Annual Subscription Costs: 33,60€ within France, 28,80€ 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 SARAH BERRY.
Welcome! to Issue 74 of
‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine
Well, firstly, THANK YOU for the huge response we’ve received to our ‘Reader’s Questionnaire’ - your feedback has been invaluable with many useful comments. You’ll start to see a few changes in the coming issues... but for this issue...we have a little ‘bee’ theme running with bee-friendly plants, a bee book, and part 2 from our novice bee-keeper, Gloria! Plus, free golf lessons for all, classic car rally, Bordeaux wine, recipes, professional advice, theatre shows and lots of ‘what’s on’s ... phewyou’ll need a cup of tea before you start! Our training is coming along nicely, although fitting it in around the full-time jobs does prove tricky, but with the weather on the ‘up’ and the days getting longer, we’re hoping to get more time in the saddle. Hope to see you out and about very soon.
Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: email@example.com Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr
à plus, Sarah
Emergency Numbers: 15 SAMU (Medical Advice) 17 Gendarmes (Police) 18 Pompiers (Fire Service)
112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol
Contents What’s On Getting Out & About A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Clubs & Associations Hobbies Health, Beauty & Fitness Home & Garden Our Furry Friends Where We Live Communications Take a Break Food & Drink Motoring Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property
This Month’s Advertisers
ABORDimmo Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) 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) Anne Maugard (Singing Lessons) ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery Arbres et Abeilles (Plant Nursery) Argo Carpentry Bakery Lessons with Keith Sprignham Beau Jardin (Garden Care) BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want
4 6 10 12 14 17 20 24 25 28 30 31 36 39 44 48
48 37 2 40 34 46 42 15 51 21 23 39 34 20 45
Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 42 Blevins Franks Financial Management 47 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 49 Cherry Picker Hire 42 Chris Bassett Construction 40 Chris Parsons (Heating/Electrical/Plumbing) 42 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 41 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 48 Classic Val de Sèvre Rally 52 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 41 Cottage Services (Garden Maintenance) 21 Creature Comforts ( Repairs and Renovations) 40 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 46 Darren Lawrence 39 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 22 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 41 Deano’s Bar & Grill 35 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 17 Down to Earth Pool Design 48 Ecopower Europe 41 Expat-radio 29 Fishing Lakes 15 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 37 Fresco Interiors 20 Ginger’s Kitchen 34 Gîte La Gatinelle (Holiday accommodation) 49 Gites.co.uk 51 Give the Dog a Comb ( Dog Grooming) 24 Golf Les Forges 19 Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants 45 Hallmark Electricité 41 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 44 Hope 3 Day Booksale 24 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 39 Irving Location - Digger Hire 43 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 43 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 42 Jeff’s Metalwork 40 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 37 John Snee (Groundworks) 42 Jon the Carpetman 21 Jordans Auto Services 37 Keith Banks (Pool Services) 48 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 20 La Vie en Yoga 17 Leggett Immobilier 50 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 35 Le Tour de Finance 51 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 40 Mark Wilson (Language Assistance) 9 Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 20 Michael Glover (Renderer, Plasterer, Tiler) 39 Michael Page Landscaping 21 ML Computers 29 Motor Parts Charente 37 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 20 Naturalis Pools 49 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 22 Nicola Hancock (Agent Commercial) 48 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 17 Polar Express (Frozen Foods) 33 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 48 Reaction Theatre 7 Restaurant des Canards 34 Rob Berry Plastering Services 39 Robert Lupton Electrician 41 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 42 Satellite TV 29 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 24 Simon the Tiler 39 Smart Moves (Transport Services) 37 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 39 Steve Robin (Plumber) 42 Strictly Roofing 40 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Terra Flore (Landscape Gardening) 20 Theatri Vasles 8 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 37 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vendée Glass Courses 15 Webservices.Dramatis 29 YesBays.info (Free ads website) 29
© Sarah Berry 2017. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. 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 Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: avril 2017 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 3
What ’s On... EXHIBITION Until 31st May «Une passion qui donne des ailes» ‘A passion that gives wings’ in Niort. www.archives.deux-sevres.com Terri’Thouars Blues Festival Until 3rd April. For more info www. blues-n-co.org Photo competition - Thouars Until 30th April. See P.7 for details
FREE GOLF LESSONS - LES FORGES Until 30th April. See P.19 for details. 31 March, 1 & 2 april - EXPO Creative exhibition at La Mothe St Héray. See details on P.6 1 - English Film Night Mister T’s Friterie will be serving Fish & Chips at Cinema Eden, St Jean d’Angely. See www.frying4u2nite.com for details. 1 & 2 - Festival ‘Voyager autrement’ (Travel Differently) in Magné. See P. 7 for details. 1 & 2- European Days of the Crafts Over the weekend, this 11th edition highlights the diversity and dynamism of crafts throughout France. Workshops open to the public. www.journeesdesmetiersdart.fr 1 & 2 -Embroidery Salon 5th Salon of embroidery designers. Workshops, demonstrations, tombola, restoration. In the Gym at Sauzé-Vaussais. 2 - Craft Fayre in St Claud (16450) in aid of Associations CATS (See P7 of March’s ‘The DSM’) 2 - Giant Vide Grenier at La Roche sur Yon (85) In the car park of Leclerc, more than 600 exhibitors, refreshments. www.fcgrs.e-monsite.com 2 - Rando IN SECONDIGNY to discover the local trails. Open to all ages. See P.18 for details. 4 - Le Tour De Finance at Hotel Mercure, La Roche-sur-Yon (85), 10am until 2pm (see P46 & 51) 5 - Le Tour De Finance at Domaine de la Tuilerie near Niort, 10am until 2pm 6 - Le Tour De Finance at Chateau de Maumont, Magnac-surTouvre, 10am until 2pm 7- Chauray Vocal ‘April in Singing’ Organised by the Chauray Choral, this meeting of 7 choirs is at 8pm.
7 & 14 - On the Trail of the Singing Toad in Niort. An indoor presentation (French) and then an outing in the town to discover a mysterious musical toad. Visit www. dsne.org for more information. 8 - Official Opening of the Season at Le Tranche sur Mer (85). A free spectacle ‘Dream Walkers’ by Lilamayi Company. An interactive show where poetry and imagination meet, stilt walkers and animations. Place de la liberté 9.30pm. www.latranchesurmer.fr 8 - LIVE MUSIC NIGHT At Restarant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P. 34 for info. 9 - Market – La Creche This month’s Market theme is ‘Independent Home Sales’ and ‘Chocolate’ 9 - Vide Grenier and Petanque competition in Azay-Sur-Thouet 9 - Charity Run and Hike ‘Les Foulées du Lions’. Organised by the Lions Club NiortVenise Vert in the Saint Ligaire Stadium, Niort. Raising money for all forms of disability. Visit www.fouleesdulions.emonsite.com 9 - Vide Grenier Saint-Gelais 79410 13 - FREE CRAFT DEMONSTRATION with Jenny Wren and traders event. 2pm-5pm at Pause¡ Café, L’Absie. 14 to 17 - English Billiards Open competition at La Génétouze 85190. See P.7 for info. 16 - Live Ballet Broadcast From the Royal Opera House in London: ‘La Belle au Bois Dormant’ at 4.30pm. Showing at Cinema Le Foyer, Parthenay. 17- EASTER MONDAY 24 - RACE NIGHT Organised by CSSG. Find details on P.13 26 - BOOK & COFFEE AFTERNOON at Mauzé Thouarsais. See P.6 for details. 26 - EMOTIONAL FREEDON DANCE WORKSHOP in Chanteloup village salle. For more info, please see P.17 27 - QUIZ NIGHT At A La Bonne Vie Restauarant, Le Beugnon. See advert on P.35. Dates in green = Public Holidays Dates in orange = Celebration Days
FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: Reel Fish & Chips 5th & 19th Etusson 6th La Coudre 7th La Chapelle Thireuil 21st St Martin de Sanzay Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 www.reelfishandchips.net
OPEN 6 - 8.30pm
4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
WEEKLY EVENTS... 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 TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Workshops. Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see www. ladeuxiemechance.com 3RD WEDS of month - Team Quiz. At Le Clemenceau Bar 7.30pm, in aid of animal charities. 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.
COMING UP... 1st May - Jardiniers du Paradis, Champdeniers. 9.30am- 6pm 5th & 6th May - Theatrivasles’ next production. See article on P.8 12th & 13th May - Reaction Theatre’s next production, in Secondigny (see adert on P.7) 12 - 14th May - HOPE’s 3 Day Booksale. See P.24 19th & 20th May - Reaction Theatre’s next production, in Foussais-Payre (see advert on P.7) 20th & 21st May - Classic Val de Sèvre Car Rally See page 36 for information.
The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2017 17th April 1st May 8th May 25th May
Lundi de Pâques
Fête du Travail Fête de la Victoire Ascension
28th May 4th June
Fête des Mères Pentecôte
18th June 21st June
Fête des Pères Fête de la Musique
1st October 31st October
5th June Lundi de Pentecôte 14th July 15th August
Fête Nationale Assomption Fête des Grand-pères
1st November Toussaint 11th November Armistice 25th December Noël
Dates in orange represent celebration days, not public holidays.
La Vendée Chippy Weds: St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: Bar ‘Chill-Out’, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st of month : Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny Sat 9 April: Bar ‘La Coussotte’, St Martin des Fontaines Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 www.lavendeechippy.com OPEN 6 - 8.30pm
MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at:
Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 Gourville 16170 St Jean d’Angély 17400 Tel: 06 02 22 44 74 www.frying4u2nite.com
OPEN 6 .30- 9pm
...APRIL 2017 LOCAL MARKETS
The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, hold English speaking monthly services.
Benet 85490 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
1st Sunday at 10.30am: Chef Boutonne. 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. A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website www.church-in-france.com or contact us by email: office. firstname.lastname@example.org 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 www.thefillingstationfrance.com or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15. ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre Invite you to join our services for Easter. April 9th: Palm Sunday Holy Communion 11am April 9th: Palm Sunday Holy Communion 11am (at La Chapelle Palluau) April 14th: Good Friday a service of meditation 11am
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: www.allsaintsvendee.fr
MISSED AN ISSUE?
The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.
Don’t worry - you can view them ALL online!
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: www.therendezvous.fr
Visit: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr and go to Distribution > Magazine Archives
Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm Email: email@example.com
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 www.escoval.org
TOP HAT QUIZ & CURRY
FISH 4 CHIP & AUTHENTIC INDIAN MEALS
3rd: 6th: 10th: 13th:
Mon: Bar Tilleuls, Champniers Tues: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square) Weds: Chef Boutonne (near Chateau) 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 www.tophatquizzes.com FROM 7pm
Tel: 06 37 53 56 20 www.mobilefishandchipsfrance.com
OPEN 6 - 8.30pm
(at La Chapelle Palluau)
April 14th: Good Friday a service of meditation 3pm April 16th: Easter Day a service of Holy Communion 11am (at La Chapele Achard) April 16th: Easter Day a service of Holy Communion 11am
GET CONNECTED! FACEBOOK: thedeuxsevresmonthly TWITTER: @The DSMagazine PINTEREST: dsmmonthly YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine
Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 5
Getting Out & About
BOOK & COFFEE AFTERNOON ~ UPDATE ~
31st March, 1st April & 2nd April
by Theresa Penney
Your support last year was much appreciated with donations amounting to nearly 1300€ to the Helianthus Association animal charity. Below is a message from the Association showing how their donations were spent in 2016. 2016 ACHIEVEMENTS Thanks to our fantastic volunteers and all the wonderful people supporting us through fundraising, donations, and visits to the Charity shop, Helianthus was able once again to help numerous animals in 2016.
Here are some figures: • 9 923,78€ was spent on helping animals (spaying, testing, vet care), fostering care (food, litter), & additional costs for rehoming • 44 cats and kittens were adopted / rehomed / released in our feral cat colony • 3 dogs were adopted • 1 guinea pig was adopted • Over 100 animals were tested and spayed or otherwise helped Our cream tea afternoon in February was a great success with 140€ going to Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres and 70€ to Helianthus. We hope to do another cream tea afternoon in the summer when we can all sit outside in the sunshine!
Our next Book & Coffee afternoon will be: WEDNESDAY 26 APRIL 2.00 PM to 4.00 PM 45 RUE DU BOIS BAUDRON 79100, MAUZÉ THOUARSAIS 2 BOOKS FOR 1€ MUG OF COFFEE/TEA AND CAKE - 2€ Come and Join us!
6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
12 Artistans show, demonstrate and sell their creative wares at this event at La Mothe St Héray for ‘Journées Européenes des Métiers d’Art’. You will find Artisans offering sculptures, dress-making, sewing, weaving, wickerwork, lighting, ironwork, leather-work, engraving and much more. Visit the Orangerie, La Mothe St Héray during the following opening hours: Friday 31st March: 11am - 6pm Saturday 1st April: 11am - 7pm Sunday 2 April: 10am - 6pm Please see the website for more information: www.journeesdesmetiersdart.fr/manifestation/lorangerie-en-liens.
It’s Vide Grenier time again... You will find many brocantes, vide greniers and other sales around the area most weekends through the warmer months. A few are listed in this month’s ‘What’s On’ on page 3, or alternatively, please visit website: www.brocabrac.fr
There’s a new Photographer in Town!
Promote your event here.... Size A colour 50€ ttc includes: ad design, ‘What’s On’ listing + coverage on Facebook
Festival ‘Voyager autrement’ (Travel differently) 1st & 2nd April in Magné Saturday: 8 pm, 2 film projections with intermission (Crossing of India by bike and The most beautiful landscapes of South America). Full price: 7€ and members: 5€ Sunday: 10:30am- 6pm, 6 screenings and about fifteen stalls for travelers: India, South America, Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Bhutan, Sao Tome and Principe , China. Tea ceremony and several associations whose actions are located in India, Ladakh, Senegal. Free admission (donations appreciated). For more info: www.facebook.com/abmpoitoucharentes
Photo competition - Thouars Until 30th April 2017 This amateur photographic contest invites you to take pictures on the theme ‘Insects, spiders and other invertebrates’. The photographs will be exhibited at the former Business Center (rue Saint Médard) during an exhibition June 10th to 18th.
napper Martin O’Neill is heading to our region after 38 years as a professional photographer in the UK. He’ll be photographing weddings, portraits and properties for gîte owners across the south-west of France, as well as running one-day photography workshops from his gîte rental in Loubillé. Martin began his career as a press photographer in 1978, working on local weekly and daily newspapers in his home town of Manchester and eventually freelancing © Martin O’Neill for many UK national newspapers and magazines, including The Mail on Sunday, OK! Magazine and The Daily Telegraph, on assignments as far afield as Sri Lanka, Libya and the USA. During that time he got to meet and photograph many famous names. He was once the ‘official photographer’ to Her Majesty The Queen, the only photographer covering an event she attended in London’s Hyde Park, and even asked Margaret Thatcher and Muhammad Ali for their autographs (They both said yes, incidentally!). As a PR photographer he’s worked for an incredibly varied amount of blue-chip and national companies, from IBM and The Royal Mail to The National Lottery and the Royal Bank of Scotland, and he used to run a portrait studio close to his home in Cheshire. Although Martin has always shot weddings, he began to concentrate on them seriously in 1999. He offers a relaxed, photo-journalistic approach to wedding photography, preferring to tell the natural story of the day rather than ‘taking over’ a couple’s big day. He was Highly Commended in the Fuji ‘7 Brides’ photography awards, and was nominated in the 2016 UK Wedding awards. He’ll be joined in France by his partner Lesley and their two Cocker Spaniels. “We can’t wait to start our new French lives”, he said excitedly. Bienvenue à France. Martin!
The CALIMEROS BILLARD CLUB are organising their 13th English Billiards Open on 14-15-16-17 April 2017 at the Genétouze Sports Hall. (85 Vendée).
20 billiards, 400 players expected over the weekend. About fifteen tournaments (individual, team, hope, feminine etc.). Heated room. Bar and restaurant on-site. Free admission. Please contact: Tel: 06 09 69 20 70 ~ email: les firstname.lastname@example.org ~ Facebook: Les Calimeros Billard Club.
Martin O’Neill www.martinoneillphoto.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 7
And They’re Off...! Picture the scene... the sun is shining on a warm June day, milliners have been working overtime and haute couture is the order of the day as sixty thousand people flock to Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. But, lets transport ourselves back to the year 2005... England are victorious in the Ashes, Charles and Camilla are about to be wed, Tony Blair has just been voted back into Downing Street and the historic Ascot racecourse is closed for redevelopment, so the world-famous racing festival has been moved two hundred and twenty miles north to York. Suddenly the prospect of a trip to Ladies Day becomes possible for four northern lasses who would never have considered the trip down to Berkshire. For TheatriVasles’ next production we bring you Ladies’ Day, a comedy by Amanda Whittington, directed by Steve Marshall and by arrangement with Nick Hern books. We meet Pearl, Shelley, Jan and Linda, four fish packers from a factory in Hull on the eve of Pearl’s retirement. A spur of the moment decision sees the foursome, dressed to the nines in their best frocks, head to the races for Royal Ascot’s Ladies’ Day for its once in a lifetime move to York. Despite reservations that ‘we can’t go to ‘owt like that, we’re not posh’, the friends gird their loins for ‘a great big massive party, wi’ rich blokes’! As they embark on their champagne fuelled day, secrets are revealed and truths are exposed giving way to moments of hidden heartache, vulnerability and thwarted ambitions, all against a backdrop of laughter, high heels and big hats.
Above: actors Stewart Cronin and Sue
Fitzgerald. © Theatrivasles 2017
The play isn’t about racing, well bits of it are, but most of all it’s about friendship. How the friendship between four fish packers from Hull enables them to face all the things that life throws at them, both funny and sad. We will be revealing the casting on our TheatriVasles Facebook page in the coming weeks, but are delighted to announce here in the DSM that Stewart Cronin will be making his debut on stage in Ladies’ Day.
Performances will take place on Friday 5th May at 8pm and Saturday 6th May 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 email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you there.
Visit our website: www.theatrivasles.com or find us on Facebook 8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: un saumon.... a salmon
very year on the first of April everyone plays jokes (des blagues et des farces). Why Poisson d’Avril (April fish) in France? There are several possible explanations.
The first is that, in France, fishing is forbidden (la pêche est interdite), at this time of year because it is the period when fish reproduce (la période de reproduction des poissons), some people had the idea of playing jokes (faire des farces) on fishermen (les pêcheurs) by offering pretend fish (des faux poissons). As they did so they had to shout “Poisson d’avril!”.
by Sue Burgess
un calmar........ a squid
une sardine... a sardine
une pieuvre..... an octopus
un hareng..... a herring
un thon........... a tuna
une truite...... a trout
rascasse.......... scorpion fish
une anguille.. an eel
un anchois.... an anchovy
la morue, le cod cabillaud......
une perche... a perch
rouget grondin gurnard
les crustacés. shellfish
dorade grise.... black bream
rouget barbet.. red mullet
un homard... a lobster
une crevette. a shrimp
des moules... mussels
Another more recent explanation is that in April fish was a symbol of Lent (le carême), when practising Catholics only ate fish and not meat. So, at the beginning of the 20th century siècle, people sent each other greetings cards for the first April to wish each other friendship (amitié) and happiness (bonheur)! Today people no longer put herrings in fresh water (harengs dans l’eau douce), but they stick, as discretely as they can, small paper fish (de petits poissons en papier) on someone else’s back so that the person walks about with a paper fish stuck on their back all day. The tradition of Poisson d’Avril is alive and well in Belgium too. In USA and UK people say April Fool (le dupe d’avril) not April Fish. In Germany “April April” (Aprilscherz) (avril avril) when they play a joke. Experts studying the origin and the date of birth (date de naissance) of the April Fish have come up with over 800 ideas. One thing is certain, the tradition goes back several hundred years.
As per previous years, Val Assist will be available at the end of April and May to help people in 79 & 85. Dates to be confirmed. For more information please email Val on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact ‘The DSM’ on 05 49 70 26 21 or: email@example.com
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 9
A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres OIRON
by Sue Burgess
OIRON, which is part of the Pays du Thouarsais, has a remarkable archtectural heritage and is a holder of the label, ‘Petite Cité de caractère’. The communes of Bilazais, Brie and Noizé merged with Oiron in 1973. However, just ten years later, on the 14th February 1983, Brie became independent again. Bilazais and Noizé have the status of associate communes and each one has a mayor who sits on Oiron’s town council.
Saint Maurice was a martyred Roman legionary who died at Agaunum at the end of the 3rd century. He was murdered along with some soldiers from the legion of Thebes because he refused to persecute the Christians. The church of Bilazais was built in three stages. The current choir was originally a private chapel built in the 11th century and dedicated to Saint Radegonde. The west part dates from around 1726 (inscription over the opening in the main façade) with two side altars; one dedicated to Our Lady and one dedicated to Saint Nicolas. The sacristy dates from 1891. During the restoration works in 1882/3, the bell tower, which was originally on the west gable end, was moved to the middle of the church.
The château, built by the Gouffier family, is home to a permanent collection of contemporary art ‘Curios et Mirabilia’, often enriched by temporary exhibitions in the spirit of a cabinet of curiosities. It is a listed historical monument and belongs to the state.
The surrounding countryside is quite varied with plains, hedgerows, vineyards and closed gardens.
Guillaume Gouffier, the valet of Charles VII, had a large fortified demeure built. Todays château, built from the 16th century onwards, by the Gouffier family (Claude Gouffier was Equerry to François I then to Henri II) inspired Perrault to invent the Marquis of Carabas). The château should be a magnificent setting for spectacular decor; sumptuous gallery of paintings, painted and sculpted wood telling the story of the 17th century, but it is actually something quite different. Since 1993, it has been home to a collection of contemporary art works that is unique in France. The Curios Mirabilia collection was designed on the lines of a Renaissance cabinet of curiosities in memory of Claude Gouffier who was himself a great art collector.
Not far from the village are Les Fontaines. Ancient sulphorous springs whose waters healed skin complaints. It is said that the hospice founded by Madame de Montespan got the water for washing the patients from the springs.
In 1704, Madame de Montespan, with the agreement of Louis XIV, founded a hospice which is now a modern retirement home.
The special characteristics of the waters of Bilazais, which can heal skin complaints, were discovered by Mr Linacier, a doctor in Chinon, who informed Mr Raulin, a famous doctor and the intendant for Mineral Waters. The latter published a treaty where he demonstrated the results of these waters on skin complaints and noted that in 1740, Bilazais was the only village not affected by an epidemic that was wide-spread in the area. “Les vapeurs qui s’élèvent de la fontaine peuvent neutraliser des miasmes délétères ou contagieux” (The vapours coming from the springs can neutralise harmful or contagious air).
In 1775, Mr de Blossac, the Intendant of Poitiers, arranged for the springs to be cleaned up and for major works to be done with the view of building a military establishment. But, because of an error in the building works, the water coming from springs lost some of its speed of flow and the characteristics of the water changed.
In 1820, despite the rundown state of the springs, the number of drinkers of the water increased and 200 hectolitres of water were sent to Thouars, Saumur and Loudun. This continued until 1828, when 3 people died of having drunk too much of the water.
In 1838, the town council put a tax on using the spring waters of which the people from the village of Bilazais itself were exempt.
St Martin-les-Baillargeaux Church at Noizé Close to the old Roman road going from Poitiers to Nantes, the Church of Saint Martin was a stopping place where pilgrims on the Saint Hilaire road would stop to sleep. Its isolated position is, if you believe the legend, due to a terrible epidemic of the plague following which all the houses in the village were burned down for health reasons.
The 10th century bell tower is square shaped. It is topped by a smooth stone cone in the shape of a pine cone. The nave is separated from the choir by a wall with arcades.
The Collegial Church is a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles. It houses a stuffed crocodile and the remains of the Gouffier family are to be found here. Tradition has it that Admiral Bonnivet brought the crocodile back from one of his far away campaigns. There was a popular belief, which still existed in the last century, that people scratched the jaws of the animal to prepare a miraculous potion to cure fever. It is also said that the reptile reminds us of a dragon which used to live underground, only coming out for food. A valiant knight is said to have killed it and in return was given the hand of the daughter of the lord of Oiron. This story reminds us of the story of Saint-Jouin, helped by Saint Hilaire, against the dragon of the marshes of the Dive. Saint-Eloi, the farrier, appears on a sculpture in the chapel from where you can get to the bell tower of the church. He is shown next to a horse which is being brought to him by a peasant. The miracle of Saint Eloi consisted in cutting off the foot of the horse in order to shoe it and then replacing the foot with no lasting damage. Perhaps the engraving was the reason for a local belief that Saint-Eloi could heal horses. Whatever, there is a horse shoe fixed to the wall above the sculpture. In 1518 Artus Gouffier, the Grand Master of François I, transformed the church into a collegial church (a building with a chapter of canons or religious dignitaries) with the intention of rebuilding it entirely because it was falling into ruin. However, he died a few months later but the work continued with Hélène d’Hangest, his widow, and Charles Gouffier his son, and was completed 1550.
The houses in the town bear witness to the past prosperity of Oiron.
A voir / Must see • Les Fontaines Sulfureuses (the sulphorous springs) at Bilazais It is said that doctors tried the waters on humans because they had noticed that animals with skin complaints instinctively went to bathe in the springs.
The church was used as the chapel of the château and there was a door which opened directly onto the château grounds. The building is a mixture of a pure Gothic structure with the splendour of the Renaissance and Italian style decor. The nave is 55 metres long, 10 metres wide and between 18 and 20 metres high. The four marble memorials are exceptional: Artus Gouffier, Philippe de Montmorency, Guillaume Gouffier, Claude Gouffier. In the choir, two remarkable double arched doors open onto the Oratory of the Virgin and the Oratory of Saint Jérôme
10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month...
Above: Château d’Oiron. © Wiki comm ons:
Bilazais. Above: Les Fontaines Sulfureuses, Photo courtesy: www.oiron.eu
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 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.
Freemasonry In France There are English-speaking lodges here in France. One such lodge, based in Cognac, meets six times a year. If interested in joining, please contact me. The first ever ‘Grand Lodge’ was founded in London on 24th June 1717. To celebrate this 300th anniversary, Lodge and Temple doors are open to the public thoughout France. Please take this opportunity to visit. Contact David Brieger: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 www.cancersupportdeuxsevres.com THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH
Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Roger: 05 55 76 22 65 or Nancy: 02 54 24 09 74. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€pe.net or visit www.aafrance.net for details of English-speaking meetings.
Craft Café Creatif
Do you enjoy knitting or sewing in the company of others? Join us in L’Absie for an enjoyable afternoon over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. For details contact Carole on email: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 05.46.95.38.39 Website Short URL: http://goo.gl/ut80T
We meet every third Tuesday of the month, 2.30pm with free tea/coffee and bscuits at Le Bon Vertoef, 28 Grand Rue, 79110 TILLOU. (Nr Chef Boutonne). Everyone welcome for garden talk! For further information contact Mike Curtis 05 46 33 66 17 (eves).
TTL Photography Group
Local photography group on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border. New members always welcome, all levels of expertise and knowledge. We meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at Pause! L’Absie. Feel free to pop in and join us.
Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel
Thanks to the support of the Centre we meet every Wednesday 7.30pm-9pm, at 7 rue Anne Desrays, for conversation in English & French, for a mutual understanding of each other’s language and culture. Contact 05 49 66 35 11 or the Centre 05 49 66 76 40 email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
CALLING ALL QUIZZERS!
Grumpy’s Celebrated ‘You’re Not Here to Have Fun Quiz Night’ is looking for new victims. For all details contact me by email: email@example.com. Quizzes held Ste.Gemme
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: thouarsaintmedarts79.asso-web.com
Amateur woodturners/woodworkers interested in joining our association ‘Faisons des Copeaux’. Any level of ability from debutant to experienced. We meet Wednesdays & Thursdays, 2-5pm, every 2 weeks. Contact Roland 05 49 96 44 10, preferably evenings.
12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
Please visit the branch website:
A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact www.theatrivasles.com, find us on Facebook or email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club Come and join us for a bike ride, or just a cup of coffee and a chat, with bike-minded people. As the name suggests, we meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site. www.2ndsundayclub.fr 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. Barry Leech 05 49 87 19 85 email@example.com www.cle-france.com
JUST BRASS 79
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. Contact www.justbrass79.fr or call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or Christian on 05 49 29 78 84.
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 www.meridiengreen.eu
I’m Francis. I am 52 years old, French and have been learning English for a few years. I live in Aiffres (nr Niort). I would like to meet with English speaking people near me, to spend a couple of hours per week to speak in French or English. We could both improve our language skills this way. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 06 85 92 58 33.
Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay
French 4-part choir established over 30 years (with 2 English members) always looking for “new blood”! Excellent Musical Director. Come to a rehearsal and see for yourselves. Contact Keith for more info email@example.com 05 49 69 14 89
Come KNIT/CROCHET with us every Friday at 3.30pm in the Café des Sports, Chef-Boutonne. Beginners to Experts - all welcome. Contact us via Facebook (Girls that do knitting and crochet) or Melanie on 06 65 17 89 16.
Support Group (CSSG)
by Terri Laverick
Gosh, the year is winging by. Now that the CSSG article is being written bi-monthly, my year is slipping past in similar bites, it’ll soon be Christmas at this rate! I must admit, seeing the buds on the pear trees and all the flowers in the garden does cheer me up after what seems to have been a longish winter. We had our AGM in February, and set dates for several events for the forthcoming months, right up to December in fact! Preplanning is our keyword, it helps to have a keyword, shame we don’t always remember it. On 24th April we are holding a Race Night, we haven’t decided what will be racing yet, it will depend on the cd, could be horses, dogs or even – camels! A Curry supper will be available and also a non-spicy alternative. Please note that vegetarians are catered for. If you would like to join us, we need to know before 17th April, for catering purposes. The cost for the food will be €7.50 per person. We do not have an alcohol licence, so remember to bring your own. We do, however, supply tea, coffee and juice. The Grand CSSG Summer Market is being held on 2nd July, once again in St Pardoux; full details will be in a later edition, but, if you would like to book a space to sell your goods or services then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide a few tables but not awnings, so please feel free to bring your own. We have been promised a fire engine and some firemen by the Mazieres-en-Gatine Pompiers, so do come along. We are hoping that Reel Fish and Chips and Keynotes Choir will once again join us on the day.
e’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to complete our Reader’s Questionnaire, we really DO appreciate it.
From your feedback, here’s what we’ve learned... ‘What’s On’ is your favourite section. Technology is not taking over the Deux-Sèvres, as the majority of (65%) readers who completed the questionnaire read the paper version. Most of you are located in France (good news for many of our advertisers). The majority of you rated the magazine 5* (which we are over the moon about!) More than 70% of readers who completed the questionnaire have sourced a business from the magazine and almost 50% more than once! That means a lot to us and a lot to our advertisers, after all it’s the income generated by business adverts that enables us to provide you with a free magazine.
We will certainly act on much of the feedback we received over the coming months, but we can’t do it all alone, we need some help. So...
The 9th September has been booked for a Fishing/Picnic Lunch just outside Secondigny. Once again, if you are a fisherperson, or just fancy joining us for a bring your own/ share picnic you will be more than welcome. Again, details to follow. Finally, maybe, the Terves Christmas Market will be held on 3rd December, so please put it on your calendar. If you would like to book a table at this very successful event, contact me at the above email address so we can add you to our current bookings list. If you would like to help us in any way, we would love to hear from you. If not you can join us at any, or all, of the above and spend a little money, every cent helps.
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. 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: info@ thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr
CALLING ALL VENDÉENS ! We spend A LOT of time researching, but events in 85 seem hard to come by. If you know of anything happening, places to visit, please can you send us the details in time for future issues. (Deadline 15th of the month for the following month’s
Or, if you’d like to contribute an interesting article ...please feel free to send this to us for consideration into a future issue. If you think you could help distribute some magazines around your immmediate area - perhaps to your local supermarket when shopping.....please do get in touch.....we’d really appreciate your help.
We’d like to announce that the winner of the 100€ BEST shopping vouchers is Nuala Ryan-Rees. Well done to you!
Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm Email: email@example.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 13
Hobbies More from local writer Alison Morton... Please see back issues of ‘The DSM’ if you would like to see previous articles.
To blog or not to blog? ou’re a writer, right? After you’ve slogged away at your 1,000/2,000 words, you don’t want to sit down and generate more. Well, I’d urge you to think again.
Blogging has many advantages for a writer. First of all, it hones your style and stretches your imagination. Most blog posts are around 500-800 words these days; longer than that readers become bored. Once you’ve chosen your topic, you have a word count to rein you in. And choosing a topic makes you think imaginatively about what could be interesting/helpful/ entertaining for your readers. Blogging allows you to fill out some of the background to your story. This is where you can talk about your research – the 90% that didn’t go in your novel. You can get a lot of posts out of this, plus reports and photos of any trips you made for research purposes. Well-written posts about why you write and what your inspirations are let the readers glimpse behind the book to see what kind of writer you are. You can post about your writing process, your writing journey, workshops and conferences. Obviously, you must judge what you want to say about yourself. Don’t put anything in a post that you don’t want to see plastered all over the Internet. But it’s always interesting for the reader to see behind the e-reader screen or between the covers… Blogging lets readers into your personal world, the one beyond writing. Again, it has to be carefully curated. You may be a keen gardener, or cook, or have a fascinating hobby like karate or stockcar racing. You may want to share tips about living in France, post photos of châteaux or goats or describe how cheese is made. All these things round out your personality for the reader. Let’s be practical: it’s a splendid place to talk about your books, to show covers, let people know about special offers, events you’ll be attending and best of all, when your next book is due out. You can post reviews of your book, any awards and prizes. It’s your home territory when you can do what you like within the bounds of the law and decency. Unlike Twitter, bound by 140 characters or Facebook with its irritating rules and lightning-like changes, your blogspace is only subject to your whims. You’re not in competition with anybody else! You may from time to time invite guests, but most of the time what you put on the blog is yours and about what interests you. Getting people to read your blog is another subject which I’ll leave to next month! The two main blogging platforms are Wordpress and Blogspot (Blogger). Each has its pros and cons and bloggers tend to be passionate about one or the other. This article may help you decide howtomakemyblog.com/blogger-vs-wordpress/. My two blogs are on WordPress these days as it suits my needs for a flexible combined website and blog with various bells and whistles. But I also regularly contribute to other blogs which use Blogger. If you choose WordPress, I recommend you take the free option of Wordpress.org which you use on your own self-hosted domain. Happy blogging! Alison blogs at http://alison-morton.com and http:// alisonmortonauthor.com on Wordpress and contributes regularly to Unusual Historicals http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.fr on Blogger 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
YOUR Book Reviews Warm thanks go to Patricia Mc Avoy for this month’s review.
If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd At one level, ‘The Secret Lives of Bees’ reads like an adventure story. At another level however, there is loneliness, racism, bitterness and suicide. All dealt with extremely well, with helpings of love and humour by Sue Monk Kidd. The story concerns Lily who lives with her uncaring father. He refuses to discuss his dead wife except to say that Lily, at age four, had accidentally killed her. Worse, he claims that she had earlier abandoned Lily. Lily’s only comfort is that her father tells lies. Rosaleen, Lily’s only friend, has cared for her for ten years but knows little of what happened. The only clue Lily has to her mother is a picture of a black Madonna with Tiburun written on the back. The story opens as the Civil Rights Laws are signed into law and it is on Lily’s fourteenth birthday that she accompanies Rosaleen on the long walk to the town where she can register to vote. It is unfortunate that their paths cross with the meanest racist in the town. Lily and the injured Rosaleen, end up in jail. Lily, being white, is allowed home. That night Rosaleen is again attacked and is hospitalised. The next morning Lily decides to run away, rescue Rosaleen and go to Tiburun. She does all three. Lily too can tell lies. In Tiburun she finds that the pictures of the black Madonna are used as labels on jars of honey which are produced locally. She and the somewhat reluctant Rosaleen, find the home of the sisters who run the business. As the door opens, the reader, like Lily, waits anxiously to see if the answers to her questions lie within. If not, will Lily be returned to her father, and Rosaleen to jail? A great story which I know I shall want to read again. And by the way, I am also now well informed about bees. by Patricia Mc Avoy
Are you a bit of a Bookworm?
If you are an avid reader and would like to share your book reviews with us, we would love to publish them! Please send to us by email: email@example.com
Reviews should be 150-200 words long.
Bees at the Little White House Experiences of a new Beekeeper... by Gloria Fisher
How to find things out...
e came across an apple fair where there was a stand with a complete hive on display. The lady gave me a leaflet with the shop opening times and that is how we found the shop ‘APIPOM’ in Secondigny, near Parthenay. They carry everything for bee keepers from hives to jars. The shop is just a small part of an apple processing plant. It’s quite an operation and well worth a visit if you want to see apple juice made or just buy some freshly pressed juice and honey. I wish to extend my thanks to this lady at API-POM, she is extremely helpful even though she does not speak much English. For Christmas I was bought a hive, it stood in a corner, waiting for slightly warmer weather so I could paint it and site it in the field. My original thoughts were to get a hive from England, where I can read and understand everything, but if I need something urgently, like another ‘Super’, by the time it’s sent from England my bees might have swarmed and I have lost half my colony. So API-POM is now my local supplier. Books on Beekeeping written by professionals are readily available. In this little column I am writing my true experiences of becoming a Beekeeper. So if there are any experienced keepers who have anything helpful to add, that’s fine but if not, just be pleased that someone is trying to help these important insects. Back to the field, I left you last time with a partly cleared field and an idea of where to put the hive. Now my carefully worked field looks like a war zone. When a tree is standing you have no idea of the size and mess they make when felled. Frost, rabbits and deer have destroyed my cauliflowers, so the carefully planned bee space is just a memory. Clearing the field again, this time of felled trees and leaves, made a change to brambles and nettles, at least now I have some light without so many scratches. I also found that seed catalogues have a symbol for bee plants, although it’s still a bit early to plant seeds. Bees stay indoors as they don’t like cold, wind or rain; sensible creatures! Here is my hive (photo right), with a view of the inside; the flat plastic is the Queen Excluder, which keeps the Queen in the Brood chamber where she lays her eggs, and out of the Honey Store. Next to this is a Super, where all the honey is stored. The colony is expanded by adding more Supers. Photo left shows the painted hive in situ, with the bottom Brood Chamber and the Super on the top under the roof. A new home just waiting for occupants... looks good!! Imagine it planted with bee flowers.... (which you can read about on P.23)
Next time:: Other essentials
Take a Break - SOLUTIONS
Well, what do you know?:
Easy Crossword: Across: 1. apple 3. incur 7. snoop 8. knife 9. experimenting 10. eternally 13. disorientated 14. stein 15. billy 16. cater 17. lenin Down: 1. annexe 2. projectionist 4. constellation 5. refine 11. biotic 12. teflon Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. bistros 5. abbey 8. imallagog 9. til 10. pride 12. our call 13. coffee morning 15. amended 17. sense 19. tad 20. prejudice 22. north 23. sidings Down: 1.blimp 2. ska 3. relieve 4. sign of madness 5. anger 6. battalion 7. yule log 13. chawton 14. resound 16. depth 18. evens 21. ion
1) BEARINGS 2) NORWEGIAN 3) CORAL 4) JAPAN 5) George NORTH 6) GREENLAND 7) P rince CASPIAN the return to Narnia 8) RED 9) PHILLIPINES 10) CHINA Clay 11) The BENGAL Tiger 12) BLACK Rod They are all SEAs
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 15
by Tony Barrett: firstname.lastname@example.org
inyl tends to make music enthusiasts misty-eyed when they talk about it because it is bound up with the romance of the first single they bought or the Dansette record player that they saved up for. It remains to be seen whether the rebirth of vinyl will continue on its upward trajectory. What the vinyl charts make clear is that the older demographic is as much part of its revived fortunes as the hipsters buying it for the first time. A major technological characteristic cited in the comeback of vinyl is its distinctive lack of audio cleanness and perfection— what fans call the “warmth or fuzzy sound” of the vinyl record. The revolutionary design feature of CD players was their ability to enable listeners to skip tracks and reshuffle albums. Vinyl, on the other hand, was and is different. Track skipping is a tricky business Portable 78 rpm record player. and, due to the fragility of the © Wikicommons: FredrikT record, you run the risk of dropping the stylus and causing damage. Consequently, the vinyl album was designed to be played as a track-by-track experience (as intended by the artists). Downloading music may be the future but vinyl reigns supreme for the music cognoscenti. And that could mean that your treasured record collection contains some real investment hits. With The Beatles’ White Album (released 1968) there is a number on each cover: collectors want low numbers, £4,000-£10,000 for those numbered one to 100. Condition with records is everything. It was common to write your name on the sleeve when you took a record to a party, but that will have devalued it. It is important that both the vinyl and sleeve are in good condition. Holding the vinyl in a strong light will usually show any signs of damage to the surface. The second key condition of vinyl is rarity. For example, the Beatles sold millions of records, but finding a copy of any of their singles in unplayed condition is almost impossible, so collectors pay a premium for them. A copy of the first Beatles album, Please Please Me (1963), was first pressed on the gold and black Parlophone label but it soon switched to yellow and black. If you have a stereo black and gold copy in mint condition it is worth £5,000 or more.
16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
Above: Beatles for Sale by the Beatles (side 1) – Parlophone yellow and black label. © Wikicommons: Snowmanradio
For those of us lucky enough to live in France there is also the possibility of picking up examples of some early, rare and possibly valuable, original Beatles albums at brocantes released for the French market. The French albums released on the Odeon label were largely the same as those in the UK, although some early releases were retitled, and the equivalents of Please Please Me and With The Beatles were issued in reverse order. Until 1965 the group was known on their records as Les Beatles, and each release prior to Rubber Soul was mono-only. The early Beatles French albums. (English equivalents in brackets) 1. Les Beatles (With the Beatles) 500-1500 Euros 2. Les Beatles No.1 (Please Please Me) 500 Euros 3. 4 Garcons dans le Vent. (Hard Day’s Night) 500+ Euros 4. Les Beatles 1965 (Beatles For Sale) 300-1500 Euro 5. Chansons du Film Help !(Help) 200 Euros 6. Dans Leur 14 Plus Grand Succes (14 Greatest Hits) 1000+ Euros 7. Rubber Soul 200 Euros Don’t worry if you got rid of your old record player during a ‘downsizing’, but kept your old albums, it is now possible to buy a USB deck to play through your computer to rekindle those old memories.
Health, Beauty & Fitness Glorious Greens
by Lorraine Wallace
pparently green vegetables are the most commonly missing food in modern diets and yet they are essential for establishing a healthy body and immune system. So what’s so good about them?
Greens help build your ‘internal rainforest’ and strengthen the blood and respiratory system. When you nourish yourself with greens, you may naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick. Leafy green vegetables are also high-alkaline foods. Alkaline minerals in our bodies neutralize acidic conditions caused by the environment. Green vegetables help to replenish our alkaline mineral stores and ﬁlter out pollutants. Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. They are loaded with ﬁbre, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. BENEFITS: • Blood purification • Cancer prevention • Improved circulation • Promotion of energy • Improved liver, gall bladder & kidney function • Cleared congestion (especially lungs by reducing mucus) • Promotion of healthy intestinal flora EXPERIMENT WITH GREENS There are plenty of greens available year round, so with a bit of effort you should discover a good range that you enjoy. Make sure they feature often in your meals. Be adventurous and experiment with new greens that you’ve never tried before to keep mealtimes interesting. Common options include bok choy, cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe and dandelion. Rocket, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun, and wild greens (common edible weeds) are generally eaten raw, but can be consumed in any creative way you enjoy. Spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of the calcium in these foods. Rotating a variety of fresh greens in your diet is the best way to achieve the maximum beneﬁts. COOKING GREENS Try a variety of methods to find what you enjoy: steaming, boiling, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, waterless cooking, or lightly pickling (as in a pressed salad). Boiling helps greens plump and relax. Boil for under a minute to avoid losing nutrients in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea if you’re using organic greens. Steaming makes greens more ﬁbrous and tight, which helps you feel fuller, longer. This is a great method to help curb your appetite for those trying to lose weight. Raw salad is also a convenient preparation for greens. It’s refreshing, cooling, and supplies live enzymes. You now know there’s a lot to be said for Glorious Greens and they certainly don’t have to be tasteless and boring! So what can you do this week to introduce more greens into your life?
www.lorrainewallace.com Email: email@example.com ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77
Emotional Freedom Dance Wednesday 26th April 3.00 - 4.30pm at Chanteloup Village Salle. 10€ per person 50% of proceeds going to animal charity
Feedback from last month’s class: “It was a very friendly mix of French and English people of all ages and I really enjoyed my journey with Pam. I would recommend this experience as an opportunity to just let go of the stresses in our bodies, the anxieties in our mind and to be able to seize the chance to just be yourself in the moment (and feel good about helping animals at the same time).” A.W.
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 17
by Jacqui Brown
e have managed to get out on our bikes a few times this month and although the four of us have not been able to get out together, we have all been covering around 30/35km on each ride, which at about half the distance we will be doing every day on the Tour, is perfect for training runs with five months to go.
FOR YOUR DIARIES:
Bikes are simple machines that, when geared and set up correctly, are probably the most efficient form of transport in the world. The distances that can be travelled per amount of calories invested are far in excess of any other mode of personal transport, including walking. However, there are all sorts of bikes out there. Some good, some not so good and others that are simply bad boys, designed to put the rider off cycling for life. If you are thinking of joining us, you will need the right bike. Starting with the bad boys, these usually resemble a mountain bike and can be picked up in the local supermarket for anything from 60€ to 180€. The four of us all had bikes like these, but they are heavy, loaded with very cheap components and invariably badly set up. Most of them are best avoided and ours are now languishing in a dark corner of the barn. If a mountain bike or VTT (Vélo Tout Terrain in France) is your preference, spend a bit more money and head to Decathlon, or similar, where you will find a good range of VTT’s from less than 120€ or full road bikes from less than 350€. The VTT’s may look like they will go anywhere, but they tend to be heavy and their road manners are not ideal, particularly if shod with big chunky tyres. A road bike is more suited to tarmac roads, although ours regularly take plenty of abuse off the beaten track too. They are much lighter than a VTT and have narrower tyres to reduce drag (this means you go faster with less effort). They can also be found with flat or dropped handlebars. While VTT’s and road bikes all have plenty of gears to play with, the number of gears is pretty irrelevant. What is needed is a good range of gears to cope with all the different terrains you plan to cover. Whilst cheaper bikes will have twist grip shifters, the more expensive bikes will have shifting levers, which are properly indexed to the bike’s gears and dropped handlebar road bikes have the shifters cleverly built into the brake levers, for easy gear changes. The four of us have all made the progression from VTT’s to road bikes and even though the dropped handlebars can take a bit of getting used to (say Sarah and Jacqui), the benefits in terms of ease of cycling make them the perfect choice for the Tour. Don’t forget if you are interested in joining us, you can find instructions on ‘The DSM’ website and our terms and conditions will be sent out to all those interested in taking part. www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr
You can also follow our planning and training via our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TourdeReves/
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2ND APRIL Rando to discover the trails of Secondigny. Come and discover the trails of Secondigny, while answering a questionnaire and various activities to entertain young and old. Refreshments on the course. Departure from 9am until 10:30am at the Salle Multi Loisirs in Secondigny near the lake after the campsite. Registration by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 06 22 60 27 00 or on-site from 9am. Free for children under 10 years old. From 10 to 15 years = 3 € and 6 € for teenagers and adults.
CALLING ALL WALKING FOOTBALL PLAYERS
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 05.46.32.18.51 or email email@example.com
Pure Fitness Exercise to music classes - every Tuesday 7pm-8pm Salle des Fêtes, La Chapelle St Etienne 79240. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CYCLISTS IN FRANCE
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?
We are a netball team in Vasles (79340). We meet every Monday 6-7pm at the Salle Omnisports in Vasles for training with our qualified English coach. It’s fun and a great way to keep fit, so come along or contact: email@example.com
Tai Chi in Bressuire and Le Breuil Barret
Each Tuesday evening (8.30pm-9.30pm) at the Centre SocioCulturel in Bressuire. Each Friday afternoon (3pm-4.30pm) at the Salle Communale in Le Breuil Barret. Simply turn up in loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear. Phone Terry on 05 49 65 60 34 or visit: www.chentaiji-fr.com
GOLF LESSONS WITH A GOLF PROFESSIONAL DURING APRIL 2017
ituated in beautiful Deux-Sèvres, you will experience the only golf course in this area with 27 holes, nestling in the quiet village of Les Forges which is 25 minutes from Parthenay and 40 minutes from Poitiers.
With the three courses of 9 holes we have the right course for beginners, or experienced golfers, whether you want to play 9, 18 or 27 holes. FREE LESSONS will take place during the month of April, by reservation only. Whether you are on your own, with your family or with a group of friends, you can come and discover the pleasure of golf. Details of how to reserve are shown below. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information. In the clubhouse, situated in the heart of the golf course, you will find bi-lingual staff and a restaurant with an outside terrace where you can take a coffee and watch the world go by. Reservations in APRIL: • • • • • • • • •
Saturday 1st Sunday 2nd Thursday 6th Sunday 9th Tuesday 11th Friday 14th Saturday 15th Tuesday 18th Saturday 22nd
10.00am - 12.00pm 10.00am - 12.00pm 2.00pm - 4.00pm 10.00am - 12.00pm 2.30pm - 4.30pm 4.00pm - 6.00pm 9.30am - 11.30pm 2.00pm - 4.00pm 10.00am - 12.00pm
10.00am - 12.00pm
Call us to book your free lesson!
Golf Des Forges, 79340 LES FORGES Tel : 05 49 69 91 77 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Images courtesy of Golf des Forges and www.forges.bluegreen.com
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly , April 2016 2017 | 19 , September The Deux-Sèvres Monthly
Home & Garden Small colour Advert from 35,17â‚Ź ttc per month
20 | The Deux-SĂ¨vres Monthly, April 2017
Covering All of France with Carpet!
aving worked in the carpet and flooring trade for 30 years in the UK, Jon and Andrea Prince have for the past 10 years operated from their home and warehouse in the Correze (19), in the Limousin. Jon explains their business method “We have thousands of samples to bring to your home - after all, you can’t choose a carpet from an internet picture! We cover ALL of France with a free, no obligation visit”. As there is limited availability of carpets in France, all materials are sourced in the UK. “We make weekly collections from our UK depot in our own vans to bring back quality carpets and underlay, cushionfloor vinyl, wood and laminate flooring” explains Andrea. “Working in partnership with most of the major British manufacturers we have a huge portfolio of samples, constantly updated, due to our long-term relationship with our suppliers” With all the fitting carried out to the highest standard by UK trained installers, you can be sure of an expert finish to your new carpet!
Sarl PRINCE: 05 55 73 63 16 www.jon-thecarpetman.com
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 21
THE AMATEUR GARDENER
by Vanda Lawrence
ays are getting longer, the weather is improving and the soil is getting warmer, so now we can get out into the garden and work our way through the ‘to do’ list. To be honest though, even though the books tell me that a particular job should be done at a particular time of the year, if I don’t manage it or the weather is against me, then I just fit it in as and when I can – everything will still survive, I might just get smaller crops or fewer flowers.
So now then, in the vegetable garden we can plant onion sets and sow chosen vegetable seeds. If you are sowing peas, remember to push in some twiggy sticks to support them as they grow or, in the case of runner beans, they will need tall canes. Thin carrot seedlings in the evenings when fewer carrot flies are around. Jerusalem artichokes (Topinambour) can be planted this month too. In the flower garden, if you haven’t already done so, dig in a good layer of compost or manure ready for the growing season; alternatively use a general purpose fertiliser. Add a layer of mulch around trees, shrubs and perennials while the soil is still damp and weed-free, and before the hot weather arrives. If necessary finish trimming back, staking and tying in stems of climbers before too much growth is made. Divide Hostas before they come into leaf and Primroses after they have finished flowering. Prune Forsythia after flowering and trim winter-flowering heathers once the flowers have disappeared to prevent the plants becoming leggy. Deadhead Daffodils and Tulips as the flowers finish but leave the foliage to die back naturally so the goodness goes back into the bulb. In the fruit garden remove flowers from rhubarb plants and weed strawberry beds or replant if necessary. Apply slow-release fertiliser around the base of raspberry canes, fruit bushes and fruit trees to encourage a good crop. You can apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn now at the
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start of the season; also, now is a good time to apply specialist weed-killers to the lawn if moss or weeds are a problem. Deal with any lumps or hollows too while the ground is soft enough to permit the ‘H’ cut and removal or addition of soil to level the surface. Very soon now the soil will be too hard and compacted to do jobs like this. Plant summer-flowering bulbs into beds, borders and containers. Dahlias can be planted now too, remembering to put a stake in ready to support the plant as it grows; remember also to protect new shoots from late frosts. If you are like me you are looking forward to visiting the garden centres to buy plug plants ready for the flower borders, so let’s make a list of some bee-friendly plants so we can choose wisely to help our bees survive...
Bee Friendly Flowers Cosmos
half-hardy annual, grow to about 2’ open flowers for bees
Aster or Michaelmas Daisy
half-hardy annual, important for honeybees
half-hardy annual, variety of heights and loved by bees
hardy annuals - bees don’t like the red variety
hardy annuals, single flowered variety is best for bees
hardy annuals, deadhead regularly to flower all summer
hardy perennial, bees and butterflies love this flower
hardy annual, pretty herb that bees love
hardy annual and perennial, plenty of pollen in open flowers
hardy shrub, wonderful for bees, plenty of pollen on plenty of flowers
hardy perennial, grows to about 3’ plenty of nectar
hardy shrub, lovely fragrance, bees love them
hardy perennial, early flowering & early food for bees
perennial climber, plenty of pollen for the bees
hardy perennial, early flowering & early food for bees
I’ve mentioned companion planting before but next month I’ll list plants useful for pest control in the garden – there’s quite a list so I haven’t got room now. In the meantime, enjoy the lighter evenings and nicer weather.
Bye bye for now ...
PHASES OF THE MOON APRIL 2017
NEW Moon 1st Quarter 28th March 3rd April
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 23
Our Furry Friends
PACHA – 2 year old Calico girl. Pacha was found on the doorstep and taken in by a kind French girl. This beautiful cat was rail-thin and had obviously been living wild for some time. Worse still, her breathing rate was abnormally fast and she seemed exhausted.... something serious was wrong. An X-ray showed that her diaphragm had a large tear in it – probably the result of a car accident - and her abdominal organs had passed through into her thorax and were pushing on her lungs. Phoenix paid for an emergency operation and luckily the vet was able to save her life. However, now she needs a permanent, loving home, because unfortunately she can’t stay where she is longer than March 21st. Despite being of no fixed address for some time, Pacha is very affectionate and loves to follow you around for cuddles! Her operation was a success and she has no health issues. She is fine with other cats, but frightened of dogs. We feel Pacha has already used up enough of her nine lives and truly deserves a happy and secure future! If you feel you can give her this please contact Jenny Brahma on 05 53 89 59 35 email@example.com Pacha is sterilised and will be chipped and vaccinated on adoption.
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The Rainbow Association Charity Shop Raising Funds for animals in need
Open every Wednesday + the 1st Saturday of each month, 10am-5pm “Route 66”, 107 Avenue de la Liberation, 87320 Buissiere-Poitevine
Where We Live... The Springham family at their home and B&B, Jambon de printemps. © Laura Springham 2017
Keith & Laura
by Mick Austin
magine two people who had grown up thousands of miles apart. One an American musician with dreams of winning an orchestra job, the other a Londoner who had swapped cutting up animal carcasses for the more aromatic delights of freshly-baked bread. They had never met and were probably never likely to, except for a couple of coincidences. They were both in love with the idea of living in France and they each answered an advert for a job in Bermuda. Laura Appert, as was, and Keith Springham are from very different backgrounds, but a series of events and coincidences saw them meet on a paradise island, marry and eventually, eight years later, move into their dream home in France. The Springhams have been living near Champagne-Mouton, in the Charente, for 16 months and have two children, four-yearold Patrick and Beatrice, who was born in November. Their plans to have a B&B and run courses – music for Laura and bakery for Keith – are moving along nicely and they have their own website at www.jambondeprintemps.com (jambon de printemps, spring ham, Springham. Geddit?). Laura comes from a musical family – her father is a music professor and conductor, her mother an opera singer and teacher and her younger sister a professional violinist – and the family had lived in numerous places throughout America before she was 12. “I suppose moving around so much made me interested in travelling,” says Laura. “I also wanted to learn French. Most U.S. students don’t learn a second language until they are about 14, but at nine I enrolled in a community education course for French and I was the only child in the class.
“As I became more serious about my musical training, playing viola and violin, I had to put other interests aside and it wasn’t until I was a university graduate that I was first able to visit France. Unfortunately, I went to Paris with a friend who didn’t love
Home-baked and finely tuned!
by Mick Austin
French culture as much as I did, so I was rather on my own in my appreciation of all things French.” Laura’s next French adventure was with the family, playing concerts during la fête de la musique, again in Paris. “This time we were there for ten days and had much more time to explore the city in between the concerts and rehearsals.” After graduating from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Laura became a freelance musician, teaching, performing and doing odd jobs to earn a living. “My dream was to win an orchestra job, so I spent whatever time and money I had going to auditions. I won positions with part-time orchestras in the area, but nothing full-time. Then I saw an ad for a teacher at Bermuda School of Music and decided it might be nice to have a change of pace, a salary and to live in another country. I sent off my resumé and then promptly forgot about it. A few months later I was interviewed and got the job, so I packed some bags and moved to Bermuda in 2006. When I went, I jokingly told my family that I was halfway to France!” Keith moved from London to Essex when he was seven with his parents and grandmother, who spent her days baking and cooking for the family while his parents worked. “She was probably one of the reasons I ended up becoming a baker,” says Keith. He had an after-school job in a butcher’s shop, which was next to a bakery, but the smell of the bakery appealed to him much more than the cold butcher’s shop, so he switched jobs and premises. After finishing his baking courses and apprenticeship, Keith got the travel bug and made his way through France, Spain, the Netherlands and all over Asia, before returning to Essex to start his own bakery. “But that urge to travel was always there. A friend saw a job advert for a bakery in the Cayman Islands, so I applied – along with 300 others – had an interview in Sheffield and was sitting on a Cayman beach within six months!”
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 25
...A look at what makes France so special For ten years he enjoyed helping run the bakery until, in September 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck and devastated the island. Without work and with most of his belongings washed away, Keith headed back to the UK. Again someone told him of an advert for a manager of a supermarket bakery – this time in Bermuda. The supermarket baked only frozen breads and pastries and was losing money and his new boss challenged him to create a bakery where everything was made in-house with nothing frozen. At the beginning he had one staff member, ten years later he had 15 and in his last year in charge the bakery netted $1,250,000. “I decided to make the most of my success and save everything to move to France. I already had friends there and planned to live on my own near them. Little did I know I would be moving to France complete with a family!” Keith moved to Bermuda in 2006 – the same year as Laura – but they didn’t meet until 2008. “We met through a friend,” says Laura, “and a few months later I invited him to a concert where I was playing violin with a local rock band. The first time we met, Keith told me about his plans to save all his money and move to France. He also shared my love of music and art. I couldn’t believe how much we had in common. “We went on our first trip together to France to visit his friends and it was then, around eight months after we had first met, we realised we wanted to get married. We tied the knot in Bermuda in 2010 and spent our honeymoon in Chamonix, hiking through the Alps. We also did a bit of house-hunting, but I was too nervous to say we would buy until we had actually moved to France.
Selles-sur-Cher (AOC) With its distinctive, steely-grey ash coat and pure white, fondant-like creamy inside, Selles-sur-Cher looks like nothing else and its taste is quite unexpected. Some might say it is goat’s cheese perfection. Made within the Centre-Val de Loire departments of Cher (18), Indre (36), Indre-et-Loire (37) and Loir-etCher (41), it takes its name from the village of Sellessur-Cher, which itself is named after the local river, the Cher. Its AOC was awarded in 1975, but the cheese itself dates back to the 19th century. A good goat’s milk cheese is defined by its lingering scent and aftertaste and the locals often eat the rind. They are the ones that cultivate its mould and they consider it contains the true taste of the cheese – a sharper, more pronounced flavour. Around 1.3 litres of unpasteurised goat’s milk is need to make a single puck-shaped, neatly bevellededge cheese around 8cm at the bottom and 7cm at the top, 2-3cm in height and weighing around 150g. After an affinage (ripening) of up to four weeks, the outside surface of the cheese is very knobbly and the rind is dry. It is covered completely with a blue-grey mould, under which is a layer of powdered and salted charcoal. The centre is characteristic of a true goat’s milk cheese in that it is slightly hard at first, then moist, heavy and clay-like as it blends and melts in the mouth. The flavour is tart and salty with a rich hazelnut aroma. It starts off milky and slightly chalky, becoming stronger, gooier and nuttier with age. Production may be fermier, coopérative or industriel. Although industriel production is now all-year round, this cheese is at its best between spring and autumn It can be a perfect addition to any cheeseboard at the end of a meal, perhaps served alongside a small salad of mixed leaves with a few slices of green apple. Good served with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, or perhaps a light and fruity Chinon, or Bourgueil.
Photo: Wikicommons/ Myrabella
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Keith and Laura’s wedding day in Bermuda. © Lee Hall
“In 2012, our son Patrick was born. Keith’s job in Bermuda was going well, but I didn’t feel as happy about my job after eight years. I suppose having a child changes your priorities. We wanted to move while Patrick was very young so he could integrate into French school life. We planned to leave in July 2014, but Keith’s boss offered him more money to stay and we finally left in April 2015. It was during that extra year we had the idea of running courses from a French B&B.”
They spent summer 2015 house-hunting, starting in Brittany and working their way down the west of France, stopping in the Deux-Sèvres and the Charente before heading to a friend’s place near Perpignan. “In the August we found out our favoured house in the Charente was still on the market and the price had dropped,” says Laura, “so we drove back up, saw the house for a second time and moved in on January 6, 2016.” The B&B part of the house had yet to be built, but Keith enlisted the help of some skilled workers and in August the Springhams welcomed their first official guests to Jambon de printemps. Laura registered as a professor de musique and set up her own website (www.lauraspringham.com) where she focuses mainly on playing violin and viola for weddings and special events. “I have several bookings already for 2017. Some are solo, others are duo and trio with violin and cello. I’ve played at local fêtes and open mic nights and I’m hoping opportunities will come up for chamber music and orchestral performing. I play with an amateur orchestra in Poitiers, the Orchestre de Josquin des Prés, where most of the players are French and the rehearsals are in French, so that’s helping my language skills.”
Laura performing at Château de Verteuil © Keith Springham
On this month April 5, 1794: French Revolution leader Georges Danton, who was actually middle class, as were many of his compatriots, is sent to the guillotine. Estimates of the number of people who went to the guillotine during the French Revolution range from 17,000 to 40,000, of which 72% were commoners, 14% middle class, 6% clergy and just 8% were aristocrats.
Above and below: Baking produce Chez Springham. © Laura Springham
April 6 1896: Inspired by the revival of the Olympic Games, hosted since 1850 in the English village of Much Wenlock, in Shropshire, French baron Pierre de Coubertin opens his own much grander version in Athens, with 14 nations competing in 43 events.
Student, Zara, at one of Keith’s Baking lessons © Laura Springham
She also speaks French while teaching an adult student the viola and has been having regular French lessons. “I’d like to start teaching violin at my son’s school, as an introduction to violin, and also set up a teaching studio and teach music appreciation courses to guests at our B&B.”
April 21, 1918: World War One German flying ace Manfred von Richtofen – also known as the Red Baron – is shot down and killed during the Battle of the Somme. He was flying his red Fokker triplane deep into Allied territory in pursuit of a British aircraft and was apparently killed by ground fire from an Australian gunner. British troops recovered his body and buried him with full military honours. The Red Baron was credited with 80 kills in less than two years and was just 25 years old when he died.
In November, Keith started offering one-day bread-making workshops to locals and will be running other workshops including croissants, danish pastry, choux pastry and cake decorating. Starting this month he has four-day workshops available for bread-making or pastry designed for people wanting to stay in the B&B and take a course, or for locals wanting to learn on a daily basis. Remember those coincidences that brought the Springhams together all those years ago? Well, they haven’t stopped happening. An estate agent who helped with their house-hunting is also a cellist. The Springhams didn’t buy a house from her, but Laura got back in touch and they are now playing together for some weddings and the lady has also joined Laura in the Poitiers orchestra!
Musical maestro Laura’s music credentials are pretty impressive. She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in viola performance and has performed both viola and violin with professional orchestras and chamber groups. She has been principal viola for both the Bermuda Philharmonic and Huntington Symphony orchestras and has also played in orchestras accompanying renowned artists like Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, John Legend and Wynonna Judd.
Official portrait, of Manfred von Richtofen c. 1917
April 12. 1992: Euro Disney opens to the public in Marne-La-Vallée, near Paris. Visitors were warned there could be chaos on the roads as half a million people were expected. In the event, by midday the car parks were only half full, suggesting under 25,000 people had turned up. A one-day rail strike on the line from the centre of Paris to Euro Disney didn’t help matters.
Find out out more about Keith and Laura via their website: www.jambondeprintemps.com
This is one of a series of articles featuring those in the region with interesting stories..... If you feel your French Adventure is worth sharing, please contact us.
Mick Austin is an award-winning freelance journalist based in the Pays-de-la-Loire. He has had his work published in several expat magazines and newspapers and has also written the Mayenne Tourist Board’s only English language brochure. He runs a gite business at www.gitefortwo.com
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 27
Communications Spotting Fake or Spoof Emails and How to Handle Them... by Ross Hendry
section of the full header will lead you to. If it indicates that your reply would be redirected to an address that’s different from the sender’s address, then you have good cause to be suspicious. Suspect emails demanding immediate action by you If the subject line is frightening or threatening such as “your account has/will be suspended” or “Unauthorised login attempt”, consider this highly suspicious before you reply or click on any link etc. If in any doubt look, but do not open the email Look for spelling mistakes and other anomalies, and the reply address - is that the normal format of their reply address - is it similar to their other email addresses? If you are not sure what normal is from the particular sender, go back and check older legitimate emails you still have from them.
mail systems on the web are quite aged and as such quite simple to confuse. It is this vulnerability that hackers, spammers and phishers use to send you email that you do not want.
What I mean by a ‘fake’ or ‘spoof’ email is one purporting to be from someone, or a company that is known to you, but is in fact by a sinister third party that probably have their own agenda to infect or control your PC, and/or advertise a product or site and get you to visit/or buy from them - or possibly a combination of both! The best defence is think before you click. Are you really expecting an email from this person/company? Would they really ask you for that information via email? Does it look too good to be true? Most people who are infected by an email realise exactly what they did wrong after the event and many admit they could have prevented the problem. There are several signs that can help you spot a fake: Do not trust the name displayed by the email client The name shown as the sender can easily be edited to read what a spammer wants it to read. Perhaps the name of a close friend, or maybe from your bank, building society or Credit Card Company. The email will doubtless look like the ones from your bank etc, including their logos and security messages. Please scrutinise it carefully. Private messages are usually easier to spot as each of our friends corresponds in a unique way, the title or subject they use, the way they hail you, layout, font (typeface) etc. Do not trust the message header It’s not just the display name that can be spoofed, but also the email header. There are several technical ways to see if this is the case, but the simplest method is to see where the “reply to”
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Never click on any attachments, links or buttons in a suspect email. The main reason for sending you a spoof or fake email is to get you to do something or somehow further infect your PC. Clicking on any link, attachment or button in one of these emails could do just that. If in doubt contact the purported sender, but not by any means suggested in the suspect email, only use existing telephone numbers or email addresses you have for them and then never send logon IDs or passwords to them. Still not sure - Ask Google Doing a simple search on the subject line and company name of the suspected email can give you an idea if anyone else has had the same problem. Read the relevant search results to see if they can help you. Once you are sure the email is a fake etc., delete the offending email without opening it and for extra safety empty the deleted items folder/box immediately after. Trust your own instincts You know what feels right, so trust your instincts. Does your friend really write and spell this way? Does the company normally ask you questions of this nature or indeed email at all? Please remember, just because an email looks like it has come from someone you know or a company that you deal with or have had dealings with in the recent past, do they usually get in touch with you? Have you initiated contact with the sender, if not how did they get your information? Even if it looks like the right logos, language, email address and the spelling is correct it may well be a wrong-un. Please check things thoroughly especially the reply email address and under no circumstances should you click on a link, attachment or button on a suspect email. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert directly opoosite).
Annual Subscription Costs: 33,60€ within France, 28,80€ 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 SARAH BERRY.
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 29
Take a Break Across: 1. An American technology company (5) 3. Bring upon oneself (5) 7. To spy, watch, observe or inquire secretly (5) 8. Hand tool or weapon (5) 9. Conducting scientific tests (13) 10. Lasting forever (9) 13. Having lost one’s bearings (13) 14. Earthenware beer mug (5) 15. Male goat (5) 16. Supply food ready to eat (5) 17. Leader of the Russian Revolution (5)
DSM Toughie Crossword
Down: 1. An addition that extends a main building (6) 2. The person who shows the film in a cinema (13) 4. A configuration of stars as seen from the earth (13) 5. Make more complex, intricate or richer (6) 6. Native good judgement (6,5) 11. Of or relating to living organisms (6) 12. A non-stick material used to coat cooking utensils (6)
Across: 1. French cafe’s writers found all over the road! (7) 5. Flip side discovered in Ebay deal for Beatles Album? No Way! (5) 8. I am amazed; caught out of order in logical little publication (2,3,4) 9. Getting up to something in a poetic form of expression (3) 10. Pretentiousness of first part of a title presented among others here today (5) 12. It’s up to us to escape from rancour, callousness and vitriol (3,4) 13. Social group get-together for rebuilding of more fencing (6,7) 15. Reformed dead men? (7) 17. Touching, perhaps, but lacking sensibility in conferring a title to fit in today (5) 19. In the end, flight data recorded very little (3) 20. Predispose Jude to be upset over wrong price for completion of title (9) 22. Possible direction taken before five to arrive at another of today’s compositions (5) 23. Where Thomas, among others,might spend his time when offline? (7)
Down: 1. The starters of “bolshie leftie insurrection”, with a politician in tow, are reactionary (5) 2. You can ask anyone about a form of Caribbean music (3) 3. Medieval local official, being about fifty-one, is exempt (7) 4. Indication of possible trouble upstairs? (4,2,7) 5. Unknown element fouling up gear change turns out to be needle (5) 6. Army unit volunteers trapped between two animals (9) 7. You will record seasonal offering, we are informed (7) 11. I find leer upsetting when standing close to the wicket (9) 13. On watch for refurbishment for home of creator of today’s works (7) 14. They are so underestimated as generators of echo (7) 16. Intensity of French exercises getting hard (5)
18. Odds of winning rugby tournament without a leader? (5)
21. Particle of metal having no resistance (3)
Well, what do you know? 1) Which part or parts of a machine reduce friction between moving parts or surfaces? 2) What nationality were painter Edvard Munch, composer Edvard Greig and explorer Roald Amundsen?
With thanks to M.Morris
Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get? 8) What colour is at the furthest end of the spectrum of light visible to the human eye with a wavelength of 620 to 740 nanometres? 9) Manila is the capital of which Country?
3) William Hill, Ladbrokes and which other firm form Britain’s Big Three Bookmakers?
10) What is the common name of the white Feldspar used in paper-making and ceramics?
4) Which nation consists of 6,852 islands?
11) What is the emblem of the American NFL team based in Cincinnati, Ohio?
5) British Olympic cyclist Becky James is the girlfriend of which Welsh International Rugby player? 6) Which is the world’s largest and least densely populated island? 7) Which is the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia?
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12) Lieutent-General David Leakey currently holds which Office in the Palace of Westminster? And finally, what connects your 12 answers assuming they are all correct? Copyright RJS 2017
Answers on P.15 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr
DSM Easy Crossword
Food & Drink Stripped-Down Wine
All you need to know about BORDEAUX
by John Sherwin
BORDEAUX • • • • • •
ce – Largest wine-producing region in Fran900 hly roug n, uctio prod l 15% of nationa million bottles x) 7375 wine-producing entities (chateau ha covering 120,000 s Mostly big estates: 70% of all vineyard ha 20 bigger than and €15 70% of production sells between €3 whites et swe and dry 9% ; reds ded blen 90% ; Plantation of red grapes: Merlot 62%Franc Cabernet Sauvignon 25%; Cabernet 12% 54%; Plantation of white grapes: Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 36%; Muscadelle 7%
the Médoc). Principal grape varieties are Merlot and Cabernet Franc giving earlier maturing and more feminine wines than the Médoc. The hilltop medieval village of St Emilion is a delight, except in July/August when the tourists invade. And if you want to know more…
‘Bordeaux’ is probably the most well-known name in the wine world. Given its size, long history and significant exports this is hardly surprising. Its enduring influence is also of course based on quality – but here is where the buyer should beware. By the law of averages, such a massive production contains wines ranging from the sublime to the (kind-of) ridiculous, with a whole lot of middling in between. The Bordeaux wine trade has always attracted hardnosed businessmen, so approach with finely-tuned taste buds and eyes closed to the label.
The Romans got the grape-growing ball rolling, but it was the Brits who firmly established Bordeaux as a major player. When Henry Plantagenet married Eleanor of Acquitaine in 1152 she came with the not insignificant dowry of most of the west of France. Henry became King of England in 1154 and for 300 years the Crown colony (in effect) of Bordeaux cemented its relationship with the UK by massive exports of wine made all the more attractive by export tax exemption. That the French regained its territory in 1453 did little or nothing to dent the UK love affair with ‘claret’ that exists to this day. Worth noting that, unlike many other French wine regions, the monasteries played no part in Bordeaux’s development: this was buccaneer country.
Médoc – the left bank
When most people think of Bordeaux, this is where they’re thinking of, at least subliminally; the home of the big names – Lafite, Latour, Mouton-Rothschild … and so on. It’s a rather dreary landscape running some 70 kms along the left bank of the Gironde estuary north-west of Bordeaux city. It’s an invented terroir, created out of salt-marshes by the Dutch and their drainage know-how in the mid-17th century. All reds, the blends are biased towards Cabernet Sauvignon, giving the wine severity (‘backbone’ is an oft-used noun) and staying power, mixed in with Merlot adding fruity softness. Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot play minor roles. Mostly large estates surrounding a chateau, a good number of them these days owned by insurance companies, banks, and the like.
St Emilion and Pomerol – the right bank
This area’s wine-making history is way longer than the Médoc, stretching back to the Middle Ages. Unlike the Médoc with its grand estates, the right bank is home to 400 or so smallholdings with an average size of just 5 hectares. Everything feels smaller scale and homelier on this side (yet overall production is roughly equal to
World famous area for its production of sweet (dessert) wine. About 50kms south of Bordeaux city, the mainly small chateaux (only a handful are over 20ha) cluster close to the Gironde and Ciron rivers. The confluence of these rivers produces mist on autumn mornings (when the grapes are already ripe) which is burnt off by afternoon sun – the ideal conditions for provoking ‘noble rot’, a fungus which dehydrates the grape and concentrates sugars. Grape varieties are Semillon (rich texture and exotic aromas), Sauvignon Blanc (acidity, very important as the best Sauternes is not cloying) and some Muscadelle. Drink with Asian cuisine, foie gras, salty cheese – not dessert, as sweet + sweet doesn’t work. Most famous name – Chateau d’Yquem.
Entre-Deux-Mers, Cotes de Bourg, Blaye
Lesser known areas, but producing between them large amounts of value for money reds and whites. Entre-Deux-Mers (literally ‘between two seas’ but actually between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers) produces light reds marketed as Bordeaux AOC, but is best known for its dry whites. Cotes de Bourg provides quaffable, predominantly Merlot-based reds, as does Blaye which also produces very interesting dry whites.
Most regions have some way of classifying their wines, but Bordeaux has taken it to the nth degree. The granddaddy of them all was the 1855 classification of the Médoc (and one Graves chateau, Haut-Brion), grading 60 chateaux from First to Fifth Growth. An anachronism which is set in stone and isn’t going to change. Let it sleep, and tiptoe away. Also from 1855 and similarly immobile is the classification of Sauternes-Barsac. St Emilion got into the act in 1955, with 4 Premiers Grand Crus Classés A; 14 Classés B; and a whole bunch of Grand Crus Classés. This is the current arrangement as the classification is actually reviewed every ten years or so. Cue accusations of skulduggery and political bias from those who don’t get the promotion they think they deserve or – horror – get demoted. Great fun for us rubbernecks. Graves was classified in 1959 into reds and whites – pretty meaningless actually. Pomerol has never been classified, which gives its most famous resident, Petrus, an air of mystery to go with its humungous price tag.
John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 06 52 30 93 10 or www.french-wine-tours.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 31
Recipes for April
by Lynda Gee
COD FILLETS WITH PRAWN SAUCE Ingredients per person: 1 frozen cod fillet (or salmon if you prefer), 4-6 shelled fresh prawns, teaspoon of butter, 12-15cl double cream, pinch of finely chopped dill, teaspoon flour, ‘splash’ of white wine and ‘squirt’ of lemon juice! Poach the fish fillets in boiling water according to the instructions (usually about 8 - 10 minutes). Drain and keep warm in a very low temperature oven whilst making the sauce (or make the sauce while the fish is cooking as it is very quick and easy). In a small non-stick saucepan, melt the butter with the white wine, lemon juice and dill, add the prawns sprinkled with the flour, and turn a few times so they don’t dry, or the flour go lumpy. Pour over the cream and stir whilst gently bringing to the boil. Pour over the well drained fish and serve with rice or vegetables of your choice.
ORANGE CRÊPE GATEAU
When serving with rice I tend to make extra sauce to pour over that too.
Ingredients: 1 pack of sweet crêpes, 1 - 2 oranges, small tub Mascarpone cream cheese, soup spoon of icing sugar, small quantity of double cream, a good ‘dollop’ of ginger jam, little orange liqueur, sprinkling of brown sugar. I know the quantities for this don’t seem very precise but a lot is down to personal taste. For example I have used orange but any favourite fruit (and liqueur) could be used. Firstly peel and slice the oranges. On a plate, spoon over the ginger jam and sprinkle with brown sugar and then heat in the microwave for 2 - 3 minutes (depending on power), until just warm and the jam is softened. Pour over the orange liquer while still warm and leave to stand, whilst preparing the creamy mix.
One for Easter... try a light Chicken and Egg starter, whichever came first! Ingredients for two: One good sized cooked chicken fillet, 2 hard-boiled eggs, bag of young mixed greens, croutons, tablespoon of olive oil and slightly less white wine vinegar, teaspoon of orange or pineapple juice.
Mix the Mascarpone with the icing sugar and enough double cream to make it easily spreadable but not too runny. A little extra ginger can be added here if you like. Place one crêpe on to a flat plate, spread with the creamy mix then arrange a layer of orange slices. Cover with another crêpe and repeat. When the mix and oranges are used place a final crêpe on the top. Chill in the fridge until time to serve, allow at least 1 or 2 hours. Slice and serve. I had a little cream mix left over, to which I added the juices from the plate the orange slices had been warmed on, and poured this over each portion. Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full at-home catering service. You can see her advert on P.34. Tel: 06 23 00 72 04
32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
Prepare some croutons by finely slicing yesterdays (or befores) baguettes, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper then place on a baking tray and crisp and lightly brown them in a hot oven. (Or cheat and use a packet of bought cubed ones). Slice the chicken into nice bite-sized pieces and quarter the hard-boiled eggs. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar and fruit juice in a small jar or bottle and shake well. Place mixed young greens in small salad bowls, add the chicken, egg and croutons broken into small pieces. Or, if using home-made croutons, leave in slices and serve alongside if you prefer. Gently toss together then pour over some of the dressing.
Chicken, Pesto & Brocolli Pasta
by Sarah Berry
This one is a current favourite of Rob and I.....and could be made really healthy if you left out the cream. Serves 4 Ingredients: • 1 packet lardons • 1 onion, chopped finely • 1 x garlic cloved, pressed • 2 chicken fillets, diced • Half a courgette diced finely • Brocolli florets x 10 • 1/2 pint chicken stock • Green pesto (you decide quantity) • Single cream (1 small box) • Parmesan cheese Method: Put a saucepan of water onto boil for the pasta. Then fry off the lardons in a dry pan. When crispy, toss them out onto some kitchen towel to drain and leave them for later. Clean the pan, then add a little olive oil and fry off the onions and garlic on a medium heat until light golden. Add the diced chicken and cook until sealed. Add the chicken stock, courgettes, cooked lardons, pesto and finally the brocolli. Stir well, then cover and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the brocolli florets are cooked.
Meanwhile, the water should be boiling for the pasta, so now add your choice of pasta (tubes or shells work well) and cook for 10 minutes. When ready, drain and add the pasta to the other pan. Add the cream and stir everything together well. Serve with grated parmesan and black pepper.
Spiralising: As a healthy alternative to using pasta, we sometimes ‘spiralise’ vegetables. (Photo left shows courgette noodles in place of pasta). Using a spiralising machine, you can make noodle shapes from courgettes, butternut squash, celeriac etc. To cook, I simply place the noodles into boiling water for approx 3-4 minutes. Some vegetables (such as courgette) require some draining before serving to avoid water pooling on the plate, but it’s a really healthy and tasty alternative that I’d recommend trying! We’d love to know your family’s favourite recipe....Please email us and we’ll happily share them here.
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 33
BAKERY LESSONS AT JAMBON PRINTEMPS At Jambon de Printemps B&B, we offer baking lessons to guests and locals both by sign up or by request. Take one of our Beginner classes and experience Artisanal bread creation or how to make your own buttery croissant for breakfast. Master Baker, Keith, will give you hands-on demonstrations & instruction so that you can take your experience home with you. Our classes vary from the one-day baguette or croissant workshop to a four-day beginner's bread or pastry class. See our Facebook page under "events" or our website for more information.
FB @jambondeprintemps ~ Instagram @jambondeprintemps
APERO TIME! Spanish Tapas = Easy Aperos !
by Simon Tee
My in-laws have lived in Spain for almost 15 years and the Spanish tapas give plenty of inspiration for easy aperos such as this one. These have been enjoyed by our English and French friends alike!
You will need: Chorizo – whichever strength you prefer (I like it hot!) Prawns – of a decent size, cooked. Method: Simply remove the outer ‘skin’ of the chorizo, slice into a decent thickness and briefly fry on each side in a splash of Olive oil to release the flavour. Remove and set aside to drain/cool. Then on a cocktail stick; place a slice of chorizo then a prawn et voila! Serve alongside Olives and any other choice of nibbles.
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As the wind blows? by Jacqueline Brown
have one thing on my mind as I write this; wind. I’m no fan of wind; especially rafales (gusts) pushing 120km/h, which Zeus, the latest storm with gale force winds to blow in from the Atlantic, thrust upon us. It took me a few days to discover all the slipped tiles, but thankfully we survived without any serious damage and I hope you did too. I’m keeping my fingers crossed this is it for winter storms this year, especially as we have been treated to some lovely warm and dry days too, proving spring is almost here. It is the mild days that encourage me out into the garden at this time of year, as there is nothing quite like time spent outdoors, even in the cool air, digging in the damp soil to invigorate the senses and work up an appetite. Every now and then over winter I have been unearthing and rooting out our knobbly Jerusalem artichokes, but now is the time to get serious with them. They will soon be sprouting, so I need to take action as too many, too close together will only result in next years crop being small. They need to be thinned out, which is not an easy job as I have been growing them for so long they have spread everywhere. Even though I love them, there is no way I could cook and eat all that I have harvested, or the winds from Zeus would be nothing compared to the internal wind chez nous. Jerusalem artichokes are very good for you because, unlike potatoes, they are not as readily converted into sugars in our bodies. However, their one side effect is that they can lead to increased wind, hence their nickname of fartichokes! Thankfully I have a long-term plan. Every cold, damp afternoon, and let’s face it we’ve had a few; I’ve been digging them up and then returning to the kitchen where the warmth of the oven revives me as I roast them, seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled in olive oil. Once cooled, I purée them, adding a little water (or chicken stock) to give a smoother consistency if necessary. This purée is then frozen in ice cube trays, and bagged up in the freezer for the coming year. An ice cube equals about a tablespoon, and a few cubes added to a chicken and mushroom risotto, or a pork casserole, really don’t cause too much in terms of windy sideeffects, but certainly do add a real flavour kick. The purée can also be made into a dip by mixing it with natural yoghurt, but I now know dipping raw cauliflower into a roasted fartichoke purée is not a particularly sociable thing to do. In other news, our goose is now laying eggs, although still nothing from the ducks or chickens. However, thanks to a top tip from a DSM reader I’m now treating them to cabbage leaves as well their normal diet, so fingers crossed.
‘The DSM’ Feedback...
I love that you’re willing to include articles on events that might interest people, even things like an amateur dramatics production. You’re obviously very much a magazine for the people who read it. Thank you.
www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 35
RALLY FEVER hits the bocage!
he 12th edition of the Classic Val de Sèvre car rally will take place on Saturday 20th and Sunday st 21 May 2017.
Organised by the sports association ‘Automobile Club of Deux-Sèvres’, preparations are in place to make this year’s event the best yet! For the first time this year, a new FFSA category has been introduced allowing modern vehicles of ‘new energies’ (electric, hybrid etc.) to participate. Also new this year, the route will include the magnificent ‘Bocage de Deux-Sèvres’ passing through towns of MONCOUTANT, BRESSUIRE, CLESSÉ and CHANTEMERLE (the home of Pescalis, who will host the event). Covering approx 400km and including 15 zones of regularity (ZR), the secret course will be revealed to the drivers 30 minutes before departure. The Classic cars will make a prearranged stop in Bressuire from 5:30pm - 7:00pm on Saturday afternoon and for the first time, all timing will be managed electronically by BLUNIK; so no more calculations!
Photos © Automobile-Club of Deux-Sèvres
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The official departure will be at 1:15pm for the first car. They will set off from the Place de la Brèche in Niort, on the afternoon of Saturday 20th, as previous years. For those wanting to admire the vehicles before the Rally, they will be on display from 10am....
There’s still time to register for this year’s Classic Val de Sèvres Rally....so what are you waiting for?! Send your name, address, vehicle details and photo by email to: email@example.com.
The Deux-SÃ¨vres Monthly, April 2017 | 37
FIGLIO DEL VENTO
His motorcycling career statistics are astonishing. Between 1951 and ‘60 Surtees claimed 250 race wins from 352 starts. Along with that first 500cc title in 1956, he would secure a hat trick of class doubles: six world titles in three years from ‘58 to ‘60 - and his fame spread beyond motor racing. In 1959, Surtees won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and remains the only motorcyclist to have claimed the accolade. The idea of switching to four wheels was put to him, but John was initially sceptical. He was a motorcyclist through and through, and had no interest in cars. But by 1960 the lure had more appeal. MV’s insistence that he could only ride the Italian bikes left him with too little racing and too many weekends free. But the agreement didn’t stretch to four wheels... “The first car race I ever saw was the one I was in!” he would often recall in later years, with his trademark wide smile. Surtees found himself pitted against Jim Clark in a Formula Junior race at Goodwood, only for a rookie error to cost him a chance of victory. Lotus boss Colin Chapman took note and snapped him up to race in F1 - a rise beyond comprehension for drivers in the modern era. He made an immediate impact with a second-place finish in only his second Formula One World Championship race at the 1960 British Grand Prix, and a pole position at his third.
After driving for a couple of other teams in the ’61 and ’62 seasons, he moved to Scuderia Ferrari in 1963 and won the World Championship for the Italian team in 1964. On 25 September 1965, Surtees had a life-threatening accident in Ontario, Canada while practising in a Lola T70 racing car. Surtees came out of the crash with one side of his body four inches shorter than the other. Doctors set most of the breaks non-surgically, in part by physically stretching his shattered body until the right-left discrepancy was under an inch – and there it stayed. This would indirectly lead to the end of his relationship with Ferrari, after they deemed that he was not fit enough to drive in the 1966 Le Mans. This excuse was deeply upsetting to Surtees, and he immediately quit the team. After a few more seasons in F1, with limited success, Surtees formed his own race team, in 1970, and spent nine seasons competing in Formula 5000, Formula 2 and Formula 1 as a constructor, again with limited success. by Helen-Tait-Wright
ith the recent news that John Surtees has passed away, it seemed fitting to write a tribute to him.
Surtees remains the ONLY person to win World Championships on two and four wheels, winning seven motorcycle titles between 1956 and 1960, before securing the F1 title four years later. Surtees was born with racing in his blood. His father was a motorcycle dealer in London, and John’s first professional outing was in the sidecar of his father’s Vincent motorcycle. Although they won the event, they were disqualified on account of John being too young. Upon being of an age to race and after providing a credible racing challenge to the Norton bikes in the early 50’s, he was considered worthy of his own factory Norton in 1955. During that year he beat the reigning world champion at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. However, with Norton in financial trouble and uncertain about their racing plans, Surtees made an instinctive gut-feel decision and accepted an offer to race for the MV Agusta factory racing team, where he soon earned the nickname “figlio del vento” (son of the wind).
38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
He continued his personal involvement in motorcycling, participating in classic events with bikes from his stable of vintage racing machines and also remained involved in single-seater racing cars. After the death of his son in a motor racing accident in 2009, Surtees found the strength to turn his pain into a reason to carry on. The Henry Surtees Foundation would become John’s life and the charity would raise thousands for air ambulance services and head injury research. In 1996, Surtees was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and honoured as a Grand Prix “Legend” in 2003. Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to motorsport. In 2013 he was awarded the Segrave Trophy in recognition of multiple world championships, and being the only person to win world titles on 2 and 4 wheels. John’s incredible energy made him a familiar and popular figure at Goodwood and classic car events around the UK, and his legacy to motorsport will never be forgotten.
Contact Helen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Building & Renovation
The Deux-SĂ¨vres Monthly, April 2017 | 39
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 32 19 50 53 / 05 49 07 67 04.
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DON’T FORGET OUR DEADLINE!
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42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
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The Deux-SĂ¨vres Monthly, April 2017 | 43
Business & Finance Marketing Matters by Cindy Mobey
Find Your Niche
f you’re going to make a success of marketing your business, you need to hone in on what is the best niche for you to be in. What will sell well? What will make you the most money?
You might like everything you do, but in order to be a successful business, you need to be able to distinguish your brand from your competitors.
What are You Good At? This first question is probably the most
important. It’s not ‘what would you like to be good at?’ You need to be really honest with yourself – where do your talents really lie? What skills do you have? What do you enjoy doing? Once you have decided what you are good at, make a list of your skills and talent in that area. For example, if you love knitting, crocheting and sewing, which one do you excel in? Once you know which you are best at…let’s say knitting for example, then you need to look at what skills and talent you have. So, it might be knitting baby clothes, knitting adult clothes, knitting toys – put the things you enjoy making most at the top of the list and so on, down to the ones you least enjoy.
What do Potential Customers Need from Your List? This is where you need to do some research. Of the things you are best at making, what is popular? You can look on Etsy, eBay and Amazon are the products you are good at making doing well? Make a list of the things people need from your list of what you do well…then look at these questions and do some research.
Do you solve a particular problem for customers? Is your product(s) something that people will come back for time and time again? This is important for repeat business. If there are other people selling the same as you, can you offer something unique that they don’t? Who does your product appeal to? Can you expand that to include other groups? For example, if your product appeals to an older age group, can you make it more appealing to a younger audience. The bigger your product appeal, the more you will sell.
What will People Pay For? Now you know what is marketable, which do you think people will pay the most money for…put your products in order of price…from high to low. You now have your niche – your list of the products you like to make, that you’re good at making, that have a potential audience and that are sellable.
How did you find your niche? If you have any questions, please call me. Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: email@example.com 44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
‘The DSM’ Feedback...
On both a personal and business level, I find the magazine helpful and interesting. I have often used the adverts to source businesses for my clients. The general articles are diverse and I always look forward to the monthly delivery!
VAT Law Changes for 2017
Here is a quick overview of the changes to VAT laws and other related points for 2017. On-site tax investigation for VAT refunds If a VAT refund request is submitted with a French VAT return, the French Tax Authority (FTA) now has the right to perform an on-site audit, i.e., to send French tax inspectors to the company’s premises to audit its accounting records and documents. Tax inspectors are able to review all supporting documentation used to produce the VAT return. The permitted hours for performing tax audits carried out at business premises are between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Changes made mean that this option applies to any company registered for VAT purposes in France, including any foreign companies that may be registered for VAT purposes in France. This will therefore apply to UK companies that have a registered office in France for trading here. Input VAT on petrol From January 1st 2017 the deductible portion of input VAT incurred on petrol for motor vehicles, will progressively increase from 2017 to 2022. For motor vehicles for which input VAT deduction is allowed, the rate goes from 10% in 2017 to 80% in 2022. Input VAT deduction of petrol for other vehicles will start in 2018. These new changes are aligned with other progressive talks of evolving towards a higher number of petrol powered vehicles to help reduce the impact of diesel engines. The changes are somewhat complicated to implement with progressive rates, different rates depending on the vehicle used.
Allianz Obseque - Funeral Cover
orry to be gloomy this month but here is one of our most popular policies that gives a lump sum to the beneficiary(ies) of your choice when you die, to help them pay for your funeral. Funnyily enough, we all have house insurance in case our houses burn down, but not all of us have insurance on ourselves when we are pretty sure of the fact that we are all going to die! So, if you don’t have big savings, this is a must have contract, unless of course you don’t like the people who are going to pay for the funeral!
Criteria for subscribing: Anybody aged between 50 and 84 years old and who is French resident. How much can you be insured for?: Between 3,000€ and 10,000€ without a health questionnaire. The average cost of a funeral in France is around 3-4,000€, with cremation and burial costing about the same. The lump sum you are insured for follows inflation because 3,000€ today might not be worth the same in 10 years. How does it work?: The lump sum you are insured for is given to the beneficiaries you have named on the policy upon your death (we need a death certificate and an ID of the beneficiaries). You would not be covered if you die within the first year through disease or suicide, but you are insured for death by accident straight away. However, for death from disease within the first year, the insurance company pays back the amount that has been paid in. It is not like a normal insurance whereby if you stop paying your premium you stop being insured. You receive a statement every year showing 3 lines. The first one shows how much you are insured for and it follows inflation. The second shows how much you are insured for if you stop paying the premium. The last shows how much is available if you want to
Import VAT reverse-charge on imports into the EU Companies are now required to obtain pre-authorization to use the VAT reverse-charge mechanism for imports. Eligibility under the revised rules depends on whether the importer is based in the European Union (EU) or in a third country. EU companies: companies established within the EU must meet the following four eligibility conditions: 1. The applicant must have performed at least four imports of goods into the EU over the past 12 months. 2. A customs and tax entries management system that allows monitoring of the company’s import transactions must be used. 3. The company must not have committed severe or repeated infringements of French customs and tax provisions. 4. It must be able to prove its financial solvency over the past 12 months. This condition is deemed to be met if, during this period, the applicant has not been in default of payment to the French Tax and Customs Authorities and has not been the subject of insolvency proceedings. These four conditions are automatically deemed to be met by companies that have already been granted Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) certification. If you should need any advice on conducting your business in France in English, Grant Thornton is a leading financial and business advisor in France with national coverage and an office based locally in Tours. We focus on understanding what is important to our clients to help them change, grow and evolve. For any advice on your business in France why not get in touch? Grant Thornton - French Chartered Accountants 02 47 60 56 56 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org by Isabelle Want
shut down the policy completely. That means that if you have paid into it for around 10 or 15 years, you can afford to stop paying the premium as you will have enough cover in place already. How much does it cost?: As an example, a person born in 1947 and insured for 3,000€ would pay around 24€ per month and we offer a 10% discount for a couple subscription (so then only 21€ each per month). For 5,000€, it’s around 39€ and for 10,000€ it’s 77€ (for couples, 34€ each for 5,000€ and 69€ each for 10,000€). Conclusion: It is a contract we deal with quite often and one we have very little problem with. There is no cheating with it, you are either dead or alive - so no expert needed! And no argument from the insurance company about paying. The payment is given very quickly once we have the death certificate and the ID (within 10 days). For free quotes, all I need is your date of birth and the amount you want to be insured for. To prepare the contract, I need copies of your passport, a RIB (French bank details) and the list of beneficiaries (date of birth, place of birth, name, maiden name and first name). And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subjects such as inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top-up health insurance, etc. Isabelle Want: BH Assurances, Ruffec 05 45 31 01 61 or 06 71 30 39 11 Email: email@example.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017 | 45
No Orias: 07004255
For those of you conducting business in France, keeping up with ever changing tax legislation can be hard work and may lead to litigation with the French tax services, misunderstandings, or non-efficient tax management.
by Adam Nicol, Office Director Tours Office.
Ask Amanda This month, I want to remind you of the Tours de Finance which take place in three venues within travelling distance of the Deux Sevres. These will take place on the 4th, 5th and 6th April and after the recent Budget and a period of market volatility, we will have a lot to discuss. All three events start at 10:30am and will finish by 2:00pm, after a light lunch. The event will be hosted by myself and we will be accompanied by a number of specialists from some of Europes best financial institutions, who will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. The three venues are: Tuesday April 4th Hotel Mercure 117, boulevard Aristide Briand 85000 La Roche sur Yon www.mercure.com Wednesday 5th April Domaine de la Tuilerie 98 route de la Rochelle 79000 Niort Bessines www.restaurant-la-tuilerie.com Thursday 6th April Chateau de Maumont 4 rue Aristide Briand 16600 Magnac sur Touvre www.chateaudemaumont.fr Registration for this FREE event is vital to ensure you secure a seat, so please send an email with your full contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org, register online on www.ltdf.eu or you can email me email@example.com Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for the reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. 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.
Amanda Johnson of The Spectrum IFA Group 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017
Political Impact by Sue Cook “How could the results of the upcoming French elections impact exchange rates and my international money transfers?” If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted in the world of politics. The French general elections are about to begin, and there are worries that a win for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen could mean chaos for the country, and the rest of Europe. Up until recently, the chances of Le Pen’s Front National party winning looked pretty slim, but given the UK Referendum outcome and Donald Trump’s election to the position of US President in 2016, it seems that nothing is now out of the question when it comes to the unpredictable world of politics. If Ms Le Pen’s party was to take power, currency would be one of the big concerns for not only France, but Europe as a whole, and particularly those nations who adopted the Euro as their currency. Political uncertainty and unexpected results can have severe impacts on global currency values, and they often send exchange rates rocketing high, or spiraling lower. Experts have been predicting for some time that a Le Pen win would mark a short-term crash for the Euro, with the potential for the currency to drop in value by as much as 10% in the aftermath of the April’s elections. Concerns also extend to the question of the entire future of the EU. 2016 was marked by the UK’s decision to leave the EU and there are fears that other countries could look at going down the same route if certain political forces are successful in upcoming domestic elections. France was one of the nations highlighted back in June 2016 as being a ‘risk’ in terms of right-leaning parties pushing for their own countries to leave the EU, and it seems that Marine Le Pen has leanings towards this approach, should she come to power after the election. Such a decision could pose disaster for political union in Europe and also significantly impact the currency markets, particularly the Euro. If you make regular transfers to or from France or are looking at transferring a large sum for a property sale or purchase, it is essential that you speak to a currency specialist to obtain guidance on the markets in the coming weeks. These experts will not only help you choose the transfer services that best suit your current situation, but also select the best time to transfer. With potentially huge fluctuations in the currency markets in the upcoming weeks and months, locking a rate for a future transfer (thanks to forward contracts) or setting up Rate Alerts (to be notified when your desired rate has been reached) could be very useful. Contact your currency transfer specialist today to ensure you make the most of your money on every transfer.
Get to Know the 2017 French Tax Landscape
by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks
hile taxation may not be the most exciting subject, it is important to keep up to date on the latest tax rates and rules in France, in order to protect yourself from unnecessary taxation.
There are no changes to French income tax rates for 2017 (payable on 2016 income), though the income tax bands for each rate have increased very slightly. The tax rates therefore range from 14% for income over €9,710 to 45% for income over €152,260. Individuals with a taxable income of up to €18,500 (€37,000 for couples) could benefit from a new 20% tax reduction. There is scaled relief available for those earning up to €20,500, (€41,000 for couples). The ‘exceptional tax’ remains in place for 2017. This charges an extra 3% or 4% for income over €250,000 and €500,000 respectively, with higher thresholds for families. Income tax is payable on earnings, pensions, rental income and investment income. Are you taking advantage of available taxefficient structures for holding your wealth and investment assets?
No changes to social charges in 2017 means your income continues to attract up to an extra 15.5% in tax. This can invite combined tax rates of as much as 64.5% on your investments. However, there are compliant, tax-efficient arrangements that can help you lower this tax liability, sometimes significantly.
Despite rumours that the wealth tax ‘holiday’ period would be extended from five to eight years, this did not happen. You are liable for wealth tax if your taxable worldwide assets are above €1.3 million, at rates of 0.5% to 1.5% on assets over €800,000. However, the French tax system limits your combined income tax, wealth tax and social charges liability to 75% of your total income. While this sounds high, it does provide tax planning opportunities.
There have been no major developments here for 2017, although the succession tax reduction for beneficiaries with three or more children has been removed. The effect of French succession tax on your heirs depends on their relationship to you. Stepchildren and unmarried partners, for example, are seen as ‘non-relatives’ and face tax rates as high as 60% on inheritances and gifts.
It is important to understand how French taxation affects you personally, and establish tax planning solutions based on your objectives and family circumstances. An adviser with cross-border experience can help you make the most of opportunities offered by the French tax system. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.
‘‘With all the uncertainty at the moment, what can I do to protect my wealth?” Talk to the people who know.
With Brexit, Donald Trump in the White House and Presidential elections here in France, these are times of significant change. For peace of mind contact Blevins Franks to review your wealth management. We will look at your tax and estate planning, pensions and investment strategies to ensure you are in the best position going forward. You may need to take steps now to protect yourself.
contact us now on
05 49 75 07 24 email@example.com
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, register number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissement Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on www.orias.fr). BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465.
CROSS-BORDER TAX PLANNING ESTATE PLANNING INVESTMENTS PENSIONS
w w w. b l e v i n s f r a n k s . c o m
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A Home with a View...and a Gîte!
by Joanna Leggett
iving in this enchanting corner of France, with our lovely sunny
climate, we naturally attract visitors each year who seek a slice of the charm that those of us lucky enough to live here enjoy year round.
For many, there is an annual inundation of family members or perhaps even ‘friends of friends’ who invite themselves to stay. How would it be if they could be housed in your very own gîte? Best of all, a gîte has the potential for some very useful income to help pay overheads on your property each year and also you could legitimately become ‘fully booked already’ when people re-invite themselves chez vous for yet another free holiday! Better still we’ve found three fabulous properties, really ideal homes, each with a gîte and income, sure to tempt! Deep in the Deux-Sèvres countryside (halfway between the towns of St Maixent l’École and Melle) is the village of La Couarde and here a beautifully renovated farmhouse (Leggett ref: 38284, photo left) with three bedrooms and a study, together with a three bedroomed gîte is just waiting for its new owners. The main house has an open-plan conservatory looking out onto the gardens which leads into the kitchen and dining – the large living room has flagstoned floors and much charm. The three bedroomed gîte is highly attractive to holidaymakers especially as there’s a heated swimming pool and play area. The beautifully maintained gardens include mature fruit trees as well as various outbuildings – recently reduced to 267 500€ this property offers a great deal!
Just 8 kms from the historic market town of Thouars, in the tranquil commune of Missé, sits our next offering (ref: 67349, photo left). This fabulous three bedroom family home has been renovated to the highest of standards with quality fixtures and fittings throughout here comfort abounds. The one bedroomed gîte is quite delicious and, with five Loire chateaux within 50 kms, is really attractive to any guests lucky enough to stay here. With lovely outdoor spaces including a riverside garden and an aero club just 3 kms away for those seeking to fly in, it’s on the market for 418 700€. You could even extend the accommodation on offer in rooms over the wine press! In Vouleme, in the Vienne, sits our final choice (ref: 62952, photo right) this time with a great two bedroom gîte, stunning in-ground swimming pool, bread oven, barn and gardens in the beautiful setting of a quiet countryside hamlet. In the main house the kitchen features a wood burning stove (great for the cooler months!) as does the spacious sitting room, upstairs are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There’s even potential for even more income as there’s a studio which just needs the finishing touches - for sale at 267 500€.
Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents.com/poitou-charentes-property
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST
Ref: 67260 Renovated 4 bed farmhouse set in almost 4.2Ha with outbuildings, stabling, possibility for gîtes and a stream. VIENNAY €283,550
Ref: 72744 Medieval 5 bed house in Parthenay’s historic quarter. Comfortable and stylish full of exposed beams. PARTHENAY €288,900
Buying or selling?
Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’
Ref: 66282 Detached and tastefully renovated 4 bed / 2 bath house with large attached garden and outbuildings. LA CHATAIGNERAIE €278,200
Ref: 72117 Lovely 3 bed bungalow and garage with attached garden. Only 5 mins from Niort yet in a quiet country setting. NIORT €205,200
Ref: 72143 Large 4 bed / 2 bath country house with roof terrace giving amazing views over the Vendee countryside. MOUTIERS €128,000
Ref: 72797 Detached village property comprising a 4 bed house, two 2 bed gîtes, large garden, outbuildings and pool. SOUVIGNE €371,000
Looking for a new career? Join our winning team. To find out about becoming a sales agent email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel:05 53 60 84 88 or 0800 900 324 www.leggettfrance.com 50 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, April 2017