The Deux-Sèvres Monthly April 2018

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Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:.................................................................................................. Postal Address:........................................................................................... ................................................................................................................... Postcode:..................................... Country:............................................. Tel:.............................................................................................................. Email:.......................................................................................................... Please make cheques payable to ANNA SHAW.

Welcome! to Issue 85 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine...

Well, well, well...this feels very strange! I’m writing this both with excitement and a little sadness. Excitement as I can now announce that I have sold the business - but with sadness, as it’s been a great seven years and I will miss the interaction with you all on a regular basis. But alas, it is time to go...I’m leaving the ‘The DSM’ in the very capable hands of new owners, Anna and Stephen Shaw. I hope you will join me in wishing them all the very best for their French adventure and please do give them the support that you have all given don’t realise how much it means! They have already been working very, very hard to create this, their first issue, and I’m sure you’ll agree, they have done a fabulous job. From me, this isn’t goodbye - just a fond farewell from the publishing role. I’ll continue to live and work in the area and of course, will be advertising my web design services in the best publication around ;-)

Sarah x

We have just undergone a huge change in our lives. Having commuted back and forth to the UK for the last two years we have finally taken the plunge and moved lock, stock and ageing labrador to France. Knowing how essential ‘The DSM’ has been for us (setting up home just outside Parthenay), it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to take over its running from Sarah and we hope we can do it justice. We would like to thank all those involved with the magazine for their support and encouragement. Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 Email: Website:

Emergency Numbers:

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

Stephen & Anna

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents What’s On Getting Out & About Health, Beauty & Fitness Clubs & Associations Our Furry Friends Hobbies Home & Garden Where We Live Communications A-Z of Communes in the Deux Sèvres Food & Drink Take a Break Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie Restaurant & Auberge Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) ARB French Property Arbres et Abeilles Plant Nursery

4 6 11 12 15 16 18 24 28 30 31 34 36 41 45

45 2 39 32 43 37 47 23

Argo carpentry 40 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 35 Beau Jardin (Garden maintenance) 22 Beaux Villages Immobilier 47 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 42 Blevins Franks Financial Management 44 Café Des Sports 8 Château du Pont Jarno 19 Cherry Picker Hire 36 Chris Bassett Construction 39 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 37 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey - Marketing and business 41 CJ Electricité 40 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 40 Creature Comforts (Handyman & Gite Services) 39 Darren Lawrence 38 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 40 Digger Hire 36 Down to Earth Pool Design 45 Ecopower Europe 37 English 29 ExPatRadio 29 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 35 Gîte Changeover and Music Tuition 8 Hallmark Electricité 40 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HMJ Maintenance and Renovation Service 37 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 38 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 36 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation Work) 36 Jeff’s Metalwork 38 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 John Spray - Maconnerie 38 Jon the Carpetman 18 KCR Service (Alarms and Security systems) 18 Keith Banks Pool Services 45 La Bohème Mervent (Bar & Restaurant) 8 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 18 Leggett Immobilier 46 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 32 Lloyds Motoculture Services (Garden machinery) 19 LPV Technology (IT services) 29 Man for Hire - Jon Crocker 23 Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction 39 Me & Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 18 Michael Glover (Plasterer tiler, renderer) 38 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 40 ML Computers 29 Motor Parts Charente 35 M. Page Landscaping (Landscape Design & Construction) 19 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Naturalis pools 45 Naturalis Pools 45 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 19 Out of the Barn Creations 19 Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) 11 Poitiers Biard Airport 2 Property and Swimming Pool Maintenance - RJ Coulson 45 Restaurant des Canards 32 Rob Berry (Plasterer) 39 Robert Lupton Electrician 40 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 19 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 36 Segora International Writing Competition 8 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 15 Simon the Tiler 37 Simply Pools - Matthew Ferguson 45 Smart Services (Home and Garden services) 23 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 37 Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) 37 Strictly Roofing 39 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Sue Cook-Currencies Direct-money markets 43 TheatriVasles Theatre Group 14 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 The Hope Association 15 U.P.V.C Double Glazing 38 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Your Local Gardener 23 Zena Sabestini (Translation & French Administration Assistance) 9

© Anna and Stephen Shaw 2018. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anna and Stephen Shaw 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 Anna and

Stephen Shaw 2 Jaunasse, Louin, 79600 Tél: 05 49 64 21 98. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anna and Stephen Shaw. Crédits photos: Anna and Stephen Shaw, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: avril 2018 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: In process ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: In process

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 3

What’s On... 1&2 - FESTIVAL BACH À PÂQUES in St Maixent l’Ecole The 15th ‘Bach Festival at Easter’. More info 1 - SPRING MEETING in the Orangerie du Château Thouars. Discover the guinea pig in all its forms! Breeding equipment, transport, food, and of course lots of guinea pigs. More info www. 6-8 - SALON ECO-BIO in Nueil-les-Aubiers (Espace Belle-arrivée) Discover around fifty exhibitors offering organic products or ecological services in the areas of energy saving and healthy living, food, crafts and well-being. Exhibitions, conferences, events and workshops on the theme of mobility (discover ecological transport such as swincar, hoverboard, Segway, trailer). Saturday 2-7pm Sunday 10am-7pm. Free admission. 7 - CELEBRATE ST Patrick’s DAY with Bardes du Bocage and friends with Irish, French and English music & songs. Bar and snacks. Admission 2€ - all proceeds go to Trailers Moncoutant and Alexis-Camille Association (Bressuire). See page 6 for more info. 7 - MARCHÉ artisan en herbe Orangerie du Château Thouars A market with aromatic, culinary and medicinal plants and garden decoration, with more than 40 producers and craftsmen. More info 7 - Circuit bressuirais de voitures anciennes

At Château de Bressuire. Cars depart at 9.30am. Vintage fair in the château courtyard from 9.30am-6.30pm. Free entry. 7 - LES OISEAU DE SAINT-LOUP

Discover the songs of the birds residing in this beautiful commune. Meet at 10am at the Church in Saint-Loup-Lamairé. www.dsne. org

7-8 - SALON DES PRODUITS DU TERROIR in Ruffec. The rotary club of Ruffec present an exhibition of regional products and flavours. See P.7 for more info. 8 - Open GARDEN in ‘Les Frenes’, 79240 Le Busseau; 10am - 4pm. 8 - Vide Grenier in La Peyratte. Bouncy castle, food and drinks. 8 - Elephant haven Sale day in Bussière Galant (87). At the restaurant, bar grill ‘The California’, 2, route des Roches, 87230, Bussière Galant. Big sale day of elephant related items. T-shirts, ornaments, paintings and many more, plus tombola. 11am - 5pm. 8 – BALADE EN MOTOS Thouars. If you’ve got a motorcycle and you want to feel the wind in your hair whilst discovering Thouars and surrounding areas, be at La Place Lavault, 79100 Thouars’ for 8am to join this 200 km ride. 8 – VIDE GRENIER la Place des Marronniers a La Peyratte 13 - SOIRÉE THAI at La Boheme Mervent See P.8 for more info. 13-14 - Theatrivasles perform ‘ladies down under’

We follow Pearl, Jan, Shelly and Linda on a holiday they’ll never forget! See P.14 for more info. and ticket reservations.

contact ‘The DSM’ Call Anna Shaw on 05 49 64 21 98 Monday - Thursday: 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm


14 - LIVE MUSIC at Restaurant des Canards. With pop rock cover

band Fake Raccoons. See P.32 for more info.

15 - spring sale at the funny farm St Germain de Longue

Chaume. 10am - 4pm.

21 – SPRING FAIR in Saint Verge. Music, exhibition of agricultural

machinery, large commercial flea market.

21-22 - CULTURAL EVENTS in St André-sur-Sèvre. See P.8 for more

info. (Segora International Writing Competition). 26 - Quiz Night at A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. See P.32 for more info.

REGULAR EVENTS... 1st & 3rd MONDAY OF THE MONTH AT 3PM Belote. At Càfe des Sports, L’Absie. 2nd & 4th TUESDAY AT 7.30PM - Quiz. At Càfe des Sports, L’Absie. EVERY THURSDAY AT 7PM - Scottish Dancing. At Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. EVERY THURSDAY PM - Quizwitch Quiz. At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle from 8pm. 2.50€ p/p. Monies raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres EVERY FRIDAY AM - Reaction Theatre’s Art Scene meet in Secondigny. Contact John for details: 05 49 63 23 50 EVERY TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Workshops. Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see EVERY OTHER THURSDAY - Franglais Group at Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, 6.30pm 1ST WEDS OF MONTH - Franglais Group at Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys, 3pm 2nd Tuesday of Month - Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne, 8pm 3RD WEDS of month - Team Quiz. At Le Clemenceau Bar, Mouilleron-en-Pareds at 7.30pm, in aid of animal charities 3RD WEDS OF MONTH - Franglais Group at Pause! Café, L’Absie, 3pm Last FRIDAY of month - Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale. Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96

what’s COMING UP... 1st May - Fêtes des Plantes, Le Beugnon 79130. For more information see the advert page 7 and related article on page 20. 1st May - Vide Grenier in St Coutant 1st May - Collector’s fair in Sainte-Radegonde Stamps, postcards, coins, records, phonecards, perfumes. 12th-13th May - American Show in Asnières-en-Poitou 13th May - Fête de Pain La Chapelle-Pouilloux. 18th - 20th May - The Hope Association - Three day book sale, Salle des Fétes, 79190 Clussais-La-Pommeraie, 10am- 4pm (see advert page 15) 18th-21st May - Fêtes de Pentecôte Parthenay 26th May - Coffee Morning, 15, rue de la Cure, Thiré - 10am - 12.30pm Everybody welcome, free entrance. More information next month.

La Vendée Chippy

4th/18th - Etusson: Salle de la Cantine 5th - La Coudre: Auberge de la source 6th - Genneton: Café de la Mairie 20th - Saint Martin de Sanzay: Café de la Pompe 27th - L’Absie: Café des Sports

Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat, last of month : Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil

Tel:06 04 14 23 94

Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

We will no longer be at Antigny on the 1st Sat of month

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

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 La Chapelle 16140 St Jean d’Angély 17400

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm



The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, holds English speaking monthly services.


Benet 85490 - and - La Châtaigneraie 85120 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Tuesdays......... Lezay 79120 Civray 86400 (1st Tuesday in month) Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Vasles 79340 Wednesdays.... Parthenay 79200 - and - Celles-sur-Belle 79370 Ruffec 16700 Thursdays........ Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 - and - Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Gençay 86160 Friday............... Thouars 79100 - and - Melle 79500 Secondigny 79130 (pm)-and-St Aubin le Cloud (pm) Saturdays........ 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 Moncoutant 79320 Sundays............ Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170 Thénezay 79390 Saint-Varent 79330 Saint-Loup-Lamairé 79600

• • •

A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website or contact us by email: office. Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71. The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15. 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. After each service, tea and coffee are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share’ lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcomes you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2018 1st April 2nd April 1st May 8th May 10th May 20th May 21st May 27th May 17th June 21st June 14th July 15th August 7th October 31st October 1st November 11th November 25th December

Easter Sunday (Pâques) Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) Labour Day (Fête du Travail) Victory in Europe Day (Fête de la Victoire) Ascension Day (Ascension) Pentecost (Pentecôte) Pentecost (Lundi de Pentecôte) Mother’s Day (Fête des Mères) Father’s Day (Fête des Pères) World Music Day (Fête de la Musique) National Day (Fête Nationale) Assumption of Mary (Assomption) Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grands-Pères) Halloween All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël) (Dates in bold=Public holidays)

1st Sunday at 10.30am: Parish church at St. Leger de la Martinière, Melle. Followed by tea and coffee. 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay 4th Sunday at 11am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea and coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch.

1st and 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd and 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting 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). We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details



2st: 5th: 9th: 12th:

Mon: Bar Tilleuls, Champniers Tues: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square) Weds: Chef Boutonne (near château) Thurs: Sauzé-Vaussais - Eve (Main square) Fri: Mansle (car park of Simply Supermarket)

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Theil Rabier Aigre

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm




@The DSMagazine



YOU TUBE: T he Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine INSTAGRAM: thedsm79

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 5

Getting Out & About

London Marathon 2018: we’ll be there! by Kim Borel


e are delighted that Kathryn Harrison, an experienced triathlete, will be running in the London Marathon on 22 April 2018 to raise funds for the British Charitable Fund.

Kathryn moved to Paris from the UK in 2011 for work and decided to take up triathlon as a challenge to overcome her fear of swimming. She has gone on to become Vice President of the Expatriés International Triathlon Club of Paris. 2018 sees her take on a new challenge – running her first marathon in London on behalf of the BCF. “This is both exciting and daunting in equal measure!” says Kathryn, “but with the support and training available within my triathlon club, I hope to be well prepared. Being able to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for expatriates accords well with the objectives of the BCF. Their mission to provide assistance to British subjects throughout France in desperate need of support, be it financial or otherwise, is extremely important to so many people. I am therefore extremely pleased to be able to support the BCF and proud to have the chance to run the London Marathon for them to help such a worthwhile cause.”

Would you like to sponsor Kathryn? Kathryn's justgiving page: kathryn-harrison7 www.britishcharitable

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

Meridien Green of Saint Coutant 79120 by Paula Houben


n the 1st of May, the Cross Cultural Association will hold their annual vide grenier together with an exhibition of the association’s photo club and art group. There will be refreshments, BBQ and a tombola. Would you like to have a pitch? The cost will be 5€ for 5 metres of selling space, you can have your car on the ground; for every extra meter the cost is 1€. The vide grenier will be held in the car park at the Salle des Associations at Saint Coutant. For further information, to reserve a pitch or find out more about our events, you can contact:

Meridien Green on 05 49 07 67 28 or visit our website at So get rummaging!

Apology “My garden was due to be opening under the Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts scheme on 24th March, however, due to the very wet weather (and there is even more predicted) the ground is unworkable and the garden is saturated. Therefore I have had to reschedule the date to 8th April 10am - 4pm”. Janet Greenwood ‘Les Frenes’ 79240 Le Busseau

April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day

COFFEE MORNING Saturday 26th May 2018 10.00h - 12.30h 15, rue de la Cure, THIRÉ Coffee, Tea, Refreshments Books, “Vide Grenier”, Tombola Jewellery, Cake Stall, Plants, Raffle. Everybody welcome.

Free entrance

by Stephen Shaw


his day, loved by many hated by others, is celebrated in many European and Western countries. Similar days dedicated to ‘leg pulling’ and practical jokes are relatively common around the world, though not necessarily in April. Origins Historians have conflicting opinions as to the origins of this day. Some see it as a celebration related to the changing of the season, others from the adoption of a new calendar.

The 14th century poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem in which a fox plays a prank on a rooster on the first day of April. Earliest records about April Fools’ Day originate from France and Holland in 1500, reinforcing the argument that it stems from a Northern Europe festival known as April Fish Day. Due to the abundance of fish in French streams at this time, making them easy to catch - foolish fish. It is still a common trick in France and elsewhere in Europe to stick a paper fish to somebody’s back on April Fools’ Day. Alternatively a chocolate fish is also given as a gift. So when you’re out and about at the start of the month, beware the friendly pat on the back.

Donations welcome in aid of All Saints Church Vendee

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”! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 7

Segora – the judges by Jocelyn Simms


here is a distinctly French flavour to the Segora International Writing Competitions in 2018 as three of our judges reside in France. Harriet Springbett, novelist, lives in CharenteMaritime. John Sherwin, wine expert and winner of last year’s vignette, is in the Vendée and Gordon Simms is from les DeuxSèvres. They are teamed with Mario Petrucci, acclaimed poet and creative writing tutor, who pioneered the first ever poetry residency at the Imperial War Museum in London. Segora is now in its 12th year and has seen numerous writers make the transition from amateur to professional through success in these competitions. The deadline is the 15th June with results announced in August. There will be a presentation event and a writers’ workshop held in les Deux-Sèvres. Last year this proved to be a most enjoyable day with professional readings and a presentation of the winning one-act play. Jocelyn Simms, organiser Segora Writing Competitions Dates to remember Saint André-sur-Sèvre (the home town of Segora organisers Gordon & Jocelyn Simms) will be hosting some interesting cultural days on the 21st and 22nd April. Salle du Jardin du Cloïtre: exhibition of Paintings both days. Saturday 21st: Salle le Foyer, 2.30pm: Chansons de Langue d’Oc with troubadour, Andre Teilhet. 4.30pm: ‘Le Blues a renverse son pot de peintures’, interpreting aspects of The Blues with poet Francis Carpentier. Sunday 22nd: Salle le Foyer, 2.30pm: La Petite Eglise - a talk about the local dissident church, still active in the region, with historian, Noëlle Pouplin. 4.30pm: Les Travaux des Mois, stunning slide show: frescoes photographed by Howard Needs in churches throughout France depicting the medieval calendars following the months of the year. Explanation of the frescoes by Martina Needs. Free entry and refreshments provided by the commune. Further info:

Transitioning To France Meet Ups Held in Parthenay once a month Wednesday evening from 6pm - 7.30pm First meeting: on the 4th April - what to do when you first arrive in France 15€ per person - limited to 6 participants Reservations to: Toughie Crossword: Across: 4. sel 7. capybara 8. acre 9. terribly 10. drop 11. tanner 14. roofer 15. cooper 17. kidnap 19. dial 20. fletcher 23. sago 24. eyesores 25. nor Down: 1. fate 2. dyer 3. barber 4. sawyer 5. landlord 6. arboreta 9. tat 12. atomical 13. napoleon 16. rafter 17. keeper 18. par 21. cook 22. even Easy Crossword: Across: 1. aisle 3. camel 7. fiend 8. stick 9. rayon 10. liberty 11. action man 14. platoon 15. cider 16. prize 17. Lille 18. lance 19. bench Down: 1. animal 2. senior citizen 4. mathematician 5. locate 6. shallowness 12. plural 13. wealth

Take a Break - SOLUTION

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

When Is A Village Not A Village?

by Sue Burgess


n lieu-dit is a rural area which may include one, two or three houses or which may not have any inhabitants at all. It is a place which has traditionally had a name. The name may have geographical origins la Butte (the hillock) or may refer to a feature les trois chènes (the three oak trees), or to a person Puy Jean (John’s well). A hamlet le hameau is a group of houses in a rural area which do not form a commune une commune and do not have a church une église, although there may sometimes be a chapel une chapelle. The hamlet le hameau is situated outside the urban area l’agglomération. A village un village is bigger and has a parish church une église paroissiale. A market town Le bourg is a large village where there was traditionally a market for the local villages.

A town La ville is a bigger urban area mainly characterised by its tertiary activity and services son activité économique tertiaire -services or secondary activity activité secondaire (industry and transformation of materials industrie, transformation des matières), whilst villages are usually characterised by activities from the primary sector le secteur primaire (farming and the exploitation of natural ressources l’agriculture et l’exploitation des ressources naturelles). A commune une commune is the smallest administrative division of the French territory with its mayor le maire and his assistants les adjoints and the town council le conseil municipal. Une cité is often a fortified part of a town which has a certain autonomy la cité médievale de Parthenay. It is often the oldest part of a town and the part where the cathedral la cathédrale can be found, ile de la Cité in Paris, the City of London la cité de Londrès. The word is also used to describe a group of administrative or other public buildings which are grouped together la cité administrative, la cité scolaire, la cité universitaire. It often refers to a small town which has a certain character St Loup sur Thouet est une petite cité de caractère. The word has also become to mean a housing estate often a problem estate. The youths from the housing estate les jeunes de la cité. La préfecture is the administrative centre of a département or a region. Niort is the préfecture of the Deux-Sèvres. Bordeaux is the préfecture of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

Vocabulary/Vocabulaire un village ................................... a village l’idiot du village .......................... the village idiot la place du village........................ the village green, the village square un village de pécheurs ............... a fishing village un village de vacances / un a holiday village, a holiday village vacances ......................... camp

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary:

Val Assist will be available to help you complete your French tax forms on the following dates. Please contact Val directly to make an appointment. • Fortenay-le-Comte/Bar Le Lotus (2 rue des Halles 85200) on the 25th April • L’Absie/Pause Café Shop (21 rue de La Poste - 79240) 26th April • Mouzeuil-St-Martin/My office (1 rue Basse - 85370) 27th & 30th April

un village fleuri ......................... a label of quality awarded to villages which have a lot of flowers a village un village olympique .... olympic village

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 9

Bon Voyage!


by Stephen Shaw

n April Susan Gallon (right), adventurer and Marine Biologist from Thouars, will be heading to the North Pole on skis, with a dozen other women from across Europe and the Middle East as part of the Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition. Team members of the Euro-Arabian North Pole expedition will be taking part in two scientific studies during their ski to the top of the world. Both studies will contribute towards research aiming to make human space flight and interstellar exploration possible in the future. One looks at the impact of extreme environments on the body, while the other looks at the consequences on the human mind. The expedition will be taking part in an exciting and ground-breaking study to examine physical adaptions to the extreme environment and activity on their way to the North Pole. Leading this study is human physiologist, Audrey Bergouignan, whose research aims to understand human adaptations to the space environment.

Felicity Aston - leading the way

Felicity, 40, is from the UK but now lives in Iceland. She has been organising and leading polar expeditions for nearly two decades, including the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland and the largest and most international team of women ever to ski to the South Pole. In 2012 she was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the first woman in the world to ski across Antarctica alone - a 59 day journey in which she skied 1744 km (1084 miles). In 2015 she was appointed MBE and awarded the Polar Medal by HM Queen Elizabeth II for services to Polar Exploration. Last year she sailed to the North Pole four times aboard the world’s most powerful icebreaker, I/B 50 Let Pobedy, which inspired her to put together this expedition.

Everyone at ‘The DSM’ would like wish Susan, Felicity and all the team ‘Bon Voyage!’

Above: Susan Gallon from Thouars, training in Iceland before the start of the expedition. © Susan Gallon 2018 Other images © Polar Exposure Expedition

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

Health, Beauty & Fitness Fitness Clubs: Line Dancing

Want some gentle exercise? Want to keep your mind active? Come along and try out our line dance classes held at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux every Friday evening 6pm-7.30pm. Beginners welcome. For more info contact


Interested in playing walking football around the Dampierre sur Boutonne area? We really need more players of any level (and age) to join us for fun, competition and above all, the health benefits! Call Ted Sellwood on or email


‘The DSM’ Office Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm

Facebook group ‘British Cyclists in France (BCIF)’ is an online group for British cyclists to share information, events, ask advice and post photos etc. Why not join, make contacts and arrange rides with other local cyclists?

Everyday Yoga for Everyone


ur hips do so much for us but they are often an area of tension. A large hip muscle called the psoas, that extends from the lumbar region to the femur bone, is part of our body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, contracting and tightening when we feel stress. Cyclists often have tight hip flexors because the hips never get into full extension on the bike. Yoga poses to open the hips (‘hip openers’ as they are called) can therefore offer relief and improve performance. Loosening tight hips increases our range of motion, and can help to alleviate back pain since when our hips are tight, it is the spine that takes up the burden. These poses sometimes feel quite intense and challenging but they can yield powerful results.

by Rebecca Novick

Relax the lower back muscles and breathe into the position. Hold for 20-30 seconds paying attention to how you feel.

Repeat on the other side.

Respect yourself, explore yourself.

I call this pose the Melusine because from above it looks a bit like a mermaid holding her tail. If you have a yoga mat great, otherwise you can just do this on a carpet. If you sit a lot it is great to break up your seated sessions with this pose once or twice a day. •

Lie down on your back with your arms to the side and your knees bent.

Slip your right foot under your left thigh and take hold of the top of your right foot with your left hand.

Bring the left foot across and over the right thigh and place it on the outside of the right knee with the foot facing forward.

Bring your right arm up overhead to open up the chest a little, and turn your head to the left.

If you have trouble reaching the right foot, especially if you experience any pain in the knee, then just bring the foot as far as is comfortable, keeping the extended right thigh as straight as possible.

Above: The Melusine pose © Rebecca Novick For details on yoga classes email: or follow Rebecca on

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 11

Clubs & Associations ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are now a number of English-speaking meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in the South West of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership and A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

MERIDIEN GREEN ASSOCIATION We are a cross cultural association who aim for closer integration of the inhabitants of St Coutant 79120 and surrounding areas. Free weekly language classes on Monday evenings and Tuesday afternoons. For all our events visit

CLE (Charente Limousine Exchange) is a non-profit organisation for exchange of news, views and information. We work to protect member’s best interests, run social activities, events and clubs, helping members to make new ex-patriate and French friends. John Welch 05 49 87 90 33 THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Jim: 00 44 79 60 16 83 30 or Janet: 05 46 26 90 85. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€ or visit for details of English-speaking meetings. RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: or Tel Website Short URL:


with a friendly group of French and English speakers. Each Wednesday at 7.30pm at the Salle des Fêtes, Veluché 79600. Call Christian for more details: 05 49 63 04 78


A British style band, who meet each Tuesday at 8pm, at the Salle de la Cendille, Limalonges (just 1km from the N10). All levels welcome. Call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or visit our website

Please visit the branch website:

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or visit


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email:

Bridge Players Wanted

A small, friendly bridge group are looking for new players in the Parthenay area. We are friendly and informal and we are keen to welcome all levels of players. Contact Richard Knight via email or 05 49 69 18 65

WANT TO PLAY CRIBBAGE? Whether you are experienced, a novice, or want to learn how to play, everyone is welcome. We are a group of friendly players who meet the last Friday evening of every month in La Chapelle Thireuil. Contact Sally on 05 49 76 15 30

Acceuil des Villes Françaises A French association dedicated to welcoming newcomers, from across France & abroad, to their new environment; helping them to integrate, speak French and feel ‘at home’ through social events and activities.

Do you wish the Drinking Would Stop? Are you troubled by someone’s drinking? If so we can help. There is now an English-speaking Al-Anon meeting every Wednesday @ 2.30pm in the meeting room behind Civray Mairie. Just turn up or ring Angela on 05 49 87 79 09.

If so, join a group of like-minded friendly modellers who meet on a monthly basis to visit member’s layouts and swap information. If you are interested please contact Gerry Riley for more information on 05 49 63 34 01.

AL-ANON Support Group

Alone in France?

We are a group of people living alone who meet on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 11am for coffee at the Pause! café in L’Absie. Our lunches are at different venues each month, a warm welcome awaits you.


Meets every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month at Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. For when, where, how and why of practical gardening contact Janette by email: or call: 05 49 75 50 06.

ThouarStMed’Arts - Association that aims to bring together people from the historic town of Thouars (Quartier Saint Médard) for a new development of artistic activity. Exhibitions, galleries, brocantes, creators, cultural events etc. Visit the website:

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Les Amis Solitaires

We are a group of people living alone in France. We meet up for coffee mornings from 11am, every 2nd & 4th Thursday at The Lemon Tree in Sauzé Vaussais. More details from Gwen on 05 17 34 10 23 or email: The Jean David Art Group meets every Friday, 1.30pm - 4.30pm at L’Absie (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.

Franglais at Bressuire

Why not come and practise your French with a friendly and convivial group of French and English speakers? Each Wednesday evening (8-10pm) at the Centre Socio-Culturel in Bressuire. Phone Jan for further details 05 49 65 60 34.


eeHaws was formed in December 2017 by Carina, Linda and Angie for the purpose of rescuing and caring for abused and neglected donkeys.

by Eric Edwards



ursuant to my last article, I would like to continue with the tribute to individuals who fought in WWI with whom we have living links. This month David Ball of Champeaux in the Haute-Vienne supplies the idea for my tribute. David was born in the Leicestershire village of Bottesford in the Vale of Belvoir and for a birthday present he was given a book, which he kindly lent to me. Written to honour all the men from the community of Bottesford and Muston who served their country in The Great War, the book is a catalogue of individuals showing photos, facsimiles of original documents, press cuttings and accounts of their fates where known, although in many cases there is much conjecture as to their actual fate on account of the utter carnage and chaos.

“This has been a lifelong dream that is finally starting to come true. The six donkeys under the wing of HeeHaws have been rescued over the last 10 years.” “It was our latest arrival, William, who spurred us into forming HeeHaws. He was neglected, emaciated, dejected and had no sparkle. Knowing that there were so many other donkeys in a similar state to William, the desire to help them and be given the chance to perhaps educate people at the same time became overwhelming. With the encouragement and support of friends and family, the fundraising began and HeeHaws was born.” If you would like to find out more about Heehaws - For the love of Donkeys or donate, visit their facebook page: the Love of Donkeys

The greatest impact of the book as I read was of the photographs of the faces staring back at me from the pages; not just names on memorials or gravestones but young men full of confidence and hope: fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, friends never to be seen again. Then I thought of the thousands of communities throughout the world whose youth was sacrificed in the same conflict the result of which, after the cost of human life, was the poverty and suffering that ensued. One would have thought that the consequences of this war would have been enough to, indeed, make it the war to end all wars but the human tribal instinct prevailed and we were at it again a few decades later and continue to this day. David has made a pilgrimage to the war graves at Ypres cemeteries to find the graves of his forebears and in doing so has forged a link with the past (see photo below). I suppose it would be hard for those who died on the killing grounds of WWI to imagine that they would be laid to rest in such places of peace and beauty, and their names revered after the conditions they endured and in which they died. This was the first time in British history that private soldiers were, when possible, buried with dignity and their names recorded for posterity. Yet each time I walk past a war memorial the words of Alan Bennett in his play, ‘The History Boys’ haunt me when he said, “The best way to forget something is to build a memorial to it.” Is this true, do we only remember once a year? Remembrance is implicit within the ethos of The Royal British Legion and all the work we do throughout the year is to support our servicemen, women and their dependents who have fallen on hard times. Once again, our members and their supporters will be out and about raising funds for the RBL on 10 June, cycling the route taken by Lt. Tomos Stephens during Operation Bulbasket in 1944. Details of the event can be found on our website along with methods of sponsorship. Thank you in anticipation and for all the support you have given in the past.

Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. incl contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows. Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 54€ per annum will be requested.

Above: David Ball © David Ball

How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 13

‘G’day possums...!

by Sue Fitzgerald

Picture the scene... the sun’s beating down and the surf’s up, the snags are roasting on the campfire and into this we throw four northern lasses, setting out on the trip of their lives. They’re down under and up a billabong without a paddle! For TheatriVasles' next production we bring you ‘Ladies Down Under’ by Amanda Whittington (in arrangement with Nick Hern books), directed by David Telfer. The show is the sequel to ‘Ladies' Day’, performed by TheatriVasles in May 2017, and catches up with Pearl, Shelley, Jan and Linda, the four fish-packers from Hull a year after they won big on the horses at Royal Ascot. As the four fish-filleters embark upon a road trip across Australia, secrets are revealed and truths are exposed. But even though they are half a world away from home, they each discover that their problems have travelled the ten thousand miles with them. We have moments of hidden heartache, vulnerability and thwarted ambitions, all against a backdrop of laughter, bush tucker and dingoes, climaxing at…well, you’ll have to join us to find out! We can assure you it’ll be a blast! Performances will take place on Friday 13th April at 8pm and Saturday 14th April at 8pm at the theatre in Vasles, 79340.

Tickets cost 10€ and are available from Dorothy on 05 49 05 67 41 or by emailing:

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We look forward to seeing you there! TheatriVasles is a vibrant theatrical society who put on quality productions twice a year in Vasles, 79340. We are always looking for new members and for those who want to get involved. There are many roles that you can fill, be it acting, technical, props sourcing and everything in between. If you would like to get involved then please find us on Facebook or contact Photograph:Steve Marshall

Visit or find us on Facebook

Our Furry Friends

Hope Shop 79 have MOVED! Now at 8 rue d’aunis, 79120 Saint Soline


Born 14th May 2017

ECOLE DU CHAT LIBRE DE POITIERS 1 Place de Fontevrault, 86000 POITIERS (answerphone) Facebook: ecole-du-chat-libre-de-Poitiers

Poor little Sebby had a huge abscess on his eye which has resulted in scarring on the retina, although he still has sight in that eye. Sebby is really affectionate and loves to be cuddled. He is chipped, vaccinated, castrated and looking for his forever home. If you would like to meet him or learn more about him contact: Sophie Nicol, Tel: 05 53 73 91 13 Mob: 07 78 21 13 55

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 15

Hobbies Writing change


by Alison Morton

ou’d think that once in print, on paper or digitally, a piece of written work was finished. Well, no. Revised editions, additional content and reworking show that change is continuous. In fact, change is all around us; time, seasons, weather, people moving in, moving out, governments, friends, cars, shops, children, relationships. One of the things that is deep-seated in our psyche and which marks us out as human beings is our ability to adapt to change. Good writing is nothing if not dynamic. Being open about changing our words is the spirit behind good editing. As a new writer, I used to guard the precious sentences that I had wrenched out of my soul like a mother tigress, but that was being precious in the other sense. Change through editing can give your words more impact, more power. Ensuring your story reflects and embraces change will resonate strongly with the reader. Your plotline may change and that’s quite normal as you develop your narrative. But two areas are often forgotten: setting and character. Setting changes The easy one first – setting, which includes physical environment, weather and atmosphere. It’s unlikely the weather stays the same between two scenes if your story is set in the UK. In France, we have longer periods of settled weather, but shadows lengthen and shorten as sunlight strengthens and weakens. Wind, storms, floods, Siberian blasts and blizzards in the mountains convey passing time. Governments rise and fall, politicians itch with change, the most rigid of social groupings are broken, polarised and re-formed. Landscapes are impacted by war, technology and changes in farming practice and policies. Seasons change as do plant cycles. I once read a book set in January where ripe grapes hung on vines! No, you should be pruning sticklike remnants then. Less romantically, roads are built and repaired (or not), new industrial buildings erected and shops open and close. Who hasn’t gone back to their childhood or pre-emigration home and noticed how much it’s changed? Character changes I’m taking it for granted that your characters change and/or are changed by your story whether through an experience, an event or an encounter with another character. A child grows up, a teenager learns a harsh lesson, a retiree suddenly has to cope alone when a partner has gone. But if your story takes place over a few years, people should age: change in hair colour, skin tone, the need for glasses or hearing aids, illness, childbirth, disease or injury. A sixty-year-old can’t take it like a forty-year-old who can’t take it like a twenty-year-old. That confident twenty-year-old who thinks she is the mistress of the universe doesn’t generally have the experience, wisdom or maturity of a sixty-year-old. People often change their names through adoption, marriage, divorce, widowhood, emigration or a need to hide their past. They also change their style of clothing, or sometimes stay fixed in the fashion or their youth or what is comfortable. Great stories can come from change, or lack of it. I suggest you keep the word ‘Change?’ pinned up on somewhere visible on your writing noticeboard and consider it for every scene you write.

Happy writing! Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her novella, CARINA is now out.

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YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Biddy Webber and Vronni Ward for sharing their book reviews with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

Requiem In Yquem by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen If you’re like me and enjoy both detective novels and wine (not necessarily in that order), a must read are these French detective novels by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen. Having last year visited the wonderful Château Yquem. I was immeiately caught by ‘Requiem In Yquem’, a story that takes place in the Sauterne region of southwest France. Whilst Benjamin Cooker and his able assistant Virgile do their best to outwit the chief of detectives and solve the mystery surrounding the death of an elderly couple, their continuous commentary on the wines they are enjoying when dining out is brilliant (I kept a note pad handy to write down any wine I thought I might just have to imbibe). Like all good detective stories it has you gripped from start to finish. This book is only 1 of some 20 in the same series known as ‘The Winemaker Detective Series’. Enjoy! by Biddy Webber

The Butcher’s Boy by Patrick McCabe “By Christ if you were mine I’d break every bone in your body,’ says the police sergeant to Francie Brady, the butcher boy narrator of Patrick McCabe’s novel. ‘Not that you could be any different.” If you want to get your teeth into some Irish grit, then this is the book for you. I read it because I’m fascinated by how madness is portrayed in film (Fight Club) and in literature. In this book you are inside Francie Brady’s head… you are part of the madness and try to make sense of his actions. It is a story of loyalty, obsession, rejection, and a depiction of the manner in which people needing help are let down by the system. The Butcher Boy is a darkly comic yet disturbing novel. Set in a small town in Ireland in the early 1960s, it tells the story of Francis ‘Francie’ Brady, a 12-year-old boy who retreats into a violent fantasy world to escape the reality of his dysfunctional family. Francie’s father is an ex-musician and a drunk and his mother is mentally unstable, spending time in a sanatorium. His world begins to fall apart on the day that a neighbour, Mrs Nugent, denounces him and his family as pigs. She then becomes a fixture in Francie’s imagination. Circumstances spiral out of control at this point, his sanity deteriorates and he begins acting out his fantasies with increasing brutality and gruesome revenge. This leads him to commit a number of acts that require him to be institutionalised. On release, he is more damaged than he was when he went in. As in Yeats’ poem, things fall apart in spite of Francie’s efforts to stay straight. The ending is tragic. By Vronni Ward


by James Luxford

Ian’s Orange Day by Caroline Self

Here’s another selection of releases to take your pick from.

PETER RABBIT (4th April) James Corden voices mischievous rabbit Peter, who goes to war with the grumpy Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson). This 21st Century update of Beatrix Potter’s books got lambasted in the press due to a scene which involves Peter and friends ‘Allergy Bullying’ (triggering someone’s allergies on purpose). In reality, this film should be roundly ignored for being dreadful. Ignoring everything that made the original character charming, we instead have a wise-cracking, twerking CGI mess. Buy your kids the books instead.

THE SENSE OF AN ENDING (11th April) Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling lead this drama about an older man coming to terms with the events of his past. While it doesn’t quite have the emotional heft of the celebrated novel, a good story is made compelling by the actors that tell it. Broadbent wears the trauma of his character’s past in every single look, while Rampling is delightful as his first love. At a time when few films focus on the older generation, ‘The Sense of An Ending’ approaches difficult subjects with a great deal of elegance.

GAME NIGHT (18th April) Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams have the night from hell as a couple who agree to try something a little different at their friends’ weekly game night. As events quickly spiral out of control they wonder if their friends, or the ‘game’ are all they seem. A lot of fun, if a bit silly, the wacky premise allows for the cast of comedy actors to go wild, resulting in more than a few belly laughs. If you like films like last year’s ‘Central Intelligence’, this will make for a great night out.

Release dates are nationwide in France.


t was the second anniversary of my darling Ian’s death in February. But what a legacy he gave me. To date 5 000€ has been handed over to Ligue Contre le Cancer in Angers to help find a cure for this dreadful disease and since my last christmas market at Café Bonbon I have raised over 500€, so well on the way to 1 000€ by June hopefully. I teach art, demonstrate my cooking skills and have auctioned off the Meercats for my first anniversary and of course take commissions. My current project is a children’s book written by Graham Taylor which I am adding illustrations to and hopefully will be completed by the autumn. In the meantime, I’d like to ask all those who have had commissions done, if they would like them to be added to a calendar I’m having put together for the fund raising event this year? If “yes”, all I require from you is a picture of what I did for you, and the name of the subject please - may it be a house, person or pet. Thank you in advance. He will not be forgotten...Ian’s Orange Day 4 Cancer Research will help his memory live on.

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

I’ve found that by advertising regularly in the DSM, people tend to remember my name and what I do; far better than leaflet drops. It’s also the only form of advertising that I need to do now.

THE DEATH OF STALIN (4th April) From the makers of BBC classic ‘The Thick of It’ comes a satirical tale of the death of the titular Soviet dictator, and the somewhat shambolic power struggle that follows. Featuring a stellar cast including Steve Buscemi, Andrea Riseborough, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin, it’s a typically cutting and hilarious take on a dark moment in history. The fact that the accents are open to interpretation also gives the whole misadventure a surreal element. It won’t be for the faint of heart but if you enjoyed director Armando Iannucci’s previous work you’ll love this!

FILMS IN ENGLISH.....look for screenings in ‘VO’ or ‘VOST’ Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: CineChef, Chef-Boutonne: email: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: Niort Moulin du Roc: Parthenay Cinema: and find others at

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 17

Home & Garden

Small colour Advert from 35,17â‚Ź ttc per month

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 19

Fête des Plantes


by Michael Craighill

he Fête des Plantes Association presents it's fourth event which takes place on Tuesday, 1st May 2018 in the beautiful Gâtine village of Le Beugnon. The Fête began in 2012 and takes place every two years. It has been a huge success and now attracts over 3000 visitors to see in excess of 60 exhibitors, half of which are Pépinières. The association has 45 members from the Gâtine area, both young and old from varying backgrounds and countries of origin. All have a love of nature, and wish to help with this Plant Fête to celebrate the local countryside and its crafts. The association specialises in the Tomato Plant, having collected 150 non-hybrid varieties. From these, 25-30 varieties are selected and organically grown in the local area. On the day of the Fête, 2500 plants will be for sale with the proceeds going to fund the event. Local specialised food outlets will be present, plus a bar for refreshments.

Carl Wilde

Carl famously appeared on the Generation Game wearing a Westwood mini kilt, leading to the Scottish attire becoming one of his trademark looks. Carl has a wealth of knowledge in design, be it flowers, houses or gardens. He retired to France in 2016, but his skills are still called upon by friends in the UK, where he and his partner, John, present floristry demonstrations, with champagne receptions and dinners for their guests. We are extremely fortunate to have Carl and John as residents, members of the Association and for being willing to give you this free demonstration.

2018 programme 9:30 - Bird watching walk: 10:30 Walk amongst the beautiful pathways and hedgerows of the Gâtine 10:30 Compost making 11:00 How to make a Pesto from wild plants 14:00 Flower arranging with Carl Wilde 14:30 Permaculture, agroforestry and biodynamic agriculture 15:00 Botanic walk 15:00 How to make sparkling wine from wild plants Tomato sales throughout the day, but come early please as they sell out.

This year we are delighted to announce that a floristry demonstration will take place and be given by our Association member and UK TV celebrity Carl Wilde. It will be presented in English with French Translation. Carl is famous for his floristry skills and TV presenting prowess on daytime television, mainly ‘This Morning’ with Richard and Judy. ‘Wilde about Flowers’ was a huge hit and made him a familiar face on TV. Being from god’s own country - Yorkshire - Carl left school and inspired by his head teacher set up a flower shop in 1985. He quickly became noticed for his fabulous floral creations at weddings as well as his zany personality. Despite his floristry background he initially found fame on TV presenting room makeovers. The programmes were too conservative for Carl's ‘wild’ tastes, so when the opportunity came to appear on Granada TV with more freedom he took it. Carl presented a wide variety of pieces including a gardening programme that took him to some fabulous gardens throughout Europe and beyond. Here began his love for the continent and in particular France. One of his favourite programmes included a visit to Princess Margaret's garden on Mustique. The Harrogate Bridal Fair provided Carl with an opportunity to show the UK what a flair he had for wedding floristry. He created some famously ‘edgy’ headdresses, hats and bouquets many of which appeared on the pages of Bridal magazines. Carl diversified, designing various products ranging from vases and artificial flowers to room fragrance and even hand cream! He chose each range preferring quality to quantity, only endorsing items he selected or created. Carl specialised in both fresh and artificial designs creating pieces which decorate many homes to this day. He is renowned for his love of Vivienne Westwood clothing and has one of the world’s biggest collections designed by his friend “Viv”. Above: Carl Wilde © Carl Wilde 2018

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by the moon, sun, seasons and planetary movements. The first lunar agricultural manual was written in the 8th century by Hesiod, a Greek astronomer, also recorded in 17th century England. The bio-dynamic movement was founded in 1924 by the teacher and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), and more information can be found at or by talking to people on 1st May. Michele Hansford, who was a French teacher, is also on our committee and will play an important role throughout the day as a translator.

Above: one of Carl’s beautiful floral arrangements © Carl Wilde 2018

Trait de Vie Interview with a member of the Fête des Plantes Association, connected with the film producers ‘Greniers d’Images’, who created the film Trait de Vie, at the heart of the Festival:

For further information, please see:

Why are the producers called ‘Greniers d’Images’ and why is the film named Trait de Vie? We keep our valuable, sentimental and important items in the loft (grenier). Trait de Vie has more than a double sense, with at least 20 meanings of the word ‘trait’, explaining for example both a person’s charactistics (traits) and the traction method workhorses use, plus an ancient word for an arrow, and a trace left. The play on words revolves around describing life in these ways. Why was this film chosen as the theme of the festival? The first Fête des Plantes coincided with the first film created by the film producers, who are ardent nature lovers with professional qualifications from Menigoute Film Institute. Since then, their films have become known nationwide. Even though they are famous now, as a result of the relationships formed with us, they have agreed to support our event by interacting with the visitors. The actors and producers will be present with their horses and the attachments created to enable the horses to use modern equipment. They will happily answer questions, despite their time being valuable, not on quite the same level as Carl Wilde in the UK, but they have also had their film Trait de Vie televised across France. Why is Trait de Vie relevant to the plant festival? The film captures today’s use of permaculture, agroforestry and biodynamic agricultural methods by local farmers describing how they work. One of the actresses, Lucie, practices the art of biodynamic agriculture without ever having pronounced the word! Without realising it, she and the other actors are living examples of how we can perhaps save our planet in the future. Lucie will also have a restaurant stand serving both organically grown vegetarian food, plants and animals: products of her own farm. How will the concepts in the film be explained during the Fête? There will be a round table interactive discussion about the sustainable, planet-friendly concepts and plenty of local producers who practice biodynamic methods, such as gardening and planting

Above: the poster of the film Trait de Vie by the production company ‘Greniers d’Images’ ©

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 21

Love your



by Greenfingers

fter the awful water logging and cold heavy rain of the winter, the thought of the garden in April fills me with hope and optimism. The cuttings that I was unable to prepare then, I can make from the new growth that will be developing rapidly this month and there will still be time to sow seeds in earth that is warmer and drier. Just a little sunshine each day makes everything in the garden, if not rosy, then at least inviting, and tempting us to be outside and begin the catch-up. Gardeners are never satisfied with the weather…too dry, too wet, too cold for our situations, too shady, too stony or too much grass! We all strive for the same thing though, that our bit of earth, patch, corner, courtyard, wherever we garden will be what we want it to be. Fashions in gardening are forever changing and there are as many styles as there are gardeners. …it doesn’t matter if it’s a balcony, or a few pots in a corner, or whether you ‘till the soil’ for an hour a week or several hours a day, the feeling of being out in the fresh air, even if just ‘inspecting’ what you have… or planning what you will have, is a fabulous feeling.

Sap producing daffodils

Now is the time to:

Deadhead daffodils and other spring flowers, leaving the stems and foliage to die back naturally. Daffodils produce a sap that can cause an allergic skin reaction in some people; if you think you may be susceptible, wear gloves when doing this. Leave seed heads on Hellebores to collect and sow once they ripen. Lots of shrubs can be pruned now. These include, chaenomeles, forsythia, griselinia, cotinus and photinia. Plain green growth on variegated shrubs should be removed or the plant will revert back to being green all over. Fatsia and mahonia can be rejuvenated by reducing down to stronger new growth. Remove all frost damaged foliage. Heathers can be tidied up by giving them a ‘hair-cut’. Lavender can be trimmed to encourage new shoots to grow lower down on the plant. This helps them stop becoming woody and bare at the base. Evergreen shrubs can be moved now and it’s a good time to plant new evergreen hedges and trees. Agapanthus can be divided, particularly if they have not been producing many flowers. Replant in pots or flower beds, putting a handful of grit under the roots to help with drainage. Summer flowering bulbs, such as nerines, eucomis (pineapple lily), cannas, gladioli and lilies can all be planted outside in beds or pots. As soon as new, green foliage appears on lilies, keep an eye out for the black and red lily beetle, which can quickly devastate a plant by eating every leaf. The adults lay eggs which quickly hatch, and the larvae are protected by what looks like black bird droppings on the leaves. It is slimy and unpleasant, but the only way to save the plant is to wipe it off. Dahlias that have been lifted before the winter, can now be brought back into growth. Check the tubers for any sign of rot and cut off any sections which are soft or squidgy. Soak the tubers in a bucket of warm water so that they fully rehydrate before planting in pots. When new growth is becoming established they can be transferred into flower beds.

Above: Hellebores providing some spring colour

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

Perennials such as penstemon, gaura, verbena bonariensis and phlox can have their winter stems cut right back to new shoots at ground level now and any debris can be removed from the crown. If

deciduous grasses haven’t been cut back yet, new green growth will be seen emerging from the base. Cut the old stems back to this layer of green. Evergreen grasses just need a tidy up by clipping ragged edges of leaves and a comb through, wearing gloves, as some of the leaves are sharp enough to cut or scratch. Ferns can also be tidied by cutting back any dead and brown looking fronds. The new fronds will be tightly curled up in the middle of the crown ready to unfurl into this year’s growth. Sow annual flower seeds, directly into prepared soil outside or into seed trays to germinate. Take cuttings from new growth on fuchsias, lupins, delphiniums and dahlias. Lift and divide congested clumps of phlox, campanula, delphinium and verbascum. Tie in any new growth of climbing roses, honeysuckle and clematis to support wires and trellis. Plant first early, second early and main crop potatoes and earth up new shoots. Direct sow vegetables such as carrots, spinach and salad crops. Asparagus can be sown now. Prepare a trench and fill the base with well rotted manure or compost. Refill the trench with the soil and make it into a mound. Place the bare root plants on top of the mound with the roots draped either side. Cover the roots, but leave the bud at the centre just showing. Water in well. Sow tomato seeds in seed trays, water and place on a sunny window sill or in a greenhouse. They will take about two weeks to germinate. When the seedlings are about 3 cm tall, pot on into slightly larger pots and return them to their warm spot. Plant them out into large pots or beds in the garden in late May. When the flowers begin to appear, feed the plants well. Other vegetables that can be sown now include: parsnips, celeriac, onion sets, garlic sets, leeks, spring onions, peas and radishes. Weed beds and pots in earnest before the weeds set seed and spread. Mulch flower beds, vegetable patches and surfaces of pots. This helps to suppress weeds and provides nutrients for the growing plants.

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April is a good month to sow grass seed or lay new turf. Edges of flower beds can be repaired by cutting out a larger piece of the damaged turf, rotating it and relaying it. Keep an ear/eye on the weather forecast for frost warnings..and keep the voile handy!

A gloriously busy time ahead for us all! Enjoy whatever job you are doing outside and do take a moment to look around the garden and see what you have achieved……..cuppa in hand of course!


OF THE MONTH The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 23

Where We Live...



“Never Give up”

The inspirational story of Hannah Stodel


f you haven’t already heard the name Hannah Stodel, it is pretty likely that you will before the end of 2020.

This incredible young lady, who has been visiting our region regularly since her dad and stepmum bought property here in 2002 is set to become the first disabled person to take on the mighty Vendée Globe round the world sailing race. Regular readers of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ may remember that we reported on the race in January 2017, when Alex Thompson came home in second place behind Armel Le Cléac’h to showcase the Union Jack on the podium. Of course Ellen MacArthur is perhaps the most famous Brit to have contested the Vendée Globe. Back in 2001 she finished in second place, against all the odds and became the world record holder for a single-handed, non-stop, monohull world circumnavigation by a woman. This record still stands today.

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

by Helen Tait-Wright

166 sailors have lined up for the start of the Vendée Globe over its eight editions. Only 88 have managed to cross the line, and in the history of the Vendée Globe there have only been seven female skippers to date. Now some of you may be asking, “What exactly is the Vendée Globe?” In a nutshell, the Vendée Globe is a single handed (solo) non-stop yacht race around the world, without assistance. The race was founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989, and since 1992 has taken place every four years. It is named after our neighbouring department of the Vendée, where the race starts and ends. The Vendée Globe is considered an extreme quest of individual endurance and the ultimate test in ocean racing, and is nicknamed “The Everest of the Seas”.

by Helen Tait-Wright

Make no mistake, this is a real feat of human endeavour….. the sailors are totally alone for an average of three months, during which time their ability to deal with all the technical elements of sailing during moments of extreme tension will be tested. Extreme physical and mental challenges are a daily part of life during the race, and preparation is essential. Finding the balance between travelling light and taking enough spare equipment is a further challenge which will determine the outcome of their months of sailing. Clearly, this is hard enough for an able bodied person, but then imagine adding into the mix the fact that you only have one hand! This is the quite significant additional challenge facing Hannah, which begs the question “Why?” Hannah has never seen her disability as a limitation, more as a driving force. Hannah was born in Essex into a sailing family, and despite her lack of right forearm, which is a birth defect, she was out on the water by the age of 3. Learning

Hannah aged 3 with Uncle Jamie

to sail became a way to cope with bullying around her disability and provided a sense of freedom with a “can do” attitude. Most of all it taught a strong independence that has defined the rest of her professional sailing career. A sports scholarship to the Royal Hospital School in Ipswich, saw Hannah take on the 29er, Laser 3000 and Laser 4.7 racing circuits. She went on to represent Great Britain at Youth and Junior levels in World and European championships in the Mirror and 29er Classes for the able-bodied. By the age of 13 Hannah had attracted real attention. Alongside the likes of a young Lewis Hamilton, she became the focus of an ITV advert filmed to encourage youngsters into sport. Later that year she became the youngest ever winner of the British Telecom YJA (Young Sailor of the Year award) for her achievements at the Mirror World Championships. The award opened many doors including meeting Dame Ellen MacArthur who took Hannah racing aboard the trimaran ‘Foncia Kingfisher’ during the Round the Island Race in 1999. Naturally, Dame Ellen (left: far right) became the sportswomen Hannah aspired to be like and this is where dreams of one day doing the Vendée Globe began. At 15 came a call that changed her life forever: Andy Cassell, the Atlanta 1996 Gold medalist in the Sonar class, invited her to go and train with him. Until now Hannah had solely competed among the able-bodied sailors. She held the mixed World Championship title in the 29er class, and actually viewed disabled sailing as the weaker option… a weekend in Cowes training with Andy changed that and the rest, as they say, is history! Selection for the Sonar Development Squad, and 15 years more work with some of Britain’s finest sailors, coaches and support staff saw her win multiple World, European and National Championships over several sailing classes.

Above: Hannah with Tracey Edwards and Ellen MacArthur after she won the BT YJA Young Sailor of the Year, at the age of 13. © Hannah Stodel

In the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games she competed as the only female racing in the physically demanding Sonar keelboat class - proving, once again, she could not only compete with the men but outsail them. To this day her team is the only one to have their names on the Sonar World Championship trophy 3 times. Now, after participation in four Paralympics, sailing has been The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 25

dropped from the Paralympic schedule, and Hannah has grabbed this opportunity to follow her dream. In doing so, she will put new meaning into the classification of the Vendée Globe being a single-handed race, as she genuinely does only have one hand! In the modern world of social media, this gives her the perfect hashtag - #singlehandedsinglehanded Her first major hurdle has been to gain the qualification to transition from open keelboat racing, to full offshore and ocean racing. Hannah says “It’s like going from Sprinting to Endurance racing”. The necessary qualification is the RYA Yachtmaster exam, which is the Global standard for sailing and covers all aspects of navigation, meteorology and passage planning as well as specific skills such as mooring, along with safety and recovery procedures. Although an experienced Sonar sailor, Hannah had to acquire and utilise new skills in order to successfully complete the course, and to succeed in the exam where the range of skills required as the master of a larger vessel are somewhat different from those of a successful single- or double-handed dinghy or keel boat racer. As with everything else she has done, Hannah demonstrated outstanding skills and knowledge in her exam and went on to win the prestigious Yachtmaster of the Year Award 2017, ahead of 3500 other students. The media interest around the award, which was presented by Princess Anne at the London Boat Show back in January, has put Hannah’s latest challenge firmly into the spotlight and with current sponsorship talks ongoing, the necessary financial backing to realise the Vendée dream is starting to become a reality. Clearly this represents an enormous

Hannah on board an IMOCA 60. © Nic Brown

opportunity for any company wishing to gain extraordinary media exposure off the back of a world renowned race and an inspirational young woman who is pushing the boundaries of what is physically possible, as well as our perceptions. Just to get off the start line will be a major achievement, but Hannah’s ambition outstrips that. She is realistic enough to realise that she will not be able to compete for the outright win of the race, but her aim is to finish and hopefully equal or better Dame Ellen’s time of 94 days, 4 hours and 25 minutes. The boat will play a major part in Hannah’s ability to succeed, and her technical team are currently investigating the practical considerations of life in charge of a 60 ft boat, with only one hand! Hannah and her team have been to Les Sables d’Olonne to meet some of the skippers in the last edition of the Vendée Globe, Rich Wilson, Nando Fa and Conrad Coleman, and to spend a bit of time on an IMOCA 60, the class of boat used in the race, to assess what modifications are required. Rich Wilson has been a particular inspiration as he was the oldest competitor in the last race and consequently faced his own physical challenges, which his boat had to be adapted for. As with any big adventure, the preparation is all important, and in Hannah’s case gaining ocean miles is equally important. In order to do this she will be looking at a schedule of high profile races over the next two years, including the Route de Rhum, the Barcelona World which is around the world double-handed, the Transat Jacques Vabre and the New York - Vendée, giving her over 35,000 miles of experience before the Vendée itself. With an experienced team around her, Hannah is well placed to succeed and she also has the backing of one of sailings legendary characters, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who was the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the globe in 1968-69.

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

However, despite the celebrity endorsements, one of Hannah’s greatest inspirations has been her Uncle Jamie, and it seems only right that he should have the last word here: “My Uncle Jamie died of cancer in 2009, and it was unexpected and incredibly sudden. He went in to hospital in the morning for a routine endoscopy, and by the afternoon he was unconscious, and he would never wake. He was an incredible man, an old-school sailor and adventurer, and later, a professional rigger. In fact if you watch the movie Elizabeth, you will see his name in the credits as the rigger for the ship scenes! He had one thing written on his boat, and its been written on all three of my Paralympic boats, and will be put in pride of place on my boat for the Vendée… ‘NEVER GIVE UP’.”

Photos: Right: Hannah with her Yachtmaster instructor Philippe Falle, after receiving the Yachtmaster of the Year Award at the London Boat Show 2018. © Helen Tait-Wright Photography. Below: © Louise Clayton, 6&20 Photography.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 27

Communications Disposing of your PC, Laptop,Tablet or Smart Phone by Ross Hendry


hat is the safest way of disposing of our technology? All of the devices listed above are liable to contain information that could enable others to access our online lives including financial information, passwords, emails, private photos and documents. We should all take security of this information as a serious issue. Goodness knows we use Anti-virus and Malware programs, Firewalls and countless other security measures for our current devices. This should of course extend to our old PC and devices that may have been collecting dust in attics and cellars for years.

Disposing of Hardware

I know people are careless when doing this as I have purchased second-hand PCs, laptops and smartphones and found that the previous owners have simply deleted what they can see, if they have bothered at all.

Recycling in France is simple as most towns have a recycling centre and they do accept computers. If your’s does not, ask at the nearest recycling centre or your Mairie, you may have to travel a few kms but it is worth it. In my experience this recycling is free.

Beside the security there is also the issue of recycling. Many of the components in these devices have good scrap value, or if the device is not too old, may have a prolonged life with a charitable group or could be used for training beginners in PC maintenance. A far better ending than landfill or worse.

There is also a Weeecharity - like service here in France. You may check them out here Please remember, if you are not certain if the recycler will securely remove the data from your PC or device before disposal, you must do it. You could also ask the person who looks after your PC for help in removing and securing your hard disk drive(s).

Protecting your Data However you decide to dispose of the old hardware, protecting your data must be the top priority. Simply setting a device back to factory settings will not necessarily delete all of your information. If someone had the desire, they may relatively easily access data that has been so-called erased. There are many freely available programs that can recover deleted data from hard disk drives, in some cases even if they seem to be totally inaccessible. I believe the best way is to remove the storage device(s) (usually hard disk drives) from the PC or laptop and keep it as a back-up or completely destroy it by smashing and burning. If you want to reuse the hard drive you may use one of the many free drive wipers. For those of you that use products like Ccleaner, look in the tools menu and you will find a very effective Drive Wiper. What if the device is a tablet or smartphone? In this case removing the hard disk drive is not possible without completely dismantling and probably destroying the device. Setting the device back to factory settings is a good start but does not really remove everything. Much better in this case to use a drive wiper program or utility. There are many of these available, and in my opinion they are the only way to secure your device, especially if you intend to sell it or pass it on to a family member.

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

Ideally I like to think that the hardware I dispose of will be used again in some form, usually by recycling. There are companies who dismantle PCs, etc., and remove the precious metals and other useable components and recycle the cases and if possible the plastics. In the UK the primary one is If you are disposing of a business machine, it is probably better to go to one who will guarantee to completely wipe the data before securely destroying or recycling your device.

Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 43 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

Useful English Language Numbers... Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

Elizabeth Finn Care (Grants and advice if in Financial need)

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or

Passport Advice

0044 300 222 0000

Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:...................................................................................... Postal Address:.............................................................................. ....................................................................................................... Postcode:............................Country:............................................. Tel:.................................................................................................. Email:............................................................................................. Please make cheques payable to ANNA SHAW.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 29

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres prahecq

by Sue Burgess


he 2169 inhabitants of Prahecq are the Prahecquois and the Prahecquoises. Prahecq is about 15 km from Niort.

There are several shops and businesses in Prahecq – 2 bakers, 2 florists, a butcher and a clothes shop. There are also numerous services – post office, public treasury, retirement home, two hairdressers and restaurants. The most important factory on the commune is La Fiée des Lois which draws and bottles water from the spring that runs under Prahecq.

There is a little corner shop on the commune and the neighbouring towns are Romans, Aigonnay, Vitré, Thorigné and Souvigné. Niort is 18.83 km south of Prailles.

A voir / must see •

The monastery at Pié Foulard, Prailles The monastery of the Annonciation is a Benedictine convent. The Benedictine community was formed in Poitiers, after the reform of the Royal Abbey of Fontevrault on the 25th October 1617. The Catholic convent moved to Prailles in 1999 and is housed in an ancient Huguenot dwelling in this protestant area marked by the Wars of Religion. The convent shop sells objects made from olive wood, greetings cards, paper and invitations.

On Sundays the convent church becomes the Catholic parish church. The village also has a protestant Lutheran temple.

The name Prahecq means pré humide (wet field).

A voir / must see •

Fosse de Paix (artisian well)



ressigny is a small commune which is part of the Communauté de communes ‘du Pays Thénézéen’. There are 196 inhabitants in the village of Pressigny. The nearest towns and villages are Aubigny, Le Chillou, Lhoumois, Oroux and Assais-les-Jumeaux. The nearest big town is Poitiers which is 37,84 km north as the crow flies. The name of Pressigny (Pristiniacum) first appeared in texts when Pope Pascal II confirmed the names of the churches that came under the abbey of Airvault in 1113.

Above: Fosse de Paix ©

The spelling of the name of Pressigny has changed. In 1793 it was Pressigni and then in 1801 Pressigny.

A voir/ must see •

Château de la Voûte The château is today owned by the commune. The rooms can be rented for meetings and so on and the commune organises different events in the château’s park. In 1382 the fiefdom of Prahecq belonged to the Trémoille family following the marriage of Guy de la Tremoille with Marie de Sully. The first owner of the château was Pierre Baudouin who bequeathed it to his son. In 1565 the Lord of la Voûte was Jacques Berloin, mayor of Niort. The château consisted of a rectangular dwelling flanked by two towers at the north-east and the south-east. Until 1943 a north-west wing completed the building. It was unfortunately destroyed in a fire along with the north-west tower. The building has kept the three floors of its Renaissance origins, its rectangualr shape and most of its windows.

Fiée des Lois – a natural spring

Butte du Peu (The highest point of the commune. 78 m above sea-level). Legend has it that the hillock was created by Gargantuan excrements.

L’église Saint-Maixent The Romanesque church, which has been a listed building since 1911, is dedicated to Saint Maixent. The church was burned by the protestants in 1568 and then rebuilt in 1593. During the revolution it was a storage place for straw and hay. Inside there are columns with sculpted faces and the face of Mélusine can be seen. There are also two tombs under the church. It would have been possible in the past to reach the château and the fort through underground passages leading from the church but the passages have now collapsed and are no longer usable.



railles is part of the Communauté de communes ‘Cantonale de Celles-sur-Belle’. The 675 inhabitants of the commune of Prailles are called les Praillais and les Praillaises.

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

The lovely stone priory is now privately owned and can be rented out.

The church is dedicated to Saint Madeleine. Until the revolution, the priest was nominated by the abbey of Airvault. There was a priory there. The priory still exists today (see below) at the south-east of the church. The 16th century dwelling has kept its old tower and other ancient parts. After the Concordat of 1801, Pressigny and Aubigny were attached to Lhoumois. In 1828 the church of de Pressigny was attached to Aubigny and then became independant on the 26th March 1840. There has not been a priest in Pressigny for some time and the church is part of the parish of Saint Jacques de Gâtine.

Above: Saint Madeleine Church Pressigny ©

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month...

Food & Drink

The Frugal French Pantry D

Fantastic food on a budget...

by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

o you miss popping out for an Indian takeaway? Forget overpriced ingredients in the Foreign isles of the supermarket and make your own fakeaway. It’s cheaper and healthier and perfect for home-grown chillies and veggies.

Massaman Curry Paste

Easy Fluffy Naan

Mango and Lime Chutney

Afghan Aubergines

Just add your favourite meat or veg with a tin of coconut milk and enjoy!

Not easy to find here so why not make your own?

Much cheaper and tastier than ready bought with just the right amount of spice.

This serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side. It’s easy to substitute courgettes too.

Ingredients for 10 servings:

Ingredients for 8 servings:

Ingredients for 6 jars:

Ingredients for 4 servings:

• • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

6 dried long red chillies ½ cinnamon stick 3 cloves 2 tsp coriander seeds 2 tsp cumin seeds 3 cardamon pods 1 tsp turmeric 1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander Juice and zest of 1 lemon or 2 lemon grass stalks chopped 30 g peanuts 1 tbsp veg oil 1 tsp shrimp paste 2 chopped shallots 40 g chopped ginger 5 cloves crushed garlic

Instructions: 1. 2.



Soak the chillies in hot water for 10 minutes then drain, deseed and rough chop. Peel and rough chop the garlic, shallots and ginger and add to a small food processor bowl with oil and lemon and chillies. Blitz until combined. Dry-fry the cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom and peanuts until lightly toasted and then crush in a pestle and mortar. Add the dry spices to the processor along with the turmeric and shrimp paste.

• • • • • • • • •

• • • • •

3 large mangoes, peeled and chopped 3 limes, quartered and sliced thinly 3 fresh/frozen chillies, deseeded and chopped 750 ml/1 bottle cider vinegar 500 g granulated sugar 1 tbsp salt 1 tsp each of cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds 1 tsp turmeric






4. 5.


Photo credit © Amanda Wren-Grimwood

15 g sachet instant yeast 1 tsp runny honey 125 ml warm water 1 tbsp butter melted 3 tbsp creme fraiche or yoghurt 1 tbsp nigella seeds optional 1 tsp salt 250 g plain flour melted butter for grilling

Add the yeast and honey to the warm water, stir and leave to bubble for a few minutes. Fit a food mixer with a dough hook and add the remaining ingredients and the yeast mix and combine until the mixture forms a dough. Use floured hands to form the dough into a ball, add more flour to the bottom of the bowl and replace the dough. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. On a floured board divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape by hand. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and add 2 naan breads to the pan, turning after a few minutes. Transfer to a baking tray and cook the remaining naan. To serve, melt some extra butter and brush over the naan and place under a preheated grill for a few minutes.



3. 4. 5.

Place mangoes, lime, chillies and vinegar into a large vinegar-proof pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and simmer for 40-50 minutes until the mixture is thick and sticky. Dry-fry the spices and pound to a powder. Add the turmeric. Stir the spices into the chutney mixture. Pour into sterilised jars.

with Minted Yoghurt

• •

1 aubergine cut in chunks 350 g 250 g carton tomatoes 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tbsp cumin 1 tbsp coriander 1/4 tsp chilli powder 2 tbsp oil 250 g natural yoghurt 1 tbsp fresh chopped mint 1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander 1 onion, finely sliced seasoning

Instructions: 1.

2. 3.



Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergine for about 10 minutes until coloured. Set aside. Heat the remaining oil and fry the onion over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chilli, coriander and cumin and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer until thickened before adding the aubergines. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle over the coriander. Combine the yoghurt with the mint to serve with the curry.

Amanda lives in La Chapelle St Etienne and is the writer behind the food blog where she posts new recipes weekly.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 31

New Beginnings


by Jacqueline Brown

efore I get onto the tasty topic of a new cheese discovery, I would just like to say thank you to Sarah for inviting me here exactly six years ago this month. I have really enjoyed sharing my foodie discoveries and ramblings with you and your readers. Thanks also for seeing the possibilities in my mad plan to cycle around the Deux-Sèvres. Adrian and I had a great time and couldn’t imagine having done it with a nicer couple. I wish you all the best for whatever comes your way in the future. Also, a big hello and DSM-family welcome to Anna and Stephen. I’m looking forward to the evolution of the magazine in your hands, best of luck. There seem to be new beginnings all round this month as by the time you read this I will be out at work. Yes, real work, regular hours, with a boss, and in French. For someone whose CV is full of experiencesof-the-volunteer-in-the-community type and somewhat lacking in real work for the last 14 years, this will be quite a change for me. Being headhunted, here in France, and so close to home too, really has made me feel like I belong here and when an opportunity like this knocks at my door I’m happy to let it in. I am also happy to step out of my comfort zone every now and then, as I know from experience, scary as it may initially seem, it’s usually quite good for you. So, as of the beginning of April I will be a librarian at the library in Chef-Boutonne, just covering for a four-month maternity leave, but for a bookworm like me, this is a job from heaven. Something else sent from heaven is a new cheese I have recently discovered from a local producer in St Romans lès Melle. Itou is a raw milk fromage de brebis, sheep milk cheese, and is available from the Friday market in Melle and a number of retail outlets in the Pays Mellois. Resembling the small white rounds of our local goat cheese, the first thing that struck me was the smell. It was nothing like the smell of a goat cheese and in fact it wasn’t that pleasant. However, please don’t let this put you off as it is mild, rich and creamy with a firm texture and tastes delicious. Pierrette, my neighbour and food connoisseur, shared a precious slice of an aged tomme de brebis she bought from a mountain farm she visits every year on holiday. It was hard and showing signs of mould in places, but she just said to cut those bits off, which I did. It was different to the fresh new cheese, but still delicious. I just felt rather guilty that Adrian and I had scoffed all the soft cheese, so I couldn’t offer her a taste in return. Never mind, I know I will be buying it again and next time I’ll remember to buy one for Pierrette too. You can find Itou online here Email:

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

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When the bubbles burst


061 Reims: How fitting that I should be hovering in my personal drone over the great cathedral of Reims, symbol of the capital of Champagne, for it is indeed a champagne moment if ever there was one – the 50th anniversary of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine! Let’s drink a toast to our founder, Citizen Sarah Berry, who recently completed her tenth year as mayor of Moon Commune Alpha. My, how the years swing by.

Times like these get one to reminiscing. Now, I know this is an offence under the Anti-Before laws but don’t forget the exemption for Old Fogies (tab 4112.5.6 of the Proclamation if you need the reference – I’m hardly likely to lay myself open to re-ed/re-enc, gosh no). But I thought it might be interesting for the Yogs (‘younger generation’ for those OFs who, like me, are struggling with the new nomenklatura) to experience a little herstory lesson. Normal connectivity protocols apply. Once upon a Before, there were big companies who made champagne. They prided themselves on producing what they called a ‘house style’, that is to say they tried to produce the same taste year in and year out. The same taste. Year in. And year out. I know, I know, but it’s true. They went by bad-sounding names like Krug, or Ruinart, or Bollinger, and many other such. How could they have done this with impunity for so long? Firstly, they relied on ‘image’ and ‘advertising’. Everyone was expected to do the same thing – wear the same clothes, drive the same ‘cars’ (earth-bound drones), be equally happy. Drink the same-tasting champagne, year in and year out. This created great demand which coupled with limited supply meant they could charge pretty much what they liked. For a great, unique product this might have been acceptable, but what they produced was anything but unique. And the supreme irony is that this was hidden in plain sight all along. Hark. The laws at the time (laws were like Proclamations but more flexible – wow) required every champagne-maker to say on the label just what kind of producer they were. I don’t mean ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘indifferent’, but specifically where they sourced their raw materials (grapes), whether they had their own vat rooms, and how much ‘they’ (the name on the bottle) had to do with the whole winemaking process.

by John Sherwin

For example, the letters RC refered to a ‘récoltant coopérateur’, that is a grape grower whose grapes went to a co-operative where they were made into a champagne which he then sold under his own name. The letters ND meant ‘négociant distributeur’, ie a company which bought in already made champagne and sold it under their own label. You can see how one could easily have been confused (duped’?) over the extent of involvement of the ‘name’ on the label. Well, you might say once you know what these letters mean you’re home and dry, one well-informed citizen. The problem was that the laws at the time didn’t prescribe where and how big (or small) the letters should be. So practically all producers used to tack these letters on to their address (which also had to appear on the label by law) so that it looked like part of a postcode (remember those from herstory vids?). Law-abiding? 10/10. Informative? I leave it to you, citizen. The biggest rift, we can see now looking back, was between the NM producers and the RM artisans. NM stood for ‘négociant manipulant’. These were the big guys with the horrid sounding names. They had a few token hectares of their own vineyards, but the great majority of their grapes were bought in from any vineyard in the Champagne area. They didn’t really care what went on in the vineyard as long as they got enough grapes to churn out a million-odd bottles of their house style – what their advertising arms had persuaded citizens that they really, really wanted. The RM artisans, on the other hand, owned their own vineyards and made their own champagne in their own vat rooms. They toiled to make wines which reflected terroir and their own personal values, wines which were not a desperate blend of several years back stock to achieve the same-old. And the NM Goliaths would no doubt have continued to lord it over the RM Davids had it not been for the New Enlightenment swiftly followed by the Great Redistribution. I won’t bore you with recent herstory but suffice it to say that the conglomerates were split up and their assets distributed to the citizenry who continued to make wines of character, the ones we take for granted today. So as we raise a glass to the smiling moon and skreenzoom Citizen Sarah, we ask ‘is that a reminiscent tear in her eye, or the teensiest, finest bubble of biodynamic, monoparcelle champagne made by real people from their own land?’ The latter of course – as if you can get anything else these days!

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 33

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 1. A passage between seating areas.(5) 3. Cud-chewing mammal of desert regions. (5) 7. A cruel, wicked and inhuman person. (5) 8. Adhere; become fixed. (5) 9. A synthetic silk-like fabric. (5) 10. Freedom. (7) 11. Boys toy created in 1966. (6-3) 14. A military unit that is part of a company. (7) 15. Drink made from apples. (5) 16. Award. (5) 17. Industrial city in northern France. (5) 18. A surgical knife with a pointed double-edged blade. (5) 19. A long seat for more than one person. (5)

Down: 1. Creature. (6) 2. An elderly person. (6-7) 4. A person who is an expert with numbers. (13) 5. Find. (6) 6. Lack of depth of knowledge, thought or feeling. (11) 12. The form of a word that is used to denote more than one. (6) 13. An abundance of material possessions; prosperity. (6)

With thanks to M.Morris

Across: 4. Leaders in some elementary local French salt production. (3) 7. Top unknown pub with article on very large rodent. (8) 8. Could be God’s little empty abode, given credit. (4) 9. Stupidly rely on broken rib after time, now in a bad way! (8) 10. Descent of curtain for medical man before his intervention? (4) 11. Tradesmen hide worker giving rent back over article. (6) 14. 11 Across covers whistleblower coming back with little jumper. (6) 15. 11 Across makes containers to hold liquid for Tommy, for example? (6) 17. Steal forty winks after giving birth? (6) 19. Saudi alien covering face? (4) 20. 11 Across makes a point for Norman Stanley? (8) 23. Get nothing for drug making starch from herb. (4) 24. Styes are not a pretty sight! (8) 25. Bad French left off usual conjunction. (3)


• •


ast month we started a series on the various conventions that can be used in cryptic crosswords; there are many abbreviations that can crop up often, some of which could have been spotted in the March edition. •

1 Across, for instance, included VS for very special and the commonly used E for a drug (ecstasy); mention of a drug could equally indicate H for heroin.

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

• •

Down: 1. Finished off a tender morsel in the end. (4) 2. 11 Across colours already erratic camouflage. (4) 3. 11 Across trims sharp thorn for the queen. (6) 4. 11 Across Tom, for example, is a Wye River keeper. (6) 5. Zany and droll house master. (8) 6. Abort ear operation for plant collection. (8) 9. Rubbish country, with neither leader nor head of economy! (3) 12. Dealing with small parts, at first humorous but heading off. (8) 13. Gold piece with opal arranged in light gas setting. (8) 16. 11 Across puts timber together in a river with court expert Pat, for example. (6) 17. 11 Across going after game, eke out for up-ended salesman. (6) 18. Level score in last part of match. (3) 21. 11 Across captain of certain endeavour. (4) 22. Ends off rugby competition level. (4)

The letter R could be suggested by either river or, as in 4 Across, run or runs, from the cricket notation. R (for right or L for left) of course could also be indicated by a reference to a side, flank or something similar, as in 10 Across. That clue also illustrated another commonly used abbreviation. The E (for energy) was dropped from the word corpse, because the clue indicated no energy for a body .... 16 Across used GEO (for George) for the clue little king, but more often king suggests K or R (for Rex, the Latin). Medical man, or a similar phrase could point to several abbreviations; MO, for example, or, as in 15 Down, DR for doctor. In the same clue, the word maybe suggested another common practice; EG for for example.

I hope having an idea of these regularly used contractions will help; there are many more and I will try to give more examples next month.

Answers on P.8 and our website:

DSM Toughie Crossword

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 35

Building & Renovation

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 38

The roof, the whole roof, and nothing but the roof Malcolm has been working in the roofing industry for over 40 years. His experience has been sought after in America and Germany, where his roofing skills have been called upon in the construction of stately and unusual homes. In the UK he has re-slated many English Heritage buildings, churches and some of the UK’s finest properties. Since moving to France with his family, Malcolm has been very busy responding to anything from an emergency leak to replacing entire roofs. For a free estimation please call: 06 35 11 27 31 or send an email

39 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 40

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

Get more business with a ‘Call to Action’


he definition of ‘Call to Action’ as defined by Wikipedia is “Call to action (CTA) is a marketing term used extensively in advertising and selling. It refers to any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale. A CTA most often refers to the use of words or phrases that can be incorporated into sales scripts, advertising messages or web pages that encourage consumers to take prompt action”. Basically, a CTA is just a way to get people to interact with you and encourage them to look at your products or services. There are lots of different kinds of CTAs – here are a few that you’ll probably have seen loads of times… “Don’t delay, sign up for our free cookery cards today – no obligation to buy!” “Discover how I can help you with your tax problems. Subscribe today.” “Do you want to be successful? Sign up to our monthly newsletter and find out how!” These phrases are at the end of whatever you’re reading as a final instruction. No matter how you word your CTA, it all boils down to the same thing – you want people to look at your product or service with a view to buy or work with you. You’ll notice that they all have one thing in common, they are giving you something for free, using words like ‘no

obligation’ – all you have to do is subscribe to a newsletter, monthly email and you get a free gift or valuable information. If a free ‘gift’ is being offered, such as the cookery cards, they are giving you something to try in the hope that you’ll be impressed, like them and then buy their product. Similarly, if you sign up to a monthly newsletter, it might be that you get some great information, but at some point there will be an opportunity to try a training course, or buy an e-book. Of course, there is no obligation to do this and you’ll still get the information, but it’s a great marketing ploy to plug your business. And the way the CTA is written doesn’t give you time to think – the ‘do it now’ approach with no obligation means you have nothing to lose – it encourages you to respond straight away. So, how can you use this for your small business? If you have a Facebook business page, there is a CTA button you can use – on my page, it says ‘Contact us’, but that can be changed to a variety of statements, such as ‘Book with us’, ‘Shop with us’ or ‘Learn more about us’. You can link it to your website or blog. But don’t just use the button – whether you are writing a Facebook post, Twitter post, Instagram etc. or if you are writing an article or blog, it’s good to have a strong CTA that will convince people to take that action. A CTA isn’t just about telling people what to do next, it’s also about giving them the reason or motivation to do it. It can be a short statement or a couple of sentences, but it’s important that it’s concise, to the point and focuses on what’s important…no frills and waffle. For example, I’m sure you’ve come across the CTA ”Watch anywhere; Cancel anytime. Free for a month.” This short statement lets you know that you can have a popular TV streaming company with no obligation to buy, there’s a trial period and you can cancel it whenever you want to. So why wouldn’t you want to try it? Do you see the idea? Give it a whirl the next time you write anything and let me know how you get on!

Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email:


Simply register on our website:

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

Great magazine, I can’t always find a hard copy so go online to have a browse. My business advert goes in a few times a year and has a good response. I’ve also passed trade info onto others, using the magazine.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 41

French Income Tax 2018


ES! It’s that time of the year again when we start receiving the dreaded income tax form to fill in (from mid-April to mid-May)!

As the forms were not available at the time of writing this article, I have decided to give you a prelude on French income tax. I will be explaining who has to fill in a tax form, what revenue you have to declare, how the double taxation treaty works between France and UK and lots of other information. Next month, when the new forms are available, I will explain how to complete them in detail.

1. Who has to complete the tax form: Basically everybody

who is a French resident (lives in France more than six months per year) whether you are employed, self-employed or retired and even if you are obliged to pay taxes in the UK! If it is your first time, you have to go to the Trésor public office (tax office) and ask for the forms, which are available from the first week of May. Or you can download them from the tax office website. In France, you are not taxed at source. That is why we fill in a form. The advantage is that if you have children or a spouse earning much less than you, it will lower your taxable income as you are taxed as a family not an individual. Adults count as one point, the first two children as half a point each and the third child and so on as one point. You then divide the total revenue of the family by the number of points you have, to know what your taxable income is. Unmarried couples have to fill in a tax form each!

2. When: You fill in a tax form one year after, meaning you declare

your revenue of 2017 in April-May 2018. So, if you have officially moved to France before July last year (2017), then you fill in your first French tax form in April-May 2018 on which you declare your revenue of 2017. If you moved to France after July, then you were not French resident in 2017 (in France less than six months) and therefore, you will have to fill in your first French tax form in AprilMay 2019 for your revenue of 2018. When you fill in a tax form in April-May, you then receive the bill ‘Avis d’imposition’ in August-September of that same year. This is a very important document proving you filled in your tax form and are therefore a French resident. This bill can show 0€ to pay or unfortunately more! From January 2019, the French government will tax everybody at source! So, when you fill in your income tax form this year online it will tell you what rate your 2019 income will be taxed at (based on what you filled in this year). If you are employed in France it is taken out of your salary. For UK pensioners, it will be taken directly from your French bank account every month. This means that 2018 will not be taxed as a year of transition. You must make sure that the tax office has your RIB. Note that you still must fill in an income tax form every year, so the French tax office can make an adjustment if you have paid too much or not enough!

3. What forms: 2047: This is the pink form on which you enter your revenue from abroad and you then transfer all those revenues on the blue form called 2042. 2042: The blue form that everyone has to fill in. 2042C Pro: The one to fill in if you are self-employed or if you rent gîtes or chambre d’hôtes. 2042RICI: To declare tax credit like using a cleaner or gardener or doing ecological work on your main residence. 2044: If your rental income is superior to 15 000 € per year, that is the form to fill in. The exchange rate for 2017 is 1.14 (that is the average of last year). Your local tax office will give you an exchange rate, but you don’t have to use it. Use it if it is lower than 1.14!!

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

by Isabelle Want

If your pension has been directly transferred to your French bank account, just add up all the figures of last year.

4. Double taxation: There is a treaty between France and the UK meaning that you cannot be taxed twice. To avoid being taxed twice, you have to fill in this form: United Kingdom/France Double Taxation Convention (SI 2009 Number 226), which you can download from internet. However, you can only complete this form once you have been taxed in France as you have to include your French tax reference on the form. Indeed, once the form is filled in, you take it to the French tax office, who stamp it and send it to Paris, who send it to the UK. Then six months later, you get reimbursed the tax you paid in the UK since you arrived in France and stop being taxed at source in the UK. In France, you pay tax for 2017 in 2018 and in the UK you pay tax at source so in 2017 for 2017, it means that the first year you are in France, you end up paying tax twice but you then get reimbursed the tax you paid in the UK once you have a French tax reference. This is on the ‘Avis d’imposition’ that you receive in August - September of the year you fill in your first French tax form. Note that ex-civil servants, police and military are taxed in the UK for their pension related to that government job and will always be! So, when they complete the French tax form, they fill in that pension revenue on a special section which gives them a tax credit equivalent to what the tax would have been in France for the amount of money they declared.

5. Avis d’imposition: It is a very important document not to be lost! As it proves you are French resident and it also proves your revenue. If you want to get some social help in France (CMU, CAF, RSA, etc.), you have to show that document. Some ISA savings account (LEP) are only available if you can show this document to your bank as it is only available for people with low income. 6. This is the official website of the French tax authorities. You can download tax forms, fill in your tax form online and also set up monthly direct debits for your income tax, taxe d’ habitation and taxe fonciere. Note that from 2019, everybody must fill in their income tax form. This year, if last year’s revenue was superior to 15 000€ you will be asked to do it online.

Conclusion: It is an obligation! So if you live in France, you have to fill in a French tax form! Next month, when the new forms are available, I will explain how to fill them in and give you dates and places where I will be available for free help so don’t panic yet! And remember to check out our web site for all my previous articles (practical information on the English site). Finally don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subject such as Inheritance law, Funeral cover, French Tax, car, house, professional, travel 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:

Cutting the Cost of Transferring Funds by Sue Cook

Q> “My wife and I moved to France last year.

Two of our children are currently attending universities in the UK, is there any way to cut the costs of transferring funds to pay for their living expenses?”

A>With education fees climbing, the average cost of supporting a child from birth to the age of 21 is now estimated to be a whopping £231,843 – so it’s sensible to make savings where you can! If you need to move money from France to the UK to pay for university tuition fees or your children’s living expenses, you could make significant savings every year by using a specialist currency broker to manage your transfers rather than a bank. For starters, a specialist currency broker like Currencies Direct will help you avoid the transfer fees charged by most banks. With Currencies Direct you’ll also be able to secure a more competitive exchange rate, helping you get more for your money. Additionally, Currencies Direct can simplify the process and give you total flexibility over your currency transfers. Whether you want to talk things through with a currency expert or would prefer to make 24/7 transfers online or through their app, your requirements will be handled swiftly and securely. The fact you can make on-the-go transfers with the app could also come in handy if your children burn through their living funds quicker than expected! You even have the option of setting a rate alert to target a specific exchange rate. Simply tell Currencies Direct what exchange rate you’d like to achieve, and they’ll let you know by text or email as soon as the market reaches that level. They’ll also keep you up to date with the latest currency news so you can work out the best time to make a transfer. There’s not much you can do about high UK tuition fees or your children going on more nights out than they should, but you can make sure you get the most for your money when transferring money overseas – you just need the help of the right provider.

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson

or this month’s article I’m sharing a document my colleague, Sue Regan, wrote Fregarding completion of your tax returns: Spring is my favourite time of year with the sense of anticipation that summer is just around the corner. BUT, that means those blue and pink Tax Return forms will be arriving soon. Over the last couple of years my colleagues and I have been writing about the existence of the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) that are now in operation, whereby financial institutions of the EU and many non-EU countries are exchanging financial information to combat tax evasion. If you have been receiving letters from your bank or investment providers asking for your country of residence and Tax Identification Number (TIN) – this is why. Thus, if you are French resident, it is important that you declare the existence of all bank accounts, Assurance Vie policies and any other income generating investments held outside of France, even if you do not draw on the income. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties of between 1 500€ and 10 000€ for each undisclosed bank account or policy. Furthermore, if the total value of the bank accounts and policies not declared is at least 50 000€, then the fine for each is increased to 5% of the value of the account or policy if greater than 1 500€ (10 000€ if in an uncooperative State). You can make the declaration by listing the information on plain paper and attaching it to your Tax Return. Even bank accounts with a nil balance should be reported. In addition, if you have closed any foreign bank accounts during 2017, the accounts should be reported, and the date of closure mentioned. Unless you will be submitting a Tax Return for the first time (in which case you must complete a paper return) you are required to submit online in 2018 if your net taxable income (revenu fiscal de référence) in 2016 was greater than 15 000€. However, you are granted an exemption from this requirement if you do not have an internet connection at your home. There are plans for paper-based declarations to be completely obsolete by next year. If you need to complete the pink form for anything other than pension, then perhaps you may be paying unnecessary taxes and therefore might benefit from a review of your financial situation. Register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations. 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.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 43

Six tips for protecting and growing your wealth


oday’s Brexit uncertainty, ultra-low interest rates and changeable tax landscape makes it harder for investors to achieve real returns. Here are six key tips that can help.

1. Establish a suitable strategy - When investing, one size does not fit all. What will suit you depends on your specific objectives, time-frame and attitude to risk. For example, are your investments tailored for your life in France, where your expenses are mostly in euros, or are they better suited to someone living in the UK? 2. Understand your risk appetite - Establishing the right risk/return balance for your peace of mind is crucial, but identifying your own tolerance for risk is extremely difficult. An experienced adviser can ask the right questions to create a clear and objective risk profile and investment blend for you. Without some risk, you may not outpace inflation. Look for options that help control risk within your boundaries, such as staggering the timing of ‘riskier’ investments to reduce exposure to market movements. 3. Identify your timeline - The longer you have to invest, the more risk you can generally take. With time, you can ride out market volatility and benefit from compound returns (interest on interest). Your plans may change unexpectedly, so make sure you hold some ‘liquid’ assets that can be sold if you need to access your capital or change strategy. 4. Insist on diversification - Diversifying investments across asset classes, geographic regions and market sectors reduces risk by limiting

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

exposure to any one area. An adviser using a ‘multi-manager’ approach takes diversification further by spreading investments among several carefully-selected fund managers. 5. Incorporate effective tax planning - When setting up your portfolio, explore arrangements that shelter capital from tax while providing taxefficient income, and that enable you to transfer wealth with minimal inheritance taxes. An adviser with cross-border expertise can ensure you meet your tax liabilities in France and the UK while taking advantage of available opportunities. 6. Regularly review your strategy - Good financial planning is not a ‘set and forget’ exercise. Your circumstances, aims and requirements can change over time, as can relevant laws and tax rules. You should review your financial planning annually to keep it on track – sooner if anything happens to affect the effectiveness or suitability of your portfolio, like a change in your situation or Brexit developments. You can bring all these guidelines together with personalised, advice from an expert with cross-border experience. With a strategy tailored for your life in France, you can protect and grow your wealth, not only during your lifetime but for the next generations. All advice received from Blevins Franks is personalised and provided in writing. This article, however, should not be construed as providing any personalised taxation or investment advice. Keep up-to-date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Looking to expand your portfolio? How do you recognise a suitable investment from a risky one? Your portfolio should be carefully designed around your objectives, circumstances, time horizon and risk profile, with assets chosen accordingly. Avoid unregulated investments – consumers have lost substantial amounts of money with them in recent years. Blevins Franks carries out thorough due diligence on all the funds we recommend and have helped our clients avoid ‘toxic products’. Contact us for advice on new investments or a review of your current portfolio.

Talk to the people who know

05 49 75 07 24


I N T E R N AT I O N A L T A X A DV I C E • I N V E S T M E N T S • E S T AT E P L A N N I N G • P E N S I O N S 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 overseas, via the Insurance Mediation Directive from Malta, the 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: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – 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).

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

Property QUALITY SWIMMING POOLS AT UNBEATABLE PRICES Our NATURALIS range of swimming pools are constructed from reinforced concrete and high density powder coated steel posts. They can be installed either partially or fully in-ground and come with a ten year guarantee.



Far superior to timber pool kits and a match for any in-ground pool kits these pools are perfect for the budget conscious customer with an eye for quality. They are easy to install so can be done by a competent DIY person with a detailed English installation manual. Or, if you prefer, we can supply an experienced team to do the installation for you in your area. With kit prices starting from just €5490 there is no reason why you can not enjoy the luxury of a swimming pool at your home without huge expense. Come and see the quality for yourself, call us to arrange a site visit because we know from experience that once you have seen this pool, you will want one.


Telephone - 06 31 17 25 60 email -

R J Coulson

Property and Swimming Pool Maintenance Tel: 05 49 29 01 35

00 44 77 82 19 79 59

email: Siret No. 831 373 048 00014

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018 | 45

Esprit in a small town!

by Joanna Leggett


sometimes marvel at how much Eleanor of Aquitaine did – she founded, visited or lived in places all over Aquitaine! How she managed to get around amazes me – there were no 4x4’s or sports cars to whisk her round and journeys made on horseback must have taken days! However she did – and part of her heritage was in L’Absie where today’s small but vibrant town is centred on the remains of a medieval abbey she once patronised! Being very conveniently situated to the north of Niort and west of Parthenay perhaps she stayed overnight on travels around her dower lands? Today it remains a brilliant place to live – just an hour’s drive from the Vendée coastal resorts with all those wonderful beaches and within easy reach of airports at Poitiers, Nantes and the vibrant town of La Rochelle. Many buildings are traditionally built with typical Charentaise features, there’s a market for fresh produce and a good selection of shops and plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy.

Three properties we’re currently listing in L’Absie include a lovely cottage on a quiet road on the edge of town (Leggett reference 69448, photo left) - first appearances can be deceptive, behind its simple façade the versatile accommodation includes kitchen/dining, lounge, two bedrooms, two bathrooms a garage and garden – all this, within easy strolling distance to local amenities, it’s on the market for just 77 000€.

Our second offering is a more modern three bedroom home in the centre of L’Absie again you’ll walk to everything you might need (Leggett reference 85220, photo right). With three double bedrooms on the main level as well as kitchen,separate dining and lounge (the latter with exposed beams) at basement level is a fourth bedroom/games room, garage and laundry – the lovely gardens have many mature plants to enjoy! Fully renovated it’s on the market at 114 450€. Space, space and even more space at our final property (Leggett reference 63429, photo left) overlooking the market square – with six bedrooms and 5 bathrooms! On the ground floor of the main house are living, dining rooms and kitchen (a second lounge is currently used as the owner’s bedroom). Upstairs are four bedrooms with ample bathing facilities. Then there’s an annexe with its own front door perfect for holiday lets or extended family – outside there’s a lovely sun terrace and mature garden – potential plus here for 192 240€. This is a brilliant base with many activities in close proximity including Puy de Fou and the Marais Poitevin and plenty of town ‘spirit’ to keep you interested year round! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at


Ref: 85023 2 bed renovated property with all comforts plus garden and barns. MONTALEMBERT €93,500

Buying or selling?

Ref: 85324 Elegant 6 bed town property with garden which was recently updated. OIRON €304,950

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 84694 5 bed farm house with heated pool. 2kms from Clessé. CLESSE €274,990

Ref: 84958 Impressive 3 bed character house with outbuildings and garden. HANC €136,250

Ref: 85114 A village gem, completely renovated and close to all amenities. REFFANNES €130,800

Ref: 85465 Fantastic value house with pool, gîte, garages, workshop and garden. PAIZAY LE CHAPT €199,800

9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

9% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: C

8% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

7% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

7% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

Starting a new life in France? Want a new career? Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents. Call us for more info 00 800 2534 4388 or email: +33 05 53 60 84 88 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2018

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