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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 18 of ‘The DeuxSèvres Monthly’ magazine. August is the time to leave on holidays or to share times with visiting family and friends. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing some visitors this month, and hearing the latest news from their ‘neck of the woods’. Our holiday will wait until September, but in the meantime as long as the weather settles here, we can poodle off on the bikes or have a picnic at the lac, BBQs with friends and visit the many attractions in the region. Happy Days! I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Summer. Email: or Tel: 05 49 70 26 21.

à plus, 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.

28€ within France, 18€ to addresses in UK.

(Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad)

Full Name: Postal Address: Postcode:


Tel: Email: Please make cheques payable to SARAH BERRY.

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

112 European emergency 113 Drugs and alcohol

© Sarah Berry 2012. 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 is 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: Sarah Berry et Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du Bocage-BP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: aôut 2012 - Tirage: 5 000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................4 Hobbies, Clubs & Associations.........................................11 Take a break......................................................................12 Communications.................................................................13 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................14 Our Furry Friends..............................................................16 The Great Outdoors...........................................................18 French Life, Food & Drink................................................20 French Adventures............................................................24 Motoring.............................................................................25 Getting Out & About..........................................................26 Building & Renovation.......................................................29 Business, Finance & Property..........................................35 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS 79 Renovations.................................................................... 31 A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant).............................................. 21 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter)................................... 25 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC D/Glazing)..... 2 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder)............................................. 34 Alan Pearce (Plumbing & Heating)..................................... 30 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................... 30 Andrew Quick Building Services......................................... 34 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)................. 18 Antiquites Decoration & Galerie du 309............................. 27 Architect anglais en France (Vaughan Abbott).................. 34 Auberge de Blanxay (Auberge & Restaurant).................... 22 Bilingual Litfest.................................................................... 7 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd......................... 36 Cafe Cour du Miracle........................................................... 21 Café des Belles Fleurs......................................................... 22 Chez Remert (Snack bar).................................................... 20 Chris Bassett Construction.................................................. 33 Chris Dwyer (Handyman).................................................... 31 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room).................... 28 CSB Construction................................................................. 31 Cut 46 (Hair Salon).............................................................. 15 Dave Bowring (Electrician)................................................. 33 D J Maintenance (Handyman)............................................. 32 David Watkins (Chimney Sweep)........................................ 33 Dean Smalley (Cleaning & Gardening Services)................ 37 Energie-79........................................................................... 30 Fresco Interiors (Interior Design)....................................... 32 Futuroscope (Theme Park).................................................. 40 Garage Planchet (Renault)................................................... 26 George Rayner Computers.................................................. 14 Hair by Janet........................................................................ 15 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).... 33 Homes in France (Estate Agent)......................................... 39 Indulgence Beauty............................................................... 15 Insink Plumbing.................................................................... 30 John Etherington (Home and Garden)................................. 18 John Snee (Groundworks & Septic Tanks)......................... 35 John Spray Maçonnerie (Stonemason)................................ 33 Julie’s Cleaning Services..................................................... 38 Keith Bassett General Building Services........................... 34 K.Neal Renovations............................................................. 31 La Deuxieme Chance (Annie Sloan chalk paint supplier).. 29 La Grande Galerie............................................................... 27 La Joie de Vivre................................................................... 27 Le Chat Bleu (Jewellery Shop)............................................ 27 Le Forgeron (Ornamental Ironwork)................................... 33 Le Nombril du Monde (Pougne-Hérisson).......................... 28 Leggett Immobilier.............................................................. 39 Le Relais Délice (Restaurant & Creperie).......................... 2 Les Adillons café.................................................................. 21 Les Ecuries du Saumort (Horse Riding School & Livery).. 16 Mad Hatter’s Kitchen........................................................... 28 Man & Van........................................................................... 26 MatProPose (Wall & Floor tiling)....................................... 30 Michael Glover (Plasterer, Renderer & Tiler)................... 33 Michael Hobson (Painter & Decorator).............................. 32 MKR Mobile Beauty............................................................. 14 Mobile Mechanic (John Purchase)....................................... 25 MS Electrique (Electrician)................................................. 32 Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurances........................................ 26 Nathan Foster Building Services........................................ 34 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................ 14 Phil Savage (General House Repairs)................................. 32 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 35 Phoenix Trading (Jo Ashforth)............................................ 36 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)............................. 30 Poitou Property Services.................................................... 37 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................. 25 R&A Services (Renovation)................................................ 31 RDK Roofing & Building Services....................................... 33 Restaurant des Canards....................................................... 21 Richard Owen (The Fosse Man).......................................... 32 Rob Berry (Plasterer).......................................................... 39 Robert Walker Plomberie (Plumbing, Heating, Air con)..... 31 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........... 13 Sarah Berry Online (Website Design)................................. 14 Satellite TV (Nigel Gubb).................................................... 14 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction)............. 32 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................... 37 Spectrum IFA Group (Amanda Johnson)............................ 35 Steve Enderby...................................................................... 32 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation).....................10 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre........................ 25 The Market (Luché-sur-Brioux)........................................ 27 Total Renovation Services (Michael Dominey).................. 30 Town Renovations............................................................... 31 Tracey Bowring (English Hairdresser)............................... 15 3


What’s On....August 2012 2nd August - Classical Concert Conference At The Orangery of the Chateau of Saint-Loup at 6pm. See page 10 for more information. 3rd August - 60s Night At A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. Please see advert on P.21 for details. 4th August - Bilingual Tour at Le Nombril du Monde At 11am. See advert on P.28 for further information. 4th August - Live Music with Neil Diamond (Tribute) At Café des Belles Fleurs at 8pm. See advert on P.21 5th August - Concert - A Tale of Two Countries 5pm at Logis de la Chaussée, Gourgé. Please see P.9 for more information. 5th August - Classical Concert At Saint-Loup Church. Admission free. Please find more details on P.10. 5th August - Big Band Jazz At Restaurant des Canards - Please see ad on P.21 for details 9th August - Conference by Professor Philippe Contamine At 5pm at the Logis de la Chaussée, Gourgé. See article on P.9 for further information. 12th August - Show Jumping At Les Ecuries du Saumort. Please call Sarah on 05 49 05 30 75 for more information or see article on P.16. 12th August - Market Day, Vide Grenier + Fish & Chips In the garden “au pont”, beside the River Thouet in Gourgé (Deux-Sèvres 79200). 10am to 4pm. Email Donna & Peter on or phone 05 49 63 48 80. 15th August - Family Fun Day & Picnic At Loubillé park from 12 o’clock. See advert on P.28 for info. 15th August - Cut 46 Open Day New Hairdressing salon opens it’s doors in Fenioux. See advert on P.15 for appointment details. 17th August - Quiz Night At Restaurant des Canards. Chicken/Mussels & Chips available. See advert on P.21 17th & 18th August - Music Festival 2 day event at Mad Hatter’s Kitchen, Caunay. Daytime events start 2pm, evenings at 6.30pm. Please see advert on P.28for more details. 18th August - Coffee Morning At 10am, 30 Place du Juillet 1836, L’Absie (next to dentist in the Square). In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sevres. (P.8) 18th August - Live Music with ‘The Craic’ & BBQ At ‘The Market’, Luché sur Brioux, from 8pm. See advert on P.27. 19th August - Petanque Tournament At 2pm in the Square L’Absie. Telephone Bernie to book on 05 49 64 93 27. In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sevres. (P.8) 22nd - 26th August - « The Walls Have Ears » Festival 2012 Festival  «Les Murs ont des Oreilles» (10th anniversary) Canton of Airvault and Saint Loup-Lamairé. Reservations at the Social Cultural Centre: 05 49 64 73 10 or at Airvault region tourist and activities office: 05 49 70 84 03. 25th August - Chaplaincy Rounders Match in Romagne (86) 2pm-6pm in Romagne. Fun for all the family. English teas will be served during the afternoon. For more information please contact John at 25th August - Live Music with ‘3 PLUS 1’ At Café des Belles Fleurs at 8pm. See advert on P.21 for details. 26th August - Dressage Event At Les Ecuries du Saumort. Please call Sarah on 05 49 05 30 75 for more information or see article on P.16. 29th August - Coffee & Book Morning At Mauze Thouarsais, 79100 from 10.30am-12.30pm. See P.8 for details. 31st August to 2nd September - Litfest St Clémentin, 79150 Free entry to readings, signings, bookshop, workshops Book your place: email or Tel: 05 49 80 22 96. See advert on P.7.

What’s Coming Up...

1st September - 4th Annual Produce Show From 10am at Logis du Thail, nr St Aubin le Cloud. For more info see Les Jardiniers du Poitou’s article on P.19 1st September - Bilingual Quiz with meal At ‘The Market’, Luché sur Brioux. For more details please see advert on P.27. 7th September - Jazz Blues Night At A La Bonne Vie Restaurant from 7.30pm. See ad on P.21. 8th September - The DSM Trade Fair, Secondigny At La Salle Alauna, lac des Effres, 79130. 10.30am to 6pm 40+ exhibitors, live music, Fish & Chips, Bacon butties, bar, refreshments, cakes, demonstrations, pony rides, bouncy castle...and lots more! Contact Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21. 9th September - Fun Dog Show At St Pardoux, 79310 from 10am. Dog classes, assorted trade & craft stands, have-a-go archery, fish n’chips + more. See P17. for details. 15th September - Autumn Vegetable Show & Competition At the Salle des fetes, Chatain. Categories will include vegetables, fruit, flowers, jams, chutney, cakes and children’s section. Refreshments available. For more info contact Susan Brice on 05 49 87 60 21. Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in Deux-Sèvres Jassay The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes has a service at Jassay (17) commencing at 11.00am on every 2nd Sunday in the month, it is held at the home of Ann White, everyone welcome for a time of worship and fellowship. St Leger The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd PoitouCharentes also holds services on the 1st Sunday of each month at 10.30am at St Leger near Melle (17). After each service tea or coffee are served and an opportunity to meet other people in the area. Parthenay The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd PoitouCharentes holds services on the 4th Sunday of each month at 10.30am in the Presbytery Rooms, rue de la Citadelle, Parthenay (17), opposite St Croix Church. After each service tea or coffee are served and everyone is invited to a 'bring and share' lunch. For further details about venue and services consult our website on Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in the Vendée: Puy de Serre All Saints, Vendée holds two services each month, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St. Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am.  After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a ‘bring and share’ lunch. Other services are held in the west of the Vendée, in La Chapelle Achard and La Chapelle Palluau.  For details of these, please check the website: A VERY WARM WELCOME awaits you at ESCOVAL (The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire).   Communion Services are held on the 3rd Sunday of each month at La Chapelle de la Bonne Dame de Ranton at 11.30am followed by a Bring and Share lunch.   Full details of how to find us may be found on our website at:  or please telephone us at: 05 49 66 79 14.  Our GPS address is 46˚59'25.30 N  0˚02'06.22 W. 4


Open La Vendee Chippy Traditional Fish & Chips in France!

Paperback Jan Books in English 1st Aug: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 2pm-4.30pm 2nd Aug: Bar Le Palais, St Aubin le Cloud. 2-5pm 3rd Aug: Bar La Cabane de Vouhé, Vouhé. 6.30-8pm 3rd Aug: Bar de la Paix, Thouars. 12pm-2pm 3rd Aug: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. 4pm-6pm 4th Aug: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole. 10am-1pm 5th Aug: Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux 2pm-4pm 9th Aug: Pause! Cafe, L’Absie. 2pm-5pm 10th Aug: Jan’s home, La Ferrière-en-Parthenay. 11am-4pm 30th Aug: Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant. 2pm-5pm For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email: ~

+ a little something extra... Anyone who fancies seeing their writing prowess in print, could think about writing a book revue for the spot below: ‘YOUR Book Reviews’. Sarah is always looking for budding authors to write a piece about 150 words long, describing their take on a particular book. I am offering a prize of one free book to anyone who is successful in having their review printed.

• Wednesdays (Aug 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges • Thursdays (Aug 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th) Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent. • Fridays (Aug 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux For more info please email:

It’s always great to hear recommendations of a good book and this month, Paperback Jan has come up trumps for us with this review. Thanks Jan.

‘Jackdaws’ by Ken Follett This book for me was unputdownable... the story, set in England and France during the second world war, had everything needed to bring it to life: a great plot, love interest, humour and undercover action all brought to life through the penning skills of Mr Follett. A group of ladies from the UK have been brought together to work with the French resistance, their task is to scupper a particularly nasty plot by the occupying Germans. It may not be a true story, but it is something you can imagine being true and draws you in. It’s possible to picture the home of the landed gentry where training starts in the UK, and later you can visualise the sleepy French villages and their frightened but feisty occupants. Strong characters and a great story, this book sets you thinking... How would I have coped in occupied France?

We would love to show more of YOUR Book Reviews. If you would like to share one with us, please send it on an email to:

Fish 4 Chip Fish, Chips & mushy peas!

Open 6-8p


Mondays: Bar Tilleuls, Champniers (near Civray) Tuesdays: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square & can be eaten in local bar) Wednesdays: Chef Boutonne (near Chateau) Thursdays: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square & can be eaten in local bar) Fridays: Mansle (Car park of Simply Supermarket) Tel: 06 37 53 56 20, or visit:

YOUR Book Reviews...


Reel Fish & Chips Traditional English style Fish & Chips

1st Aug: The Canteen, Etusson. 18H30 - 21H00 3rd Aug: Bar Tabac PMU, Bouille-Loretz. 18H30 - 21H00 4th Aug: Cafe des Sports, l’Absie (+ live music)18H30 - 21H00 12th Aug: ‘Au pont’ Market Day, Gourgé 14H30 15th Aug: The Canteen, Etusson. 18H30 - 21H00 16th Aug: St Martin de Sanzay 18H30 - 21H00 17th Aug: Bar Tabac, Genneton 18H30 - 21H00 Tel: 06 04 14 23 94, or visit:

Mr T’s Friterie Plat à Emporter Traditionnel Britannique

With regular venues at:

• Beauvoir-sur-Niort • Loulay • Melle

• St. Hilaire de Villefranche • St. Jean d’Angély

See for details or call 06 02 22 44 74

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2012 (remaining): • Wednesday 15 August. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption) • Thursday 1 November..All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint) • Sunday 11 November... Armistice Day (Jour d’Armistice 1918) • Tuesday 25 December. Christmas Day (Noël) 5


Les Nuits Romanes

The events usually start at 9pm. They are split into 3 parts. A concert is often performed inside the church which is colour washed by spotlights with amazing pastel shades, to enhance the stained glass windows and dramatise the atmospheric power of the music. The musicians at the altar give a glorious lift to the gigantic terracotta coloured columns rising from the spectators, prams, chairs and church benches.

The “Nuits Romanes” launched 8 years ago by Ségolène Royal, the president of the region, are a more modest way of celebrating the architectural beauty of the 300 or more 12th Century Romanesque Churches, spread across the 4 counties of the Poitou-Charentes. This summer there will be 156 Nuits Romanes Festivals with concerts and theatrical shows beginning in July and finishing on 1st September.

Following or concurrent with the musical event, a small professional theatrical group full of verve, stages an interactive imaginative performance outside the illuminated church. The atmosphere is relaxed with families, teenagers and children, the old and the young, all participating in the spirit of the show.

by Anthony Kusmirek Free festivals celebrating Norman architecture. You have all heard of “Sons et Lumieres” the combination of music and light that the French do so well to animate their historical buildings, by projecting images onto them and marrying the visual impact with a magnificent musical volley.

Some of the more spectacular shows take part in the dark of night. They have included scenes with jugglers performing magical Arabian fire dances, lit by flaming red torches, cutting out flickering dark shadowy pagan forms against a church, glowing with a cold mystical eerie blue light.

The regional Council members are very keen to promote the legacy of the Romanesque Churches. They want to revive and create a unique local identity around these amazing richly decorated limestone buildings. These treasures characterised by their roman style pantile roofs are an equally valuable touristic attraction.

At the end, the crowds gather around many trestle tables under a starry sky to share un Pot d’Amitié, a free welcome drink of apple juice or something stronger with a selection of locally produced artisanal nibbles such as rabbit paté, Black pig sausages, Chabichou goat cheese, biscuits, white butter beans and the famous Tourteau fromager cake.

Although they were damaged, destroyed and restored, they also evolved throughout the ages. Many churches still bear elaborate carvings of early Christianity over their semicircular entrance arches, pilgrim riders on horseback on their facades and stylised leaves at the top of the sturdy Norman pillars supporting the long nave.

These casual, convivial and lively evenings are not to be missed. Look out for the full list and plan your trips ahead so that you can enjoy as many events as possible. They are published on the internet yearly by

Each “Nuits Romanes” festival has a different programme, aimed at introducing the public to a whole range of open air theatre plays, some adapted from famous Shakespearian dramas, and a mix of Classical music, Medieval Troubadours or Romanesque Middle Eastern fire dances.

Remember! This fantastic entertainment is absolutely free.

This month’s Nuit Romanes: *3 *6 *8 *9 *14 *21 *29 *40 *49 *52 *56 *59 *61 *64 *66 *70

2/8: Couture-d’Argenson 3/8: Sauzé-Vaussais 3/8: Thouars 3/8: Fenioux 5/8: St-Jouin-de-Marnes 9/8: Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 11/8: Soudan 18/8: Pamproux 23/8: Pompaire 24/8: Ste-Soline 25/8: Magné 27/8: La Chapelle-Pouilloux 28/8: Argenton-les-Vallées 28/8: Niort 30/8: Mauléon 31/8: Airvault

Article & photographs by Anthony Kusmirek, email



News: the inaugural bilingual LitFest 31 Aug - 2 Sept, St Clémentin 79150 The setting is the courtyard and garden of the Presbytery in this historic village. A marquee on the lawn and catering in the square add to the charm of this delightful location. Entry is free. Browse the bookshop, see films, attend an art photography exhibition and a ‘son et lumière’ at Chapelle St Ouen. Please note, only 5 of the 43 events are subject to a fee, the rest are FREE. Join writing workshops: New Zealander, Barbara Unkovic, expert on ‘Flash Fiction’ (prose with a twist in the tale) will explain her prize-winning formula. Actor, director and author of books on writing skills, Bill Kirton, outlines the ingredients that make a compelling story, inviting you to ‘Write a Crime Story in an Hour’ under his expert tuition. Capture a memorable moment,‘In the Blink of an Eye’ (write in English or French) with author Bernard Lord of Gourgé and Noëlle Rouault, professor at Lycée Maurice Genevoix, Bressuire. Awardwinning Australian poet, Katherine Gallagher, discusses the art of translation, presenting exercises for writing in English and French. (10€ for her two-hour workshop). Attend sessions with internationally acclaimed author Helen Dunmore (recently interviewed on Start the Week, BBC Radio 4). Helen will be taking questions from the audience and talking to romantic novelist and former BBC presenter Roisin McAuley about her writing life, as well as reading extracts from novels and her latest publication, ‘The Malarkey’. Former commando Duncan Falconer, screenwriter and novelist, makes a rare appearance. Don’t miss the chance to meet him and obtain a signed copy of one of his thrillers. Meet American publisher Dean Fetzer, from London, in the bookshop on Friday. The following day Dean holds a Q&A session: ‘Got a Book inside you? Get it Out!’, ‘Scotch Corner’ in the bookshop features independent presses including The Linen Press. Director Lynn Michell will introduce several authors hotfoot from The Edinburgh Festival. Photo-journalist Anne Darling takes up residence in the village before, during and after the festival. She will create a photo-montage of people and places. Anne’s workshop on how to create your own photographic book includes choosing a subject (such as family history, events, travel and children’s projects), marketing, critiquing, choosing images & print company, using templates and marketing through Amazon, Ebooks and Kindle. This will be a popular event – book now! Places are limited. Avoid disappointment by reserving workshops or events now. Contact Gordon Simms: Tel: 05 49 80 22 96



British Day in Pompaire

On 1st July 2012, the Northern Section of the Linazay, Poitou-Charantes Branch of the Royal British Legion, held a British Day at the home of Clive and Trish Kelloway on the outskirts of Parthenay. We had approximately 250 to 300 guests during the day, who, according to comments received, appear to have had a most enjoyable day. There was plenty of entertainment from Charity and retail stands, food outlets and the horse racing event. The live entertainment began at 13.00hrs and lasted until 16.00hrs, when the event came to an end with the draw for the lucky programme, this was won by number 136, held by a local French family, Emanuet & Emanuelle Roy from Pompaire, (pictured here with the hamper). The second prize number 92, has yet to be claimed. The highlight of the afternoon was the performance of the Keynote Singers, who entertained the audience with well known songs and many of us enjoyed a singalong with the choir. (who are always ready to welcome new voices). A funny sketch, including a facsimile of Charlie Chaplin, a farmer, policeman, burglar and attractive young lady was played out to the amusement of the audience. This was followed by Chris Milton cleverly executing a mime to a recording of The Laughing Policemen. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking Clive and Trish for their warm hospitality and the loan of their lovely garden for this event. Also to all the members of the Northern Section of the Royal British Legion, Poitou Charantes-Linazay Branch for the time and effort they spent in making the day a great success. All the proceeds raised at this event will go the to RBL Poppy Appeal. May I also take this opportunity to remind everyone about the Horticultural/Craft Fair to be held on 26th August, 2012, all details are on the website: Terri Laverick, PRO Northern Section, Poitou-Charentes Branch, RBL

Pedal to Paris... Bob Liddiard is now in the final stages of preparing for the Pedal to Paris’ challenge facing four days and 460km! The 63 year-old is taking part in the London to Paris bike ride to raise money for the Royal British Legion welfare work. Nearly 10.5 million serving and ex-service people and their dependants are eligible for the Royal British Legion’s support which covers a range of services including grants to those in need, benefits and money advice, employment and retraining support, home adaptations and hospital visits as well as the provision of full nursing care. Bob hopes to raise in excess of 2000€. The Pedal to Paris ride leaves London on August 30th and ends at the Arc De Triomphe on September 2nd – with cyclists being escorted into the French capital by police outriders. You can   sponsor   Bob   on   his   Just   Giving   site bobliddiard   or   by   contac=ng   him   on   Tel:   05   55   60   05   87,   email: ‘The DSM’ would like to wish Bob every success with his challenge! 7


Step Up and Shape Up!

The Association ‘Soulièvres Step and Shape’ is a keep fit club which meets every Wednesday in Reperoux village hall. During its end of year dinner the Association handed over a cheque for 100 euros to Thouars Scout and Guides Group. The Association was formed last year and than 20 members. New members are always welcome. The group will start up again on 5th September 2012.

now has more

If you would like to join them, please contact the president of the association Mrs. L. Casey at Barroux town hall.

Monthly Coffee & Book Mornings

29th August & 26th September, Mauze Thouarsais (79100) What could be a book lover’s ideal morning? Perhaps spending time drinking tea/coffee, eating cake and buying books with like minded people?  Well, that is exactly what happens at our house in Mauze Thouarsais each month.  There are hundreds of books to choose from and with 2 books for 1 Euro, you can't go wrong!  Jo from Pheonix Cards will also be here for you to stock up on all your card needs.   In addition, we will also be selling over the next two months, quality new and nearly-new womens clothes including Marks and Spencer, Monsoon, Next, Cache Cache etc. also quality boots and shoes, both English and French makes. Over the last two years we have run an occasional book and coffee morning in aid of the cat charity, Les Pattes des Velours.  Sadly this charity folded at the beginning of 2012.  Steve and I have since taken over the books and now hold a monthly book morning in aid of a similar charity called the ‘Helianthus Association’ based in Mayenne.  Founded in 2008, the aim of the association is to help stray, abandoned and endangered animals, and to assist elderly people on low income to care for their pets.  They are not an animal refuge but help with veterinary costs such as spaying, worming and testing, which can all encourage the adoption of an animal.  Because of the ever-increasing demands for help, Helianthus extended its fund-raising means by opening its own Charity Shop which is run by both French and English volunteers.  You will find more information on their website

Contact ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Telephone: 05 49 70 26 21 or email:

To date, we have had three successful book mornings with the next two being held on 29th August & 26th September, 10.30am to 12.30pm. Our address is 45 Rue du Bois Baudron, 79100 Mauze Thouarsais (3km west of Thouars) and our telephone number is 05 49 66 03 73. We look forward to seeing you and if the wet weather continues, don't worry, we have space to have everything under cover! Theresa and Steve Penney

FU ND - R A I S I N G !

‘The DSM’ Monthly Photograph Competition

WINNER! Congratulations to this month’s competition winner, Sylvie Belloir, 79450

In aid of Cancer Support DeuxSevres, Le Bar de la Poste in L’Absie are hosting numerous events this month to help raise funds. Why not pop over and join in? Saturday 4th August 7pm till late

L’Absie’s very own ‘OSCAR NIGHT’ (Fancy dress/evening wear)

Tuesday 7th August at 8pm Nick’s Music Quiz Night Thursday 9th August at 8pm Music Night ~ Good old classics with Pete and Nick. Tuesday 14th August at 8pm Bernie’s General Knowledge Quiz

For a chance to see YOUR photograph on the front cover of our magazine (5000 copies!) please enter our monthly photo competition. Entry is free and limited to one photograph per month. Please see for further details.

Tuesday 21st August at 8pm Nick and Jacqui’s MONSTER MUSIC QUIZ Thursday 23rd August at 8pm Music Night with Pete and Nick Tuesday 28th August at 8pm Bernie’s Quiz Night and Raffle Draw

photo: Michael Jackson



La Chaussé des Arts ICE = In Case of Emergency What would you do in case of fire, a gas leak, an explosion, drowning or flooding, sudden illness or an accident? Have you ever found yourself in a life threatening situation where you need to keep your wits about you and use your French? Knowing how difficult this can be, the Pays de Gâtine and the SDIS79 (Deux-Sèvres Sapeur Pompières) have worked together to produce a leaflet to help English speakers give vital information to the firemen when dialling the free of charge European emergency telephone number : 112. Giving the basic information calmly and clearly, following the numbered steps given on the leaflet and using the keywords and expressions can save precious time. Be prepared by filling in the back page with your own information and keep it by the telephone, in the kitchen or even in your car. After those all important first few minutes, you will be put through to a translating service so that the firemen can obtain more information but the alarm button will have been pushed and help will be on its way. The ICE leaflet (seen here) can be downloaded from the Pays de Gâtine’s website or printed copies are available in their office. Should you wish to pick one up please send an email to: or telephone 05 49 64 25 49

British Day in Bressuire School

Would you believe it? On September the 28th 2012 all 160 pupils in year 7, wearing a uniform are invited to participate to a British Day. They’ll be served an English breakfast first thing in the morning. After assembly time, they’ll have lessons in English in various subjects. At midday, they’ll bring a customized lunch box and enjoy a lovely lunch on the lawn in the sunshine (let’s be optimistic!). A contest will take place to prepare the best lunch box. A British eye is needed on this matter. That’s the reason why we need you, members of the British community in Deux-Sèvres, to vote as well as to enjoy a warm welcome and a delicious picnic (sorry no wine served in front of the pupils), and support the pupils in outdoors activities. We would like to end the day with some of your favourite relaxing afternoon stories sipping a nice cup of tea with biscuits. Our task of the day is to teach pupils English and the presence of native speakers would have an invaluable effect on the children and would give you great satisfaction! If you’re interested to come along and join in, please email: Thank you! Collège Jules Supervielle, Bressuire

by Genevieve von Hahn For the third year, the association La Chaussée des Arts is presenting in the logis de la Chaussée an attractive series of events in the month of August. Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy an exceptional concert on the 5th of August and a conference about the history of the Gâtine on the 9th in the medieval surroundings of the Logis. Concert: Sunday August 5th, 5pm in the Logis de la Chaussée, Gourgé. The renowned Irish harpist Denise Kelly Mc Donnell will present, with the soprano Mary Flynn, cantor of St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin, a selection of works illustrating Irish classical music from baroque to modern times, and French airs including 2 recently rediscovered songs by an 18th century composer. Denise Kelly is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and continued her musical studies at the Guildhall School of Music, London, and the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. She is currently a lecturer in harp studies at the DIT Conservatory of Music. Mary Flynn is the cantor at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral and studied singing with Mary Brennan (Royal Irish Academy of Music and DIT Conservatory). They have performed at numerous state functions, for example at the President house (Aras-anUachtarain) and Dublin Castle. Denise Kelly has performed for most of the visiting Heads of state including HRH Queen Elizabeth II on her historical visit to Ireland in May 2011. They will present a wide selection of classical Irish songs (Thomas Moore), early Irish baroque music, part of Handel’s Messiah (originally first performed in Dublin). Their programme will also include songs by Debussy, Fauré and some traditional Irish airs. An unusual feature of the concert will be a performance of 2 songs by the French composer Henri Darondeau (1779-1865), a well regarded French composer in his time and recently rediscovered. Denise and her family spend a lot of time in our area restoring an old hunting lodge. Conference: Thursday August 9th at the Logis de la Chaussée, Gourgé, 5pm, «Causerie Familière» by Professor Philippe Contamine, member of the French Institute. Philippe Contamine settled in the area of Moncoutant as a result of his wife´s family connections there. He became one of the leading mediaeval historians of his generation and spent much of that time as a professor at the Sorbonne University. As a mediaeval specialist, he published many books, mainly about France at the end of the middle Ages (XIII to XV centuries) and focusing on political, cultural, sociological and economical aspects of society of that time. He has just published, with 2 of his students, Olivier Bouzy and Xavier Hélary, a major work on Joan of Arc: Jeanne d ´Arc. History and Dictionary (collection Bouquins, Robert Laffont Editeur). He was elected member of the Institute (Académie des Inscriptions & Belles-Lettres) in 1990. In his “Familiar talk”, he proposes to show with specific examples, how the four decisive centuries (XI-XV) saw the development of the Gâtine territory: religious network, fortified houses and castles, fortified towns, farms, feudal systems and their influence on the landscape. He hopes to lead you into the methodology of the historian and introduce you to his tools. The conference will be in French. We recommend reserving seats at the following telephone number: 06 08 43 40 55. Admission to the concert costs 10€. A contribution towards costs would be appreciated for the conference. 9


That’s English isn’t it?

by Sue Burgess Well not really. A false anglicism (or franglicism) is a word of English origin which is used in French but which either doesn't exist in English or doesn't have exactly the same meaning. Crazy, isn't it? Some of these words have been around in the French language for a long time. Take «ball-trap» (1880), from ball and trap. English speaks about trap shooting for clay pigeon shooting. «Recordman» and «Recordwoman» (1893 and 1896). English has record holder. «Shampooing» (1877). English borrowed a Hindi verb which meant to massage. The verb to shampoo is used in English which explains the «ing» ending on the French word although the French word is more generally used to mean the soap product used to wash the hair. Un Brushing (1966) translates the English blow dry. A lot of these franglicisms seem to be connected with sports: • «Un bowling» is a bowling alley. • «Baskets» - In English we talk about trainers or tennis shoes. Un footing (1885). The word doesn't exist in English where the equivalent activity is jogging. The word «footing» is however obviously derived from the verb «to foot». • «Le Baby-foot» (1951). English has table football and American English talks about table soccer. The abbreviated form of «foot» for football is French. • «Un jogging» (1974) is short for «survêtement de jogging», clothing for the activity of jogging. In English we use tracksuit. • For the English tennis player we can find «tennisman» (1903). And in a same way we can find «rugbyman» and «rugbywoman». Although a female tennis player would be «une joueuse de tennis». Food has also given rise to some Franglicisms: • A supermarket trolley is a «Caddie». The name comes from a make of trolley. • Les chips» (1920) – this word is the abbreviation of the American ‘potato chips’. In the UK the word is used to describe fried potatoes, («des frites» in French, or French Fries in the USA). • «Le Fooding» - a word recently added to the French language (2002). A snobbish creation from the word food and the «ing» verb ending, «le fooding» is a different vision of cooking. • A «Snack» is a snack bar. A «snack» in the English sense of the word is «un casse-croûte». And as it's holiday season, don't forget «Camping-car». In English we use motor home, camper van, camper. The official French word is «autocaravane». «Le Camping-gaz» is a registered trademark whilst «Le Caravaning» defines touring in a caravan.

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire un footing.................................... jogging le zapping (ou zapper)..

channel hopping or surfing

un smoking.................................. dinner jacket / a tuxedo le ball trap...................................

clay pigeon shooting

un self........................................... self-service canteen un relooking................................. make-over un flipper..................................... a pinball machine des baskets................................... sneakers / trainers / tennis shoes un break....................................... an estate car / a station wagon un baby-foot................................ table football / foosball un brushing.................................. a blow-dry / blow wave un caddie..................................... a shopping trolley / shopping cart des people.................................... celebrities un planning.................................

a schedule

un rosbif...................................... a joint of beef / roast beef un talkie-walkie........................... a walkie talkie top (adjective).............................

brilliant / great

For Classical Music Lovers... CONCERT CONFERENCE ~ Thursday 2nd August, 18.00. The Orangery of the Chateau of Saint-Loup by Dominique Ferran: The Temperaments before J.S. Bach Using two harpsichords Dominique Ferran will show us that before J.S. Bach, music sounded different according to the tuning of the harpsichords. This conference will take place in the pleasant environment of the Orangery in the Chateau of Saint-Loup. Tickets: 10€ Booking is recommended: 05 49 70 81 92 or 06 88 79 31 84 (we speak some English)

CONCERT ~ Sunday 5th August, 17.00. Saint-Loup Church Admission free (contributions welcome) Booking recommended: 05 49 70 81 92 or 06 88 79 31 84 (we speak some English) On Monday 30th of July, an Academy of ancient music will begin at the Chateau of Saint-Loup: sixteen students will work with the concert artists in order to complete their musical studies. This Academy will end with a concert by the students and their teachers: So, you will hear singers, violinists, cellists, harpsichordists and organists playing together in various groups.



Hobbies, Clubs & Associations... CRAFT CAFE CREATIF

The Filling Station Poitou-Charentes There will  be  NO  mee=ng  in  August,  please  check  the  website  for   details  of  the  Autumn  programme. The  Filling  Sta<on  is  a  group  of  Chris<ans  in  this  area,  who  meet  to   pray,  teach,  worship  and  demonstrate  the  truth  about  God  in  a   simple,  authen<c  form.  Our  mee<ngs  are  orthodox  in  doctrine,   Spirit-­‐filled  in  character  and  open  hearted  by  inclina<on.  For  more   details  contact:  Mike  or  Eva  on  05  49  87  89  16  or  visit  the  web  site   at:  www.thefillingsta<  or  email

If you enjoy sewing, knitting, crochet or any crafts, you are invited to bring along your current project to our venue in L’Absie and join a like-minded group of women, for friendship and to exchange ideas over a cup of tea. For further information contact:

Anyone for Tennis? Tennis players wanted, reasonable standard, Secondigny area. Contact Mick Morris on 05 49 65 17 16 or email

Book Group....meeting 2nd Thursday of the Language Group You speak french (un peu), I speak english (a little bit), why don't we meet up to improve each language? One hour per week could be good timing, by phone or for coffee mornings. I'm retired, living in Niort. Please call at 06 73 70 14 21 or send email for more details:

Association Meridien Green We are an Anglo-French group which was founded in 2001 for mutual understanding of each other's language and culture. We meet twice weekly in the Salle des Associations in St Coutant, 79120. The best way to find out more is to visit our website or contact Maureen Dalby 05 49 29 94 50. The name of our group comes from the fact that St Coutant is on the Greenwich Meridian!

month from 3pm at Christies Tea Room & Bookshop, Gençay, 86160. Take a look at the Book Group page on the website: for more information.

Les Amis Solitaires We are a group of people living alone in France. We meet regularly for coffee mornings, lunches and the occasional visit. Our activities centre around Sauzé Vaussais, Civray, Confolens and more recently L'Absie where we have started meeting again. Why not join us? More details from Nigel 02 51 51 48 13.

Interlude16. An association offering ‘Leisure & Culture for all’. Lots of regular events organised. Please see website for more information.

2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club has a new club website! Check it out:

If you would like to attend our coffee mornings please contact us via the website........ New members always welcome!

Yoga Classes will resume 6th September.

On Saturday   4th  August,  15h00  -­‐  18h00  there  will  be   a   stage   du   yoga   at   my   home,   la   chalantonniere,   79240,  Largeasse.  (Route  du  pugny.)  Please  call  for   a   place  05  49  65  16  33  or  06  42  35  97  11.    This  class  is   for  all   levels  and  will  cover  postures,   breathing,  medita<on  and  deep   relaxa<on.    Rysz DOR-VINCENT.    Satyananda  Yoga

Franglais Thouars The Thouars  ‘Franglais’  group,  (a  member  of  l’  Association  du  Centre   Socio-­‐Cultural   de   la   Communauté   de   Communes   du   Thouarsais)     meets  every  Wednesday  from  19.30h  to  21.00h,  in  the  Association’s   centre  at   7  rue  Anne  Desrays,  Thouars,  for   conversation  in  English   and  French. We  welcome  those  of  all  nationalities  who  would  like  to  participate. Either  come  along  to  see  us  one  evening,  or  contact  us  at: Mobile:    06  52  21  92  34  ~  Email:

The Harmonics based in the Salle d'Annexe

behind the mairie in Civray are looking for singers. We meet each wednesday from 2.00 pm to 4.00pm. No experience necessary just a willingness and commitment to learn. We sing all sorts of music, from stage and screen, gospel, classical, country songs, madrigals and in several languages, whatever the music dictates. We support charities by donations or by participating in their events by singing for them and each year we hold our own annual concert. We are a small and friendly group who would love to meet you.   Contact: Dolly Ait Boualou:05 45 22 89 32,email Margaret Gomersall:05 49 48 09 02, email: 11


Take a Break...

Across: 7. Dress up in material heading for the orient (6) 8. Figure from Dickens tale puts on weight after transportation, (in box?) (6) 10. Posters prepared in wrong section (7) 11. Unit of measurement initially calculated as returns and taxation (5) 12. Unusual bore found in Spanish river?(4) 13. A bit of luck for a parasite? (5) 17. Steal off to get the drinks bill? (5) 18. Took a tumble and brought an exclamation from a chap? (4) 22. Imagine being strangely mad about church teachings (5) 23. Following hope but before eternal sources of quotation? (7) 24. Something in piquant hemlock could be arousing (6) 25. Taking away inclusive rights of Beatles album will bring about change (6)

Down: 1. Tree part (4) 2. Make a sudden rush or attack upon in battle (6) 3. Inhale / exhale air (7) 4. Arachnid (6) 5. One of a bowlers target in cricket (5) 6. Overcast (6)) 7. Southern Afghanistan city (8) 12. Bangers! (8) 14. Weapon using gunpowder (7) 16. Quantity, figure (6) 18. A public room with seating (6) 19. A scuffle or struggle (6) 20. Confess to be true (5) 23. A simple board game (4)

DSM Easy Crossword!

Down: Toughie Crossword! 1. Nut turner becomes computer accessory because PC exchange imposed (7) 2. Delivery with direction, side and force finds the side gate (7) 3. Hold up the bill for the meal? (5) 4. See 9 5. Look long and hard at the rates for conversion (5) 6. Get together in small college over item out of scale (5) 9,4 C omparatively featureless, an unusual peak can be thus. (2,4,2,1,7) 14. One who gets high on attractive faces? (7) 15. Central elements of maritime organisation in sleek makeover (7) 16. Brian eg., one of the gifted ones? (7) 19. My turn to give out the cards; perfect! (5) 20. Italian sauce gives energy to new position (5) 21. Warrior made from article in revised word of action (5) With thanks to M.Morris

Sudoku Corner...



Please see website: for answers

Across: 8. Highly flammable liquid, an anesthetic (5) 9. Bone in the knee (7) 10. Attacker in football (7) 11. Small natural hill (5) 12. A herder of sheep (8) 13. Traditional, historic story (4) 15. Forearm bone (4) 17. Courtyard with covered walks (8) 21. Pointed a weapon at (5) 22. Implement for practical use (7) 24. The early part of night (7) 25. Impatiently angered (5)



Communications... How to Speed up your PC, Part 10.

Reloading/re-installing Windows XP. by Ross Hendry During the preparation required for re-loading Windows XP, you should have created a check list and have all of the necessary disks containing programs, drivers for your hardware and of course your data and settings to get your PC set up as you need it, as I detailed in last month’s article. Reinstall Windows XP I like to disconnect from the Internet during the installation. This helps protect me from malicious users. Start the reinstallation from Windows XP To reinstall Windows XP by using Windows XP CD, follow these steps: 1. Start your computer. 2. Insert the Windows XP CD in your computer's CD drive or DVD drive. 3. On the Welcome to Windows XP page, click Install Windows XP. 4. On the Welcome to Windows Setup page, click Upgrade (Recommended)  in the  Installation Type  box (if it is not already selected), and then click Next. 5. On the License Agreement page, click  I accept this agreement, and then click Next. 6. On the Your Product Key page, type the 25-character product key in the  Product key  boxes, and then click Next. 7. On the Get Updated Setup Files page, select the option that you want, and then click Next. 8. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to reinstall Windows XP. If you received an error or if the reinstallation did not finish, try the repair method. Repair install of Windows XP by starting your computer from the Windows XP CD. In order to re-load Windows XP from CD/DVD you will need to get your PC to start up from the CD/DVD drive. To do this you will need to modify the BIOS settings, the sequence you require will be: 1: CD/DVD Drive; 2: Hard Disk Drive; 3: Floppy Disk Drive or USB Device. To configure the BIOS to search the CD drive for a startup disk before it searches the hard disk, follow these steps: 1. Restart your computer. 2. When the computer first starts, it performs the poweron self test (POST). This test checks that all connected devices are functioning. As part of the POST, the memory is checked. During the memory test, a message will appear that tells you how to access the BIOS. For example, you may see the

following message or a similar message that explains how to start the BIOS setup: PRESS DEL TO ENTER SETUP In this example, you must press the DEL key immediately after the memory test is finished to start the setup process. You may have to press the key several times to make sure that you access the BIOS setup. There are other keys that may provide access to the BIOS. They include the following: F1, F2, F10, CTRL+ENTER, ALT+ENTER, CTRL+ALT+ESC, CTRL+ALT +INSERT. To reinstall Windows XP by starting your computer from the Windows XP CD, follow these steps: 1. Insert the Windows XP CD into your computer's CD drive or DVD drive, and then restart your computer. 2. When you receive the "Press any key to boot from CD" message on the screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD. 3. The following message on the Welcome to Setup screen will appear: This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer: To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER. To repair a Windows XP installation by using Recovery Console, press R. To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3. 4. Press ENTER to set up Windows XP. 5. On the  Windows XP Licensing Agreement  screen, press F8 to agree to the license agreement. 6. Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP. 7. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to reinstall Windows XP. After you repair Windows XP, you may have to reactivate your copy of Windows XP. You should now have a “Raw” installation of the Windows XP working on your PC, and will next have to ensure that you have all of the latest drivers for your hardware ready to install next. I shall cover installing these and the programs and data you require in next month’s issue. The best source of information you may research on this topic is provided by Microsoft, search for this information here I strongly recommend that you review this information before you commence. Good Luck. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (See advert below for more information).



Health, Beauty & Fitness...

Get your Business Seen with ‘The DSM’ magazine! Advertise in the printed publication from 30€ and online from just 5€ per month! To find out more, visit our website:

STOP - PRESS! ‘The DSM’ is going COLOUR! Find our new Advertising Packs on 14


Parched ?

by Suzanne Thorne At this time of year we are all (hopefully) enjoying the glorious warm, sunny weather. However, aside from the huge benefits of the sunshine to our health and well being, the sun can make our skin as parched and as dry as our lawns! Like the garden that needs rain to keep it looking green and healthy, our skins need moisture to keep it hydrated. We can do this from the inside to the outside by drinking plenty of water and by ensuring that we have enough essential fatty acids in our diets such as Omega 3, 6, 9 which help to supply essential nutrition to the skin & hair as well as looking after our hearts. Following a few simple changes to our normal skin and hair care will ensure both remain in good condition. As we change the weight of our clothing to suit the seasons so we have to do the same with our skin care. For instance, the hair conditioner or moisturizer that you use through the winter may not be as effective during the summer months so adapt them accordingly. Look for vitamin A, E, C in your skin care products as these are the anti-ageing busters! These vitamins are found in many oils and using organic natural oils will ensure your skin repairs and regenerates keeping your skin, hair and nails in tip-top condition. Olive oil, avocado oil, rosehip oil, wheat germ oil are just some of the oils rich in essential fatty acids. Enjoying the fruits of our gardens this time of year along with adding some all important oils to our salads, drinking plenty of water and reviewing our skin care will ensure we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t end up looking like our lawns, brown but parched! Independent Neals Yard Remedies Consultant. Tel: 05 49 26 27 74



Our Furry Friends... Les Ecuries du Saumort

Equine Rescue France Looking for long term loan homes:

We are a family-run business, set in the heart of the French countryside. We offer riding lessons, hacking, livery and riding holidays. The atmosphere here is relaxed and friendly with the emphasis on having fun and creating a partnership with the most wonderful of all animals - the Horse!

EBONY and RUBY Neither pony is broken to ride, but there is no reason why they can't be.

Our horses and ponies are well loved and carefully selected to provide a range of sizes and temperaments to suit all from total beginners to the more experienced rider. Sarah, our instructor, has ridden all her life and competed successfully in both show jumping and eventing. She is a BHSAI (ISM) and has the equivalent of the French BPJEPS qualification. She has been teaching horse riding now for over 20 years and still thoroughly enjoys it. We offer private and group lessons for riders of all abilities including dressage, show jumping and ethology lessons. We pride ourselves in an understanding and, above all, safe approach to teaching the most nervous of beginners. For the more ambitious, lessons are challenging and fun. We offer the opportunity to take the French Equestrian Federation 'Galop' exams, which are recognised all over France, in either French or English. If riding out is more appealing to you then there is no better way to enjoy the French countryside. Ride along mile after mile of secluded 'chemins'. Canter along tracks adorned with wild flowers, amble through pretty French hamlets and watch out for a glimpse of a deer, ragondin or wild boar. The safety of our riders and the welfare of our horses are our prime concerns. All riders are carefully matched to their mounts and those not confident to ride alone are allocated a leader to control the horse. We also offer both long and short term livery; having excellent facilities and a high standard of care. Please do contact us for more information or to come for a look around.

Come &  join  us  for  our   Summer  Events... Thurs 2 Aug: Pony Games Tues 7 Aug: Novice pony day Sun 12 Aug: Show Jumping Tues 14 Aug:  Intermediate pony day Tues 21 Aug: Novice pony day Sun 26  Aug: Dressage

Sarah & Zak Pugh Tel: Email:

All homes will be checked and a loan agreement will be put into place. If you can help, then please contact the Equine Rescue Tel: 05 49 48 27 91 or visit our We are always looking for new members and we are in need of donations so we may continue to help equines in France. Please support the ERF.

HOOF (Horse Orientated Open Forum) HOOF is open to anyone with an equine interest. You do not need to own a horse! We meet about once a month for talks, visits etc. Interested? Contact Jo Rowe on 05 49 64 22 67 or email:

Just for Fun... “ Meet my new kitten Clovis, rescued after he was recently abandoned.” Dean Smalley, LʼAbsie

Do you have an adorable furry friend? Then why not make him or her famous for a month?! Send us a photo and short comment to be featured here....just for fun.. 16

The Mayor’s Responsibilities

by Nigel Franks NALA 85480 was created in September 2010 and as well as dealing with unwanted animals, we've also been busy talking with the authorities trying to find more permanent solutions to the general problem of stray animals. The causes of much animal suffering are irresponsible owners who don't identify their animals and allow them to have unwanted babies and mayors who don't fulfill their obligations. According to the ‘Code rural et de la pêche maritime’ the mayor is responsible for dealing with stray animals. Each town has to either have a kennel for receiving stray cats and dogs or to have access to a kennel e.g. by having a contract with a private company. The kennel should be of an acceptable standard. In addition, the mayor is obliged to take care of unidentified animals that are found injured. The regulations allow but don't oblige him to sign a contract with a vet. He is also obliged to publish at the town hall the procedure to follow if a stray animal is found. We had a meeting with the ‘Direction Départmentale de la Protection de la Population of the Vendée’ and discovered that we were mainly on the same wavelength. We have agreed with them that if we find mayors that are not fulfilling their responsibilities we shall report them to the DDPP. If you discover that your mayor is not obeying the rules, even if you're in another department, please let us know and we'll take it up with the DDPP. Nos Amis Les Animaux 85480 (NALA 85480). Tel: 06 48 68 40 37 Email:

APPEAL Jack, is an affectionate Beauceron cross of 4 years old. His English owner has gone to work abroad and Jack now needs a new home urgently.


Hello.. I’m Ja

Best suited to be “a man’s dog”, Jack is intelligent and friendly. He is castrated and has a full passport. Jack gets on with other dogs but would prefer to be the only one. He does not mind being left alone for short periods, travels well in the car and loves going for long walks. Jack was upset when his master left and became despondent waiting in the kennels. He has been assessed by animal trainer and phychologist Julie Stansbridge who says: “Jack is a very calm natured dog who has been trained very well to follow basic commands, such as sit, lay down, wait and walks well to heel. He is well mannered in and around the house and is very affectionate. Jack requires a home which offers security in that there is stability with good pack leader skills, daily routine of walking and exercise, no young children and preferably no other dogs. It would be ideal if it were possible, to find new owners for Jack before he leaves us with any potential new owners visiting us. which would enable us to offer them advice and guidance.” Life is never black and white and we want to find Jack a good master with a home that he can enjoy for the rest of his life. If you think you may be able to help, please contact Siobain on 05 49 27 26 20, view our website: or email your full details to

MAYDAY MES AMIS Mayday Mes Amis has been formed to help animals in need in l'Absie and the surrounding area. For more information please email:

3rd Fun Dog Show, St Pardoux Sunday 9th September 2012 At Les Metairies, St Pardoux 79310 (D743 Niort/Parthenay) • Entries on the day from 10 am, First class 11 am. • All the usual classes for both pedigree and crossbreed dogs plus • Have a Go Archery, craft stalls, cards, English groceries, English books, jewellery, dog food, honey products, garden plants, British beers, • Coffee, teas, cakes • English Fish/chicken/sausage ‘n Chips • Plenty of parking, and free entry to the show ground • Proceeds in aid of dog rescue in Spain • Contact Beryl by email: or tel: 05 49 69 86 16 for more details/entry form. NB – in the event of rain, the show will be moved indoors 17

The Great Outdoors... and pigs love the fodder beet which we have had to thin out as (once again) Jenny didn’t read the instructions and planted it too close together. All the veg planted in last year’s pig pen is doing well, the pigs manured and rotovated the plot and then gave us a tasty end product - yummy pork. The first two ram lambs of the year went to the abattoir in July. They grew very quickly and our first lamb customers had between 20 & 22 kilos of delicious meat.

Life on the Farm...

by Peter & Jenny Sebborn. Wow another month gone and here we are now at the start of August! Thank you to those that have contacted us with an interest in keeping animals and to those of you looking to stock up the freezer and buy fresh meat from us direct from the abattoir. As we were finishing last month’s article our blue Flemish giant rabbit was just giving birth to what appeared to be a very large litter. One of her previous litters was 15 and this time she has 14 of which 9 survived. The buck then went in with another of our rabbits - a New Zealand White crossed with a Flemish Giant and she has just had a litter of 6, mum is black and white and the bunnies are 3 black, 2 ginger and 1 spotty black and white just like her mum. These youngsters will soon be ready to go to new homes as pets.

Peter & Jenny Sebborn. Breeders of pigs, lambs and poultry. La Gauteliere, 79220, Pamplie. Tel: 05 49 28 38 57.

Abeilles (Bees)

by Tania Dominey

Here’s a lovely cake recipe that always goes down well at our house!

Honey Fruit  Cake Ingredients: • • • •

8oz Margarine 8oz  Honey 3  Eggs 12oz  Self  Raising  Flour

• 2 tsp.  Cinnamon • 8oz  Mixed  Fruit • 6oz  Glace  Cherries


Cream the margarine and honey together, add eggs with a little flour and beat well. Fold in the rest of the flour and cinnamon and add the fruit. Put in a greased 8” cake tin and cook in a medium oven for about 90 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.

Also recently arrived are our breeding pair of unusual Violet Guinea Fowl. These are very dark in colour with a lovely purple sheen. They don’t have the spots of regular guinea fowl but a more overall colour. The hen lays eggs that are a strange shape, almost triangular or pointed at one end and much smaller than a chickens egg. We hope to raise some keets once they settle in. Another addition is a very naughty kitten (a ginger tom) who we have called Aldo. He was only 10 weeks old when he arrived and he loves to play. He came from a loving home with 4 children who loved to give him cuddles. Lively and playful, on the first day he hissed at the dogs but on day two they were best friends. He’ll soon be our second mouser. We have bought another 3 more piglets, one pure Gloucestershire Old Spot who we have bought for breeding and two GOS/Large Black cross whose meat we will sell. I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches to a new pen in our field with a lovely new home made pig ark. After two pigs returned from the abattoir Jen decided it would be nice to make the liver into dog treats. She found a recipe which included liver, eggs and garlic, but anyone who knows Jen knows that “following a recipe” is not her thing. Then she discovered we didn’t have eggs (we had sold them all!) and we hadn’t any garlic. So in went just liver and flour to the smoothy maker (it was supposed to be into a food processor) which promptly blew up. And mixing liver puree by hand was not one of her best ideas. The treats turned out – well - edible if you’re a dog! Whilst we are still looking for a tractor our neighbouring farm kindly cut and bailed our hay ready for the sheep for the winter. We have also ordered straw (when he cuts it) for the animals’ bedding for the winter. It always helps to have a friendly farmer for lots of help and advice. The veggie patch is doing well considering we haven’t had much time to spend on it. The broad beans, peas and the garlic have all been harvested. We have a continuing supply of new potatoes, strawberries and raspberries. The sheep 18

The Amateur Gardener

Les Jardiniers du Poitou

Now down to the hands-on stuff. Let's ignore the weather we've all been suffering this year and hope that at least some of your plans for the garden will come to pass. My husband and I are between gardens at the moment, having sold our home in St Pardoux and waiting to sign for the next house in Secondigny. We are wondering what joys the new garden will eventually bring us, but for the moment are sympathising with friends trying, between showers, to keep on top of the jobs (and weeds!) in their vegetable gardens.

There will be stalls, refreshments, tombola, guided walks and, of course the Produce Show itself. All are welcome to enter...please email for entry forms and conditions.  Doors open at 10 am, and the prizegiving is at 3pm.   We hope to see you there!

by Vanda Lawrence The latest news I have this month for all my fellow gardeners, most especially for the amateur gardeners like me, is a group called 'Gardening in France Together' which was started at the beginning of July by Julie Hill, a member of another group: LIFT (Ladies in France Together). I expect most of you will have heard of LIFT and are probably already members, getting together for a lunch occasionally, posting messages on the computer for help and advice and offering help and advice in return. I imagine this gardening group, which is already 70-strong, will progress in the same way. Already there have been offers of seeds and cuttings; there is a lady whose Wisterias died because of Honey Fungus, another with a glut of courgettes asking for suggestions/recipes to use them up, another with red grubs on her potato haulms which turn out to be Colorado Beetle larvae - I tell you, I am learning so much! Anyway, I hope to be 'talking' to all of you very soon over the internet with this group. To join you will need to open a 'Facebook' page, then within the 'search' space at the top of the page type in 'Gardening in France Together'. Click on the button which will appear and hey presto!

Do you have a garden? Do you like gardening?   Would you like to learn and/or share your experiences with other like-minded souls and professionals? (nothing too technical...a daisy is a daisy!) We have speakers to share their knowledge on a variety of subjects...   We meet at 2pm on the 4th Thursday of the month (except Aug/Sept/Dec) at the Salle du Prieure, Verruyes.  All presentations are in English (but we do have French members as who would like to practice their English?).   It's  a social affair...teas/coffees, raffle, plant swap..and lots of chatter (not all about gardening!). We also try to arrange a few visits/days out during the year (workshops, gardens, plant suppliers etc.) and of course, the Annual Produce Show.   This year the Show will take place on Saturday 1st September at the Logis du Theil near  St Aubin le Cloud (about 4.5km from Parthenay, on the Moncoutant road) by kind permission of Henri and Vanina de Baulny.

Even when it's raining you will be wanting to harvest your peas, beans, cucumbers etc. Regular picking encourages the plants to keep producing; and while you've got your rainhat on you might as well pinch out the tips of your runner beans once they reach the top of the supports, and keep tomato side-shoots in check as you pass by - you don't want masses of foliage, just lots of lovely tomatoes. Put some snippers in your pocket with the rainhat then you can cut off the growing tips of the tomatoes too, to concentrate the plant's energy into ripening and swelling the fruit the moment the sun comes out! If you are growing any of the brassica family keep checking the underside of the leaves for butterfly eggs and caterpillars. Pick or wash off. The compost heap needs turning regularly to aid breakdown of the greenery. During normal, dry summer conditions you would need to water occasionally to help things along but I think we can safely discount that advice this year! For those of you with flower gardens as well as vegetable plots what about having a shady walkway between the two? A lovely pergola or arches with scented climbers alongside climbing vegetables and/or fruit would be lovely and a good talking point for visitors. I would also like to have a fruit cage so that I can maintain the raspberries and strawberries etc without getting tangled up in the netting. In the flower garden it is a case of dead-heading, cutting back after flowering and taking cuttings from flowering perennials. It has been suggested to me that it would be a good idea to keep a gardening diary so that I can note what grows well, when and where etc; also to make notes on the success of cuttings and seeds. I think this a very good idea - just hope I find the time to do it when I eventually get my new garden. Bye for now everyone - keep smiling!

Contact ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Telephone: 05 49 70 26 21 or email: 19

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

by Gilly Hunt My mother has recently been staying and in the last few years has taken up sketching and painting. It’s wonderful to see her sitting there not only enjoying her new found interest, but also creating a personal memory of her holiday. I unfortunately do not have an artistic streak in me! But I do know that coming to France gives many of us the opportunity to develop old skills, learn new ones and maybe even try our hand at things we never thought we would. There are so many clubs and associations in the DeuxSèvres, so whether you fancy line dancing, salsa dancing, running, cycling, keep fit, yoga or something a little less exhausting such as fishing, walking, reading, sewing, pottery, stained glass, singing or family history there’s something for everyone. Most communes hold classes during the day and in the evenings, with their booklets being issued in August and September – so keep your eye out for them and make the most of not only your free time but of all the things that are available and usually at a very low cost compared to the UK. One of the things I have taken up since moving to France is cycling. I am now more than able to cycle 30km plus, which is not much I know compared to “Le Tour de France”, but good for me! It is also a great way to keep fit and see some lovely countryside; you will be amazed at how much you miss when in the car. I particularly love cycling along the Loire Valley, partly because it is flat, but also because of the lovely cycle route and the amazing scenery. I am particularly lucky in that I have a husband who is willing to carry a backpack with food and drink, so that we can stop for a picnic lunch. We have also just completed the Voie Verte which is a 30km cycle route between Parthenay and Bressuire. There are places along the route where you can leave your car and also picnic, before setting off on wheels. The route itself is cycle friendly and in the heat of the summer (assuming we do finally have a summer!) is mostly in the shade, or cover from the rain.

Chez Remert...

"The slightly different snack"

Seen from the outside, this modest ‘small box on-wheels that smells of cooking’ doesn't seem like much. So why "different"? What's different about this Snack? Well, you must first know that, beside the more common sausages, chips and burgers, Remert offers some daily specials, like Porc chops "à la provençale", duck fillets in a creamy wine sauce with green pepper, or his famous Boeuf Bourguignon. He also tries to use local products where possible. (e.g, the steaks are the famous "Parthenaise" beef). Also “different” because the expression "HOME MADE" has kept its real sense for Remert and his team (not so common today!). Try out their spicy or "aux herbes" ketchup, or their famous chicken nuggets: all home made. Now have you ever seen that in a snack before?! Found at the northern exit of Parthenay (just at the crossing of Thouars Road and the Bressuire to Poitiers road), Chez Remert (originally from Bavaria, Germany) has been here for 3 years. Taking advantage of his German roots, he also serves from time to time, other European specialities like Hungarian Goulash, Bavarian roasted porc (cooked in dark beer with its bread pellets), or the Italian well known Spaghetti alla Bolognese... And all this at very reasonable prices: these dishes are less than 9 euros and the fourcourse menus (including drink and coffee) are between 11 and 14 euros. What more do you need to be totally happy? Perhaps sun, green nature and grass? you are! With tables and benches (inspired by the typical German Beer Gardens) just beside his snack, Remert offers pleasant surroundings to appreciate Gâtine's open air while you'll are eating! Now, try it for yourself: Maybe the "difference" won't be that "slight" for you? Chef Remert and his team are waiting to greet you and share this experience with you!

You can of course walk along this route, take the dog and even ride a horse or if you are feeling particularly fit, run. But it is all car and motorbike free and a lovely flat surface, I would thoroughly recommend it. I am sure you are all aware that we now all have to carry two breathalyser kits in our cars. The law actually came into force on the 1st July, but apparently it will not be fully implemented until the 1st November. It will not be long before we all have to have trailers permanently attached to our cars to carry around all the legal paraphernalia required in France! But as it is all for our safety and others, I for one am not complaining. At least here in France you know that rules and regulations are fully enforced and that they will fine you if you are found without everything required. Have a great August, enjoy all your visitors and discovering new places to visit and enjoy in our wonderful Deux-Sèvres. Vive la Difference.



We are shortly going to print and this is your last chance to send in a favourite recipe. Cancer Support Deux Sèvres want to thank Sarah Berry and The Deux-Sèvres Monthly for giving us the opportunity to ask for favourite recipes to include in our forthcoming book. This month’s recipe is Baked Skate from Thelma Bell. This takes about 30 minutes and serves 4 people. Ingredients: • 2 shallots • 3 small gherkins • 85g (3ozs) butter • 2 large skate wings about 500g (1lb 2ozs) each • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar • Salt and black pepper • 2 tablespoons capers Method: Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Peel and chop the shallots and the gherkins and set them aside separately. Use a little of the butter to grease a shallow baking dish, which must be large enough to hold the skate wings laid flat in one layer. Rinse the skate, then cut each wing into two pieces, place them in the baking dish and dot them with the remaining butter. Sprinkle the fish with the chopped shallots and the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Bake the skate, uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the thickest part of the skate wing flakes easily when it is tested gently with a fork. Sprinkle the pieces of fish with the capers and chopped gherkins and baste with the cooking juices just before serving. For last minute recipe entries please send to marked “recipe”. Thank you to all those who have given us their favourite recipes. 21

French Village Diaries

by Jacqueline Brown.

Living in a village that has a boulangerie is unfortunately no longer that common in France. Years ago our village boasted two boulangeries as well as other shops and we are lucky to still have a one, and even more lucky to live close enough to smell the freshly baked bread when we open our shutters in the morning. Having fresh daily bread is important to the French; handy for us, essential for them. But it is hard work as I found out chatting to Daniel and Bernadette, boulangers here for 27 years. When they arrived and took over the boulangerie, which has been here since 1908, the old stone ovens were still in place and I am guessing they caused a bit of a controversy, this young couple from outside the village taking over and installing ‘modern’ ovens. Daniel is up at 2.00am, six mornings a week, to turn the 220kg of flour they use each week into bread and open the shop at 7.30am. Although he says the worst thing about his job is the hours, working in the peace and quiet and seeing the day wake up are some of the things he enjoys most. The two ovens, that reach temperatures of 240 degrees, are in use all morning baking the 200 baguettes (their best selling item) made each day. The largest loaf they sell, the ‘Pain de Quatre’ is available to order only. It weighs 1.4kg and costs 3€. When they arrived it was one of the most popular loaves sold, but today they sell only three or four a week. Now I know of its existence I will definitely be trying it when we have family to stay.

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Whilst Daniel bakes the bread, Bernadette makes the patisseries that are very popular at the weekends. At Easter she hand makes dark chocolate bells, ducks and eggs, something we enjoy every year. They have no help outside of the family, despite the hours involved, as even one apprentice would mean them having to install a separate shower and toilet block – totally prohibitive when their tiny shop and kitchen are attached to the family home. It was lovely talking to them and they were almost as fascinated by our English bread eating habits as I was by their life as boulangers. When I mentioned dipping bread into my soup they pulled a face reminiscent of the disgusted face I tend to pull at the thought of dipping my bread and jam into my coffee for breakfast! As a family they eat in a day the same amount of bread we eat per week! After 104 years things are about to change as they are looking to move to the centre of the village where the bar and shop have sat empty for the last two years. I will miss the smell of freshly baked bread, but I can appreciate the benefits of passing trade and the ability to close the doors at the end of the day. The current premises are such that when the shop is closed people knock on the house door, even at ten o’clock at night, to buy bread. With thanks to Daniel and Bernadette Etavard, boulangers in Loubillé 79110 (pictured above). Follow Jacqui’s blog at 22

August’s Recipes...

by Mark Addy

Sweet Pepper Salad

Ingredients: • 100ml olive oil • 4 x red peppers • 4 x yellow peppers • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced • 2 x red onions, thinly sliced • A small bunch fresh thyme • A handful of fresh basil leaves • Sea salt & ground pepper. Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C or Gas 7. 2. Put 3 tbsp of oil in a large roasting tin and place over a high heat on the hob. 3. When hot, add all the whole peppers and some sprigs of thyme. 4. Fry on the stove for approx.10 mins or until peppers have brown patches all over them. 5. Put the roasting tin into the oven for a further 10 minutes until peppers are soft. 6. Remove from oven and put into a bowl and immediately cover it with cling film. Leave to cool. 7. Peel the peppers and cut each one in half lengthways. Remove the stalk and seeds and slice lengthways into strips. (Keep the pepper juice left in the bowl for later) 8. Heat 2tbsp of oil in a frying pan until hot, then add the onions, garlic and rest of the thyme sprigs. 9. Now add the peppers and season further to taste. Fry off for 3 or 4 minutes before transferring to a dish and adding the reserved pepper juice from earlier and leaving to cool. 10. Stir in the chopped basil leaves and remaining oil. Ideal BBQ accompaniment - Serve warm or chilled.

Chocolate Fondant Serves 6. Ingredients: • 2 medium sized eggs • 2 medium sized egg yolks • 120g caster sugar • 90g good quality dark chocolate (min. 70% Cocoa) • 90g unsalted butter (soft) • 45g plain flour Method:*Use 5cm diameter rings or ramequins* 1. Butter inside of the rings and line each one with baking parchment (to just above the height of the ring). 2. Stand on a baking tray (also lined with Baking Parchment). 3. Put the eggs and the sugar into a bowl and whisk well until nicely mixed. 4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water (Not too hot or the chocolate will turn grainy). 5. Whisk the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture. 6. Add sieved flour and whisk in. 7. Leave to chill for approx. 30 minutes then spoon into the rings until 2/3 full. 8. Leave to set in the fridge for 3/4 hours. 9. Heat the oven to 180˚C or Gas 6. 10. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. 11. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 2 minutes before gently removing the metal ring and peeling off the parchment. 12. Lift off and serve on a warm plate with vanilla ice cream.

Bon apetite!

That’s vintage, maaan!

by John Sherwin

On my return to England in the mideighties after three years of absence in the colonies, I was intrigued to hear my friend Chris refer to his long-term girlfriend and mother of his children as ‘my partner’. Had they, in my absence, established a law firm or accountancy practice, despite being a physicist and charity worker respectively? Or – yes! that would be it – set up a nudge-nudge wink-wink tax ruse? On reflection, as both were confirmed Guardian readers, hardly likely. No. I had been away, times had changed, and the way certain words were used had changed too. What we understand by a word – and often the simpler the word the more this applies – is not necessarily what is intended to be understood. In the wine world, ‘vintage’ is just such a word. So, if you’re not clear what ‘vintage’ means, read on. If you think you are clear, ditto! Let’s put aside for now the meanings ‘classic’, ‘classy’, ‘really good’, ‘more-than-you-could-afford-dear-boy’. These might well be valid to make some kind of stylistic point, and do indeed apply in certain specific cases I talk about below, but the important general point is that a vintage wine is made from grapes harvested in a single year. It’s as simple as that. If you mentally substitute the word ‘harvest’ for ‘vintage’ then you’ve got it. There is no value judgement: the 2003 vintage (for example) is no more or less than the wine harvested and made in 2003. What about those pipe-smoking, moustachioed gentlemen in beige cardigans who mutter about the ‘superb vintage of 04’ or the ‘appalling vintage of 99’? Well, once you’ve established which century they’re referring to, if you’re polite enough to be bothered, you can safely ignore them. Use ‘harvest’ for ‘vintage’. A good harvest in Alsace doesn’t necessarily mean a good one in Bordeaux. A good harvest in the Medoc area of Bordeaux doesn’t necessarily mean a good one in St Emilion. A good harvest for Chateau Figeac in St Emilion doesn’t necessarily mean a good one for Chateau TroplongMondot, their neighbours by a few kilometres. What’s more, different grape varieties thrive under different weather conditions: syrah likes it dry and sunny, sauvignon blanc cooler and damper, for example. If you think this brings into doubt the efficacy of ‘vintage charts’ you’d be right. Those credit card sized doodads that pontificate on this vintage of Burgundy or that year of Rhone are not worth the cardboard or plastic they’re made of. If you have a good supplier, stick with them – a great winemaker can make good wine from poor grapes; a mediocre guy will only make average wine even in the best years. In a restaurant, ask the sommelier. The only time ‘vintage’ has an indication of quality is in the context of champagne or port. Vintage versions of these are only produced when the makers decide that the harvest of a particular year is of a sufficiently high calibre. The year (the vintage) will then appear on the label. Otherwise, no year on the label, ie. non-vintage champagne or port.

John Sherwin. French Wine Tours Email: 23

French Adventures... Andy Melling a British Pioneer! Andy moved to France 20 years ago with his partner and two young daughters. They already owned a large property in Vernoux-en-Gatîne which was in desperate need of renovation. Andy set to the renovation whilst his daughters started their new lives at the local school.

growing up and having families and work commitments. However, a new line-up evolved and Andy now plays in a group called A-Vee and Andy-Em, and can be heard playing at various venues in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée and can be contacted for bookings at the number below. Andy likes to keep busy and whilst he spent many years renovating properties for himself, he is now a registered artisan, working on projects of all sizes for a range of clients. He also does bespoke wood work and I was interested to see a current project of his making some parquet flooring for clients, which Andy will also fit for

To keep the money coming in whilst renovating, Andy and his partner started work as a “Famille d’accueil”, which is caring for old people in your own home, rather than the elderly person living in a “Maison de retraite”. Andy soon realised that he needed to “grasp” the language as being one of the pioneer English, there were no facilities or people around that could assist. The next door neighbour proved a wonderful help in starting Andy on his journey. The local postman would often pop in for a coffee and a chat with Andy, leaving his Renault 4 ticking over in the drive, and one day he informed Andy that he was actually learning Patois and not “normal” French! Later on Andy and his family became the “font of all knowledge” for the ever increasing number of British people arriving in the area. Music had always been a part of Andy’s life, so it was not long before he wanted to start playing and performing again and seemingly the easiest way was to start a band himself. He advertised in a local paper and soon people were contacting him. Andy formed a band and he is still friends to this day with not only the original band members, but also other musicians that contacted him that did not become part of the band at that time. This also gave Andy an opportunity to meet people of all ages and this again has increased his vocabulary and was particularly useful as his daughters grew up (as those of you with teenage children will know, there is a whole range of new vocabulary to learn!). The band played together for over 10 years, and this was really the beginning of Andy and his family integrating into the French way of life, and making long-term friends. The band eventually faded out, with band members

them. Meeting Andy at home, I could see that he has become “a proper French man”; the feel of his house and his life is French. He and his partner have a large vegetable patch, which they tend, refusing to use any vegetables other than those that they grow. They produce as much meat for their own consumption as they can and they enjoy the laid back lifestyle that Deux-Sèvres has to offer. Life is busy for Andy, running his own business and playing guitar in the band, but he still makes time for the traditional long lunches favoured by the French and of course the never ending multi-course Sunday lunches spent either at home or at friends’ are now just a way of life. So why did Andy move to France all those years ago, when it was something very out of the ordinary? “Chance, necessity and desire”, were what he told me. He felt he was not progressing in England and his partner came home from College one day with a booklet of properties in France. Andy rang up and within a week they were in the Deux-Sèvres looking for a home! Did he have any regrets I asked, and in Andy’s own words “Moving to France was and is still a dream, and my only regret is not coming here sooner”. Andy can be contacted on 05 49 95 85 30 or Mobile 06 30 12 68 89 Siret No: 512 518 754 RM790

Written by Gilly Hughes Jones If you would like to share your ‘French Adventure’ with us, please email your story for consideration to: For more information, please visit the Written Contributions page on our website: 24

Motoring... Manta Magic

by Helen Tait-Wright So far in this column I have avoided mentioning a car that has been part of my motoring life for many years and holds a special place in my heart. Despite many of my friends making jokes about the car, it is constantly amazing how many people I bump into for whom the Opel Manta has also had a place in their personal history. I was introduced to the Manta in about 1987 when my boyfriend at the time bought a Silver GTE hatchback. I remember it cost around £600 for us both to be insured on it third party, which as I had had only limited driving experience was really a minor miracle! Malcolm’s father was not impressed with the purchase as he decided that we were likely to kill ourselves in a 2 litre fuel injected rear wheel drive car, but it was too late, the deed was done and we had the Manta bug! (In fact I did write the car off some time later, but with no damage to myself except dented pride.) This car was an Opel Manta B, or actually a B2 to be precise, as the Manta name was launched in 1970 with the much more retro looking A series, and the early B series which came in in 1975 was the chrome bumpered version based on the Vauxhall Cavalier of the time. The Manta had a facelift in 1982 and gained spoilers and sideskirts making it look much more sporty. Manta production continued until 1988 when the streamlined Calibra was brought in to replace it. I have owned a total of 9 Manta’s and one Calibra. Today, Manta road cars are hard to find in an original, good condition; consequently the value has risen considerably over the last few years, as it has again become popular, because of its good looks and well-respected handling. Aside from the road cars, the Manta has a prestigious sporting history particularly in rallying. Any rally fan from the Group B era will remember the Opel Manta 400 as one of the best tarmac rally cars of its time, with particular success in the European championships and will probably recognise the yellow, red and blue “Andrews Heat for Hire” car which won the British Rally Championship in 1985 with Russell Brookes at the wheel. The rally cars were developed by Opel in partnership with Irmscher, a German tuning company, and as a result of this colaboration several special models came into the road car market during the life of the Manta. One such model is the i200, which I own an example of. It was produced from 1985-1986 as a limited edition Group B FISA homologated model and only sold in small numbers in the UK from the Irmscher franchise, Steve Thompson Cars Ltd, of Walsall. Today only 9 roadworthy UK registered examples remain. (If anyone is interested, mine is For Sale!) In France, Guy Frequelin (director of Citroen Motorsport 1989-2008) became the French Rally Champion in a Manta in 1983 and a special edition Manta was produced in his honour. One thing is for sure, drive a Manta and you will have a smile on your face!! Below: Guy Frequelin's old car at Race Retro

You can contact Helen at:


ADVERTISE YOUR VEHICLE FOR SALE Cost: 15€ including 1 photograph. Simply email the details

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Getting Out & About... The Nash... Dashed!

ATE UPD Remember the 4 blokes and a dog travelling from

Wroot, North Lincolnshire to Breuil-Bernard on an old tractor in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care?

Well, they did it! ...but it did turn out to be a very wet journey! They set off on 30th June for the 600 mile journey in an old International B414 Tractor to DeuxSèvres. As we know the weather this summer has been like no other, and when this family planned the adventure they expected wall to wall sunshine for the 7 days of their trip. Their blog describes them cold and wet through on many occasions but it certainly didn’t dampen their spirits! On Sunday 7th July, Tony, James, Alastair, Joshua, James and Scooby the dog all arrived safely at their second home in the pretty rural village, Breuil-Bernard. Rob and I followed them the last few km of their journey and witnessed the great reception that welcomed them into the village. To date the Rimmer family have raised over £2000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care & donations are still coming in.

Left: The Rimmers enjoying a cold beverage on arrival at Breuil-Bernard.

If you would like to read more about their amazing achievement, or indeed make a donation to the charity, please visit their website: 26


Local Markets There are lots of Vide greniers taking place around the region. To find out the latest information try: or

Mondays: Tuesdays: Wednesdays: Thursdays: Fridays: Saturdays: Sundays:

Lencloitre (1st Monday in month) (dept.86) Lezay, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize, Thouars Parthenay Sauzé Vaussais, Niort Thouars, Melle Chef Boutonne, Airvault, Niort, St. Maixent l’École, Fontenay le Comte Neuville (dept.86)


A-Z of the Communes of the Deux-Sèvres.

The market town of Brioux-sur-Boutonne gets its name from the bridge on the Boutonne which the Roman road crossed.

Brion-près-Thouet Brion-près-Thouet is a small village whose inhabitants are known as Brionnais and Brionnaises. In the 2007 census there were 751 inhabitants on the commune.

Brioux sur Boutonne, as its name indicates, is crossed by the river Boutonne. This picturesque river with its clear waters and shady banks is heaven for trout fishermen.

by Sue Burgess

In July there is a street festival in Brioux sur Boutonne called Festival au Village.

The commune is surrounded by the communes of Saint- Above: The Town Hall. Cyr-la-Lande, Tourtenay and SaintMartin-de-Sanzay and lies 7 km from Thouars and only 24 km South West of Saumur. The commune is situated only 7 km from the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional park. Brion is one of the old parishes of the steps of Anjou. Until the sixties and seventies, the commune was inhabited by farmers who grew wheat, oats, barley and rye mainly for cattle fodder. There were also vineyards. There were several shopkeepers and craftsmen (baker, blacksmith, cobbler, butcher, tobacconists and newsagents, a manure merchant, a wine merchant, a petrol station, stone masons, a roofer, a saddler, a tinsmith, a hairdressers, a barbers shop two bars and a district nurse). One of the nurse's sons became a surgeon in Niort. There was a municipal wash-house but as it was some distance from the town centre it was little used. There was a very active local drama society until 1959. The banks of the river were dug out and reinforced in the sixties and this completely changed the appearance of the local landscapes. Brioux sur Boutonne Brioux sur Boutonne is the main town of the canton of South Deux-Sèvres and is situated at the crossroads of two major road axes - Niort-Ruffec-Angoulème and Poitiers-Saintes-Royan. The latter more or less follows the ancient Roman road which linked Aunis to Saintonge.

À VOIR / MUST SEE: The Porte Saint-Jaques. An old carriage gate situated on the old Roman road. Pilgrims on the route to Compostelle (Santiago) passed through this gate.

Brûlain Brûlain is a commune situated in the canton of Prahecq. The locals are called les Brulinois or les Brulinoises and numbered 644 in the last census. Brûlain is at an altitude of 60m above sea level.

Coming up... • Le Busseau • Caunay • Celles Sur Belle • Cerizay • Cersay

More ʻA-Z of the Communes of the Deux-Sèvres.ʼ next month...

Building & Renovation... E


La Deuxième Chance.

Love what you do, do what you love! Today we sat in the sunshine hand painting bay trees onto cupboard doors! Call that work? Painting furniture and selling Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for all sorts of projects – whether to re-vamp a piece of tired furniture or paint a wall is only one part of our business. Attending fetes and Brocantes, helping raise money for cancer support, having fun whilst holding regular painted furniture workshops, both at home and away, are classed as work too. Painting is contagious! After taking a course one lady has been busy giving her bedroom wardrobes a new “shabby chic” look whilst another has taken on a commission painting her friend’s kitchen. We have had some fantastic stenciling and hand painting sessions – producing real works of art! The most fantastic thing so far has been the support shown to us, monthly meetings with the BGE in Parthenay, to help with paperwork, our furniture on sale at La Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant, Ian Parrington’s Woodburning Stoves in Vasles and The Mini Market in Luché sur Brioux. We have also been invited along to the monthly craft market in the old part of Parthenay. (3rd Sunday each month). ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ has provided us with so many customers, so this is a welcome opportunity to say a huge “thank you” to all. If you are wondering what you are missing, check our advert (see left), website or FB page, or just drop by for coffee and a chat. Come on a workshop day and you will probably hear the laughter as you approach, we hope our enthusiasm is infectious, certainly up to now that seems to be the case – something that comes from just loving what you do. Sue and Rik Newell, Vernoux-en-Gatine 79240 29

Short editorials can be offered to advertisers free of charge. Please call Sarah to find out more. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21

ARTISANS & TRADESMEN... Do you have any top tips you can share with our readers? We would love to include them in this section! For more details, please see the ‘Written Contributions’ page on our website: 30






Business, Finance & Property... Ask Amanda.

Summer is a time when many people who enjoy holidaying in France make the decision to come across permanently and the rollercoaster of selling in the UK & finding your dream French house begins.

I speak to many potential expatriates about how their income, investments, pension & inheritance plans are likely to change when they become French residents. However, an area I am asked for advice on more and more is, “What is the best way to buy your French property?” Our no fee consultation assesses your current financial situation and plans a road map designed to smooth out potential potholes in the future.

There are many good reasons why cash may not necessarily be king when looking at your dream move and I am more than happy to set up a free consultation with you to discuss these in more detail. Either telephone me or “Ask Amanda” if you would like to know more. Amanda Johnson, The Spectrum IFA Group. Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 Email:

If a loan/mortgage is required we have within our organisation ‘The Spectrum IFA Group’s Mortgage Brokerage Team’. Their primary role is to assist you in selecting the best bank and product for your situation and potential purchase. As a completely independent adviser we are able to approach a number of banks in France with whom The Spectrum IFA Group has terms of business. We charge no fees and are only remunerated by which ever bank provides the loan. We only get paid if we achieve financing and complete the property purchase. Regular contact with all of the banks that we work with enables us to search for the best rates for your situation once we fully understand it. When applying for a loan there are several considerations which we will discuss with you to ensure the products and facilities offered fully meet your needs. These include; residency, employment, term, rates & the loan to value of the property you are buying. 35

Inflation And Its Impact On Your Retirement Savings

by Bill Blevins, Blevins Franks Financial Correspondent. Wealth preservation is about protecting the value of your capital in ‘real terms’ – that is, after inflation and tax. There are various threats to your wealth that you need to plan for, but often interest rate risk and inflation risk come lower down the list than they should. If, as most British expatriates do, you still have cash savings in Sterling, the bad news is that markets imply that the first Bank of England interest rate rise will not be until February 2017. We also cannot rule out a cut to 0.25%. The UK protect group ‘Save our Savers’ calculates that over £100 billion has already been lost since the base rate was cut to 0.5%. Thanks to inflation, the Euro and Sterling are losing purchasing power every year. If inflation outpaces the low interest rates available on your savings accounts, whether you live in France, the UK or elsewhere, your capital is not only not growing, but declining in value. Inflation is insidious – you may not notice the effects each year until it is too late. Remember that official figures are based on a basket of goods and your personal rate is likely to be different.

Set Up Business with Phoenix Trading

by Jo Ashforth Phoenix Trading are a UK based company founded 14 years ago and are the largest direct selling greeting card and stationery company in the world. They sell high quality greetings cards, stationery products, and gifts. The simplicity of the product makes the business a perfect opportunity for anyone to earn an income. The company has been registered in France since 2007 and have subscribed to the VDI (Vendeur à Domicile Indépendent) statute as well as the FVD (Fédération de Vente Directe). There is a massive potential for people to grow small or large businesses in France with only 150 traders here as compared to 10,000 in the UK with the same population. Under the statute Phoenix pays all your cotistations, recouping just 10% from your bonus cheque at the end of the month. You also receive a Free Siret Number and when your earnings are 368€ a month for 3 consecutive months you will also receive the standard ‘insurance maladie’ for you and your family for a year. Phoenix is also obliged to provide French accountants for their traders so VDI offers a risk free way to earn an income with Phoenix taking care of social charges and accountancy.

Over the longer term inflation reduces the spending power of your capital. An inflation rate of 4% will reduce the spending power of 100,000 (be it Pounds or Euros) to 81,537 after just five years. After 10 years it falls to 66,483 and after 20 years it will have lost 56% of its value.

There are regular training sessions, monthly newsletters and a dedicated French department at head office. Phoenix is like a friendly family that work with you to help you achieve the income you want, but with no targets and the flexibility to fit in with other commitments. You can start your business for 40€ with all the basics to get you started, the equivalent of a meal out for two!

Even lower interest rates have an impact over time. 2.5% inflation reduces the spending power of 100,000 to 77,632 in 10 years and 60,269 in 20. Over 30 years it would lose half its value (46,788).

Why not come and see our products and talk to a Phoenix representative without any obligation at the Foire Commerciale on September 8th and discuss how you could start your business with Phoenix Trading.

These calculations are only based on the real value after inflation. They do not take tax into equation, another thing you need to plan for. Speak to an experienced adviser like Blevins Franks to discuss strategies for your capital to keep pace with inflation, based on your circumstances and objectives. At the same time discuss the opportunities available to protect your income and wealth from unnecessary taxation. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website


Transferring a Pension Abroad

by David Hardy Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) For an overseas pension scheme to receive a transfer from a UK pension fund it must register with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). The registered schemes are known as Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes. For the scheme to qualify, various caveats must be satisfied, such as it must be recognised as a pension scheme in the country where it is based, and the benefits must be subject to taxation. The scheme also reports any payments out of the scheme to the UK Inland Revenue if the transfer took place within the last ten years. If any payments are made which are not allowed in the UK then there may be a tax charge applied of up to 55% if the individual has been a UK resident in either the current or any of the previous five tax years. The majority of overseas transfers have focused on transfers of UK pension funds to QROPS in offshore locations, such as Isle of Man or Guernsey, but tightening up of the QROPS rules earlier this year has reduced the availability of such jurisdictions. This has acted as a reminder that with any QROPS transfer there is additional risk that HMRC may subsequently amend legislation or remove QROPS status of any schemes without warning. The advantages of QROPS Transferring a pension fund abroad has several advantages: it enables a pension fund to be Eurodenominated, and therefore provides income payments in Euros reducing exposure to currency exchange fluctuations. An offshore scheme may offer greater control of the fund, and the potential to pass funds to children free from UK taxes, although tax consequences in France remain to be clarified. The disadvantages of QROPS The main potential disadvantage of a QROPS is that the scheme could be de-registered as a QROPS, which could mean that any individuals who transferred to the scheme may be liable for up to 55% tax. One key area that is often omitted by advisers is that a QROPS’ income is not secure, and based on the investment performance of the fund. It is important to seek advice from independent advisers who are familiar both with UK and French legislation, as any decision made with your pension funds will last your lifetime, and it may not be possible to unwind an arrangement in the future. David Hardy is Regional Manager for Poitou-Charentes for Siddalls France, who have been providing specialist independent financial advice to the British community in France for the last 15 years. If you wish to discuss your own financial planning requirements in more detail, please contact David on 05 56 34 71 77.

For a full list of our advertising rates, please phone for an advertising pack or download from our website. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 37

Change of Plans...

by Peter Elias. They always say that a week is a long time in politics. It must be for Francois Hollande and his new Government. Early in July his team were busy briefing some fairly radical changes to taxation for second homes, something that would have had a significant impact upon many UK owners here in France. Taxes on rental income (gîtes and chambre d’hotes), would rise from 20% to 35.5%, and Capital Gains Tax on property sales would rise from 19% to 34.5%. The extra in each case was being raised via a "social charge". I wrote a blog on this subject and questioned the legality of this approach, since non-residents in France are not normally liable for social charges. Within 48 hours, there had been over a thousand hits on the site and various views expressed, as the rise in CGT was actually only going to bring ex-Pats in line with the rate that French owners pay currently. However, during his visit to England to see David Cameron and the Queen, Hollande announced a full uturn, and backtracked on both aspects of the proposed charges.

Advertise your Private House Sale

The change in plans highlighted for me that the plans had been rushed through and the validity of the legislation not properly checked.

From 10€ p/month.

It is a bit like some of the buyers that we have viewing houses. They give us a specification of what they are seeking when they start their viewing visits, and then completely change tack and buy something pretty well the opposite of what they had indicated to start with!

Send details by email to:

for inclusion into the next issue.

Talking of a change of direction and strategy, this is going to be the last column that I write for ‘The DSM’. I have been on-board with Sarah since the start of the magazine, and prior to that wrote for nearly 10 years for ‘Impressions’. I think it is a good time to allow somebody else to take over the column. I have enjoyed trying to keep readers up-to-date with the property & currency markets, and hope that you have found something of interest to read. The very best wishes to all readers, every success to Sarah with this great publication, and to my replacement with this column. Peter Elias (Agent Commercial): 05 49 27 01 22



theme park

Discover a different kind of leisure park experience! With 40 millions visitors since it opened, Futuroscope is one of the best loved leisure Parks in France That destination is Futuroscope, the ideal place to relax in 60 hectares of tranquil green countryside and enjoy 25 original experiences you won’t find anywhere else: films in giant format, thrill-filled attractions, games, live shows, open-air activities, People of the Future and more. Discovery and thrills guaranteed for everyone, young and old! And take advantage of the special 25th Birthday offers to discover Futuroscope in 2012…


The Little Prince

Cosmic Collisions

Arthur, the 4D Adventure


per person The voucher is valid for adult, senior citizen (aged 60 and over) and child (aged 5 to 16) for 1 day or 2 day dated-entry tickets and must be handed in at the Futuroscope ticket booths between the 11th february 2012 to the 6th January 2013 (1 to 5 visitors per voucher). Discount does not apply to packages, group tickets, and undated entry tickets (visa/ season). Offer may not be combined with other offers and backdated. *Please check the opening date’s calendar on


The Deux-Sevres Monthly - August 2012  

English language magazine for the Deux-Sevres and surrounding areas of France