The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Magazine - September Issue

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English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas


TOUR DE FRANCE (P22) OVERLAND TRAVELS (P29) WHAT’S LURKING IN YOUR SHED (P19) Montgolfiade de Thouars hot air balloon festival 2014. Photograph © by David Brennan

Issue 109, September 2020

Welcome to Issue 109 of

This Month’s Advertisers

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine.

Seems only a few days ago that we were writing the introduction to our first issue and here we are again already. We’d love to hear from you about what you like, or dislike, about The DSM magazine. We do plan to run a small survey in the near future to help us, but if you have any thoughts please email them to us. We cannot promise to do everything you ask but we WILL consider each suggestion. We are always looking for new contributors as well as advertisers. We want the content of The DSM to be as widely interesting as possible. If you have a hobby, interest, job or skill in which you feel others may have an interest, please get in touch. You don’t need to be an expert writer, just keen. ‘Change’ appears to be an accidental theme of this magazine, what with Autumn starting this month, etc. One of the changes in the near future will be on our website. You will still find us in the same place ( but the look and feel of the site will change slightly. Some of these changes are to make it easier for us (and here the word ‘us’ is really just Tony) to maintain things, some are about trying to give the site a ‘lick of paint’ while others will, in time, introduce new content. It may take a little while before all the elements are working 100% but all the basics you use will be there at the changeover. These things take time to get right so please bear with us. Although changes in the magazine itself are coming, please rest assured we are NOT planning wholesale change nor are we going to alter the essence of the magazine. We took this on because we believe The DSM is an important resource for the English speaking community in this area and it needed to be preserved. For various reasons, this has been a difficult time for some, including us, and nobody knows for sure what is to come but it is important to keep trying, to remain positive and to follow the advice from the health authorities.

Tony & Lynne

Contents Getting Out and About Clubs and Associations A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Hobbies Home and Garden Take a Break Tour de France Health, Beauty and Fitness Our Furry Friends Spotlight Arts and Craft Motoring Food and Drink Technology Building and Renovation Business and Finance Property

6 11 12 13 14 20 22 24 25 26 27 28 30 32 33 38 41

ABORDimmo Adrian Butterfield (Handyman) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) Arbes et Abeilles (Plant nursery) Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) Autentico (Paint specialists) Belle Fleur (Natural Insect Repellants) BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want Blevins Franks Financial Management BM Construction Château de Saugé Vintage Tea Room Château Jarno (Plant Nursery) Chat-eau (Luxurious country cattery) Cherry Picker Hire (Tony Moat) Chris Bassett Construction Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) Clean Sweep Chimney Services Cosmetic Contour Darren Lawrence Deux-Chèvres (Handyman) Escoval ExPatRadio Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) Green and Tidy Gardening Services Hallmark Electricité Hiley Location HMJ (Renovation service) Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries Jeff’s Metalwork John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic Jon - the carpetman Keith Banks pool services KJ Painting and decorating La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) Leggett Immobilier Le Regal’on (Bar and Restaurant) LPV Technology (IT services) Magic Renovations (Michael Glover) Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction Michael Moore (Electrician) Michel Barateau (Cabinet maker) Mike Sweeney - Motorsport Engineering ML Computers Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances Naturalis Pools Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) Paul Starsmeare (Mechanic) Pinnacle Garden Care Poitiers Biard Airport Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) RJC Pool Services Rob Berry (Plasterer) Robert Mann (Upholstery) Ross Hendry Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) Simon the Tiler Smart Moves - Removal company Stephen Shaw Painter Steve Coupland (Plumbing and renovations) Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) Strictly Roofing Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) Sunny Sky Cars The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre The Fixer - Rick Denton The Hope Association Tim Electricien 79 Val Assist (Translation Services) Vienne Tree Services Zena Sabestini(Translation Services)

41 34 2 34 39 35 16 38 33 24 38 40 37 7 16 25 36 37 34 37 24 33 33 28 5 39 41 16 34 36 35 37 35 28 18 41 34 16 42 31 32 36 33 35 33 28 32 38 41 33 24 28 16 2 41 2 33 18 32 18 35 41 37 35 34 35 6 28 28 6 25 36 6 18 6

EMERGENCY NUMBERS: 15 SAMU (Medical Advice) 17 Gendarmes (Police) 18 Pompiers (Fire Service)

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

© Anthony and Lynda Wigmore 2020. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anthony and Lynda Wigmore accept 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. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Anthony and Lynda Wigmore 32 Rue Andre Gastel, 79450,Saint-Aubin-Le-Cloud Tél: 07 68 35 45 18. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anthony and Lynda Wigmore. Crédits photos: Anthony Wigmore, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: septembre 2020 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 830 076 345 00016 ISSN: 2115-4848

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 3

WHAT’S ON... Things are changing day-by-day as we go to print. The information here is as accurate as we can get it but PLEASE check events have not been cancelled or altered before leaving the house.

04-06 LA MONTGOLFIADE DE THOUARS Saint-Verge (79100). Balloon Festival. Forty hot air balloons, activities for all the family, garage sale, fireworks.

This month we are featuring the Tour de France (see centre pages). For a bit of fun, we have included a number of cartoon bikes like this one around the magazine pages. How many can you count? Answer on P25.

05 VIDE GRENIER Les Chateliers (79340). Village fete and boot sale. Food from 1pm. Moules Frites in the evening. 05-08 ART EXHIBITION Bressuire (79300). 2.30pm to 6.30pm each day. Free entry. 06 BROCANTE La Chappelle-Pouilloux (79190). Meals by reservation. 05 49 07 76 51




06 VIDE GRENIER Celles-Sur-Belles (79370). Free entry. Food and drink available. Masks highly recommended. 09 TOUR DE FRANCE (Across Deux-Sèvres). See centre pages for more info. 17 CONCERT : RICHARD DURRANT Église Saint-Hilaire, Melle (79500). British classical guitarist. 8pm start. Information 06 48 75 76 70 or 06 82 44 61 71. 18-20 REMPARTS CIRCUIT (CLASSIC CAR WEEKEND) Angouleme (16015). Find more details at 19 HERITAGE DAYS (JOURNÉES PATRIMOINE) (Many locations). Find details of events near you 19-20 HERITAGE DAYS The Château de La Commanderie, d’Ensigné, Brioux (79057). For more information see advert on Page 10. 20 TOUR DE FRANCE Paris (75108). End of Tour de France. 24 LITTLE WOMEN (FILM) La Salle Belle Epine, Châtaigneraie (85120). 8pm. Showing of ‘Little Women’ (English version). New health protocols are in operation (i.e. masks required to enter the Salle and social distancing). 26 EXHIBITION : HISTORIC ADORNMENTS Niort (79000). The work of goldsmiths from prehistory, through neolithic, Bronze Age to the Middle Ages. Entry 5€. Tuesday to Friday, 10am-1pm and 2pm-6pm; Thursdays 10am to 8pm. Saturdays and Sundays, 2pm to 7pm.

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: MARKEY’S PORK ‘N’ PIES TRADITIONAL BRITISH COOKING Sat: Fontenay-le-Comte (marché), Vendée and at Saint-Jean-d’Angély (marché intérieur), Charente-Maritime Sun: Aulnay (marché), Charente-Maritime Open mornings

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

Wednesdays.... Thursdays........


La Mothe Saint-Héray 79800 (Place Clémenceau)

Bressuire 79300 - and - Champdeniers 79220 Chef-Boutonne 79110 Airvault 79600 - and - Niort 79000 Saint Maixent-l’École 79400 Fontenay-le-Comte 85200 Ruffec 16700 Magné 79460 and Moncoutant 79320 Sundays............ Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170 Thénezay 79390 Saint-Varent 79330 Saturdays........

Later this year ... 04 October - Fête des Plantes et Volailles in Bressuire (79300) 08 November - Vendee Globe starts from Les Sables D’Olonnes

MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at: • • • • • • • •

La Châtaigneraie (last Monday in month) 85120 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Lezay 79120 Civray 86400 Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Vasles 79340 Parthenay 79200 - and - Celles-sur-Belle 79370 Ruffec 16700 Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 - and - Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Gençay 86160 Thouars 79100 - and - Melle 79500 Secondigny 79130 (pm)-and-St Aubin le Cloud (pm) Civray 86400 (small food market) Antigny 85120 (1st and 3rd Fridays - pm)

Aulnay de Saintonge 1747 Ballans 17160 Beauvais Sur Matha 17490 St Jean D’Angély 17400 La Chapelle 16140 Sainte Soline Ark 79 79120 Hope Association 3 Day Bookfairs & Events Private catering

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

FRYER TUCKS Genneton - Bar de la Mairie - 18:30 - 21:00 - 11th & 25th Sept Saint Jouin de Marnes - Outside the Boulangerie 17:30 - 20:30 - every Tuesday evening Funny Farm cat rescue - Date to be confirmed.

Tel: 06 23 25 48 36

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates 4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

...AUGUST 2020 The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2020 ... Sat 15 August Sun 1 November Wed 11 November Fri 25 December

Assumption of Mary (Assomption) All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël)

2021... Fri 1 January Sun 4 April Mon 5 April Sat 1 May Sat 8 May Thu 13 May Sun 23 May Mon 24 May Wed 14 July

New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an) Easter Sunday (Pâques) Easter Monday (Pâques) Labour Day (Fête du premier mai) VE 1945 (Fête du huitième mai) Ascension Day (Ascension) Whit Sunday (Pentecôte) Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte) Bastille Day (\)



The Filling Station - Poitou-Charentes. Local Christians of all denominations who meet for spiritual renewal and evangelism. www. or Carolyn Carter on 05 45 84 19 03. ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre. We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St. Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship hold meetings throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. Contact Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) meets at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11.00am (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun). Eglise Vie Nouvelle Bilingual (French / English) weekly service based in Civray See Contact 05 49 87 33 69 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, normally holds Sunday services in English. Please see our website for current information:

contact ‘The DSM’

Call Tony or Lynne on 07 68 35 45 18 Monday - Friday: 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm

TOP HAT QUIZ NIGHTS Quizzes (and magazine distribution) will resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

NEW DISTRIBUTION POINTS THIS MONTH Chateau Jarno (Plant Nursery) Les Groseillers 79220 COURS

Le Pub Des Halles Tel: 05 45 71 70 91

Place Bujeaud, 85210 SAINTE-HERMINE Our thanks to both for agreeing to stock The DSM.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 5

Getting Out and About My grandson grandson has 12 donkeys donkeys by Sue Burgess

Please note, in the examples given below, I have not used real phonetic symbols but rather tried to write the sentence as it sounded or should sound. ‘Mon petit fils a douze ânes‘ (mon putty feece a dooz ann). Really? 12 donkeys? What colour? Male or female? Look of incomprehension. Something’s not right. ‘he’s 12 years old’. Ah ‘Mon petit fils a douze ans’ (mon putty feece a dooz on). Well, you have a large house and a lot of land, he could have had 12 donkeys! How many English people have eaten sand? Le dessert (pudding) is pronounced le dayssair and not le dezair which is a place like the Sahara. And if the waiter says ‘vous prenez un dessert?’ it is important to hear the ‘un’ to understand that he is asking you if you would like a dessert, and not ‘vous prenez des cerfs ?’ - are you taking any deer? I remember once going to a scout weekend somewhere in a remote area of La Charente. The place was easy to find, we were told, because of ‘les cerfs’ (deer). In fact ‘les cerfs’ turned out to be ‘les serres’ (greenhouses). And what about the weekend where each unit was asked to bring ‘des pâtes’ (pasta) and not ‘pâtés’ (meat paste or pâté). The importance of that accent! And have you ever had your horses cut? I wonder how many hairdressers have been surprised by English people asking for ‘un rendezvous pour faire couper les chevaux’ (lay shevoh) instead of ‘les cheveux’ (lay shevuh). If your female cat is lost, better to say ‘j’ai perdu mon chat’ using the masculine form for the animal as ‘ma chatte’ can have quite a different meaning, just as alternative words for ‘cat’ do in English. The weather’s hot ? Be careful to say ‘J’ai chaud’ and not ‘je suis chaude’ which likewise has a very different meaning. Hot stuff eh? If you’re not sure, better to play on the safe side and say ‘il fait chaud. (The weather is hot). A puppy is ‘un chiot’ (shiow), a slang word for a toilet is ‘une chiotte’ (shiott). And have you ever turned up for a Sunday morning market (‘un marché’ (un marshay)) only to find everyone kitted out for a Sunday morning walk (‘une marche’ (oon marsh) Again, the importance of that little accent. Such errors can lead to embarrassment (you know you must have said something wrong when everyone starts sniggering) or perhaps even misunderstanding. Of course it works the other way round for French people trying to speak English too and also for people learning other languages. Remember President Kennedy’s attempt to be a Berlin man and saying he was a cake, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ instead of ‘Ich bin Berliner’.


6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

Un an / Un âne

A year / A donkey

Un chiot / Une chiotte

A puppy / A WC (slang term)

Le parking / Stationnement

A car park / Parking

La marche / Le marché

A walk / A market

Les pâtes / Le paté

Pasta / Paté

Un livre / Une livre

A book / A pound (weight or money)

Actuellement / En fait

At the present time / Actually

Chez Christie’s Giving Warm Welcomes since 2004



OPENI--and NG HOURS: 10 am - 1 2 n o o n : 3 p m - 7 p m

Greetings Cards & Books Online : AMAZON.CO.UK / SHOPS / CHRISTIESGENCAY GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie

l� �endred�

à L� Moth� Sain�-Héra�

Le vendredi de 17h à 21h 21h Mairie de La Mothe Saint-Héray - Service communication - imprimé par nos soins. Après usage, déposer cet affiche dans une déchetterie

Speaking of which, have you seen our great new ranges of Masks and Hand Sanitisers? ‘Stay Safe’ doesn’t have to mean Boring!



Service with a Smile e v en i f y o u c an o n l y t el l b y o u r ey es ! P l e a s e r e me mb e r w e m u s t A l l w e a r Masks in the shop except when At Table - but they are The Height of Fashion!


à partir du 10 juillet 2020

Place Clémenceau

17 h

encer ken�! m m o ie� c l� �ee P our b Ce marché n’annule pas celui du jeudi matin

Siret: 47876969800018

ftâz° i |Çàtzx gxt eÉÉÅ V{úàxtâ wx ftâz°

Tea / Coffee – Wines – Beers - Cocktails Homemade Cakes & Savouries - Lunch Traditional Afternoon Tea – Evening Meals Traditional Sunday Lunch

Open Friday & Saturday 12 midday – 10pm Sunday 12 midday – 6pm Exclusive Events each Month / Available for Private Events Enjoy our beautiful Terrace with views of the Gardens Chambres D’hotes availability Reservations: Email: Tel: 06 29 15 36 55é-Vintage-Tearoom Château de Saugé 2 Saugé Saivres 79400


look for screenings in ‘VO’ or ‘VOST’

Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: CineChef, Chef-Boutonne: email: Salle Belle Epine, La Châtaigneraie: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: Niort Moulin du Roc: Parthenay Cinema: and find others at The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 7

International Literacy Day by Beryl Brannon 8th September


cannot remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hand, even looking at pictures in a rag book. And there isn’t a room in the house without at least one book in it – ok - not the bathroom. Yet globally about 773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills and COVID-19 is set to have a disastrous impact especially on children in deprived areas worldwide. With schools closed for months, like me you probably worry about the impact on our grandkids. If they are lucky enough to have computers they may have received some support at home from teachers but for the millions who aren’t so lucky, and whose parents lack the skills and equipment to help, the impact could last the rest of their lives. Schools in more than 190 countries have been closed, which disrupted the education of over 63% of the world’s student population. Governments have had to deploy distance-learning solutions particularly in formal education for children and young people. Virtual lessons, dissemination of materials and learning through TV, radio or open-air spaces have been adopted. Will this change the face of teaching in the future? Which makes it all the more important to remind people of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights and work towards a more literate and sustainable society. UNESCO created International Literacy Day (ILD) back in 1967, over 50 years ago, to draw attention to the fact that humans generally need literacy and reading skills to succeed in education and beyond, and it’s been celebrated annually on 8th September ever since. The main event is held in Paris and includes an awards ceremony where individuals and organisations are rewarded for striving to improve literacy around the world. Will it be held this year or will it be via video conference? ILD 2020 will focus on teaching and learning beyond the pandemic, which has been a stark reminder of the gap which already existed between developed countries and those of the Third World. In the latter, in many countries, adult literacy programmes were already absent and the few which did exist have been suspended. UNESCO will host a virtual conference to reflect on and discuss how teaching methods can be used beyond the pandemic. The problem exists even in the 21st century and in two of the most developed countries in the world. In France, there are about 2.5 million people who are illiterate including two thirds of the population in Ile de France, many of them male. In the UK, one in five adults struggles to read and write, many living in poverty. How is IDL celebrated in other countries, especially Africa? In 2019 Rwanda joined in celebrating the day. The local theme was ‘reading and writing in different languages’. Rather than just one day, a National Literacy Month was launched, encouraging everyone to promote the reading and writing culture. Where possible parents were called upon to implement reading books at home for their children, buying storybooks where possible for those at school. In Kenya, as well as a shortage of teachers, culture can have a large impact on education with boys often left to look after livestock at a young age and girls married off very young and often dropping out of any education due to teenage pregnancy. The Maasai value livestock and land above education and their nomadic way of life means it is difficult for learners to complete education. India has 287 million illiterate adults. Since 1998 more than 100 study centres across 15 Indian states now provide basic literacy

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

to poor children and skills training to uneducated youths to help them find jobs to support and supplement their families’ incomes. So what can we do on Literacy Day? I found a really interesting book called ‘Long Distance Grandparenting’ which suggests you could join in using one of the many video conference options available and perhaps ... • Read a story to your grandchild(ren), check out Tumblebooks • Play games like Scrabble either by video cam or via a website like • What about MadLibs wordgames where you supply missing words in a story, then read the story back to each other. https:// • Do you like crossword puzzles? Share crossword puzzles or word searches. There are many available online.



eading about the upcoming International Literacy Day made me reflect on my experience of literacy. As a teacher, I have been fortunate enough to see the real difference that it can make in a child’s life. Literacy means more than reading and writing. There is an abundance of research demonstrating how talking to children and sharing stories with them can shape their futures from birth. For example, a child who is spoken to regularly and engaged with in conversation will hear approximately 45 million words by age 4; a child who is mostly spoken to by just being told what to do will hear about 15 million. These differences follow them through to adulthood - Child A is more likely to earn a degree, have a full-time, well-paid job and buy a house. Child B is more likely to suffer from perpetual unemployment, depression and other mental illnesses. About eight years ago, I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to visit a mission school in rural Kenya. Education was not a given there, it was a gift that was savoured by every child and teacher in the school. Literacy opened doors and built bridges, it offered the chance of a future that these children could not have dreamed of before. Ask any child in the school what they wanted to be when they grew up and they replied ‘A doctor’, ‘A teacher’, ‘A lawyer’. These children, many of whom lived on the streets or in tiny mud houses, finally saw these as viable career options thanks to the literacy skills gifted to them by the dedicated mission teachers. As for spoken literacy, much of their learning was taught in this way. Stories passed down from generation to generation paved the way for new learning opportunities, and even gave us the opportunity to learn some Swahili! Stories were shared, with pictures, to help us understand, and even today I can confidently recall that Ndovu was a story about an elephant. These children relished learning and were desperate to read and write, often using the smallest scraps of paper! Children suffering from malnourishment, AIDs and other horrific diseases walked through the school gates every day to grab onto the hope that picking up a pencil could offer. Every day, but perhaps particularly on International Literacy Day, I am reminded that literacy is a gift. It opens doors and unlocks possibilities for our children every day, and we have a duty to ensure that every child - no matter their background or place of birth - is given the chance to access it.

View from the Vendée by Karen Taylor


ove ‘em or hate ‘em, les camping cars are becoming more and more popular in Europe and a large number of them are to be found on French roads. To quote a few facts, at the end of 2019 there were half a million campervans registered in France out of an estimated two million in Europe and, since COVID-19, the industry is seeing a veritable boom in sales. In just the last 3 weeks of May this year, over 3,500 vans were sold in l’Hexagone (mainland France) alone, not to mention the number of people who decided to rent a camper for their summer holidays, often in preference to staying on a crowded campsite or in a busy hotel.

But campervans are not for everyone - it’s quite a hefty initial investment, though they traditionally hold their value well, you need an extra-long parking place at home (we have a barn!!) and you need to be comfortable living in a compact, albeit cosy, environment! So, for those of you who prefer more home comforts (and a little more space), why not take a few days’ break in our dog-friendly gîte near the Vendée coast??

But even before COVID boosted their sales, motor homes were becoming a popular choice for many, particularly among the increasing number of active retirees. So what is it that makes this mobile form of accommodation so attractive? Well, for a start, they’re mobile, so you can go where you want when you want. In fact, that’s what persuaded us to buy one a couple of years ago, not necessarily for our main holiday, but for us to just up and off when we find we have a few days free. France is the perfect place to do just that, with nearly 4,000 aires scattered throughout the country (most of which are free) where you can turn up at any time of the day or night. This is exactly what we did shortly after the déconfinement when we were restricted to a 100km radius; we drove up to l’Ile de Noirmoutier where we parked our campervan on an aire at the far end of the island and enjoyed a few days of sea breezes & spring sunshine!

Photo by Karen Taylor

Karen runs a gîte business on the Vendée coast - you can contact her on:

home-schooling and long-forgotten DIY projects!), it just hasn’t been the same not being together at the theatre. We desperately miss the camaraderie and the excitement of preparing for and then staging a new production.

The Show Must Go On

by Sue Fitzgerald

(but unfortunately not quite yet)


he smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd; to set the stage; to take the limelight; to wait in the wings… there are so many expressions and idioms which come from the world of theatre, but perhaps the best known of them all is the old adage ‘The show must go on...’ . At TheatriVasles this is a saying very dear to our hearts, and one we put into practice whenever we can… but back in January when we announced our production of Shirley Valentine, we hadn’t banked on 2020 turning out quite as it has! Back at the beginning of the year we were deep in rehearsals, set building and planning for our production of Willy Russell’s highly acclaimed, award winning ‘Shirley Valentine’. On 4th and 5th June, we had hoped to whisk you away with Shirley to a Greek island paradise, but alas, COVID-19 had other ideas and we were forced to postpone the performances. Although we made the most of lockdown with Zoom meetings and script readings for future productions (squeezed in between

Unfortunately, with the uncertainty around staging theatre productions in the Autumn, we aren’t yet in a position to announce a new date for Shirley Valentine, but please be assured, we are champing at the bit to get back on stage, and will keep you informed with a new date as soon as we possibly, and safely, can. We assure you, that, although not quite yet, our show not only must, but will go on!

For more information visit or find us on Facebook

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 9

Centre Régional « Résistance & Liberté »

To understand and live our freedom

Explore the history of the Second World War and the everyday life in occupied France. Follow the steps of those who said "no", from individual acts of civil desobedience to collective actions of Resistance, through a path based on regional history. A journey to the past to get a better understanding of our current world through this interactive and unique exhibition with original photographs, clandestine newspapers, letters and videos. Audioguides in English Activities proposed for groups (Please contact us for details)

Open 2.30 to 6 pm April > September 30th : Tuesday to Friday and Sunday Closed on public holidays

From 2 € to 4 €

(Cash and cheque only)

Écuries du Château Rond-point du 19 mars 1962 79100 THOUARS 05 49 66 42 99

The Château de La Commanderie d’Ensigné 79 will be celebrating:

European Heritage Days On the 19 and 20 September 2020 Ensigné celebrates its heritage at the Château de La Commanderie. The event runs from 10am to 6pm each day. There will be plenty of activities, events and entertainment for everyone: In the inner courtyard, around the castle and the Templar chapel, shows, events and demonstrations take place throughout the day: artists and heritage craftsmen, medieval troupes, storytellers, acrobats, magicians, jugglers, actors. There will also be a gourmet market of quality local products. Medieval entertainment and games for young and old all day. Taverne des brigands and Auberge des Chevaliers to eat. Reservation recommended on 06 60 65 81 58 Ensigné is located on the wooded walk of the forest of Aulnay, between Brioux (79) and Aulnay-de-Saintonge (17). The Château de la Commanderie is at the entrance of the village on the Arsange road. Entry fee 4€ per adult, children free (up to 12 years) Guided tour + 1€ (English spoken)

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

Clubs and Associations

Contact us by email or facebook: Association number: W793005002

If you belong to a club or association and would like to advertise your group, please get in touch via email at ... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 11

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Saint-Maixent-de-Beugné The commune of Saint-Maixent-de-Beugné can be found at the far west of the canton of Coulonges-sur-l’Autize, bordering on the Vendée. The commune is situated 2.5km from Coulonges-Surl’Autize and 3.5km from Saint Laurs. The inhabitants are known as ‘les beugnésiens’ or ‘les saint maixentais’. The village was created in 1059 by the monks of the abbey of SaintMaixent, on the orders of the Count of Poitou after the Norman invasions. Some of the inhabitants of St Maixent, who had been plagued by earth tremors, floods and fires, decided to take refuge on some higher ground belonging to the Count of Poitou. The latin form of the name Beugné – Bugnacum – refers to a domain at the Gallic Roman period or early Middle Ages. The territory of the commune is spread over 1102 hectares. At its highest point it is 122m above sea level and 54m at its lowest point. The ‘bocager’ countryside with its rolling hills and hedgerows is crossed by two streams, the Orelles and the Sezais. A lot of green pathways are available for rambling and walkers can find picturesque wash-houses. Today, the population of Saint Maixent de Beugné is about 574 people.

A VOIR / MUST SEE A remarkable patrimony of the church Rebuilt, restored and altered several times after fires, wars and storms, an outline of an original window remains on the northwest side, where there is a gothic style stained glass window (which from the outside of the church appears to have been bricked over). The church was not open when I was in St Maixent but you may be able to get the key from the mairie. The outside is interesting and obviously old. The nave is Romanesque. The square bell tower is situated at the south west end of the church. The wars of Religion led to the destruction of the stone vaulted ceiling which was replaced by a wooden one. The tomb altar reminds us of the first centuries AD when communion was celebrated on the tombs of the martyrs. The base of the altar has the shape of a tomb. This type and shape of altar often dates from the reform of the Catholic church in the 17th and 18th centuries. There are several statues in the church. Mary with the infant Jesus and a bishop (probably St Hilaire of Poitiers), 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

by Sue Burgess

and there is a also a statue of Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, a dominican priest born in Brittany in 1563 and who died in St Laurent sur Sèvre. The main bell in the bell tower was blessed in 1819 but was later accidentally cracked. Two bells from the Bollée and Sons Foundry were blessed in 1882. The baptismal fonts are found at the entrance to the church on the right under the bell tower. Above the stalls on the North side of the church is an inscription which says that several lords of the manor of La Roussière are buried here. Outside on the west and south side there is a wall full of recesses where there must have been statues at some time. Benedictine monks lived and worshipped in St Maixent de Beugné in the past. The château of La Roussière (privately owned) and the château of Livernière make up the remarkable patrimony of the commune. There are also several houses with architecture dating from the 16th century. The château de la Roussière is mentioned in texts dating from the 14th century. It was ransacked in 1567, rebuilt in 1570 and then later destroyed and rebuilt again. It is now a bourgeoise manor house dating from the end of the 17th century. The house is built over vaulted cellars dating from the 13th century. The facade opens onto a French style garden. There are large bay windows on three storeys and attic windows called ‘lucarnes’. The courtyard to the north is closed off by a porch way with two non-matching towers which probably date from the 15th century. Inside there are several 17th century fireplaces. A spring feeds a wash-house ‘le Gardou’ which could date from the 15th or 16th century. La Roussière is a private property. The wash-house of la Rulette on the Sezais, an old lavoir, can be seen on the Sezais. The washhouse itself has disappeared but the basin fed from the stream is still visible as is an old stone bench. Businesses on the commune: There are several craftsmen in the village, a stone mason, three joiners, a boat maker, a painter and decorator and a building renovation service. There are seven farms spread over the commune and an important factory which transforms farm fresh milk into yoghurt ‘Les yaourts de la Bazinière’. The yoghurts are available from the farm shop and in local supermarkets (Super U, Coulonges, sells them). There is also a jam maker and a fruit and vegetable seller called ‘Le jardin d’Antoine’. The café / bakers is the last shop on the commune. It is owned by the commune. A plat du jour menu is served at lunchtime during the week. Bread and cigarettes are also available. The commune has a lively network of associations including a large theatre group, a football team, a hunt association, a gym club and a club for the old people and ex-soldiers of the commune. All photographs by Sue Burgess.

Hobbies Nudge Nudge by Alison Morton


e writers are always fearful of the blank page or worse, the blank mind, even when all we have to write are a few paragraphs, a quick blog post or article, a short story or even start a 90,000 word novel. Getting going seems to be the problem. Once started, the rest will come. Honestly! So what we need is a trigger, a push or sometimes just a nudge. So here are a few of my tried and tested favourite prompts: Dialogue It can be as little as a line from your own life, something somebody said on social media, or best of all, something your character would say. Write it down and answer it. Then reply to that. Speech is upfront and personal and can plunge you straight into your story. And dialogue is one of the best ways to reveal your character’s values and wishes. Place and space You’ve thought of a setting, now jot down a few words to describe it: mountains, sea, town. What’s the weather like? And the season? Can you see flowers, plants, or none? Is it open desert like the Sahara or Arctic? Or are you in SuperU or Aldi? Now write a few sentences describing it and drop your character in. How do they feel about being there – happy, scared, uncertain, thrilled? Cataclysms (or at least obstacles) What is the worst possible thing that could happen to your main character? It could range from world destruction, a faithless lover or losing their credit card while out shopping. Or a hurtful word from an old friend, being overlooked for promotion or a victim of violence. How would you feel if that happened to you or your character? Being objective Something weird you saw in a shop like bacon chocolate (I have the photo to prove it!), a box of eggs, a display of colourful ribbons, a scratch on a car, a teenager’s flashy trainers, the reflection in a glass of water. If it strikes you, write a couple of sentences around why it did and see where that goes. Sentenced No, not at a ‘maison d’arrêt’, but a starter sentence. You can make one up, get a friend to think of one, take it from a news report or find a random one in a book you’re reading. Then write how your character dealt with it, explained it and what they did next. Moving pictures Do you sometimes think you could write a better ending to a film or TV show? Do you wonder what happened to a significant secondary character? How would your character act in that story? Would they be tougher or more conciliatory? Would they be less naive and more inventive?

What’s New On DVD? by Becka Irresistible DVD Release Date: September 2020 Director: Jon Stewart Starring: Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper

Synopsis A Democratic strategist helps a retired veteran run for mayor in a small, conservative Midwest town. Review Lighthearted and generally fun, with a slightly worrying undercurrent of plausibility, Irresistible offers an insight into smalltown politics in a fairly entertaining way. Whilst predictable at times, there are a few twists and turns which brightened the film and kept me watching despite an initial uncertainty. Irresistible is not an Oscar-worthy piece of modern fiction, nor is it a gritty and realistic documentary exploring American politics. It is, quite simply, a satirical comedy designed to highlight some of the perceived flaws in the American political system whilst entertaining the masses. I would argue that, at times, the film is held afloat by the big-name actors rather than the gripping storyline, but the overall concept is interesting enough to keep the audience watching through these flatter moments. Steve Carrell and Rose Byrne have enough on-screen chemistry to generate a small sense of realism underneath the obvious comedy bits. However, neither of them shine. In my opinion, the stand out star is Chris Cooper with his representation of Colonel Hastings, who manages to bring some genuine emotion in several of his speeches which seems to be lacking in the majority of the film. Overall, Irresistible is an easy watch but not a striking success. If you are looking for a witty and moving comedy, this may not be the film for you. If, however, you are content with a few good laughs and quite a few more eye-rolls, with one or two impressively surprising twists, then this just might fit the bill.

It’s okay to wander When you’re in this imaginative state, it doesn’t matter if you veer off topic at this stage; the main thing is to get the creative juices going. You can edit or even delete later. Building for the future Jot down things that come to you, that you see, or smell or touch in that writer’s notebook you carry around with you and you’ll soon have created quite a collection of nudges and prompts to draw on whenever you need them.

! Happy writing

Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available as an ebook and paperback. Her ninth book in the Roma Nova thriller series, NEXUS, came out last September.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 13

Home and Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers ‘September’

by Helen Hunt Jackson


s I write this, a canicule (heatwave) has been declared in our area and it is set to continue for at least another week. The temperatures have been well into the thirties and there is no sign of rain….in fact we haven’t had any for about five weeks now. The récupérateurs are full, but I’m saving that water against the eventual inevitability of a hosepipe ban. I have a garden in front of the house and one at the back, and I have to make a decision as to which gets the most irrigation, so, I am moving all the plants in pots to the back where they will benefit from more regular watering…the plants in the ground will have to find their own, which they always seem to manage to do. Because of the number of plants I have in pots and containers, watering them all takes the best part of two hours, if each is to get what it needs. I have just bought a watering system which consists of 45 metres of narrow gauge flexible pipe, with numerous connectors for individual pots, and misters and hose connectors etc.…….! It all looks like something from a Blue Peter craft session and the instructions are, of course, in many languages and small print. I have left the pipe outside to

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If you are like me, watering also includes deadheading, pest detection and just having a closer look at how things are growing. It is quite an absorbing and relaxing activity and gets me off my knees for a while. A hosepipe ban will ultimately mean sacrificing some flowers that will have to be removed in order to save whole plants if the drought continues for too long, but at least that way, the plant will survive and will still be here next year. The leaves on the hostas turn to paper in the heat and crumble to nothing, even if they are in the shade, but I try to create a damp atmosphere around them by misting the leaves and flowers, and then feed them well and water directly into the roots. There have been snail attacks, but they are not keen on the heat either, so that menace has diminished slightly. It’s amazing to see the recovery rate of plants which can seem dead one day, and with a bit of TLC can bounce back with renewed vigour the next. The lilies have finished flowering and have been superb this year, and each stem is now producing bulbils in the leaf axils which I’ll be collecting and sowing later. I managed to buy some shrivelled dahlia tubers at 50 centimes a bag, planted them up and they have produced enormous plants with huge flowers on each stem, which is a bonus. The hedychiums have been split and made five large flowerpots full of new plants and they are flowering well…a bit like canna lilies in form, but taller and more graceful; they are really easy to look after and very hardy and add a tropical look to a corner of the garden with their huge leaves. You need a strong kitchen knife or small tree saw to split the rhizomes as they are really tough, but they recover well if the ‘surgery’ is not very tidy!

Oh golden month! How high thy gold is heaped! The yellow birch leaves shine like bright coins strung On wands; the chestnut’s yellow pennons tongue To every wind its’ harvest challenge. Steeped in yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped; And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped The purple grape,-last thing to ripen, late By very reason of its precious cost. Oh heart, remember, vintages are lost If grapes do not for freezing night dews wait. Think, while thou sunnest thyself in Joy’s estate, Mayhap thou canst not ripen without frost!

warm up as I’m sure it’ll be easier to connect the more supple it is….I’ll let you know how I get on. Joking apart, I’m sure it’ll save me time and precious water, and make everything more efficient.

I have been fortunate to receive various nesting boxes and insect hotels for birthday and Christmas presents during the last couple of years and at last there has been an opportunity to attach them to various walls around the garden. Some insects have taken up residence already and I’m hoping they will provide winter accommodation for a wide variety. The wrens that nested at the edge of our kitchen window have fledged and long gone. It was delightful to watch the nest building then the forays out for food. They are so tiny but beautiful to see close up. The humming bird moths are everywhere in the garden with their really furry bodies and very long proboscis, they are easy to spot and watch. I think that this has been one of the best years for insect and bird life generally…perhaps because of COVID-19, there has been less pollution and they have all had a chance to breed and feed more successfully. It was with joy that I noted that a plant fair was advertised in ‘The DSM’ last month. At last, a bit more normality. It is in the first week in October in Bressuire ... and it’s a good one! I am searching the web all the time for any others that may be taking place, but have found nothing else so far. Hopefully the virus will have abated a bit more by October and there will be more opportunities for organisers to plan something. I can’t believe that just a couple of weeks ago I could still work outside after ten o’clock in the evening, now it is getting quite dark by 9.30pm and sometimes I’m watering with a torch. Time and the season are

moving along, as they inevitably do, but there will always be something of interest to do outside. I don’t like the phrase ‘the nights are drawing in’, because it means that we will be losing those lovely, long, days and evenings outside……especially this year when we’ve had so many more hours during which we’ve had to stay at home!

Now is the time to: • September is a good time to take semi-ripe cuttings, the stems have usually changed from green to light brown and they are still very flexible. Good plants to use for this purpose are hebes, heathers, viburnums, fuchsias, penstemons, verbena, helichrysum and salvias. Some of these are reliably hardy during our winters, but just in case we have a harsher one than usual, take cuttings now as an ‘insurance’ policy…and in any case they will be plants for free! • Continue deadheading late summer flowering perennials such as dahlias, penstemons and some roses, in order to keep their flowers coming. • Camellias and rhododendrons need to be watered regularly to ensure good bud formation for blooms next year. • Prune wisteria if it hasn’t been done already. Long whippy growths will have appeared and these need cutting back to a main stem to stop them sapping the plants energy. • Trim flower heads off lavender. Foliage doesn’t need to be trimmed and don’t cut back into woody stems as they don’t recover. • Divide herbaceous perennials, plant them up and water well; this will ensure continued vigorous, healthy growth and will increase your stock for next year. • Continue to feed and deadhead containers and hanging baskets to prolong their flowering season. • Prune climbing, rambling and bush roses unless they are repeat flowerers, in which case this can be done later in the year. • Relocate self-seeded biennials such as foxgloves and teasels if they are growing in the wrong place. I always seem to have lots that grow in all my pots with the hostas, so I tip the pot out, remove the foxglove plants and pop the hostas back in. • Leave the heads on mophead or lacecap hydrangeas after flowering, as the blooms offer winter frost protection to tender new buds forming below them. Instead, prune the heads off in early to mid -spring. • Control powdery mildew on plants by removing and destroying infected leaves and watering regularly to reduce stress on the plant….. in this way a fungicide maybe unnecessary. • If you have sown a wild flower meadow, strip or bed, and the grass there is growing vigorously, sow yellow rattle as it suppresses this vigour and the wild flowers will have a better chance of establishing. Mow these areas in the autumn and scarify well enough to be able to see bare earth and you are ready then to sow seed. • Some tall stemmed perennials can be left without being cut down in the border or bed, to provide winter shelter for insects. Good examples

of these could include eryngium, echinacea and solidago which also provide winter food for birds. • Propagate roses by taking hardwood cuttings of this years’ shoots. Remove the tip using a sloping cut just below a leaf node (this allows rain water to drain off easily and helps to prevent rotting), cut the stems into lengths of about 15-30 cms. Make a shallow slit trench in a spare part of a flower bed, or they can be put around the edge of a deep flower pot, and insert the cuttings so that two thirds are below the soil surface. Firm them in and water. Now, patience is required! Leave them undisturbed for a year and they will have grown strong roots by then. Each cutting can then be planted up in individual pots and grown on until big enough to become part of the flower bed. • Pinch out tips on cordon tomato plants to concentrate energy into fruit production. • Help pumpkins to ripen by removing leaves that may be shading the fruits. Lay wood or cardboard underneath each fruit to prevent it from touching the ground and going rotten. • Pot up mint, parsley and basil and bring them into the kitchen to be nearer your cooking area. • Cover brassicas with netting to prevent pigeon damage to the leaves. • Cut bean and pea plants back to ground level when they have finished cropping. Leave the roots in the soil as they will continue to add nitrogen as they break down, enriching the soil as they do so. • Remove the remains of old crops that are finished and weed the beds, leaving everything clean and tidy for another sowing. Sow a green manure on any empty bed and dig it in when it has finished growing. • Harvest raspberry fruits. Cut out old, brown, fruiting canes leaving green canes to fruit next year. • Pull off or cut off the foliage of potato plants at ground level three weeks before lifting the potatoes. This will prevent blight spores infecting the crop and helps the skins of each potato to become firm and dry. Leave the potatoes in a dark place to dry properly. When dry, store them in hessian sacks or paper bags….not in plastic. Potatoes left in the light will go green, making them toxic for us to eat. • Place nets over ponds to catch leaves and other debris before it can pollute the water. • Tidy up strawberry plants, clearing away any plant debris and weeds, to prevent pests and disease coming in during winter. Pot up strawberry runners to make new plants for next year. • Harvest apples and pears, keeping the fruits separate and not touching each other. This helps to prevent mould developing and spreading. Store in a cool, dry place. Remove any rotting fruit from trees to prevent the spread of fungal diseases. • Keep greenhouse plants watered, leaving the door open during the day so that the air can circulate and the atmosphere will be dry by nightfall. Residual dampness can lead to botrytis infections on the plants. Close the door later in the evening and the warmth will encourage plants to keep fruiting/flowering.

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• Clean out cold frames and empty greenhouses ready for autumn planting and sowing. • Plant spring flowering bulbs…daffodils, narcissi, crocus etc. research the internet for new varieties to try. • Plant or move conifers before the colder days arrive. • Spike and top dress the grass with sandy, gritty soil to improve the drainage. • Shrubs like rhododendrons can be layered to make new plants. Take a healthy, low shoot, about 10cm from the tip of the stem. Don’t cut it off. Make a shallow indentation in the soil and add some grit and compost. Make a shallow, downward wound in the stem of the shoot….make the wound open. Place the stem with the wound into the indentation and peg it into place and cover it with compost. It is still connected to the parent plant. Firm in and water it well. Mark the spot with a stone or a label and leave it. By next summer, good roots will have formed and the shoot can be separated and planted where you want it to be. • Now is the time to plant asparagus, spring cabbage, sprouting broccoli and onion sets. • Sow hardy annuals for a colourful display next summer. • Mow long grass under fruit trees, so that windfalls are easier to spot. • Keep an eye out for peach leaf curl which can develop on fruit trees in wet conditions. Hang a net bag full of fresh empty egg shells in each tree…..this works wonders in deterring this fungus! • Take hardwood cuttings from black and red currants, figs and gooseberries, to increase stock for next year • Harvest sweet corn when the cobs are plump and ready. Test for ripeness by squashing a kernel……if a milky juice comes out, they are ready!

Enjoy your outside space however big or small, keep busy and the time will go quickly. Wear a hat outside and plaster on the sun cream and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Stay safe … and wear your masks!!


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’ve had a busy month in the potager tending the straw bales, not that they need a lot of care, harvesting and making new beds using another method. The care I have given the bales is watering every day, where it has been so hot, and giving all the bales a liquid feed fortnightly. They are also supposed to have a top feed monthly which I’ve only done a couple of times but everything seems happy so please don’t tell the straw bale garden police. While I love straw bales for some things, I always have a niggling to experiment and no dig beds caught my eye. Charles Dowding, a market gardener in Somerset, started experimenting in the early 1980s and is the guru of no dig gardening. A very simple concept and one close to my heart – digging is bad for the soil! Basically, the surface is left untouched (no digging or using the tool from the devil, the rotovator), it is covered with a layer of cardboard to suppress the weeds and a mulch of 10 to 15cm is put on top. The mulch can be compost, well rotted manure, exhausted mushroom compost… For those of you have moved recently, keep your cardboard boxes, they come in useful in the garden! I was at the déchèterie and a chap was getting rid of some huge cardboard sheets and was quite amused when I asked if I could have some. He offered me the van full but I just wanted this big, big piece. I now have a cardboard fetish… As usual, I digress. Cardboard is easy to find, the next step was finding the quantity of mulch I needed without breaking the bank. Karma played a hand in that, well, Leboncoin, again. In the next village was a chap selling 500kg of well rotted horse manure for 5€. Rendezvous made, and off we went with the trailer. Five times. I am now pretty good at emptying a trailer full of horse manure, having made five no dig beds, mulched the rhubarb bed and the artichoke bed.


The bales are producing well this year and I am especially pleased with the squashes. I am growing butternuts and at the last count, had twelve squashes forming on three plants. The other winter squash I am growing this year is a Blue Hubbard squash – chosen because I liked the name and description!

This had us scratching our heads for a while, no one could identify it so I contacted Thompson & Morgan, the suppliers, who identified it as a Winter Squash Potato! They can be baked, roasted, added to soups and the flesh, when mashed, looks like mashed potato. Another squash that will store well, which is good as there are a lot on the vine. The cucumbers are doing well as well. I might have grown too many plants though as my life is pickling cucumber spears, slices, chunks… tomorrow it will be relish. Yesterday, a chilled soup and the chickens are enjoying at least one cucumber a day! The tomatoes are just starting to ripen then the dehydrator will be working overtime as one of my great loves is tomatoes partially dried Winter Squash Potatoes and marinated in garlicky, herb oil. Harvesting is now almost a daily job. Beans miraculously appear overnight it seems and the courgette or cornichon that was smaller than my little toe yesterday, will suddenly feed the entire village! As for the cucumbers, I harvested sixteen yesterday and noticed today that more will be ready in a couple of days. Just as well we love pickles!! I haven’t planted many flowers this year, mainly nasturtiums with a few marigolds, but the nasturtiums have gone mad. Last year, they were rather restrained but this year, they are a riot of colour and great for attracting pollinators. The seed pods are being pickled as they make fantastic substitute for capers, the leaves are being used in salads and pesto and I intend to make a spicy nasturtium oil. Seeds will also be saved for next year. That’s it for this month! Join me next month and I’ll share my tomato plans with you and let you know how the loofahs are doing.

All photographs by Donna Palframan

One of the attractions of no dig beds is the fact they can be used immediately, so of course I filled the first ones very quickly. The celery seedling which had been sitting in a seed tray went in – very late – but they’ve picked up well. Another attraction is weeding, or lack of weeding! I’ve had some annuals come through which have been pulled very quickly but the thistles in my potager are the bane of my life. The gardener before me used a rotovator and when I took over the potager a friend offered me the use of his rotovator. BIG mistake. It chops the roots of thistles and nettles into little bits, each of which then becomes a new plant, which can then flower which is great for insects but then produces what feels like a million seeds and of course, grows into a million thistles – you can see why I think it is the tool of the devil. Now I pull each sprouting thistle when it is tiny which will weaken the root and eventually, no more thistles. Annuals are easy, a quick hoe and the sun, especially at the moment will frazzle them almost instantly.

Again, I have three plants but only one squash per plant which isn’t a problem as they can grow to immense proportions, ranging from 10 to 80kg! They are good for storing, like butternuts. The courgettes have proved to be interesting. I grew my plants from a packet of All Green Bush courgette seeds and while five of them were, well, what I expected, the sixth Blue Hubbard Squash plant produced white fruits.

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When ‘non’ means NO!


Look what I found in my ‘shed’ I think almost everyone has a ‘shed’, even if it is a spare bedroom, an attic, a cellar or some other glory-hole into which once precious items find their way when we are done with them.

by Kevin and Amanda Baughen

eekeepers, no doubt similar to farmers and gardeners, are also amateur weather-watchers, as so much of bee behaviour is linked to the climate. All year round we keep an eye on temperatures and conditions; in winter we assess if we need to add more insulation to the hives if there’s going to be a cold snap. Or if, as is increasingly the case, the weather is mild and damp, we have to take steps to keep the colonies dry. Similarly, when the days are warmer, we take care to provide shade and saucers of water to help the bees through heat-waves. In late summer the bees are extremely busy as they know that winter is approaching (even though the temperatures are regularly above 30°c!) and they need to build up their stores of honey. We tend to leave our colonies alone at this time of year as they’re not best-pleased with us for interrupting their hectic schedules. Being honest, this break in activity is actually welcome as being in a bee-suit on a hot day with an increased risk of being stung is not high on our list of things to look forward to! We can tell a lot about what is going on inside a hive just from observing the activity at the entrance. Lots of pollen going in means the queen is still laying and there are plenty of baby bees to feed. However, typically in late summer, the bees are collecting nectar to turn into honey. In front of the hive the air will be humming with the sound of thousands of foraging bees flying back and forth. Heathrow at its busiest never sees this much air traffic! The bees’ irritation at our presence at their hives is usually wellfounded as we are often there to harvest the surplus honey they have worked hard to create. We don’t take their annoyance personally, though, as they seem to take umbrage at anything that bothers them. The little lizards that frequently run around under the hive stands have learned to stay away from the entrances. Some other creatures would do well to learn the same lesson. While Asian hornets continue to be a nuisance, our bees appear to have worked out what to do about the few European hornets that have been chancing their arm, so to speak. We watched in amazement as the guard bees from one hive flew out to tackle a hornet that was hovering too close to the entrance. The foragers continued to fly in and out of the hive while the other bees dropped the hornet to the ground and proceeded to wrestle with it. The fight ended with the hornet suffering a fatal blow, a sting right between the eyes. The bees’ message was loud and clear – “NON!”

For more information on the beekeeping courses offered by Kevin and Amanda at 13 Bees, please visit or telephone 05 45 71 22 90

It was always my intention to minimise the ‘shed’ as part of the move to France - no point in bringing a lot of stuff here that I no longer needed. Time marched on and my good intentions disappeared without trace. Luckily, my new French home had a good selection of outbuildings into which I could safely deposit all my unused paraphernalia. From time to time, when searching for something I actually need, I will come across an item that makes me wonder what on earth I was thinking when I bought it. My tandem is such an item. In my youth, many years ago, I used to ride a bike everywhere. It was really the only form of transport available to me and I loved it. As the years moved on, I cycled less and less until eventually my trusty steed was relegated to ‘the shed’. Some years later, my wife mentioned, in passing, that she had never learned to ride a bike. I took up this perceived challenge with gusto but, despite my best efforts, she could still not ride a bike. Later still, while perusing something or other online, I came across an advert for a second-hand tandem ‘in good condition’. A light bulb went off in my head - this was the solution. My, surely excellent, skill as a cyclist would allow us to overcome my spouse’s lack of training and let us discover a new world of fitness and fresh air. I arranged the purchase of the item and drove the 200 mile round trip to collect it, returning home delighted at the prospect of many miles of happy cycling ahead. What followed had the makings of a 1970s sitcom episode. Two (less than svelte) people, only one of whom could ride a bike and hadn’t done so for about 20 years, get themselves set on a quiet road ready to practise riding a tandem. What could go wrong? Several false starts followed with neither of us having any idea HOW to ride a two-person bike. After much shouting and armwaving, an agreed approach to ‘setting off’ was reached and a ‘proper’ attempt was made. Off we set, slightly wobbly and accompanied by frequent shouts from the front seat of “PEDAL” and “STOP WOBBLING” while the back seat offered mostly “I CAN’T HEAR YOU’ by way of response. After less than 100 metres, the whole thing came to its inevitable end in a, fortunately fairly gentle, forced dismount (aka crash). We tried twice more with no better outcome other than, each time, making a decision to stop JUST before we crashed. Our final attempt ended when the chain came off and I could stand no more of it. I hurt in places I had forgotten I had, I had scuffed knees, bruised elbows and sore arms from trying to balance the front end, and to cap it all my wife was barely speaking to me, nor I to her. Enough was enough. Off to the shed with it to take its place next to my old (one person) bike which I then swore to myself I would make use of more in the future ... just as soon as I was fully healed. Several years have passed. Both contraptions have come with us to France and now live in the French equivalent of ‘my shed’. There they sit, one with a chain still hung lifelessly over the handlebar, with little or no prospect of either ever being used again.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 19

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across 1. Shrewdness shown by keen insight (6) 4. Have an emotional or cognative impact upon (6) 8. A reddish brown dye used especially on hair (5) 9. Liquorice flavour (7) 10. Cause to be slowed down (5) 11. A fundamentalist Islamic militia (7) 12. Woodworker (9) 15. Diameter of a tube or gun barrel (7) 16. A city in north-eastern France to the east of Paris (5) 17. Opposed to (7) 18. Someone employed to conduct others (5)

19. The act of communicating with a deity (6) 20. An elasticised rope (6) Down 2. Small very thin pancake (6) 3. The power to learn or retain knowledge (6-7) 5. Holiday time (7-6) 6. Roman emperor (6) 7. A rampart built around the top of a castle (11) 13. British pork sausage (informal) (6) 14. Basic unit of electric current (6)

With thanks to Rob Berry

DSM Toughie Crossword

With thanks to M.Morris

Down 1. One girl set to be the playwright’s daughter on the stage? (7) Across 1. Saying “Lo! Behold!” is only found 2. German city has very big take on play in rugby? (9) in the theatre? Quite the opposite! 3. Response when shingle scattered (5) 4. Choosing the players by having a go about; language! (7) 4. Is current aria composed to give a with a net? (7) flavour of what is to come? (7, 6) 8. Certainly not any to be found in a 5. A and E transfusion, starting with convent reportedly? (3) 9. Set up reform re. dangers of those overheating, but the ending is cute! (5) working for growth? (9) 6. Frantic efforts to hide diamonds? 10. Peter maybe has no time to (3) become the church leader? (5) 11. Worker riding one over to famous 7. One month losing gold then getting nothing but enthusiasm? (5) merchant? (7) 12. Acting on strange omen, plans 13. A figure of scorn, sadly it lacks are changed to find some lighting? gung-ho! (8, 5) (4, 5) 16. Middle Eastern concoction of volcanic product put on support, but 14. Non-speaking character of justice turns to religion after fluffing lines? lacking carbon? (7) (7) 18. Possible financial outcome to 15. Kind of surgery advocated for attract a sucker? (5) lockjaw? (7) 19. Garage at home to offspring of 16. Offer to include exercise routine talk show host? (9) on two legs? (5) 21. Low result of moderation of 17. Character showing up in the Oxford primaries? (3) 22. One taking little interest in Brigitte storm; to do the washing? (5) 20. Strut formed when cradle is Bardot replacing Zsa Zsa in brilliant shortened? (3) show? (7) 23. Tanner once took selfie with no flash and messed it up! (5)

Brain Gym

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

Q6. Can you work out the well known phrase or saying from the visual clues? b.




Answers on P.25

Q1. What has one head, one foot and four legs? Q2. What is full of holes but still holds water? Q3. I am an odd number. Take away a letter and I become even. What number am I? Q4. A man describes his daughters, saying, “They are all blonde, but two; all brunette but two; and all redheaded but two.” How many daughters does he have? Q5. A man calls his dog from the opposite side of the river. The dog crosses the river without getting wet, and without using a bridge or boat. How?

Gazelles Update

with Helen Tait-Wright

September 2020 Update. With soaring temperatures the order of recent days, we caught up with our intrepid Gazelles to find out if their campaign is hotting up too. Helen & Sue were excited to tell us that since we last met they not only have a new personal sponsor but a team personal trainer too! “I grew up across the road from Katie” says Sue “so it is really wonderful to have her on the team getting us into shape for the rally” Katie Barnes, like Sue, has left New Zealand now, and currently lives in the US, and is best known for her role as personal trainer to none other than Gwen Stefani! “We are extremely lucky to be getting a rockstar workout from Katie” says Helen “it is a particular challenge for me, but we are tackling it as a team and loving each others support” We were also hoping to hear that the girls have secured the deal they have been working on for so long: “Our Principal Sponsor discussions are still ongoing, so there will be more big news to come” assures Sue. Helen adds “July and August are always challenging months to finalise things in, but we will get there!” At the time of writing the news had just broken that the 2020 30th edition of the Rallye des Gazelles has been delayed until March 2021. The girls were feeling disappointed for their fellow Gazelles who have already had to re-organise their schedules once before, but confident that the famous Gazelle spirit will get them through. We left them contemplating revised packing arrangements for the rally kit in Priscilla, a set up that will be used for the upcoming Georgia rally as well as in the Sahara in 2021.

Photo by Antonios Ntoumas


hilst our house has been taken over by pandemic evacuees from New York City, my own immediate family, naturally dogs as well, have happily taken to nomadically moving around to our favourite camping grounds, including staying with various gracious and longsuffering family members. The benefits of a large family (my wife’s) writ large. Which brings me, strangely, to house decorating. We have seen quite a few different interiors recently, different styles, finishes, textures, while we have been out and about summer camping and gratefully observing the efforts of others on the home decor front. My Mom keeps saying, and has for a number of years now, that decorating-wise she must just get on with it. The kit is all there, it is just the superb brushstrokes that are missing. My sister has two kids, forgive me, grown up young women, who are just about to move house having either done the painting and decorating or being just about to get busy with paintbrush and roller. Paint colour charts are a thing of the past, very last week, its moved on, its happening. But my Mom is strangely reluctant to engage in these trips to decorating superstores, and has never once asked for my assistance or advice on decorating matters. My record book was well and truly blotted years ago when I was a student and, although details are now mercifully somewhat vague, the broad brushstrokes are still vivid. One afternoon, in something of a youthful flap, I had called my Mom on my cell phone. I was in London where I had a student pad. I don’t know which country or continent Mom was in, or on, at the time and so over short or long distance, I said ‘Mom, I’ve spilled a container of emulsion paint and it’s all over the carpet on the landing, what shall I do?’ From the phone there came something sounding like a withdrawing of breath, winding up for a scream which was followed by a long pause...... The inconvenient truth was that this carpet was not in our house, or gracing the home of a member of the family, but was my landlady’s carpet, the good lady having gone away for the weekend leaving yours truly in charge of a small paint job....I was helping out! Of all the conversations in all the world you probably don’t want to have over a long, or even short distance, it is one like this with your Mom. To be fair, it was a difficult situation for her too. The upshot being that decorating-wise she has never asked me to ‘play it again, Sam’. I am immune, barred from decorating duties, not consulted on comparison of colours, no difficult large tin or small tin decisions. Such deprivation, such shocking loss of faith, shocking, shocking. Just sayin’.

Expat The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 21

Tour de France


n existence since 1903, this year’s Tour de France (known as ‘Le Tour’) will not be held in July, for the first time since the end of WWII, due to COVID-19 but it seems that even a global pandemic cannot stop it. This year it also passes through our département raising local interest even from non-cycling fans (Stage 11 : 9th September 2020). Initially an advertising gimmick for L’Auto magazine, the original race was a day and night event over 19 days in July with prize money for the winner of the equivalent of six times an average workers annual income. Despite this, only about 80 riders entered and the race was so physically taxing that fewer than 25 were left at the end. Maurice Garin won the 1903 and 1904 races but was disqualified from the latter for cheating. It seems he, and a number of his colleagues, took a train in an alpine stage to secure his victory. After the second tour in 1904, the night-time element of the race was dropped due to competitors being stopped and savagely beaten by rival fans and an unbelievable level of cheating by some competitors during the darker periods when judges were easier to fool. Henri Desgrange, the editor of L’Auto and the man behind the tour, insisted on maintaining the endurance element of the race saying that, in his view, in an ideal world “the winner would be the only rider to reach Paris”. The more modern format, 20-25 days usually with one stage per day, began when the race returned after WWII. Gradual changes were introduced to reduce the potential for underhand practices and to allow the use of more modern materials in the

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

bicycles (e.g. wooden rimmed wheels had been mandatory until 1937). DRUGS Sadly, it isn’t possible to discuss the tour without mentioning doping scandals. In 1967, the leading British rider Tom Simpson collapsed and died during his ascent of Mount Ventoux. The subsequent post-mortem examination found that he had taken amphetamine and alcohol, a combination which proved fatal when combined with the heat, the hard climb and a stomach complaint which he had been encouraged by his management to ignore. After Simpson’s death, changes were introduced including rest days for the riders, improved dope testing and the previously traditional route of the tour around the frontiers of France was changed to be the current zig-zag across the country. Le Tour probably thought it had hit the peak of doping scandals in 1998 when it became clear to organisers that there was systematic doping by teams. Numerous riders, and even entire teams, were either thrown out, or ‘voluntarily left’, the race midway through. Ironically the next year, 1999, was billed as the ‘Tour of Renewal’ and was won by cancer-survivor Lance Armstrong who went on to win an amazing seven consecutive tours and was lauded as a superman until in 2012 his own doping activities, and the character assassinations he had employed to protect himself, were uncovered. Armstrong was subsequently stripped of all his titles.

LE TOUR ‘INTERESTING FACTS’ • The race alternates between a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction around France • A competitor in Le Tour will burn something like 124,000 calories during the entire race, the equivalent of about 250 cheeseburgers from a well-known fast food outlet. • 12 million spectators line the route each year making it the largest sporting event in the world. The TV audience is estimated at 3.5 billion people. • The 2020 tour will see around 2.3 million euros awarded in prize money • The leader’s jersey is yellow because L’Auto, the newspaper that initiated the tour, was printed on yellow paper. The yellow jersey also includes the letters ‘HD’ on the waist to honour Henri Desgrange, the founder of the tour. • The youngest ever winner of the tour was Henri Cornet who won in 1904. He initially finished fifth but the four riders ahead of him were all disqualified for using a train to climb one of the mountain stages. • The tour covers approximately 3,500km which is about the same as travelling from Manchester (UK) to Istanbul (Turkey).

WHEELS OF PRIDE a poem by S J Gungum

As a young boy with the wind in his hair, He would ride his bike with agility and flair. “I will be there with them, one day,” he swore, Watching and cheering them speed past in awe. Observing them train to the very extreme, Working so hard and building a team, Studying carefully each and every race, How they would ride and set the pace. Through towns and villages the peloton glides, The yellow jersey worn out front with pride. Uphill, downhill, flats, and straights, Working as one with their family of teammates. Working together, whilst cycling in line, For twenty-three days the teams now assigned. Over three thousand kilometres designed in sets, Who will win now? Please place your bets. The best sprinter in jersey of green, So fast he goes by - almost unseen. The King of the Mountains in white with red dots, Stamina and courage no place for cramped knots. From 1903 its popularity grew, A race which has been ridden every year but two. A passion for cycling turned into romance, The greatest race of all - The Tour De France

GLOSSARY OF LE TOUR TERMS • The Bonk. Describes the disastrous moment when suddenly there is nothing left in the tank. Legs become as jelly, and to reach the finish line requires enormous will power to keep going to the end. • Bunny-Hop. When a rider causes his bike to leave the ground in an effort to avoid some obstacle on the road (such as a kerb). • Capitaine de route. Typically an older rider within the team who acts as leader on the road, making sure his team riders are working for their stated goal. • Lanterne rouge. The last rider in the General Classification. The term means ‘red light’. There’s no dishonour in being the lanterne rouge. • Musette. From the French for a ‘small basket’. Bag for onthe-race food and drink. Held out by team assistant and grabbed by the riders as they go past. The emptied bag is discarded to become a spectator trophy. • Peloton - This French word simply means ‘group’. It’s also perhaps the most frequently misspelled piece of cycling jargon there is. ‘Peleton’ is not an alternative English spelling of the word, it’s simply a flag that the writer cannot spell.

A detailed route of the Deux-Sèvres stages can be found on our back page. For more information, go to the official Le Tour website at

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 23

Health, Beauty and Fitness Everyday Yoga for Everyone WHEN THINGS FALL APART


by Rebecca Novick

ometimes life hits us like a ten ton lorry. It’s those big, out of control events for which we can never truly prepare, the news of a terminal illness, the loss of someone close to us, the end of a dream. The world carries on, but somehow we don’t seem to be part of it. We might stop taking care of ourselves as much, feeling disinclined to expand our horizons. At such times, we need to conserve our energy. We might have to disappoint some people, we might have to say ‘no’ more than we’re used to. At such times, we might feel like we are not ourselves, that we are out of sorts and this is really true, because every loss changes us a little, and some change us in ways we can hardly imagine. What I have learned from yoga is to respect these phases, and allow them to be, to trust the internal sense that sends us to bed early or cancels the dinner party. There is a respect due to the changes we experience, and a wisdom that comes from it all that is not us but is somehow part of who we are. The great Indian sage, Maharaj Nisargadatta said that the difference between suffering and not suffering is acceptance. But this acceptance rarely just comes like a sudden flash of insight. More often than not it is an arduous journey that takes us through intense turmoil, deep sadness and pain. And it takes its bittersweet time. The truth of the passage to acceptance comes to us all differently. There is no hard timetable. No way to speed it up, and no way around it. Each step is necessary, each small effort, and each collapse and each rise. When things fall apart in our lives, it is natural to want to try to pull it back together again the way it was, even as we know it is impossible. Something has unravelled, and we have unravelled with it. All we can do is to stay with the ‘falling’, to feel it, to let it move in us, to humble us, to understand that this is the human condition shared by all, and to be grateful for the gestures of friendship and love that come our way. It is tempting to distract ourselves, to try to numb the pain, but this only offers temporary solace. We make the journey through by giving the best of our attention, however frazzled and stumbling. Nisargadatta again: ‘The moment we become aware of the fragility of our condition, we are already alert.’ For more information email Rebecca at watch her YouTube channel at or follow her on

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

Our Furry Friends hope association charity shops helping animals in need

café • bric à brac • books dvds & cds • clothes • furniture

hope 79 • sauzé-vaussais

17 route de civray 79190 sauzé-vaussais open every thursday & 1st sunday of each month, 10am - 4pm

@ • Good quality donations of clothes, books and bric-à-brac are always welcome • • N°RNA W792002789


Piper Seven year old Piper was abandoned by travellers and is now looking for the home every dog deserves. He’s a gentle retriever x, who is a little nervous around other dogs at the moment, but we are still getting to know him. Available for foster or adoption through Association En Route

The Association En Route tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email:

Visit the website:

This three years old, 25kg, cross griffon has spent all her life in the refuge where she was born. She is a timid and loving dog who will need patient and caring people to let her grow in confidence. She is a sweet girl who loves dogs, cats and children and no one could fault her, She is also house trained and good on lead. Actually fostered in department 79 near Cholet, she is seeking her family for life. Lissa is micro-chipped, vaccinated and neutered. Adoption fee 250€

The Assocation Orfée tel: 09 77 48 71 43 or by email:

TAKE A BREAK - SOLUTIONS - P.20 Easy Crossword: Across: 1. acumen 4. affect 8. henna 9. aniseed 10. delay 11. taliban 12. carpenter 15. calibre 16. reims 17. against 18. usher 19. prayer 20, bungee Down: 2. crepes 3. mental ability 5. festive season 6. caesar 7. battlements 13. banger 14. ampere Toughie Crossword: This month’s theme : Shakespeare. Across: 1. globe 4. casting 8. nun 9. gardeners 10. rabbi 11. antonio 13. laughing stock 16. baklava 18. lolly 19. parkinson 21. moo 22. dabbler 23. elsie Down: 1. goneril 2. osnabruck 3. english 4. curtain raiser 5. sweet 6. ice 7. gusto 12. neon lamps 14. silence 15. keyhole 16. biped 17. ariel 20. rib

Misty and Blue Misty and Blue and available for reservation. They have started their vaccinations but will not be ready to be rehomed until September. Contact us either via Facebook or email Or visit us on Wednesdays between 11am - 4pm if you are interested in adoptions.

Brain Gym: 1. A bed. 2. A sponge. 3. Seven. 4. Three. One blonde, one brunette and one redhead. 5. The river was frozen. 6a. Afternoon Tea 6b. Money for nothing Number of cartoon bikes in the magazine : 20

contact ‘The DSM’

Call Tony or Lynne on 07 68 35 45 18 Monday - Friday

Le Beaupuits79200, 79200Saint-Germain-de-Longue-Chaume St Germain de Longue Chaume Le Grand Grand Beaupuits, on the D19.Association Open every Wednesday from 11am - 4pm. number W793001884. Cafe and shop plus lots of cats

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 25

Spotlight by Howard Needs Death and Hell The meeting of The Three Living and the Three Dead


he tale of The Three Living and the Three Dead (Les trois morts et les trois vifs in French) originates in the Middle Ages and can be found in manuscripts and in church wall paintings in France and other European countries. It is a part of Catholic church culture and tradition. In the traditional version, three young men out hunting – noble, richly dressed, and carefree – meet three skeletons representing death. Sometimes there is an accompanying text, but usually the viewer is supposed to know the underlying thought: “You will become what we are now; we were as you are now”. Life is ephemeral. Death is inevitable. Distribution There are 92 examples in France of the tale of The Three Living and the Three Dead. The ones closest to us in the Deux-Sèvres are in the Vienne (two in the church and the one in a private house in Antigny, one in a chapel in Jouhet) and the Indre (one in the church in Prissac). Most churches have only one of the three ‘similar’ themes traditionally represented in churches (the other two being the Seven Deadly Sins and the Procession of the Damned). In some churches, the representation of The Three Living and the Three Dead of an earlier date may have been replaced by another theme. The high period of the theme of The Three Living and the Three Dead in France was the late 15th century, in the north-central part of the country. The distribution of these paintings in France is far from even, and there is a concentration in the departments of Mayenne, Sarthe, Loir et Chère, Eure et Loir, and Yonne. Other areas, including the west coast, have no or only sporadic examples of these paintings.

Vienne, Antigny, Église Notre-Dame, Nave, 14th century. The scene is filled with large-flowered vegetation. In the upper left and right, the remains of faces can be seen. Two of the horses are visible, as are the riders’ feet, in stirrups. The skeletons are depicted face-on and very two-dimensional. There is no cross or other symbol separating the two groups.

Significance The tale of The Three Living and the Three Dead, together with that of The Procession of the Damned and The Seven Deadly Sins, was an eloquent reminder for the people of those times of the inevitability of death and the consequences of a less-than-moral life. The tale is not clearly coupled to the waves of epidemics that Europe suffered in those days, and I suppose that there was sufficient mortality due to disease, warfare, and a general disregard for human life and welfare, for death to be a daily looming presence. Each church tells the tale differently, and each figure has its own movement, position of the hands, expression, and so forth. The three living, mostly shown on horseback, are sometimes accompanied by dogs or falcon. They represent chivalric moral and religious ideas. Here in France, a cross separates them from the dead. But in Sardinia, I have seen a St. Peter between the young men and the skeletons. Both represent a choice of morals and thus of destiny for the living. The three dead are usually represented as skeletons or near-skeletal cadavers standing together, looking past the cross towards the living. In early paintings, the dead do not have anything in their hands, but in later paintings, they can be seen holding a spade – the tool of the grave digger – bow, or lance. The Sardinian painting I saw showed the dead in their coffins, and other French examples also see them associated with graves. The figures, however, are not menacing; they are there to provoke thought and contemplation on the part of the observer. This is in contrast with the other two themes, of The Procession of the Damned and The Seven Deadly Sins, which definitely show the fate of the transgressor.

Vienne, Antigny, Église Notre-Dame, side chapel St-Catherine, end 15th century. Three horsemen out hunting with falcon and dogs. The first two have halted their steeds, and the first one holds his hands up in dismay whilst the last may be praying. The three corpses are gesturing towards the hunters and are covered with worms, depicting decay; they carry a scythe, a spade, and an axe. A cross separates the two groups. The text underneath tells in short form the tale of The Three Living and the Three Dead.

Vienne, Jouhet, Chapelle Funéraire, St-Catherine, 15th century. Left: Three horsemen out hunting with dogs and a falcon. One has turned his horse, and the other two are reining their horses in; all three are looking towards the dead. Right: Three skeletons rising from their coffins. Two are gesturing towards the three living. The cross of salvation or judgement separates the two groups. The last skeleton has a shroud over its shoulders.

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

Photos by Howard Needs



ere are a few more designs to continue your sampler. Remember the positioning of these squares is completely up to you. Once you have completed your chosen design here are some instructions for mounting it on a greetings card.

by Lynne Wigmore Pattern A

There are generally two styles of card available as ‘blanks’, those with an aperture (hole) and those without. If you have never done this before, I suggest you first practice WITHOUT using sticky tape. For a non-aperture card. Trim the aida to a border of 3 blocks around the stitching. Then fray one row around all edges with either a needle or tweezers. Cut a piece of paper that matches the colour of the aida to a size slightly smaller than the fabric and stick to the reverse with double-sided sticky tape. It should cover the stitching but not the frayed border. If you want to use a border of patterned paper, cut your chosen paper to approximately 1-2 cm greater, on every side, than your sewing then attach to the card using double-sided tape. Finally, use more tape to secure your sewing to the card (centred on the border paper if that is what you have chosen). Try adding ribbon, bows or buttons to add that final personal touch.

Pattern B

For a card with aperture These cards are generally formed of three panels, the centre panel containing an aperture (hole) through which your design will be visible in the finished piece. Measure the aperture and then cut out your stitching slightly larger with a minimum 1cm border. If you want the design to be placed off centre into the aperture then bear that in mind before cutting. Stick strips of double-sided tape around the aperture on the reverse side of the card, as close to the edge as possible. Lay your stitching face-up and position the card above your stitching, with the aperture framing the design, moving the card gently until you are happy with the finished look. Then stick into position. Turn the card over so that your sewing is now face down. If your pattern is NOT symmetrical then you need to think carefully about which way the final card will open. You will need a piece of paper roughly the same colour as your aida and cut to be approximately 1cm larger on each side thank your sewing. This will act as a backing paper to stop the colour of the card showing through your finished work. To fix the paper, apply double-sided tape around the edge of your aida and then press the paper down onto it. Next, attach strips of double-sided tape to the left-hand flap of the card then fold over the flap to conceal the back of the stitching. Top Tips Iron your finished work before mounting on a card. Iron on the reverse and slightly dampen the aida if there are stubborn creases. Don’t carry dark colours across unworked squares as they may show through to the front of the fabric.

Happy sewing .... Lynne

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020| 27

Motoring Servicing

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FIND the CHEAPEST FUEL prices in your area. This government run website provides comparative petrol and diesel prices in all areas of France. Just simply select your department from the map, and voilà!

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

Looking for an English speaking business in France? Find one on

Is Overlanding the Future of Foreign Travel? by Helen Tait-Wright


n the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is much discussion about safe means of travel, and it makes me wonder if there will be a return to overland travel rather than air travel to get around the world.

Do you have ‘high vis’ jackets and a warning triangle with you? What about warm clothing if you are travelling in the colder months. Make sure you have a torch; sods law says you will breakdown at night !

Technically ‘overlanding’ describes self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal, while ‘expedition’ is defined as a journey with a purpose.

None of us want to be in this situation, but it can happen.

In this context though, overlanding also describes any land journey that crosses country borders, and even a journey from the UK to France or Spain comes into that category. You may decide to do your trip on the larger roads and motorways, or search out the lesser known routes. View from Priscilla, Sahara 2019

Personally, I find this idea exciting, which is a good thing really, as at the end of September Chris and I will be setting off to drive over 4500 km to Tbilisi in Georgia.

For this trip, we have an ultimate goal (and so our trip could really be classed as an expedition) as Tbilisi is the starting point for the Rally Adventure Georgia, in which we will be competing, but we are so excited about seeing lots of new countries and places along the way, and this, I think, is the joy of overlanding. Of course, we will be making the trip in Priscilla, our Defender 110, and a Land Rover is a long established favourite for overlanding and expedition, but there are some sensible preparations to take whatever vehicle you decide to drive, and wherever you plan on going for your overland adventure. Being prepared counts for a lot. Check your vehicle over before travel. This means a full health check, not just topping up water and oil. It is going to make your trip much more challenging if you end up broken down by the side of the road in a foreign country. Of course even the most rigorous check can’t prevent this entirely, but you would feel a bit silly if a tyre blew because it was damaged before leaving and you had not checked it. Make sure your spare is serviceable. Anything part worn like brake pads that are getting thin, or tyres with only a couple of mm left on the tread, should be replaced. Take some basic tools. Check your windscreen wiper blades. If you decide to go old style and take something like a Land Rover Defender, there are many joints to grease, and remember to take oils and other fluids with you. Things do get more tricky with modern cars which rely on ECU’s and need a computer to fix, but basically do all you can to minimise your risks. Think about what you might need if you get stranded. Drinking water is a must, but consider also a basic medical kit, and of course include anything specific to you. Healthy nonperishable food as well would be a good idea.

Plan ahead and take a map. Having a route planned is of course very sensible We all know how good GPS mapping and satnav systems are, but what if you have lost connectivity or power, or a road you end up on isn’t on your system? A paper map will give you an overview of your trip and is always there as a back up, just in case. Portable power packs and chargers for your phones etc are also sensible. Do you need Visas to cross any country borders? Also think about where you will stop if your trip will take more than one day. If you plan to kip in the car overnight, do you have your toothbrush etc to hand for the morning? Take a blanket or sleeping bag. Take a loo roll and wet wipes! If you are planning a long trip, perhaps you are camping, or maybe you need to factor in hotel stops, in which case it may be wise to book in advance. Find out a little about the countries you will be passing through. Some local currency will be useful, and if you can get it in advance, do so. You may end up far from a cash machine. A phrase book can also get you out of a tricky situation, even if it’s only to ask if there is anyone who speaks English !!! Any local knowledge will help you to enjoy your trip, and make sure you do stop to experience the places you are passing through. Lastly, that all important road trip sound track should not be overlooked! There are many, many, countries that are accessible by car from France and, although it will take longer to arrive than hopping on a plane, you will have a much bigger adventure! Our journey will take us through France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey before we reach Georgia, but you could carry on and go as far as Singapore.

Helen and Priscilla.

Now THAT would be an adventure !!!! Maybe next time ….

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020| 29

Food and Drink


Quick Thoughts on Slow Tourism

t’s in the cauldron of catastrophe that language gets mauled and moulded into cliché. ‘Blood, sweat and tears’, ‘I have a dream’, ‘Et tu Brute?’, ‘Once more into the breach, dear friends’. Such expressions, and many more of their ilk, all still touch us, have a clang which resonates. What’s the best we can do these days? ‘Self isolation’, ‘social distancing’, ‘…and you can see that the R-value…’, ‘clap for heroes’. Officialese trumps passion every time in our brave new world. But my personal bugaboo is ‘the new normal’. The new normal, it would seem in the boggle-eyes of a visitor from Mars, is the blind, bland acceptance of societal fracture and corporate readjustment leading to mass unemployment (but enhanced shareholder benefit – yay!) under cover of a bug. The new normal. The new normal. You hear that whirring sound? That would be George Orwell spinning in his grave. Gosh, I feel better now. And in my quietude, after my disgruntlement at the continuing degradation in the language used to express real emotions – even real things – I have to admit the times they are a’changin’. As a tour operator based in France all my trips this year have had to be cancelled, and there have been no enquiries for 2021, although my contacts in the States are hoping for the best, and this would be early days anyway for such future planning. But, relatively short-term inconveniences aside, a fundamental change is in the offing for the way that tourism in general is approached: this applies equally to my particular speciality of wine tourism. But how will this difference manifest itself, and what will it be different from? The nub of the problem has been around since the Garden of Eden but has only recently been distilled into the marvellously succinct acronym FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. We see it with the sweaty hordes on the beach at Southend-on-Sea, and before you even think of calling me elitist, we also see it with the equally sweaty hordes craning for a glimpse of the most overrated picture ever, the Mona Lisa, in the Louvre. This is herd mentality, and in demonstrating it we are really not far removed from Charolais cattle who are stopped in their tracks by nothing more than a piece of twine tied between fence posts. The difference is cows will always be stopped Lighthouse, Galle by a bit of string, but we don’t have to always do things the same way. I’m sure you know what I mean, but I’ll give you two examples just to ram the point home. Scene one: the Old Fort in Galle, south Sri Lanka; an atmospheric ruin battered by the Indian Sea, a place for quiet strolling and meditation. Cue tour bus with camera-toting day trippers. So far so unfortunately predictable. But there’s one guy who takes things to another level: he doesn’t walk quickly between photo ops, nor even jog, he sprints like a David Bailey on speed. Scene two: Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire valley, one of the most beautiful in this region of awesome, fairy tale chateaux. It’s 11am on an August morning and my two clients and I are discovering why this is not the most auspicious time for a 30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

by John Sherwin

Chateau de Chenonceau visit. Elbows are sharpened, ever so politely, as we edge our way from one historical room to another through a mass of humanity. We’re all there to experience the aura of those bygone days, and we’re all, collectively, miserably failing to do so. Those, of course, were pre-Covid days, but I would suggest that even now FOMO is relevant – folks still want to do what other folks are doing. Strange when you think about it. To get back to my own specialist area, it’s entirely reasonable for first-timers to want to visit some of the big names of, say, the Médoc. I wouldn’t want to deny them the excitement I felt when I first travelled up that peninsula and saw, for real, chateaux I had only before seen on labels. But there can be more to a wine trip than that. I have always tried to mix lesser known producers with the big names. This not only gives you a wider context but also exquisite bragging rights when, stifling a yawn, you agree that yeah, sure, Lafite was great, but, and here you lean forward with bright eyes, but Chateau X has the same terroir with super wines at crazy prices. Then you lean back and regret that you gave up cigarettes because now is the perfect time for a smoke ring. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer – Covid is actually helping, as perverse as that might sound. Most vineyards are now back open for visits, but with a strict appointment regime which means you will get a more personalised experience. Visits themselves are socially distanced with mandatory masks and hand sanitisers, and for the tasting element you have your own spittoon which precludes involuntary forehead bashing. This need for appointments also extends to the aforementioned Louvre and many other cultural venues which means that you really do get the frisson you expected. To return to Chenonceau for a moment, I advised another group of clients that we should make the effort to appear bang on opening time, 9am if memory serves. We had the place to ourselves. When we got to the wee office of Catherine de Médicis it was as if she had just popped out for a breath of air and would be back any minute. This was also pre-Covid, but the same principle applies. The principle being planning. Now more than ever planning is key, but pre-arrangement doesn’t, in and of itself, imply that a sense of spontaneity is lost. Just because I know what’s going on (that’s my job after all) doesn’t mean that the client has to lose a sense of wonder. ‘Where are we headed now, John?’ is music to my ears. ‘Over there,’ I’ll say, pointing vaguely, ‘but not too quickly, eh?’

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or

Sixteen Summers in France

by Jacqueline Brown


his time last month I was talking about the laden plum trees that I’d just begun to pick, and with such a variety of trees, I can’t believe it, but I’m still picking and processing plums now. The larger varieties were first, in a mix of reds and yellows, followed by the smaller, darker Damson-like plums. These can be hard and don’t offer much pleasure direct from the tree, but with a bit of effort, halved, stoned and oven-dried, they emerge as miniature jewel-like beauties that will decorate my breakfast porridge all through the winter and remind me of the summer. With the hedgerows full of sloes this year, I’m already planning my next project, sloe gin. We have just celebrated our sixteenth anniversary of moving to France and, bizarrely, the weather pattern in 2004 seems to be mirrored almost exactly this year; a heatwave leading up to the day we signed at the notaires, followed by thunderstorms, rain and unsettled days. It wasn’t what we were expecting for our first summer in France, sitting indoors and entertaining a three-anda-half-year-old with painting and playdough rather than enjoying playing in the garden, and we still feel a bit let down even now. With autumn just around the corner there will be cooler mornings, often with a misty start that warms to a hot day, but with the shorter days the evenings will be fresher. There will be rain and it’s not unusual to have a light frost, that puts paid to any late harvests in the potager. Winter will give us its usual mix of cold, clear days when the sky is a beautiful shade of blue and the sun is warm (through the windows), as well as rain, wind, storms and bitter cold. Spring can be as variable. The storms will persist, the winds and rain battering the new leaves and blossoms that dared to emerge in the warmer, milder days it tempts us with when its feeling kind. Summer is the only season where we have the possibility of real heat for day after day and, I know I am in the minority, but I love it. It warms me to my bones, energises me and charges my batteries. This summer we were lucky enough to escape to the Pyrénées for a short break. We had our masks, hand sanitizer and took all the necessary precautions, but much more effective for social distancing, we had our bikes too. While many choose to go away for a bit of sightseeing, rest and relaxation, that is not really us. We were there to climb mountains on our bikes and fuelled by sunshine and homegrown prunes, climb them we did. In the week we rode three hundred kilometres, ascended nine mountain cols (passes), including the Tour de France classics of Col d’Aubisque and Col du Tourmalet and burned off an extra ten thousand calories. Just as well we discovered the delicious Tourte aux Myrtilles des Pyrénées, a fluted blueberry cake, and the perfect reward at the mountain summit. Email:

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

We post regular updates, things to do and promote special offers on our page, so why not pop over and say “Hello”! thedeuxsevresmonthly

Saugé Vintage Tea Room Château de Saugé One of our secret Saugé recipes especially for the Deux Serves magazine readers. Victoria Sandwich with fresh Berries

Method :

Ingredients : 200g Butter 200g Caster Sugar 4 large eggs 200g SR Flour 1tsp baking powder 3/4tsp vanilla extract Splash of milk if needed.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C Grease 2 x 20cm round baking tins with butter and apply parchment to the bottom. Combine soft butter and sugar add eggs and vanilla essence then slowly add flour and baking powder. If the mixture does not drop from a spoon easily add a drop of milk – mix until fully combined and pour into your lined/buttered pans sharing the mixture equally. Bake for approximately 20/25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Buttercream : Mix 2.5 cups Icing Sugar with 1 cup of soft butter, once combined add 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese and 1 tsp vanilla essence – continue whisking until well combined and smooth. Once the cakes are cool, add Raspberry Jam to the base cake and pipe on the buttercream, top with the second cake and decorate again with buttercream piped into rosettes – pile on lots of fresh berries for the final decoration and serve. Enjoy Donna @ Saugé Vintage Tearoom

Château de Saugé 2 Saugé Saivres 79400

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020| 31

Technology Receiving UK TV in France – what has happened to Humax?


ost of us receive our English television services via a satellite service. The least expensive way is to invest in a Freesat UK TV receiver. Some people also bring their Sky service with them which works well if they invest in a Zone 2 satellite dish, these are just slightly bigger dishes (around 60cm diameter), the reason is simply to collect more of the satellite signal as we are a little bit further from the satellites. Basically, the bigger the dish the stronger the signal and the better quality your picture will be. What is Freesat? A 2007 agreement signed by the BBC and ITV, Freesat is a free to air extra-terrestrial service providing UK television services. It was designed to give access to channels in areas that could not receive TV from normal aerials. Designed to have no charges or contracts, the cost of using the service is simply the cost of the equipment to receive the service. Freesat will continue to provide TV and, I believe, continue to grow adding more channels and providing more HD and UHD content. It is a great service with a long future, easy to use and reliable. 3rd Generation Freesat – What’s new? • The third generation of Freesat receivers has just been launched giving 180 TV channels at least 20 are HD channels plus 37 Radio stations • On demand services, including the BBC iplayer, ITV hub etc plus optional pay and streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. • There is a 7 Day Programme guide and you can now record up to 4 channels at one time. • Watch from Start - Freesat receivers that have recording capabilities have always had the ability to pause live TV. Now using the new ‘Watch from Start’ feature it is possible to watch a programme that has already begun at any time during the live showing. • Remote Recording feature – program your recording from your mobile phone (I believe this is having issues at the time of writing) New Freesat receiver Manufacturer’s

Freesat appointed a new company, Commscope, to develop the 3rd Generation Freesat receivers. Commscope was formerly ARRIS who made some early BskyB receivers marketed as Pace equipment. Pace have provided over one hundred million settop boxes worldwide. The new 2TB box can store up to 1,000 hours of standard definition TV and costs £269.00 from Curry’s. The non-recording receiver is £124.99 from Curry’s and Amazon.

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

by Ross Hendry

Installation of the Service Like Sky the service requires a satellite dish and suitable receiver. In the UK you only need a Zone 1 dish for most of the countrybut on the fringes of the service a Zone 2 dish is required. The satellite that provides the Freesat service is Astra 2E which is nearly 40,000km up in space, there are well over 2,000 active satellites in space so finding the right one can be difficult, I strongly advise you get a professional to install the satellite dish for you. So this explains why new Humax Freesat boxes are very expensive now, far more so than they were last year. It is a shame as they were the best of the Freesat tuners and recorders of the previous generations, being very reliable and relatively easy to use and repair. There is also another manufacturer called Manhattan but they do not seem to have launched a 3rd Generation Freesat device yet and their new Freeview offering is sadly unsuitable for use here in France. Please remember, because of broadcasting rights issues Freesat is meant for UK viewers only so you will not be able to buy them in France or from I am installing a new generation Freesat recorder in the next month and will provide an update on its performance as soon as I have had time to test all of the new features. For more information look at these websites: freesat-launches-third-generation-4k-tv-boxes/ Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 44 years experience in communications, computer technology and direct marketing (see advert below).

Building and Renovation

HANDYMAN A handyman service based in north Deux-Sèvres.

Gardening: cut, trim, strim and manage. Indoor: painting, decorating and cleaning. General: pool and house cleaning, keyholding, caretaking and gite turnarounds. ...and more. Email: facebook: /deuxchevreshandyman Tel: 07 82 74 48 72 (Also WhatsApp) FOR ALL YOUR INDOOR AND OUTDOOR HANDYMAN NEEDS

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 33

Small colour Advert from 35,17â‚Ź

per month

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 35

DÉCHETTERIES Up to date information about opening hours, restrictions, etc for your local déchetterie? Visit the website for details For waste disposal outside of the Deux-Sèvres there’s an alternative website

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 37



by Isabelle Want

ell, let’s face it; none of us want to have to use this insurance as that means we need to use a lawyer and they are worse than insurance or bank people .. excluding me of course. I have actually met lots of people who have this insurance and don’t have a clue what it is for and as it is quite cheap (around 80 euro per year), they don’t bother checking if they really need it or not.

4. How does it work: You should not engage in anything before you tell the insurance company first, otherwise they might not pay. So, you must phone or write to the insurance company first. You should always try to resolve your problems peacefully first. And only if that does not work, then call upon this insurance.

1. What it is: It is an insurance to cover legal fees (lawyers, experts, etc) in case you need them in topics such as: problems with neighbours, boundaries of property, relationships with French tax, with employers, artisans (as long as the work done is below 30 000€ but this can be increased to 300 000€ as an option) , shops, banks, insurances, the state, social workers, public transport, associations, and also to do with buying goods (even on the internet or from a private person such buying a car). Basically, everything to do with your normal life.

Conclusion: Believe me if I say I felt a great relief by knowing I had this insurance when my neighbour renovated part of her house to rent it to someone with a barking dog (yes, my examples are always true) and that the peaceful solution (asking them nicely to deal with it) did not work. I did not have to go to court in the end, but knowing I had it covered, gave me peace of mind. Who hasn’t had problems with EDF or the water company or with buying some goods in the supermarket or internet and wished they could get some help finding out if they could get compensation, and how. This contract can do that for you so don’t hesitate to contact me for any further information on it.

It also offers advice on the preliminaries to trouble. For example, if you have a neighbour with a barking dog (yes, I talk with experience there) you phone the helpline (or with us, come and see us or phone us) and they will explain what to do and in what order: talk to the neighbour, write a letter, write a registered letter, call in an expert to witness the barking dog and finally go to court. The fees of the expert and the legal fees of the court are covered by the policy (see limits below). 2. What it does not cover: Anything to do with work if you are self-employed. Also, you are not covered if you did anything illegal and meant to do so (other than self-defence). So, if you rob a bank or decide to kill your neighbours because of the barking dog, this contract will not cover your legal fees! 3. What are the limits: Like every insurances, there are limits on how much they cover. With the Allianz contract, it is 20 000€ per claim for lawyer fees. You should have got a little booklet called ‘dispositions générales’ and those limits are written in it. It works in France and the European Union and it does not cover claims that happened before you took out the contract. Maximum 5 claims per year.

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

5. How much does it cost: With Allianz it’s around 75.72 euro per year.

And remember to check out all my previous articles on our website (‘practical information’) and register to receive our monthly Newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook: ‘Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterpt’

Don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subjects such as Funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc…

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

Contact Isabelle Want: Tel: 05 45 31 01 61 Mob: 06 17 30 39 11

Email: Visit our website:

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson

Hi Amanda, can you tell me about the process of having a financial review with you?


The DSM - By Numbers

umbers fascinate me. I’m not especially good with them and perhaps that is part of the fascination. This magazine is awash with numbers and I imagine almost nobody ever thinks about them. Well today I hope to change that. These are some of the key numbers involved in the creation of this magazine.

The financial review process is very straightforward and starts with an informal meeting which can be carried out either faceto-face or via ZOOM or a similar video conferencing application.

44 : The number of pages in this magazine.

The aim of the financial review is to allow me to get a clear picture of your current financial situation and priorities, and to answer any questions you might have regarding the differences between French and UK tax, investment and inheritance laws.

23,000 : The approximate number of words in this magazine.

The review also allows me to determine your attitude to investment risk, how long you can put money aside for, whether you need an income from your investment and whether you have sufficient cash reserves to cover both planned expenditure and possible unforeseen expenses. During the financial review I will give you background to Spectrum IFA Group and explain how we are regulated and remunerated. At the end of this first meeting we can also arrange a second appointment where I will provide my report and recommendations based on the information we have discussed. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road show events or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for our reviews, reports or recommendations. Amanda Johnson Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 E-mail: The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

5,000 : The number of copies of this magazine printed each month. 709 : The number of miles (or, if you prefer, 1,134km) travelled in the three days per month of delivering the magazines to the distribution points (and people). 650 : The weight, in kilogrammes, of the 5,000 copies of the August 2020 issue (delivered on one pallet). 1026 : The number of emails sent to organise our first two issues (though in fairness some of those were sent twice thanks to someone’s (Lynne’s) bad typing). 655 : The number of times the August 2020 edition was read online in the first two weeks of August. 66,148 : The number of times The DSM has been read online (all issues). 153 : The number of links (adverts usually) in the August 2020 issue that were clicked-through from the online version in the first two weeks of August.

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

Fantastic magazine - I always look forward to the beginning of the month when the new edition is released - many thanks to the editors and contributors!

Amanda Johnson Tel: 05 49 98 97 46

Wi t h C a r e , Yo u P r o s p e r TSG Insurance Ser vices S.A.R.L. • Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris • R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) « Société de Cour tage d’assurances » « Intermédiaire en opération de Banque et Ser vices de Paiement » Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – « Conseiller en investissements financiers », référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

Support your local artisans and small businesses The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 39

Weigh up the tax costs of UK assets when living in France


n preparation for Brexit, most UK expatriates in France have secured residence or put plans in place to settle before the transition period ends in December. But the planning should not end there, especially if you have assets and investments in the UK. While Brexit itself will not affect the double tax agreements that determine which country has the right to tax expatriates, two key changes are set to happen from 2021 that may affect your tax treatment.

First, UK assets will no longer be EU/European Economic Area assets. In some cases, this means they may stop receiving favourable tax treatment abroad. Second, the UK government will no longer be bound by EU freedom of movement rules for capital, giving them more scope to tax non-residents. UK property The UK has gradually increased the tax burden on property for overseas residents. For example, after years without capital gains tax liability, ‘non-resident capital gains tax’ (NRCGT) started applying to non-UK residents from 2015. From April 2021, non-UK residents face a new 2% stamp duty surcharge when buying property in England and Northern Ireland. UK investments Watch out for situations where non-EU/EEA assets are taxed differently to domestic/EU assets. For example, under French rules some key tax advantages only apply to EU life assurance/assurance-vie policies, so UK equivalents may incur a higher tax bill post-Brexit.

by Catrina Ogilvie, Blevins Franks

Remember that once you are non-UK resident, UK investment products such as ISAs become taxable in France. Explore alternative investment vehicles for French residents that may offer better tax-efficiency as well as potential estate planning and currency benefits. UK personal tax allowances Currently, non-UK residents with a British passport receive the same allowances for income and capital gains tax as UK residents. However, a few years ago the government considered restricting the personal income tax allowance for non-residents; it is possible this could come up again post-Brexit. UK pensions Transferring into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme can provide various advantages for France residents. Transfers to EU/EEAbased QROPS are currently tax-free for EU residents, but there is a 25% ‘overseas transfer charge’ for other transfers. The UK government could easily extend this to EU transfers once no longer bound by the bloc’s rules. If you are considering transferring, take regulated advice now – pensions paperwork is a lengthy process. Another option is to take your fund as cash and re-invest in a tax-efficient arrangement in France, so explore your options. Financial planning should be based around your circumstances, objectives and risk profile, and the decision whether to retain UK assets is no exception. Take personalised, specialist advice to establish what would work best for you today and your family in future. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Limited time left to prepare for Brexit. Talk to us now! Given the present environment we are not running seminars this autumn, but with the Brexit transition period coming to an end, it is really important for people to make the right decisions at the right time – and good advice has arguably never been more needed. We are therefore offering consultations (face-to-face meetings with social distancing, or via video or phone) as well as planning webinars and video links this autumn.

If you would like to make an appointment or register an interest, PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL US.

05 49 75 07 24


I N T E R N AT ION A L TA X A DV IC E • I N V E S T M E N T S • E S TAT E PL A N N I NG • PE NSIONS Blevins Franks Group is represented in France by the following companies: Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) and Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF). BFFM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided outside the UK, via the Insurance Distribution Directive or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, the applicable regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissements Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: 1 rue Pablo Neruda, 33140 Villenave d’Ornon – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA). Blevins Franks Tax Limited provides taxation advice; its advisers are fully qualified tax specialists. This promotion has been approved and issued by BFFM.

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020




Ref : VAS1357 La Chapelle-Saint-Etienne

VSA1234 Amailloux

84 795€

150 000€

Great value 3 bedroom house with bath and shower room, 1600m² garden Net price 79 995€ Agents fees 5.5%

Spacious character house with 3 beds (Part renovated) with 4.5ha of grazing. Net price: 150 000€ 5.5% Agents fees

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 41



by Joanna Leggett


’m pretty sure it was Toad (he of Toad Hall) who, in ‘Wind in the Willows’, said there was ‘nothing half so much worth doing as messing about in boats!’. As I write this article on what promises to be yet another gloriously warm day in Deux-Sèvres, it made me think with longing of floating down the river (preferably with someone manning the oars) while I recline on cushions (wearing a large flower-bedecked straw hat) with a gentle breeze rippling the water as it slips past the boat! To make that particular dream happen you will need easy access to a river. If you should be so lucky as to have a river at the bottom of your garden with a boat or a punt at the ready .. what could be better? We’ve three glorious properties currently listed to perfectly fit this bill. The first (Leggett reference 92571) is on a meander of the river Thouet. Sitting very comfortably at the medieval heart of Thouars is this spacious four bedroom home built on a rise above the riverbank well clear of any flood plain. The far boundary of its large, long garden is a 35 metre stretch of river. Built in the 1980’s the house is spacious and comfortable, double glazed and well insulated with stunning views over a lovely garden or the river from its wide sundrenched terrace. You can easily walk up to the town market through the ancient lanes or simply drive. On the market for €189,000.

Then there’s this simply stunning renovated water mill (101101) close to the bustling town of La Crèche (and Niort) with everything you need to hand. At the end of a small lane you’ll be in your own world when you arrive over its private bridge to this impressive home. It boasts expansive accommodation with five en-suite bedrooms, extensive living areas including a vast party room and all have river views! Beautifully renovated with water on all sides; throw into the mix a stunning garden, heated swimming pool and large gîte and this mouthwatering home is a dream come true – €689,000. Surrounded by verdant countryside on the edge of the Charente Maritime the pretty village of Le Vert surely lives up to its name. Tucked away here in a private location with wooded grounds leading down to the river Boutonne (114340) is this delightful maison bourgeoise. Generously large living spaces abound in the main house with three comfortable bedrooms, the fourth doubles as a study, as well as conservatory are here to tempt. Then there’s the annex with living, dining rooms and two more bedrooms. All is in immaculate order so just move in and start boating €308,160. Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at



€294,250 HAI

Ref. 114408 - Two charming renovated stone properties with a beautiful swimming pool. DPE ongoing - agency fees included: 7% TTC to be paid by the buyer


€66,600 HAI

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST Buying or selling a property? Contact us now!


€172,800 HAI


€147,150 HAI


€328,600 HAI

Ref. 114072 - Glorious Maison-de-Maître, 5+ bedrooms, outbuildings, B&B potential. DPE E - agency fees to be paid by the seller


€31,600 HAI

Ref. 113720 - Great little 2 bedroom house with

Ref. 113103 - Two Charentaise stone houses,

Ref. 113874 - Beautifully maintained and pre-

Ref. 113523 - Old stone house with spiral staircase

attic and full height garage, in a pretty village.

outbuildings, courtyard, garden and land.

sented 3 bedroom village property with pool.

and bread oven, needs renovating but is habitable.

DPE ongoing - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE A - agency fees included: 8% TTC to be paid by the buyer

DPE D - agency fees included: 9% TTC to be paid by the buyer

DPE N/A - agency fees to be paid by the seller

+33 (0)5 53 56 88 48 - -


I love meeting clients and understanding their needs


We’re recruiting property sales agents - if you want the freedom to grow a successful business supported by an award-winning team, contact our recruitment department 00 800 2534 4388 -

Tamasin Wagstaffe, sales agent Deux-Sèvres

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2020 | 43

Stage 11 of the 2020 Tour de France Deux-Sèvres