free but am glad she is in such good hands. The trip to the Seaquarium really made me think about sea life and how fascinating sea animals are. How I would love to be one gliding through the water. Perhaps I could be a jellyfish just floating peacefully through the ocean. Or maybe a seal, jumping up into the air, slicing through the water when I come down. Or a seahorse...Well, maybe I can’t be one but I can help save these beautiful animals with my choices and a membership to a place like CESTMed. LE SEAQUARIUM BP 106 / Av du Palais de la Mer 30240 LE GRAU DU ROI

Tweens.....a mother writes

Okay, I admit it; I’m a bit

of a helicopter mom. I tend to hover. I’m not sure why. Before the birth of my daughter almost 11 years ago, I was a teacher then small business owner. I soon became her teacher. Homeschooling allowed us to spend so much time together. I gladly put her development at the top of my priority list. I have no regrets. I’ve drawn on my beliefs formed from child development classes, teaching and life experience. I think it is best summed up by George Benson’s lyrics made famous by the late Whitney Houston: “I believe the children are our future, teach them well, and let them lead the way.” It’s a beautiful song and an extraordinarily beautiful idea but is it realistic? Like so often the case this is something much easier said, or sung, than done. I’ve made mistakes but feel pretty comfortable with my overall approach during

her first 8 years. Then we sold our belongings, said goodbye to friends and family and moved to Europe. We’ve been in France about a year. Our daughter started school in January, her first school, ever. We thought it the best way for her to acquire the French that none of us has. All this was a lot of change for everyone but especially great for her. She’s amazing and doing well but I know it’s not always easy. I know it’s natural that her peers gain importance at this stage and can only imagine how that compounds the challenges of learning a new language and culture. Every time I get frustrated, oh, just a few times a day now, I think about how frustrating it is for her all day at school. I’m always looking for ways to reduce her stress. I read books & articles and contemplate what she needs. Most importantly, I try to listen to and understand her feelings and needs. That’s not so easy with a “tween.” At about 8 years of age kids become something else - ‘tweens’. They aren’t yet 13

fully fledged teens but definitely aren’t little kids anymore either. They become increasingly independent at an alarming rate. They want to and can do so much more for themselves. For better or worse, their peers become exponentially more important. My experience with this age is limited as I mostly taught younger kids but I am again led by my beliefs. I feel my role now is more as a facilitator. One of the main reasons we moved to Europe is that we want our children to become critically thinking, global citizens. On a more immediate and smaller scale we want them to respect and embrace other cultures whilst maintaining their native one. With this goal in mind we have joined a compatible anglophone group, AGLR. Within this burgeoning group we found the warm support to develop a youth-led tween/teen club. O.K., please excuse one more lyric on loan- “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”; with tweens leading the way, who knows where we’ll go!”

Words: Heather Baker

On a bright, sun filled day, as I rounded the

bend towards Roqueredonde, the golden roof ornaments of the Lerab Ling temple catch the light, making it seem as if this extraordinary building has risen out of the valley below, transcending the continuum of invisible colours to become one with its environment. Rows of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags waver in the breeze sending their beneficent vibrations across the countryside... Built to preserve the spiritual traditions and culture of Tibetan Buddhism, the temple sits in the heart of the Lerab Ling Retreat Centre, which was founded in 1991 by the world-renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher and author of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche. Originally inspired by the Rumtek monastery in northern India, every aspect has been designed and built using a combination of traditional and modern techniques – from the pillars, both inside and outside the temple, which were moulded and painted by a team of traditional artisans from Tibetan communities in Nepal to the innovations not seen in traditional monastery design of floorto-ceiling windows and a glass pyramid constructed above the main shrine to illuminate the seven-metre high statue of the Buddha Shakyamuni. The temple was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 2008.

project of building the monastery. Not wishing to go ahead without the mayor’s support Odile recalls the mayor’s response, “In 1963, I chose to welcome the Lanza del Vasto community against the will of the city council and I never regretted that. I’m a Christian, and if my community were to be the most spiritual of the area, I’d be very proud of it!”… That was the beginning of Lerab Ling. Monsieur Fabreguettes passed away in 2006. His funeral took place at the same

refugee situation and became an active campaigner. The Dalai Lama’s peaceful approach to the situation, including his attitude towards the Chinese government touched my heart. It led me to questioning myself. I also found his philosophy useful for personal growth. How long have you been at Lerab Ling? I have been here at Lerab Ling for 7 years, I was in Geneva before. What was your family’s reaction when you decided to become a monk? My family was very supportive. It was perhaps hard for my mother at first because of my being away from home. But in the end when I see her it is the quality of time we have together, rather than the quantity. And I write to her – writing things down is a good thing – that way more of the essentials are said. We have found a new way to communicate. What is the route to becoming a monk? Overall we take refuge in three jewels: Buddha, the teachings and within the community of practitioners. As well as the teachings and daily practices, the journey is different for each monk depending on what that individual needs to grow. At the beginning, like many novices, I was very enthusiastic; I found the teachings a personal refuge. However, it was the process of living within the community that was much more challenging, harder. It takes time. One of the first things you learn or go through is the contemplation of impermanence or death. Life and death go hand in hand. In Buddhism death is important, it is about change. Death has great potential, it is a cross roads. There are two important things at the moment of death - the first is the way you live

Lerab Ling

The Beginning Twenty years ago, after finding the land on which to build Lerab Ling, two of Sogyal Rinpoche’s oldest French students, Maxime and Odile De Simone, went to the mayor, Monsieur Yves Fabreguettes, to present the

time that Professor Samdhong Rinpoche was blessing the newly finished temple in Lerab Ling. During the walk from the church where his funeral service was held to the cemetery situated in the middle of the fields in Roquerdonde, Odile and Maxime De Simone were struck how deeply Monsieur Fabreguettes was connected to the history of Lerab Ling. The community of Lerab Ling Lerab Ling is permanent home to a congregation of lay members and eleven ordained monks and nuns who, as well as observing a daily schedule of prayer and meditation, contribute to the running of Lerab Ling. I spoke to Jigme, who kindly took some time out of his daily schedule to talk to me about his life as monk at Lerab Ling: How long have you been a monk? 3 years. What was it that moved you to follow this path? When I was growing up in Switzerland there was a lovely priest near us who was very open and modern in his thinking. Later, as a student, I become interested in the Tibetan


your life and the second concerns your state of mind when you die. Within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition there is a sacred link between lineage, that of the master and student. There is a place for kindness and compassion, understanding and acceptance. Never forgetting the goal of individual enlightenment. The leader shows a clear path for anyone to be able to face the challenges of modern life; each mentor has to meet these goals. Is there a daily collective practice among the monks and nuns? There is always prayer for the Tibetan and Chinese people. We say prayers of support for those affected by environmental catastrophes, such as the recent storm in North America, as well as daily prayer requests we receive for individuals who are seeking support for themselves or loved ones. The essential teachings of Buddha are: Do not harm; Do good; and transform/turn your mind. If you cannot help someone directly at least don’t harm them. Don’t keep malice and hatred in your heart. If you are able to help do not hesitate. What is life like with the other monks and nuns? The monks and nuns at Lerab Ling each have their unique character. It’s like living with ten other people! Which can be good and bad! The community is very rich here, there are many languages spoken and different age groups, it is a wonderful melting pot. For me

this is really helpful. What are the specific challenges faced in our western, modern world? There are many challenges faced by the western or modern world. I think one of them is lack of self esteem. In modern society it is about showing off, we can’t afford to be losers. But we have to learn to be losers. If society shows failure as something to avoid then how can we progress? This leads to a downward spiral. I learn a lot from failure. With Buddhism you can learn to transform almost anything. Masters admit mistakes, and then transform them. Do not try to separate your everyday life from your spiritual commitment. Try to find sacredness in all of your activities. I have often reflected on how sitting and meditating, lost in my own bliss – although an essential part of my every day practice, is not real life. The challenge is to stand up and bring this same experience into your everyday life. A true practitioner can do this –the rest of us are all just playing. What is your relationship like with locals? Very good. Sometimes people will approach me when I am wearing the robes and ask or say really profound things. What is your contribution to Lerab Ling?

I am currently in charge of people coming on personal retreat. Everyone is welcome – from any denomination or background. The meditation and teachings can be transformative. People come to find a place to take a break or to help them deal with life. My wish is that the programme of retreats becomes even more active. Inwardly it is important to keep the tradition alive and to continue to create good practitioners, as well as setting up long term retreats and studies. The temple will be open for public visits from March 1st 2013. For more information and to learn about forthcoming events visit: Lerab Ling, L’Engayresque, 34650 Roqueredonde, France


Photos copyright Barry Beckett 2012 15

All I want for Christmas is.......... What I would like for Christmas is…

He won first prize at the Mougins (France) Jewellery Salon in 2011 with his Astrolab spinning necklace. His work is mostly bespoke jewellery, using silver, gold and precious stones. Andrew Prince, fine crystal designer qualified him as: “The best Silversmith seen around”. His latest actuality is Mokumé declensions - 3 metals (silver, copper and brass) forged together in the Japanese tradition (damass swords/knives). Rings, necklaces, earrings, brooches, bracelets for women, as well as a stunning collection for men! He will be happy to meet and talk about individual designs in his workshop, on a rendez-vous basis in Faugères (34600).

Jan Farrant Bespoke Jewellery

Contact details: Mobile: 06 71 04 41 55 e-mail: facebook: jan farrant bespoke jewellery

Jan Farrant was born in London in 1976. He came to France with his parents and spent a major part of his childhood in the Hérault. He worked and trained in jewellery making in London and then in Germany. Jan is a unique designer. His work is powerful and honest.

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‘T’s for the people that are proud to be from the ‘34’. 100% cotton hi quality t-shirts and polo shirts for men and women Available through the Herault Times

Herault 34


* It rains about 89 days/year in the Hérault region * Approximately 46% of the inhabitants of the Hérault live in the Montpellier area. * Montpellier is twinned with 12 cities around the world * Montpellier is the leading region in France for company creation * 18 business parks for industry, technology, science, and edutainment * There are also 544 medical personnel and over 7000 non-medical personnel working in the Montpellier Universities Medical System. 16

Lifestyle I

t took about 2.5 million years ...........

with whole grain flour, Maple Syrup or dark dark brown sugar, South American Rapadura sugar (from your local organic shop), which still contains the naturally occurring minerals. Try to reduce (or give up) highly processed white carbs, such as white bread, white flour and white rice.

for early human tool makers to evolve into our modern human ancestors who lived about 200,000 years ago. We are the last born in a continuous life line that goes back 3.8 billion years. WOW! That’s a lot of healthy people, getting on and procreating, just for US to be here. So why are many of us so unhealthy? The fact is that in the last 150 years we have been doings things to ourselves that are entirely new to our species, and new to the planet. We evolved over aeons to adapt to the food supply that was naturally present in our environments. We adapted to every altitude, humidity, hot and cold climates, forest, desert, savanna and cave to eat whatever was alive around us. Those inner abilities to obtain nutrition from natural resources are coded in our genes. As change takes time, we are not adapted to eat the cleverly concocted industrial chemicals of colours, artificial flavourings, genetically modified proteins and carbohydrates that the food corporations market to us as food. No one really knows how safe they are. So, how lucky we are to be alive and kicking and eating in Hérault, where we are fortunate to have good quality, fresh food that we can use to boost our immune systems through the winter months and beyond… In our practice, many people seek help for their stress, aches and bodily ailments, some arriving with whatever cold, flu or stomach bug is doing the rounds. Yet much of their misery is self inflicted: smoking, too much alcohol, eating processed “food”, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and inflexible mind set, which can all diminish the immune system. Here is some common sense WINTER ADVICE to help you and your family get through the darker months.

Whenever you can, buy organic and LOCALLY GROWN veggies and fruits from people you get to know in the markets. Eat what is in season and local, because it is treated less and comes naturally from our environment.

Anything sweetened with corn syrup will tire your liver and eventually put fat round your middle. It is hidden in many processed foods and drinks. Manufacturers label it as a fruit sugar, which is a lie.

- At the first sign of nose/throat infection, colds and flu, I start taking vitamin C. Up to 5 times 1000 mg a day for three days will usually keep you from getting sick.

Hugging fellow humans face to face feels good, but it spreads winter infections. In France everyone kisses cheek to cheek on meeting. Even my German and English friends have taken up the habit. If you want to reduce the risk of infection you can do what I do. I tell people I have just had a bad cold, and they back off.

WASH HANDS regularly. Keep your hands away from you face, that’s where the virus and bacteria enter your system from all the people and things we touch. When you get home, WASH YOUR HANDS. This REALLY REDUCES INFECTIONS.

Get lots of good sleep, especially before midnight which is more regenerating. Best is to BREATH fresh air in the sunshine, move your body, and know you are really alive! Barry Beckett trained in Rolfing Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado. In practice in Berlin since 1992 with his osteopath wife Annette Beckett DO, now in Lodève, Centre d’Ostópathie et d’Intégration Structurelle (Rolfing)

EAT FRESH - lots of seasonal fruits, clementines, oranges, also apples, pears. Avoid white sugar as it tires your system, so that you crave more sugar! (that includes bought cakes, biscuits, sweeties, etc. which can be very challenging around Christmas). Bake your own



f you smoke and like it, then really enjoy it, be positive about it so you have no internal conflict. If you smoke and wish you didn’t, make a deal with the part of you that wants to smoke and the part of you that doesn’t. For example say, “You can smoke one cigarette after a meal if you let me be smoke free for two hours”. Get the smoker part to agree, “Ok I can do that” with the non-smoker part. And if you find yourself smoking and it tastes bad, put it out. Only smoke when you enjoy it. Most people naturally start reducing how much they smoke from this regime. 17

ith W n O ’s What What’s On Where

For an up to date guide to what’s on in the Herault please visit Wow or The HErault Times websites Saturday December 08 1830hrs Octon - Exhibition (Until 14/12) Noirs Velours: Exhibition of international print makers - Miguel Aldana, Holly Downing, Stuart Duffin, Maurice Pasternak, Christine Ravaux, Judith Rothchild, Donatella T. et Mikio Watanabe Vernissage Friday 7th December, 18h30 To see the programme see: Villages des Arts et Métiers 34800 Octon Thursday December 13 2030rs The Mojomatic - 1 rue Cambaceres Forest Pooky: Forest is from Ardèche but grew up in Washington DC. His world is at the crossroads of folk and punk rock. Friday December 14 2030hrs Aniane In Motus à l’Ancienne Chapelle de l’Abbaye Théâtre de marionnettes par la Cie Les Voisins du Dessus – tout public à partir de 11 ans – 20h30 – Durée : 50 min. Réservation indispensable Office de Tourisme Intercommunal de Gignac au 04 67 57 58 83

Sunday December 30 Lamelou-Les-Bains - Opera (until 05/01) Fete d’Operetes Information and bookings, Office de Tourisme Lamalou : 04 67 95 67 35 Until January 6 Exposition au Restaurant Le Bosc “ La RÉSERVE “ Croisées photographiques Tel. 0467885022 Les Végétales d’Isabelle LECOMTE Contact :

Sunday December 16 0900hrs SAINT ANDRE DE SANGONIS Marché de Noël artisanal de 9h à 18h, complexe sportif. Contact: 04 67 57 60 00

Friday January 11 1800hrs The “Friends of the Anglophone Library” are organising their annual Book Quiz. There will be four teams competing and everyone in the audience will be able to participate. Martin Luther King Annex, 27 Boulevard Louis Blanc Montpellier There will be a charge of 5 euros Please email to before 5th January to let us know if you plan to attend. ***

Faenas Digitales Version 13 Music - DJ Béziers, Salle Zinga Zanga

Entry Free but space limited

Thursday 27 décembre 2012 - 20h00 à 04h00 Quentin Mosimann - Tristan Garner - Mathieu Bouthier - The Smiley Dogs

Brainsucker - Caswell Vera - Anthony Hypster - Youri Svetha

Mathieu Cellucci - Flo - Charles Jalade - Maelle - Mademoiselle Elize 04 67 36 82 30 - 18

In the third part of Simon Coulshaw’s account of being a winemaker he brings us up to date with:

A Wine Maker’s Diary - September/October/November


hen people ask me “How was the harvest?” there is only one thing I can say with complete certainty, and that’s “truly exhausting”.......... or words to that effect. The air is full of the sounds of mechanical harvesters and keen anticipation, it’s already well into September and there still no sign of picking at Domaine des Trinités. The picking team are getting nervous, with tales of other domains being more than half way through and I ‘m feeling the pressure to get going as well as all of my neighbors were well underway, but I manage to resist the temptation. You see, the “when to pick” question is the single most important of the year, too early and the fruit won’t be ripe, too late and the crop could be ruined by rot or the sugar levels and resulting alcohol too high. For us this year the “man from Del Monte” moment came on the 10th September, we were off, the first to come in was the Viognier, one our our white varieties and as usual it is a brutal start to the harvest. On the whole, when making white wine the idea is to ferment the juice without the presence of the skins. In order to reduce the risk of oxidation and deliver clean crisp white wines at Domaine des Trinités this means whole bunch pressing. The grapes are harvested in to small 20 KG crates, transported in the back of my van to the winery, emptied directly into the press, taking about 60 crates to fill the press. The pressing then commences whilst you leg it back with the empty crates to the vines where my pickers were already waiting impatiently having filled all the remaining crates. Full crates are again loaded in to the van, taken back to the winery where the pressing of the first lot must be finished, the press emptied of the skins, cleaned, refilled, second pressing started before you head off back to the vines where my pickers are again waiting impatiently..........well you get the idea, lots of lifting heavy crates, slipping around in grape juice in what is some sort of mad race reminiscent of It’s A Knockout. After the Viognier much to my pickers disdain, I called off the harvest until the next vine was ripe to my satisfaction. At this point I should talk about ripeness, as the ripeness of the fruit will dictate the quality of the wine. Ripeness is measured largely by sugar content and acidity with the former going up and the latter decreasing during ripening but there is a third and utterly critical measure, phenolic maturity. The polyphenols are the complex compounds that give the wine its depth, aroma and flavour profile and ultimate desirability. Simple analysis will tell you the sugar and acidity level but the only real test on phenolic ripeness is taste. About a week later we started on some Syrah, a much easier proposition as the red grapes only need to be destemmed and gently crushed and put into tank to start the fermentation on the skins and pips which is of course where most the colour and tannins come from. More fun followed when we picked and pressed the second of our whites, the Roussanne followed by the rest of the red varieties,

the remaining Syrah, Carignan, Grenache Noir and Mourvedre, finishing on the 9th October. The fruit held up really well, so as whereas in 2011 there was more fruit on the vine but 25% had to be left behind due to rot, this year with perhaps a little less fruit, the losses were negligible despite having to wait a bit longer to achieve full ripeness. A very good year in the offing I think! So, the picking is over, the post harvest party hangover receding, pickers moved on having been paid, time to relax. Well not quite. Yes the whites are a real pain to press at harvest time but at least it’s done, whereas all the tanks full of the reds still have to be pressed. Once the fermentations are finished and the wine’s extraction from the skins is correct, all the fruit has to be literally dug out and pressed. This entails pumping off the wine and then climbing in to the tanks and shoveling tons of skins and pips in to the press - a messy, tiring job but not without its perks. The alcohol fumes and the unique acoustics inside the tanks make even my singing sound good although I’ve yet to have any third party corroborate this opinion. The red wines will then undergo their second fermentation, the malo-lactic and can then be put to bed for the winter. November draws to a close and so now only that small matter of hand-pruning our 100,000 vines before the spring, but more of that in the next installment. To contact Simon about his award winning wines please contact him at: Domaine des Trinités, 6 chemin de l’Aire. 34320 Roquessels Tél :


Thank you Penny for sharing with us your Treasures of the Hérault Chocolaterie: Douceurs d’Oc Douceurs d’Oc and master HIDDEN chocolatier Emmanuel Servant TREASURES invite you into a world of the finest, handmade chocolates. A regular supplier to Harrods, all of the ingredients are carefully selected and refined to suit all tastes. Zone artisanale, 11 bis rue des artisans, Marseillan, 34340 Tel : 04 67 26 06 41 Open Tuesday to Saturday 9h-12h30, 14h-17h15 and Sundays 9h-12h30

Winners Issue 6 John Douglas 2012

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What’s in a a name....

Sue Hicks continues her look into the history of Street names

French history through street names – Woodrow Wilson 13 December 1918. The French port of Brest was filled with British, French and American battleships as the Presidential party disembarked from the steamer which had carried them for 9 days from New York. The streets were lined with laurel wreaths and flags and huge numbers, many dressed in traditional Breton costumes, filled the pavements and clambered up lampposts and trees and on to rooftops. Breton bagpipes played and there were repeated shouts of “Vive L’Amerique. Vive Wilson!” The next day, descending from the train which had carried them to Paris, the party were met with even greater crowds and with flowers and bunting. They were driven in an open top carriage through streets lined with soldiers as guns boomed across the city to announce the arrival of President Woodrow Wilson, the first serving United States president to visit Europe. Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States and had been re-elected to a second term in 1916 on a slogan, “He kept us out of the war.” By April 1917 the United States joined the Great War and Wilson’s ringing words, “The world must be made safe for democracy” accompanied the fresh troops and resources which were soon on their way to Europe where they were greeted as Saviours and the greatest hope for world peace. In January 1918 Wilson had presented a Fourteen Point peace plan that brought the Allies and the Germans to the bargaining table after the armistice of November 1918. (Clemenceau quipped in response to the 14 points, “Even God Almighty only has 10.”) Paris was the centre of the world during the Congress of the 25 victorious allied and associated powers which met from 18th January, 1919. The first six months were dominated by the Big Three, President Wilson, British Prime Minister Lloyd George and the French Prime Minister Clemenceau. They often met without their advisors and spoke in English as Clemenceau had lived and taught in the United States for four years. Groups of delegates also met and weeks and months of negotiations and often heated and ill-natured argument followed. There was

little solidarity between the powers and distrust fuelled the clashes of personality and the Old and New world cultures. Lloyd George said that Wilson came to the peace conference like a missionary to rescue the heathen Europeans and there was a general dislike of the moralising. Presbyterian former Princeton professor Wilson was dismayed by the nationalistic aspirations of the different countries attending the conference and was forced to make concessions to national, territorial and economic demands. He hoped that the League of Nations for which he argued so hard would be able to right wrongs. At the insistence of Clemenceau, the magnificent setting where the victorious German Chancellor Bismarck had signed the armistice which ended the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 was the stage for the signing of the Versailles treaty with Germany on 23rd June 1919. The President left France the same day saying to his wife, “Well little girl it is finished and as no one is satisfied, it makes me hope we have made a just peace but it is all in the lap of the gods.” President Wilson arrived in Washington on 8 July to be greeted by huge crowds at the train station. Despite enormous efforts of persuasion by Wilson which contributed to a stroke, the Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles or the League of Nations without amendments which Wilson would not accept and in March 1920 the Senate failed to give its consent to the treaty. Wilson was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace but was too ill to be able to travel to the award ceremony. President Wilson may have died a disappointed man but France celebrates their ‘Saviour’ with 126 road name signs either calling him Wilson, President Wilson or Woodrow Wilson. On 21st January 2013, when the 44th President Barack Obama, also a Democrat, makes his second inauguration speech it will be one hundred years after President Wilson made his first. (For soundless newsreel clips see www.criticalpast)



elcome to the art pages of The Herault Times. All articles are taken from the bi-lingual Visual Arts magazine L’Artiste or

the L’Hérault Art website. Please visit us at or If you have an exhibition or art event and would like to see it on these pages please drop us a line at All exhibitions are online at

Photography exhibition ‘Suggestions de Vie’ by Luc Micola Open until 6th January, 2013

Suggestions de vie (suggestions of life), is a photographic exhibition at the Schistes Photo Gallery (Galerie Photo des Schistes), situated in the Vault Winemakers of Cabrières, near Clermont l’Hérault. Luc Micola is currently exhibiting a first series of photographs which compels us to ponder the development of newly built homes in the area, using this theme as topic for reflection on a ‘way of life’. ‘A fairly recent phenomenon is growing in the middle Hérault Valley; with the new motorway and the increase in population the need to find housing becomes more and more pressing. The housing estate becomes then a form of panacea; the dream to be an owner, ‘independence’ in the neighbourhood; and social status. Luc Micola has spent time in these new housing estates. He depicts houses as real portraits and questions whether the villas are mirror images of their owners? Choosing that special hour before night fall for shooting the images, he captures what the occupants see at the very moment they return home in the early evening. But is it always about home as a warm and welcoming place? Haven’t

L’ASSOCIATION GARE EXPO photography as well as textile art.

(W341003691) LAMALOU-LES-BAINS A range of literary events have also taken place in the Gare, such as poetry readings, rehearsed and unrehearsed play he Gare-Expo Association was readings and literary workshops. There founded in 2009 by Faith O’Reilly have also been two successful and Sandra Freeman to provide a space pantomimes produced by members of for artists to exhibit their work and for Gare Expo. literary events to be held. The Earlier in 2012 Faith O’Reilly asked the Association was so named because the Association if they could find an gallery space provided (and owned by alternative space to host their activities as Faith and Sandra) was part of the old she wanted to set up her own studio in the station in Lamalou-les-Bains, having premises. Members of the a large light room downstairs and four Committee approached the Mairie of smaller rooms upstairs. With strategically Lamalou-les-Bains to see if they could placed lighting, the gallery proved to be suggest alternative premises and were an excellent place for exhibitions. Since offered the use of the Centre Ulysse, a 2009 the Association has continued to centre owned by the municipality and exhibit a high standard of work by a which had already been used for variety of local and international artists, exhibitions in the past. In September not only paintings but also sculpture and



Television and multimedia screens replaced the fireplace? What are the lives which unfold behind these walls?’ ‘Suggestions de vie’ is a contemplation of a certain kind of suggestion. The particular ‘between two lights’- interior and exterior- atmosphere, tinged with the falling blue, turning into black sky, to be replaced by human-generated electric lighting, does suggest that perhaps behind these walls one would find a fairly different reality. The will to control events leading to the notion of social perfection, the thirst for security, the isolation one might feel, or again the individualism linked with a contemporary way of life, originates somehow in a suggested ‘marketing packaging’ well wrapped in consumerism. ‘Suggestions de vie’ appear strongly through these photographs. Taken over a period of two months, each home carefully chosen, these 10 large format photographs (114X76 cms) draw on our fascination with the so called ‘banal’, while exerting a sort of power designed to sell a particular vision of the South of France. Galerie Photo des Schistes, Route de Fontes, 34800 Cabrières. Tel: 04 67 88 91 60 Free entry: Monday to Saturday 9h -12/14h -18h, Sunday 10h-12h/15h-18h Text by Dominique Aclange

2012 the Association held its first exhibition in the foyer of the Centre – an exhibition of ceramics which was enormously successful and since then there have been two other exhibitions which have proved to be equally successful. The next exhibition in the Centre will be in March 2012. The Association has a membership of just over 100 people. Membership costs 15 Euros per person, per year and entitles members to attend the “vernissage” of each exhibition and participate in all activities organised by the Association. If you are interested in the Association and would like to join, please contact Lindsey Blake, the Secretary. 04 67 95 71 79

Gerard Calvet and the Groupe Montpellier-Sete


heir names don’t figure on the pages of Wikipedia – Descossy, Couderc, Fournel, Calvet, Desnoyer, Dezeuze, Bessil. Even here in the Languedoc, their home and inspiration, their work is rarely seen. Yet for the art world 40 years ago they were the future.

In the early days they were based in and around Sète, eating every day at Germaine and Attila’s Bar des Pins – a hang-out of artists, actors, stage directors and film-makers, some already famous, others tipped to become so. The food was cheap and plentiful (so were the rats), the atmosphere intimidating but stimulating – these were mythical figures in their day. There the artists thrashed out their credo: painting must be modern, must reflect the Languedoc truthfully, be figurative and above all it must be construit – the structure of the painting, the composition, must be solid. In 1953 seven of them formed the Groupe Montpellier-Sète. Les Sept de Sète. They painted their region, its twisted pine trees spikey against the blue sky, its rocky, broken flats, the austere garrigue and iridescent étangs. The light at midday pitiless, the low sun bringing out a range and depth of colour unimaginable even an hour earlier. Each painter evolved in his own way, but the Groupe Montpellier-Sète marked their region with their art, 26 exhibitions in 30 years, here in the south of course, but also in Heidelberg, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York. In the 1960’s and 70’s they were the painters of the South of France.

Now only two of them are still alive, Pierre Fournel and Gérard Calvet. Fournel (89) has moved into a mystic, abstract art, but Calvet (86) still fiercely champions figurative painting. Calvet is a colourist, and his painting dazzles at first, with vibrant, unashamed sensuality. But the Mediterranean he grew up in, so pleasant-seeming today, was then an unforgiving place of hard work. His landscapes are not gentle, comforting idylls, they are broken up by bold diagonal or vertical lines, cernes. Still lifes give him the freedom to arrange form and colour in infinitely variable possibilities, a classical genre seen through the prism of modernity, where again Calvet’s strong lines reinforce the geometry he has created in his mind. He paints as he sees, but never reproduces reality. In 1968, just as they were gaining international recognition, the world of the Groupe Montpellier-Sète crashed. Paris went overboard for Contemporary Art. France’s new President Pompidou adored huge abstract works and wanted more, so that’s where he poured state money – in millions. The Groupe Montpellier-Sète committed the cardinal sin of remaining faithful to its ideals. Their politically incorrect paintings and sculptures were lugged down to the museum basements, where they remain, gathering dust: a museum’s grants are for “current” artists only. That the Groupe MontpellierSète expressed their region with greater understanding than anyone since counts for nothing. The theme that dominates Gérard Calvet’s work is again politically incorrect: the female nude. On one level his nudes express sensual pleasure – on a beach, under pine trees, the Mediterranean as a playground for the senses. But on another level those nudes are also his statement about art. For Calvet, the central component of art is the human figure, and he shows it at its most vulnerable – naked – when it is also, paradoxically, most powerful. His female nudes are a direct link back to the masters of the 19th century but also a nod even further back, to the sensual world of Greek myth: goddesses and nymphs laughing, singing in the sun-dappled olive groves, arousing the desire of the Olympian gods. Calvet’s eloquent statement against 23

Copyright Tim King 2012

abstraction. This year he had three exhibitions, last year a retrospective in Beziers, in 2005 Sète honoured him with “60 Years of Painting”. And still he works, every day. Relentlessly

searching to get the colours exactly as he knows they have to be. That very particular blue, called by his peers Calvet blue. “As a child I saw three things: the soft curve of the hills, the stark perpendiculars of the cypress trees – and the blue. We lived 50 kilometres from the sea, but the blue of it was always there in my head.”

Images clockwise from top left; 1992-Lumiere setoize 1954-plage nouvelle sidi 1975-taureaux de camargue 2005-Coing aubergine et potiron 1963 Bouzigues

A table for two please


here’s a place in my village where lots of people go for lunch. I’ve never been there myself but the way people leave chatting in groups, looking satisfied and well-set up for whatever the coming afternoon holds seems to indicate that they’ve eaten well. The menu, which changes every day, looks good with lots of fresh salads and vegetable and the

prices are very reasonable. So why haven’t I been yet? Well, I’m just a smidgen too old because, for those of you who haven’t guessed yet, the eating place I’m talking about is the lunchtime canteen of the local primary school. If ,as I suspect, many of the people reading this are products of the fatty spam, lumpy mashed potato and bullet peas era of British school dinners, French school dinners will be a revelation. The idea that school dinners are not necessarily a throat clenching ordeal, dolloped onto your enamel plate by grim-faced dinner ladies behind a serving hatch will perhaps come as a surprise. It needs to be acknowledged that school dinners in the UK have recently improved

considerably (thank you, Jamie Oliver). In France school dinners were first formally regulated in 1971 and an updated set of regulations came into force a year ago. These require that each meal contains a protein element with accompaniment, for example rice or a fresh vegetable, a dairy product, plus a starter or dessert. In many schools the norm would be a simple starter, usually some form of salad, a main course with accompaniment followed by cheese and/or dessert which is often fresh fruit. The same dish should not be served more often than every 2 months. On every 20 meal cycle there must be at least four meals of “quality” meat, four of “quality” fish and other days the protein should be in the form of eggs, cheese or offal. It might seem surprising that schools do not make any provision for pupils to bring

a packed lunch, but since in France the midday meal is very much the main meal of the day a packed lunch would be verging on the unthinkable. This means that, in primary schools at least, there is a simple choice-pupils either eat a full school lunch or they go home to eat. The school lunchtime experience is not simply about food since in primary schools in particular great attention is paid to the social aspect of eating together and learning to behave in a civilised manner at the table. Children usually eat in table groups with at least one adult with them, all start to eat at the same time and they do not leave the table until everybody has finished. During the meal they are expected to converse sensibly and to be considerate to their table companions. It’s no wonder that parents moving to France from other countries notice a marked improvement in their children’s social skills and, understandably, their eating habits. One mother moving to France from Canada was amazed that her rather picky and unadventurous children, accustomed to a child-centred diet of bland food suddenly began to eat at school such “adult” foods as calamari. It was, she realised, simply because this was the accepted norm and all the other children ate what was put in front of them without question. “Their eating habits,” she says “were transformed virtually overnight and they began to eat things their father and I would think twice about” So what is the response of the paying public, the pupils and their parents? Parents report that while children still complain about individual dishes which they don’t like “there are very few moans” as one parent said. An Anglophone mother of two teenagers at school locally commented, “it gives me a real feeling of satisfaction knowing that the meals are so good-they get four courses, which always include a salad, a protein and vegetable, cheese and either fruit or a dessert.” An informal poll carried out among schoolchildren themselves showed that the favourite main course is steak and chips! (There are regulations limiting the serving of deep fried food so chips do not appear often) Other top 10 favourites include paella, moules and cheese souffle! The cost of this cornucopia also helps to 24

keep complaints to a inimum-school dinners usually cost somewhere between 3€ and 7€ with a wide range of concessions depending on family circumstances. The fact that meals are a set “formule” with a set charge minimises uncertainty and spiralling costs, as well as making sure that children get a balanced meal. A recent trip to my village school canteen revealed that the week’s menu, displayed so that parents can check what their children are being offered featured, for example, oeufs mimosa (an egg based starter), lentilles vinaigrette (lentils in a dressing) paupiettes de veau forestiere (veal parcels cooked with mushrooms), tagine d’agneau (a north African dish consisting of spiced lamb, vegetables, chickpeas and cous cous) and peche du jour, sauce d’aioli (fish of the day with garlic mayonnaise) Several of the dishes were indicated as being organic. The young male assistant who supervises lunchtimes very efficiently reported that all children try all dishes, although if there is something they particularly don’t like, they don’t have to eat it. The food is freshly prepared from scratch by a traiteur and delivered daily. As I took my watering mouth home for lunch the good old standby of home-made soup with baguette somehow lacked its usual appeal! Trish Walker

The Act of Giving.... The act of giving doesn’t have to be limited to an exchange of presents at Christmas. There are many charities whose extraordinary work relies on the support of volunteers. If you have any spare time, below are just a handful of organizations in the Hérault who would love to hear from you… “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” If you are interested please call Kahlil Gibran during opening hours on following number:

Les Restaurants du Coeur de l’Hérault

Les Restos du Coeur helps people from disadvantaged backgrounds through food aid and social integration projects. All of their work is carried out with the help of 1170 volunteers and 6 paid staff. There are currently 22 140 people in the Hérault who receive food donations 4 times a year (from December to March) or the equivalent of 6 meals a week, with approximately 3, 300 people who are in need of help throughout the year. This represents 2.000,000 meals distributed every year. As well as food donations Les Restos du Coeur have established a number of projects to help people integrate into society and employment. These include caring for very young children, help with lodgings, cultural activities such as cinema outings, adult workshops for study skills and learning French, help with activities for children and outings in the school holidays, help with accessing micro-credit. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer please contact: Restaurants du Coeur de l’Hérault tel : 04 67 40 52 37 fax : 04 67 40 74 50 e-mail : *****

Le Foyer Occupationnel Jean Piaget, Frontignan

Le Foyer Occupationnel Jean Piaget is an inspiring centre for mentally impaired adults. “Residents” live in the center full-time, but some go home on weekends and for holidays. The dedicated and qualified staff works with residents on a variety of activities such as cooking, gardening, handicrafts and sewing. They also have a talented artist working with them and produce highly sophisticated and beautiful artwork. The parents and staff run an association called Ensemble that is in charge of

fundraising for some of the residents who have been more or less abandoned by their families. At a basic level residents with no family support need clothing and sheets for their beds, and are reliant on donations. For those residents without families to go to over the Christmas period (Dec 21st to Jan 2nd) between 10 to 12 residents and staff will be relocating to a villa in Loupian where they will set up a Christmas tree and create a more festive atmosphere to try to make the residents feel like they are part of a family. The association would highly appreciate any kind of input from the Anglophone community – baking Christmas cookies, singing carols, making decorations with residents – any kind of presence during the Christmas period would be VERY VERY much appreciated. Foyer Occupationnel Jean Piaget 13 rue Michel Clerc Frontignan 34 110 Tel: 04 67 18 45 80 ***** or by email: The refuge is situated in the commune of Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone and is open 7 days a week from 14h00 to 17h30 (except public holidays). *****

La Croix Rouge (Red Cross)

La Croix Rouge needs volunteers on a long term basis (for social work or first aid). For more information: http://www.croix-rouge. fr/Je-m-engage/Benevolat or contact Croix Rouge: Pezenas, 11 rue Louis Blanc, 04 67 98 13 98; Béziers, 1 rue Lamarck, 09 79 07 01 08; Montpellier, 3 boulevard Henri 1V, Montpellier, 04 67 40 01 97 *****

La SPA, Montpellier

Founded in 1934, the SPA is a nonprofit making association, with its headquarters in Lyon. Its main aims are to improve conditions for animals (dogs and cats); to take-in abandoned, maltreated or lost animals; to secure new homes for them; and to represent and defend animal causes. Spearheading the work of the SPA are volunteers and employees who dedicate their time to caring for the animals in the refuge, and to upholding the motto: Save, Protect and Love animals. The SPA would love your help as a volunteer in the refuge, as dog walkers or to help take care of the dogs and cats who are waiting for new homes. 25

Le Secours Populaire

Set up in 1946, Le Secours Populaire is a humanitarian charity established to fight poverty. The Hérault branch is currently focusing on developing its outreach structures in order to better respond to the needs of disadvantaged people in the department. They have a number of branches across the department with over 700 volunteers coordinating projects and activities throughout the year. To find your nearest branch please go to their website and click on ‘Où Nous Trouver? Currently volunteers are needed to wrap gifts in front of la FNAC at Le Polygone, Montepellier during 3 hours periods (between 10 am and 8 pm) - Every day until the end of December. Contact: 0467423092

“Seasonal and Fresh” Recipe Times

with Bassie Scott


I have chosen oysters as they are such a tradition here at Christmas time. There are boxes of them for sale outside the supermarkets, in the markets themselves and everyone pushing and shoving to get the best deal it seems! The recipe below is for ‘just cooked’ oysters, almost just warmed through with the sauce. They can be prepared in advance, kept in the fridge and grilled just before serving. Do warn people the shells will be hot.

hristmas seems to come around so quickly as you get older it seems to me! Here we are again, thinking of either travelling to see our families overseas or our loved ones coming out here to visit us. What to feed the hungry hoards who will descend on us? I have decided I am not going to teach you suck eggs and tell you how to cook a turkey, rather I have chosen two recipes which, hopefully, will inspire you over the festivities. Merry Christmas to one and all et Bon Appetit!

Oysters with Pastis

Serves 6 You will need a large grill pan with a good amount of sea salt in to keep the oysters upright. This will avoid losing the luscious sauce


30 oysters 2 shallots, finely chopped 1 carton of cream (30% is best) 4 tablespoons Pastis (or more to your own taste) 1 egg yolk Handful of parsley Handful of breadcrumbs

Method Shuck the oysters and drain the liquid well from all of them. Reserve half the liquid. Put the oysters on the salt in the grill pan Place the reserved liquid in a saucepan with an equal amount of water and the shallots. Bring to the boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the Pastis and simmer for another 3 minutes or so. Add the cream and bring to boil, simmer for a few minutes. Cool the cream slightly and add the add yolk, whisking briskly. Warm the sauce but do not boil or the sauce will split. The sauce should thicken slightly. Leave to cool. Place the parsley and breadcrumbs in a food processor and whizz up until the whole lot goes green. Pour enough sauce over each oyster to cover, and then sprinkle a good amount of the breadcrumb mixture over. Put your grill on high and grill the oysters for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are a toasty brown colour. Serve immediately, 5 for each person (or to your preference of course).

Wine Accompanimrent (selected by Rosemary George)

The classic accompaniment to oysters is a refreshing glass of Picpoul de Pinet, but these oysters require something richer and fuller, such as 2011 Les Pampres from Mas Laval in Soubès. It is an intriguing blend of 40% Chardonnay and 20% each of Viognier, Roussanne and Chenin blanc, fermented and aged in a stainless vat. It has lovely fruit, with notes of white blossom and a hint of peaches from the Viognier. There is some fresh acidity, but it is sufficiently mouth filling to balance the pastis. 6.50€

Cook’s note: shucking oysters can be quite daunting for some and I would need another whole page to tell you how. There are some great videos on with chefs showing how it is done. Do watch your fingers! 26

“Seasonal and Fresh” T

Mincemeat Roulade

his is a recipe from my past catering days and is a lovely light and delicate pudding. There are always clean plates when it’s served up and everyone generally wants seconds too. It makes a change from having left over Christmas pudding on Boxing Day too! I have also discovered a great product that will whip the cream here, something I have had great difficulty in doing before now. (see picture below)

Pre heat oven to 190 c, gas 6


Serves 8 – 10

4 eggs, separated 100 gr Caster sugar (sucre en poudre) 200 gr Mincemeat 50 gr self raising flour (farine a gateaux), sifted 250 ml Cream (I use fleurette 30%) 1 sachet Chantifix 2 tablespoons of Brandy


Whisk egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Gently fold in the mincemeat and flour Whisk egg whites to soft peaks and fold into mincemeat mixture. Pour into a swiss roll tin, lined with non stick baking parchment and smooth mixture to each corner Cook for 12-15 minutes or until just brown on top Place another piece of non-stick parchment onto a board and carefully flip the roulade on to it. Let it cool completely. Whip the cream with the Chantifix and add the brandy very carefully, bit by bit, once the cream is firm Spread the cream over the cold roulade and roll up very carefully. If it breaks slightly don’t worry Keep in the fridge until ready to present, dust with icing sugar (this will hide any broken bits) and decorate as desired!

Wine Accompanimrent (selected by Rosemary George)

One way of choosing your pudding wine is according to the colour of the dessert. So a fruit tart would match a golden colour wine, and for this delicious mincemeat concoction a red wine would be appropriate, such as 2010 Doux d’O, a late harvest Grenache Noir. It is rich, sweet and spicy, with a flavour of liqueur cherries, and sufficient acidity to balance the sweetness. 15.00€ from Reserve d’O, rue du château, 34150 Arboras

Cook’s note: Chantifix can be found in supermarkets under the bakery section with the yeasts and vanilla sugar etc. It will only work as sweet whipped cream as there is a little sugar in it but what a find - pavlova anyone?! 27


The Art of the Bricoleur

Des bouteilles de gaz



Computer Speak

Hugh Scott

he editors passed on me a request for an article about bottled gas. Although I am by no means an expert on this subject this is my understanding: The two most common types of bottled gas available in France are butane (blue bottles) and propane (red bottles.) It is recommended that butane should be used indoors, propane outside. The most common bottle size for both gases is 13kg,

bottled gas often stock hoses and regulator valves as well. If not, your nearest DIY outlet (Brico-depot/ marché/man) will have a selection to fit standard 13kg bottles: but which do you select? If you do end up in a ‘brico’ store, the important thing is to match the regulator valve and pipe to the type of gas (butane or propane) that you will be using: they are clearly labelled. The regulator valves are specific, either butane or propane; the pipes are often suitable for both types of gas - check the labelling on the packaging. Connecting the gas bottle to your appliance is straightforward but there is one little quirk. The regulator valve screws onto the bottle with an anti-clockwise thread - turn anti-clockwise to tighten and about 180kW of power. Gas bottles vice versa. The gas pipe then pushes are available in garages, local stores, onto the outlet on the regulator valve supermarkets, etc. and inlet on the appliance. You In theory when you first buy a should have been supplied with two bottle of gas the vendor will charge a deposit for the bottle in addition to charging for the gas. They should provide you with a signed, and dated contract that will enable you to get a refund if you no longer need the bottle. Our local shop didn’t bother with this formality and did not charge a deposit for the bottle. Appliances such as gas hobs, and ovens will often be set up to run on mains, town gas. Check when you buy, they will usually be sold with jubilee clips to secure these an alternative set of jets (nozzles) connections tightly. The main that allows them to work with bottled companies (Butagaz and Primagaz) butane or propane. Instructions for also supply gas in compact (6kg), changing the jets should be included rather more stylish containers; Le in the provided documentation. Cube and Twiny. Their smaller Gas appliances are usually sold size makes these bottles easier to without any of the bits and pieces manoeuvre and store. The hob of needed to make the connection to a cooker in the house that we rented gas bottle. You will need a length here ran off a Cube. It had a special of special gas hose (un tuyau gaz de regulator that attached with a clip raccordement) and a regulator valve mechanism that didn’t need a span(un détendeur). Stores which supply ner but did require a certain knack.

Oh my gosh!!

Picture it now... It is 3am in the morning and I wake up full of excitement and rush into my childrens bedrooms and they are....asleep! Wake up wake up, it’s christmas morning but they shrug, roll over and go back to sleep. I tell you now, being a geek isn’t what it used to be. So what are the stocking fillers for the geek in your life?

E-volve Touchscreen Gloves - €5.99

These one-size-fits-all gloves will keep your hands warm this winter, but won’t prevent you using your smartphone or tablet’s capacitive touchscreen. Conductive fibres woven into the fingertips allow you to carry on playing Angry Birds without freezing off your digits.

USB cup warmer €9

It’s the age-old problem: you’ve got far more USB ports on your PC than you have peripherals to plug in. What a waste. This USB cup warmer could be the perfect solution, also able to stop your coffee getting cold before you’ve had a chance to drink it. The gadget makes clever use of USB power to heat a small element to 40ºC, so your beverage should be drinkable even an hour after it was made.

Corkcicle - €24

It keeps your chilled whites at perfect drinking temperatures. It keeps your lighter chilled reds at perfect drinking temperatures. And it even brings those heavier room temperature reds down to more suitable drinking temperatures.

And so to 2013 where Microsoft need to make phones that people want, Apple need to develop products again and get out of court, Samsung will continue to innovate and the touchscreen revolution continues unabated. I’ve been asked for predictions for 2013 and it is really difficult but really fun so please come back and Happy Holidays! see if you agree in January. 28

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Emotional, linguistic and practical support to cancer patients and their families through our team of trained volunteers. For information and support: Helpline: 04 67 44 87 06,, All welcome. **


MAN WITH A VAN Deliveries, collections, removals, house clearance, garden clearance/maintenance. No job too small. No room in your car? Furniture/Building Materials to collect? Rubbish to dispose of? Please call or email Tim. 0033 (0)7 87 22 05 55. ** Tired of Housework? Out of season cleaners. Competitive rates tel: 0467 24 83 72 mob: 0687 64 97 29 Siret registered ** Commercial Cleaning Machine for hire. Cleans soft furnishings, rugs, mattresses, sunbed cushions, car interiors, etc. Contact Trudi: 0499570589 ** FURNITURE MAKERS Specialists in kitchens & furniture for Bedrooms, bathrooms or libraries Built-in or freestanding IKEA units & worktops fitted Upholstery, traditional to modern T: 04 68 31 53 61 Siret:51091584600016 **

The Tuesday Club


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OPPORTUNITIES A lively group of English speaking people from all nationalities meet to hear talks, exchange ideas and socialise.


** Women’s International Club, Languedoc- Roussilon Meets in Saint Chinian, 1st Thursday of month , 2.30pm., at Salle de L’Abbatiale. Our meetings are conducted in French and English.

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Santa’s Grotto at Fou D’Anglais.

Bring the kids to meet Santa and have a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie with Victoria and Karen. 15th of December from 3pm

29 (10% reduction if you show this ad) **

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A good idea! Offer your beloved a “feel good” massage for Christmas. Contact: Diana Sawday 06 19 40 66 00

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Advertise To advertisee in thse pages contact us on or call 06 24 63 63 77 or skype “heraulttimes” From only 15€ per issue JEWELLERY

Makes an ideal gift. New consignment of over 150 designs just arrived from India. Excellent quality and wonderful prices. Ian Mills ian.mills



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e-mail: Any Distance - Up to 8 Passengers E-mail Reservations welcome Estimates Given All enquiries welcome **


Now available from the English book stall at the following markets: Bedarieux -Monday Marseillan Ville - Tuesday Clermont L’Herault - Wednesday Lodeve - Saturday Contact: Kerith 04 67 96 68 87 ** Optique Bonnaterre

17, Blvd Gambetta 34800 Clermont L’Herault English Spoken

Tel: 04 67 96 01 85 **

Stuart Turpie

The Highlight


raditionally a lot of sport closes down for the Christmas break and it is a good time to look back on the year 2012. Readers have asked me to offer my thoughts on the most memorable moment in Hérault sport this year; I was tempted to refer to a tremendous petanque quarter final win in late August in a doubles concours but on reflection it was in the complimentaire (losers competition) and we did lose heavily in the next round. Truly one day this year stands out, stage 13 of the Tour de France on July 14th at Cap d’Agde. 250,000 were expected that hot day at the Cap so we left early and arrived before lunch. A huge number of British fans were there. Many live locally but others had been following the race down through the Alps.


Je propose mes services pour des travaux de Maçonnerie en pierre (stone masonry), enduits à la chaux (lime plaster), pierre-sèche (dry stone). Philippe Eymard ou



Le Bookshop Librairie Anglophone / café 8 rue du Bras de Fer - 340000 Montpellier Tel./Fax : 04 67 66 22 90 ** ENGLISH BOOKS AND CARDS

available at the English Bookstall at the following markets: Monday- Bedarieux, Tuesday - Marseillan Ville, Wednesday Clermont l’Herault, Saturday - Lodeve. Contact Kerith Biggs 04 67 96 68 87 **

English Books at the Bourse ,Pezenas.

The next sales are Sunday November 4th December 2nd and January 6th from 10 am to noon . The Café de la Bourse is next to the Hotel Moliere in Pezenas All books are 1Euro or less . Excellent coffee and company . Want to book a table ? Call Carole on 0467905910. **

There was a strange air of expectation amongst the Brits, tinged with a sense of nervousness and perhaps even disbelief. No British rider has come near to winning the Tour de France. A few have worn the yellow jersey early in the race but no one really has challenged for the most prestigious honour in cycling. Scot Robert Millar was a fantastic climber in the 1980s and won stages in the mountains. Years before Barry Hoban had won stages but was never an overall contender. As the afternoon wore on a massive crowd followed the last 2 hours of the race on the giant screens. The stage had come down the Rhone valley and swung across into Hérault, avoiding Montpellier and approaching the last tough element, the climb of Mont St.Clare in Sète. Team Sky’s tactics were clear - to keep the whole team at the front of the peloton to control the race. To get ace sprinter and current world champion Mark Cavendish over the climb in Sète and then to launch him at the finish in Cap d’Agde. Unfortunately the speed

of the race and the steepness of the climb were too much for Mark. He conceded and waved his team mates forward. The race now sped along the coast to Marseillan plage with a number of attacks in vain by individuals and small groups. The atmosphere at the Cap was now electric. As the peloton swung down the ramps into the port it was Team Sky again hitting the front led by Bradley Wiggins and trusty lieutenant Chris Froome. The tactics now were to try to create an opening for Norwegian Edvard Boasson-Hagen who was wearing the champions’ jersey of his country. As the race thundered past in a sprint Boasson-Hagen was able to gain third place. Fans were stunned by the dominance of the British based team. It takes a lot of confidence and belief to work so hard for ones team mates when the real aim was the overall classification for Bradley Wiggins. It was the style and comportment of a real champion. Wiggins had shown that he was the boss. A huge crowd applauded the Sky riders back to the team bus. Cavandish was clearly disappointed. Wiggins still had the yellow jersey. Froome was quietly confident but Boasson- Hagen stole the show with his relaxed integration with the hundreds of Norwegian supporters. The rest is history. Bradley Wiggins went on to Paris in yellow and Mark Cavendish refound his sprinting form with a superb win on the Champs Elysées; Team Sky ended the year as the UCI number one ranked team. Fixtures Rugby Union Dec 29 Montpellier XV v Stade Francais 14.00 Jan 13 Beziers v Lyon 15.00; ASBH need to start winning. Football 12 Jan Montpellier v Lorient 20.00 Other news; Agde foot having a great run in the Coupe de France; Agde rugby also on strong form.

Happy Holidays from The Herault Times

Good Times....Fun Times.....The Herault Times 31


The HErault Times Dec 2012  

The English Language paper for Herault in the South of France.

The HErault Times Dec 2012  

The English Language paper for Herault in the South of France.