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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 78 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

As promised last month, I’m here with news of our ‘clipped-in’ training rides.....drumroll please......well, we did ok! No falls yet, and it’s surprising how different it feels to be connected to the pedal and bike. You can feel the pedal being pulled upwards by your shoe, and I’m sure we’re conserving energy and going faster! Training rides are increasing - both in frequency and distance as we get ever closer to September’s challenge. I’m pleased to say that we are improving and the ‘rears’ should be well prepared for the six consective days in the saddle for our Tour de Rêves. Before that though, at the end of this month, we shall be undertaking our first fitness challenge - the Triathlon. The idea born from a crazy moment in Ile de Ré last year...and look where we are now! We are lucky enough to have inspired (or cajoled?!) six others to join us - so it will be a fun weekend. We’ll let you know how we get on. For August here in the Deux-Sèvres, there’s lots going on... see the What’s On listing for many entries and we will continue to add new events on our Facebook page too. As the official holiday month, it can sometimes be a little quieter as many French businesses close their doors for an annual break and many visitors arrive to see freinds and family. All in all, a good time to take a step back, relax and enjoy our beautiful region of France. Enjoy the month and we’ll be back with more news next time. See you soon... Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Emergency Numbers:

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

à plus, Sarah

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents What’s On Getting Out & About Our Furry Friends Clubs & Associations Hobbies Health, Beauty & Fitness Home & Garden Take a Break Communications Where We Live  Food & Drink Motoring A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres 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) ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery

4 6 11 12 14 16 18 21 22 24 28 32 34 35 40 44

45 33 2 39 30 43 37 47 18

Argo Carpentry 36 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 44 Bar de la Poste 10 Bayleaf Books (Books in English) 8 Beau Jardin (Gardening Service) 19 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 41 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 37 Blevins Franks Financial Management 42 Chat-eau (Cattery) 11 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 45 Centre Régional ‘Résistance & Liberté’ 8 Cherry Picker Hire 38 Chris Bassett Construction 35 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 37 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 36 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 45 Claudie Harpin - Agent Commercial, Capifrance 45 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 37 Creature Comforts (Handyman and Gite Services) 37 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 43 Darren Lawrence 39 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 37 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 16 Domaine de l’enchantoir (Vineyard and wine tasting) 30 Down to Earth Pool Design 44 Ecopower Europe  44 Expat-radio 23 FranceFishingGites (Gîtes and private fishing lakes) 15 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 33 Fresco Interiors 18 Futuroscope 48 GoGo Bike Hire 16 Hallmark Electricité 36 Haynes Carpentry (UPVC Double glazing) 35 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 40 HMJ Maintenance 37 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 39 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 38 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 38 Jeff’s Metalwork 36 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 33 John Spray (Stone Mason) 36 Jones’s (Supplier of British Foods) 29 Jon the Carpetman 18 Keith Banks (Pool Services) 44 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 18 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 30 La Vie en Yoga 16 Leggett Immobilier 46 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 29 Le Relais du Poitou Gourmand 30 Mad Hatter’s Kitchen (Restaurant and B&B) 30 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 35 Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 18 Michael Glover (Renderer, Plasterer, Tiler) 39 ML Computers 23 Motor Parts Charente 33 M. Page Landscaping 19 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 44 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 19 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 16 Polar Express (Frozen foods) 29 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 44 Restaurant des Canards 29 Rob Berry (Plasterboarding & Plastering) 35 Robert Lupton Electrician 36 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 22 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 19 Sarah Berry Online (Website design) 23 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 38 Satellite TV 23 SCP Louis Cagniart & Christel Roy Notaires 47 Short Cuts (Mobile dog grooming) 11 Simon the Tiler 39 Smart Moves - Removal company 33 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 39 Steve Robin (Plumber) 37 Strictly Roofing 35 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 33 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vendée Glass Courses 15 YesBays.info (Free ads website) 23

© 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: août 2017 - Tirage: 6000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 3

What’s On... Every Wednesday from 3pm:

Outdoor activities in Vix, at La Grange du Montnommé. Boat ride along the canals, Lifting of traditional fishing nets and traps, Horse-drawn carriage rides. For further info contact J Briggs on 02 51 51 56 79. Until 5th august:

Les Estivales d’ArtenetrA at Celles-sur-Belle. Concerts and musical masterclasses; classical and contemporary. www.artenetra.com Until 25th August:

The Chapel St Nicolas of the Priory, “La Poraire”, Chiché is open to the public Monday to Friday 11am-5pm. This Chapel has recently discovered frescos/wall paintings and is infrequently open to the public. The best preserved painting depicts ‘the procession of the damned’ and a small exhibition of photographs on the theme of life and death in the middle ages attempts to explain the position of these paintings within the greater theme of death and hell in the middle ages. Other paintings in the chapel include a rare ‘Suicide of Herod’. Until 31st August

Exposition Estivale. Read more on P.7. 3 – Local Producers Market in Airvault

12 - 70’s night with live music at Bar de la 10, 12 & 14 - La Flûte Enchantée opera

at Sanxay www.operasanxay.fr

11, 12 & 13 - Madhatters Wonderland Festival, see advert on P.6. 12 & 13 - Festival d’Astronomie at La

Chapelle aux Lys. See feature story P.26 of July’s DSM. 13 – Village Fête, Vide Grenier and pedal car race in Taizé.

15 - assomption 15 - Live music with McKenZie at

Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.29. 16 - 20 - Music Festival ‘Les Murs ont des Oreilles’ . www.festivallesmursontdesoreilles.fr 19 – Vide Grenier at Beaulieu-sousParthenay. See advert on P.7. 19 & 20 – Car Rally in Cherveux. More info on: www.12travaux.wordpress.com 19 & 20 – Fête des Escargots in Argenton-les-Vallées.

Bocapole, Bressuire. charentes.com

Battages) in Champdeniers

8am, being held in barns behind the house, e.g. antique horse trailer, books etc. Donations of items also welcome to add to Chat-eau’s ‘home away from home’ for cats and new area for 1st dog. See advert on P.11.

Espace Lusignon, Vouvant. See advert on P.6. 8 - Live music with martin Lavansch

at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.29.

Thouars, with exhibitions, workshops (shearing, dog training), equestrian show, children’s entertainment, music, vide grenier, market, fireworks. 27 - ‘Festiv’AGri’ - Young Farmers Festival in Brioux-sur-Boutonne. Exhbition of new and used agricultural equipment, market of producers and manufacturers and Vide Grenier, 8am-7pm. 29-3 September - Festival Lumières du Baroque, Celles-sur-Belle. 31 - Cattery Open House / House Clearance Sale Near 79240 Scillé from


É tusson Genneton St Martin de Sanzay

Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 www.reelfishandchips.net

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

3rd September – Fun Dog Show at St Pardoux. Read more on P.7. 4th - 9th September - Our Tour de Rêves. Charity bike ride of the department of Deux-Sèvres, 400km over 6 days. Read more on P.17. 9th September – Association Galia Soirée in Charzais (85) 9th September – CSSG Fishing/BBQ/ Picnic in Secondigny 10th September – Craft fayre and artisan market – Associations CATS in St Laurent de Ceris (16), 10am-4pm. 17th September - Huge Braderie / Vide Grenier in L’Absie until 17th September - Le Nombril du Monde, various events at Pougne Hérrison.


Dates in green = Public Holidays / Dates in orange = Celebration Days

Reel Fish & Chips



24, 25 & 26 - Charroux Literary Festival 27 – Fête des Battages in St Jean de

6 – Summer Fête in Menigoute 6 - Large Medieval market in Parthenay 7-20 - Photography exhibition at

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 2nd Tuesday of Month - Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne, 8pm 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 Chast-eigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96

20 – Vide Grenier in Oiron 22 – The cyclists from ‘Tour Cycliste Poitou-Charentes 2017’ will be at the

from 6pm. www.marches-producteurs. com/deuxsevres 4 – Local Producers Market in Argentonnay from 6pm. www.marchesproducteurs.com/deuxsevres 5 & 6 – Foire aux Melons in Oiron – with lots of entertainment included walks, concerns, parade, music, fun fair and a melon eating competition! 5 & 6 – AutoCross Sprintcar in Fenioux 6 – summer Fête and vide grenier in Villefollet 6 – Vide Grenier in Arçais 6 – Vide Grenier in Lezay 6 – Harvest Celebration (Fête des


Poste, L’Absie.

Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday: 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

La Vendée Chippy Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: NEW ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat 5 Aug : Salle des Fêtes, La Chapelle-Thémer Sat 26 Aug: Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil 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 La Chapelle 16140 St Jean d’Angély 17400

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74 www.frying4u2nite.com

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm



The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, holds 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: Parish church at St. Leger de la Martinière, Melle. Followed by tea and coffee. • 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay • 4th Sunday at 11am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea and coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch. 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. goodshepherd@orange.fr 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 We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share’ lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcomes you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. 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

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2017 15th August

Assomption Fête des Grand-pères

1st November 11th November 25th December

Toussaint Armistice Noël

1st October 31st October


Dates in orange represent celebration days, not public holidays.

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



3rd: 7th: 10th: 17th:

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

Chef Boutonne Limalonges Aigre Theil Rabier

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 www.tophatquizzes.com FROM 7pm

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20 www.mobilefishandchipsfrance.com

GET CONNECTED! FACEBOOK: thedeuxsevresmonthly TWITTER: @The DSMagazine PINTEREST: dsmmonthly YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 5

Getting Out & About

Doodahs DID D-DAY!


by Sally Warden

hank you to everyone who recently supported us in our quest to raise money for ‘Help for Heroes’ and ‘The Royal British Legion’. The Doodahs’ latest challenge wasn’t as glamourous as last year’s drive to Monte Carlo, but it proved to be every bit as enjoyable. We are delighted to report that we have raised 844,24€ for Help for Heroes and 779,90€ for The Royal British Legion, so a staggering combined total of 1624,14€! When we decided to walk the five The Doodahs at Sword Beach Normandy landing beaches, we © Sally Warden envisaged a period of training to get us to full walking fitness. However, life and work demands always seemed to get in the way, and it was therefore with a little trepidation that we embarked upon our latest fundraising effort. As we drove to our departure point, we spotted many WWII vehicles on the road and dozens of re-enactors dressed in U.S. uniforms of all ranks. Even the ladies were in on the act, with 1940s clothing, hairstyles and make-up. Suddenly, we felt geared up for the long walk ahead and arrived at the start of Utah beach upbeat and enthusiastic. The coastline walk is spectacular and as we got into our stride it was no hardship to walk along the cliff edge admiring the views as the kilometres began to stack up. By the end of day one though, legs and joints were aching and the first of the blisters began. On day two, our route had to be hastily re-planned as we discovered that a large section of the coastal path was closed due to erosion. Not to be outdone by nature, the Doodahs diverted onto the main road, a decision which reduced our total distance, but which cost Ian some rather spectacular blisters. Having made good progress with the walk, we took an hour out to visit the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. As we made

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

our way to the monument in the early morning, we spotted a young father and son heading towards the graves, carrying a US flag. Assuming them to be American, we stopped for a chat and discovered that they were actually French. The man explained that he had studied in the USA and on his return had decided to “adopt” the grave of a fallen soldier from his university town. He made the pilgrimage each year and went on to say that he had traced some of the soldier’s descendants and had recently returned from visiting the family in the USA. It was such a poignant moment, we watched from a distance as the father and son laid the Star Spangled Banner over the soldier’s grave. Our respects paid, it was time to move on. With Utah and Omaha behind us, Gold, Juno and Sword beckoned. The weather continued to be kind, not too hot but plenty of sunshine and our weary legs trudged across some delightful stretches of deserted beach. The days were long and by the time we had finished walking in the evening, there was no time to shower or change. The weary walkers would collapse dishevelled into the nearest restaurant and recuperate over a bottle of rosé before a hearty and well-earned supper. Having completed the challenge of the five landing beaches, there was one final walk to Pegasus Bridge. We arrived on schedule, on the 73rd anniversary American Cemetry © Sally Warden of the D-day landings and were soon caught up in the emotion of the day. During our travels, we had experienced some unforgettable moments. As if travelling back in time, we witnessed the costumes and vehicles of the day, heard bands playing songs from the war, watched vintage aircraft performing a military salute overhead and witnessed the most spectacular firework display we had ever seen. However, one of the most enduring memories will be the sight of the old war veterans themselves, now well into their 90s, making the journey to pay their respects to fallen comrades, young men and some little more than boys who sadly never returned from the Normandy beaches.

12 & 13

T 9ème édition



F ES IVAL D’AS RONOMIE L’association Astrolys présente son

L’ARCHÉOASTRONOMIE La Chapelle aux Lys (85) Entrée Libre n sur uratio Resta e c pla êpes de cr Vente Renseignements sur Facebook : « Association Astrolys » Communauté de Communes


Sur réservation avant le 10 août 2017 Tel : Imprimé par nos soins, ne pas jeter sur la voie publique

Fun Dog Show


Sunday 3rd September 2017

itting in a tomato box, standing in a hoop, ignoring treats – whatever can it mean? Why, it’s what your canines have to do in some new classes at the Fun Dog Show this year! There will be the usual Prettiest Bitch, Most Handsome Dog, Best Puppy, Best Mixed Breed and Obedience, all entrants showing under the watchful eye of our invited Judge M Jean-Pascal Bichon. Blevins Franks have kindly sponsored rosettes and a special Souvenir Programme, dog prizes sponsored by Pro-Nutrition Flatazor. La Vendee Chippy are coming to serve lunches, whilst refreshments including home-made cakes will be on sale in the kitchen. The bric-a-brac stall will be selling things you can’t do without... including English books, garden and household items and more! As always, proceeds are for Pepis Dog Refuge, Pedrera, Seville where over 50 rescued hounds need feeding and medical care. Your support at the show will make a huge difference. Entries on the day from 10am, please bring your dog’s Pet Passport/vaccination certificate, first class is 11am and class timings will be strictly adhered to. I’ve ordered fine weather but we will be inside if the weather god isn’t kind to us! It’s a great day out even if you haven’t got a dog and I look forward to seeing you all again! For more details, see the advert at the top of this page.

Exposition Estivale

Carnets de Croquis en Gâtine Autize This year’s summer exhibition at the Château in Coulonges-surl’Autize brings together sketches, watercolours, acrylic and oil paintings created by local artists taking part over the last seven years in “Carnets de Croquis” in the various communes making up the Communauté de communes gâtine autize. The exhibition opened with the vernissage on Friday 30 June and continues through to the end of August with an extension for the weekend of 16/17 September for ‘journées européennes du patrimoine’. The hours of opening are those of the Château during July and August - Tuesday to Saturday from 10am12.30pm and 2.30pm-5pm. The entrance fee, which includes a guided visit of the château in English, is 4€ for adults, 2€ for children and 3€/person/group. Entrance is free on the two days in July and August when the “marché est en fête”. ‘Carnets de Croquis’ was conceived at a meeting in the café du centre in Béceleuf in early 2011 and for the first six years the Saturday morning rendez-vous in either late August or early September was at the Pigeonnier de Pouzay on the border between the communes of Béceleuf and Ardin. Having signed in, drunk a coffee and eaten a croissant, the artists dispersed to various parts of the different communes taking part each year with the aid of maps showing the various sites worthy of their talents – churches, lavoirs, pigeonniers, monuments, water mills, bridges etc. The artists gathered for lunch on the Sunday either inside or outside the pigeonnier and at the end of the afternoon their works of art were hung around the pigeonnier for all those attending the vernissage to admire. The seventh and last ‘Carnets de Croquis’ was held in May this year based in the park behind the Château with the lunch being eaten on tables laid out in the park and the works hung along the wall of the château and displayed on easels. The château was obviously one of the favoured subjects but also Coulonges’ own “Clochemerle”. Each year some twenty artists, young and not so young, participated and over the years over two hundred works of art have been produced. Many of these works will be on view during the summer exhibition.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 7

4eme Association No. W163001178

CRAFT FAYRE 10 Septembre 2017 10-4pm






Salle Polyvalente, 16450 St Laurent de Ceris

TEA, COFFEE & CAKES Savoury dishes available from Pois Chic - Falafel et Saveurs du Monde

Association No. W163001178

For more information and to book a stall, please contact reservations/reseignements Association Cats: kitty16450@gmail.com

Email your entries to: mooncatmedia@gmail.com and please put CATS in the email header

and include a background story about your cat and your photo. The Judges decision will be final. Winners will be notified by Sept 30th. Photographs must be your own original work. Images must be provided in high resolution at a minimum of 300dpi.

SHARE YOUR EVENTS ! Entries into the What’s On Listing (P.4) are free! (12€ for businesses) + your event is added to our busy Facebook page.... Simply email us: events@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

Here Comes Summer!

by Sue Burgess


s the different regions of France are more or less used to habitué à the heat la chaleur , the levels of heatwave warning alerte canicule vary from one place to another. A heatwave la canicule happens in Deux-Sèvres when there are minimum temperatures of 35 ˚C during the day and 20 ˚C at night. The heatwave plan plan canicule with measures to help protect people at risk during prolonged periods of heat was developed after a considerable number of people died during the 2003 heatwave la canicule de 2003. A drought sécheresse results after a period of little or no rain une manque de pluie. When this happens restrictions on the use of water restrictions d’eau are brought in by the authorities arrêté préfectoral (by-law from the prefecture), arrêté municipal (by-law from the town hall). Different measures may be put into place – no watering interdiction d’arroser or restricted watering times. It is often forbidden to wash the car interdiction de laver la voiture and to fill swimming pools interdiction de remplir les piscines. Of course the weather can be nice and summery un temps estival  without soaring to heatwave proportions sans atteindre des niveaux caniculaires. When the temperature rises it can be useful to have a ventilator or a fan un ventilateur, or even airconditionning la clim. A hand-held fan is un éventail.

Wild fire les feux de forêt can be a problem in the summer, especially when the flames les flammes are fanned sont attisées by the wind. Drowning la noyade is a danger in summer. Best to use a beach with lifeguards une plage surveillée and make sure the flag is green le drapeau est vert. And don’t forget your sunscreen crème solaire if you’re going to tan safely faire bronzette en sécurité.

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: scorcher

une journée torride................


un travail d’été......................

summer job

l’été indien.............................

Indian summer

été comme hiver....................

all year round

salon d’été.............................

outdoor living space (in your garden)

plantes résistantes à la sécheresse.............................

drought resistant plants

un ventilateur de plafond......

ceiling fan

un estivant............................

summer holidaymaker

les grandes vacances.............

summer break (from school)

une station estivale...............

summer resort

l’été, la belle saison ..............



to bask

prendre un bain de soleil.......


écran solaire / crème solaire..


‘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!

une journée caniculaire .........

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 9



by Katey Green



he allocation de rentrée scolaire or ARS, is the back to school allowance for all children between the ages of 6 and 18 who are at school or in apprenticeships (and earning below a set amount). It is means tested, but unlike child benefit, it is per child if you qualify both on income and general residency conditions. If you home school you do not qualify for this allowance. This allowance is paid annually by the CAF (Caisse Allocations Familiales). Children born between 16th September 1999 and 31st December 2011 will be eligible for the 2017 allowance. For children born after 31st December 2011, but enrolled into CP in ecole primaire, you must get a certificate of scolarité from school and send it in to your CAF office. The income limits for this allowance in 2017 are as follows and are based on income from 2015 : • • •

1 child income up to 24 40€ 2 children income up to 30 036€ 3 children income up to 35 668€ and add 5 632€ for each additional child

If your income is slightly over these amounts you can contact CAF who may decide to pay you a reduced allowance. This is known as the allocation différentielle.

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: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.


The amounts paid vary according to the age of your child/children and is not dependent on which class they are in at school. • • •

ages 6 to 10 years receive 364,08€ each ages 11 to 14 years receive 384,17€ each ages 15 to 18 years receive 397,48€ each

This allowance is paid in to your bank account in mid - end of August and is intended to help you purchase supplies and clothing for school. Children must be enrolled into a public or private school or distance learning centre such as the Centre national d’enseignement à distance (Cned) at the rentrée in September. Children 16 and over require a simple attestation sur honneur that they are at school or an apprentice. This can be done online from your CAF account or via the post from mid July. If you are already an allocataire with CAF, (receiving an allowance of some form or other) you need do nothing as the payment of ARS should be automatic. If by the rentrée you have not received it, contact your CAF. If you are not an allocataire you can contact your local CAF office or download a form to complete from your departmental CAF website.

In Issue 76, June 2017, we published an article about a local clay pigeon shooting Champion, titled ‘Shooting Star’. This article contained a half page image of someone aiming a firearm out of the page. It has been brought to my attention that this image may have been interpretted as threatening or offensive to some readers and I would therefore like to apologise for any upset this has caused.

Do you have a Question for Katey? Email: contact.thhs@gmail.com

I can confirm that the firearm used in the photograph was not loaded, and that the photographer was in complete control and happy with the situation. It was a purely creative pose for the purpose of this publication.

If you should need assistance with this or any other type of French administration, have queries or need simple advice, contact me on: contact.thhs@gmail.com or via my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheHandHoldingService

Sarah Berry, Owner and Editor ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

Siret n° 451 059 323 00019 R.C.S Angoulême

Our Furry Friends


EKTOR EKTOR is a joyful young man who gets on with everyone and like nothing more than a good belly rub. He has a basic training and loves his doggy playmates, as well as food, so we expect him to adjust quickly to home life. As EKTOR is still in one of our kennels we are still learning about hm and will update his profile as we learn more about him. EKTOR has been neutered, micro-chipped, primary vaccinated including rabies so he has valid passport, and he has been treated for worms, fleas and ticks. An adoption fee of 130€ will be asked for to help towards his medical costs.

The Assocation Orfee Contact Caroline: 05 45 96 02 79 or by email: orfeeinenglish3@gmail.com Visit the website: www.orfeeinenglish.com

Blaze: Male possibly Manx kitten born 3/4/17 Nefertouem: Male Part Angora Turk kitten Nefertouem is a shy kitten with no tail and, with his sharp almost oriental features, he may well be a Manx kitten. As he is shy he needs reassurance but give him time and he will relax with you and you’ll then get to hear his best feature, his very loud purr! He is learning to play and is enjoying the company of the other kittens. Blaze is a beautiful kitten, he has inherited his mum’s short hook tail, common in angora turks, which she is. He is interested in everything around him, playing and exploring and, very importantly, lots of cuddles. If you wish to meet either of these gorgeous boys please contact their foster carer Sophie Nicol: Email: sophie.nicol@ yahoo.fr, Tel: 05 53 73 91 13, Mobile: 07 78 21 13 55. Dept. 24 Bergerac


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 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 David Brieger: david.brieger@neuf.fr

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.

Bridge Players Wanted

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

AL-ANON Support Group

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

Les Amis Solitaires

We are a group of people living alone in France. We meet up for coffee mornings from 11am, every 2nd & 4th Thursday at The Lemon Tree in Sauzé Vaussais. More details from Gwen on 05 17 34 10 23 or email: LASdePoitou@gmail.com The Jean David Art Group meets every Tuesday, 11am - 3pm at Fenioux (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit www.jeandavidfineart.com or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.

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. 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

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. TheatriVasles

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: theatrivasles@gmail.com 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

Please visit the branch website:


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 francis.gaboriau@bbox.fr or 06 85 92 58 33.


Meets every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month at Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. For when, where, how and why of practical gardening contact Janette by email: fenhorizon1@gmail.com or call: 05 49 75 50 06.

ThouarStMed’Arts - Association that aims to bring together people from the historic town of Thouars (Quartier Saint Médard) for a new development of artistic activity. Exhibitions, galleries, brocantes, creators, cultural events etc. Visit the website: thouarsaintmedarts79.asso-web.com

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: carole.stocking@gmail.com


A British style band, who meet each Tuesday at 8pm, at the Salle de la Cendille, Limalonges (just 1km from the N10). All levels welcome. Call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or visit our website www.justbrass79.fr. 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: rafasof@orange.fr or Tel Website Short URL: http://goo.gl/ut80T

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 keithandcarol@orange.fr 05 49 69 14 89

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 1pm at Pause! L’Absie (79240). Feel free to pop in and join us.

Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)

In just 10 minutes.... by Tim Fitzgerald


n preparation of writing this, I Googled what someone could do in 10 minutes. According to the internet the answer appears to be, and I’m paraphrasing here – Nothing particularly significant. Suggestions ranged from “Pay a bill online” to “Clean your car” (Note to Internet- meet my car and revise cleaning time). At TheatriVasles we have higher ambitions of what can be achieved in a mere 10 minutes, we aim to move you, make you laugh, make you cry, think, wonder and sing. Every two years we hold a 10 minute play festival and we invite you to join us for a whole collection of ’10 minutes’ that will knock the spots off “Water the plants”. If you want to take your 10 minutes even further then why not submit your own play to the festival, join us on stage, help backstage/front of house, apply your technical expertise or even direct a play? One thing I am certain of is that however you choose to join us, from audience member to director, it will be time well spent. “Clean out your wallet or purse” – Pah!

The festival will take place on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November. If you would like to get involved please do contact us at theatrivasles@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you.

Visit www.theatrivasles.com or find us on Facebook


by Terri Laverick

e had great hopes of wonderful weather for our CSSG Summer Market last month. Unfortunately the weather was truly appalling that day, it rained incessantly and consequently many people stayed indoors. I don’t blame you, I would have done the same had I been able to. We would like to thank everyone who turned out, from traders, helpers, entertainers, the Vendée Chippy and the ladies in the kitchen, you all did sterling work that day, plus those of you who braved the rain and came along to support us. We did make a very small profit and as usual that will be going to charities voted on at the next CSSG Meeting. Once again, thank you. In September we have two events, one indoors!! On 9th September we are holding a Fishing/Picnic/BBQ. If you are interested in fishing please let me know, the fishing places are limited to 15 and we have some already booked. There will be a prize for the largest fish caught and another for the most fish caught (all must be returned to the lake). We decided to add a picnic to the event as not all partners like fishing, and also it’s an excuse to have an entertaining afternoon with friends. There will be a “Cook Your Own Barbecue” available so bring your T.bone steaks with you, along with whatever else you’d like to eat or share. We shall provide tea, coffee and fruit juice, and maybe some cakes. Where is it? La Germondière, Secondigny. If you would like to come I really need to hear from you before 2nd September please. Monday 18th September will be a Curry Supper and Race Night. We serve either Chicken Curry, Vegetarian Curry or for those who dislike curry, a chicken based alternative. The event is being held in the Foyer Rural, St Pardoux from 7pm, first race at 7.30pm. As usual we need numbers beforehand for catering purposes, so please let me know if you are going to come along and join in the fun. Last date for tickets is 9th September. Our next group meeting is Saturday 30th September. Breakfast is beforehand at 10am with the meeting at 11am. I will contact members before this date. Our aim in all our endeavours is to raise money for Charities who support ex-servicemen and their families living here in France, although we also donate to various French Charities as well. If you feel able to help us in anyway, please contact me at combinedssg@gmail.com and you will be most welcome.

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

contact Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 13

Hobbies Is Writing a Process?

by Alison Morton


es and no. Writing a novel is creative – you have to have a purpose, some characters and a setting which all interact. Throw in a triggering act to stir them all up and get the story going. Pile on the tension, insert some twists and turns, but lead the reader inexorably to the climactic end. Storytellers have known this since the year dot. A modern novelist is basically a storyteller with a keyboard. She/ he, like the traditional storyteller, has an imagination that can cast back or forward several thousand years, that looks into the darkest and lightest parts of the human psyche, that digs out motivation, phobias, obsessions and quests, that lets us delight at sunlight, trees and adventure on the high seas and cower at shadows, brutes with cudgels and our own dark thoughts. And one that takes us to places we will never go in real life… But however uplifting or terrifying, however moral or dubious the story, it has to be written down if it’s to be read by others. Getting the story across and catapulting readers into their book’s world is what writers are supposed to do. Perfectly understandably, they want to make a few bob; for some this can be the main motivation. As a series writer, I have my characters already. I let them run in my head for a while, have some conversations, get into arguments, flounce off, make up, do something incredibly noble, then something incredibly stupid.  After that I buckle down to sketch out my excuse for a plan: 30 lines which start with the inciting incident and end with the resolution. I insert three crises/turning points, a black moment and a climax. (More at alisonmortonauthor. com/2012/04/how-to-write-a-novel-in-30-lines/) The next step is to type something on the blank screen. For me it’s usually a large bold ‘I‘ in the centre of the top line of the first page. (I use Roman numerals for some reason.) I look artistically into the distance, which is actually the corner of my office, half close my eyes, then, opening the said eyes, look at the screen and type the first conversation in one and a half line space. Five hundred words later, I get a cup of tea. Then I repeat. And after lunch, I repeat (the typing, not the lunch). Sometimes you think faster than you can type, other times you feel you’re walking through tar. The main thing is to keep going. Make yourself sit in that seat for at least 30 minutes at a time. Writing a long piece of fiction entails dedicated slogging away for intense periods in between the chief activity of the day, i.e. going on Facebook. You do it for a regular number of hours every day for the next few months. My novels are generally 90-100,000 words. That takes a fair bit of typing. I generally bash the story out, creating a first draft that’s pretty average. However, after six books it seems to be getting easier to produce a reasonably acceptable initial draft. So, yes, writing is a process, but no, as without the creativity, you wouldn’t have a story.

Happy Writing! Alison will be speaking about her books and research at the Charroux LitFest 24-26 August www.charrouxlitfest.com 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

YOUR Book Reviews Warm thanks go to Beryl Brennan and Vronni Ward for this month’s reviews.

If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email it to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows Don’t be put off by the title, there’s much more to the Society than it implies! The narrative is told through an exchange of correspondence between Juliet Ashton and the members of the Society. It’s 1946 and author, Juliet, is awaiting inspiration for her next project. By chance a book once belonging to her turns up in the hands of Dawsey Adams, an avid reader living in Guernsey. Letters are exchanged, more members of the Society join in and gradually they reveal snippets of their lives during the German Occupation of the Island. Finally Juliet visits the Island – but to say more would be to say too much! And where does the Potato Peel Pie come in? A mix of fact and fiction, it gives the reader an insight of the experiences of the some of the residents of Guernsey during WWII. A good book for a Reading Group. by Beryl Brennan (Beryl runs the monthly Book Library for the Get Together Association)

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave This book is very pertinent at the moment… it’s all about an immigrant from Nigeria. Written in a beautiful style, it documents the journey of Little Bee who comes to England to live. I was hooked from the first page of this book. Little Bee narrates her story; you immediately warm to her happiness, her fears and her unique experience of our way of life. The book begins in an immigration detention centre where Little Bee, a 16-year-old Ibo girl, has spent the last two years honing skills that point back to horrific past events and forward to a hoped-for future. Making herself look unattractive to men is the first of several mysterious threads that Cleave slowly winds in. Learning the Queen’s English (from the quality broadsheets only, she specifies) has a more obvious relevance. “Excuse me for learning your language properly. I am here to tell you a real story. I did not come here to talk to you about the bright African colours.” The colours, when they come - on a beach in Nigeria - are certainly not bright. The route back to them begins with Little Bee’s inadvertent escape from the centre with three women… Little Bee contacts a journalist, Andrew O’Rourke and his wife Sarah whom she met in Nigeria. Now he is dismayed to hear from her… and so the story of what happened on the beach in Nigeria unfolds and the secrets of Little Bee’s and Sarah’s hearts are laid bare. Chris Cleave worked in an immigration centre and so this part of the story seems particularly realistic. He is a white man writing a Black girl… and he does it very well. Issues of immigration, globalisation, political violence and personal accountability are dealt with in a sympathetic and accessible way. I heartily recommend this book… it haunts you for a very long time. by Vronni Ward

Bees at the Little White House by Gloria Fisher

Experiences of a new Beekeeper... The Arrival


y bees’ arrival was by an unexpected meeting of the bee man on the way into town. I had been watching for him as he tends two hives in Soudan.

He had a young man with him who spoke English and I explained that I had a brand new hive and I would like some bees, docile ones.   We arranged that I would take my hive to his house and leave it so he could put in the bees and this year’s Queen. Each year the Queen bee is marked with a different colour dot relating to the year. I was excited that I was at last going to get the bees; we went at the appointed time to leave the hive and arranged to return at dusk to take them ‘home’. This was when I received my first sting; it climbed up the collar of my jacket and stung me just under the chin. Not as painful as I thought but still something to be avoided. Jean-Paul put the strip on the front so the bees could not get out and we could drive home safely as the very thought of driving home with loose bees didn’t fill me with joy. Needless to say – we drove home very, very carefully. 5,000 bees in a hive are very heavy!

9) CarnaC 10) OhiO 11) AlbaniA 12) SynopsiS (Resume is also correct but doesn’t fit the connection)

Easy Crossword: Across: 1.bleed 2. mocha 7. brick 8. cairo 9. security staff 10. water jump 13. independently 14. fixed 15. shave 16. otter 17. upper Down: 1. barrel 2. encouragement 4. craftmanship 6. guttersnipe 11.indigo 12. clever Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. train 4. cachets 8. err 9. departure 10. malfi 11. lounges 13. sun sea and sand 16. display 18. codes 19. tarantula 21. oxo 22. matisse 23. eyrie Down: 1. thermos 2. airplanes 3. no drive 4. capillary tube 5. corfu 6. emu 7. steps 12. grand tour 14. declare 15. dispose 16. datum 17. lands 20. rot

Take a Break - SOLUTIONS

Next time:: What happens next?

Connection: Each correct answer begins and ends with the same letter-

Rucher Ecole Departemantal du Magnerolle – Bee School The school is run by Jean-Paul Veillard near Soudan. We did some practical work on re-using frames, how to put wire in frames and attach the foundation (cheaper than buying it complete) and we all had a go. Then we suited up and got into groups. We had an experienced Beekeeper with us and he showed us how to open and inspect the hive. I must admit that I was a bit nervous as I didn’t understand every word said but I watched very closely, and then it was my turn...

Well, what do you know?: 1) ParsniP 2) BeelzebuB 3) LibeL 4) KojaK 5) WilloW 6) COM 1 C 7) EaglE 8) AugustA

Now I was the proud owner of 5,001 new friends. The next step was to give them some water as they need this to make honey and wax. I put water in a bowl with enough stones so that they could drink but not drown.

It really is very well done and makes a very good read. A very nice mix of content and an invaluable source of info for us re events in the area and people to contact on various issues.

Once home we had to load them into a wheelbarrow and gently take them down to the field, where we carefully moved them to their spot. I knew that I would have to remove the ‘front door’ strip (long green section on the front) but they sounded so very cross. I decided to leave them to calm down a bit while I suited up.

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 15

Health, Beauty & Fitness

FITNESS CLUBS: 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: knight-kelly@sky.com

Tai Chi in Bressuire and Le Breuil Barret

Each Tuesday evening (7pm-9pm) 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


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

Be safe in the Sun We all need some exposure to the sun as it is our primary source of Vitamin D, (allowing us to absorb Calcium for stronger bones) but we must remember how powerful the sun’s rays can be. Too much exposure to the sun’s Ultraviolet (UV) rays damages the skin and can lead to skin cancer. Sunlight contains three types of ultraviolet rays-UVA, UVB and UVC.

1. UVA rays cause skin aging and wrinkling and contribute

to skin cancer, such as melanoma. The UVA rays pass through the Ozone Layer and make up the majority of our sun exposure. 2. UVB rays are also dangerous and cause sunburn, cataracts and effects on the immune system. They can also contribute to skin cancer. The Ozone Layer absorbs most of these rays, but enough pass through to cause damage. 3. UVC rays are the most dangerous. Fortunately these rays are blocked by the Ozone Layer and don’t reach the Earth. Skin protection is essential. Protect yourselves from exposure to UVA and UVB rays and be safe in the sun this summer. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 for adults and SPF 50 for children.

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017



by June Searchfield

t is a beautiful day here in Saint Germier and I am sitting here thinking how wonderful the people in the Deux-Sèvres have been and continue to be with the support they give to us at our events.

The Tour Four © Ed Brown 2017

Tour de Rêves update...



by Jacqui Brown

ouston, we have a problem. Last month I mentioned training was going well for Sarah, Rob and Adrian, but I felt I wasn’t doing enough. With Adrian going away getting out on my bike wasn’t easy, but then things got a whole lot more difficult. Whilst taking part in the Ardechoise sportive, 600kms from home, Adrian fell off his bike, quite spectacularly. While descending an Ardeche mountain at around 50km/h in a group of about fifteen cyclists he found himself manoeuvred to the edge of the road, with nowhere to go. He locked up, lost control and slid down the edge of the ravine. His bike was damaged, his mobile phone had disappeared in the fall and his shoulder was hanging at a rather odd angle. The next six hours were difficult; for him, for me and for his mum in UK. He was taken to hospital for x-rays while his mum and I sat by our phones waiting for him to make contact and planning our rescue mission. Thankfully he suffered no broken bones, but his collarbone and shoulder blade joint is dislocated. With regular physio, he is now recovering well and has even managed one gentle 16km bike ride, although he is itching to get out and do more. We are confident that by September he will be fighting fit and riding the Tour as planned. He is after all our route mastermind. Despite this hiccup affecting my training too, I’ve not been sitting around doing nothing, oh no! With Adrian out of action all the heavy chores in the house and garden have become mine. Filling, lifting and carrying two 13 litre watering cans at a time, repeatedly each evening, hoeing the potager and mowing the lawn mean I might not be as cycle-fit as I expected at one month to go, but I’m certainly keeping fit and active. Team Berry are getting to grips with their new pedal system, thankfully no disasters to report here, and following a hectic week in the UK are looking forward to getting some good training rides in this month. We are all delighted with the progress on our team jerseys and can’t wait for them to be delivered so we can start wearing them. Our heartfelt thanks go to La Vendée Chippy, A la Bonne Vie, Assurances Maucourt, Michael Glover, Micala Wilkins, Ian Parrington Renovations & Wood burning Stoves and David Watkins. Also thanks to the Morton family and TLC Gites and B&B for offers of accommodation and to Trompe Souris Café for important refreshments along the way to Thouars.

Don’t forget if you are interested in joining us, you can find instructions on the DSM website. Our terms and conditions will be sent out to all those interested in taking part. www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr You can also keep up to date on our planning and training via our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TourdeReves/ and donations can be made securely, direct to Association Rêves by following this link: www.alvarum.com/sarahberry

Last month (2nd July) we held our Afternoon Tea Party at the Hotel des Voyageurs, Chef Boutonne. Despite the rain and the venue changing to indoors at the last minute, 127 people joined in the fun, listened and danced to McKenZie and ate delicious sandwiches and homemade cakes so kindly donated by many people. Thank you to Hélène and Laurent for the use of their restaurant; Pam, Chris and Dawn, Angela and John for all their hard work organising the afternoon. Thank you also to Micheline Desplebin, President of La Ligue Niort for coming to join us. Also last month, on 12th July, an alternative afternoon tea party was held at A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. Thanks go to owners, Carol and Carl, and the stallholders who donated a percentage of their sales to CSDS. The total amount is to be verified shortly. A big Thank you also to Cheryl Appleton who organised a dinner and quiz night last month and to Reaction Theatre who donated the proceeds from their last production, The Shakespeare Review. We are organising future events in September (during raising cancer awareness week) and October. Details will be shared in next month’s magazine. Last year it was decided to donate funds raised to Research into Brain Tumours and we will continue to do this in 2017. We will also donate to the SSR unit in St Maixent L’Ecole Hospital. This unit is creating a new families room where end of life patients can spend quality time with family and friends whilst relaxing, eating and chatting together outside of the confines of their hospital room. As always our priority is supporting those touched by Cancer in the strictest of confidence. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who gives support to our association.

Cancer Support Deux-Sevres


MISSED AN ISSUE? Don’t worry - you can view them ALL online! Visit: www. thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr and go to Distribution > Magazine Archives

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 17

Home & Garden Small colour Advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

ARE YOU A BUSINESS BASED IN NORTH DEUX-SEVRES? Readers are looking for tradespeople in this area... Please get in touch if you’d like to place an advert.

TRAVAUX DE JARDINAGE It is now time to enjoy our gardens, and everything that comes with them... including the maintenance, cutting grass and hedges etc. The communes ask for you to be considerate to your neighbours at this time, and there are designated hours in the day to run noisy equipment or machinery. In our commune of Parthenay-Gâtine, these designated working hours are as follows:

Mondays to Fridays 8am - 12pm and 2pm - 7pm Saturdays 9pm - 12pm and 3pm - 7pm Sundays and Bank Holidays: 10am - 12pm only If you are unsure, please visit your Mairie. They will be able to give you the correct times for your particular area.

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

Helpful Vocabulary....Gardening le jardin............................................. garden le patio.............................................. patio le parterre.......................................... flowerbed le pavé............................................... paving l’allée................................................. path la pelouse.......................................... lawn la haie............................................... hedge le potager.......................................... vegetable garden la serre.............................................. greenhouse le tas de compost.............................. compost heap le bulbe............................................. bulk les mauvaises.................................... herbes weeds l’arbre................................................ tree le confière......................................... conifer à feuilles persistantes........................ evergreen

à feuilles caduques............................ deciduous la plante d’ombre............................... shade plant la plante grimpante........................... climber l’arbuste à fleurs................................ flowering shrub les outils de jardin............................. garden tools la houe.............................................. hoe la bêche............................................ spade la fourche......................................... fork le râteau........................................... rake la tondeuse....................................... lawnmower la brouette........................................ wheelbarrow le terreau.......................................... compost le déplantoir..................................... trowel l’arrosoir........................................... watering can l’arroseur.......................................... sprinkler le tuyau d’arrosage........................... hose The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 19



e’ve certainly had changeable weather recently – heatwaves which can be expected, but followed by hailstorms, in July? I’m wondering what August will bring us, but, come what may, the jobs will still be there to do, so let’s get cracking.

Jobs this month:

getable garden r control in the ve de un s ed we e th keep  Keep hoereiny/gflotowe r beds. se you are able and shrubb I usually ask you to look out for the bees, hedgehogs, ons, unless of cour lati gu re l ca lo ur yo frogs and toads but we’ve had lots of Stag beetles in cording to er. at inw ra  Water ac d re sto or d water our garden this year which has piqued my interest so y. ad to use grey, recycle re they become as s I’ve done a bit of research on them. I didn’t realise lad sa d an e es top of th  Harvest vegetabl that they spend the first five to seven years of their life en they reach theout any side wh s an be er nn ru s of ring to pinch underground as larvae and then when they emerge in be em m re e o, th  Pinch thouetsathmeetip to p s th tomatoe which will sto wi th ow early summer to find mates they will only have a few gr f lea ts; h or uc m supp plants to stop too short weeks to live. shoots of tomato fruits to ripen them. nts or pla g plu ng nti pla sun getting to the r fo e vegetable garden e vacant areas in th bles.  Prepared ta s or ring vege sts by pulling tight sowing se s of sp birds and other pe m fro ws ro ar m t ripening .  Protecov t tying at both ends s or tiles to preven stockings er and the soil onto slate m fro sh ua sq d an ins mpk  Raise pu rs rneath y eggs and caterpilla them rotting unde a leaves for butterfl sic as br of de rsi de e un  Check thsh necessary in – pick or wa off. tting back where cu d an g din ea -h king, dead  Continuereysta d flower garden. an bb ru sh the quired. ring perennials if re Apparently, Stag beetles (Lucanus cervus) have  Take cuttings from flowe cutting all the whippy side shoots back to 4 or been around for millions of years but are finding it Wisteria, g in un pr ish Fin  m. ste difficult to survive in these days of hustle and bustle y ain dr m t, e ho th ry m ve fro 5 leaves lly during and often get squashed underfoot - their flight is larly and, especia n. gu re ap he st po m e co quite ungainly and landings are uncontrolled, often to aid breakdow  Turn s,thgiv lly na sio ca oc ak o e it a so liquid tomat th wi landing on pavements. The male Stag beetle can s condition ial nn re pe baskets and borderinto the autumn. be up to 3” long but is quite placid and harmless ll we s  Feed tuwebsek, hatongening courage bloom (so long as you don’t put your finger between the s. ne ca d ite ch fru ea e food d cut back th an / es ‘antlers’ which can give you quite a nip). These ak rri be we sp d ra an d t blackberries an moving diseased/damaged wood its too so antler-like mandibles are used in courtship displays  Harvesru re fru , er es all tre sm it e and for wrestling with other males. Summer-p ne fru heavily laden, you can remove th . crossing growth; if es into improving those remaining , ed go ov m gy re If you need to pick one up to move it to safety just ge the tree’s ener some of the folia use finger and thumb on either side of the thorax nefit from having it and air to circulate to avoid be ll wi es vin e ap  Gr owing the sun to ripen the fru and move it onto the flower bed or hedge. If you thereby all have children or grandchildren perhaps you could y dr g red durin mildew. draw their attention to these creatures – they will endrons well wateenty of flowers od od Rh d an as ady for a pl melias, Azale re t find them interesting I’m sure, and if they know se d bu  Keep Ca od go lp to ensure what to do when they find one then the beetles spells. This will he are more likely to survive the encounter. next year.

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

Take a Break Across: 1. Expel blood from the body (5) 3. A flavouring made from coffee mixed with chocolate (5) 7. A building or paving material (5) 8. The capital of Egypt (5) 9. Those in an organisation responsible for avoiding theft (8-5) 10.  A pool or stream in a steeplechase contest (5-4) 13. Do something on your own without outside help (13) 14. Securely placed, fastened or set (5) 15. Remove body hair with a razor (5) 16.  Fresh water carnivorous mammal (5) 17. Higher in place or position (5)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Down: 1.  A cylinderical container that holds liquids (6) 2.  The act of giving hope or support to someone (13) 4. Skill in an occupation or trade (13) 5. Floating freely, not anchored (6) 6. A child who spends his time on the street especially in slum areas (11) 11. A blue-violet colour (6) 12. Mentally quick and resourseful (6)

Across: 1. Get ready to go following a ceremonial dress? (5) 4. Marks of prestige for cool dudes sheltering revolutionary (7) 8. Mistake made by cross-channel transport, allowing no outsiders? (3) 9 and 11. Urged plane user to reconsider making last stops before taking flight (9,7) 10. Eponymous duchess arrives, carried by the dismal fifth duke (5) 11. See 9. 13. Nudes and an ass gambol together in what is for some an ideal holiday situation (3,3,3,4) 16. Put on show spread provided by princess (7) 18. Get firm on some French rules of engagement (5) 19. Altar upset by crazed aunt when disturbing a hairy monster (9) 21. Nothings given to a cross agent of seasoning (3) 22. Is steam used in work of French artist? (7) 23. Turned over cereal that is destined for the home of a raptor (5)

Down: 1. Substantial addition to heat unit to keep constant temperature (7) 2. Plan a rise for working on flying machines in the USA (9) 3. Lacking motivation, over-excited by din raised! (2,5) 4. Ace! I’ll try BUPA organisation to get a blood vessel (9,4) 5. Popular holiday destination; customs officers ready for upsurge to come initially (5) 6. Hull had a hand in entertaining flightless bird (3) 7. For example, Spanish riposte psychiatrist gives at tourist hotspot (5) 12. Dog and rat run madly together, travelling around Europe once (5,4) 14. Adding nothing to this statement from reticent arrivistes (7) 15. Deal with one writing error in allocation (7) 16. Given piece of information unearthed in Granada tumulus (5) 17. Back to earth, hopefully not with a bang, after visiting some countries (5) 20. Nothing is admitted in limitations of resident’s balderdash (3)

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get?

1) According to a 17th century proverb, which root vegetable is not buttered by fine words?

8) Where, in Georgia, USA, is the US Masters golf tournament held each year?

2) Which devil is named in the Queen song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’?

9) Near which town in Brittany can you see over 10,000 standing stones?

3) For which civil offence is Ian Hislop allegedly the most sued man in Britain?

10) Columbia is the state capital of which US state?

4) Telly Savalas played which TV detective?

11) Tirana is the capital of which Balkan country?

5) Cricket bats are traditionally made from which wood?

12) A brief summary of an article or book is known as what?

6) Jimmy Tarbuck owns which vehicle registration plate?

And finally, what is the connection your 12 answers assuming you’ve got them all correct?

7) What is the name of the US spacecraft which landed on the moon, 20th July 1969?

Copyright RJS 2017

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 21

Answers on P.15 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

DSM Easy Crossword

Communications Protecting Yourself from the WannaCry Ransom Ware


am sure all of you are aware of the phenomenal spread of the Ransom ware WannaCry on 12th May this year that affected unprotected Windows Systems in over 150 countries and has infected more than 400,000 personal computers - most notably in this country the NHS. Since that date I have not been able to advise how to protect your PC from this vicious cyber attack because of other articles I was in the middle of publishing, and of course waiting for the right tools and information to become available.

by Ross Hendry

It was not until after these attacks in May that Microsoft, knowing that XP is still the third most used operating system for desktop PC in the world, released a security patch for it - an unprecedented step for such an old and until now, unsupported operating system. PCs running XP still outnumber all of the Apple OSX, Linux and Microsoft Windows 8.1 at 6.94% share of the 2 billion + PCs in the world. Windows 10 is second with just over 26% and Windows 7 is still the most used desktop OS at 49.04%. Protecting yourself from this ransom ware If you are still running Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7 you may download and install the security patch that prevents the ransom ware from infecting your PC and spreading to other PC on your network. You can get them from Microsoft using the search key “MS17-010” or going to either of these webpages: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/search.aspx?q=kb4012598 It is simply for incidents like that of 12th May that we are advised to keep to the latest operating system software and keep it up to date at all times, doing updates as promptly as you can, the sooner the better.

So why did this spread so fast and why did Microsoft not prevent it? Unlike previous ransom ware/scare ware attacks, this variant had an additional component called a Worm that exploits Windows Networks using a communication protocol namely Server Block Messenging (SBM). This is mainly used for providing shared access  to  files,  printers, and  serial ports  and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network. It was this that enabled the WannaCry variants to rapidly infect entire Windows networks. Unlike previous attacks this not only infected the PC it was delivered to, but also searched the network the PC was attached to, and spread itself to other unprotected PCs on that network. It is believed that this Exploit known as EternalBlue was written by The Equation Group, said to be a cyber espionage organisation, thought to be part of America’s NSA. This was stolen from them and offered on the Dark Web for auction at the end of 2016. The group said to be responsible for the theft of this, several other nasty exploitation tools from the NSA, and the release of the code by trying to auction it off for 1million bitcoin (approx £440,000), are the Shadow Brokers. 98% of infected PCs are those running Windows XP and/or Vista and/or 7, or other unprotected versions of Windows. Most of the PCs infected were not running Windows 10 or had not kept older versions of Windows up-to-date with the latest security updates. Microsoft were aware of the vulnerability after it was released in April and produced a security update in March MS17-010. Many Antivirus companies also added code to their antivirus/malware software to protect their users. The two Antivirus companies I prefer, namely AVG and Avast, both updated their software immediately and protected their users. Avast said that approximately 15% of their users had not applied the update immediately after it was released and were therefore vulnerable. So in fact, Microsoft did protect their clients that were running their currently supported Operating systems, I believe these to be Windows 8.0, 8.1 and 10. However, this was only if you had bothered to do the updates in the case of Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 10 updates are automatically applied and so these PCs should not have been infected. 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

The blame for this problem cannot not be attributed to any one organisation and the fact that the exploit may have been developed by a Government organisation and stolen from them is also very worrying. Here is what Microsoft had to say: “This attack demonstrates the degree to which cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer. The fact that so many computers remained vulnerable two months after the release of a patch illustrates this aspect. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems. Otherwise they’re literally fighting the problems of the present with tools from the past. This attack is a powerful reminder that information technology basics like keeping computers current and patched are a high responsibility for everyone, and it’s something every top executive should support.”

Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

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, August 2017 | 23

Where We Live... Jim winning Aviemore 2011 © Don James

Neufchâtel (AOC) This famous rich, creamy, soft-white cheese originates from the village of Neufchâtel-en-Bray, in northern Normandy. Made from both raw and pasteurised cow’s milk, it is one of France’s oldest cheeses, dating back almost a thousand years. Six versions of this fermier, industriel or artisanal cheese are produced: bonde and double bonde, which are a small and large cylinder; carré, which is square; briquette, which is a small brick shape; and the bestknown coeur and grand coeur, which are small and large hearts. Legend has it that French farm girls fell in love with English soldiers during the Hundred Years War and started making heart-shaped cheeses to show their love. With no common language, the little cheeses became their gooey language of love! Records suggest that as early as 1035 a local lord, Hugues I of Gournay, donated some cheeses as a tithe to the Abbey of Signy. By the 18th Century, Neufchâtel was exported to England and Belgium, although it was not granted an official Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) until 1977. An artisanal Neufchâtel has a grainy, close-textured and thick centre covered with a soft, downy, velvety rind with a covering of fine white mould. The rind crumbles when pinched, while the firm but supple inside sinks under finger pressure. The taste and texture can be reminiscent of a Camembert – mushroomy, rich, nutty and slightly yeasty. The flavour gets stronger the longer the cheese is left to mature. It can be bought jeune (up to 12 days old), demi-affiné (one to three weeks old), or affiné (one to three months old). Fresh Neufchâtel is white with a faint, sourish, lactic flavour and a bloomy white rind. Neufchâtel Affiné is darker and more golden in colour. The rind shows traces of red-brown pigmentation and the flavour becomes more pronounced and a little salty. Neufchâtel goes well with a crusty artisanal bread and a good, full-bodied wine or a glass of local cider.

Photo: Wikicommons/Coyeau

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017


Jim Bryde & Cherry Burton

Driving Force


ugust 12, 2012, is a date the couple of 35 years will remember for the rest of their lives. Having sold their house in West Sussex and packed in their jobs, they cast aside any doubts they might have had and boarded the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe for a brand new start in Cheffois, in the Vendée. They had bought a ‘two bedroomed, charming, rustic village house with attached buildings and a large garden with wonderful country views.’ As they unloaded their vehicles and tried to get their various animals settled (five huskies, a border terrier and a Bengal cat) they were still full of the joie de vivre as they looked forward to their new life in France. That first flush of excitement diminished somewhat the next day, however, as they took a better look at what they owned. “The superb views were correct,” recalls Cherry, “as were the two bedrooms. The rest was pure estate agent fantasy talk. The garden was so overgrown we didn’t actually know where it ended. And the nettles were too fearsome to enter.”

by Mick Austin

It is said that everyone needs an ambition in life. That ambition may never be fulfilled, but what happens if it is? What happens next? For Jim Bryde and Cherry Burton it was time to look at new ambitions. It was time to move to France and live the dream.

Front of the house © Cherry Burton

The barn, wine press and extension ripe for conversion (or demolition, depending on your point of view) now looked, in the light of day, an awful lot of work. “What have we taken on?” Cherry repeatedly asked as they walked around their dream property. It was then their thoughts turned back to what they had left behind... Jim had been a successful area manager for a national landscaping company. He’d managed major projects like Battersea Park Restoration, Heathrow Terminal 5 and even Adventureland at Disneyland Paris. But his biggest passion was husky racing. He’d been in the sport for 25 years, competing all over Britain and in France, Germany and Sweden. In all that time, however, the biggest sled dog race on the calendar had eluded him: Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands. “I always seemed to come unstuck there. I could go a whole season unbeaten, but come that race I’d fail. Seven times I came second. Seven times! It was a record I didn’t want.” The race is held every January and is considered to be the biggest in the world in terms of competitors, with more than 1000 sled dogs and 200 mushers, or drivers. It is held over two days, four miles each day, and is a time trial event with teams of two, three, four, six and eight dogs pulling the sled, a three-wheeled rig that looks like a tricycle without a seat. In January 2011, Jim and his four-dog team of home-bred huskies finally broke his duck and won. “After the first day I was 30 seconds behind the race leader, but having taken it fairly easy I was confident

for the second day. I put my fastest dog, Bear, up as lead dog with his half-brother, Django, and with his father, Gun, partnering Reef (Bear’s sister). “We took off really quickly and caught the leader, who had started a minute ahead of us, after just two and a half miles. I was just about to overtake her when I had a rear-wheel blowout. I thought that was the end of the race, but the dogs never faltered and we just stayed close behind the leader, eventually crossing the finish line together. That meant we’d won by 30 seconds. I’d achieved my ambition. I’d finally won Aviemore, the biggest event on the racing calendar. It was the culmination of my racing career and was just the spur I needed to pack everything up and move to France.” So, with his ambition met, what of Cherry? For 20 years she had run her own landscape design company in Chichester, West Sussex. “Initially, I was just designing little gardens for clients as a sideline. I was a manager at a local garden centre and my job involved advising customers on the best choice of plants for their gardens. Eventually I found I was giving more and more advice and then an opportunity came along that I just couldn’t turn down. I was offered a plot of land in another garden centre. Jim built me a custom show garden and Cherry Burton Garden Design was born. “Things took off and eventually I achieved my ambition of exhibiting not once, but twice, at the world famous Hampton Court Palace Garden Show. I was lucky enough to win two medals, which I am very proud of. It was amazing considering the tiny budget I had. It now means I am on the Royal Horticultural Society’s recommended designers list.” The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special BEFORE

Renovation works © Jim Bryde


Cherry’s Design Centre © Cherry Burton Jim’s pond © Cherry Burton

With both Cherry and Jim’s personal ambitions fulfilled, it was time for them to quit the rat race and find their own Home in the Sun. “Initially,” says Jim, “as we were both getting on a bit, the French dream was to just retire to the countryside, drink plenty of wine, eat loads of cheese and live the good life.” That’s just about what happened for the first year or so. Jim got stuck into building kennels for the dogs and then a large fish pond – something he’d always wanted. Armed with only a spade, he started to dig. And dig. And dig. He finally had a 6x6 metres pond, 1.5 metres deep and surrounded by a dry stone wall he built himself with reclaimed stone from his next door neighbour’s tumbledown barn. Obviously, after all that hard work he needed a place to relax. So he built a summer house, put down decking and then sat back to chill. “You know what, Jim,” Cherry said to him at the time, “I’ve got a brilliant idea.” Famous last words! “I’d been getting a bit restless over here. Whereas Jim had loads to do, I still wanted to be creative. I’d noticed that what was on offer over here was mainly grass cutting and clearing services by landscapers. And they weren’t cheap. Most of the people I’d met admired what I’d done in my own garden and wished they had the ability or knowledge to do it themselves. And then came my lightbulb moment. I would open a landscape design centre. Jim had just built me what he thought would be his man cave, but in reality I knew he’d built me my dream.” Last year, Cherry took the plunge and advertised her design centre for the first time. The first workshop saw four eager ladies, pads and pencils in hands, listening intently as Cherry gave her first lecture, sitting on the decking by the pond on a beautiful summer’s day. Lunch was taken up by the main house and included produce she’d grown herself. The day was a resounding success. 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

With that in mind, Jim and Cherry have decided to expand the workshops to include residential courses with full board, so Jim now has even more work to do. February and March saw the extension finally start to take shape as what will eventually be an indoor conference room in the winter months. And with the addition of a downstairs en-suite bedroom, it gives Cherry three double bedrooms to accommodate guests. Maybe the estate agent and her ‘charming rustic cottage’ was right after all.

by Mick Austin

Breeding Record-Breaker

On this month August 15, 1769: Napoleon Bonaparte is born on the island of Corsica. Originally an officer in King Louis’ army, he rose to become Emperor amid the political chaos that followed the French Revolution.

Django and Mum © Jim Bryde

Jim has not completely given up on his huskies. In September 2012 he bred his lead dogs, Django and Reef, producing seven pups and in February 2013, at four months old, they were delivered to a friend and fellow sled-racer in Wales. “To say they took the racing scene in Britain by storm is a massive understatement. At 14 months old they won the Aviemore six-dog race and repeated their success over the next two years. In January of this year they won again for the fourth year running and in a record time, beating the old mark set 20 years ago by some 40 seconds. My ambition of winning Aviemore is now totally eclipsed. But I have bred the best and fastest team Britain has ever seen!” During the winter of 2014, Jim wrote about his dog racing in a book, Sled Dog Gun, Aviemore Dreaming, which was published by Austin Macauley and is available on Amazon. To date it has 32 five-star reviews and two four-star reviews. He still has four remaining retired huskies in France. Jim will be returning to race at Aviemore again in January, borrowing a six-dog team for the event. And guess what? He’ll be racing against his own pups!

Cherry Burton Garden Design is

currently on Facebook and a website is on its way. In the meantime, you can contact her by email at: sheisthedesigner@aol.com

August 24, 1875: Englishman Captain Matthew Webb becomes the first man to successfully swim the English Channel without assistance. After covering himself with porpoise oil to keep warm, Webb entered the water near Dover’s Admiralty Pier. Though he was stung by a jellyfish eight hours into his attempt, he carried on after a soothing nip of brandy. After 21 hours and 45 minutes of swimming against the tide – the equivalent of 39 miles – he waded exhausted on to the beach at Calais.

Captain Matthew Webb © Wikicommons

August 14, 1893: France is the first country to introduce the vehicle registration plate, with the passage of the Paris Police Ordinance. The earliest plates were made of porcelain baked on to iron or ceramic with no backing, which made them fragile and impractical. Later experimental materials included cardboard, leather, plastic and, during wartime shortages, copper and pressed soya beans. August 3, 1914: Two days after declaring war on Russia, Germany declares war on France. France then makes its own declaration of war against Germany, readying its troops to move into the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, which it had forfeited to Germany in the settlement that had ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. August 26, 1944: French General Charles de Gaulle enters Paris, which had been formally liberated the day before. For de Gaulle, it was the end of a long history of fighting Germans. He sustained multiple injuries fighting at Verdun in World Charles de Gaulle War One. He also escaped German POW camps five times, only to be recaptured each time. At 6ft 4in tall, it was difficult for him to be inconspicuous! August 31, 1997: Princess Diana dies after suffering fatal injuries in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris. She was 36 years old. Her companion Dodi Fayed and driver and security guard Henri Paul were also killed in the crash.

Princess Diana 1995

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 Paysde-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, August 2017 | 27

Food & Drink

The Frugal French Pantry Fantastic food on a budget...


by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

re you a savvy shopper? Stock up on chicken and frozen fish then always look out for the reduced meat items and promotions in the supermarkets and freeze for later. Here are some of my favourite summer main courses using my bargain shopping!

Sticky Chicken Wings

Thai Fish Burgers

This dish uses the cheapest of chicken and store cupboard ingredients for a dish that can be cooked in the oven or on the barbecue.

For this dish I buy frozen hake from a local discount supermarket, cut out the bony strip and squeeze out the water. You could always add leftover potato to make these go further.

Ingredients for 4 servings: • • • • • •

1 kg chicken wings, tips removed and divided in 2 salt 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 5 tbsp tomato ketchup 3 tbsp of runny honey 1 tbsp soy sauce

Ingredients for 4 servings: • •


1. Prepare the chicken and place in a single layer in a roasting tray. 2. Sprinkle with salt and roast at 180˚C for 20 minutes. 3. Combine all the glaze ingredients together and spread all over the chicken wings. 4. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.

• • • • • • • • • •

500g white fish 1 lemon grass stalk, chopped (or zest of 1 lemon) 1 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste 2 long red chillies 1 handful of coriander 2cm piece of ginger 1 egg 1 tsp sugar 2 tbsp plain flour to coat the burgers 1 tbsp oil for frying 1 lime quartered to serve


1. Rough chop the coriander, lemon, chillies, ginger paste and sauce in a food processor and process to a paste. 2. Add the fish and process again. 3. Divide the mixture into patties with wet hands then dust in flour. 4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then fry for about 4 mins each side.

Barbecue Bourbon Ribs

Lemon Chicken en Brochettes

Cut off the ribs from a belly roast and freeze later for this dish.

These self-basting brochettes use cheaper thigh meat.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

Ingredients for 4 servings:

• •

1.2kg pork ribs in four portions salt and pepper

For the glaze/sauce: • • • • • •

6 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp runny honey 2 tbsp Bourbon 2 tbsp soy sauce 200 ml orange or pineapple juice 1 tbsp cider vinegar


1. Salt the ribs and place in an oven dish, cover with foil and roast at 160 C for about an hour until tender. 2. Make the glaze by putting all the ingredients in a saucepan and heating. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and simmer until the mixture has reduced by half. 3. Remove the foil and pour off any moisture. Cover the ribs in half of the glaze and return to the oven at 200 C until golden. 4. Serve with the remaining sauce.

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

5 boneless chicken thighs • 2 lemons, each cut into eight For the marinade • juice of one lemon • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary • 1 tsp sea salt • 1tsp ground black pepper • 1 tbsp vegetable oil


1. Cut each chicken thigh into four. 2. Make the marinade by combining all the ingredients together except the lemons. 3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 4. Thread the chicken onto skewAmanda lives in La ers alternately with the lemon Chapelle St Etienne and is pieces. the writer behind the food 5. Grill or barbecue over a medium blog chezlerevefrancais.com heat for about 7 minutes each where she posts new side. recipes weekly.

Goats’ Cheese


by Jacqueline Brown

ummer is here. We might have suffered heat waves and droughts followed by storms and heavy rain, but with salad lunches picked from the potager and plums of all colours decorating bowls in the kitchen, I know it’s summer, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. I am a little anxious for my tomato plants as the prolonged damp could cause the dreaded blight to take hold, but so far this year my potager seems to be in tip-top condition. The courgettes and squash are growing well and tangling into each other, my leeks seem to have settled in nicely and the last minute lettuces are going great, even with daily leaf pickings. I also seem to be winning with the weeds, for now, thanks to a daily vigilance with my hoe. Another sign of summer for me is the food related events that are being advertised locally, including the open day at La Ferme des Fontaines in Narcy, the organic goat farm in our village. I like goats. They have great characters and facial expressions and I find it fascinating to watch them. At the open day we were able to wander all around the farm; from the nursery barn where this years babies were being watched over by the farm cat, to getting up close to the males kept in their own barn, as well as scratching the ears of the large herd of milking females. The ladies have access to a large spacious barn as well as outdoor fields for grazing and seemed as happy as a herd of goats could be. For those wanting more than just the chance to pet the animals, the farm had organised a quiz. Each step of the process from rearing the animals, to grazing, to milking and cheese making had a series of quite in-depth questions with multiple choice answers that was the perfect way to learn more about goats’ cheese from start to finish. The best bit though was the trying and the buying of the finished product at the end of our tour. With plenty of choice from young fresh cheese to older hard cheese, deciding what to buy wasn’t easy. In the end we chose three, an aged hard cheese whose looks might not have appealed to everyone, but that was strong and full of flavour. It was delicious grated onto pizza and pasta dishes. The medium aged bouche was creamy and delicately flavoured and was perfect cut into rounds and served with beetroot in our salad lunches. The younger cheese, wrapped in a chestnut leaf, lasted the longest as we savoured small mouthfuls at a time. Its flavour was sweet, its texture moist and creamy, a real cheese lover’s delight.

Thankfully Virginie sells direct from the farm Monday to Saturday evenings from 5.30pm to 7pm and Saturday mornings from 9.30am to 11am. Organic cheese from happy outdoor goats, with zero food miles and no emissions if I cycle to buy, summer in France at its best. www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: frenchvillagediaries@gmail.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 29

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

I look forward to reading the DSM every month, it’s always on hand if anyone on a Facebook group or a friend is looking for a particular tradesperson or phone number - I generally take a photo of the page or advert & forward it on so they know where I got my information from.

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

Stripped-Down Wine All you need to know about THE RHÔNE

by John Sherwin

Part one: the northern rhÔne hern N Rhône is tiny compared to the sout uced end – only 5% of all Rhône wine is prod here. kms south • The wine region starts about 30 her south to furt kms 90 nds exte and of Lyon Valence, following the Rhône river. y rock • The vineyards are on steep and d by the ence influ h muc is oir Terr . hillsides in river with an overall cooler climate than els the south. La Bise, the wind that funn the through the river valley, helps to keep ible. vines clean and as disease-free as poss reds; viognier, • 95% reds, 5% whites. Syrah for es. whit for e sann rous marsanne and 1980s when • Little known region before the wine critic al enti influ by ed’ over ‘disc it was n and Robert Parker. With small productio fame come high prices…



And if you want to know more… There have been vineyards here since Roman times, maybe before. At Lyons, the Saone river joins the Rhône and the combined flow becomes majestic, deep and fast-moving. The best sites are on the steep granitic hills which loom over the river as it ploughs inexorably southward. The appellations, from north to south, are as follows.


Reds only here, but, boy, what reds! Sensual, silky, exotic, erotic (whoa, down fellah), with depth of flavour and great aromatic complexity – bacon fat, black and red fruits, earthiness, pepper, spice… stick your nose in a glass and you might just forget to drink. A small amount of viognier is allowed to be added to the syrah. Tiny appellation of about 200 hectares.


An even smaller appellation of about 135 hectares, this time only whites from viognier. The wines have a luscious, sometimes oily texture. Vinification combines steel tanks and oak barrels. Wines can be dry or sweet, but the latter can tend to cloy. The best dries combine peaches, pears, honey, apricot, honeydew melon, with a floral overlay.


Second largest of the region’s appellations, weighing in at around 1000 hectares. 90% syrah for reds, 10% marsanne and roussanne for whites. Given its similarity in size to Saint Joseph, the same reasoning vis-à-vis quality applies, but the best are, again, very good value for money – certainly as compared to the neighbouring Hermitage appellation. In fact, think of it as a slightly poorer cousin of Hermitage. Reds are smoky, peppery with cassis scents. Whites are no great shakes.


As famous as Cote Rotie, but a small 130 hectares. The famous ‘Hill of Hermitage’ towers over the town of Tain l’Hermitage where the Rhône takes a brief west to east interlude before resuming its southward course. This granitic outcrop is one of the most dramatic settings for vineyards in the world. Reds from syrah are powerful and tannic with aromas of black and red fruits, tar, cassis, pepper. The best can easily age 40+ years. Whites from marsanne are full-bodied with scents of nuts, peaches and minerals.


Reds only in this 100 hectare appellation – but what reds! Almost black in colour, very tannic, robust, virile. In the bad old days barrels of Cornas were shipped to Bordeaux and other regions to add body to the local wines – strictly verboten now of course. Aromas are earthy with black fruits; very big in the mouth, almost coarse – not everyone’s idea of a relaxing tipple.


But if you want really, really small, welcome to the 3.5 hectares of Chateau Grillet, one of the smallest French appellations. Whites only, from viognier. Owned by a single producer, the same guy who owns Chateau Latour in Bordeaux. A superb wine combining fatness and acidity with aromas of rose, violet, pear, pineapple, honey, nougat… Needs ageing to show at its best.

The most obscure of the northern Rhône appellations, its 64 hectares produce whites only from marsanne and roussanne – 60% dry, 40% sparkling. In the 1800s the best St Péray sparklers sold for more than some champagne, but the region lost its way and produced only mediocre wines for a long time. Now, though, things are looking up, with successful producers from elsewhere in the Rhône investing time and money here. One to look out for.



The largest appellation in the northern Rhône with some 1200 hectares of vines, 90% syrah for reds, 10% marsanne and roussanne for whites. With such a large area under production, terroir and producers’ commitment to best practice can vary, making quality hit and miss. But the best are very good value for money. The most feminine wines of the northern Rhône, both reds and whites can be enjoyed in their youth.

There are plenty of good, small producers, but no room to list them. You can rely on the big producers – Chapoutier, Guigal, Jaboulet. Cave de Tain, the co-operative in Tain l’Hermitage is also no slouch when it comes to value for money.

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 31

Motoring RED CAR, Y ELLOW CAR . . .


French friend recently told me that when going on a journey with her kids, one of the favourite games to play is to count the red cars on the journey. She said this is a good game because there are not that many and the numbers stay within a range her children can cope with. This got me looking around, and as she said, the majority of French cars are white, black or shades of grey and silver, and this is not because the French just don’t chose the colours; most of the cars on the dealership forecourts are also white, black or shades of grey and silver. In complete contrast when we visited Northern Queensland, the cars there were very brightly coloured, and after remarking on this to a local, we were told that Queenslanders are happy people (I mean why wouldn’t they be?) and their cars reflect that. So I wondered what that says about the French?! Anyway, it seemed logical that there is some science or at least pseudo science about why we choose the colours for our cars that we do, so I did some research. Colour psychologist Karen Haller has looked at this, in conjunction with statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in the UK, which gives the number of new sales by car colour. Interestingly, the top three most popular colours in the UK are the same - white with 22% of sales, black with 19% followed by the shades of grey and silver. According to colour psychology, white is a shade we are drawn to when looking for mental clarity. “Personality-wise, you’ll go for white if you like everything clean and in its place,” explains Karen. “Someone buying a white car is unlikely to have a smelly rugby kit languishing in the footwell, or a half-eaten packet of crisps going stale on the passenger seat. This is the kind of person who likes order and routine in their lives. They can’t stand mess and clutter.”  Black is often the shade used to symbolise threat and menace, but it is also popular as an indicator of power and style. “Someone who opts for a black car probably enjoys an element of mystery, and will want to be viewed as serious and not someone you would want to mess about as they pull up in it,” says Haller. “There might be an element of arrogance in the mix too.”

Grey, which came third in the popularity stakes, is often chosen by people who want to blend into the background. “Someone in a grey car doesn’t want anyone knowing very much about them at all,” suggests Haller. “They want to hide their personality.” 

by Helen Tait-Wright

So what about the drivers of the red cars that my friend’s children look out for? The colour associated with flashy sports cars must surely be for more flamboyant car owners? Karen agrees that it’s generally a colour for people who are seeking attention.  “Red screams out ‘I’m fun – look at me” she says.  Color consultant and trend forecaster Leatrice Eiseman, has also looked at the connection between car colours and personality.  She differentiates between the shades of red … “There’s definitely an element of sensuality that goes with red, along with high energy” Eiseman says. “A red car owner is definitely an outgoing individual.”  Those who ride around in a deeper bluish-red (wine or maroon) have the same inclinations, but are more subtle. “They want to be perceived the same way as the red but they’re far less obvious about it,” Eiseman explains. “It’s not in your face. It’s underlying. You have to look a little deeper to find the true meaning of who they are.”  Many people would chose blue as their personal favourite colour, but while blue is the most popular colour for new cars in the US, Germany, Australia and China, it only comes in in fourth place in the UK. Haller says the people who select it are happy to veer outside the norm and aren’t afraid of being noticed on the road. “Light blue is a fun, sociable colour,” And what of some of the brighter colours? Expect the owner of a yellow car to be young at heart says Eiseman. “They have a sunny disposition; a person who chooses yellow really knows that they’re going to be noticed and they usually have a great sense of humour.” ”An orange car screams unique. It’s one of the most interesting colours because people who choose orange are usually very artistic, creative, original,” says Eiseman. “And they’re very individualistically charming. There’s a certain complexity to this kind of personality as well.”  Of course many of us do not have the luxury of choosing the colour of our cars at the point of manufacture, so I wonder how important the colour of the car is to second hand car owners?  The more sexist may suggest that it will be more important to females than males, I couldn’t possibly comment, but it must, even subconsciously, be part of our choosing process. I have a new (to me) car on the way ….. I wonder if you can guess what colour it is?!!! Contact Helen: helen@stodel.org

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 33

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres

by Sue Burgess

Saint-Laurent, Saint-Jean, Saint-Jacques, Saint-Paul, Saint-Pierre of Parthenay-le-Vieux, and Sépulcre. There were also the convent of the Cordeliers, the Maison-Dieu and the Maladrerie and different districts sprung up around these religious buildings. During the Wars of Religion the town was held to siege and burned in 1562 and 1568. The Dukes of La Meilleraye, cousins of Richelieu, were the lords of Parthenay in the 17th century. At the Revolution, Parthenay almost became the main town of the Deux-Sèvres but this privilege was finally given to Niort. The local economy has been dominated through history by textiles, leather (tanning factories in faubourg Saint-Paul) and animal and meat markets. The production of pottery was also important at the end of the 19th century. © Rebecca Novick



arthenay is situated 30 to 40 minutes from Thouars, Niort and Bressuire and is considered to be the capital of the Gâtine Poitevine which covers the middle third of the Deux-Sèvres. The town of Parthenay sits in a meander in the river Thouet. The medieval town was built on a rocky overhang to provide protection. The fortress, which was reached through the fortified Porte SaintJacques, (Saint-Jacques gateway) was surrounded by town walls. Numerous remains of the exterior walls and the Porte Saint-Jacques still remain and at the bottom of the walls is a field, la Prée, which can be flooded. Downstream, an area has been adapted to harbour a leisure centre. The Medieval town included the citadel, the Vau Saint-Jacques district (or low town), the Saint-Laurent plateau, where today’s pedestrian and shopping streets can be found, as well as a district at each gateway (Saint-Paul, Saint-Jacques, Sépulcre, Marchioux, Bourg Belais) and the small town of Parthenay-le-Vieux, which was for a long time isolated from the rest of the town. The name of Parthenay appeared at the beginning of the 11th century and designated the part of the town that is today known as Parthenay-le-Vieux. There are no traces of human occupation of this area before the medieval period and it is likely that Parthenay was born at the same time as the chateau, just before 1012. The meeting between Saint Bernard and Guillaume X, the Duke of Aquitaine, took place in Parthenay and Guillaume having converted to Catholicism, the town became a passing place on a secondary road to Saint-Jacques de Compostella which joins the Via Turonensis further south of Niort. This explains the naming of the gateway as Porte Saint-Jacques. During the Middle Ages the main street was la rue de la Vau Saint-Jacques (where timbered houses typical of the period can still be found). This street led to the gateway to the citadel, an entrance to the second fortified part of the town. At the end of this rocky spur overlooking the Thouet river, stood the Château of the Lords of Parthenay. In 1202 the Baron of Parthenay supported John Lackland in his fight against the French King Philippe Auguste. The King of England gave important financial help to his ally so that the latter could reinforce the fortifications of his chateau. However, this did not prevent Philippe Auguste taking the town in 1207. In 1214, the English Army assembled at Parthenay before joining the campaign against the King of France and after the defeat of John Lackland at the Battle of Bouvines, peace was signed between the English and the French at Parthenay. Nearly a century later, financial support from the King of England and the completed fortification works, helped the town to resist the seige by the dauphin Charles, for four months. Before the revolution, the small town had several parishes: SainteCroix, Notre-Dame-de-la-Couldre (inside the walls of the citadel),

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

In the 19th century there were important modifications in the town planning. Terracing at the place where the chateau had been, the demolition of the fortified gateways and part of the town walls, and a new main square (Place du Drapeau). There was the building of a new district around the station and the arrival of the railway in 1882, which would allow for the development of family industry (Ayrault brickworks, Panzani pasta, sales of animals, wood, steel and food). Railway traffic was important until the 1970s. Between 2012 and 2015, the Saint-Paul district underwent renovation. 64 old houses were demolished, 59 new dwellings were built and 18 were modernised. The new builds are energy efficient houses. Different areas were fitted out with a boules ground, park, and a square with games for children. Internet City Parthenay Town Council joined the New Technologies Adventure very early on. The town was selected to become one of the Guinea pigs for the EU schemes as early as 1986. The district of Parthenay became its own internet provider and the local businesses had their sites hosted free of charge. ‘Intownet’ a message service for the citizens of Parthenay was set up (le BBS (Bulletin Board System)). Every citizen had their own address for messages hosted freely by the town. In 1997 the town bought 1000 computers so as to keep the price as low as possible for local businesses who wanted to buy one. Training sessions were set up and were free of charge and internet was available free of charge for public use in public buildings. A VOIR / MUST SEE • Saint-Laurent Church - An emblematic monument of the old town, Saint-Laurent church is currently undergoing restoration works. Its bell tower is the highest in the Deux-Sèvres (65m). The current form of the church dates from the 19th century. •

The medieval heritage - Parthenay, capital of the Gâtine, is a medieval town on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Thouet river. Three spectacular lines of fortifications structure the town. When you go through the ancient gateways of l’Horloge and Porte Saint-Jacques, you discover the almond shaped towers with arrow slits and cannon ports. The town centre is made up of irregular narrow streets and small squares. The citadel had its own walls and the essential buildings of the town were enclosed near the Château.

La chapelle des Cordeliers - This little Gothic chapel dates from the 13th century and since 2001 has been used as an arts’ exhibition room. The exhibitions of local artists’ work are held between the end of March and October.

Le Palais des Congrès - The Palais des Congrès is the place for live shows. Its imposing architecture dates from the seventies. It is situated in the town centre and is the place where shows, seminars, official ceremonies and AGMs are held.

La rue de la Vau Saint-Jacques is a street with medieval timbered houses.

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

Building & Renovation

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 35

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 37

Small B/W Advert from 34â&#x201A;Ź per month

The DSM takes time to check that advertisers are registered with a Siret number. However, the system doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t allow us to verify all activities that one is registered for under that Siret number, so please consider this when asking a tradesman to do work for you. Any registered worker should happily confirm the trade/s that they can undertake. It is also advised to check references thoroughly before going ahead with any works.

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 39

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

Down Time, Down Tools and Review


t this time of year, I find myself thinking about what I’ve done so far and how I can kick start my business for the rest of the year. It’s also good to have a bit of down time… get away for a bit on that well-earned break.

At this point in the year, it’s also worth reviewing your business. Look at your business plan – are you on track to do the things you wanted to do? If not, what are the reasons? It could be that some of the goals you set yourself are too big, so you could cut it down into sizeable and achievable chunks. Maybe the goals you set were too adventurous…in which case, you could put one or two on the back burner for next year…of course, you might just need to push yourself that little bit harder to achieve them. It’s totally up to you how you approach goals that have not yet been reached. Take a look at what you have achieved and be proud! What went well and what didn’t go so well? Make notes of what to avoid next year. Now is also the time to plan for the rest of the year – what are you going to do on Social Media? What blogs are you planning to write? Make a list and try and stick to the schedule. Do you have any events coming up, such as networking events, markets, craft fayres etc? If you do, plan how you can be more efficient and get more sales or meet more people. If you have a website, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and look at it objectively. Is it easy to navigate? Can you find the ‘contact’ details? Are the terms and conditions up to date and easy to understand? Do all the links work? You could review your ‘About’ or ‘Home’ pages, update the information and add a new profile picture. If you sell products online, are all the products current? Are old products still showing…do they need to be deleted? At this time of year, it’s a good idea to ask current customers for some feedback, so you have new recommendations in the run up to the end of the year and, dare I say it, Christmas! Is there anything you’d like to do as a push leading up to the end of the year, such as a competition or incentive for customers? Now is the time to plan this. What are you competitors doing? Are they doing something you could use to improve your business? Finally, we all like to learn new things, so make sure you are up to date with the latest news and technology – is there a social media site you’d like to learn more about? There are lots of free courses online so take advantage of them and learn something new to help your company progress. If you have any other ideas on how to improve a small business, please share it with me, I’d be very interested to speak to you. Have a good summer and ‘happy reviewing’!

Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: cindymobey@outlook.com

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

House Insurance: Being Under Insured and some Facts by Isabelle Want


t sometimes surprises people who ask for a quote for their house insurance, that I ask to come and visit it, or if it is too far, I ask them for a complete description of the house. In France, you are insured in accordance to the number of rooms you have and not on the value of the house. Here’s how the contract works and what the consequences are of being under insured: 1. How do you count the rooms? Your insurance company will ask you how many ‘pièces’ your house has - that is bedrooms, living room, dining room, office, mezzanine, verandas that are over 9m2 (with Allianz). Bathrooms, toilets, kitchen, landing, corridors are not counted as rooms. Rooms over 40m2 count as two! Kitchens that have a separation like a bar or if only half the room is kitchen and the other half dining room, could count as one room. To be sure, you should check the ‘Dispositions Générales’ of your contract (written in the first few pages under definitions ‘pieces’). 2. What happens if you are not insured for the right number of rooms? In these circumstances, the insurer may choose to “apply average” to the claim under an “average clause”. This means that where the number of rooms insured is inadequate, the insurer can reduce its liability for a claim by applying a proportionate approach. Basically, it means you get less money for your claim! That is why you should inform us when you do some renovation work on your house. 3. What are you insured for? Fire, damage caused by a vehicle, theft, vandalism, terrorism, natural and technological catastrophy, water damage, electrical damage, storm/snow/ hail damage, glass breakage and public liability. Those are the basic guarantees on house insurance contracts. Note that each company is different so check your booklet. For instance, with Allianz, if a car hits your fence and does not stop, we cover it, but most companies will not if the guilty party is not identified. 4. Chimney If you have a wood burner, insert or fireplace, you must inform your insurance company. Yes, it increases the premium as it is an extra risk of fire. You must also tell them if it was installed by a professional (send copy of invoice), as it reduces the premium. Not all insurance companies want proof of chimney sweep but some do. We don’t. 5. Contents The house and its contents are on the same contract. Contents are movable things, i.e. the value of everything you put in the removal truck. Fitted kitchen is part of the house. 6. Valuables Valuables are jewellery and precious metals and stones. With Allianz, for a piece of furniture to be classed as valuable, it has to be worth more than 8 000€. Valuable objects are not covered in holiday houses during your absence. 7. Theft To claim for a theft or robbery, we need a police report. Padlocks are not recognised by insurance companies as locks so anything stolen that was protected by a padlock is not covered for theft. You can opt to have personal items covered for theft outside your house but it’s an option so ask for it to be added to your policy. Loss is not covered. Cash is not covered either.

8. Outbuildings If you have a garage or a barn, etc., it is insured under the same contract as the house. It is measured by the surface on the floor (walls included). There is a limit of cover for content inside outbuildings so check your booklet. 9. Business If you use part of your house for business (gîte, chambre d’hôte, hairdressing, beauty, etc.) you must inform your insurance company as there is a professional insurance for that and the professional material is not covered under house contents. 10. Garden If you want garden things like pergolas, Spas, barbecue, etc. to be covered, it’s optional and they must be fixed to the ground to be covered. The same applies if you want trees to be removed in case of storms or your outside water pipes covered for leaks. 11. Storm For a storm to be officially recognised, the wind must blow stronger than 100km/h and loose garden furniture is not covered, so bring it in if a storm is coming. 12. Holiday house You must turn off the water in winter and don’t forget to drain it, as toilets can freeze and break and would then not be covered fully. You must also shut the shutters and get someone to check the house regularly. Some insurance companies don’t cover theft on holiday houses if you don’t have shutters (not Allianz). 13. Lack of maintenance Insurances do not cover if the damages come from a lack of maintenance so if you have a decrepit barn or roof and it collapses, insurances won’t pay! 14. New for old for electrical damage You can add an option so that in case of electrical damages, the equipment is replaced by new. It only works if the equipment is less than 10 years old (with Allianz). 15. Options There are loads of them: Swimming pool, garden cover, horses, electrical damages, new for old, extra cover for outbuildings, outside water pipes and septic tank, renewable energy equipment, theft cover outside the house, etc. You must think this is a bit heavy reading (and I agree) but note that all of us have the famous booklet ‘dispositions générales’ in our office so we can check whether a claim made by a customer is covered or not, or what the limit of guaranties are. The Allianz booklet is 81 pages long. So, we can’t remember it all. Mine is in my bag and when someone asks me if this is covered or not, I double check it. No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: isabelle.want@bh-assurances.fr Visit our website: www.bh-assurances.fr

Facebook included... All adverts are now shared on our busy FB page at no extra cost - it’s all part of The DSM service. www.facebook.com/thedeuxsevresmonthly The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 41

First Tax Information Exchange Approaching


he tax authorities in France and the UK are starting to receive new information on their taxpayers’ offshore assets and income.

This is carried out under the Common Reporting Standard for automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters. 100 countries have committed to obtain information from their financial institutions and pass it on to the clients’ country of residence.

50 jurisdictions began collecting data from January 2016 and have to pass it on by this September. The others began collecting this January, ready to share it by September 2018. This will be repeated every year. The information being shared includes personal data such as your name and address, country of tax residence and tax identification number. The data reported includes the investment income you earned over the year (interest, dividends, income from certain insurance contracts, annuities etc), account balances and gross proceeds from the sale of financial assets. The reporting institutions include banks, custodians, certain investment entities such as investment funds, certain insurance companies, trusts and foundations. When local tax offices receive this information they will be able to verify whether the taxpayer has accurately reported income and

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

assets on their income and wealth tax returns. In the UK, HMRC has sent out warnings to taxpayers about the consequences of not paying tax correctly on offshore assets. In a document entitled “If you have money or other assets abroad, you could owe tax in the UK”, it advises that the tax world is becoming more transparent and that it is getting tougher on those who are not paying the right amount of tax. It explains that it is getting new financial information about taxpayers, including details about overseas accounts, structures, trusts and investments. It is already using information, supplied by overseas banks, insurers, and wealth and asset managers to identify those not paying what they owe. It asks recipients if they are confident that their UK tax affairs are up-to-date, pointing out it is their responsibility to regularly check they have declared everything correctly and regularise their affairs if necessary. It is worth paying attention to this advice wherever you live, as the principles are the same. First you need to establish where you are resident for tax purposes, then ensure you are fully declaring all your income and wealth as required by law. Make sure you follow double tax treaties correctly. Cross-border tax planning is complex, so you need specialist advice to ensure you get it right. The French tax regime does provide compliant tax planning opportunities for your investment capital – France can be an attractive country for retirees from a tax point of view. Take personalised advice to structure your assets in the most tax efficient way for France.

‘‘Will exchange of information affect me? What do I need to know?” Talk to the people who know. The new exchange of information regime goes much further than before. Details of your overseas financial assets will automatically be given to the Spanish tax authorities. You need to understand how this affects you. Talk to the specialists at Blevins Franks for peace of mind and advice on compliant tax efficient arrangements.

contact us now on

05 49 75 07 24 PWK097-fr

niort@blevinsfranks.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, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissements Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on www.orias.fr). Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA).





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w w w. b l e v i n s f r a n k s . c o m

I’m hoping to purchase a property in France in the next six months. What are prices like in the nation generally and what impact could exchange rate movement have on my purchase?


by Sue Cook

s is the case in the UK, property prices in France can differ considerably according to region. Recent reports have shown a surge in property prices in Paris, for example, with increased consumer confidence in the wake of Emmanuel Macron’s Presidential victory and Briton’s fleeing Brexit-Britain being cited as the main causes of the spike. Prices are currently on track to reach their highest levels for five years, with Parisian apartments expected to keep climbing to a record average price of 8 800€ per square metre as demand from both foreign and domestic buyers increases. While this upturn in property values might outprice many from owning their own home in Paris, other areas of France remain comparatively affordable – including parts of the Languedoc, Limousin and Nontron in the Dordogne. Uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future relationship with the European Union (EU) is also inspiring some British buyers to purchase property before negotiations conclude in two years’ time. The price a property is being marketed at is obviously a key consideration when deciding whether or not to put in an offer, but as a foreign buyer it’s essential to consider how you’ll transfer the funds to France to finance the purchase. You also need to know what impact the exchange rate you’re able to secure could have. Exchange rates can be extremely volatile and fluctuate by fairly significant amounts in a short space of time. The GBP/EUR exchange rate, for example, has moved a huge amount over the past 12 months, fluctuating between lows of 1,10€ and highs of 1,31€. The difference of 21 cents per pound is pretty significant and can add up to thousands more (or less) euros when transferring the sums involved in a typical French property purchase. For example, anyone looking to move £150,000 to France the day before the EU referendum would have achieved 196 500€ to put towards their property purchase. By October 2016 that same £150,000 would have been worth just 165 000€ - 31 500€ less. That could be the difference between having 2 or 3 bedrooms, or else having enough funds left over to renovate your new home. But if exchange rates fluctuate so much, how can you time your currency transfer effectively and get the most for your money? One of the easiest ways to time your currency transfer effectively is to stay up-to-date with the latest currency news. By subscribing for regular market updates you can keep an eye on what the GBP/EUR exchange rate is doing and arrange to move your money if the rate shifts in your favour. With some international money transfer providers you can also set up a Rate Alert, where you’re informed automatically if the exchange rate hits a certain level. By having all the information you need to hand, you can feel more confident in the knowledge that you’re moving your money when the timing’s right.

Ask Amanda

Nowadays I am a French resident, can you provide some tips on choosing a Financial Adviser? This is a very important question and one raised many times in forums and during seminars. I think there are six key factors in choosing a financial adviser who will be right for you: Can I work with the adviser? A financial adviser is someone who is not just here for your needs today, but someone who will be around for the long term. As your needs change, your adviser needs to be able to go through these changes and tell you when the French or UK government make changes that can impact your financial position. Who do they work for? It is important that you get an understanding of the company your adviser works for. Google them, or look for forum threads, to see how other expatriates have found dealing with them. It is important to know not just that they have a good reputation, but that they are quick to act in the event of any issues which may arise. Are they regulated within the country you live? Whilst the UK can still “passport” financial products to the EU, there is no guarantee that this will continue seamlessly after Brexit. One way you can ensure whatever happens that you face the least amount of change is to deal with a company regulated in the country where you live. What is the adviser’s experience and history with their company? Has your financial adviser a history of financial advice and not just a background in financial services? You want to ensure that the knowledge they have is relevant to your financial needs. It can also provide comfort if you know your adviser has been with their current company for some time. Can they provide testimonials from recent customers? There are few better ways of putting your mind at rest than asking your adviser if you could speak over the phone to one or two of their existing customers. It provides great peace of mind, when looking at a new financial partner. Are they open and transparent, regarding any costs and fees involved in using them? When you first meet your adviser, ask them for any terms of business and how working with them would progress. Be sure to ask whether there are any upfront costs involved and what the ongoing fee structure will be. You should know, in advance of any commitment, how they will deal with you and your estate. 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 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.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 43


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44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017 | 45


just ripe to be picked!


by Joanna Leggett

ver a quarter of France’s fabled melon crop is grown in northern Poitou-Charentes. One single variety dominates here – the aptly named Charentais melon – and where better to sample this wonderful seasonal delicacy than around the table of your new home in the Deux-Sèvres? And how delicious they are – excellent as a compliment to charcuterie or just eaten as a sweet snack. They work well with feta and chèvre cheese, delicious with almonds, mint, citrus, port or muscat but best of all filled with Pineau, our local apero – what better start to your repas? Property too here is remarkably well priced and, with the great climate and excellent TGV and airport links, Deux-Sèvres is the delectable choice for your new home. As a starter how about a very pretty character home in Argenton L’Eglise (Leggett ref: 77145). Completely secure (entrance is through a gated drive), it’s close to the village with all the amenities. Living is generous downstairs with three pretty bedrooms upstairs. The style is traditional with wooden beams and woodburner set within a traditional stone fireplace – there’s even a pretty garden with plenty of room to sit outside and eat melon! On the market for 109 000€.

A lovely house in Argenton les Vallées is next for your delectation! Here, a super 3 bedroomed property (Leggett ref: 76618) offers flexible easy living with a two bedroomed gîte! Set within quiet rolling countryside it’s close to shops and schools and there’s also plenty for tourists within easy reach – Puy du Fou, Saumur and the Loire valley all within 50 kms. Everything is in great order, the main house even boasts a conservatory; the double height living room is bathed in light. Double doors connect from the hallway into the gîte which has its own enclosed garden. To top it off there’s a two car garage and workshop in the basement! 178 200€! Our final suggestion is a great property with separate barn in a quiet hamlet just 3 kms from l’Absie (Leggett ref: 77152). Here the garden is to the front of the house (complete with its own well). The garage and another garden are across the lane at the rear. Fully renovated, with new roofs on the house and barn, double glazed and insulated, this 3 bedroom home is ripe for the picking – just move in and put your own finishing touches to make it your perfect home - 93 500€. Bon appétit! 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



Ref: 77151 Old presbytery for renovation in a quiet corner of a lovely village. NEUVY BOUIN €82,500

Buying or selling?

10% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 77668 16thC 3 bed house with a 2 bed gîte, lots of character and a pool. SOUTIERS €267,500

Ref: 77181 4 bed property 9kms from Sauzé Vaussais with barn, pool and garage. PIOUSSAY €256,800

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

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

Ref: 78159 30kms from Poitiers is this cute, edge of village renovation project. VANCAIS €23,000 35.29% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: N/A

Ref: 77176 Smart home with big garden, various outbuildings & a private location. SAUZE VAUSSAIS €172,800 8% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: F

Ref: 77460 2 bed / 2 bath house with terrace, pool and great valley views. GOURGE €167,400 8% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

Looking for a new career? Join our winning team. To find out about becoming a sales agent email: recruitment@leggett.fr

Tel:05 53 60 84 88 or 0800 900 324 www.leggettfrance.com 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2017

Profile for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

'The Deux-Sèvres Monthly' magazine, August 2017  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres (79) and surrounding area.

'The Deux-Sèvres Monthly' magazine, August 2017  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres (79) and surrounding area.

Profile for thedsm