The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Magazine August 2018

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

Welcome! to Issue 89 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine...

Summer is well and truly upon us. The motorhomes are out in force, the fly-screens attached to the windows, the duvet reduced to its lowest tog and what better place to be than the Deux-Sèvres. Having moved to France full-time in March, it has not been easy accepting that everyday is not a holiday. We cannot attack the wine and cheese each day with the excuse ‘well, we’re on holiday’. Something has to give and at the moment it is likely to be the swimming trunks. We have not been idle this month though. As well as out in the garden battling the brambles, we have been to art exhibitions, concerts, a very British tea party and a very British Day at which Anna joined in with some French country dancing, I declined the offer...well someone had to stay with the dog! August promises to be even busier. If you’re off on holiday somewhere, “bon voyage”. If you’re here on holiday “bonnes vacances” or if like us everyday is a holiday “Cheers!”. Photo: Anna next to a sculpture created by the ‘Association de Jeunes Artistes’, which was part of a fantastic exhibition of their work in Bouin (Anna’s the one on the left).

à la prochaine Stephen & Anna

Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 Email: Website:

Emergency Numbers:

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

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

This Month’s Advertisers

13Bees - Beekeeping Workshops ABORDimmo Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) ARB French Property Argo carpentry Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) Beaux Villages Immobilier

4 6 11 12 14 17 18 23 28 30 33 34 36 41 45

21 45 2 38 43 40 47 38 34 47

BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 42 Blevins Franks Financial Management 44 Café Rendez-Vous 32 Car Sale (Audi A6 Avant) 29 Centre Régional - Résistance and Liberté 8 Cherry Picker Hire 36 Chris Bassett Construction 36 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 40 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey - Marketing and business 41 CJ Electricité 40 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 38 Creature Comforts (Handyman & Gîte Services) 39 Darren Lawrence 37 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 38 Discover Yoga 11 Down To Earth (Pool Design) 45 European Heritage Days - Ensigné 7 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 35 Futuroscope 48 Green and Tidy Gardening Services 21 Hallmark Electricité 40 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HMJ Maintenance and Renovation Service 39 House, Garage and Garden Item Sale 29 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 39 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 36 Jardin 360° (Garden maintenance) 21 Jean David (Sale of original art and art classes) 14 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation Work) 36 Jeff’s Metalwork 39 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 John Spray - Maconnerie 37 Jon the Carpetman 21 KCR Service ( Alarms and Security systems) 40 Keith Banks Pool Services 45 KPI Garden Services 20 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 21 La Petite Noisette 32 Leggett Immobilier 46 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 9 LPV Technology (IT services) 29 Mad Hatter’s Wonderland Festival 6 Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction 37 Me & Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 21 Michael Glover (Plasterer, tiler, renderer) 37 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 38 ML Computers 29 Motor Parts Charente 35 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 34 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 20 Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) 11 Pericaud Niort (Ford Dealership) 35 Poitiers Biard Airport 2 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Property and Swimming Pool Maintenance - RJ Coulson 45 Restaurant des Canards 32 Rob Berry (Plasterer) 37 Robert Mann (Re-upholstery) 22 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 20 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 36 Satellite TV 29 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 17 Simon the Tiler 39 Smart Moves - Removal company 35 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 37 Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) 40 Strictly Roofing 38 Stump Grinding Services (David Cropper) 20 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Sue Cook-Currencies Direct-money markets 43 Swimming Pools In France 47 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 The Fixer - Rick Denton 41 The Great Duck Race and Country Show (RBL) 6 This Month’s Advertisers 3 UPVC Double Glazing (Haynes Carpentry) 39 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vienne Tree Services 20 Zena Sabestini (Translation Services) 9

© Anna and Stephen Shaw 2018. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anna and Stephen Shaw accept no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Anna and Stephen Shaw 2

Jaunasse, Louin, 79600 Tél: 05 49 64 21 98. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anna and Stephen Shaw. Crédits photos: Anna and Stephen Shaw, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: août 2018 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 839 041 282 00014 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 48 839 041 282

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 3

What’s On... CIRCUIT DES ARTISTES exhibition in Vouvant throughout August. Jean Evley and friends exhibiting from the 5th for one week. For more info: 2,7,9,14,16 - CHEESE MAKING WORKSHOP in Celles-sur-Belle At the ‘Maison des Fromages’. The workshop lasts around 45 minutes, 3,50€ per person, reservation recommended. For more info. rs 3 - LOCAL PRODUCERS MARKET (Marché des producteurs de pays) in Argentonnay. 3-5 - MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL in Parthenay. Meet knights and craftsmen sharing medieval methods. Medieval market on Sunday including music, 40 exhibitors, re-enactments, medieval meal. 11am-7pm. 4 - CONCERT AT CHÂTEAU in Cherveux. Concert of baroque music. 10€ entry fee (under 10s free). 4-5 - 44TH MELON FAIR in Oiron. A whole weekend of activities around the melon. 5 - FÊTE DES TRADITIONS PAYSANNES in Menigoute. 43rd festival of peasant traditions from 9am. 9, 17, 23, 25, 28, 30 - SOIRÉES DU PATRIMOINE DE GÂTINE Free evening events by local artists located around historical monuments. St-Loup-sur-Thouet, Ardin, St-Aubin-le-Cloud, SaintPardoux, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize, Champdeniers. For more info. 7 - LIVE MUSIC, SAMPHIRE at the Restaurant des Canards in ChefBoutonne. For other live music dates see page 32. 10-12 - MAD HATTER’S WONDERLAND FESTIVAL. Headlining are the Bootleg Beatles, Mystery Jets and Dr Feelgood. See page 6 for more info. or go to: 11 - TWILIGHT’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY OPEN DAY. See page 7 for more info. 11 - JACK SINATRA ‘LIVE AT AUBERGE DU NOYER’ in Londigny. For more informtion tel: 05 45 29 05 07. 12 - VILLAGE FÊTE AND PEDAL CAR CHAMPIONSHIPS in Taize 13-26 - FOTOFOCUS4FUN PHOTO EXHIBITION in Vouvant at l’Espace Lusignan, 2-6pm. 15-19 - MUSIC FESTIVAL ‘LES MURS ONT DES OREILLES’ in Airvault and the surrounding areas. For more info: www. 16 - HISTORICAL LIME KILN VISIT in Benet (85). This historical monument of the Fours à Chaux is open once a year to visitors by reservation, free of charge. To reserve contact: samhope1@ or tel: 06 48 69 78 82. 24 - LOCAL PRODUCERS MARKET in Bressuire with 30 exhibitors. 24-25 - GIANT BRADERIE in Niort, with more than 500 traders. 24-26 - CONCERT ‘2 NUITS D’ÉTÉ MUSICALES’ in Parthenay. For more info: 25-26 - ELEPHANT HAVEN INFORMATION WEEKEND in BussièreGalant, 10am-5pm. See page 7 for more info.

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

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: PAPATOM Reel Fish & Chips 8th & 22nd - Etusson: Salle de la Cantine 9th - La Coudre: Auberge de la source 10th - Genneton: Café de la Mairie Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

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26 - HARVEST CELEBRATION in St-Jean-de-Thouars. Exhibitions (poultry farming, ornithology, equine), workshops (shearing, dog training), equestrian show, children’s entertainment, music, videgrenier, market, fireworks. More info. at: 31-1 - THE NIGHTS OF ST.HILAIRE in Melle. Two days of shows and concerts, guided tours, street shows to promote the value of this historic site and the inscription of the Saint Jacques de Compostelle World Heritage. More info. at: Until 30 September - MONCOUTANT PHOTOGRAPHIC FESTIVAL ‘Faces of the World’. 154 large format photographs in the town. 13 major photographers. Three further galleries at the Château de Genève and in the Chai d’Abel. Galleries open seven days a week from 3pm to 7pm. Free entry. 31-2 - MONTGOLFIADE DU THOUARS. This 3 day hot air balloon festival is a ‘must see’ event – including kite festival. Free entry.

REGULAR EVENTS... 1ST & 3RD MONDAY OF THE MONTH AT 3PM Belote at Café des Sports, L’Absie. EVERY THURSDAY AT 7PM - Scottish Dancing at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. EVERY THURSDAY FROM 8PM - Quizwitch Quiz at le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle. 2.50€ p/p. Money raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. EVERY FRIDAY AM - Reaction Theatre’s Art Scene meet in Secondigny. Contact John for details Tel: 05 49 63 23 50. EVERY TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Workshops. Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see EVERY OTHER THURSDAY AT 6.30PM - Franglais Group at Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds. 2nd Tuesday of Month AT 8PM- Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne. 3RD WEDS of month AT 7.30PM - Team Quiz. At Le Clemenceau Bar, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, in aid of animal charities. 3RD WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM - Franglais Group at Pause! Café, L’Absie. Last FRIDAY of month - Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale. Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel: 02 51 51 00 96. 1ST WEDS OF MONTH AT 2PM - 4PM - Coffee & Book afternoon at Funny Farm Cat Rescue, St Germain-de-Longue-Chaume. EVERY THURSDAY - Jean David Art Group at L’Absie. For times contact Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.

what’s COMING UP... 1st - September - The Great Duck Race and Country Fair in Sainte-Soline 79120. See page 6 for more info. 7th September - Street Festival in Bouillé-saint-Paul. 15th - 16th September - European Heritage Days at The Château de La Commanderie d’Ensigné. See page 7 for more info. 20th-21st October - Fête des Plantes in Prissé-la-Charrière.

La Vendée Chippy Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: Last of month : Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil Sun: 5, 12 & 19 Aug: Camping Les Ruliers, Chemin de Logis, 85570 Saint Valérien. Take-away only. 6.30 - 9pm Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 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

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm

...august 2018 LOCAL MARKETS


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


Benet 85490 - and - La Châtaigneraie 85120 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Vouvant 85120 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 and Moncoutant 79320 Sundays............ Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170 Thénezay 79390 Saint-Varent 79330 Saint-Loup-Lamairé 79600

• • •

A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website or contact us by email: office. Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71. The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15. ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share’ lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcomes you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2018 15th August 7th October 31st October 1st November 11th November 25th December

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:

Assumption of Mary (Assomption) Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grands-Pères) Halloween All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël) (Dates in bold=Public holidays)




@The DSMagazine



YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine

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.

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

INSTAGRAM: thedsm79

TOP HAT QUIZ & CURRY 2nd: Chef Boutonne 6th: Limalonges Aigre (Thursday) 9th: Theil Rabier 13th: Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm


Markey’s pork ‘n’ pies Traditional British cooking

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

Sat: Fontenay-le-Comte (marché), Vendée and at Saint-Jean-d’Angély (marché intérieur), Charente-Maritime Sun: Aulnay (marché), Charente-Maritime

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

OPEN mornings

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

Getting Out & About Chez Christie’s BEAUTIFUL GIFTS & CARDS


Cream Teas, Brownies, Cupcakes, Fruit Cake Entrée libre

Entrée libre



Find us on



Du 18 juillet au 14 octobre

La Sabline, Lussac-les-Châteaux (86)

Renseignements : 05 49 83 39 80 -

ENGLISH BOOKS from 0,50 €

Du 18 juillet au 14 octobre La Sabline, Lussac-les-Châteaux (86) Renseignements : 05 49 83 39 80 - GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie Siret: 47876969800018

the great duck race and

country fair live music, games, stalls and bbq at the

le petit moulin, sainte- soline 79120 saturday 1st september 12 till 6pm

free entrance

grill and chill at the mill bbq and bar food from around the world all proceeds to the rbl poppy appeal For further information contact

Royal British legion Linazay Branch Poitou-Charentes Branch No BR3582 National Charity No 219279 French Association No W86200079


n 10th June we raised an amazing 390€ from the Open Gardens day in Le Beugnon. We had 41 visitors which was superb. In Le Busseau on Sunday 17th June we had 23 visitors and raised 125€ for the Open Gardens / JardinsOuverts association. Thanks to everyone for coming along to support us and to all the gardeners that worked so hard for this great event.

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Open Day


Our home for old and disabled dogs

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th August 10am - 5pm

Celebrating Twilight’s 10 th anniversary


lephant Haven are holding short guided tours focusing on the recent infrastructure developments and the status of the project today.

Saturday 11th August

Stands, music, snacks and refreshments will be available throughout the weekend.

La Peyzie, 24800, St-Paul-la-Roche

Breakfast from 9.30am - join us and enjoy a bacon or veggie sandwich! Open house to meet the dogs from 10am-5pm All day long: drinks, cakes and snacks Lunch: menu of the day from 12noon-2pm Free admission - all welcome

Address: 5 Rétabout, St Nicolas Courbefy, 87230 BUSSIÈRE GALANT, France

Donations of croquettes, bedding etc. most welcome

The Château de La Commanderie d’Ensigné will be celebrating: European Heritage Days

On the 15th and 16th September 2018

Ensigné celebrates its heritage at the Château de la Commanderie The event runs from 10am to 6pm. There will be plenty of activities, events and entertainment for everyone: • Entertainers, jugglers and acrobats including Badin the Agile • Katua the Magician • The storytellers Anne and Géhan • The actors of Aulnay de Saintonge • The brigands and knights of Ensigné • The quadrille of the young squires of the Borderie • Live workshops on currency, chain mail, embroidery, stringing, herbalism, cooking, hygiene • Demonstrations on archery and sword fighting with the Troupe Tard-venus as well as the Guild of Aquitaine • A whole village of artists and craftsmen working in stone, wood, wicker and leather • There will be a gourmet market • Plants for sale • Pony rides and medieval games for young and old. Ensigné is located between Melle and Saint Jean d’Angély, the Commanderie of Ensigné is situated on the old pilgrim route, on the wooded walk of the forest of Aulnay, between Brioux (79) and Aulnay de Saintonge (17) Entry fee 4€ per adult, children free (up to 12 years) Guided tour + 1€ (English spoken) Tavern and Restaurant reservations possible tel: 06 60 65 81 58

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

We post regular updates, things to do and promote special offers on our page, so why not pop over and say “Hello”! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 7

A New Organic Bakery Springs to Life!


IGALES (an ethical investment group, Club d'Investisseurs pour une Gestion Alternative et Locale de l'Epargne Solidaire) is a small team of people who save collectively to support the creation or development of small local businesses of a social, cultural or ecological nature. In addition to financial support, the members are committed to providing concrete assistance to entrepreneurs based on their skills and availability. LUNARIA (the branch of CIGALES located in Mazières-en-Gâtine), has just provided its support to Lydie and Geoffroy, creators of Jardins Vagabonds, in Ardin, near Coulonges-sur-L’Autize. Geoffroy has chosen to be a baker and a vegetable gardener, allowing him to unite his professional project with his life values. In addition to training at the Sainte Marthe farm, his father-inlaw, a baker for 45 years, entrusted him with all his bread-making secrets. Working with and caring for a natural ecosystem to feed his family and other people is what motivates Geoffrey today. Lydie, a clinical psychologist with complementary experience, wants to run workshops (open to all, especially people with physical or psychological handicaps), which support improvements in their social and emotional life through participation in relevant projects. The workshops will be organized around the wood-fired bread-baking oven, vegetable garden and surrounding countryside. The Jardins Vagabonds promote a set of social, environmental, cultural and psychological values. A welcoming place for people who, for various reasons, need to dream, discover or rediscover nature. That is why LUNARIA did not hesitate to contribute to

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

by Joyce Roberts

this project. They have lent 3 000€ to Lydia and Geoffroy for the rehabilitation of the breadmaking facilities and several members helped to lay and insulate the ceiling of the bakery. Geoffroy set out his trestle tables on 21st April for his first market in Ardin, Place des Arcadiens (left). Each Saturday, they will offer organic bread made from an ancient variety of locally grown wheat called small spelt (le petit épeautre), bread made with apricots and hazelnuts, brioche, and madeleines, which are leaven, without yeast or modern gluten and without any additives, simply with added water, natural salt and know-how of course. can order by emailing Attention Bread Lovers! You on 06 21 03 39 84 Your SMS via or m Geoffroyboizon@gma rday morning market. Satu the bread will be waiting for you at s! bud Prepare your taste If you are planning a project and are in search of financial and human support CIGALES can give you the ‘nudge’ you need. Do not hesitate to email:

Make hay while the sun shines by Sue Burgess


ell at least that’s what my local farmer’s been doing over the last few days. Harvesting is the process of gathering ripe mûr crops from the fields champs, and the word ‘harvest’ comes from the old English word hærfest, meaning Autumn. The French word la moisson comes from the latin Messio (harvest). French has two words for harvest - la moisson for cereals (les céréales) and la récolte for fruits and vegetables les fruits et les légumes. The word for the grape harvest is les vendanges. The verbs moissoner, récolter and vendanger are therefore used for cereals, fruit and vegetables and grapes respectively. Hay is le foin and straw is la paille. Une meule de foin (a haystack) is a pile of hay left to dry and une botte de foin is a roll or bale of hay. Une botte de paille is a bale of straw. On large farms, harvesting is done using expensive, sophisticated machinery like the combine harvester la moissoneuse batteuse, une batteuse being a threshing machine. The harvesting of different crops cultures continues throughout the summer l’été.

The main cereal crops les principales céréales are harvested between mid-June and August (l’orge barley, la blé wheat, l’avoine oats, le seigle rye). From August to September it’s the turn of c’est la tour du...colza rapeseed, pois peas and finally tournesol sunflowers. The harvesting of maïs (corn) and sorgho (sorghum) happens later on in September. In some communes a fêtes de battage are held with hay-bale making competitions and demonstrations.

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: le grain ....................................


l’orge (f ) ...................................


la céréale ...................................


le maïs .......................................


l’avoine (f ) ................................


le seigle .....................................


le blé/le froment ........................


une culture ................................


le tabac .....................................


le lin ...........................................


le tournesol ................................


labourer .....................................

to plough

mettre de l’engrais ....................

to fertilize


to sow


planter ......................................

to plant


to water

faire les battages .......................

to harvest cereal crops The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 9

Diary of Vasles Netball Club - aged 4 ¾


hat a month June has been for the club, some amazing highs, tinged at times with a little sadness. After setting up the club in 2013 our fantastic Coach, Paula (below), is leaving for the UK, to spend time with her first granddaughter.

Monday 4th June: Incredible training session! A full turnout so we had a fantastic game with two complete teams; might have had something to do with the surprise party we held for Paula after the session, although a swift drink down our local bar, Le Zinc, is a weekly feature. Paula was really touched by all our best wishes and presents. There were a few of us dabbing our eyes as she made her thank you speech. Saturday 16th June: The big day has nearly arrived! We are holding a tournament against a netball club from Paris, the British School of Paris (BSP). It's the first tournament we've hosted, so there have been months of preparation. We met their 14 players at Poitiers Station and took them to their accommodation, a wonderful campsite in Chalandray. We didn't have too late a night, as we had to be ready for the exertions of the following day.

by Debbee Adamson

The first match was tight, but Paris edged it in the end (VNC 10 BSP 13), so we got a bonus point for having scored more than 50% of their goals. Determined to get a win we really went for it in the second match and won (VNC 18 BSP 6), at 59 I was the oldest player on the court and I was dead chuffed to get six goals! After lunch we came back for the penultimate game. The Paris team were really giving it everything they'd got and at half time we were lagging behind, however after a team talk from Paula we managed to win (VNC 18 BSP 14). So it all came down to the final game. Tension was running high, and in the first half we were really evenly matched again. We knew we had to pull out all the stops in the second half, which I'm happy to say we did, and yes, we won the game (VNC 12 BSP 8), and therefore the tournament as a whole! We received the trophy, the club's first (but hopefully not our last). It was a great day, full of inventive play, good humour alongside a definite competitive edge.

Sunday 17th June: Tournament day. It was great to see how well we were supported by husbands and friends, and throughout the day people popped in to cheer us on, or in the case of our French friends, to see exactly what this strange game that the English ladies play is all about.

Vasles Netball Club and British School of Paris © VNC

If you’d like to join in the fun and get fit at the same time we always welcome new players. All you need is to be over 16 (we don’t have an upper age limit) and have a medical certificate from your doctor. Please take a look at our Facebook page: Vasles Netball Club or contact us on:

Recording History


rian Beard was inspired to contemplate a life in France by the plethora of television programmes suggesting that the dream could become a reality. After he began his working life as a history teacher, his career moved into the media: radio, newspapers, as well as being a ghost writer for George Best, he has also covered over 1,000 football matches for Sky Sports. Whilst reporting on Liverpool FC, Brian had the good fortune to visit the French town of Auxerre where he struck up a friendship with one of the Liverpool players, David Burrows, who eventually retired to the Dordogne. On visiting his friend, Brian found the way of life was more relaxed, the pace slower and the people genuinely friendly. His desire to swap the seemingly endless journeys around the UK motorway network for a less strenuous life became reality when he started writing for a number of French lifestyle magazines. Since living in France he has started autobiographical writing, which has become very popular with people who want to record their story for posterity, as well as family and friends. Brian loves the opportunity of using the skills he gained as a historian and creating a lasting legacy for someone's family through the written word.

Creature Corner This month’s creature:

by Steve Shaw

The Bat (Chauve-souris)


ats make up a quarter of all mammals; there are over 1000 different species. They are the only mammal capable of continued flight and can live for up to 20 years. In France, we host 34 of the 41 bat species present in Europe. The world’s largest bat is the ‘flying fox’ that lives in the South Pacific. It has a wing span of up to six feet. The world’s smallest bat is the bumble bee bat of Thailand, smaller than a thumbnail and weighs less than a penny. Behaviour: Bats can eat up to 1200 mosquitoes in an hour. They keep warm by folding their wings around themselves and trapping air against their bodies. Bats can find their food in total darkness by using echolocation. The mothers can find their babies among thousands of millions of other bats by their unique voices and scents. Most bats have only one pup a year, making them extremely vulnerable to extinction.

George Best with Brian

For more information go to:

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Interesting Facts: • French wine producers like bats as they eat the moths that feast on their vines • Vampire bats don’t suck blood, they lap it up • Bat droppings, called guano, are one of the richest fertilizers

Health, Beauty & Fitness DON’T FORGET OUR DEADLINE!

OF THE MONTH Pure Fitness Exercise to music classes - every Wednesday 7pm-8pm Salle des Fêtes, L’Absie 79240 For more info contact

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:


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


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

Everyday Yoga for Everyone

by Rebecca Novick

Strengthen your quads and protect yourself from falling


he Chair (Sanskrit: Utkatasana) is one of those poses that often get a collective groan from a class of students. It is an exacting pose, with lots of things to think about and to coordinate at one time. It’s also physically demanding, especially on the quads. But that is exactly the point. The result of regular practice of this pose is stronger quad muscles, which becomes increasingly more important as we get older. As bones get more brittle, falls become more potentially dangerous, and it is our quad muscles that protect us when we trip from falling to the ground. This is why the quads are sometimes referred to as ‘stopper muscles’. The chair pose works the muscles of not only the legs, but also the arms and chest, opening up the diaphragm and the heart. The photo shows a partially extended pose, which is perfectly adequate to work all these muscles. •

Begin by standing with your feet about shoulder distance apart.

Then on the exhale, bend your knees, trying to take your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible.

Lower your buttocks to the floor as if you are seeking to sit on an invisible chair. Your torso will lean forward a little over the thighs.

If you can’t see your toes, your knees are too far forward, so bring them back a bit.

Raise the arms overhead and continue to lower as much as you can, bringing 80% of your weight into your heels. This will help you to release the sacrum to move down further.

Lastly, instead of sticking out your bottom, tuck your tailbone in towards the pubis, keeping the back long. This avoids too much strain on the lower back.

Remain in this pose for 20-30 seconds. Come up slowly and gently.

And try not to groan.

Respect yourself, explore yourself.

The Chair pose ©Rebecca Novick

For details on yoga classes email: lavieenyoga@gmail.comor follow Rebecca on The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 11

Clubs & Associations ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are now a number of English-speaking meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in the South West of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership and A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Jim: 00 44 79 60 16 83 30 or Janet: 05 46 26 90 85. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€ or visit for details of English-speaking meetings. The Jean David Art Group meets every Thursday, at L’Absie (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.

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 Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

Thanks to the support of the Centre we meet every Wednesday 7.30pm-9pm, at 7 rue Anne Desrays, for conversation in English & French, for a mutual understanding of each other’s language and culture. Contact 05 49 66 35 11 or the Centre 05 49 66 76 40 email or Royal Air Forces Association Sud-Ouest France Le Perail, 17250 BEURLAY, France Tel: 0033 (0)5 46 95 38 89 Mobile: 0033 (0)6 89 90 55 82 Email: Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Julia Murray for joining details. Email: Tel. 05 49 07 70 69

French Lessons for English Speakers

Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), 4 Place Leopold Bergeon, 79150 Argenton-les-Vallées Classes: beginners or intermediate. Private lessons on demand. Contact:


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

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.

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 05 49 69 14 89

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:

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.

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

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.


with a friendly group of French and English speakers. Each Wednesday at 7.30pm at the Salle des Fêtes, Veluché 79600. Call Christian for more details: 05 49 63 04 78 Melleran Chanteurs – Amateur singing group meeting every Monday 6.45pm in Melleran Salle des Fetes. French & English members, singing in many languages. New voices always welcomed, particularly tenor and bass. For more information contact Maggie Geal 05 49 07 11 69


Bridge Players Wanted

Alone in France?


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

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

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

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

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


by Eric Edwards


We’ve Been Down Under, Now the World’s Our Oyster!

by Sue Fitzgerald


he summer of 1918; a fateful ending. After the final German offensive failed on July 17th, the very next day, a combined French and American attack along the Marne marked the first in a series of coordinated Allied counter-offensives on the Western Front. Three French armies accompanied by five American divisions crossed the Marne River; in the face of this assault the German 7th and 9th Armies began a withdrawal from the Marne. On 8th August, the Germans at the Somme experienced the “Black Day of the German Army” as later described by General Ludendorff. The British 4th Army using 456 tanks attacked German positions east of Amiens and 13,000 prisoners were taken during a rapid seven miles advance. The Germans eventually slowed this advance by using their last reserves on the Western Front. On 28th September, wishing to avoid all-out defeat, Ludendorff informed his superior, Paul von Hindenburg, that any hope for victory was lost. The following day they met with the Keiser and urged him to end the war on the grounds that the German army was weakened through losses, declining discipline, exhaustion, illness, food shortages, desertions and drunkenness. The Keiser agreed and began the process of suing for peace but it would be another bloody 43 days before a suspension of hostilities could be accomplished. The Armistice would follow but at what cost? An update from our intrepid cyclists who undertook the Lt Tomos Stephens memorial ride on 10th June: more than 3 500€ was raised for the Poppy Appeal through sponsorship. Thank you to all their sponsors and to the riders for their hard work in organising the event and the physical effort of the ride. The photo shows four of our riders, the peloton, on the route out. Finally, our Branch was represented at the Verrières annual commemoration on 3rd July for those local freedom fighters and Lt Tomos Stephens (executed on 4th July 1944). This year a surprising and happy coincidence occurred when a number of SAS Veterans who were touring the War Graves of SAS soldiers throughout France, turned up at the ceremony. They were obviously delighted to learn that the local people were still honouring their comrade. Photos of the event can be seen on our website under the Events Albums tab on the Verrières 2018 page.


Stewart Cronin riding the wave of life with TheatriVasles Photo Credit : Steve Marshall

here are rhythms and seasons to TheatriVasles; periods of heightened activity and quiet lulls. We build up to two nights of intense performance and then relax back into planning for the next. In the last year we’ve had car-jackings, Shakespeare, camp fires, scorned wives, dragons, unicorns, gold hotpants and feather boas! And now, here we are again, able to take a breath, the lazy summer stretching ahead of us and the slow build towards our Autumn show. This is a great time for new members to get in touch and get involved. Right now, we are sifting through a long list of titles from which we will choose our next play. Whilst the activity isn’t quite as intense as in the final weeks before a production, it’s such an exciting time. We can start to visualise and bring to life new characters, locations and stories which we will bring to you on the stage of the theatre in Vasles (79340) on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October 2018. Get the dates marked in, underlined and circled in red in your diaries! If you would like to be part of the excitement of our next production then please do get in touch. There are all sorts of ways to get involved. There’s the front of house team, keeping our supporters fed, watered and generally feeling looked after. There’s the technical and production teams getting the show on stage and the acting team breathing life into those scripts, as well as many other aspects of running a theatre group. If you would like to get involved please do contact us at, follow us on the TheatriVasles Facebook page or visit our website – we’d love to hear from you.

Visit or find us on Facebook The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 13

Hobbies Routes To Publishing


by Alison Morton

nce upon a time, writing and publishing a book was relatively straightforward: author writes book, author sends manuscript out to a number of possible agents, signs with an agent, agent sells book to publisher who then publishes and markets the book to readers via the distribution chain, including high street bookshops.

been hardbacks which are now only produced in limited numbers.

Cue the arrival of the electronic book… CD-ROM versions came first. In 1993 Peter James published his novel Host on two floppy disks – the world’s first ‘electronic novel’; a copy is stored at the Science Museum. Publisher Simon & Schuster created a new imprint in 1999 called ‘ibooks’ and became the first trade publisher to simultaneously publish some of their titles in e-book and print format. In 2000, Stephen King released his novella Riding the Bullet exclusively online and it became the first mass-market e-book, selling 500,000 copies in 48 hours. Sony released their first ereader in 2006 and Amazon’s first Kindle went on sale in 2007.

So, is the agent/traditional route still valid? Yes. Many authors dislike the technical side of independent publishing that can be time consuming. The big houses provide worldwide distribution channels and the possibility of multiple language editions. But although traditional houses still produce print books for sale in bookshops, many are diversifying into ‘digital first’ publishing, or even ‘digital only’. Lines are blurring…

Amazon’s introduction of its self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in 2007 has been described as a tipping point in publishing. E-book only, free for authors to upload their books, it gave authors control over how their books were priced as well as access to the same online distribution channels as major publishers. But ‘e-book’ does not equal ‘self-published’. Although e-books gave independent writers the freedom to upload their own work directly to retail sites, mainstream or traditional publishing houses like Random House, Orion, Penguin, Hachette, Simon & Shuster, Harper Collins, Macmillan were soon publishing in abook format alongside their printed versions. In 2011, announced in May that its e-book sales in the US now exceed all of its printed book sales. One casualty has

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Hugh Munro for sharing his book review with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS by John Connolly A body of a young woman is discovered buried in the Maine woods. She seems to have given birth just before her death but there is no sign of a baby. A police search for the infant is set in motion, but lawyer Moxie Castin gives private detective Charlie Parker the task of following the police investigation to find the child.

E-books are formatted in two main versions: Amazon exclusive .mobi, and .EPUB for everybody else. Tech-savvy writers can format their own files with or without the help of software like Vellum or pay a fee to a specialist. Typical retail platforms besides Amazon are Kobo, Apple iBooks, and Barnes & Noble Nook, or aggregators like Smashwords or Draft2Digital.

The arrival of Print-on-Demand (POD) meant that independent authors can offer print versions via CreateSpace, Ingram Spark or direct printers like Clays. And a well-designed POD book can rival a traditionally produced book in an event bookshop. Lastly, there are a vast number of publishing services providers offering individual services like cover design, formatting, etc. or a complete publishing package for which you will need to pay. Some are extremely high quality and ethical, some are mere cowboys. If they don’t mention or at least imply cost/fee/charges on their front page, steer clear! And never sign your rights away if you are paying. I’ve used an extremely competent and honest provider in the past and it can be a very rewarding partnership and a genuine route to publication.

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

Sale of original paintings and art classes


ustralian artist Jean David, who now resides in the Deux-Sèvres has been selected by the jury at the prestigious Salon d’Automne for the third time to participate in their international Paris exhibition in October this year with this painting ‘Orchids’.

It becomes clear that they are not the only ones searching. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman and is prepared to leave bodies in his wake.

Jean’s unique style has captured colorful impressions of the local French countryside in oils, and he sells paintings directly to the public from his website and studio door. Additionally, Jean’s weekly art classes, which have been running continuously for the last five years are now held at Pause! Café in L’Absie (79) on Thursdays. The classes cater for all levels of experience from absolute beginner to advanced levels.

Maverick investigator Parker inevitably clashes with the police when he discovers the first of the bodies. Eventually, a truce is called and they pool their resources in a bid to solve this intriguing mystery. This is Connolly at his best with his racy style making it difficult to lay down the book and put out the bed light.

For a list of all paintings available to purchase, details on painting classes, workshops, and commissions, please visit, or contact Jean directly on 06 52 93 33 60 to arrange a studio visit for a private viewing.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018


The Sound Of Music

by James Luxford

The cinema is heating up this month with scorching stars and captivating adventures! HOTEL ARTEMIS (Out Now) A compendium of stars populate this futuristic prison movie, about the 13 story Hotel Artemis, a members only hospital for criminals run by The Nurse (Jodie Foster). The plot isn’t exactly sophisticated, but the film is filled with colourful characters and interweaving missions that almost always end in violence. Throw in the fact that those characters are played by the likes of Dave Bautista, Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto and a terrific Foster, and you have a cast that is incredibly enjoyable to watch. A predictable but fun action thriller. BLOCKERS (1st August) A group of concerned parents plot to ruin their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity on the night of their prom in this wacky twist on the American Pie formula. Stars such as John Cena and Leslie Mann keep the comedy light and fun, although it comes across a little bit worthy at times. Still, it’s nice to see the often crass teen comedy formula given a slightly enlightened makeover, embracing LGBT issues and lightly touching upon the dangers of social media. You also may never look at emojis the same way again! MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (1st August) Light the fuse, Tom Cruise is back! In the sixth Mission: Impossible adventure, secret agent Ethan Hunt goes up against his own employers after he goes rogue trying to make things right after a failed mission. He’s joined by franchise regulars Simon Pegg and Alec Baldwin, as well as new addition Henry Cavill in an action-packed, thrilling continuation of the long running series. Cruise seems to have found his stride in the role of Hunt, and while there isn’t an awful lot you haven’t seen before, it’s executed wonderfully. Mission accomplished! MARY SHELLEY (8th August) The story of the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (Elle Fanning) unfolds in a well-acted but occasionally frustrating drama. It tells the story of her tempestuous relationship with husband Percy (Douglas Booth) and how personal tragedy prompted one of the most enduring novels of all time. While Fanning is superb in the lead role, the story doesn’t delve deep enough into her artistry, concentrating too much on the relationships that inspired her talent. An interesting introduction to Shelley’s life, but one that could have been more compelling.


by Stephen Shaw

ur friend and neighbour had invited us to a concert, in Thouars, at which her choir was performing.

On market day we like to park the car and walk through Thouars old town to the market. Like so many other provincial towns a lot of the shops have shut down and few people are about. This was not case on the night of Fête de la Musique (which falls on the 21st June every year). The whole town was out enjoying the atmosphere. On every street corner there were bands playing, people singing and all types of music could be heard resonating around the streets. We stopped and watched a small group performing some Irish dancing, then when they had finished a denim-clad group started line dancing. There was a fantastic community atmosphere with people of all ages either participating or supporting. We wondered if such an event could take place in the UK or whether we are too reserved to grab a guitar and start serenading in the streets. The Église Saint-Médard de Thouars was full of young and old appreciating the music, there was even a very young child in a pram in front of us, listening attentively. A group of twenty took to the stage all carrying the most beautiful circular hunting horns of varying sizes (see picture right). Standing in a semi-circle they readied themselves, the group leader introduced the piece and then just before they played their first note, they all turned their backs on the audience, so the 'noiseend' of their instruments were directed at us. A moment’s silence. Then the most powerful noise blasted its way down the cavernous church. Row by row people were forced back in their pews by the wall of sound, which was like a giant swarm of harmonius frelons. At the end of the first piece they all turned to face the audience, took their applause, introduced the next piece and then, again, turned their backs. And so it went on. Then the 30-strong Choeur de Val D'Or took to the stage, all in black, looking very sombre; I thought we were in for a requiem mash-up, but instead we had a series of slave-songs including 'Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho' and 'When The Saints Go Marching In' in fantastic close-part harmony, in English, but with French pronunciation. One of the male soloists turned out to be our postman! The choir notched it up to 11 for their final number 'Amen', as we went into revival-mode. As we exited the church the sound of music was still reverberating around the streets of Thouars. It was amazing to think that this was being replicated in towns and villages across the whole of France. Choeur de Val D’Or © Lloyd-Davies

Release dates are nationwide in France.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 15

Th e W ide He ad ba nd – Sewi ng Proje ct

by Nicola Chadwick

Step 2 – Place the sides of the fabric pairs of pieces with the patterned taking 1cm seam together and sew along the curv (‘right’) zag if possible. Trallowance. Use a stretch stitch or a ed edge im down the exce sli prefer. ss seam allowance ght zig if you


irst of all a big thank you for the wonderful pictures you have already sent of the ‘Monster Pillows’ made from the project featured in last month’s DSM. I will be posting pictures of my favourites on my blog!

As the temperature is heating up, I thought I would share with you one of my favourite mini sewing projects, my wide headband. Perfect for scooping up long hair in this hot weather or for just adding a splash of colour to complement any outfit. I designed this pattern because I was fed up with buying hair ties that didn’t fit properly and just slipped off my head! This pattern has been gently curved to fit to the shape of a head.

Step 3 – Open up the joined pieces and press the seams. Place the opened up pieces with right sides of the fabric together and sew around the edges of the shape, taking 1 cm seam allowance. Leave a small gap for turning through!

Step 4 - Turn the headband through the small gap and open out, use your hands to smooth into position and then press, watch your fingers! Now hand stich the opening closed with a slip stitch.

Wide headbands are also back in fashion, perfect to accessorize our outfits…and our heads. The free pattern for this month’s project (and last month’s project if you missed it) and a more detailed sewing guide can be found at d: For the wide headband you will nee x 50cm deep (29 ½” x 19 wide 75cm y jerse on A piece of cott ad thre ing sew g 11/16”) and some matchin cm (59”) wide fabric 150 of yard a Tip: Buy half a meter or half and make two headbands! machine and a needle You will also need access to a sewingand an iron for pressing. ors, sciss ing, and thread for hand sew plate. Plus of course your free pattern tem

headband Sewing your dband out your hea Step 1 – Cut bric. I made two in jersey fae pattern and placed copies of th pieces on a double the pattern ric, so I had four layer of fab l. pieces in tota

Try your new headband on! Why stop at one headband, they are perfect to make as gifts for family and friends, why not try making one with a plain fabric and decorating it with beads or sequins.

ly Japanese make a love also love to to w o h u yo w ld g out. I wou I plan to sho me Next month fect for a special evenin please e-mail them to er bag –it’s p dband’ creations – so see your ‘hea re projects tions for futu es gg su at: nicola@m y an r y questions o If you have anto hear. I would love Nicola

Next month’s project! A Japanese Bag

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Our Furry Friends ISIS This joyful looking husky x is 20kgs and is estimated to be three years old. She is fine with other dogs, clean and calm in the house, travels well and is very affectionate with people. Isis would like an active family who will include her in their life and a secure garden with space for her to run around. Although she hasn’t been tested with them in a home environment, we expect her to chase cats and other small furries, so would be best in a cat and chicken free home.


Isis has been spayed, micro-chipped, primary vaccinated, and has been treated for worms, fleas and ticks. An adoption fee of 160€ will be asked for to help towards her medical costs. If you’re interested in adopting Isis, please get in touch with us on our contact details below.

The Assocation Orfée tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email: Visit the website: Charity Calendar

If you would like to order your calendar contact Caroline on:

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

Increasing visibilty


by Caroline Colborne

f you haven’t seen this before, it’s the Association Orfée chalet at the new Hope Shop 79, St Soline. It is a fantastic facility to advertise the work of Orfée and the dogs for fostering/adoption, as well as a place for customers to meet Orfée dogs.

It all started last year with conversations about increasing the visibility of the dogs in the pound waiting to be fostered or adopted. With support from Emma Parrack-Graves (Hope) it was agreed that each Tuesday an Orfée dog would be picked up from the pound and taken to the shop for a couple of hours. None of us were sure how a dog would cope or what interest there would be. Choosing the right dog for the first visit was crucial. There was the car journey to consider, the busy atmosphere at the shop, contact with people (especially children) and other dogs. How were we going to occupy a dog? How would we manage? We set off for the pound to collect a stunning black Labrador called Jackson (a big friendly, smiley boy who loves people), an ideal choice for our first venture. How right we were. He was a star! After a short walk he jumped into the car and thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Jackson wasn’t fazed by the new experience of the shop, the people or the noise. In fact, he loved it - strokes, treats, belly tickles, everything! What more could a boy want who sat all day on a concrete floor in a cage? The Hope volunteers made us so welcome (ooooh, and the cake!), customers were interested

in what we were doing and why, we felt more confident that this could work and Jackson, well he just had the most fabulous day out. Since that day we have become a familiar sight at the shop. Since that first day over 40 Orfée dogs have been to Hope Shop 79. Some of them up to three times like beautiful Armance who has gone to a forever home in Germany. Others like Magi and Fermin stole the hearts of volunteers at the shop and are now very treasured pets. Some dogs were spotted on their first visit and immediately found their forever homes. Choupette and Kiona did just that. None of this would have been possible without the support, encouragement and enthusiasm of the team of Hope volunteers at the shop. So now we have a permanent home in our unfinished shed - a cozy place for the visiting dogs to curl up in a comfy bed. It’s so beneficial for dogs who aren’t as sociable as Jackson and need a safe place from which to view the world.

Gemma and Jester Forshaw with Joy.

Come and meet us and, of course, the Orfée dogs. If you are interested in fostering or adopting a dog through Association Orfée Tel: 07 69 18 56 81 Or email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 17

Home & Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers


fter the searing temperatures and the lack of rain in early July, we can but hope for some respite from the heat and dryness in August. However, because it’s the holiday month throughout France, this will be an unpopular hope, and usually the high temperatures continue unabated in any case. Watering, particularly plants in pots and hanging baskets, has been a priority and will continue to be so, but I fear without some much needed downpours, a hosepipe ban will ensue. This is not a complete disaster as some watering is generally allowed, during certain times of the day. The local département websites usually publish all the information, so keep your eyes open for this if the need arises. There are fines if infringements are noticed. It has been a battle keeping the more exposed hostas in good condition as they are plants that prefer shade and I don’t have much of that in the garden. So they have been fed and watered well and have had some of the worst damaged foliage removed, now they are flowering well. The few fuchsias I have left are coping and deadheading keeps their floral display looking good.

Dahlias are coming into their own (top), water lilies are the jewels of the pond (middle) and it’s been a great year forAsiatique lilies (bottom)

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

This has been the best year yet for Asiatique lilies. I have many in pots, mostly of the ‘stargazer’ type. This means that their blooms look upwards to the sky. The colours have been superb, there is a huge variety available and they are so easy to grow. The ‘bulb’ (I’m calling it that) is really a collection of scales that stick together and it doesn’t have the solid feel of a daffodil or narcissus bulb. Plant them in pots in early spring or late autumn and they will become plants of some stature quite quickly, some over a metre in height. They will need support as the flowers are very heavy. I have two which have petals that are almost black and one of delicate pink with lilac/blue markings. They are well worth growing and, as mentioned in an earlier edition, red lily beetle is their only pest. There are so many wonderful plants to try out in the garden and a few years ago I had my first ‘contact’ with hedychiums, the ginger lilies. These are beautiful, elegant, statuesque plants with flowers like orchids, fabulous scent and tropical looking foliage. The name ‘hedychium’, when translated from the Greek, means ‘sweet snow’ which makes them sound even more exotic! Nearly all the species originate from Asia, where they grow on hillsides and near streams. They are grown from rhizomes which are hard, knobbly, and totally unimpressive looking - similar to the bearded iris rhizome. If they are not hard, don’t buy them. They need planting about 10cms below the surface of good compost and as roots develop they push up to become just visible on the surface. Ginger lilies like to feel the sun and to be watered in well. They are not plants for dry shade. Once planted, don’t move them, they do not like root disturbance and may fail to flower the year after a move, hence mine are in pots! I initially planted two rhizomes in autumn, in quite a large pot and the first growth appeared at the end of April. The leaves are huge, furled and very lush, somewhat like a canna or banana palm leaf. The flowers (of my species) grow on pyramidal spikes about 40cms long. Each individual flower has brilliant yellow petals with red protruding ‘tongues’ and a delicate perfume. This variety is hedychium gardnerianum, but there are several others which can be grown outdoors in the garden or in pots. Ginger lilies need feeding every two weeks and mulch the





Gladioli and dahlias will need staking (1 & 2), conifers need cutting back to avoid ‘die-back’ (3) and trim lavender after flowering (4)

compost surface to keep it moist. The plants will withstand a frost of -6°C unprotected but I protect mine with a double layer of voile and keep them under cover during the winter months, I don’t want to risk losing them. I bought new rhizomes at Prisséela-Charrière this year, so they are available locally - do give them a try!

Now is the time to:

Collect seeds from perennials and annuals ready to sow now or later next year. Store seeds/seed pods in paper bags if keeping for sowing later. Keep picking flowers or deadheading to ensure continued flowering. Dahlias are coming into their own now and chrysanthemums and asters will be flowering before the end of the month. All tall flowering varieties will need staking for support, particularly gladioli, dahlias and lilies. Take cuttings from pelargoniums and fuchsias, planting around the edges of pots. Pelargoniums sometimes root very well just in a jar of water on a window sill. Deadhead lilies as soon as the petals fall. Cut the stem just below the flowerhead, this allows the plant to carry on making food as a reserve for next year’s flowers. Camellias and rhododendrons need watering well throughout the summer as their spring buds are being formed now. Cut faded flowers from penstemons and salvias (taking cuttings from nonflowering stems), Fill the gaps in your vegetable patch these root easily. Trim lavender and hebe bushes when they have finished flowering to keep them neat and tidy, but don’t cut into old wood as it won’t regenerate. All flowering shrubs should be pruned as soon as the flowers have faded. If the wisteria hasn’t had the new green, whippy growth trimmed back, do it now. Most bearded irises will have been divided now, but if not there is still time. Divide and replant just on the surface of the soil or compost, so that new roots will develop before the winter. Look out for clematis wilt - this shows as black discoloration on leaves and stems. Cut any infected parts off (don’t put it on the compost heap) and feed well afterwards. Cut out one in three stems of rambler and climbing roses and shorten new shoots. Plant colchicums (autumn flowering crocus) ready for autumn.

to the water. Kill weeds on paths by using boiling water or white vinegar. From what I’ve read in the French press, glyphosphate is once more allowed to be used. Tie in new raspberry and blackberry canes, pruning those that have finished fruiting. Lift second early potatoes; finish sowing spring cabbage and spring onions for overwintering. All the fast growing ‘catch’ crops can be continually sown i.e. radish, lettuce, rocket, etc. in spaces on the vegetable plot as they occur. Harvest sweetcorn when a grain produces milky sap when squashed by a finger nail. Keep carrot rows protected from carrot fly with fleece. Summer prune apple and pear trees, by cutting back side shoots that are more than 25cms long. Raise ripening pumpkins and melons off the ground to prevent rotting. Plant new strawberry plants or peg down runners so that they root. Keep harvesting runner beans and water celery plants generously. ‘Stop’ cordon tomatoes when plants have set their fourth truss. Remove the tip of the main stem above the uppermost truss. Removing lower foliage helps the plant to conserve energy. Plant some late perennials for autumn colour, perhaps rudbeckia, salvia, kniphofia or some ornamental grass such as pennisetum villosum. As always, keep a look out for vine weevil beetle, especially on plants in pots. Leave ornamental grasses unpruned to provide interesting displays in the garden and food for the birds.

So many courgettes!

Whatever you do in the garden, wear a hat in the sun, apply sun cream, even our hands can be affected by the sun, and stop often for long cool drinks. Take time for reflection…it’s still gardening!


Last chance now to cut back conifer hedges to avoid the risk of die-back. Remove oxygenating plants from ponds and rake out blanket weed, leaving it on the side of the pond to allow wildlife to return The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 19

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Small colour Advert from 35,17€ ttc

79380 La Forêt-sur-Sèvre

per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 21

From Emigration to Renovation


aving successfully run our own upholstery business for ten years in Australia, specialising in the recovery of lounge suites and car upholstery, we thought it was time for a change and our business life took a different direction. As our children are married with children of their own, we decided that the time for this life change was now!






We have been in France for four years, taking the first few years to renovate our property and find our feet. But with a workroom equipped and ready to go we now want to re-establish ourselves in the upholstery business. We have a good relationship with a supplier of a wide range of fabulous fabrics and they are happy for us to send our customers directly to them, cutting out the middleman cost. Photos of our work are available on request whilst our website is being constructed. If you would like a quote, or to look through sample fabrics we would be only too pleased to hear from you.






Fun in the Sun

Dotted around the pages of this month’s magazine you will find 10 pictures of things you associate with summer. Collect the first letter of each, then rearrange them to create another summer object. Answers on page 45.

Spot the difference. 10 things are missing from the picture on the right. Can you find them? 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across: Down: 1. Nursery (6) 2. Make smaller; cut down on (6) 4. Request earnestly (6) 3. Rail link between England and 8. English King between 944-975 France (7-6) 5. For example, a diamond, (5) emerald or sapphire (8-5) 9. Alongside each other, facing 6. Lower oneself down a cliff with in the same direction (7) 10. The place where a crime or an a rope coiled around the body (6) action occurs (5) 11. The largest ocean in the world 7. Stringed musical instrument (11) 13. A fisherman who uses a hook (7) and line (6) 12. A silvery metallic element (9) 14. A short coat (6) 15. Extreme mental distress (7) 16. Annual motion picture film award (5) 17. Electric mixer used to chop or liquify food (7) 18. A Bohemian dance with three steps and a hop in fast time (5) 19. Having decorative ruffles (6) With thanks to Rob Berry 20. Sufficient (6)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Answers on P.45 and our website:

With thanks to M.Morris

Across 1. Knowing every scene at the start of old film. (3) 3. Peddle plaster holder? (4) 5. Gloat about an argument. (4) 9. Openly stared at mistake in defence, then took charge. (5) 10. Italian flower turned up on gunners’ Welsh delicacy. (7) 11. Gained information on gin cocktail given to assembled clientele. (12) 14. Physical activity on stage for species of eagle. (6) 15. Reportedly follows big birds? (6) 18. Run tree tours, bizarrely finding ways to get back? (6, 6) 21. Drawing showing nothing working on the wagon. (7) 22. EU trade in pigment obtained from burning coal. (5) 23. Tempo Strictly Come Dancing included afterwards. (4) 24. Isolating several leading exponents, originally on small piece of land. (4) 25. We are told it’s ready; well, getting brown at least. (3)


Down 1. Wader in a tangle? (4) 2. Quiet Spanish yes man going on to church. (7) 3. Evade the issue on Captain Jack Dunnock. (5, 7) 4. Was bleeding endlessly after battle song. (6) 6. Take away popular gardener’s friend? (5) 7. Clever fellow with no heart? (3) 8. A selection of fruit, the grub made to give us something to look forward to. (6, 6) 12. Turbulent sea, navy finally managing without too much difficulty? (4) 13. Essential parts of lush herb; joint for addict? (4) 16. Mouthpiece instrumental with base for possible avian environment. (7) 17. Giving credit to French donkeys for big lifting jobs? (6) 19. Marine force involved in set up for sea birds. (5) 20. Smallest one of many here today, a lady in the main? (4) 21. If it’s a fair one, you’re bang to rights! (3)

used. Then I realised that drunk was the pointer and that as a tired could be rearranged as radiates, meaning spreads out. Similarly in this clue: Pressure to conform, wherein the lip may curl. (5-4, 4)

ast month we looked at some of the ways anagrams can be Lquite suggested in cryptic crossword clues. Sometimes this can be straightforward, as in last month’s indicators of moved, constructively, change, rewritten etc.

Watch out for red-herrings though; a clue I came across recently employed this tactic: Spreads out as a tired drunk. (8) The word out is a very common indicator of an anagram, so I spent some time wondering how the letters of spreads could be

The word conform had me wondering how pressure to could be used anagrammatically with something else in the clue. In the end I found that may curl was the indicator and the letters of wherein the lip became three-line whip ie. pressure to conform. On the other hand, an example of a very straightforward anagram was in the same crossword: A smuttier rag may upset JPs (12) The word upset plants the first suspicion; the words smuttier rag kind of stand out as an odd choice of words. Often the number of letters can confirm a possible anagram; 12 letters needed, 12 in A smuttier rag, rearranged to make magistrature ie. JPs. Simples!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 23

Where We Live...

Beaufort (AOC)

‘The prince of gruyères,’ according to the famous 19th century gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. This is a monster of a mountain cheese produced in Savoie, in the French Alps. Large cheeses with cooked and pressed pâtes (insides) are commonly called gruyères in France and are not to be confused with Swiss Gruyère. These huge, golden cartwheels can weigh anything between 2070kg. It takes around 12 litres of unpasteurised milk to make a kilo of Beaufort and the average weight of a Beaufort is 45kg – or all the milk produced by a herd of 45 cows in a day! Beaufort comes in three versions: Beaufort d’été (summer Beaufort), Beaufort d’hiver (winter Beaufort) and Beaufort d’alpage, which is made in chalets in the mountains. The inside of a winter cheese is white, while the summer version is a pale yellow. The mahogany-coloured Beaufort cows, called Tarines or Tarentaises, are an ancient mountain breed originally from the Indo-Asian continent and are indispensible in the making of Beaufort cheese. Their milk is also used in the production of other great mountain cheeses like Emmental and Tomme de Savoie. During the winter the cows are kept in sheds to protect them from the snow and, under AOC regulations, they are not allowed to be fed any silage or other fermented fodder. Affinage, or maturation, takes at least four months, during which time the cheese is constantly wiped and rubbed with brine. The young Beaufort d’alpage cheeses have a soft, clear scent of milk, butter, flowers and honey and the pâte has a hidden acidity and saltiness that lingers on the palate. The cheese then has a moist crust under which there is a thin, grey layer that gradually melts into the pâte. Beaufort is much appreciated at the end of a meal, but it is ls also cut into small cubes and used as an aperitif. It is used to make Savoyard fondue and also goes into the making of pies and gratins. It goes well with the fruity white and red wines of the region.




Cooking up a storm


f your new husband was to rate your cooking skills as ‘atrocious’ you might be tempted to do any one of several things: Cry, perhaps? Land him a swift righthook with the nearest heavy saucepan? Or get some cookery lessons? Fortunately for her hubby, Corinne Dingley took that last option... and she hasn’t looked back since.

Corinne signed up for that catering course at her local college in the late 1970s and went on to become a qualified chef and run her own catering business. And now, some 40 years later, she is getting rave reviews as both a chef and a chocolatier at her château home in the Deux-Sèvres countryside. “The world of food is ever-changing and evolving and over the past five years I’ve been ‘back to school’ several times on various catering courses to update my knowledge and catch up on new ideas and menus,” says Corinne. Last year, her husband, Donald, bought her a course with Mark Tilling, the pastry chef and chocolatier who, in 2016, won BBC Two’s Bake Off Crème de la Crème competition. As well as twice winning the UK Chocolate Master title, he has also represented the UK in the final of two World Chocolate Masters competitions in Paris in 2007 and 2009 (when he finished seventh). “His chocolatier course thoroughly inspired me,” says Corinne. “I came home to experiment with tempering [producing chocolate products that have a professional sheen, snap and taste] and making a variety of chocolates. I’ve tried raspberry, caramel, coffee-filled mint, orange, ginger, fruit and nut, strawberry etc, in white, milk and dark chocolate. I’m working on new flavours all the time and the ingredients I use are all fresh – there are no additives – so the full flavour of the chocolate comes out.” In May this year, Corinne hot-footed it back to England once more when the chance to learn from Mark Tilling came up again, this time through a patisserie course. “Mark designs new desserts, one of which was used at a recent Buckingham Palace garden party. I find his calm manner and incredible skills totally inspiring.

© Coyau/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3. 0

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

“At Christmas I advertised my chocolates and had orders from England for quite a few kilos. At the moment I’m selling to locals and friends. I’ve no idea where this is going to lead, only time will tell. At the moment

by Mick Austin

I’m only selling from home, but I’m in the early stages of building a website to advertise my chocolates.”

and herb gardens. It’s fabulous to just pop out into the garden, pick fresh, cook and serve.

Home now for Corinne is Château Ardilleux (www.holidaychateau. com) which, in the late 18th Century, was the country retreat of catering magnates the Fleury-Michon family, from where she and Donald run a bed and breakfast business with five en-suite bedrooms. There’s also a self-contained two-bed Charentaise holiday cottage and a 1000-year-old tunnel that links the property to nearby Chef Boutonne!

“Le Phoenix is not just a restaurant, however. It’s available for private lunches, dinners, birthday parties and special occasions. We’ve held quite a few weddings here which have been really enjoyable and given me the chance to decorate the château.”

“We moved to France to ‘semi-retire’ and we opened as a chambre d’hôte in 2002, offering evening meals as an option so I could continue with my passion for food and be able to make a living at the same time.

The Dingleys are kept busy from March to October with the B&B rooms and the cottage. Over the years they have had both the Daimler and Aston Martin owners’ clubs stay for the Angoulême vintage racing weekend in September and have the Jaguar owners’ club booked in for this year.

“We started a pop-up restaurant called Le Phoenix just over a year ago, opening twice a month and offering a variety of cuisines including spice evenings and Sunday lunches. It was named so because of the fire we had in 2005 that left just the four original walls standing. It needed a total rebuild – beams, floors, roofs – over the next 12 months and cost mega-bucks to take it back to the original 12th Century build.

“To try and make the most of the facilities we have here, we offer French language courses, taken by Janet Hall, who has a bilingual business primarily helping British ex-pats with their problems. We’ve also had our first ladies ‘pamper day’ with aloe vera treatments, mini facials and manicures – and lunch included! I’ve had some fabulous comments back and we intend to run more sessions. We’re also looking forward to our annual Christmas market, which we hold indoors in November. And once a month we also host a breakfast club for British business owners in the Poitou-Charentes, which offers them the chance to network.

“I spent some time at Ashburton International Cookery School between 2012 and 2015, attending different courses to bring my skills up to date. While I was there I met celebrity TV Indian chef Reza Mahammad and when he first moved to Cognac I invited him over for an ‘English lunch’ which he seemed to enjoy as he had seconds! If I remember rightly, his meal was scallops in their shells enveloped in puff pastry, duck with a spicy orange sauce and a strawberry gâteau.

“The winter months allow us time to visit our favourite holiday destination, Dubai, and catch up on jobs on the property and enjoy our menagerie of animals – chickens, ducks, quail, cats, dogs and horses. It’s our time to ride out in the beautiful, peaceful French countryside.”

“I love working with fresh ingredients and I have my own vegetable

Plans for their ‘semi-retirement’ don’t seem to have quite worked out for Corinne and Donald, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. “We’re probably as busy now as we were in England 20 years

Vintage cars outside The Château Ardilleux (main), with the swimming pool and one of the five luxurious bedrooms (inset) Corinne and Donald (left) © Corinne Dingley

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special ago,” says Corinne. The couple ran a successful equestrian centre in the north of England for more than 30 years. They had 40 horses and taught all ages and abilities, from fiveyear-old youngsters to grannies in their 70s. “As a child, my passion was always horses,” says Corinne. “After training with the late Elaine Straker, a wellknown figure in the equestrian world, I qualified as a British Horse Society riding instructor in 1972 and started my The fire at the Château Ardilleux and the Le Phoenix rising from the ashes business with a borrowed pony. Both Donald and I used to compete in eventing and time was virtually nonwere quite good at it. My speciality was dressage – especially existent.” dressage to music – and I took part in many championship events and built up a suitcase-full of awards. The couple had often holidayed in France and loved everything about the place. So a plan was “Donald, who is also a qualified riding instructor, was short-listed hatched to start a new life here with a B&B business where to ride for the English eventing team after winning an event at Corinne could also continue with her passion for food. Melton Mowbray. That was despite the horsebox breaking down on the way and him having to hitch a lift with a fellow competitor. He won the event but never made it to the final team because of “We fell in love with a place in northern France, but the deal injury. fell through so we started searching farther south. As we drove through the gates of Château Ardilleux, we were both smitten again. But we still had to sell the business in England. After two “Over the years we bred many thoroughbreds and still have three prospective buyers pulled out, we took a bridging loan and myself of them with us here in France, but they are well into retirement and our then 11-year-old son Nick moved to France in May 2002. these days.” It took six months before the sale of the house and business finally went through and in November of the same year Donald Everything changed for the Dingleys after an horrendous eventually joined us in France. A family again at last!” 2001. “With foot and mouth raging in the UK and businesses subsequently closing due to the non-movement of animals, we The château needed loads of work and TLC. The previous owner decided it was time for a change. At that time I was also running had a string of shops and kept a huge amount of stock at the my catering business alongside the equestrian centre, so family

Le Phoenix restaurant at the Château Ardilleux (main), with some of Corinne’s chocolate creations inspired by Mark Tilling (inset) © Corinne Dingley

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

château. The Dingleys, quite reasonably perhaps, assumed it would all be moved before they took the place over. Nope! “We had 3000 pairs of wellingtons piled on the lawns, a huge indoor area full of boxes of wallpaper, toys, rubber bands, out-ofdate paint, sixties clothing, shopping trolleys, the list was endless. “It took six months of almost daily trips to the local dechetterie to clear the rubbish. There were 30 pallets of old Italian floor tiles, some of which went as hardcore into a neighbour’s swimming pool foundations. The tennis court was full of rubbish – it took 30-plus wheelbarrow-loads to shift it all before we could actually see the court. The swimming pool had suffered from a storm and the whole roof had blown off into the neighbour’s field. The owner had obviously not been all that bothered as the pool was a dark shade of green. It took us two weeks of scrubbing and rinsing to bring it up to scratch, plus having the roof re-sheeted. It was a challenge we’d rather not repeat.” The swimming pool returned to haunt them in 2015 when it emptied itself overnight due to a crack in an underground pipe following a minor earthquake. It proved a major problem and resulted in the whole of one end of the pool having to be dug up, the pipe replaced and tiles re-laid. “That was a nightmare time,” says Corinne. “But our French next door neighbours have been terrific over the years, always on hand if we had a problem. They even loaned us a JCB to help move all the rubble after the restaurant fire.” Any regrets about moving to France? “I do wish I hadn’t given up learning French when I was at school, but who would have known we would end up living here? We have some lovely French friends and learning to communicate with them in French is an ongoing joy. Although we don’t get to see our friends as often as we would like as most of our time is currently spent running the business or cooking.” Looks like the ‘semi-retirement’ is still on hold...

On this month August 1, 1799: France becomes the first country to adopt the metric system. Although the system was not accepted with enthusiasm at first – Napoleon once banned its use – adoption by other nations occurred steadily after France made it compulsory in 1840. August 22, 1862: French composer Clause Debussy is born in St Germain-en-Laye, near Paris. His unusual chords, based on the whole-tone scale, laid the groundwork for a new style of music called impressionism. His major works include Clair de Lune (Moonlight), Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) and La Mer (The Sea). August 14, 1893: France introduces motor vehicle registration (number plates) on cars and speed limits of 20kph on country roads and 12kph in built-up areas. It also created two other world firsts – driving tests and driving licenses. The first woman to get a driving licence, the Duchess of Uzès, was also the first person to get a speeding ticket, in 1898! August 19, 1900: The start of the one and only cricket match at the 1900 Summer Olympics at the Vélodrome de Vincennes, in Paris. Belgium and the Netherlands pulled out of the competition, leaving hosts France to play Great Britain in a two-day match. The British side – a touring club called the Devon and Somerset Wanderers – won by 158 runs with just five minutes of the match remaining. August 3, 1908: French brothers Amadee and Jean Bouyssonie discover the fossil remains of a nearly complete 60,000-year-old skeleton of a Neanderthal man at La Chappelle-auxSaints, in the Corrèze département. The skeleton became known as The Old Man of La Chappelle and he © wikicommons/PLOS was believed to be about 40 years old when he died. It is characterised by its loss of teeth and signs of advanced arthritis. August 30 1933: The five major French airlines – Air Orient, Air Union, Lignes Farman, CIDNA and Aéropostale – join forces by merger and acquisition to become a single national airline. Then all it needed was a name. At a press conference, journalists were asked to help find the perfect name, one that would ‘resonate internationally and that everyone can understand.’ The decision was unanimous and Air France was born.

Some of Corinne’s menagerie. The Crabby Bag (stable name Gillie -where she came from in Ireland), Bugs (born with large ears by Rubstic a Grand National winner) and Squeak (born prematurely & lucky to survive) © Corinne Dingley

Do you have an interesting story to share? We’d love to know more... please contact us with a brief outline of your French Adventure.

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 gîte business at

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 27

Communications Improve the WiFi signal in and around your home - part 1


hether you use the modem/router (Livebox, etc.) supplied by your internet service provider (ISP) or your own one, getting the optimum speed from the WiFi all around your home can be difficult. The following suggestions will enable you to extend the WiFi to every room in your home and even to your out buildings and garden. What reduces the strength and thus the speed of the WiFi Signal? WiFi works best if there is a clear line of sight between the router and the device’s connecting to it. The WiFi signal will be reduced by all manner of things in your home, e.g. the exceedingly thick walls of the old French buildings, other items that use WiFi signals around you home, such as some TV remotes and TV room to room extenders, your mobile and fixed telephone/s, even your neighbours WiFi signal. The position of your modem/router in your home. The best place for your router is in the centre of your home, by this I mean literally in the centre. If you have a three storey home the router should be on the middle floor as the signal radiates out in all directions. The signal will go through less dense objects like wooden floors, doors and glass. However, walls that are unusually thick will cause a severe reduction, especially if the signal is going through them diagonally (this simply means that there is more wall to reduce the signal). Think also of large metal objects, these too will have an impact, so do not place the router behind a large refrigerator, freezer, or large metal heating oil tank. I have also seen routers placed on a window sill. This is OK if you don’t have 600mm thick walls, but if you do it will reduce the range of the WiFi significantly. If you have two floors, then place the router in the middle of either floor. On the lower floor it should be quite high in the room, on the upper floor nearer the floor or on a low coffee table, or similar. In a bungalow or other single storey building, the centre of the house is ideal at half room height. In larger homes this will help but with the very thick walls the signal will still struggle to reach the whole house, so what options are there to resolve this problem? Use a WiFi extender – this is simply a device that you place at the edge of the router’s WiFi range and it repeats the WiFi signal broadcasting it as far as its range will allow. Remember that this signal will also be attenuated by other items using the routers WiFi signal. This is one of the least expensive solutions but you may need more than one to cover a large home. Use a power line system – this system uses the main electrical circuit powering all of the electrical items in your home. These devices

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

by Ross Hendry

usually come in pairs and you place one device in a mains socket near to your router, this connects to your router using an ethernet cable. Through this the internet signal is connected directly into your mains electricity circuit. This means that anywhere you can plug into the main electricity in your home, you can plug the other part power line system (enabling you to connect by cable to your device, a smart TV or desktop PC). If you purchase the WiFi version it will permit connection via WiFi (there are variants that have the ability to accept both cable and WiFi). The better quality versions of these adapters will allow you to connect multiple power line adapters (up to seven other devices). This means that you can extend the WiFi or internet via cable to seven other areas in your home and around it. If you have mains electricity in your garage, workshop or a socket in the garden you may use a power line adapter there to give both cable and WiFi access. This system is ideal for homes on single phase mains electricity; it can be made to work with three phase electrical systems by bridging across the phases. This system works only if the power line devices are plugged directly into wall mounted mains electricity sockets. They do not work or work very inefficiently if connected into multiple socket devices and/or surge protection strips. One of the best features of power line adapters is that once set-up you can simply move the adapter into the room where you need WiFi, or by purchasing another, make another area WiFi capable at the same time. If you do move one outside do remember to bring it in when you finish using it as they are not designed for external use and will fail if they get damp. The simple WiFi extenders start from less than 20€, the power line adapter systems start around 50€ (for non WiFi versions) and 6070€ for WiFi and cable systems combined. Personally, I think it is false economy to use the simple WiFi extender, I prefer the power line systems. These are constantly evolving and you need to consider the fact that digital WiFi devices work on two frequencies 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The device you buy must be compatible with both the older 2.4GHz devices and the newer 5GHz ones to get the best from them for the future. Next month we will look at improving longer range extension of your internet signal to outbuildings.

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


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

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

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

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

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or

Passport Advice

0044 300 222 0000

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 29

Food & Drink Poolside pleasures!


ummer is in full flow, the motorhomes and lycra-clad cyclists are out in force, the temperature’s rising (it isn’t surprising) and there’s only one place to be... poolside, with an ice-cool glass of something refreshing and some pickies. Here’s a few summer favourites for you to try out while soaking up those rays.

Sangria The great thing about this Spanish drink is that you probably already have the ingredients in the cupboard. Make a large jug of Sangria by mixing the following: • • •

3 parts red wine 2 parts lemonade 1 part fresh orange juice

Once poured, garnish with slices of orange or lemon and a sprig of mint.


Pina Colada This is very exotic, quick and easy to prepare – a real holiday favourite! You will need the following for one serving (but you will definitely be wanting to make a second!): • • • • •

50ml/2fl oz of pineapple juice 4 pineapple chunks 50ml/2fl oz of coconut cream 35ml/1¼ fl oz gold rum 1 tbsp coconut flavoured rum

Mix all of the above in a cocktail shaker or you can use a blender if you prefer it really smooth. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

A few more bits and pieces required for this authentic refreshing recipe but it is definitely worth it. The following makes one serving: • • • • • •

1½ limes, cut into wedges about 20 mint leaves 2½ tsp sugar ice-cubes 65ml/2½fl oz white rum soda water

Firstly, release the flavours of the limes and mint by mashing them with the sugar in a tall glass. Add a handful of ice and then the rum. Soda water can be added to taste, then stir well. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Sticky Chutney Chicken Drumsticks This recipe only takes 10 minutes preparation plus one hour of marinating and 30-40 minutes cooking time. To make enough to serve four you will need: • 8 chicken drumsticks, scored • 3 tbsp tomato chutney • 2 tbsp soy sauce • 2 tbsp light brown sugar • 2 tbsp sunflower oil • 2 cloves of garlic Instructions: 1. Place the chicken drumsticks in a large plastic bag. 2. Mix all the other ingredients to make the marinade. 3. Add this to the bag, coat the chicken and leave in the bag, refrigerate for one hour. 4. Preheat your oven to 200°C or gas mark 6. 5. Place the marinated chicken in a shallow roasting tin and cook for 30-40 minutes, turning once until golden. 6. Serve when cool.

Skewered BBQ Prawns Marinated in Honey and Lime This simple yet delicious recipe will take you one hour to prepare (including 30 minutes marinating). To serve four: • 3 tbsp runny honey (2 tbsp for the marinade and 1 tbsp to serve) • 2 tbsp olive oil • 2 limes (you will need the juice of 2 and grated rind of 1) • 1 mild red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped • 1 garlic clove (chopped) • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, (chopped) • pinch of salt and pepper • 500g raw peeled prawns • 1 tbsp soy sauce • 200g lettuce, shredded Instructions: 1. For the marinade mix the honey, oil, grated lime rind, half the lime juice, chilli and garlic together. 2. Add the coriander, salt and pepper and prawns - toss together. Cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 3. Remove the prawns from the marinade and put them onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. 4. Cook on a medium hot barbecue for 5-7 minutes turning the prawns once or twice and brushing with the marinade until they are cooked through. 5. To dress the lettuce use the remaining lime juice, honey and soy sauce. Remove the prawns from the skewers and serve right away.

Chota Pegs and Spicy Tea – Summer Drinks for the Curious


t was past midnight and I was a punk with a backpack at New Delhi airport. Autorickshaw time. “Could you take me to a hotel? Downtown, not too pricey?” There was no Booking dot Com in those days, not that I would have used them anyway – a punks with backpacks thing. “Which hotel, sir?” He’s not getting this. “I don’t have a reservation. Any hotel. Leave it to you.” He mutters something, kickstarts the jalopy and off we go. I would have taken in the scenery but a) in pitch black there is none, and b) I’d fallen asleep. Too much free brandy on Blitish Airwaysh. Next morning I was somewhere. I was somewhere in a bed with a memory of having slewed off my clothes, showered and shuffled between sheets. Could have been anywhere. A knock at the door. I have a door? “Right-oh!” I shout. Yes, I actually shout. And where did that throwback phrase come from? Discombobulation can do that to a punk. He comes in, this chap all in white, and naturally I figure the autorickshaw guy had stopped somewhere in the pitch black, robbed me, stabbed me, and I’d gone to the punk-backpacker afterworld. The chap sets down a mug on a table ( I have a table too?). “Masala chai”, he says and I figure that’s good morning or whatnot and I mumble something similar back. “Masala chai”, he goes again and I can see we’re in for the long haul before he interrupts himself. “Cuppa tea, innit”. He smiles a gold- and white-toothed smile, points to his head and stomach, and says good. I wish I’d had some kind of GPS gizmo and a watch because I would now be able to give you the precise place and time I fell in love with India, my beautiful parallel universe. Drinking hot tea in hot weather cools you down – you sweat and as sweat evaporates there is a shift in energy. It’s science, so it must be right. To make masala (spiced) chai (tea) for two, boil one cup of water with one inch cinnamon, eight cardamom pods, eight cloves; simmer ten minutes; add one cup milk and six teaspoons sugar (or to taste) and simmer again; add three teaspoons of black tea (English Breakfast is fine); cover, turn off heat and leave for two minutes; strain into cups; enjoy. There are as many recipes as there are chai-wallahs so don’t stress about exactitude. Scrunching the spices in a mortar and pestle gives a brighter flavour, as does the addition of a few pounded black peppers. “Chacun à son gout”, as they say in multitudinous Mumbai. A nice wee lassi1. From hot tea to cold curdled milk. A lassi is possibly2 the perfect accompaniment to a curry. Not only does it cool and soothe, it flocculates at the same time. That is to say it accumulates all the hot spicey particles in your mouth, where there are nerve endings that make you go “oo-oo-ee-ee-oo-aa-aa-oo” at

by John Sherwin

every mouthful, and deposits them in your stomach where there are no such nerve endings. Then you go “oo-aaaah” and you’re happy. Until the morrow, but that’s another article. To make lassi, and here again there are no fixed rules, get yourself a really good blender, natural yoghurt, some milk, and some watery luscious fruit. I recently made a water melon lassi and I can honestly say, with all due modesty, it was the greatest thing since sliced naan. Mango is classic too. Or you can go old school and do without the fruit, in which case you make it sweet by adding sugar, or salty by adding salt (not as weird as it sounds – good to replace salt when you’re sweating buckets). Put all in said blender and blend. Add the milk to make a thinner consistency – as you wish, as they say in chilled-out Chennai. Serve really, really cold. Make a batch in the morning and put it in the fridge for late lunch. You could add ice cubes as you serve, but… … don’t. Stand back from the ice-maker, sir. Said cubes will dilute your beautifully judged concoction. Instead, freeze grapes and use them as coolants. Add as many as you wish cos they’re like ice that doesn’t leak. And your friends will think you’re chic, if that’s important to you. These frozen friends (the grapes) can be used, of course, for any wines that need to be chilled. A perky Muscadet, a boisterous rosé from Bandol. Or even, shock horror, a red!!!! Cue Psycho slashing violins. (I am contractually bound to talk about wine at some point in my meanderings, so here we go.) Beaujolais. There, I said it. A chilled Beaujolais (half an hour in the fridge, then don’t forget your frozen friends) is a perfect tipple with a meaty BBQ. Of course, you will avoid at all costs Beaujolais Nouveau unless you have some drains to sluice out. Sparkling wine is also welcome naturally. Go local and check out Mercier at www. Their sparklers are lovely, and at just over 8€ a bottle are a quarter of the price of Champagne Mercier (no relation, and don’t confuse the two) and just as good. If you really want a ‘real’ champagne, I recommend Champagne Lamblot. The Lamblot family have been supplying quality fizz for thirteen (!) generations. See, where you’ll find a case of six will set you back around 120€. Cocktails are, by and large, for the aesthetically-challenged. But if you must, remember KISS- keep it simple, Slim, and call them chota pegs – ‘short measure’ (how short is short is a matter of personal judgement), the kind of pick-me-up our ancestors enjoyed after a hard day overseeing the tea plantation. A gimlet is good: gin plus fresh lime juice and sugar syrup (boil up equal amounts of sugar and water, let cool, bottle and keep in fridge –useful all summer long). A pink gin is pretty: gin plus three or four drops of Angostura bitters. Add a little tonic water to keep malaria at bay. Happy sundownering, whatever your tipple.

___________________ Sorry, had to be done.




John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 31

Time To Celebrate


by Jacqueline Brown

ou will have to forgive me for being just a little bit excited, but it’s summer, the village festivities have begun, oh, and Ed passed his BAC with a Mention Bien. We couldn’t be more pleased for him. Results day was a long one, but not one I will ever forget. We were up early and at school before 8.00am, to ensure we were there when the official results list was posted up on the notice boards. The rush of students cramming to see their results, the screaming, the cheers and then the tears, was an emotional experience. We started our celebrations with coffee and cake in our favourite bar in Melle and then finished the day at the Cognac Blues Passions festival, where we had pink champagne with our picnic before seeing James Blunt play. I can’t think of a better way to have spent the day, even if poor Adrian had to miss out due to work commitments in the UK. Poitiers university be warned, Ed is on his way! We are (as usual) packing as much as possible into our summer. Starting things off was the village buffet on 13th July with music and dancing in the square, swiftly followed by the first anniversary party to celebrate the reopening of the village bar. Then a week later a book-lovers day (yes I may have been involved in this one) when some local authors came to the village to read from and talk about their books, alongside book themed and book related crafts and activities for all ages. And then we had the entrecote barbecue event that has been running every summer for years – and these were all packed into the last two weeks of July. How I had time to fit my library duties around all this, I have no idea. With so many tasty meals out, it was also tricky finding time to extend Ed’s culinary knowledge and it was certainly not a time to be thinking about dieting. Something I am not celebrating, however, is reaching the end of my four-month contract at the library in Chef-Boutonne. I have had so much fun and surprised myself at my ability to communicate in French as well as to learn new skills. I know I’m going to miss it. I’ve even managed to read my first novel in French (and understand pretty much all of it) so I have now made a nice long list of books from the library I want to read; which gives me the perfect excuse to keep popping back in. August is already looking to be quite an exciting month too. It has been ten years since we started our 15th August family fun day and picnic in the village park, so this year we have beefed it up to include an afternoon concert of live blues music. I give you Loubi-Blues; a family friendly afternoon of music and good fun for only 5€, children are free. From 12 noon, bring your own picnic, everyone welcome and no need to book ahead. I can’t wait. Email:

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres La Rochénard

by Sue Burgess


a Rochénard (formerly La Roche Esnard) stands at an altitude of 40 meters, at the heart of a limestone plain. The village is situated on the edge of the Marais Poitevin, around the D 115, an ancient Roman road, there are two small hamlets, four houses at Olbreuse and a dozen at La Maison-Neuve. Little is known about the ancient history of La Rochénard because there are few documents. According to Belisaire Ledain’s topographical dictionary (Poitiers 1902), the oldest reference would date from 1287 under the latin name of Rocha Aynardi. Different names and spellings can be found over the centuries. La Rochesnard in 1381, La Roche-Eynard in 1392 and La Roche-Esnard in 1688. What is certain is that throughout its history, the village has been more closely linked to Saintonge than to Poitou. Situated on the ancient Saintes to Angers road, archaeological digs at Pointe de Fougeroux have revealed an enclosed funeral area of about 30 square meters with human and animal remains, numerous bits of broken pottery, fragments of glass and coins showing the Emperors Claude and Auguste.

Leather working The tanning of leather and the making of gloves are part of the economic history of the Niort area. A sculpture of tanner’s tools on a 13th century tombstone discovered in the church, is a witness to this long tradition. In La Rochénard, and in other towns around Niort, delicate hands used to sew the pieces of leather which were cut in the glove making factories of Niort and St-Liguaire. Château d’Olbreuse, cradle of ‘the Grandmother of Europe’ Olbreuse Château was the birth place of Éléonore Desmier d’Olbreuse. Through marriage to a German prince, she became the Duchess of Brunswick. Two of her grandchildren wore a royal crown. George II, King of England, and Sophie Dorothée, Queen of Prussia. Éléonore d’Olbreuse has a place in the family tree of 17 royal families such as that of Queen Elizabeth II, Phillip II of Spain and the Count of Paris. So it is not surprising that she has been nicknamed ‘the Grandmother of Europe ‘. ORCHIDS Wild orchids grow around La Rochénard. They are a protected plant and it is illegal to pick them.

The first Romanesque sanctuary which is today St-Laurent’s church, dates from the 12th century. Fragments of the columns and capitals showing large ivy leaves still remain. The church was rebuilt in the same place in the 14th century but was later destroyed during the Wars of Religion. In the 19th century, the church was given a porch bell tower. The bell tower was damaged in the gales of 1999 but has since been rebuilt.

PILOT SCHEME COMMUNE The mayor of the commune from 1921 to 1959, Clodomir Arnaud left his mark on the history of La Rochénard. Under his leadership, the commune was a step ahead of others in a lot of areas – running water, public baths, electricity, rural pathways, village hall, pavements and a retirement home. It was also one of the first communes to open the birth of modern farming on large areas of land.

It is possible that La Rochénard was an important village in feudal terms. There is still a Forien de Rochesnard family, but it is not easy to prove the links between this family and La Rochénard. At the time of the revolution, the owner was Thibault de Neuchaise who lived in the castle of Chiron d’Ardennes and had 104 hectares in the commune, including the 22 hectare wood.

THE WOODS The wood of Fief Dupont, situated at the west of the commune does not belong to the commune. It is made up of about 120 private plots of land which belongs to 75 different owners of whom about 50 are Rochénardais.

Two castles, which have now disappeared, used to be the pride and glory of the commune. The Château du Chiron d’Ardennes got its name from a Gallic word, ‘chiron’, meaning pile of stones or rocky area. The second domain was that of La Rébergerie, which became a coaching inn. It seems that its name comes from a word describing a farm set-up where a wood once stood. La Rochénard was a wine growing area - Terre à vigne - 550 hectares out of 855 hectares – the wine, ‘le ragoutant’, was appreciated by François 1er and was sold in the Gâtine. During the 19th century, the village enjoyed a certain prosperity thanks to the reputation of its wine. Alas, around about 1874, phylloxera made its appearance and got worse every year until the vineyards were completely destroyed. Poverty followed. The vine was replaced by animal farming and then by crop growing - wheat, rapeseed, sunflowers. Lavender About 50 years ago, the perfume of lavender floated through the streets of La Rochénard. Each summer the banks of the Coquet river were coloured blue. From the first days of July, a travelling still used to come to the village to extract the essence from the flowers. The lavender oil from La Rochénard was then delivered to a perfume maker in the Midi region.

In the Middle Ages and until the 16th century, the wood linked the forest of Benon to the west to the forest of Chizé in the south. It is still possible to see wild boar and deer. The wood is the source of several stories and legends Le bois de la mariée: The Bride’s Wood – is a small clearing where tradtion would have it that the bride do the first dance on her wedding day in order to ensure that she woud be able to breast feed her children. Le bois des rameaux: A large box bush grew there and the religious women of the village came to cut branches to take them to be blessed in the church on their saint’s day. Les souterrains: The undergrounds – to allow two knights to ride through side by side, they were supposed to join the different châteaux - La Rochénard, Olbreuse, Mauzé, etc... At the time of the Wars of Religion between Catholics and Huguenots in the 14th and 15th centuries. Full of stories and legends, the little wood today has many winding paths for walkers in all seasons.

Éléonore Desmier d’Olbreuse ‘the Grandmother of Europe’ (left) Orchis pyramidal. The wild orchid that grows around La Rochénard (right). Photo credit: S.Burgess

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 33

Motoring A Journey To Remember?


t occurred in July 2000, when my father and I went to visit my late mother's family in the north of France, for the sale of my grandmother's house. My granny had died the previous year (my mother a few years before that), so I inherited her house with my three aunties.

We had over 300 miles to drive in my father's ZX (a medium size Citroën car), so we left at 9am on a Thursday to come back the following Monday. I drove the first part of the journey, but our progress was slow as we were stuck behind a car (with trailer) for the distance of the Loire river between Saumur and Tours. Then we took the motorway, but the car stopped suddenly at a turning and would not start again. A petrol station attendant nearby helped us push the car into his yard and called a garage. They arrived with their lorry to take the car (and us). My father called his insurance company which gave him a loan car for four days. So we had to call a cab, remove our luggage from the car to the cab and then the loan car in Châteaudun, complete the paperwork and fill the tank. After getting lost near Paris we finally arrived at my aunt's at 8pm! The next day she and I drove to the attorney's where we had an appointment for the final sale of my grandmother's house. The meeting got off to a bad start when my aunt accidentally trod on his large dog lying behind the door. The attorney was under the misapprehension that I had inherited because my father was dead too, but as he was still very much alive he had to sign a document, so another aunt 's husband, who was waiting there, went to fetch my dad. My father had called the garage and learned the transmission



ince we last spoke to Haley and Helen for the June edition, they have been out and about in the region, being visible and finding sponsors. Many of you may have seen them at the Grand Prix Historique in Bressuire. They now have some new sponsors on board, notably who are based in the Charente and supply parts for all Land Rover models and other UK marques, and Blevins Franks, based in Niort, who are specialists in Wealth and Tax Management for Expats.

They also held a very sucessful ‘Afternoon Tea’ party on 1st July which raised 845€ for their campaign, and which we at ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ were pleased to sponsor. Later this month they will be heading south for their first offroad driver training course. You can follow their adventure on all the social media channels if you search for @ChimeraRDG2019 and if you would like to join them as a partner, you can contact Helen on:

Photo: © Vincent Baudouin Photographe, Bressuire

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

by Anne-Chantal Beaumard

belt needed to be changed (it should have been done already and could have caused an accident), the repairs couldn't be finished on the Friday and it was his daughter's wedding over the weekend, so the car would have to wait until Monday afternoon. Our business was not concluded until Tuesday, so my father had to pay for the last day of the loan car, which was not covered by his insurance company). We eventually arrived home to discover that the cat had been shut in the utility room for five days with nothing to eat nor drink. She was supposed to be outside and we had left her pet food with a neighbour. So yours truly spent the rest of the day unpacking the car, doing the washing, cleaning the utility room and giving the cat as much love as is humanly possible.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 35

Building & Renovation

Small B/W Advert from 34â‚Ź per month

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:...................................................................................... Postal Address:.............................................................................. ....................................................................................................... Postcode:............................Country:............................................. Tel:.................................................................................................. Email:............................................................................................. Please make cheques payable to ANNA SHAW. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 37

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

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 39


OF THE MONTH 40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

to someone complaining. Don’t blame anyone else, just hold up your hands and say “I made a mistake, I’m sorry. Now let’s have a look at how we can fix it” Ask questions – Show you care, ask questions so you fully understand their problem – the more information you have, the more you can understand where they’re coming from.

by Cindy Mobey

Dealing with customer complaints


o matter what we do, everyone will receive a customer complaint or niggle every now and again. How you react to that complaint is crucial to your business and relatively easy to turn around. If a customer makes a complaint, they’re actually giving you the perfect opportunity to show them that you care about your customers and a chance to totally satisfy them. By doing this, you are not only likely to keep the custom of someone who was about to desert you in favour of a competitor, but they are likely to be so impressed, they will recommend you to their friends. As Marilyn Suttle, a Success Coach commented, “Thank your customer for complaining and mean it. Most will never bother to complain. They’ll just walk away.”

Identify the problem and solve it – Is it just a matter of someone messing up an order or is it a functional problem with a product? Ask your customer what they would like you to do – give them some options, such as a refund or a replacement item. Customers like to feel they are involved in the solution, it might be something a bit more technical and they may come up with a great idea that you can use in the future. Follow up – Once the problem has been resolved, leave it a couple of weeks and then follow up with them – ask them if everything ok and maybe offer them a 10% discount off their next order. This shows them you really care – you didn’t just deal with the complaint on the day, but you thought about them after the event. This goes a very long way to making your customer feel valued. Valued customers give you repeat business and recommend you to friends and family. Dealing with complaints in a calm, empathetic manner helps to turn a challenge into something constructive. How have you dealt with customer complaints? I’d love to hear what you did.

So how do you go about handling that complaint? Here are a few pointers: Listen – Your customer isn’t attacking you personally, so don’t get all defensive – listen very carefully to what they say and make sure you get all the details. Repeat the complaint back – Sounds odd, but it proves to your customer that you were listening. Speak to them in a friendly, empathetic manner. Apologise – Say sorry – really simple but it means so much

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


Simply register on our website:

Helen Booth DipPFS, EFA

Senion Financial Adviser Email: Mobile: +33 (0) 771712879

deVere France can advise you on ways to help safeguard and increase your wealth, as well as helping with HMRC-recognised pension transfers to a Qualifies Recognised Overseas Pensions scheme (QROPS) to give you potentially more flexibility in your pension plans.

Dénomination sociale: deVere France S.a.r.l, RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registre avec ANACOFI-CIF (Association Nationale des Conseils Financiers). Nombre enregistré: E008176, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers. Courtier d'assurances ou de réassurance, Catégorie B, inscrit à l'Organisme pour le Registre des Intermédiaires en Assurance (ORIAS) numéro enregistré 12064640. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances. Registered name: deVere France S.a.r.l, registered company number RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registered with ANACOFI-CIF (National Association of Financial Advisers). Registered number: E008176, association approved by the Financial Markets Authority. Insurance and re-insurance brokers, Category B, registered with the Organisation for the Registration of Assurance Intermediaries (ORIAS). Registered number 12064640. Financial and Professional Liability Insurance Guarantee conforms to article L 541-3 of the Monetary and Fiscal Code and L 512-6 and 512-7 of the Assurance Code. 6XKWSX • V1.0/120418

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 41

The 4th July storm and what to do in case of storm damage

by Isabelle Want


n the 4th July around 3pm, a hail storm broke out in the commune of St Sornin and its surrounding villages (Rouzède, Chabanais, Chazelles, Vouthon etc). In the space of five minutes, between 800 and 1000 houses had been damaged. The hail stones were the size of tennis balls! The stones had perforated roofs and went through the ceilings of some of the houses. The people affected had to be relocated. Cars had also been dented. So, for some customers, they are facing not only a claim for storm damage on the house but also for water damage (water inside the house) and damages to cars.

We will then arrange for an assessor to come and visit you to assess the value of the damages. The assessor will decide if you need to be relocated. This is covered by the insurance. You then need to get some quotes from builders, send us the quotes for the assessor’s approval. Once approved, the work can begin and we will pay on the presentation of the bill. You can do the work yourself, in this case discuss payment with the assessor.

The scale of this storm was unprecedented in the Charentes. In the case of major disasters like this one, Allianz mobilised a special dedicated team with a mobile office installed inside a truck. The truck was stationed in the heart of the damaged area (place of the Mairie in St Sornin) from the Friday, so just 1½ days after the storm and were present until the Monday after. Four assessors and two Allianz claim managers from Paris were present on site alongside four of our Allianz office team from Chasseneuil-surBonnieure and La Rochefoucauld. They were able to realise more than 100 assessments between Thursday and Sunday. By the Monday 95% of our affected customers had been visited, quotes validated, and some work had already started. I must stress that only two companies have made this special effort! One of course, Allianz (me!).

The truck which Allianz mobilised to St Sornin, with a special dedicated team inside, dealing with the repercussions of the storm.

You do not have to wait for the assessor’s visit to start getting quotes. On the contrary, if you have the quotes then the assessor can approve them on his visit. In the case of the St Sornin storms, the assessors were stationed in our truck so could visit our customers alongside one of our staff straight away. Be aware that if you don’t have the option that covers garden furniture (tables, pergola, green houses etc.) it won’t be covered.

So, in the very unfortunate event of something like this happening to you, this is what you should do:

Finally, this type of storm is rare, but they do happen. So don’t panic and be patient. We are here to help and will always try our best.

First, call the pompier, they are here to help. Do not attempt to go on the roof yourself. The only serious casualty from the storm in St Sornin was someone who fell from his roof!

If you are not one of our customers, feel free to contact me for a quote. As long as you have had your contract for at least one year, you can swap at any time!

In the case of St Sornin, the Pompier ran out of Baches (tarpaulins)! Try to call a roofer. If you cannot speak French, there are English speaking roofers listed in this magazine and on our website. You can contact us, for details of builders.

Remember to check out our web site for all my previous articles (‘practical information’) and register to receive our monthly newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook: Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterpt

Take pictures and contact your insurance company by email. Attach pictures alongside an explanation of what happened, stating the date and time. If you phone, we would ask you for a written declaration anyway so it saves time to email us.

And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quotes on subjects such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top-up health insurance, etc.

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec Some of the internal (pictured above) and external damage to property caused by the hail storm in St Sornin

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

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

Email: Visit our website:

Transferring your money at a time that’s right. by Sue Cook

Q> “I’ve finally sold my house in the UK and plan to transfer the proceeds to my bank account in France. I don’t follow the currency market so I’m not sure what’s been happening with exchange rates. Is the GBP/EUR exchange rate likely to strengthen in the next few months?” A> Firstly, congratulations on the successful sale of your property.

It’s never a stress-free process, but you’re over the worst of it!

We’ll start by giving you a quick run-down of what’s been happening with the pound to euro exchange rate this year so far... not much really! The GBP/EUR exchange rate has been pretty static for the last few months, holding around the 1.13€ to 1.14€ level. There haven’t been any surprising changes in the Brexit outlook to get the pound moving, and both the Bank of England (BoE) and European Central Bank (ECB) have remained cautious. But GBP/EUR may strengthen in the next few months if there’s a major breakthrough in Brexit negotiations – particularly in reference to a good UK-EU trade deal. However, analysts reckon the current deadlock could last for a while yet and there are still a couple of years until the planned Brexit transition period ends, so the pace of negotiations may remain slow. Aside from Brexit, the pound would have another reason to strengthen if Britain’s economy shows enough signs of resilience for the BoE to finally make a move on interest rates. Markets currently bet there will be a rate hike in August and some analysts think there could be another in November. One rate hike in 2018 would certainly boost the pound, hints at two could send sterling soaring. If you’re not in a hurry to move your money from the UK, you may want to talk through your options with one of our currency experts. As well as keeping you up-to-date with all the latest market movements, they’ll be able to talk to you about services like limit orders – where you can arrange for a currency transfer to occur automatically if the market moves to a certain level.

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson


s it possible to obtain reliable financial planning guidance without incurring fees? As Brexit approaches I am being asked this question increasingly frequently, so am taking this opportunity to share my response. There are several options available to you: 1. My ‘Le Tour de Finance’ event is scheduled for October in the Loire Valley, where specialist guest speakers will offer their views on topics including: • the importance of regulated, independent financial advice • Assurance-Vie investment solutions, in English • pension transfers from the UK • tax and estate planning • better value currency transfers • the outlook for investment markets Email me for registration, or visit 2. Attend one of my informal mini-seminars which I arrange through various social networking groups. Loire Business Networking, Ladies in France Together and Ladies in Business in France to name a few. 3. Contact me for a comprehensive review of your finances, either through Ask Amanda, by phone or email (details below). Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our roadshow events or speak to me directly, please get in touch. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations. Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 Email:

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 2018 | 43

The benefits of professional tax planning advice


any people are familiar with the Assurance-Vie, a popular, tax-efficient investment structure in France that can be arranged by financial advisers or banks. Assurance-Vie can be seen as a simple investment, however, with professional planning can also provide substantial tax benefits.

To illustrate this, here is an example of planning I recently carried out for new clients. Mr & Mrs A had 680 000€ to invest, were both in their early 70s and had two children who would eventually inherit the funds. Since Assurance-Vie provides more benefits if set up before age 70, they worried they had left it too late. Another adviser had suggested they invested in a jointly held AssuranceVie with both children nominated as beneficiaries. The first 30 500€ would be succession tax-free and any growth also outside of the calculation (the succession tax benefits for those over 70). This provided an immediate tax saving of 6 500€. My first suggestion was that they both take out an Assurance-Vie, giving them a tax saving of 6 500€ each. However, there were further tax savings to be gained. You may have come across the planning device in France called a usufruct. Basically, it gives someone the right to enjoy an asset without actually owning it. Some (not all) Assurance-Vie providers allow usufructs to be set up under the Assurance-Vie upon death.

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

In this instance, I suggested using such a usufruct beneficiary clause. So when the first of the couple died, whilst the funds would be deemed to pass to the children for succession tax purposes, they would first be given to the surviving spouse to use for income. Another benefit is that the value allocated to the usufruct is determined by the beneficiary’s age at the time of death. If Mr & Mrs A were in their 70s, this discount is 30% of the asset’s value – immediately the taxable value is reduced by 151 000€. The tax liability is now reduced by 30 200€, as opposed to the 6 500€ from the original advice. The incorporation of tax planning in any financial planning advice can make a significant difference. The tax savings illustrated above are quite typical and for those with more funds the savings can be substantial. For example, I assisted a client with assets worth 2,14 million euros, including pension funds. If Mr C had done nothing, his tax liability upon death would have been around 847 000€. By carefully restructuring his investments, this was reduced to 64 500€, saving his beneficiaries over 782 000€. So, it’s certainly worth taking the time to seek advice and explore all your options, to establish how much tax you can save for you and your family. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Concerned about your tax position in France. With expert advice, France can actually be a tax-efficient place to live.

Talk to the people who know

Much depends on how you hold your investments and assets. Blevins Franks has in-depth knowledge of the local tax regime and how to use it to your advantage. Our French tax specialists can advise you on tax planning solutions, to lower tax for yourself and your heirs.

05 49 75 07 24


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

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, August 2018 | 45 Take a Break - SOLUTION

Easy Crossword: Across: 1. creche 4. appeal 8. edgar 9. abreast 10. scene 11. pacific 12. aluminium 15. anguish 16. oscar 17. blender 18. polka 19. frilly 20. plenty Down: 2. reduce 3. channel tunnel 5. precious stone 6. abseil 7. harpsichord 13. angler 14. jacket Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. Kes 3. hawk 5. crow 9. ogled 10. rarebit 11. intelligence 14. steppe 15. storks 18. return routes 21. cartoon 22. umber 23. post 24. isle 25. dun Down: 1. knot 2. silence 3. hedge sparrow 4. warble 6. robin 7. wit 8. bright future 12. easy 13. user 16. reedbed 17. cranes 19. terns 20. wren 21. cop


Sun, Aeroplane, Net, Donkey, Crab, Ant, Starfish, Tent, Lilo, Euro - SANDCASTLE

France - World Cup Winners 2018 Many congratulations to



And now for something to really tempt your tastebuds! by Joanna Leggett


igh summer – the perfect time for Charentaise melons! Walking through any market here in the earlier, cooler part of the morning before the sun starts beating down, you’re seduced by subtle aromas from freshly picked melons piled on to market stalls. If you’re lucky you may be given samples to try by keen vendors! Time to stock up as here, in the northern Deux-Sèvres, these sweet unctuous melons are grown in abundance and they make the perfect starter. Freshly chilled, seeds scooped, the middle filled with ice-cold pineau, or served in slices with jambon mouth is watering just writing this! Or wrap slices of Parma ham around smaller pieces for the perfect crudité! High summer on a spoon! If you fancy growing your own melons then how about this lovely detached farmhouse (Leggett ref: 73650, photo left) close to the pretty little village of Allonne, just 5kms from Secondigny with all amenities. This home is in great condition with the bonus of lots of outbuildings, including an open fronted barn and separate garage. Inside all the hard work has been done – as is traditional around here the three bedrooms are on the ground floor, while upstairs are two enormous loft spaces with ample room for conversion. There are stables, another barn and garden which extends to around a half hectare – room for a plentiful crop! For sale at 147,000€. However, if you fancy something a little smaller, then this delightful cottage style house with wisteria clad façade, set within enclosed

gated grounds might be just perfect! In Taizon, close to the charming town of Argenton l’Eglise, (Leggett ref: 77145, photo left) access is through a shared gated drive. The house itself has a generous sitting room and kitchen with one large downstairs bedroom (perhaps dining room?). Upstairs are two characterful bedrooms and a bathroom traditionally styled with wooden beams and a woodburner. To the rear is the garden, outbuilding and parking. Its charm might just steal your heart away- 99,000€. I love the classic simplicity of Maison de Maître houses, one prime example currently for sale is in Boussais (Leggett ref: 80003, photo right) for 172,800€. Set halfway between the bustling market towns of Parthenay and Bressuire, this is a substantial and well presented home. On one side of the gracious entrance hall with lovely staircase is the sitting room, to the other a formal dining room which opens into a traditional well-appointed kitchen. Upstairs is the master bedroom with ensuite, three further bedrooms and family bathroom. Outside is a charming covered terrace – just the place to dine and eat melons! The large garden is set to the front with mature trees and shrubs. It’s all just mouth-wateringly scrumptious! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at


CLUSSAIS LA POMMERAIE €99,000 Ref: 89933 Charming 3 bed house with workshop, garden and vegetable patch.

Buying or selling?

CHEF BOUTONNE €199,800 Ref: 90217 Pretty property with lots of character and a lovely walled garden.

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: F

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

LA CHAPELLE GAUDIN €36,000 Ref: 89613 Traditional 2 bed farmhouse and garden requiring total renovation.

SAUZE VAUSSAIS €93,500 Ref: 89852 Bungalow with small, neat garden, very close to all amenities.

GOURNAY €194,400 Ref: 89853 Renovated longère with pool, garden and outbuildings. Rural location.

MONCOUTANT €158,050 Ref: 90033 Rare to market, former railway station with many original features.

10% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

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

9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

20% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

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

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