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The Herault Times Issue 18 - December 2013

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ISSN: 2261-561X

Merry Christmas 1

THT December2013

Contents THT

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Editorial Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love ― Hamilton Wright Mabie


For your consideration


n an age of new technologies and the internet, where the influence of science increasingly impacts our daily lives, the universe of the strange and the occult seem to belong to a time from the distant past. Yet, the use of the irrational and the esoteric has far from disappeared in France. Welcome to the seers, mediums, witches and druids. Women and men who, all following different paths, are witnesses to the beliefs of another world, where the notions of what is possible are practically infinite for those who can or want to experience them. Guy A., a witch from a French Wiccan coven ‘The Cauldron of Rebirth’ talks to us about the renaissance of paganism and witchcraft in Western Europe. As many of us prepare for Christmas festivities, the winter solstice is approaching (around the 21st of December), heralding the beginning of the pagan Yule celebrations.


few sharp elbow nudges have persuaded us to include Karl Leonie’s series on French cinema, currently featured in The Aude Times. A reel behind the AT, Un Certain Regard begins with a look at the early days and the original innovators – from Les Frères Lumières to Jean Renoir, Marcel Pagnol and Jean Cocteau at the end of the 1930s. So, if you are a curl-up-by-the fire type, now is the time, with a good film and maybe an appetizing dish or three served up on our recipe pages by Bassie Scott. For armchair chefs, Patrick Moons new book ‘Arrazat’s Aubergines’ might just be the thing to help you with your kitchen fantasies! Winning a copy is just a ‘click’ away.


06 My Place

08 Freud

16 CSF. What do they do?

14 Paganism & Witchcraft

20 French Cinema

22 Galleries. Why?

06 My Place 07 And Another Thing 09 Restaurant Review 10 Wine Times 10 / 11 Garden / Nature 12 GTBY 13 Business / Legal 16 /17 Lifestyle 18 What’s On 19 History 21 E-Male / Expat Children 22 / 23 Art 26 / 27 Recipe Times 28-31 Classifieds 31 Sport

ast and not least, in the spirit of this season of goodwill see page 24 for great gift ideas, created and produced in our fair region. nd please, a thought for the associations collecting food items for those in need; a smile, a hello and a food donation goes a long way...

The HT Online

An IFA Writes 3

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Food & Wine7

Letters The Herault Times 1 Grand Rue, St Thibery,34630 Publisher: Gatsby B Editor : Emma F Advertising Director: Tom Buchanon Art Editor: Daisy B Art: L.A. EDITORIAL PUBLISHER SUBSCRIPTIONS or contact us on ADVERTISING For display advertising, print classifieds please call 0624 80 24 32 or mail For online advertising please visit PYRIGHT AND DISCLAIMER

The Herault Times The Herault Times is owned and published by L’Herault Art L.A. Publishing (51926616300010). The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights in regards to copyright of their work. No part of this work covered by the copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means without the written consent of the publisher. No person, organization or party should rely or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without first obtaining the advice of a fully qualified person. This magazine and its related website and products are sold and distributed on the terms and condition that: The publisher, contributors, editors and related parties are not responsible in any way for the actions or results taken by any person, organisation or any party on basis of reading information, stories or contributions in this publication, website or related product. The publisher, contributors and related parties are not engaged in providing legal, financial or professional advice or services. The publisher, contributors, editors and consultants disclaim any and all liability and responsibility to any person or party, be they a purchaser, reader, advertiser or consumer of this publication or not in regards to the consequences and outcomes of anything done or omitted being in reliance whether partly or solely on the contents of this publication and related website and products. The publisher, editors, contributors and related parties shall have no responsibility for any action or omission by any other contributor, consultant, editor or related party. END

Sirs I have just tried to send a transfer to my daughter in England by way of my bank account at La Poste, something I do monthly to assist her with her studies at university. So you can imagine my surprise when I was informed that I could no longer do this unless my daughter had a euro account. It seems that a new system has come into being that precludes any transfers unless euros taking place. Have any of your readers found this to be the case and if so what can I do? Debbie K

Car Sharing Hi, I noticed a piece on covoiturage in the Nov. edition of The Aude Times. Do you know if there is anything similar organized in Hérault like that? I have seen signs, but can’t seem to find anywhere to connect with other car sharers. I regularly have to travel to Montpellier, and would really like to be able to avoid all the driving! S. Cooper (text) How Dare You To the Editor, I have many Anglophone friends who share some of the negative points you make in your article (‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’, Nov). As a French woman, Michael d’Artag’s point about our government having a major shareholding in the company is not unique to France. Just look at the banking system around the world – British, Dutch, German, etc. don’t they have similar practices? With reference to the Orange suicides he mentions, EDF have also had a similar experience involving their employees. I don’t believe their management system is the same as Orange. I think you have to look beyond management style to understand this problem. I have never had any bad experience with Orange. I sympathize with some of the obstacles they face in trying to progress their enterprise. Laurence F. St Pons

Euro Crisis Do you or your readership know anything about not being able to transfer euros into sterling? We have just been informed that to send money to the UK the recipient must have a euro account. Is this real? Kevin G. Nimes Euro transfers I have been told today that I can’t send money from my euro account in France to a British pound account in the UK. What the hell is going on? Julian H An ongoing problem since 2008 but never fear, Michael D gives you an update on page 13 Living Here I met my wonderful husband Joe in St Chinian whilst on holiday there with a girlfriend. Joe and I came back to France two years ago and have recently found a lovely house. This month we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. So this is a message for you Joe: It has been the best 25 years of my life and I look forward to 25 more. Thank you for bringing me back. Wherever you are is home to me. I love you. Helen

Wrong Sir, Your article about Orange shows the problems when people come to live in another country. Orange is an international organisation with a very good program for employees and constant training. It is a success story for France and is an example of how French companies can succeed in the global world. Stephanie L


Christmas Holidays So the christmas holidays are arriving. I notice that lights that have never been taken down are being checked to see if they work this year in villages across the region and the Anglophones amongst you are already competing to see who can buy their gifts the earliest. Back home in the US we have Thanksgiving on November 28th which curiously is being celebrated here by more and more non US citizens. This is followed on the Friday after (this year the 29th) by Black Friday, one of the most hideous and commercially repulsive days you will see in a capitalist world. And so I ask you all whatever nationality to tone it down a bit this year. Another day of excess is not the greatest advertisement for humanity in my opinion and it is about time we all took a step back and calmed the excesses. Rick H, Montpellier Hey Rick, (or as you are known in the office Scrooge Grinch). Thanks for the letter. Yes, excess does appear to come with the territory but so do smiles and laughter and catching up with friends and family and so much more. May I suggest that as you sit and chew on a lemon you try to remember a happy time. Humbug! November Issue Well done for highlighting and remembering those who acted so bravely during conflicts on our behalves. I found the writing on Captain Fowler to be emotional and poignant and as I live less than 15kms from where a lot of this story took place; it was also a reminder how so many were touched and lived through these terrible times. Sara D Captain Fowler Moving and appropriate. Thankyou. Major H Hatton

Letters Nature I do hope that Mr Trickett of Nature notes (November) is a man who fades into the background rather well. I laughed aloud at his cutting and very unsubtle words contemplating the intelligence or lack of intelligence of the hunters who frequent us all at this time of the year. But I fear that Mr Trickett may have just become a marked man, although it appears no one would hit him even if they took aim if his words are to be believed. Marvellous. Frank G. Honestly Please would you print this letter and warning. It is the silly time of year where many of us visit friends and neighbours and drink without any thoughts to the journey home. Please don’t drink and drive. It could make a great christmas a very bad one. Thank you. K.L


Christmas Day Dear letter man, my mummy says that you have to work over christmas so she can read your newspaper and I think this is sad. I hope that you can watch television and play games as well like I do with my mummy and sister and brother. You can come to our house if you want to if mummy says it is ok. Happy christmas letter man. Lisa O. Age 8

e are proud to have the talents of Mr Barry Beckett producing the wonderful original covers that you currently see. And online now you can purchase these beautiful images and have a piece of the Languedoc in your own home. Prints and selected Limited Editions available.

Barry Beckett 2013 All rights reserved

Hi Lisa, wow, sounds like a great Christmas at your house and I am glad mummy likes the newspaper. You have a wonderful christmas with your family and thank you for the brilliant picture you sent in, I have put it up on my noticeboard. Thank you to all who have written, mailed or texted this year. It is really appreciated. Now go on and stop hassling me. Merry Christmas!!

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he 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 9am 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. 5

Bernardin and Bernadine

(They might be neighbours of yours)


hey were very elderly and very poor; he was wrinkled and wizened, his hair white, his back stooped, his feet covered in bunions; he coughed and wheezed, his every breath a huge effort. She was

wrinkled and broken, like an apple from last autumn, her hair grey, her chin loose, and her eyes dull – although they lit up when it came to tending to her husband because they had loved each other with a passion since the first day they met. And now this couple had arrived at the sunset of their age. They had never quarreled. It was truly touching to witness the love they felt for one another. Their home was less than modest, one

When the old man Bernardin wanted to surprise his companion, he would bring her a quart of café that she would share with him on Sunday without wasting a drop. And when Bernadine (the old lady) wanted to surprise her husband, she would place a little packet of tobacco in front of him, and, watching him silently smoking his pipe, she would be filled with pleasure for him. And if you could have seen how well their home was kept! It shone from the floor tiles to their tin plates; although Bernadine was breathless after scrubbing all that. Her white cap and linen apron were always pristine, like her dress, Indian cotton in summer and homespun in winter. On the night of 24th December, the snow and wind whipped around the houses. It

room which served as a salon, kitchen and bedroom. In summer they would share it with flies and in winter with a little dog, their only friend and distraction, who they would feed even when they themselves had so little to eat. And how did they live? The husband wove baskets and his wife mended stockings. Her sight had diminished considerably in the past months, but she never told her husband so as not to worry him. For his part, the poor old man trembled more and more; soon his hands were so lacking in strength that he could barely handle the straw and the wicker; but he also suppressed his agony, in order not to torment his dear wife. How would they soon be able to live? Only God knew what little there was to fill the empty bellies of these two elderly people. Soup in the mornings and evenings, and on fete days, a little minced beef to strengthen them.

seemed too ferocious for the elderly pair to make their way to midnight Mass. Instead the shaking Bernardin and Bernadine decided to pray the Rosary and avoid the torment of the elements. They put a log on the grate from their meager wood provision. However, it burnt quickly and from time to time Bernadine would furtively glance at the small pieces of wood left in the corner. Would it be like this all winter? What a poignant question! The Rosary recited, they sat under their large feather duvet re-covered in red calico, recalling their youth. “Do you remember our first Christmas, Bernadin? You had black hair, and you were the most handsome man from anywhere!” “And you Bernadine, my lovely, were the sweetest with your golden hair and your smiling eyes! You put your shoe… a shoe not much bigger than my hand… under the chimney my dear, and next day…”

My Place


“And next day, such was my joy upon finding a beautiful Sunday dress! The packet didn’t fit in the shoe, but it made me so happy!” “Why don’t you put your slipper by the grate now Bernadine, ma bonne!” “And you too my Bernadin!” And both laughing and trembling a little because they were laughing so much - they got up to go to bed. While moving a chair here, and an incomplete basket there, the old women repeated: “Ah, if the good Jesus would send us just enough to live without worry for tomorrow! Ah! If we only had 50 francs every month!” “Fifty francs to spend twelve times a year? Don’t think about it Bernadine. But that much would be riches indeed. It would be a wonderful way to spend our old age!” As both of them were hard of hearing they spoke very loudly. What if I was to tell you that someone was listening through their keyhole? There was the sudden noise of footsteps outside. “Did you close the door properly, Bernardin?” said the little old lady while getting under the sheets with a shiver. Bernardin shrugged his shoulders whilst getting under his side of the covers. “Bah!” he responded, “I’m not getting up again to go and see; it’s too cold. The latch will hold if there are any burglars here! And anyway, on Christmas night the whole village is up and about.” They had both put their slippers in the grate, the poor innocents. Towards midnight, both shivering, Bernadine quietly got up and put a large packet of tobacco which must have weighed as much as a book in her husband’s slipper. Yes, a book! And she went back to sleep, happy at the prospect of Bernardin’s joy the next day. About an hour later, the old man slowly and painfully got up and put a large packet of freshly ground coffee in Bernadine’s slipper; which also weighed at least as much as a book! He went back to bed rubbing his hands at the idea of the surprise his wife would have when she went to the chimney. Then, after two or three fits of violent coughing, he went to sleep. Ah, yes! With six hundred francs it would be paradise, but, there you go, it was an impossible dream. In the meantime, Bernadine’s eyesight was rapidly deteriorating! And Bernardin’s rheumatic fingers were losing their elasticity. Around four in the morning they were both sleeping deeply, when a discrete hand lifted the latch on Bernardin and Bernadine’s door. The door swung open and a shadow slid into the dark room and groped in an instant across it to the fireplace. It then disappeared just as it had come. Who could it have been? Jesus or one of his angels? The next morning, the snow storm had ended. The sun was bright and the pathways, rooftops and windows were covered in show. A little laboriously, like the elderly are when they wake up, Bernardin shuffled to the chimney while Bernadine said smiling lightheartedly to herself: “He’s going (cont)

“And another thing..”

Abse shares his thoughts and mindless wanderings

S P o i n t l e s s

ome things are pointless and yet they exist. Like Nick Clegg. And yet some pointless things provide a use they never intended: they provide me with something to write about. Let me give you some examples. In Wales once I was stuck at a traffic light on a remote country road.There was no traffic coming the other way, but yet this little temporary traffic light was preventing me from going because, it seemed, of some road works that reduced the road to a single lane. Eventually the light turned green and I could drive on, passing the generator that was blocking one of the road’s lanes and necessitating the traffic control. And what was that generator powering? That’s right: the traffic lights. Hmmm. Another of my favourites was a sign I once saw in the middle of a pond in a park. It read “Do not throw stones at this sign”. In France there are a couple of things I’ve noticed. When new tarmac has been laid and no new road-markings have been made you will often see the sign “Pas de marquage!”. That’s what I needed: a sign to tell me there were no road markings. They take that sign away and replace it with a sign saying “Pas de sign de route!”. Meanwhile in supermarkets they protect their shopping trolleys by having them all secured with coin-operated locks. (My Place cont)

to find his tobacco!” Then, without waiting, Bernadine joined him looking for her slipper. “Ah! This is wonderful Bernadine!” “Ah! Bernardin, how lovely ! » The two cries of joy were following by a loving embrace. A robin, who was watching them from the window, had the air of having happened upon a beautiful scene!

Thank goodness that you can’t get 1 Euro shaped jetons for free from the supermarket information desk, eh? That’s real security. In an office I used to occasionally visit there was a computer on the reception desk with the password conveniently stuck on the side of the computer on a post-it note. Some people somehow make a living making and selling pointless things. For example, what’s the point of wigs for bald men? Surely the intended (or pretended) point of a wig is to make people believe that you aren’t bald? But when someone wears a wig they cause people to think a number of things, as follows: 1. They are wearing a wig 2. That’s hilarious! 3. They are bald 4. They are really vain 5. They are really stupid that they think a wig is a GOOD THING 6. That’s hilarious! I realise that repeating number 2 seems pointless, but it really is VERY hilarious. There are also, it is worth noting, an awful lot of completely pointless phone apps. Such as the geeky clock that tells you the time in binary, or the “kiss me” app that rates your kiss on the flat screen (yuk), or “hang time” which measures how high you can throw your fragile £500 phone, or the “virtual

However, something else tumbled out from Bernardin’s slipper, a paper folded in four. The dear old man suspected it was a joke from his wife; fetching his reading glassed he unfolded the paper and read it. It was an official document awarding six hundred francs to Bernardin’s household. The two old people had to sit down, their legs buckled in emotion. They couldn’t understand what the paper was saying. They read it over and over again. The notary received them the next day and confirmed that the paper was indeed valid; he gave them an advance of 50 francs for


the first month. Bernardin and Bernadine thought they were dreaming. That same evening, a neighbour of our happy couple left the country. She was an excellent widow whom Bernadine had helped out whenever she could. She had just inherited a fortune from an uncle in America. When Bernardin and Bernadine went to bid her farewell and safe travels they told her about their astonishing windfall. Although she cordially congratulated them, she didn’t appear very astonished. (From a French folk tale)

English/French owned 25 years of experience

Artisan / Project Management n

I suppose you could argue there are quite a number of things in the world that appear to be pointless but aren’t because they provide entertainment, even if that wasn’t their intention. Like wigs. But some things remain pointless without being funny. Like Nick Clegg. But don’t you DARE add “this article”. No no no no no!

Agence Guy Estate Agency

grapesrenovation Philip Grapes

stapler” app that allows you to “virtually staple” some virtual paper together. Not to mention the “e-shaver” which plays an electric shaver noise as you move your phone over your unshaved chin. But perhaps my favourite is the app that allows you to find the nearest payphone… tel 0467983777 mob 0622343056 “Quality Assured”

06 32 42 24 50

Siret No: 478 335 870 00026



French teenager is awoken one night by a frightening dream. The next day at breakfast, he tells his mother that he’d had a nightmare that Freud’s Oedipus theory was no longer valid. His mother looked hard at him and replied, “Well, I wonder what that means?” First of all, it is important here to dispel some myths which have grown up around Sigmund Freud. First, the study of the subconscious began with him. Certainly one of the nineteenth century’s great thinkers, the claim is not accurate as evidence from medieval scriptoria where monasteries did their copying and writing demonstrates that some monks were clearly interested in psychological processes many centuries ago. That Freud attempted to look at the subconscious in a more methodical way is correct and that he pointed the way forward is also true. Additionally, he developed his own complex theory of psychoanalysis which we still find being applied by practitioners today. Second, while Freud has most definitely influenced twentieth century thinking on psychological processes, he was not scientific in his methodology. He used observations with his patients, reflecting and writing copiously about how our unconscious minds work but these all remain in the realm of subjective phenomena for which there is no purely objective evidence. In his theory “On Narcissism” (1914) he explicitly admits that psychoanalysis had no scientific foundation. Further, his theories focus on child development, yet he only ever worked with one child whom he met twice at most. Instead, he used the observational notes of Hans’ unsupervised father to diagnose treatments which he duly implemented. Such procedure in research involves personal bias, invalidating subsequent data for scientific purposes. In 1996, Psychological Science concluded, “There is literally nothing to be said, scientifically or therapeutically, to the advantage of the entire Freudian system or any of its component dogmas.” Elsewhere, Todd Dufresne (2003/6) accuses the academic establishment of “whitewashing” his errors, creatively. John Kihlstrom (2009) in “Is Freud Still Alive? No, Not Really”, admits that although his influence is still massive, psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience. In France, anyone who spends enough time in the system will recognise how influential and predominant Freudian psychoanalytical thought is. It makes itself particularly well-known in matters affecting mental health issues and education; art and art analysis.

Freud & the French Establishment

A personal anecdote is of interest here. When a member of the family was studying a Visual Art course in Paris there was a module on the psychology of art. Beforehand, I was asked what this might contain to which I set out quite a lengthy set of “possibles” including individual, social, cognitive, developmental and physiological aspects. However, this proved to be a waste of time since upon receipt of the syllabus we found the psychology of art was reduced to Freudian symbolism and his paradigm about dreams. In fact, this is very much a prevailing view throughout the French intellectual establishment. The complex matter of autism is another case in point here. Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder causing restricted social interaction with impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication. In several countries now it is given state aided treatment and families can find much needed support in raising an autistic child. In 2011, a 52 minute film about autism published online in France called “Le Mur” (The Wall) provoked a national controversy. Three of the psychoanalysts who were interviewed sued the film’s maker Sophie Robert. In December 2012, it was censored and removed. It compares two autistic boys being treated separately, one with psychoanalysis for 6 years in an asylum and the other behaviourally. The outcome for the latter was clearly better. This comes as no surprise, personally. Also in 2012, “Shameful” appeared. It is a documentary about autism in France

noting that French psychoanalysts insisted it is due to the mother’s repressed sexual issues. In other words, it is a psychosis and a mental disorder. No state aid was given, therefore. In one study it stated that about 80% of autistic children in France do not go to school: Le Monde has estimated 75%. Some families have even sent their autistic children outside the country for help. In UK, USA and other western European countries behaviouristic methods are used with reinforcement therapies such as positive encouragement for appropriate social behaviours. Cognitive approaches can help when tackling the absence in autistic children of theories of mind, put simply, awareness that others have thoughts and feelings. However, until now French psychiatric institutions have discounted these for psychoanalytic methods. These go as far as isolating young patients and placing them under highly restrictive conditions with psychotropic medicinal programmes. Ultimately, French social services can take children away and place them in an asylum. There are signs of change, too. François Fillon called autism “The great national cause of 2012”. A more open debate about the issue led in May 2013 to the minister for the disabled, Marie-Arlette Carlotti, announcing the arrival of a new plan 2014-2017 and €205.5million budget. As she stated, “For the past 40 years in France, the psychoanalytical approach has prevailed. It is time to give room to other methods for a simple reason: they have been proven to work and are recommended by the health authorities.” What does this issue illustrate about the French and their relationship with Sigmund Freud? First, being fair on Freud, he was not in favour of persecution or cruel treatment of patients. For example, he thought homosexuality was a symptom of Arrested Development but against its criminalisation. Neither is it likely he would have approved of social isolation and long term parental deprivation of children under treatment. On the contrary, as happens with other issues, what it does show is cultural, educational and health establishments often too readily adopt approaches that are not soundly tested with rigorous scientific methods. The media also has a hand in popularising them and disseminating ideas that soon become commonly accepted. The fundamental error occurs of propagating the most favoured to the exclusion of all others. In France, as elsewhere, is it not time then for Freud and friends to step aside? Hugh MacCamley

The Restaurant Review For everyday eating out

La Table de Jenny 1 Rue de L’ebeniste 34230 Paulhan Tel: 0467 24 30 44


e like to eat out. It is a chance to ensure that myself and good friends don’t let time drift and meeting up gets pushed further and further. But we have criteria. We like to try something new. We like to try and take the ‘menu’ and we like to try and find good food at a reasonable price. And so we thought we’d go to La Table de Jenny in Paulhan. I admit I have been here before but it was before the new owners took over and it was in the evening which caters to a completely different crowd. Getting there is not a journey of stunning beauty. I can’t really get excited about driving into an industrial estate and to be blunt the exterior is not particularly welcoming. There is a terraced area but it has those chairs that look uncomfortable before you even sit down. I guess I’m glad it’s cooler now and we can go inside! And here’s the difference. On entering everything is welcoming. We were greeted immediately with a warm smile and an invitation to be seated. The restaurant itself seats about 50 people and it was at least 70% full even at this early time (12h15). I am always pleased when I see round tables as it is so much more acommodating for parties and strangers, everyone is accessible to converse with. The room itself is well lit and spotlessly clean. Everything looks new (as it should) and if I have to find fault it would be that the colour scheme is Spot the Tortilla a little ‘cold’ for me (grey and white with black tables) but my dining companion thought it was fine. But then again, when I visited before it looked like a pimps paradise, all pink and oh dear! We asked for the ‘menu’ and todays choice was tortilla or salmon terrine for the starter and faux fillet (steak and chips to me and you)

and ‘Reunion’ sausage which turned out to be a risotto type dish with a spicy sausage that was not to the taste of a French diner across the room. (We speculated on his sausage being a little too hot for his delicate tastebuds). And so the tortilla arrived. And hmm. It was hidden by a huge lettuce leaf that when surgically removed offered up a lukewarm tortilla in all its semi-warm glory. I sent it back to be served hot and it was duly warmed through. Good? Not really, but not bad. Being a lunch menu and pressed for time I decided on the faux fillet which was delicious. I asked for medium and got it medium. As was becoming the norm I have to say that the frites were not good but on a scale of justice the verdict went with the steak being very good. The risotto was spicy and actually very tasty and the rice was perfect which is often a failing in these types of restaurants. The service could have been a little quicker but they were busy and it wasn’t a 3 hour lunch by any means. My main issue with dining in restaurants where the price is so appealing is that it costs so much to stay sober. A glass of wine is 2€ and a beer less but a tonic water or soft drink is €3. Desert was staples of chocolate fondant or ice cream. Well, what do you want me to say about them that we don’t already know. As you can tell, this is not one of those fancy restaurants you pay 50€ + per person for and the food is described as it is. In fact 12€ for 2 courses says all that needs to be said. What I will say is that it is a food stop where the decor and welcome is good, the food is ok if you just want to stop and have a bite to eat and I think that you get value for the price they charge. I would like to say however that in the evening it really is different. It seems to go up a few levels (as does the price of course) and the foie gras is the best Review: Mr U R Stuck you’ll find anywhere!



Wine 2013 Rosemary George

Nature Notes

has not been a straightforward year – what vintage ever is? But compared with the rest of France, the Languedoc has fared very well, escaping most of the major climatic hazards that beset the other regions. The one exception is Limoux which suffered from hail at the end of July. Hail is always very localised; some people escaped without any damage at all; others lost a significant part of their crop. The key climatic factors of 2013 were the wet spring and the late arrival of summer. St. Chinian had the coldest May since 1950, and that slowed the development of grapes down by at least two weeks. There was also a lot of rain, making it the wettest spring for about thirty years, but that meant that there was no danger of water stress during the summer. Bad weather at

flowering in June reduced yields, though Pic St. Loup fared better here. Grenache Noir is particularly susceptible to coulure, when the grapes fail to form properly, so most people are complaining of very small yields for their Grenache. The late arrival of summer meant a late harvest. Sometimes the grapes catch up, but this year they did not. My friends in Limoux started their harvest two days after the end of the harvest in 2012, on 1st October and reckon they picked the last white grape of the Languedoc on 17th October. And friends in the Minervois and Corbières were still picking the later ripening grapes, notably Mourvèdre in mid-October. St. Chinian finished about 12th October, and

By ornithologist Alan Kennedy

The Pied Wagtail


First impre

he Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba, known in some places as the White Wagtail, is probably the most commonly encountered of the several species in the genus Motacilla which can be found in the Languedoc. Others are the Grey Wagtail and the Yellow Wagtail. There are several races in all species and, somewhat confusingly, the Pied Wagtail is known as the ‘Bergeronnette Grise’ in France. The species as a whole can, however, be distinguished without difficulty from other Wagtail species by the complete absence of yellow from the feather colouring. It is a slender black and white songbird, with a long tail which, like the other Wagtails, it wags almost ceaselessly, perhaps, as some research suggests, in order to deter possible predators. The sexes are in general alike but the female in breeding plumage is a little duller than the male. In a large part of their range Pied Wagtails migrate from colder to warmer climes over

winter, but they remain throughout the year in the milder regions and can be found in the Languedoc in all seasons. They feed primarily on insects and, in natural contexts, appear to prefer open spaces to search for them. It may be for this reason that they show a fondness for water and can often be seen standing on rocks in placid waters, in cities as well as in the countryside, waiting for the many insects that hover above the stream. This may also be why they seem at home on paved surfaces in the urban environment, dashing about with wagging tails on footpaths, the entrances to garages, and even the forecourts of filling stations.


Although the writer has not observed this phenomenon, in some European cities Pied Wagtails, like some other songbirds, gather in large roosts at dusk. Curiously enough, Motacilla alba is apparently the national bird of Latvia. **


essions of 2013

2012 Muscat Sec from the coop in Fontès at 3.25€ Dry Muscat makes a refreshing aperitif, with some grapey fruit on nose and palate. It is the one grape variety that makes wine that really does taste of grapes.

Faugères around 15th. notably Mourvèdre in mid-October. St. Chinian finished about 12th October, and Faugères around 15th. Obviously it’s a bit early to have a clear impression of quality – you have to see how the wine turns out in the vat. Vignerons get nervous when the harvest threatens to be late, but September was bright and sunny, and the rain that did fall, did not harm the grapes. So, generally most people seem pleased. The grapes have ripened well, with supple tannins and some freshness; and the whites are nicely aromatic and fresh. It may be too early to pronounce on the quality, but I sense restrained optimism and enthusiasm in St. Chinian, Pic St. Loup and Montpeyroux, while Corbières and Minervois are a little measured and faced more difficult conditions. And meanwhile here are a couple of drinking suggestions from slightly older vintages:


Château la Dournie, St. Chinian, Classique at 6.80€. A blend, mainly of Syrah, but with some Grenache and Carignan, aged in vat rather than barrel. Spicy red fruit on the nose; a touch of minerality from the schist soil and some fresh fruit on the palate, with a lightly tannin streak. It’s just the thing for a chilly autumn evening. Rosemary George M.W.

In The Garden with Gill Pound

f preparation for Christmas isn’t claiming your attention there is still time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. 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 leafmould – 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 (eg 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 waterlogging in the pot which would make the root system more vulnerable to cold Mild weather in November may mean that many late flowering shrubs and perennials, as well as the autumn colour on deciduous

trees and shrubs will still give interest into December but this will all disappear as soon as we have some real frost. But once the 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), cypresses and many others. It is worth giving the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) a special mention since it has the attractive red fruits as well as the heather like flowers in December. The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is another winter flowerer with scented white flowers and rosemary will often start to flower in December too. It is worth thinking about using some of these plants to make your own Christmas garlands and wreaths. Evergreens such as cypress and pine, ivy, holly, myrtle, Viburnum tinus and many others can be used. A framework can be made using the “sarments” (stems) of grape vines, then use conifers as a base to weave in before adding softer foliage such as ivy and then add less pliable foliage such as holly, viburnum, myrtle, wild rose hips, Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) For further information contact Gill Pound at La Petite Pépinière de Caunes (shrubs and perennials, unusual plants and plants for dry climates), 21, Avenue de la Montagne Noire, 11160, Caunes-Minervois. Tel: 04 68 78 43 81, email Although the nursery doesn’t have regular opening hours during the winter months we are always open by appointment so if you would like to visit just email or phone to fix a time.

Top: * Rosmarinus officinalis Lto R: * ruscusaculeatus * arbutus unedo * eriobotryajaponica



Introducing young journalist Theo King’s column, ‘My Way’ Interviews with professionals about how they got to where they are today, the rewards and the frustrations.

Good To Be Young

Name: Jean-Pierre Romiguier Occupation: Craftsman entrepreneur, founder /director of “Le Sac du Berger” Income: About 2% of the turnover Hours per week: “The workshop, my home, elsewhere, they’re all one. My work fills my life.”

Written by Under 20’s for the Under 20’s. Jean-Pierre Romiguier Born: St Maurice de Sorgue, Aveyron. 1955. Diplomas: Brevet, Apprentice SNCF

Up to 18 My mother wanted me to have a secure job for life, for her that meant being a civil servant. When I was 16, armed with my brevet, I took a concours and was accepted by the SNCF as an apprentice in general mechanics

at Beziers. I soon knew life in a town was not for me, I wanted to live in the countryside where I was born. To be independent I needed a place for myself, although I wasn’t sure what I was going to do there. 18-25 So, when I was 19 my brother and I bought this group of old houses and barns, 5 kilometres from the nearest road, in the middle of Aveyronais woodland. It was only afterwards that I thought of working leather. I started making sandals for friends, then a local shop bought a regular supply. I’ve always liked the big, traditional bag shepherd’s use here. It carries everything he needs, with it he is independent as he follows his flock across the open countryside. I took one apart and copied the design. People saw it and wanted one for themselves – practical, good-looking, long-lasting. Orders began

coming in everyday. So at 25, despite my family’s disapproval, I left the SNCF to work full-time in my workshop. I needed very little, I lived simply but I loved my life. The same is true today. At 36 I took on the first employee – again despite family pressure. The following year we bought a shop in La Couvertoirade, a good tourist location. Ten years later we built a shop next to the workshop here. The Job Now we make a large range of leather and wool products, from wallets to the full-length shepherds cloak; bags of all different sizes, document cases, office organisers, leather jackets, wide-brimmed felt hats, belts, shoes, gloves, slippers – everything hand-made from local, carefully selected leather. I employ 10 people with 5 different crafts. You need patience and you have to persevere. For instance, when I have a good idea I know that it’ll take time to come to fruition. To be really good. For me, the important thing is not to do a whole lot of things but to do what you do in the right way. If we don’t finish something this year, we will next year. In 2012 our turnover was €750,000: 70 % comes from our shop, our website and mail order; 30% comes from local shops. This year, we signed a major deal with a Japanese


export company which deals only with high-quality, luxury goods. Rewards The best part is making the bags. It is very satisfying selling something hand crafted. Also I love communicating about it, showing people that something small and personal can work. What pisses me off Actually, what most people consider a problem is precisely what they need to change in themselves. When something annoys me, I strive towards it to keep going. Overcoming a problem, dealing with something aggravating makes us a stronger, better individual – so if it makes us stronger, is a problem really such a bad thing? The Future The next big step is to hand over the company to someone else. But to do that we need to expand so we can create a structure, with a different person in charge of each different aspect: design, marketing, accounts. At the moment all of it’s just me! Once you have a coherent command structure, it’s much easier to hand over a business. One objective is to have a turnover of a million, so we can deal directly with the new Banque Publique d’Investissement. At the moment we are too small, so we have to deal with regular banks – which is tough. Also, I am trying to develop a network with local companies working in the same area – it’ll give us economic strength but also it’s good for relationships and together we get better ideas. Info:

Business / Money / News / Spectrum The Transfer System SEPA...

coming to a bank near you.


love the EU. They keep a ridiculous amount of my friends and enemies in gainful employment chasing shadows and paper pushing. But there are good ideas. You just know they will completely trash the integration. And so we discuss SEPA or to give it its full name Single

European Payments Area. I won’t go into the details of implementation dates and roll out scenarios (and delays) but in summary SEPA was implemented to improve cross border payments between countries for euro payments. This was (and is) a mess with individual countries using different methods (eg. in France we have a RIB) So, for all you euro sceptics we are talking about regulated payment details, commonality in financial standards and procedures and a more transparent visual of where the money goes! Oh yes, and it should save billions for institutions moving your money for you. So who’s in the United States of Europe it? 32 European countries + a couple thrown in for good measure, totalling over 500 million people. Now a lot of this has been happening since 2008 but the important date is 01 February, 2014. On this day there is no wriggle room, you must comply; the transfer and collection that you use today will be replaced by the SCT (SEPA Credit Transfer) or or SDD ( SEPA Direct Debit). The Details in short To make transfers or direct debits, you must: * Send transactions between two accounts in banks located in SEPA.

* To identify the bank accounts for senders and recipients you need to use the IBAN and BIC instead of RIB. These details are available from your bank. So what’s the problem. I don’t have one. But you may have what may be called teething troubles. * Roll out was a little slow, as of 11/2012 SDD Direct Debit (Prélevement) share was 2.1% of all payments. (Does not include intra bank transfers)

* Belgium, Germany, UK, Hungary, Spain, Sweden, USA (Chase) are all confirmed as having issues? Many of you will have already used SEPA and not known, some of you Anglos who are of the British persuasion or those of you who send or do business in the UK and bank with 2 or 3 nameless banks (Is that the door chime? Sorry just have to get La Poste) may have however noticed a couple of problems. Currently certain French banks are behind the loop and you cannot transfer to a non-euro account in another country. Period. You can’t do it. We spoke to two of these banks and the best we got was, “It is something that customers have made us aware of and we are looking into it.” La Poste spokesperson Nov 2013

If you come across this issue, inform your bank or alternatively set up online banking, almost all online systems are SEPA friendly. But please don’t blame the French system (totally) as the UK does not have to be integrated until November 2014 and many won’t be because “they don’t have to, so won’t”. Uk Treasury spokesperson 2013

Hold on there.... “Customers made you aware.....” Gee I love this business, now was that really the post at the door? Happy Holidays all. 13

And Another Debt Crisis


e have been living through the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and now we have the US debt crisis. It feels like déjà vu, as it was around this time last year that there was much talk about the US fiscal cliff. Just hours before the deadline of 17th October, the US Congress passed a bill to re-open the government and raise the federal debt ceiling - well at least until next year - as a new deadline of 7th February was set. The consequences of not having made this ‘temporary fix’ would have resulted in the US defaulting on its sovereign debt. Default would have been catastrophic for the US and also for the global economy. The Eurozone is showing slight signs of economic recovery, although described by ECB President Draghi as “weak, fragile and uneven”. Unemployment is still rising and the big surprise is the fall in the rate of inflation, which has dropped from 1.1% to 0.7%. The ECB’s prime objective of price stability in the Eurozone is under pressure. Questions are now being asked as to whether or not the ECB will be forced to make an interest rate cut to avoid the Eurozone falling into a ‘Japan-like’ deflationary spiral. Closer to home, the French budget – Projet de Loi de Finances 2014 – is progressing through parliament. As expected, amendments have already been proposed and adopted by the National Assembly, including amendments to the government’s proposed reform of the capital gains tax regime relating to property. To read more on all these subjects, the full version of this article can be found at the Business Pages section of The Herault Times website. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about how the proposed French tax changes may affect you or on any other aspect of financial planning, please contact me, either by e-mail at daphne. or by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17. The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of investment of financial assets. The Spectrum IFA Group advisers do not charge any fees directly to clients for their time or for advice given, as can be seen from our Client Charter at Daphne Foulkes SIRET 522 658 194 00017 Numéro ’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800 With Care, You Prosper

OH SILVIO....... OH BARACK..... OH FRANNY...........


ust a quick note to a couple of my esteemed readers......Silvio, might be a good idea to NOT throw a party this year, you never know who’s watching, or paying and you must be feeling taxed by now (or maybe not.) And Barack, I’d say shut down the office but that will happen again in February anywaay with your fiscal mess. And to my huggable Franny, well, if Niko’ poster is anything to go by you better ‘hope’ (sorry Barack) that you can Shepard (oh, this is terrible) him off to Corsica. Happy Holidays to you all.


uy Allouchery, member of a traditional Wicca coven in France affiliated to the Garderian and Alexandrian traditions founded by Lady Cerridwen and Lord Daghdha “The Cauldron of Rebirth”, presents an overview of the rebirth of paganism and sorcery in the West. A brief history In spite of two thousand years of tumultuous history, alternating between periods of tolerance and oppression, the ancient belief has continued to live in the shadows of churches, in the bottom of valleys and in the remote countryside. It has never been completely chased from the ancestral memory of men and women. Witchcraft is alive and cannot be fixed by any dogma. In order to survive, it has had to blend into the cultural décor

It is this rich heritage that from the 14th century, folklorists, anthropologists, poets and occultists have endeavoured to rediscover, thus providing the beginnings of a renaissance of modern paganism. Some of the important personalities at the forefront of this renewal were British, such as anthropologist Sir James Frazer (1854-1941); Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903) who was one of the first people to be interested in an overview of the different traditions such as the gypsies and Tuscan folklore. His name remained however principally associated with a small opuscule entitled Aradia, Gospel of the Witches that he collected from a strega, an Italian witch, called Magdalenna; and anthropologist Margaret Murray, whose work was inspired for the most part by

and as such has never ceased to borrow from other cultures. Often considered as purveyors of evil, it is not actually so surprising that sorcerers or simple country folk have blended magic rites into their prayers of the Saints. The beliefs, practices, and customs of the ancient religion have persisted through the knowledge of healing plants, tales, myths and legends, the stories of the Little People, children’s nursery rhymes, charms and superstitions and through what are generally recognised as Western magic.

stories gathered about witchcraft. Although much criticized by historians, her ideas brought the key elements for the reconstruction of modern covens such as the concept of a male God, represented by antlers or a stag and the idea of an organized cult with its sabbats (a meeting of those who practice witchcraft and other rites. There are traditionally 8 sabbats in a year). This renewed practice of western magic lived undoubtedly i n the Hermetic order of the ‘Golden Dawn’, an English magic

The Renaissance of Paganism and Witchcraft

“Deeply opposed to religious hierarchy and gender inequality, Wicca ascribes divinity as both a God and a Goddess – but witches can also believe in as many gods, local or universal, as they wish.” Contemporary paganism and witchcraft in France The French Pagan population is relatively small and widely spread, an estimate puts the number of practicing witches in France at 3-5,000. Babette Petiot, moderator of News et Liens Paiens, describes the community as young. She says, “We are just getting out of the proverbial broom closet.” Another spokesperson, a Hellenist from Lyon says, “French paganism is still in its infancy. It still remains invisible and informal even in this growth phase.” Remarks Michaud, alias Athenos, who leads a coven near Metz, “It’s very eclectic. Wicca isn’t just a bunch of sorcerers. Bringing back our ties to nature is very important to us.” French Pagan practices spans the spectrum. There are Polytheists, Hellenists, Asatru, Reconstructionists and Alexandrian and Gardnerian witches. Druidism appears to currently be the most popular according to the director of the French division of the Pagan Federation International. Ana Lama, Druidess for the Communauté de l’Arbe Druidique adds: “We have an important connection to [Celtic] history on our own ground. We try as much as we can to rely on archeological discoveries… Most of our groups are built upon Gallic roots using Gallic tribe names and rituals. Many druidic groups are affiliated with groups in Great Britain.”

In spite of this emerging pagan culture in France many pagans are still reticent about practicing openly. A member of the group Ligue Wiccane Eclectique puts this down to religion in general being a rather taboo subject in France, rather than a fear of prejudice. She argues that French laicité actually means ‘no religion unless you are Catholic’. In 1995, the French government created an office called Miviludes to monitor ‘cultic deviances’. Although its aim is to protect the safety of its citizens, some consider it a threat to minority religious practice. Xavier, another member of the Ligue Wicanne Eclectique explains, “People [in France] don’t realise there are any pagans left today. For most people its old historical stuff.” Some also confuse it with charlatanism or Satanism, notes Xael, a Wiccan eclectic and Shaman. Aside from misconceptions and general attitudes according to many key people in the French pagan community, the biggest problem facing them is the French Pagans themselves. From the large population of teenage practitioners who don’t know how to perform or organize covens and who believe that being a ‘witch’ is trendy, to hot tempers, egos and individualistic personalities. Babette Petiot blames the broom closet, “French pagans are so comfortable hiding behind their [facades] and the internet, and they won’t come out.” Babette believes that even though there is still a long way to go for Pagans in France, 14

the first steps should be to let the different traditions speak to each other and create bridges. There are smaller groups forming locally via the internet to encourage local community connections. “Things are changing,” says Xael, “In time, I believe Paganism will be recognised as a true spiritual [path].” * Right: Doreen Valiente (1922-1999), was of French descent and author and one of Gerald Gardner’s High Priestesses.

Top: Gerald Gardner (1884-1964), also known as Scire, was an English Wiccan and author of several books which still serve as the foundation for the practice of contemporary witchcraft.

fraternity from which the brilliant syncretism still profoundly marks today’s practices. Alistair Crowley, Butler Yeats, Dion Fortune, Mathers, A.E. Waite were among the main actors of this flamboyant epoch. The controversial and colourful figure of Gerald Gardner who introduced the form of modern witchcraft known as Wicca and re-established the practice of coven groupings and initiations, Doreen Valiente, one of Gardner’s High Priestesses, and those who came after them, continued to innovate and add new elements. One finds numerous sources of inspiration, like the poems of Kipling, fragments of texts inspired by Alistair Crowley, magic techniques of the ‘Golden Dawn’, the influence of Leland, medieval magic with the Clavicules of Solomon,… etc.

The Traditions Gerald Gardner indicated that only a sorcerer could make another sorcerer. According to this principle, a sorcerer cannot be initiated by anyone other than another sorcerer and moreover (except in specific cases mentioned in the laws), by another person of the opposite sex. This very strict and codified transfer of powers is one of the reasons why the Gardnerians carefully guard the lineage of their tradition. Gerald Gardner initiated many women to the title of High Priestess who founded their own covens. Witches who can trace their lineage to Gardner are called “Gardnerians’ by convention. Those who scrupulously follow these principles (traditionalists) often present themselves as members of Wicca (the writing format used by Gerald Gardner himself in his writings) and refer to themselves simply as witches (and not therefore as Wiccans). For several years however there has also been a stream of solitary witches who assemble under the very different practices of this term. They sometimes call themselves witches, but more often than not ‘Wiccans’. There is another way of understanding things that we try to follow in “The Cauldron of Rebirth”: The word tradition is for us synonymous with heritage and the transmission of knowledge. We can compare our tradition to a tree. We respect the roots by which we have been developed; the trunk of our tree represents the work of the ancients that we want to bequeath to those who will come later. We consider that it is necessary to preciously guard the teachings f the past but that it is desirable to make the new leaves blossom which are part of new experiences and enriching knowledge. We are indifferent as to whether we are referred to as witches or as wiccans. Guy Allouchery

Midwinter’s Eve - Yule For modern Witches, Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon yula, meaning “wheel” of the year) is usually celebrated on the actual winter solstice. Once, the Yule log was the center of the celebration. It was lighted on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and must be kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. It should be made of ash. Later, the Yule log was replaced by the Yule tree but, instead of burning it, lighted candles were placed on it. In Christianity, Protestants might claim that Martin Luther invented the custom, and Catholics might grant St. Boniface the honor, but the custom can demonstrably be traced back through the Roman Saturnalia all the way to ancient Egypt. Needless to say, such a tree should be cut down rather than purchased, and should be disposed of by burning, the proper way to dispatch any sacred object. Along with the evergreen, the holly and the ivy and the mistletoe were important plants of the season, all symbolizing fertility and everlasting life. Mistletoe was especially venerated by the Celtic Druids, who cut it with a golden sickle on the sixth night of the moon, and believed it to be an aphrodisiac. (Magically—not medicinally! It’s highly toxic!) But aphrodisiacs must have been the smallest part of the Yuletide menu in ancient times, as contemporary reports indicate that the tables fairly creaked under the strain of every type of good food. And drink! The most popular of which was the “wassail cup”, deriving its name from the Anglo-Saxon term waes hael (be whole or). 15

HT Life Style in partnership with

Lerab Ling Buddhist Centre Cancer Support France. What do we do?


ots of people know about CSF Languedoc’s existence, but many are unsure what we actually do. Our classified advert says we provide “Emotional, linguistic and practical support to English speaking cancer patients and their families through our team of trained volunteers”. Another classified advert talks about our Drop in Day, offering “support, fun activities and pampering”. Clearer? Good. Of course, classified adverts only provide headlines, so here’s a feel of what lies behind them… Some things we don’t do are: • Fund cancer research • Provide health care • Provide counselling • Judge people affected by cancer or advise them about what they should do


he list of things we do is a lot longer and depends on individual circumstances every time. It might be a one-off hospital visit or it may go from diagnosis through treatment, through remission or to end-oflife and coping with the changes these stages bring. Many (but not all) of the things we do for clients are: • Provide translation and interpreting services for people relating to their health registration, doctor’s appointments, hospital appointments etc • Help people with the paperwork for all of the above • Attend health appointments with people as moral support • Provide information about the health service, local health services, hospitals etc • Provide links to approved websites regarding different cancers and their treatments • Give personal space to talk about the impacts (practical and emotional) of the cancer journey and help people work out what choices they want to make and how they want to manage things • Help with transport for medical visits • Liaise with GPs, pharmacists, consultants, home care teams etc • Provide information about complementary therapy options

• Support people with palliative care arrangements • Support people to arrange Wills and Living Wills • Support people with funeral arrangements and coming to terms with bereavement • Provide information about counselling services • Provide information about financial advice services • Help where possible to find temporary or permanent solutions for people’s pets if they can no longer be looked after • Provide a monthly Drop in Day to help break down feelings of isolation and to offer free complementary therapies and pampering where possible Health care A lot of English speakers living in France find the bureaucracy of the health system daunting and we often find that people are not registered in the system, have no doctor in France and are unaware that healthcare is free for someone with a cancer diagnosis. We deal with this all the time and it’s a lot easier for us because we’ve done it before. Emotional support Everyone close to someone with a cancer diagnosis is affected by it. Family members often feel lost as to what to say and do. People can work at being polite and positive or can have a hard time keeping going and saying anything. People express opinions, (“If I were you I would/not do this/that/the other”), or try to bolster confidence, (“It’ll be fine”). Then there are the people who give advice, either through experience (which can vary dramatically from one person to another), or because they are professionals and providing their professional opinion. It’s in the middle of all this that our Active Listeners provide the space and time for people to think things through without any opinion or advice being voiced. We’re trained to ask open questions, confirm understanding, and provide information where it is sought. We have a role of empowering people to manage difficult things in the way that best suits them, when they are ready to do it. This is not counselling, but it 16

can make a big difference. Volunteers Our Active Listeners, interpreters, food and pampering providers for Drop in Days and everyone helping in every other way with our activities are all volunteers. We have two sets of volunteers: 1. Those that provide personalised support to people (Active Listening) 2. Those that help run activities, fundraising and awareness events etc, but do not undertake personalised support Both sets of volunteers are provided with training and information by CSF Languedoc, using a programme which has been recognised and rolled out by the CSF national body. For those who do not take on Active

Listening, there is a 1-day training course about the aims and practices of CSF and an introduction to Active Listening methods. For Active Listeners, there is a two-day training course, with a one-day follow-up, periodic ongoing training days, regular and ongoing contact and practice with a ‘buddy’ (another Active Listener with whom the methods of Active Listening are practised with feedback for improvement) and a Mentor, who is available to talk things through and support the Active Listener with what can be very challenging work. As well as our focus on Active Listening – the heart of our work – we have a committee structure, a membership (including ‘Friends of’) and are constantly working to improve awareness of what we do amongst the English and French-speaking communities. We have strong links and formal recognition agreements with local health services and links with La Ligue Contre le Cancer. Awareness and Money We have strong and much-appreciated support from more English-speaking groups than we could mention, who raise funds to cover advertising costs, volunteer travel costs

HT Life Style in partnership with

Lerab Ling Buddhist Centre CSF cont... (by far the biggest

cost we face), Drop in Day and training costs and more. We do not raise funds to be profitable – we raise them to do our work. Often the biggest benefit to us from fundraising activities is that people find out more about us, recommend us to someone in need, or are drawn to give their time and energy through volunteering. If, having read this piece you would like to know more, please check our website on: or email us on: We always welcome enquiries from those who might benefit from our support, enquiries from possible volunteers, membership enquiries and offers to run awareness and fundraising events. Clearer? Good.

Life coach Maggie Minter on the lifestyle pages

Why Do We Keep Doing Things We Know Are Bad For Us?


o you find yourself doing things you don’t want to do but can’t help yourself? Are you a smoker but don’t want to smoke, overweight but can’t stop eating, getting angry but can’t stop yourself exploding. We know that we don’t want to have that cigarette, glass of wine, or shout at our partner, but we can’t seem to stop ourselves. Something else seems to take over. It can feel as if we’re in a vicious circle. In fact, there is a conflict going on inside. Part of us doesn’t want to do it, but then again part of us really wants to. Perhaps at the age of 14, you found yourself included in the cool crowd who smoked and remember that feeling of empowerment as you saw the other children look at you in awe. Perhaps the

Yoga Posture of the month

The Cobra Pose


he Cobra pose, or bhujangasana, is a back bend that stretches muscles on the front of the torso and strengthens yours arms and shoulders and helps to open the chest and lungs. Lie face down on the floor with your palms flat, placed beneath your shoulders. The tops of your feet should be flat on the floor. Engage your

Maggie is a coach and hypnotherapist. If you wish to contact her personally, email: Maggie at



The Cobra Pose

only time you felt truly loved and important was when your grandmother baked you a special cake and made a fuss of you, encouraging you to eat a huge slice. What if as a child you lived in an angry household with everyone shouting at each other and you had to shout as loud to be heard and noticed. The subconscious always does what it thinks is best for us, so somewhere it must be telling us that doing these things gives us a benefit. These early beliefs from childhood served us then, but over the years we have forgotten why we do it – it has become a habit. If you were to go back and acknowledge that early child and sit with them for a moment, explaining that those early feelings are no longer needed - things have changed. You can then let go of those old emotions that made you feel good at the time and take back control. No longer habitually smoking, over-eating or losing your temper because you can now choose what’s best for the person you are today.

Are you looking to buy or wanting to sell ?

adnominal muscles by tilting your pelvis and drawing your belly button towards your spine. Spread your fingers and press your palms into the floor. Push your upper body off the floor and straighten your arms remaining comfortable while keeping your hips, legs and feet planted on the mat. Tilt your chin upward and lift your chest toward the ceiling. Hold for five breaths then release.

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** 17

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The Calendar in Association with: The Calendar

Daily Calendar (in English) on

Living in the 18th Century, Diderot, the Encyclopedia and the Enlightenment

16th October 2013-16th January 2014 Médiatheque Emile Zola, Montpellier. he exhibition presents a panel of 270 books dating mainly from the Enlightenment period, and is being run in parallel with Le Goût de Diderot at the Musée Fabre in order to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Denis Diderot, French writer and Founder of the French Encyclopedia. The books on display were carefully selected over a two year period from the Montpellier heritage fund, which has a collection of no less than 24, 000 books. The tour begins with 5 Celebrations Books in very large format, richly ornamented with engravings. These illustrate souvenirs of Royal events such as Royal Weddings; a display of small books opposite show cheaper wood print illustrations on ordinary quality paper. The books presented relate to various subjects. The philosophy of writers such as Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Jean de la Fontaine, as well as daily life preoccupations, for instance Gardening Theories enriched with fine illustrations. Theatre plays (Tartuffe by Molière), transport, for example showing how horses were employed in the army, in agriculture, or for carriages, and various topics: music, travels by the pioneer James Cook, Hydraulic Architecture and medicine complete this interesting visit. Finally the Encyclopedia is shown here in full. It represents Diderot’s major work with 36 volumes, 2,800 engravings, the contribution of a total of 150 authors, printed at the time in 25 000 copies. A truly fascinating voyage across the past offering the visitor ‘enlightenment’ of what was capturing the imagination of our forbearers. Free guided visits are: Wednesdays and Fridays at 14h, and Thursdays 18h.


Saturday 30th November Gignac Traditional Fair – over 200 stalls FREE Esplanade Gignac 34150 04 67 57 01 70 ** Saturday 30th Nov - 01 Dec Cassan Cracker Fair Roujan 10h Entry €2 Children Free Chateau Cassan, Roujan ** Saturday 7th December to Sunday 8th December Clermont l’Hérault Marché de l’Huile Noel : animations, parade, Christmas gifts, artisans… FREE Chapelle des Pénitents and Henri Martin Clermont l’Hérault 34800 ** Friday 6th December to Tuesday 24th December Béziers Les Halles en Fete: Marché au gras, marché vigneron, tastings, surprises… 08h30-17h Place Pierre Sémard, Les Halles de Béziers 34500 Béziers ** Saturday 7th December Serignan Marché de Noel 10h-17h FREE Allées de la République, Sérignan 04 67 94 82 96 ** Sunday 8 December Fontes “Nine Lessons and Carols” service at 3pm Eliza Roberts from La Maison Verte is singing the solo (Once in Royal David’s City) + traditional readings, carolsand wine and mince pies afterwards. ** Sunday 8th December Capestang - Marché de Noel et Foire au Gras Lots of delicious fare and animations throughout the day. 09h-18h FREE Enquiries: 04 67 93 34 23 ** Saturday December 14th Montarnaud 18

Marché de Noel 10h-18h FREE Salle vert Paradis Esplanade Jean Moulin 34570 MONTARNAUD T:33 (0)4 67 55 40 84 ** Saturday 14th December Adissan Concert de Cache Fuoc with the vocal group Vagabondage Followed by mulled wine 18h Eglise Saint-Adrien Adissan 34230 ** Sun 15th December Frontignan Grande Parade de Noel (depart. collège Les Deux Pins at 15h30) FREE ** Saturday December 14th to Sunday December 15th Sète Bazr ou L’Etrange Marché de Noel More than 40 stall holders, 2 days of concerts + DJ on Saturday, artistic performances, exhibition, children’s workshops, food, clothes, toys Sat 14h-22h/Sun 10h-22h FREE 9 Quai Paul Riquet Chai Skalli 34200 SETE ** Sunday 15th December Saussines Spectacle and film projection on the eve of Christmas Salles des Fetes, 290 avenue de Boisseron 34160 SAUSSINES ** Sunday 15th December Le Cres 11th Marché de Noel FREE Salle Marceau Crespin Ave des Cévennes 34920 Le Cres **

Friday 20th Dec to Sun 22nd December St Pargoire Marché de Noel: Mulled wine, hot chocolate, Crepes, Father Christmas… (Fri 16h-19h, Sat & Sun 10h-13h, 15h-19h) FREE Place Roger Salengro St Pargoire 0467 98 70 01 ** Saturday 21st December to Sunday 22nd December Aniane - Marché de Noel Grande Parade de Noel illuminée (19h) Salles des Fêtes, Aniane 34150 04 67 57 01 40 ** Monday December 23rd to Sunday December 29th Cap d’Agde Noel sur Mer : come and discover the magic of Christmas, Father Christmas… for little ones and grown ups FREE Centre-port,Cap d’Agde and Agde,centre ville Esplanade Pierre Racine 34300 CAP-D’AGDE ** Until 29th December Montpellier Les Hivernales: local artisan market, mulled wine, guided tours FREE Place de la Comédie 34000 MONTPELLIER Site : **

What’s in a name....

Sue Hicks continues her look into history through Street names

Pierre et Marie Curie

Becquerel”. At the Royal Institution in London, only Pierre was allowed to lecture and as a woman Marie was only allowed to sit in the audience. From this time onwards, the couple ceased to have financial worries although they both struggled with health issues unaware or regardless of the dangers of radiation sickness. They lived with their daughters Irene (born 1897) and Eve (born 1904) and Pierre’s widowed father. They became prey to journalists and photographers who portrayed their lives as fairy tales and the family felt hounded at times. On a rainy 19 April 1906, Pierre was run over and killed by a horse drawn cab in a narrow street. When his father heard the news he is reported to have said, “What was he dreaming of this time?” The university asked Marie to take over Pierre’s teaching post which made her the first woman professor at the Sorbonne. At her first lecture, Marie received a standing ovation as she entered and she commenced with the last words of Pierre’s final lecture. Marie was rejected by the French Academy of Science after much antiSemitic press vilification of her as a woman and a foreigner. Rumours of a relationship with Paul Langevin, a former pupil of Pierre, caused a scandal before his divorce and the press frenzy and local outrage forced Marie and her family first into hiding and then to England for a year. In 1911, Marie had the distinction of becoming the first person to gain two Nobel prizes, this time for chemistry and she was able to go to Stockholm to receive the award. During the First World War, Marie and her daughter Irene worked with the Red Cross to provide and equip mobile radiology units which were known as petites Curies. Marie Curie was presented with a gram of enormously expensive radium by President Harding at the White House in 1921 and in 1929 a second gram went to the Institute Radium in Warsaw where Marie’s sister was director. Marie continued her research, very successful fundraising despite her dislike of public speaking and travelled to international conferences. Marie realised she was the victim of her own work when she contracted leukaemia, leading to her death in 1934 – too soon to see her daughter Irene Curie and son in law Joliot receive their Nobel Prize the following year. Pierre and Marie’s ashes were transferred to the Pantheon in 1995. The Curie name is attached to various scientific terms as well as to cancer centres, educational institutes and streets throughout the world.


here is a great disparity throughout France between the number of streets named after men and women. Pierre and Marie Curie illustrate the point. This celebrated couple, joint winners of a Nobel Prize, have 212 streets using both their names; Pierre Curie has 327 to himself and Marie Curie 86. Occasionally a town will have a rue for each of them and 79 have decided to just have rue Curie. Pierre Curie was born in Paris on 15 May, 1859. His father was a doctor and Pierre was taught at home by his mother before a tutor was brought in when he was 14. Pierre gained his baccalaureate two years later and a degree at the age of 18. With his brother Jacques, Pierre discovered that when certain crystals are crushed an electrical voltage is produced which is known as the piezoelectric effect- used today in microphones and quartz watches. Marya Sklodowska was born in Warsaw on 7 November, 1867 where her father taught physics and mathematics but he was forced into progressively lower academic posts as the occupying Russians imposed restrictions on higher education for Poles. The deaths of her mother and a sister led to a loss of Marya’s Roman Catholic faith. When the Russians eliminated laboratory instruction from the Polish curriculum, her father brought his scientific equipment home for the use of his children. Despite their increasing poverty and family tragedies, Marya came top of her class at school in 1883. Marya and her sister did a deal whereby Bronja went to Paris to study medicine while Marya worked and sent money to help support her. Marya’s turn came in 1891 and she too went to Paris and began to call herself Marie. These were hard years as Marie was behind the other students and she was often hungry and so cold she had to wear all her clothes, yet she came top in physics two years later and second in mathematics in 1894 and was awarded a grant to pursue her studies. Marie’s plan to train as a teacher and return to Poland changed when she met Pierre Curie and they married at a civil ceremony in 1895. Marie chose a practical blue wedding dress which she could wear afterwards for her laboratory work. The newlyweds took a cycling tour for their honeymoon which at the time was a great novelty and cycling remained a shared passion in their increasingly busy lives. In 1895 Roentgen had identified X Rays and shortly afterwards Becquerel discovery that uranium compounds emitted a similar, but weaker radiation. Pierre and Marie worked on the behaviour of these compounds and established for the first time that radiation was associated with the atomic structure of elements, which were termed radioactive. Pierre and Marie went on to discover the new elements of polonium and radium. Despite the pain in his legs and the cuts and burns on her hands, the couple continued their work in an unheated shed. Doctors quickly recognised the potential benefits and began to use radioactive substances in cancer treatments. In June 1903, Marie became the first woman to receive a doctorate in physics. The same year Pierre and Marie were jointly awarded the Prix Nobel with Henri Becquerel “in recognition of extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by


Un Certain Regard: A journey through French cinema


hile this new monthly series focuses on French cinema from 1945 onwards, here in this first part we briefly trace its progress from its early beginnings to the end of the 1930s. Even a brief introduction to the history of French cinema would be lacking unless we include a word about Les Frères Lumières. They were two brothers born in Besançon:Auguste in 1862 & Louis in 1864 the sons of Antoine Lumières, a non-conformist painter, singer and photographer. By 1894, thanks to the inspiration of their father, Auguste & Louis were working on animated images. The following year they produced the first film, La Sortie de l’Usine Lumières à Lyon. While it has been disputed, it would appear there is enough evidence to show that the history of cinematography began in this family of “light”. From camel-trains in Egypt and the launching of the Fürst Bismarck to new photographic techniques and panoramas, the Frères Lumières could be found at the origins as innovators.

This era of flickering images developed into the silent films that many of us know so well and return to every now and then as nostalgia insists. We overlook just how amazing early films appeared to their audiences who sometimes feared the very pictures before them would leave the screen and come out upon them. Two other notable film producers were Charles-Émile Jean Cocteau Reynaud (1844 –1918) a French science teacher, responsible for the first projected animated cartoon films and Georges Méliès (1861 –1938) a French illusionist and filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of cinema. Reynaud’s Théâtre Optique began in December 1888, projecting the first animated film Pauvre Pierrot at the Musée Grévin in Paris which pioneered film perforations. By 1910 the Cinematograph had made his theatre obsolete & he threw his work into the River Seine. He died totally poor & bereft in a hospice on the banks of the Seine where he had been cared for. Georges Méliès was among the first to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted colour in his work. A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904) are early fantasy science fiction films. Le Manoir du diable (1896) is a horror film. The First World War obviously had a severe effect on the cinema in France. Following this period, the American cinema industry was providing a difficult challenge putting out 5 films for each one the French were able to produce. Protection was sought against this but was mostly unsuccessful. Facilities were outmoded and capital for investment short. In the 1920s an “Impressionist” movement grew with Henri Diamant-Berger (1921) Les Trois Mousquetaires; La Chute de la Maison Usher by Jean Epstein (1928) a surreal horror film and L’Argent by Marcel L’Herbier (1929) an intense critique of the financial world. By the 1930s “talkies” were becoming generally available bringing with them poetic realism, documentary and political commentary in a period of mounting social crisis. Among the names and titles to follow Jean Cocteau are Jean Cocteau Le Sang d’un Poète (not spoken 1930); The Marseilles Trilogy of Marcel Pagnol (1931) and La Grande illusion of Jean Renoir (1937) one of the all-time greats. Karl Leonie


Argent - Jean Renoir

Next Issue: The 1940’s 20

English for Expat Children

An indispensable guide

The Geek we call ‘E-Male’

Laura Smith has a BA (Hons) in English and a background which includes nannying, running ‘arts’ groups for children, supporting early readers, teaching English as a foreign language in Spanish and Italian schools and examining children for the Cambridge Examining Board.



ncouraging children of any age to write for pleasure can be quite a challenge; even those naturally drawn to it might need a framework to get them started from time to time. Writing short stories together can be an excellent way to develop both their imagination and confidence in their writing. Exploring different styles of writing can be great for older children; an old colleague of mine used to ask children to write their own Mr Men books which found them looking at all sorts of ways to focus on one word in particular. For example, Mr Plenty would be inundated in various ways whilst Little Miss Choosy would busily dismiss until finding just what she wanted. This can be an excellent project for older children and more complex than it might first appear as it relies on a really thorough thinking through of how the word chosen can be applied and how context can alter meaning. On the other hand, younger writers, or more reluctant ones, will need to be presented with the opportunity (and perhaps necessity) to write. With Christmas approaching you could channel their urgent anticipation into putting together the vital letter to Father Christmas. This can be adapted to meet the level of your child; from a

20,000 Friends on Facebook...4,000 pictures. And I can talk to them all!


’m going to shock you now. I love Christmas! I get over 20,000 cards a year from all my real friends on Facebook and Twitter and over 4,000 christmas pictures from all my real friends on Pinterest; whilst a department store in the UK spent over 9 million euros making me cry at a commercial in November. November? Yeah, but that is nothing. In the US there is an unwritten rule that Christmas TV holiday advertising doesn’t start until the end of October! Yes, October, but that went out the window this year with Kmart starting on September 10. Further, the unspoken rule is only for TV and that’s only because they want your last penny out of Halloween. A national retail spokesperson said this year that, “It brings a whole new definition to Christmas creep”

simple list of hoped-for presents to a longer letter filling him in on their year (and, of course, how well they’ve behaved!). The process of addressing and posting the letter can be exciting for younger children. New Year’s Resolutions are also very handy. Again, younger children might just write a list, but older children could expand the activity in all sorts of directions. One possibility you might consider is to attempt to write in an extremely formal style. Watching a period drama or reading some 19th century writers could help get them in the mood; writing in any older form of English is excellent for their range and understanding of the language, something expat children tend to have less exposure to. They might kick off with something along the lines of ‘I hereby decree to partake in maintaining the cleanliness of my chamber henceforth...’ Of course, it needn’t be serious, or even accurate, but simply encourage the use of all sorts of weird and wonderful archaic language. Try making the sentences as long as possible! Thence I bid you adieu with fair and festive tidings in the passing of the year. May thou and thine have numerous jolly japes. englishforexpatchildren@gmail. com

French Cinema Fact: The Canal+ TV channel has a broadcast license requiring it to support the production of movie


Skydigi supplies digital satellite equipment to receive UK TV and radio across Europe. We offer every solution for your viewing needs. Free advice and testimonials offered Call us on 0468 87 18 30 For more information visit our website 21

and I don’t think she meant me! But this is not a time to be negative. For those that celebrate this time of year I humbly suggest that if you have families and / or friends (I know it can be hard in our world) that you remember them. We have the greatest ability that has ever existed to communicate with people. So do it. Video calling, speech calling, Instant messaging or even a quick email: - Skype, Google Hangouts, ooVoo – (awesome and talk to 12 people at once!) and so many others. You can connect with everyone and bring a warm glow to your holidays. Now I’m off to talk to all my ‘friends’ on Facebook.....4 down, 19,996 to go. Merry Christmas to you all. **

Mirror Mirror on the wall, Why are Art Galleries here at all?


id you know that the Tate in the UK is the most visited art gallery in the world? And that the Tate “has changed the way that Britain sees art, and the way the world sees Britain.” * And in France the Louvre is the most visited museum in France, and is known internationally as a cultural giant. In actual fact, go to any country and you can find an institution that embodies the art, culture or social state of that country. And all of this is wonderful news for lovers of culture in its multiple forms. But what about the galleries on the high streets of the world. Those galleries that appear and disappear with worrying regularity? What are art galleries? What is their purpose? I am talking here about Art galleries and not museums. Museums are relationship builders. They enable a bridge between government and

culture and give insights and knowledge of historical representation and are to be discussed elsewhere. I am talking about art galleries, privately funded and run. Accessible to the public in some form. The two questions above can be answered simply. The purpose of the art gallery is to make money, plain and simple. An art gallery is a place where things are sold. As Andy Warhol stated, “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” But there is more to it than that, something we can call an addendum. An art gallery is an educational establishment, an altar and a social barometer. But the abiding question remains. In todays connected world, why is it necessary to go to a gallery to see an original painting or sculpture that can be viewed, examined and reproduced on a computer screen? Todays connected world offers visual media that negates some of the attractions and needs of the

gallery. Add to these options the spread of the ‘blockbuster’ exhibition which are designed not for the art lover but for the masses and the trend is obvious. Private art galleries have to adapt or die. The ‘high street’ gallery is no longer a viable proposition in its current form. Sure, you have the White Cubes of the world with an advertising budget larger than most artists saleable body of work and there are still galleries that have the ‘cool’ brigade or the faux monied who need to buy art to enhance their social standing but these are meeting places not galleries to enable the expression and teaching and adoration of art. How many of these galleries make a profit by people walking off the high street and buying art? How much art ‘education’ is gained by a ‘walk-in’? The answer is none. Openings are the only sustainable income that can be achieved from ‘high street’ galleries and for the majority they fail at this too. So should all galleries close? No, not at all. The point of this article is that in the current climate and with the age of connectivity, galleries have to choose what they are and what they do……specifically. 22

galleries and owners need to embrace social questions and give access to people for sales and education. Do not follow the ‘blockbuster’ format that is engineered to put tourists and numbers through a door but ‘niche’ yourselves. Tate Modern’s Gauguin exhibition achieved record numbers but was not a pleasant experience. In fact, it was a shepherding experience where you shuffled from one exhibit to the next with the crowd. The Leonardo exhibition had limits on numbers but it works out at 70 plus people every 30 minutes to see seven Leonardo originals (there are others but it is called Leonardo.) I understand the modern society we live in is embroiled in instant gratification but this herding to the tune of a cash register is doomed to failure. The ‘pro’ side of the argument will point to the fact that now ‘joe public’ can see Leonardo, Gauguin and the contents (limited) of the Hermitage but I do not believe this is the case. These exhibitions are seen by the majority to enable a dinner party conversation that impresses ones peers. In other words, it is not about art. So. Choose your clients / visitors. For fiscal reasons do not invite everybody to openings, tailor your openings to those that buy the art on display and invite schools and art associations to view the exhibition. The first sells the work and the second invests in future art lovers (and buyers). I do not believe that there is a problem with

art galleries closing down. In fact it is a good thing. There is too much mediocrity in the art world. Ten percent of artists make a moderate living or better and they inspire the other ninety percent. In the Hérault region of France, 83% of all gallery space has been paid for by the artist. These are not galleries, they are rentable spaces and artists deserve better. The economic climate that we find ourselves in allows a Darwinian culling of the weaker gallery and from it (I hope) that we will see a leaner, more cultured gallery that is both profitable, educational and more socially aware. Art is both questioning and enlightening. In this case, less is definitely more. * The Observer May 2005

Chris Orvis -

me, myself and I -

Nouvelle Galerie de la Perle Noire-Place Molière Agde 4th October - 29th November

‘Me, myself and I’presents

compositions: appliqué fragments of cut dresses or garments, lace, symbols of femininity and maternity are present in various lines. There are also some smaller sized tapestry works displayed in glass boxes fixed to the wall of the gallery. Her use of colour: predominantly red, grey, cream and gold, is very delicate. Three dresses: Paper (2013), Scissor (2013), Stone (2013) form the cornerstone of the display, both veiling and revealing feminine secrets at once. The work is best seen chronologically, beginning with the tapestries that recall conception, life in the womb and birth. Entering childhood and growing up, followed by adolescence and womanhood. There is a slow evolution in mood across the series. Chris depicts ‘maturity’with a tone of gravity. The final section suggests purity and is represented by the presence of whiteness and a reflection on the stages of life. Sensitivity and the dialogue created between life and a fabric makes this fine exhibition worth seeing, and those who appreciate textiles will be well served. **

a unique selection of Chris Orvis’ work. The works are arranged in series, each comprising 3 works relating to a specific memory. These pieces refer to different stages in life: conception, life in the womb, birth, childhood, adulthood. Chris Orvis is an American born textile artist who first started studying Math and Science before choosing art in extremis. The repetition of serial numbers in her work (3, 5, 7) with the addition of foreign elements or stitches are reminiscent of this. Inspired by the work of Greek-American textile artist and teacher Marilyn Pappas whom she had as her tutor, Chris Orvis chooses textiles and fabrics as her preferred means of expression. Her aptitude for working with this medium began while designing a vast range of costumes for a dance company for almost 10 years. After leaving America for Scotland,she later settled in France where she now lives and works as a textile artist. Using linen, cotton, cut pieces of garments, lace, net or silver thread as her main materials; she invents and mixes by incorporating drift wood, wire or plastic into her compositions. Her needle work includes fine sheets of transparent plastic and, non-textile elements. She incorporates knots, embroidery, weaving. Chris says: ‘I create in order to find clarity within myself’. Using fine materials such as gold thread: Ego (2010) or real pearls: Super-ego (2010), her varied stiches are sometimes evocative of female body characteristics. Chris calls her hanging tapestries ‘paintings’ because the way she creates and composes with fabrics is like a painter using brushes. This is why if a piece of cloth needs repositioning it will be. Abstractly represented, feminine artifacts are often recognizable in the

Dominique Aclange 2013


Countdown to a local Christmas What is better than a gift sourced from local producers? Bob Kimberley

Welcome to the enchanting world of Nini Soyo!


ini Soyo is a French designer who tolerates neither uniformity nor standardisation in life or fashion. And it’s the same for the bags and other accessories that she creates! Her inspiration is drawn from her own childhood spent surrounded by the fabrics, flowers and colours that she cherished and from her many travels. From handbags, shopping bags and clutch bags, to wallets, purses, notebooks, iphone cases, laptop cases and colourful jewelry... Recognisable by their clever details, all of which make life easier, Nini Soyo accessories are positively joyous and colourful like life, bringing that zing of pleasure to your every day. Unique pieces or limited hand-crafted ranges, these are wonderful, creative gems, available for sale online or via her Boutique in Pézenas center. Two good addresses for your Christmas shopping !..... Boutique Nini SOYO: 10 rue Chevaliers Saint Jean 34120 PEZENAS Tel 04 67 39 85 92 Website & Boutique-on-line: For any question, please contact:

Barry Beckett Photography


arry Beckett began studying fine art in London before continuing his learning in graphic design. He was print production manager for the Economist at 19 and achieved a Degree in Graphics and Photography at 24 before going to film school at 25. There followed 15 years in film and TV productions. He also produces video and imagery for Rigpa International. You may recognise Barrys work as he produces many of the beautiful original covers seen on this magazine. An ideal gift for any time of year but a beautiful and touching look at this beautiful part of the world can be yours. BARRY BECKETT PHOTOGRAPHY View: Facebook: Barry P Beckett Mail: 24


ewellery designer Bob Kimberley has been living and working in the south of France since 2004. His passion for contemporary design married with the highest quality of materials, fabrication and finish has won him clients from all over the world. Working in Gold and Silver with precious and fine stones, Bob employs the same high standards whether working on a limited edition collection or unique pieces such as the bangle shown in the picture. All production is carried out in his workshop ‘Atelier du Monestier’ which can be found opposite the Abbey in the centre of Caunes Minervois. Opening hours are 9h-17h, Tuesday to Friday and from 14h on Saturdays. Other times can be arranged by calling Bob on 06 24 00 88 99 or email

WIN with The Herault Times Le Cirque (8 tickets)

A spectacle of extraordinary French circus at its best with skaters, acrobats, jugglers, singers and a wealth of colourful personalities… (suitable from 6+)

Win copies of Patrick Moon’s Virgile’s Vineyard and Arrazat’s Aubergines

In Virgile’s Vineyard, Patrick Moon explores the world of Languedoc wine. Among the cast of characters that Patrick meets during his Thur Dec 19th to Sun 22nd year of discovery is Virgile, a Dec; Theatre sortieOuest, young local winemaker who Bayssan offers to initiate him into the Acrobates(8 tickets) mysteries of each season’s A celebration of acrobatics, work in the fields and in the the energy of which will en- cellar. “There are, as there thrall you, in a performance must be in this sort of book, a where dance and acrobatics, good bunch of locals… Like the wine, everything flows richly fiction and reality meet. and generously from there.” – (suitable from 10+) “A story of love, of heartbreak, the artists enable the audience to experience a magical evening” – Le Télégramme

The Sunday Times “Acrobats who defy balance, verticality, horizontality with emotion and virtuosity” – Fabienne Pascaud, Télérama

Thur 19th Dec/ Fri 20th Dec La Cigalière, Serignan


To these amazing prizes simply send us an email with the prize you would like in the subject line before the 16th Dec to:

Virgile’s Vineyard


Patrick’s second book, Arrazat’s Aubergines, is a great stand-alone read for Francophile, food-lover or armchair chefs, deploying a colourful cast of entertaining characters and a rich vein of humour to deliver a wealth of fascinating information. For fans of its predecessor, Virgile’s Vineyard, it also continues the story of many favourite figures, including Virgile himself. “The Perfect

food-based sequel to his wine book” – Restaurant Magazine Arrazat’s Aubergines (ISBN: 9781783062713)

Win a copy of Mark Binmore’s new poetry collection ‘The Hounds of Love’

The next collection of poetry from Mark Bimore again explores the tenderness and thoughts of the author. ‘I wanted to write about Christmas, but then it drifted into other aspects of the season’. Moving and well crafted. A lovely book of poems.

Fou D’Anglais Clermont L’Herault

8 Ave Maréchal Foch (opp Clermont Medical Centre)

Grocery Shop Tea Room 04 30 40 29 54

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Recipe Times Bassie Scott ‘Christmas comes but once a year’ and, in many cases, the cook of the house is glad of it! It’s a wonderful time for celebration, being with family and friends and it’s always good to have something exciting and interesting to put before them. Here are three recipes that I love to cook at this time of year and I hope you will enjoy making them too. Merry Christmas one and all! I was at my friend Veronica’s 60th Birthday three years ago and she had prepared this wonderful salmon for her own party. It was simply delicious and I have made it every Christmas since. It’s really popular with family and friends and, as a whole side of salmon is used, it lasts for ages and feeds lots of hungry hoards!

Beetroot and vodka marinated Salmon Ingredients * 1 side of salmon, skin on, approximately 800 gr * 150 g coarse salt (I use Camargue Fleur de sel) * 50 g demerera sugar * 40 g horseradish sauce (available in Carrefour and English food shops) * 300 g raw beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated * 50 ml Vodka (or Schnapps will do) * 1 large bunch of fresh dill * 1 lemon, zested Method 1. Pin bone the salmon – I use tweezers and feel my way along the whole fillet with my fingers to ensure they’re all gone 2. Pat dry the salmon and lay in a deep dish, skin side down. 3. Sprinkle the salt all over the fish and pat it in to the flesh 4. Scatter the sugar all over the salt 5. Mix the horseradish with the beetroot (you may want to wear gloves to avoid red hands!) and lay this mixture over all the fish, even down the sides, so that it’s evenly covered 6. Gently pour the vodka or schnapps over the top 7. Next, scatter the lemon zest and dill over it all 8. Place cling film over the dish and then weight it down – I use diving weights but anything will do including cans! 9. Place in the fridge and leave for 3 days without being tempted to look at it 10. After 3 days, take out the salmon and take all the toppings off it. Again, gloves may come in handy for this task as it’s really messy! I then gently blot the whole salmon with kitchen roll to ensure that all the salt is gone too 11. Cover the salmon again and put it back in the fridge and leave for another 2/3 days before being tempted to eat it. 12. It’s just a bit too salty if eaten straight away and has a much better flavour if you can bear to leave it for just another couple of days To serve: * Place the fish skin side down on a board. Carefully cut under the fillet from the tail end, separating the skin from the salmon. Discard the skin. * Trim off any brown bits of salmon from underneath and then turn it over * Slice as thinly as possible at an angle and arrange on a plate for serving * Serve with a side of crème fraiche mixed with a little honey, Dijon mustard, fresh dill, lemon juice and black pepper * Cook’s note: the finished salmon will last 10 days if refrigerated so can be made well in advance of the festivities * Fresh beetroot is best to use for this recipe but if you can’t find it, use the vacuum packed cooked beetroot, available in all supermarkets. Just make sure you don’t buy beetroot in vinegar as this really doesn’t work, sorry! * If you don’t want such a large side, just use a smaller fillet and reduce the above quantities accordingly 26

This may seem pretty retro but it really is a superb dessert to serve on Boxing Day. It uses left over Christmas pudding too which is a bonus! I first made it 3 years ago and it received such praise that it’s been asked for every year since. The ice cream can be made way ahead of time and frozen until you want to assemble it to serve. I haven’t put specific quantities of the fruit as it’s up to you but in general I used a handful each time... you can mix and match with any fruit that you may prefer

Boxing Day Baked Alaska Bombe Oven temperature at 220 c, gas 7

Ingredients Vanilla ice cream (see recipe below) Dried cranberries Raisins Sultanas Dried figs,chopped Toasted almonds, chopped Pistachio nuts, chopped Chopped walnuts Rum Meringue: 2 egg whites 115 g caster sugar Some Christmas pudding sponge to use as a base

Smoked salmon and dill roulade

Serves 8 – 10 Oven temperature at 170 c, gas mark 3 Roulade ingredients: 70 g butter, softened 57 g plain flour 400ml milk, warmed 3 eggs, separated, plus 1 extra white Zest of 1 lemon 1 tbsp lemon juice Salt and pepper Filling ingredients: 114 g smoked salmon, chopped 28 g butter Dash olive oil Pinch cayenne pepper 128 g crème fraiche 1 tbsp dill, chopped A squeeze of lemon juice 1 tsp pepper 225 g smoked salmon 1. First make the roulade. Line a roulade (swiss roll) tin with non stick baking paper and oil it very lightly. 2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for half a minute. Add the warm milk, bit by bit until smooth and cook the roux for half a minute, stirring all the time. It will be thick but that’s fine 3. Add zest of lemon, lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper 4. Cool for 5 minutes, then add the beaten egg yolks

Method 1. Warm rum in a saucepan and add the raisins, sultanas, cranberries and dried figs. Flambe the mixture and simmer for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and leave to go completely cold

5. Whisk whites to soft peaks and fold into the mixture in a figure of 8 motion with a metal spoon 6. Adjust seasoning if necessary then pour into the lined tin. Tap the tin on your worktop to get rid of any air bubbles 7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave to cool completely 8. Whilst the roulade is cooling you can make the filling – 9. If you have a food processor, take the first 8 ingredients and whizz them up in the machine. 10. If you don’t have one, chop the salmon and dill up very finely. Soften the butter and mash up with the crème fraiche. Add the salmon and dill and all the other ingredients and mix well 11. Refrigerate for 20 mins to firm the mixture up a bit To put the roulade together: When the roulade is completely cold, turn it out onto another sheet of non stick baking paper so that the golden side will be uppermost when you roll it up

2. Place the ice cream in a bowl and add the cold flambéed fruit 3. Add the almonds, walnuts and pistachios and mix it all really well 4. Put into a pudding basin or mould and freeze until needed To serve * Shape the Christmas pudding to the size of the bottom of the ice cream bombe and place on a circle of non stick baking parchment on a baking tray * Whisk the egg whites with the sugar until really stiff * Place the ice cream on to the Christmas pudding and cover, very quickly, with the meringue mix, fluffing it up if you can. Make sure the ice cream and Christmas pudding is completely covered with no holes at all * Put in the oven and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown * Transfer to a serving plate with the help of a fish slice and serve immediately

Lay the 225g of salmon slices over the roulade. Spread the smoked salmon and dill mixture over the salmon slices Now comes the tricky bit – roll it up really carefully! I use the non stick paper to ‘push’ it over like you would a Swiss roll.

If the sponge breaks a little on rolling up, don’t worry, it is Christmas after all so it’ll look a bit like a Yule log! Wrap in non stick paper and then cling film and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cook’s note: The roulade can be made two days ahead as long as you keep it in the fridge.

Recipe for vanilla ice cream 1 carton crème anglaise 1 carton crème entiere epaisse (30%) ½ tin sweetened condensed milk 1. Pour the crème anglaise and cream into a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Add the condensed milk and mix in so it all combines really well. 2. Pour into an ice cream machine and churn until ready. 3. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, place the mixture in the freezer and every hour or so take it out and fork all the ice crystals out. This will need to be done about 5 times to get rid of all the crystals, ensuring a smooth ice cream. Cooks’ tip: Leave the ice cream in the freezer until the very last minute before assembling the pud, it needs to be rock hard!

For all the Herault Times Recipes go to: 27

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Comité Sport Tambourin Hérault Sports by Stuart Turpie


o achieve success in both individual and team sports there are a number of factors involved. Good preparation and training are needed. Natural talent and skill are always vital of course. Coaching and drawing upon the experience of others are necessary and good facilities and equipment are required as well. You cannot get far without dedication and determination. Luck plays a part and being at the right place at the right time can be crucial. Increasingly attention is directed at diet and the psychology of sport. In modern team sport however the most important factor seems to be money. The vast investment in the Americas Cup or Formula One are well known. The French football Ligue 1 has been dominated by the subject of money this season. The ligue has never been an equal one. Big clubs like Lyon and Marseille have budgets 4 or 5 times larger than sides like Ajaccio or Valenciennes. It is clearly not an equal playing field! This season

To add to this situation football has been rocked by the need to pay the 75% tax rates for players earning more than 1 million Euros a year. Strike action by clubs has perhaps less sympathy from smaller clubs who have a hand to mouth existence. There are those who argue that more realistic wage levels would do no harm. Most fans want their teams to compete on the big stage however. French football clearly has a problem. The coaching and interest in the sport has produced a generation of top class players. Many of these now play abroad and the national team though still powerful seems to just lack the superb quality of the heroes of 1998. In Languedoc the recent interest has been in the Coupe de France. 5 clubs have emerged from the first 6 rounds of the cup. The giant killers from last season Mende are through having beaten Agde. Gard are represented by Olympique Alés, Béziers and Sète have shown good form and Fabrègues are still there. No

things have got worse for the less wealthy. Paris SG now funded by the untold resources of the Gulf States and Monaco as well has burst ahead of the pack. It is no surprise that these two clubs are at the top of Ligue 1 and Monaco with its tax advantages can pay more to players in comparison to other sides. It’s true that Montpellier did win the championship two years ago with moderate resources but since then they have lost most of their star names who have left for better cash elsewhere. The Breton minnows Guingamp are doing remarkably well this term but no one is backing the club for the title. The sport seems resigned to this state of affairs in that a title can literally be bought. One could say that a similar situation exists in football in England where everyone talks about a small group of top sides or Rugby Union in France where Toulon are the rich boys.

clubs from Aude have survived! Let’s hope that Trèbes and Narbonne can continue their runs in the regional cup on behalf of Aude. In the Coupe de France the professional clubs now enter and the smaller sides are hoping for a lucrative draw. On the broader money issue in football the big question is the world cup planned for Qatar in 2022. In seems a long way off but why on earth was the cup awarded to Qatar in the first place. The sport is having second thoughts about the summer temperatures of up to 50 centigrade and the disruption to the game by switching to a winter finals. The treatment of foreign labourers currently building the infrastructure needed is also a cause for concern. Talk of slave labour conditions has not been impressive. The bottom line in modern sport is that money talks.

Happy Holidays from all of us! - Next Issue 01 January 2014 31


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The Herault Times December 2013  

The English Language Magazine for The Hérault in Languedoc, South of France. Articles, Commentaries and more. 'Look beneath the surface'