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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 6 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’. With holiday season already here for some, and just around the corner for others, I hope you are all able to take time out to enjoy yourselves in our wonderful local area. To find out what activities and attractions are available, please see our centre page Holiday feature. We have highlighted a wide range of things to do, for all ages and budgets. The most important thing during the holiday season is to have fun and stay safe in the sun! If you need to contact us, please email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21.

Sarah. Annual Subscription. If you would like to receive a copy of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’magazine by post each month, please complete this form and send to La Bartière, 79130 Secondigny. Please enclose a cheque to cover postage for the year.

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Emergency Numbers: 15 SAMU, Medical 17 Gendarmes, Police 18 Pompiers, Fire

112 European emergency 113 Drugs and alcohol 115 Homeless 119 Child Abuse

© Sarah Berry 2011. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with are a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Chris Dodman, Sarah Berry et clker.com. Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du Bocage-BP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: Août 2011 - Tirage: 4 500 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................3 Our Furry Friends................................................................9 The Great Outdoors...........................................................10 Getting Out & About..........................................................12 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................19 French Life, Food & Drink................................................20 French Adventures............................................................23 Communications.................................................................24 Building & Renovation.......................................................25 Business, Finance & Property..........................................29 Take a break................................................................7 & 9 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant)............................................ 21 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter).................................. 13 A.I.P. (Estate Agent)......................................................... 30 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder).......................................... 26 Allez Francais (Estate Agent).......................................... 30 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................. 26 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)................. 10 Antiquities Decoration & Galerie du 309......................... 14 Articulation Aide (Joint Aid for Dogs)................................. 9 Belle Maison Construction................................................ 28 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd...................... 29 Brian Fox (Computer Support)........................................... 24 Café des Belles Fleurs...................................................... 6 Cafe Cour du Miracle....................................................... 20 Chris Dwyer (Handyman).................................................. 25 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room)................. 22 Dales Ice Cream................................................................ 21 Dave Bowring (Electrician).............................................. 28 Dave Rosenberg (Carpenter)............................................. 27 Dean Smalley (Gardening & cleaning Services)................ 10 Diane & Franck (Fabrics and Curtains)............................ 22 Diane Lowe (Reiki Healer)............................................... 19 Energie-79........................................................................... 26 English Spoken.info (Online Business Directory).............. 5 Futuroscope,..................................................................... 18 Gentle Touch Beauty........................................................ 20 Glyn Chubb (Carpenter/Joiner)........................................ 27 Go Paintball....................................................................... 16 Hair by Janet (Hairdresser and Avon Sales)..................... 19 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).. 27 Imprimerie Jadault (Printer)............................................ 2 Indulgence Beauty............................................................... 19 Janet Hall (Translator & Interpreter)............................... 29 Jardin Deco (Garden Ornaments)........................................ 11 John Bliss (Carpenter)....................................................... 28 John Etherington (Property Care)....................................... 10 Julie’s Cleaning Services................................................. 30 L.A. Building & Renovation................................................. 28 La Joie de Vivre (Gift Shop & Tea Room).......................... 14 Le Dragon (Bar/Snack)...................................................... 32 Leggett Immobilier (Estate Agent).................................. 30 La Grande Galerie.............................................................. 17 Le Logis (Pig Breeders and Chambre d’hote)................... 16 Le Puy Remorques (Trailer Hire & Sales)......................... 13 Le Trois Marie................................................................... 21 Les Ecuries du Saumort (Horse Riding)............................ 16 Mad Hatter’s Kitchen......................................................... 4 MS Electrique (Electrician)............................................... 27 MusiQuiz............................................................................. 4 Mustang Sallys (Linedancing Studio)................................. 3 Nathan Foster Building Services..................................... 28 Olivers Multiservice Habitation........................................ 25 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................. 19 PDG European Deliveries................................................. 12 Pescalis markets............................................................... 5 Peter Hardie (Mini Digger hire)........................................ 26 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 27 Philip Wellman (Plumbing Service & Maintenance)......... 26 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)........................... 26 Poitou Property Services................................................. 30 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................ 13 RDK Roofing & Building Services.................................... 26 RDS-IT (Computer Specialists)........................................ 25 Red White & Blue (English groceries)............................. 21 Richard Owen (aka ‘The Fosse Man’).............................. 27 Rob Berry (Plasterer)....................................................... 28 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........ 24 Sandy G (Hairdresser)...................................................... 19 Sarah Berry Online (Website Designer)........................... 25 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction).......... 27 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................ 30 Steve Enderby.................................................................. 25 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation).................... 5 Tara’s Mobile Hairdressing.............................................. 20 The English Mechanic - Tony Eyre................................ 13 The Mini Market............................................................... 14 Trisha Mobile Hairdresser............................................... 19 Total Renovation Services................................................ 28 We shop Britain 4 u........................................................... 21 page 2


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

What’s On....August 2011 All of August - Warwickshire Art Expo At La Grande Galerie, Civray. Artists include:- Bernard Glyn Jones, Andy Farr, Sheila Milward, Grace Newman, Sue LewisBlake, Chrissie Markham, Przemyslaw Chojnowski, Moira Lamont, David Dewis, Dorothy Biddle, David Lewis and Anya Simmons. See www.grandegaleriefrance.com for more info. 5th August - Summer 70's Revival Night. At A La Bonne Vie Restaurant, Le Beugnon. For more details and to book please call: 05 49 95 91 60. 5th August - Live Music with The French Connection. At Le Lambon holiday campsite near Prailles 79370. Starts about 8.30pm, please see www.lelambon.com for info 13th August - English Market 8.30am-1pm at Tusson (16). 13th August - Somermoss at Mad Hatter’s Kitchen Playing a selection of music styles with wine and 2 course meal. 18€. Reservations: 05 49 27 67 29 or email: glynn.chubb79@orange.fr 14th August 2011 – Live Music Tankus the Henge, a UK based group, will be playing live music at Dixieland Café, Verteuil sur Charentes, nr Ruffec at approx. 6.00 p.m. Full restaurant facilities. 15th August - Family Fun Day & Picnic Free and open to all. In the park at Loubillé, 79110 from 12 noon. Bring your own food & drink...play petanque, darts, badminton, cricket, archery & ping pong! 16th August - Book Signing Peter Hoskins, author of ‘In the Steps of the Black Prince’, (see May edition page 4) will be signing copies of his book from 10.00 to 13.00 at La Grande Galerie, 86400 Civray. 17th August 2011 – Live Music Tankus the Henge, a UK based group will be playing live music at Chenterelle Centre de Musique, 86250 Charroux at 8.00 pm. Tickets available, contact John Ingram Tel: 05 49 87 45 48 email: johnetnikki@yahoo.fr 20th August - Mad Hatter’s Music Festival With Tankus the Henge, Flashback and maybe more! Come along to play or perform during the afternoon from 3pm. BBQ with side dishes and drinks available all day. Tel: 05 49 27 67 29 21st August - Market Day & Music Plus Reel Fish & Chips Down by the river, "au pont", Gourgé. 11am-9pm. Fish & Chips serving 12pm-2pm and 6.30pm-9pm. Reservations recommended. For further information contact Donna on 05 49 63 48 80 or email: donnapeterhein@orange.fr 23rd August - Book Signing Merryl Bevan will be signing copies of her book ‘Life and Laughs in Limousin’ at La Grande Galerie, Civray between 10am-2pm. Please see more information on page.x 27th August - Music & Bistro Night. At the Mad Hatter’s Kitchen, Caunay with live music from Steve Somers. 18€. Reservations: 05 49 27 67 29 or email: glynn.chubb79@orange.fr Church Services Anglican Church, Parthenay. Services, usually Communion, in English on 4th Sunday of each month at 10.30am at 11 rue de la Citadelle, Parthenay.   Plenty of parking but not easy to find!  There is a map on the Chaplaincy web site www.church-in-france.com.   Please join us for a bring and share lunch after the service. All Saints Vendée, Puy de Serre. Services 2nd & 4th Sunday of the month. www.allsaintsvendee.fr Escoval, La Bonne Dame, Ranton. Church service in English 3rd Sunday of every month at 11.30am Join us for a bring and share lunch after the service. www.escoval.fr

Books in English, Paperback Jan. 1st August: Le Dragon bar, Vernoux-en-Gatine. 14h-17h 2nd August: Le Zinc bar, Vasles. 10.30h-13h 3rd August: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 14h-16.30h 4th August: Bar Le Palais, St. Aubin le Cloud. 14h-17h 4th August: Le Chaudron, Chantemerle. 18h-20h 5th August: Bar de la Paix, Thouars 12h-14h 5th August: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-L’Autize 16h-18h 6th August: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent L’Ecole, 10h-14h 8th August: St Martin’s Bar, Brux, 11h-14h 10th August: Le Trois Marie, Airvault. 10h-13h 11th August: Bar Le Commerce, La Chataigneraie 14.30-17h 12th August: Jan’s home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, 11h-16h. 25th August: La Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant, 14h-17h For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email: paperbackjan@gmail.com La Vendee Chippy ~ Traditional Fish & Chips in France! Every Wednesday (Aug 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges.18h-20hr Every Thursday (Aug 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th) Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent. 18h-20hr Every Friday (Aug 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux. 18h-20hr For more info please email: lavendeechippy@yahoo.co.uk

What’s coming up... 10th September - Butterfly Tea Party. In aid of Les Pattes de Velours. 2.30pm - 4.30pm. Cards & Gifts, Jewellery, Paperback Jan, Cakes & refreshments. La Bodiniere, 79320, Moncoutant, Tel: 05 49 65 04 09 17th & 18th September - Viville Foire d’Art Artisanale 2011. Art fair in the small village of Viville. Please see page x for more information. If you are new to the area, ‘The Pays de Gâtine's guide for newcomers’ may be a useful read. For information, advice and contacts, go to www.gatine.org.

Love Films? If you love a trip to the cinema, films are shown in English at Parthenay Cinema. For more information or to be kept up to date with screenings, email cinema.foyer@gmail.com. ...And don’t forget your popcorn!

Thank you to www.whatsoninthevendee.co.uk.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2011 (remaining):

• Thursday 14 July: Bastille Day (Fête nationale) • Monday 15 August: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)

• Tuesday 1 November: All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint) • Friday 11 November: Armistice Day (Jour d’Armistice 1918)

• Sunday 25 December: Christmas Day (Noël) page 3


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Are you a reader living in Deux-Sèvres?

Try a new hobby - Play ‘boules en bois’!

Then your local library is in the village of LORIGNE just 3km from Sauzé Vaussais and 11km from Chef Boutonne.

Friendlier than Pétanque, the game is simple, inexpensive and anyone can play. Play as much or as little as you like and it is a great opportunity to integrate with French people.

If you are fed up of foraging for books at brocantes, exchanging with friends, buying from Amazon then call in to see us any Saturday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm. You’ll find a friendly atmosphere with four enthusiastic English ladies (well, one of us is Welsh!) ready to chat and advise about books. We have over 6,000 English titles to choose from and our annual fee is only 2 euros per person (Children free). We don’t have a limit on the number of books you can take. How many can you carry? We just ask that you bring them back within three months. We have a changing supply of books from the Niort Bibliobus (Mobile Library) and thanks to many friends who donate their books to us; our stock of titles is also constantly changing.

Dates of concours for the quadrettes are: • • • • • • • •

Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday

7 August at Mazieres 14 August at St Aubin le cloud 21 August at La Peyratte 28 August at Gourge 4 September at Lageon 11 September at Pougne 18 September at Pompaire 25 September at Chatillon

If you would like more details, please telephone Rosemary Williamson on 05 49 63 35 74.

The library at LORIGNE has been running with a large English section for 15 years. The English lady who set it up has since moved to another part of France, but the remaining librarians have over 25 years of experience between them. To find us take the road up the hill opposite the church in LORIGNE and park outside the school on your right. Walk across the school yard and through the wooden gate in the wall on your left. There you will find the school canteen, please walk around the canteen to the library door at the back. The library is also open from 2pm to 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon when it is run by local French ladies. If you decide to visit us you could bring your unwanted books along too! Look forward to seeing you soon, (Please tel. Gill 05 49 97 01 26 or Liz 05 49 27 12 86 if you have any queries.)

Les Amis Solitaires We are a group of people who have found themselves alone in France. We meet up for lunches, dinners and walks and arrange to go to events when it’s no fun going alone. We hold coffee mornings in Confolens, Civray and SauzéVaussais, often followed by a lunch. We would like to expand into the Deux-Sèvres region perhaps based in Niort or Fontenay. If you are interested please call Nigel on: 02 51 51 48 13 or email: nigelt@wanadoo.fr.

Are yo u part of a club or an association? Please share the details w ith us!

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 4


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Fermeture Annuelle / Closed for Holidays

by Sue Burgess August is a holiday month, particularly for the French themselves. Although they traditionally took the whole of August for their holidays, many French people now return home from holiday mid-month, having started a vacation in mid-July. You may find some shops closed at least for part of the month although this is less common than it was in the past, when many shops would be closed for the whole month. Attractions are open long hours to cater for all the holiday-makers. The South of France is at its busiest with Northerners fleeing for the sun-drenched beaches. August is a great time with many festivals and events and the French enjoying themselves. France celebrates everything from food to music, from street theatre to arts and crafts. There is a particular emphasis on local and village festivals as this is the sort of entertainment the French enjoy most. The bad points of the month are that holiday resorts and tourist attractions can be busy. Paris, however, tends to be particularly empty, so depending on your point of view, you either love it for this unusual quality or hate it for being full of foreign visitors. The government road safety organisation Bison Fûté predicts a black day (particularly dense traffic) on the roads for the last Saturday in July and the first Saturday in August because millions of French people set off on holiday on those days. August has a bank holiday, le quinze août (15th August), and there is always a lot of traffic on the roads as the French make the most of another long weekend – the 15th falls on a Monday this year. The 15th August celebrates the Assumption of Mary (the ascension into heaven and the crowning of Mary). It is only after the 15th of August that the French really start to think about coming home, getting things organised for going back to school and so on.

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert!

Vocabulaire : Vocabulary Avoir, prendre des vacances....

["les vacances" = always plural] to have / to take holiday

partir en vacances.....................

to go on holiday

être en vacances......................

to be on holiday

passer ses vacances...............

to spend one's holidays

un congé .................................

a period of holidays, for example.

les congés scolaires ...............

school holidays

les congés payés.....................

paid holidays

un séjour...................................

a period of time spent in a place / a stay

Bonnes Vacances.....................

Have a good holiday

Bon voyage................................

Have a good trip.

Bonne route..............................

Have a good journey

L'aoutât.....................................

harvest mite

fermeture annuelle...................

closed for annual holidays

un aoûtien.................................

someone who takes his holidays in August

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Viville Foire d’Art Artisanale 2011

by Maureen Ainge As an English artist  living in Viville, which is  a small commune in the Charente (155 inhabitants). I thought it would be a good idea to promote art, amongst other things, here in the community. We began last year, a large community event which drew many villagers together and gave great esprit de coeur. So together with  4 other artists who lived in the village, we set up a fair to exhibit mainly their art. However, we did introduce exhibits from UK and elsewhere. One of the main themes was to introduce the work of quilting to the locals. It was extremely successful and attracted people from far and wide.   T h i s y e a r t h e theme is different. We are p r o mo t i n g l o c a l a r t i st s a n d artisans of different metiers. We will include well renowned sculptors including ironwork, wood carvers, artists in oil, water colour, acrylic & pastel, jewellery makers, book illustrators as well as bonzai, makeup for children, a tea/cake venue, artisanal bread, saffron stand and run a bar & café. Ample parking in the village.   The entrance to the fair is free and we hope to attract people of all ages and tastes. It is €5 for demonstrators and artisans who wish a stand to publicise their work. Further details available from Maureen Ainge: daveainge@hotmail.com.   The Fair involves many of the inhabitants both young and old in the two day event, and celebrates  their  pride in their region on 17th & 18th September 2011. All proceeds are given to the village to embellish the surroundings and add colour and beauty to the environment. This year entrance roads to the village were a mass of yellow Daffodils as we  all joined in the planting of 2,000 bulbs bought with the money raised last year.

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert!

Stargazing

by Hazel Foster – interested star gazer (but no expert!) I saw my first shooting star in 1988 as I waited to board the coach leaving on the French Exchange with my school. In those days a shooting star was such a rare thing you made a wish, little did I know that they are falling through the sky every night, and sometimes at a rate of 75 per hour! Since moving to France it is a lot easier to see this phenomenon, with our clear night skies and lack of light pollution. I love sitting out on our roof terrace with family and friends, or alone, relaxer chair in full tilt back position, as I count the shooting stars. A shooting star is not actually a star, it is actually a meteor, a chunk of extraterrestrial rock pulled into the Earth's atmosphere by gravity. Most meteors are closer to sand in size, although some much bigger ones have fallen. As these tiny fragments of rock fall through the Earth's outer layers of air, they build-up frictional heat. The individual particles glow brightly as they continue to fall and burn up. Observers on the ground may catch a fleeting glimpse of the shooting star as it streaks across the night sky. It is easy to see how the shooting star earned its nickname. We're accustomed to seeing fixed points of light in the night sky, commonly known as stars and planets. When we see a meteor heat up and streak across the sky, it often looks like a real star dropping out of the sky. A particularly large meteor may continue to glow for several seconds. The best conditions to see shooting stars is a clear, moonless sky, with no light pollution and they say the best time is after midnight. Accompanying the meteors you will see the moon in it’s different phases, stars and planets. You can usually recognise planes going over, as they are accompanied by a flashing light. Satellites look like stars but move slowly across the sky. If it’s a really clear night look for a large cluster of tiny stars that almost looks like a cloud, this is the Milky Way. Annual meteor showers come from the dust released by comets as they travel through our solar system. These showers occur when the Earth passes through this trail of debris during its yearly orbit around the sun. The following year, Earth passes through that same debris trail again on about the same date. This is why meteor showers are predictable annual events (see chart below). August 12th sees one of the busiest meteor showers of the year. So make some time with a glass of wine and get lost in the amazing night sky! Shower Name Starts and Ends Best Date Hourly To See Rate

Visit our website, www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Parent Comet

Quantadrids

1-5 Jan

4 Jan

60

Unknown

Lyrids

16-25 Apr

22 Apr

10

Thatcher

Eta Aquarids

19 Apr-28 May 5 May

35

Halleys

Delta Aquarids 12 July-19 Aug 27 July

20

Unknown

Perseids

17 July-24 Aug 12 Aug

75

Swift-Tuttle

Orionids

2 Oct-7 Nov

21 Oct

25

Halleys

Draconids

6-10 Oct

8 Oct

Varied

Giacobini-Zinner

Taurids

1-25 Nov

12 Nov

10

Enke

Leonids

10-23 Nov

17 Nov

Varied

Temple-Tuttle

Andromadids

15 Nov-6 Dec

20 Nov

Low

Biela

Geminids

7-17 Dec

13 Dec

75

Phaeton (asteroid)

Ursids

17-26 Dec

22 Dec

5

Tuttle

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

‘Life and Laughs in Limousin’ Life and Laughs in Limousin is a light hearted account of the trials and tribulations encountered when embarking on a retired life in France. It gives account of the generosity and humour of the French people and the great divide of the pace of life in the rural Limousin, compared to the fast and frenetic living encountered in the UK. Author Merryl Bevan is a Welsh artist who, together with her husband Tom, enjoys retirement in the heart of the French countryside in Limousin. A lover of all animals, she also enjoys gardening and painting. This is her first book. In ‘Life and Laughs in Limousin’ she regales the reader with humorous anecdotes about their encounters with the French people and tradesmen and the situations which arise. She writes about the communication problems that happen whilst they struggle to learn French and how they cope with the French way of doing things. She tells of the wonderful slow pace of life in their rural community and of the great array of wildlife they see. “Settling in France as a Brit Expat is an exciting and at times challenging adventure.  Merryl's "Life and Laughs in Limousin" is a snapshot of what most of us have experienced when making "La Belle France" our home.  A compelling read, her book made us giggle and chuckle, reminding us of our own arrival in this country.  Her anecdotes are full of humour even when writing about the frustrations felt due to the language and culture differences.  Her thoughts on the endearing local people, the beauty of the Limousin countryside and the quality of life, reflect our own sentiments entirely.  We really enjoyed reading Merryl's book and thoroughly recommend it”. R&M Leech. Merryl Bevan will be signing copies of her book at La Grande Galerie in Civray on 23rd August between 10am and 2pm.

Offering English Speaking Visits and Conversation Would YOU like to Help?

For all of us who come to live in France moving carries with it the risk of a certain degree of isolation. We are leaving behind friends and some of our family and then trying to make new friends, some who speak a different language and have cultural traditions with which we are unfamiliar. This does not make it easy to gather a new group of people around us. Getting older tends to make this even more difficult and losing partners, suffering health problems, maybe financial hardships too, all contribute to possible growing isolation and loneliness. In 2009 and 2010, the Pays de Gatine organised meetings (during ‘La Semaine Bleue’) to inform the English speaking population aged 60+ and living in the Gâtine about how they could get help, if and when needed. We know from these meetings and from our other contacts that there are English speaking people who are lonely and isolated and would love to be visited. Some are in nursing homes, some in hospitals and some at home. This is why we have decided to try to create a ‘Nattering Network’. To do so we have been in contact with the local French office, CLIC who organise services for the elderly with their association ‘Gérontologique de Gâtine’. Under the umbrella of the MSA (Mutualité Sociale Agricole) they have already set up a ‘Papot’age’ network which visits French people who are lonely. They have a clear set of ground rules for the visited and the visitor both to sign and they offer training courses as well as support for visiting volunteers. With their help and co-operation we are setting up a British network. This will mean we have the backing of the French social welfare offices and they will notify us if they come across people who would benefit from receiving visits; they will also promote these English speaking services. Now we need volunteers........ Would YOU like to volunteer to be a visitor? The visits would purely be on the basis of a ‘chat’, to listen and to spend time with the person and not to do chores (as other services cover these needs). Although the demand may not be very big at the moment, perhaps it will grow in the future. It would simply mean giving up a small amount of your time and after initial training, befriending and chatting with an English speaking person who would benefit from your companionship. Interested? To find out more, please contact Julia Salvat on: julia.salvat@gatine.org.

Down: 1. Encourage into action (8) 2. At right angles to the length of a ship (5) 3. Hold in complete contempt (5) 4. Barely credible, extremely pleasing (8) 5. Food of the gods (8) 6. Fill quickly beyond capacity (8) 11. Of the countryside (5) 12. I’m a leader of Muslims (4) 13. Hand tool for raw beginner wrapped in absorbent cloth (6) 17. Religious home (6) 18. Permanently colouring (6) 19. Eat into or away (5) 20. Unwavering in devotion (5) 21. Grant entry (5)

DSM Crossword#5 Please see website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr for answers

Take a break.... Across: 1. Informal term for Mother (4) 7. Board game for two people (10) 8. Sort (4) 9. To leave behind or exceed (6) 10. Irritating or obnoxious person or animal (7) 14. Redevelopment in old town starts civil disorder (5) 15. Destructive windstorm (7) 16. Black playing card (5) 19. Large northern deer (3) 20. Meadow or grassy field (3) 22. Me doling out source of wealth (7) 23. Footwear that’s a hit (4) 24. Luxury food item coming from America via Russia (6) 25. Writing table (4) 26. Cartoon bear (4)

The Nattering Network = Réseau Papot’age

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

The H4H European Rally had it’s first outing last year when it was thought that 20 vehicles might raise £20,000. It finished with 30 vehicles raising £121,000 so this year the targets were set even higher and 44 vehicles eventually crossed the finish line raising an incredible £150,000. The rally started in England with its first stages around Salisbury plains. They then headed off to Portsmouth and caught the overnight boat to Caen where we joined the rally (car 44). We spent the first two days finding and visiting several of the WWII landing beaches and monuments before all meeting up at the museum at “Pegasus Bridge” where we had a photo shoot and guided tour. Having camped out on the first two nights near Bayeux, day 3 consisted of a 700+ Km drive through Belgium and Holland to the Airborne Museum in Arnhem where we once again had a guided tour. That night we camped out in a wood near Arnhem with very few facilities!! Days 4 and 5 took us back through Belgium and Luxembourg to the Alsace where we had to find our way around the Maginot line and on into Germany for a . night in the Black An overnight stop.. Forest. The facilities there were much better and we had time to take a shower and a nightcap. Well...several nightcaps!   Day 6 had us find our way across southern Germany to The Concentration Camp at Dachau, which was a sombre experience, and then on to Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden. We camped overnight just outside the town and awoke to a beautiful morning with the sun creeping its way across the Bavarian Alps. Day 7 was the journey from the town of Berchtesgaden to halfway up the mountain to the Gasthof, where the last part of the journey consisted of a lift up through the mountain to the top. From there you could walk and climb to other little areas around his retreat but always only a few metres away from the edge. We had a well earned drink at the top and rested before the descent back to the Gasthof. As pictures paint a thousand words please follow the link to http://www.berchtesgaden.de/en/eagles-nest.   Day 8 for us was a rest day with time to have a lay in, relax, and look around then on Day 9, the 8hr journey up country to the Mosel River where we spent our last 3 days in a wonderful campsite with showers, restaurant and room to pitch the At the top! tent.   All in all we had a great time and although extremely tiring, enjoyed every minute. Thanks to all who sponsored our car, raising just under £900. 5300Km, 6 Countries and 14 days... roll on next year! By John Hill

During the 1914–18 War, amidst the sea of mud and carnage that were the battlefields of Picardy and Flanders, with the coming of warmer weather, the humble poppy continued to flower. John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Armed Forces, was so deeply moved by this spectacle that, in 1915 he wrote the poem, 'In Flanders Field', tragically he died in 1918 in a military hospital on the French Channel coast. Shortly before he died he is said to have murmured “Tell them this, if ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep.” Moina Michael, an American War Secretary with the YMCA and a writer, was moved by McCrae's work and she wrote “And now the torch and Poppy red Wear in honour of our dead.” Miss Michael bought some red Poppies and wearing one, she sold the remainder to her friends to raise a small amount of money for Servicemen in need. A French colleague, Madame Guerin, proposed the making and sale of artificial poppies to help ex-Servicemen and their families. And so the tradition began. In Britain, Major George Howson formed the Disabled Society to help Servicemen who had returned wounded and unable to work. The British Legion, now The Royal British Legion, was formed in 1921 to give practical help and companionship to ex-Service people and their dependants. Howson thought the making of artificial Poppies might offer opportunities for The Disabled Society and approached the Legion with his suggestions, shortly afterwards The Royal British Legion poppy factory was established employing many disabled Servicemen. The first Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921 and since then the Poppy Appeal has become the best known of all charity events in the nation's calendar. In this milestone year of our existence, all RBL Branches throughout the world are organizing extra fundraising events to boost the Poppy Appeal for 2011 in an attempt to make it an all time record breaker. We at Linazay Poitou-Charentes RBL have already completed several major events in our Region: Steve Collins has cycled over 1,000km around the Region visiting 439 Commonwealth War Graves and placed a poppy cross on each one and, through sponsorship, has raised an estimated 1,200€. Our Queen’s Birthday Golf Competition on 15 June at the Chateau des Forges Club raised 375€. The largest event we have undertaken to date was our Summer Fair held at Claussais la Pommerais on 17 June, this raised 1,479.85€. Other fundraisers are planned for the rest of the year; 1 September, David Blick will be starting out from Greenwich with hundreds of 19 May at Cognac. Peter other cyclists to complete his Wood, Steve Collins & David third official London to Paris Blick pay their respects sponsored cycle ride. 25 September, our Northern Group will be holding an Autumn Festival at the property of Will & Jo Rowe at Fenery near Parthenay. Finally, our annual Poppy Appeal begins on 14 October, last year we raised 4,688.94€, a sum we hope to exceed this year with all our extra events. If you would like to join us or participate in, sponsor or help with any of our future events, full details of all activities and methods of joining can be found on our web site: www.rblpoitou-charentes.fr By Eric Edwards page 8


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Our Furry Friends... Urgent - Puppies needing good homes. This lovely young bitch wandered into a French household and stayed. We became involved when they decided to have her sterilized but needed some help. Then it was discovered that she was already pregnant and the puppies expected soon. Their plan was to kill them as soon as they are born, which is in about a weeks time. We have persuaded them to hold off on this, but we must find future homes for the pups (& parents) as soon as possible. This is just the tip of an iceberg, if animals are not sterilized, they breed, they kill the litters, they breed, and so on every year. Thousands of bitches suffer losing their litters as soon as they are born, and all because in the French culture, animals aren’t sterilized. Please can you help us to find homes for this dog’s puppies, we don’t have much time and we can’t do it without your help. This is dad, a 1 year old Labrador who has the sweetest nature. He needs a good home too, and will be sterilized and vaccinated.

Sudoku Corner... #1

Tel: Siobain on 05 49 27 26 20 or email: hopeassoc@orange.fr

www.sudokupuzz.com

HOOF (Horse Orientated Open Forum) A group of like-minded Brits with an interest in anything equestrian who meet on average once per month, held at various locations mainly in North Deux-Sèvres or Vendée area. If you are interested in joining us in some adventures, ring Jo Rowe on 05 49 64 22 67 email: willjo@live.co.uk

#2

For DSM Crossword#5, please see p.7

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

The Great Outdoors... The Amateur Gardener by Vanda Lawrence 23rd June was this year's 'red letter day' for me. Why? Because the Linden tree (Tilleul, here in France) blossomed and every breath was filled with the most wonderful perfume - a mix of honey, vanilla and something else I cannot put a name to. I am drawn to that tree every time I go into the garden, and so are the insects. There is a gentle hum to be heard and the tree is alive with bees, busily collecting nectar. The perfume has gone now, but it lasted for about 2 weeks. Roll on next year! Our pleasure now is in the pond area. We have a family of Moorhens who come each day from a nearby nest. There are 3 little chicks, little balls of fluff, learning to swim and feed. I should be cutting back some of the variegated grasses growing round the pond, but that will just have to wait until this little family moves on.

Busy Bee Corner by Mick Lawrence. July, with its abundance of Lavender, Clover, Lilies, wild flowers and the like has given the bees plenty to feed on. My bee buddy Paul, has fitted his honey box (called a 'super' in England and 'boîte de miel' here in France) and already has two frames full and two more filling up. He should be able to remove some honey during August. Unfortunately, my own hive is not so advanced. This is because I mistakenly thought the brood box was full, so added the honey box and removed the sugar-syrup feeder too soon. Apparently the Queen needs to know there is a plentiful supply of food nearby in order for her to continue laying her eggs in great numbers, so she had reduced production and my brood box is not yet full. Live and learn! I have now removed the honey box and replaced the syrup feeder, which my bee-keeping guru tells me will rectify the situation in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed he is right.

Mostly, my jobs in the garden this month will be general maintenance ie dead-heading Sweet Peas to prevent seed formation and encourage new blooms, staking Gladioli and other tall blooms, but it is also time to pot on strawberry plants from runners and take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs such as Camelia, Deutzia, Mahonia, Weigela etc. Also, those shrubs which have finished flowering should be pruned now. (eg Cotoneaster, Forsythia) For those of you with a potager, here are a couple of tips I have picked up since last month: 1. Protect ripening marrows from birds & other pests by pulling tights or stockings over each marrow and tie at each end. Simple! 2. Watering long, inaccessible rows of veg can be made easier by using lengths of plastic guttering. Make small holes along the bottom, lay between 2 rows of plants and pour water into one end.

Until next month, enjoy your gardens and keep planting all those flowers that the bees love! Paul and I checking my hive this week .

My last thought for this month is to be organised (for once) and plant up a winter flowering Jasmine to have indoors during the winter and enjoy its beautiful fragrance. Then again, who wants to think about winter while we have these lovely warm, sunny days?! Happy gardening, my friends - enjoy!

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

The Sunflower

©Phillip.ap.Tudur@orange.fr There are few moments in life one could find more rewarding than the first meeting with a field of sunflowers: the French Tournesol. It is a bewildering view which needs time for adjustment; thousands of nodding heads all facing the same direction which is east … towards the rising sun. It is like the first date with a lovely woman and all the hope for true love that brings. Love and sunflowers seemingly are ephemeral. They leap with joy but are soon gone. And I am sad for that. They are coming to flower as I speak only fifty metres from my home. I can see them through a roof window. It is a mistake to keep them at a distance. One needs to get up close and to discover the wonders of their natural structure and architecture. There is an intricate and large oil-bearing centre surrounded by a halo of wispy yellow petals which shimmer in the very lightest of breezes. Anything stronger and they, too, all point in the same direction, bending with the wind to avoid damage but at odds with the centre. Supple we survive, rigid we break. There are times when we all have to bend, but it is not easy to achieve in all matters. I bend only to the truth in this unjust world. Such freedom is a luxury.

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Most sunflowers these days are commercially bred species. They are grown to yield high quality vegetable oil. In this lies profound sadness. The Poitou-Charente was once a polyculture with a variety of plants grown mainly for local consumption. There were hedges everywhere which provided sustenance when out for a walk, from wild nuts, fruits and berries and a luxurious marvelous variety of different animals, birds and insects. But it has changed. A major policy in the emerging European Community was to replace imported vegetable oils, such as palm oil, with oil from locally produced plants. Thus there sprung up a monoculture system using sunflowers, colza and lupin. Farmers, encouraged to maximize production, removed the hedges and many woods to develop larger fields for mechanization. This in turn demanded a transport and storage infrastructure and the increased use of imported fossil fuels. The beauty of the sunflower has been at a great ecological cost. When the sunflower dies its leaves perish and turn black. It is a sad sight. It reminds me of the thousands of “Black African” economies ruined when their exports of palm oil were no longer required in Europe. Dead and decaying black faces which did not survive their poverty and through no fault of their own. Life is like that, with its good and bad sides; its pluses and minuses. They are often not easily recognized, coexisting side by side in time and space. Life is short and we need to make the most of all that is beautiful however short its lifespan. The sunflowers soon will all be in bloom and I will find time to lie alongside them to share the summer sun. I will not be alone. I will be alongside thousands of radiant faces. They will turn to face me and reflect their sunlight in my eyes. The sunflower does not face the rising sun by accident. It echoes our hopes.

Congratulations to our first winner, Lloyd Cattell, 79240, for this beautiful sunflower photograph. It just sums up our French countryside at this time of year and is perfect for the summer holiday cover! Photograph downloaded from Karpati at

morgueFile.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Getting Out & About... ‘Grand Prix Historique 2011’

by Helen Tait-Wright Saturday afternoon, and the sun is beating down on the Place Saint Jacques in Bressuire. The tarmac is melting. The Place is filling with cars, final preparations are being made around the streets for the annual Grand Prix Historique. Glancing round you spot a Riley, an MG, a Healey, Cobra, Citroen Traction, some single seaters, a Jaguar C Type, a Ford Anglia; four different classes of cars, Tourisme, Sport, Cyclecars and Monoplace.

which is still intact and put it on the tonneau cover. Some new cars arrive for the Sunday racing, some of those running on Saturday decide not to risk it again! Drivers are called for a briefing on the marshall’s flags and the TV crews and press go round the paddock looking for the stories. First run of the day for Harriet and she’s absolutely flying, a clear track and lapping the back markers when suddenly its all over; the engine cuts out and she’s towed back to the paddock. Failed rotor arm. Gutted. The others are still going and the public are pouring in as the sun gets up and the temperature rises. Great viewing all round the circuit, and in the paddock plenty to look at; some classic American cars, a yellow Porsche 930, a drop dead gorgeous 356 Speedster, pretty litte Karmann Ghia that is being the course car, a couple of car model stands, buy some memorabilia, grab a copy of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’, have a beer.

Anticipation hangs in the air, the drivers check their engines and out on the start finish line two adorable little girls hold the ribbon for the mayor to cut and declare the event open. Then its helmets on, zip the race suit up, and into the car.

Didier the boulanger from Niort is trying hard in the E type, Christian Gourdel is doing his last event in his Panhard Junior single seater as he has decided that he ought to retire now he is 80. Christopher Treadwell is a crowd pleaser in his Ford Anglia until the clutch fluid leaks out and he too is out. Too soon its the final parade and the prize giving. Harriet leaves on a trailer but she’ll be back next year to one of the best Historic racing events we’ve been to in a long time. The dates for 2012 are June 30th and 1st July; put them in your diary now!

Photography by Chris Dodman

Suddenly the streets are alive, the engines revving, tyres squealing, the public flock to the barriers to see the action. The circuit is quite tight and twisty but the drivers are determined and there is plenty of action and overtaking during the session. Back in the paddock after the first run, the Cobra has its exhausts cooled with water, bonnets are opened to allow the heat to escape, the drivers compare notes. Mr White with the Riley has driven from Leicester for the event, but his fuel cap is leaking, so a quick repair is necessary. In the blue Healey (Harriet) carrying the “Deux Sevres Monthly” stickers, the passenger door keeps flying open, so its off to find some bungee cord. Our friend Mr Armoire (yes really) in the Sovam felt he was being intimidated by the Cobra and so changes class. Another run on Saturday afternoon, then its off home for the night.

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Sunday morning brings a brisk breeze and the drivers are welcomed to the paddock with croissants and the morning paper. Harriet had a little excursion into the barriers last night, so a few little repairs are needed, and miraculously someone picked up the indicator lens from the circuit

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 12


THE DEUX-SĂ&#x2C6;VRES MONTHLY

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

I’m delighted with the response I’ve had to the latest venture at 15 Route de Brioux, Luché sur Brioux, e Mini Market. We are now a team of 12 artisans and entrepreneurs, either selling our produce or providing a service to the local community making this the place to come for all your gift and card needs, as well as for that special little something to wear for any occasion from brand names that we know and love but, more importantly, at a cut-down price. Throughout August and September we will be running workshops offering fun and recreation for all the family (see advert below for more details.) Also in September there will be Yoga Classes starting up and my French classes will be once again kicking off.

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Refreshments are available, however the fully-kitted kitchen is still waiting for an, or several, enterprising cook (s) to come along and realize its potential!

So next time you’re passing pop in and see us! Helen Ace.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

On Holiday?

ACTIVITIES

W e kno w t hat it can so m etim e s be difficult to keep everybody entertaine d

1.

during the holiday season, so we hope this feature will help! We have selected places & activities to suit all budgets and interests......Have fun!

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

See the ‘Places to Vis it’

8.

page on o ur website

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for more information! www.thedeuxsev

10. 11.

resmonthly.fr

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Parc Acquatic A day out for all the family, water slides, waves, paddling and indoor pool. Horse Riding Explore the countryside on horseback. Parc de Pierre Brune 10 hectares of recreation and relaxation for an unforgettable day with exceptional attractions. Parc Aventure Tree climbing for all ages, crazy golf, large inflatables. Chateau Aventurniers Enjoy the chateau and its grounds, then try out the 4 trails suitable for all the family. Parc de Vallees A family friendly amusement park with activities and shows through out the day. Outdoor pool with slides. Futuroscope A trip to the future, a very different experience and with evening shows. Puy du Fou Different historical shows all day and evening, fun for all the family. Go Karting Niort and Moutiers-sous-Chantemerle. Compare your speeds with your friends and family. Age and height restrictions usually apply. Pescalis First international nature and fishing centre in Europe. GoPaintball Professional & Amateur paintball site. Les Ecuries du Saumort Friendly family run stables offering riding holidays and lessons for all levels

ZOOS & ANIMALS Mervent Zoo res with In the heart of the forest of Mervent, 7 hecta . world the of rs corne 4 all from ls anima 2. BioParc/Zoo Doue la Fontaine tional and Offers over 500 animals living in an excep itted to comm g, settin most unus ual trogl odyte conservation of endangered species. 3. Zoodysee species, 500 animals from 60 different European es. speci d ngere enda cting emphasis on prote 4. Sealand es and A magical underwater world with 200 speci 1,000 animals. 5. Aquarium at La Rochelle ren born Family fun in an underwater world. Child entry free have /2001 21/12 and /2000 between 21/12 with an adult. 6. Mouton Village . Special Set in 6 hectares, visit 21 species of sheep year. the t ghou throu s event 7. Plantes des Crocodiles and living 200 crocodiles of 8 species, born in captivity s. plant of ies variet 80 in a large dome filled with 8. Geants du Ciel eval town Daily shows of birds of prey in the lovely medi (86) vigny of Chau 9. Vallee des Singes 350 monkeys living free in 15 hectares. 10. Le Logis Pig Experience days Enjoy a ‘Piggy Day Out’.

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Special thanks to Gilly Hughes-Jones for writing this feature.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY INTERESTING TOWNS AND VILLAGES 1. St Loup Lamaire 2. Airvault 3. Parthenay 4. Bressuire 5. Vouvant 6. Thouars 7. Melle

St Maxient L’Ecole 9. La Rochelle 10. Niort 11. Saumur 12. Ile de Re

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PLACES OF INTEREST 1.

Troglodyte Caves Take a step back in time to see how people really lived and worked in their cave villages. 2. Marais Poitevin Second largest wetland in France. Take a guided tour in a traditional flat botto med boat or horse draw n carriage. Paddle your own canoe or cycle to explore miles of trails. 3. Oriental Gardens Spend an afternoon in the magnificent oriental gardens and learn about the amazing botany and its history. Some evening events. 4. Tank Museum Brings the history of tanks and their crew to life. All indoors. 5. La Grande Galerie, Civray Summ er Expo inc. Warw icksh ire Artists Group..(Mon-Sat 10am-5pm) Free entry.

INTERESTING PLACES ZOOS & ANIMALS ACTIVITIES PLACES OF INTEREST More information on all the places mentioned can be found on the internet, or via our website www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Health, Beauty & Fitness...

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

This bilingual website offers help with the French Healthcare sys tem.

www.cpam79.fr

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French Life, Food & Drink... Vive la difference.

by Gilly Hunt What a beautiful month July was, the sun shone and the first of our summer visitors came and went. Whilst they were here we did the customary day trip up to the Loire Valley to check out a Chateau or two, numerous lunches were consumed, overlooking rivers, ports and glorious views, and then there was Saturday night, what should we do, go to the cinema, enjoy a quite barbeque in the garden, or go to Motoball at Neuville? For me there is just no choice. I am, my husband says, a “Motoball groupie”; so it was in the car and heading towards Poitiers for an 8pm kick off. Motoball, for those of you who are wondering what on earth I am talking about, is just what it says it is – a mixture of motorbikes and football. Yes, seriously, there are five men in a team, four of whom are on motorbikes and the fifth, the goal keeper, stands in the goal on a pitch resembling the size

currently top of the league. I would thoroughly recommend this as a true French evening out, food and drink are of course available and entry is only 6 euros for adults. It is not on every weekend, so you do need to check out the web site for dates etc. So what else is there to do in Deux-Sèvres on a Saturday night? Well apart from visit one of the many amazing bars, restaurants and cafes, you could also partake in one of the many organised night walks. I went to one at L’Absie this month and it was not only great fun, but incredibly well organised and had food! The idea is that you walk a few kilometres between each course, and whilst you are enjoying your food you also have entertainment, such as music or a play. The food starts after just 200 metres, and continues at regular intervals to include an entrée, main, cheese, dessert and then coffee upon finishing. So not only do you have a lovely meal, but you also enjoy a walk of between 13km or 16km in the lovely countryside – a win win situation in my book. To find out about walks, just keep an eye out for notices, look in the local paper or look on all the usual forums on the internet. Each commune will have an organised walk of some variety during the year. Vive la Difference.

of a normal football pitch only made of concrete. They play with a large football which is kicked or headed between players. There are two referees who run madly up and down their own half waving a flag and blowing a whistle – how the players actually ever hear them I have yet to find out! It is a fast, noisy and furious game of four quarters each lasting 20 minutes, there are corners, free kicks and penalties just as in football and Neuville A team are

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Book The Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres Favourite Recipe This is gradually accumulating some fantastic recipes. month we thank Jenni Hulme for... Jenni’s Barbecue Sauce Ingredients: 1 large onion 3 Garlic cloves 4 tbsp soft brown sugar 4 tbsp of Worcester Sauce Half a tube of tomato puree 3 tbsp lemon juice ry) 2 tbsp of dry English mustard (you can substitute if necessa Pinch of sage (sauge) Salt and black pepper Qtr litre beef stock Olive oil Add Dice onion and garlic, sauté in oil until translucent. sage Worcester sauce, sugar, lemon juice, tomato puree, and mustard. Mix thoroughly, and then add hot stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. meat/ This sauce is delicious with chicken or pork. Place until chicken in dish, add sauce and place in oven at 180˙ It can be made the day before meat/chicken is done. can needed and if you make double the quantity you Enjoy! day! r anothe for freeze half eDon’t forget if you have a favourite recipe send it by mail to: ivan7thelma@wanadoo.fr marked “recipe”. r If you would like any information about the work of Cance 05 Support Deux Sèvres, please contact June Searchfield on ail.com ld@gm archfie 49 64 59 96 or e-mail junese

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 21


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

(French) Kissing Aloud. – A Departure From Culinary Ramblings.

by Helen Aurelius-Haddock Never let it be said that in order to catch the eye of a new audience the eponymous double entendre should never been underplayed. I’ll wager some readers, after reading the title will be anticipating something edgy, and are sinking into a comfy chair right now. Sorry to disappoint. My remit here is to unfold the mystery of the French custom of kissing. The heartbeat of French of life, it confounds most of us who hail from the UK. Kiss we may do, but it has its place. A bit like cleaning your shoes or worming the cat, Britons fear the P(ublic)D(isplay of)A (affection) I sense the readership may evolve into an authority, claiming prior, even superior knowledge here, like a Mastermind contestant, or Ann Robinson. I know nothing about it, despite living in France for six years, I remain a novice, and the inherent etiquette for me has taken on the mantle of a Dark Art. Dare I speak for the majority and venture that we exude a national dread when faced with a French stranger? Is the angst Freudian? Possibly. Do we hate kissing strangers? Maybe. Do we only want to kiss the people we fancy? Definitely. Would we like some guidelines? Absolutely. So, on with the show with a few suggestions based on observation, with no scientific back up whatsoever. Children Little ones present few problems. Once on the cheek is the norm, even if you don’t know them, allowing them to go off and erase the memory of grey whiskers and halitosis from their impressionable minds. That said, school for them must be a logistic nightmare. The reason school starts early and finishes late is simple: They’re all kissing each other and lessons are slotted in between. However, it does give teenagers respite from texting. Family The family unit kiss often. So they should, it’s the rules, like arguing over the washing up. The form is to kiss on rising and last thing at night. If you slope off for an hour or two to the hairdressers, supplementary kisses on return are not the thing. However, visiting family must always be liberally smothered with kisses, whatever the time. In an average household of five, a visit of another five relatives could mean an exchange of a hundred kisses. It’s possible to read the first three chapters of Pride and Prejudice or re hang a door in the time all this affection takes place.

Friends Kissing habits amongst friends could take the form of an academic paper of around twenty thousand words, but as space doesn’t permit, brevity reigns. Broadly there is the two, three and four kiss approach, largely dependant on geographical location, age and whether there’s and “R” in the month. The sun seems to have an incremental effect also. More sun, more kissing. Happy days. Best advice here is to stand well back in the meet and greet queue at community gatherings with friends, or offer to get the first round of drinks in at the buvette. Watch and learn from the masters, and you’ll soon be a pro. Work Mates The workplace can be a minefield. Take a two-pronged attack and adopt evasive manoeuvres such as frequent visits to the toilet or hiding in the stationery cupboard. Work colleagues assure me that it is fine if you want to opt out on kissing, but you have to make your feelings clear. “Please don’t kiss me, I don’t want you to,” (loosely translated) has a real team player ring to it don’t you think? You can guarantee there will be no surprise birthday parties after that one liner. So much has been left unsaid, but if there is a way to conclude this musing let it be this: Whilst we may dither as we feel ourselves on shaky ground, there are definitely upsides to this custom. It is a privilege to see the teacher in the school doorway every morning kissing each child as they enter school for the day. Similarly it is an honour to go to a local event with strangers, sit alongside them during the evening and to be surprised by an affectionate kiss on parting company. It is the omnipresent celebration that our French friends and neighbours employ to transmit the message that life is indeed a celebration and must be shared with those around us. So vive le bisou, and all its attendant quirks. If your next brief encounter ends in a head butt or lipstick smeared over your nose, laugh, try again and enjoy. It’s what life’s all about. To read culinary musings by Helen, visit: www.haddockinthekitchen.wordpress.com

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French Adventures... Nikki Nairn runs Trois Anges Interiors situated at La grande Gallery in Civray. Nikki moved to france in 2002 and has three children. She is originally from Kent. Here she tells Suzanne Thorne her ‘French Adventure’... Why did you move to France? I moved to France 10 years ago when my three children were then aged 5,7 & 8 years old. It was a life style change I was looking for and a better environment to bring the children up in. They have all settled well and enjoy France as much as I do. My daughter has the same passions as I do for vintage clothing. How did Trois Anges Interiors come about? After leaving school I worked for Marks & Spencer making baby clothes and had always made my own clothes and curtains. I worked my way up to management level but having a love of interior design, knew that’s the direction I wanted to move in. After completing a home study course on interior design I then set myself up and worked from home making soft furnishings and curtains. This whilst juggling the demands of bringing up the babies! I have always been a hoarder of fabrics and vintage textiles and also have a love of vintage clothes. My workshop was in the garden. I later worked for an interior designer in Kent before making the move to France. With a passion for French interiors I again set up my workshop from home before moving to the Galerie in Civray this year. The name comes from mine and my children’s love of angels. How did you set up? I am set up under the Chamber de Commerce as an autoentrepreneur which I found incredibly easy to organise. Working from home meant less overheads but I wanted to take my business further, so felt I would benefit from being more in the public eye and when the chance of a space at La Grande Galerie came up I decided to take the step.

Where do you work from? I work at the Galerie in a room below which holds some of my textiles and I tend to use Mondays for working on pieces I am making or clients orders. I am currently working on interlined and fully lined curtains for a Chateau nearby and also loose covers for a three piece suite. In the shop itself I create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere and combine the soft furnishings along with small pieces, unique handbags and lavender hearts and gifts made from French and English Vintage textiles, I also paint French furniture (French shabby chic style) to make a complete room set in the shop along with scented candles and other interesting brocante finds so there is something for everyone and to suit all pockets. There are all sorts of pieces in the shop from vintage bedpans to tailor’s busts, shelves, chairs, larger furniture items and the soft fabric items. I love people to come, browse and take home something made with love and to my own unique style. I source my materials from all over and keep my prices affordable for all. I feel everyone should be able to enjoy something beautiful in their homes. I will be offering a 10% discount to anyone who comes in with the magazine article and am happy to give free quotes on anything from curtain making to a complete house re-fit. The shop is open 10am – 5pm Tuesday to Saturday but I am there on Mondays working in the studio. Come and find me, you’ll always be assured of a warm and friendly welcome!

What advice would you give someone setting up their own business? Do your homework. Look at the market and don’t under estimate what hard work it is. Who are your customers? I sell to both French & English and have many enthusiastic comments from both. I held an open evening which was a great success and one French lady said to me “I want to live here!” and another “This shop should be in Paris” which was wonderful to hear. I am looking forward to offering more open evenings and perhaps classes on how to turn that piece of furniture into something beautiful that will fit in both English or French homes.

An example of the items

for sale at Trois Anges.

Nikki is at La Grande Galerie in Civray and can be contacted on 06.35.22.08.28 or email: troisangesinterieurs@gmail.com

More items that you might find inside Nkki’s shop

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Communications... Protecting your data - How to back up Recently, I have had to try to recover data that customers have lost due to a couple of problems. Some due to the local electrical storms that will inevitably catch someone out, and another less common problem, though still possible for all of us to experience, a hardware failure, this is simply a characteristic of electronic equipment. Say “back-up” to most people and they cringe, fearing complicated computer procedures that they had to do at their businesses. However, for most of us, a back-up simply means copying our important information such as letters and official correspondence and cherished photos, music and videos to another medium, such as a USB memory stick or two, or an external hard disk drive. If you are really adventurous, you might choose to use one of the options I mentioned in last month’s article about sharing your photos, by uploading (another name for copying, but “up” to the internet). If you choose a local solution, for total safety this should be stored in a safe place, a fire safe, or a secure box at a friends or family members home, you might consider an exchange with a neighbour. Use a simple cash box for secure storage. How do you get your important programs such as Windows back if you have a disk failure? Normally you would have a CD or DVD with this, one that was supplied with your computer, or it may be possible to write one of these from information provided on your PC by the manufacturer. Whoever is charged to help when you experience a serious problem will be able to help you with this issue when repairing your computer.

SanDisk Titanium Cruzer 2GB cost £10 from Amazon and 16GB version around £40. In any event, you should copy your information from your computer to one of these solutions at least once a month, more frequently if you are using your PC daily to record or create new files. My suggestion of keeping the copies with a friend or family member is simply for total security’s sake, for example if you have a fire or theft. Finally email, if you use a service like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo or Orange online then you do not need to back-up emails, however if you use Outlook, Outlook Express or Mozilla Thunderbird, then you should also back-up your email as the chances are that the email service provider is not backing up your emails for you. If you would like further advice on back-up please contact me and I will do my best to advise you on the optimum solution for your particular situation. My email address is rs.hendry@gmail.com and my other contact information is on my advert below. In any event, I urge you to attend to this very soon, as prevention is far better than regret. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. He operates from his home on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border adjacent to L’Absie. You can find more information on his services at www.seowise.co.uk.

Choosing a medium to copy your data to is a personal choice and depends very much on the volume of information you have, and your budget. Free of charge, it is possible to copy (or upload) your information to the Microsoft’s SkyDrive system, the 25GigaByte(GB) storage available here should be sufficient for most home users. Alternatively, you may also consider using Google docs and sheets and Picasa as a free online solution. Looking at local solutions, you may purchase a USB hard disk drive from around £35 (€45 in France) for a 250Gigabyte one, this is probably the size of the average Hard Disk Drive on a modern up-to-date PC and so will enable you to store all of your information more than once. If your volume of data is lower, then you may consider purchasing USB memory sticks, and have one for Photos, one for Documents and email contacts/address books and emails, and one for music and or videos. Please purchase a good quality USB stick for this purpose, 2GB should be good for documents and contacts, but you may need 8GB or more if you have a large collection of Photos and Music. The better quality ones such as

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Building & Renovation...

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert!

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert! Advertise online with ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ from just 5€ per month! Go to: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr to find out more. page 25


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~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 26


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

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Artisans & Tradesmen.....do you have any top tips you can share with our readers? If so we would love to include them in this section! Please email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 27


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Business, Finance & Property... Will your spouse inherit your assets if you die by Bill Blevins, in France?

Financial Correspondent, Blevins Franks. We all want to leave our spouse or partner financially secure following our death, not to mention as worry free as possible, but one particular French law can catch out Britons living here – succession law. Under its Napoleonic code, your children (including those from previous marriages) are ‘protected heirs’ and take precedence over your spouse for inheritance rights, to the extent that your spouse may only have limited rights to inherit your joint wealth when you die. You cannot use your Will to stipulate that your children will only inherit your assets after the second death. Succession law overrides your Will and gives automatic rights to your children to inherit assets on the death of the first spouse, including jointly held assets. The following reserved shares apply on the first death (the freely disposable part can also be passed to your spouse or anyone else): To children

To spouse

Freely disposable

1 child

50%

25%

25%

2 children

66%

25%

9%

3+ children

75%

25%

0%

If you are French resident when you die the law applies to your worldwide assets (excluding overseas property and certain tax efficient investments); if you are not French resident it only applies to your French real estate. Note that while PACS partners are treated as married couples for many purposes, they receive even fewer inheritance rights than a spouse. There are a number of ways to avoid or mitigate the impact of French succession law, such as the manner in which you own the property, matrimonial regimes and conventional investment structures, but you need to take advice from Blevins Franks for your specific personal circumstances. The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual must take personalised advice. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website www.blevinsfranks.com

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert!

France Telecom English Customer Services:- 09 69 36 39 00 EDF (Electricity Provider) English Helpline: 05 62 16 49 08 or 08 10 12 61 26

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 30


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Proposed tax on holiday home scrapped. The proposed tax on holiday homes in France has been scrapped – much to the relief of many UK Francophiles who own 2nd homes in France. The decision to abandon this idea was taken following a meeting between President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Minister of Budget, François Baroin. The meeting was also attended by a group representing French nationals living abroad, who would also have been caught by the new tax. The government had clearly not thought through the effect of this proposal on a significant number of supporters living abroad. There were a number of expert commentators who considered that the new tax may have infringed EU regulations, and was also contrary to taxation treaties France has in place with other countries. According to the French government, some 363,000 owners would have been liable for the tax, of which around 50% would have been UK citizens. The proposal has caused a huge amount of discussion and debate amongst those with second homes in France, much of it based on a lack of understanding about just how much it would cost. In fact the impact was not likely to have been very significant. For the vast majority of those affected by it, the tax was never going to cost more than a few hundred Euros a year. Around 350,000 non-resident second homeowners who rent out their property would also have escaped the tax, a little known fact! As the new tax was being introduced to help offset the reduction in the wealth tax, the government will now need to find an alternative source of revenue. Watch this space for developments.

The new rules are expected to come into force from the start of 2012. Animals will then only need to be vaccinated 21 days before coming back into the country and the blood test requirement will be dropped. Many vets charge pet owners £100 for the blood test, something that many scientists say is completely unnecessary. An estimated 100,000 owners a year use the pet passport scheme to take their animals on holiday or on work trips. Rabies has almost been completely eradicated in Britain, with the exception of a few rare cases, principally found in bats and foxes.

Driving in France (and the rest of Europe)

Many drivers have discovered that they are able to exceed legal speed limits and commit other motoring offences without any comeback from the legal system. Points do not get added to your licence for motoring offences, at least not until now. Europe is tightening information between penalties. Those used autoroute at 150 KPH shock.

up and using an exchange of member states to apply these to the thrill of flashing down an without any concerns are in for a

France is also embarking on a programme of installing speed cameras, without any prior warning. Currently, there are signs as you approach a fixed radar trap. So, with immediate effect, drivers need to adhere to the legal speed limits or risk the consequences. Peter Elias (Agent Commercial). www.allez-francais.com email: sales@allez-francais.com, Tel 05 49 27 01 22

Early retirees now eligible into the French health system.

This U-turn in policy follows pressure from the European Commission, who consider France is in breach of EU regulations by requiring early retirees to have five years residence before they can obtain health cover. As a consequence, the French Ministry of Health is to issue new guidance on the right of access to the health system. A new circular will be issued shortly, with the aim to bring France into line with European Regulation 883/2004, which governs the coordination of health and social security systems throughout the EEC. Again many commentators considered that France may be in breach of the regulations by denying inactive early retirees’ access to the health system through the CMU until they had completed five years residence. Since November 2007, anyone relocating to France under the age of retirement has been obliged to take out private health insurance on the expiry of their E106 (now S1) cover, or take employment/self-employment in order to then obtain health insurance cover. Only when inactive early retirees have completed 5 years legal residence are they permitted to affiliate to the health system, although there are some limited exceptions.

DEFRA rules on pet passports are to be relaxed

Currently, anyone who wants to travel with their animals and bring them back into Britain needs to have their pet vaccinated six months ahead of coming back into the country and they must also be microchipped. The animals also need a blood test a month later to ensure the antirabies vaccine has fully taken. Only then do they qualify for the so-called Pet Passport, allowing them to come back into the country.

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'The Deux-Sèvres Monthly - August 2011  

English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres department in France (and surrounding areas).