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Welcome! to Issue 70 of
‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine
It’s twinkly, it’s festive and it’s packed full of ‘all sorts’ to keep you interested... There’s a huge list of the Christmas markets in the area, a handy guide to foraging, details of two entertaining theatre shows, a long ‘what’s on’ list including festive choral concerts...plus you can make your own Christmas tree, check what‘s needed to tidy the garden for winter and entertain your family and friends with ease this festive season using our recipes page. Phew! But if all that is too much......take ten minutes out, colour in the back page and de-stress! (Did you know it’s proven that colouring can take away all those worries?) I know I’ll be giving it a go! So as this year draws to a close, both Rob and I would like to thank you all for your continued support and wish you a very Merry Christmas and we hope that 2017 brings you everything that you wish for.
Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr
à plus, Sarah
Emergency Numbers: 15 SAMU (Medical Advice) 17 Gendarmes (Police) 18 Pompiers (Fire Service)
112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol
Contents What’s On Getting Out & About A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Clubs & Associations Hobbies Our Furry Friends Health, Beauty & Fitness Home & Garden Take a Break Where We Live Motoring Food & Drink Communications Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property
This Month’s Advertisers
ABORDimmo Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) Alan Pearce Plumbing & Heating Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery Argo Carpentry
4 6 11 12 14 15 16 18 22 23 26 28 33 35 40 44
45 27 2 35 29 37 41 37 47 21 36
Assurances Maucourt (GAN) 27 Baking Lessons - Keith Springham 30 Beaux Villages Immobilier 47 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 43 Blevins Franks Financial Management 42 Café Bonbon 30 Carlill-Strover Building 35 Cherry Picker Hire 35 Chris Bassett Construction 35 Chris Parsons (Heating, Electrical, Plumbing) 37 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 37 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 45 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 39 Cottage Services (Garden maintenance) 21 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 41 Darren Lawrence 36 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 21 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 39 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 16 Down to Earth Pool Design 44 Ecopower Europe 44 expat-radio 34 Fresco Interiors 19 Gites.co.uk 45 Give the Dog a Comb (Dog Grooming) 15 Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants 43 Hallmark Electricité 37 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 40 HMJ Maintenance 39 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 39 Irving Location - Digger Hire 38 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 38 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 38 Jeff’s Metalwork 36 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 27 John Snee (Groundworks) 38 Jones’s UK Delieveries Deux-Sèvres 29 Jon the Carpetman 19 La Couronne (English Paints) 19 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 19 La Maison des Miracles (Wellbeing centre) 17 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 30 Le Clemenceau Bar & Restaurant 7 Leggett Immobilier 46 L’Emporium, L’Absie 7 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 29 Mark Wilson Language Assistance 9 Michael Glover (Plasterer / Renderer / Tiler) 39 ML Computers 34 Motor Parts Charente 27 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 27 Needa Hand Services 19 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 16 Photo Creativity Film Transfers 34 Plan 170 (Professional building plans) 36 Poitou Solaire (Solair Air Heaters) 45 Polar Express (Frozen Food Supplier) 30 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 44 Pure Heart Yoga Retreat 16 Reaction Theatre 4 Rob Berry Plastering Services 36 Robert Lupton Electrician 37 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 33 Sarah Berry Online (Website Design) 34 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 38 Satellite TV 34 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 15 Simon the Tiler 39 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 39 Steve Robin (Plumber) 37 Strictly Roofing 35 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Theatrivasles 6 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 27 This Month’s Advertisers 3 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vendée Glass Courses 14
© Sarah Berry 2016. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: decembre 2016 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 3
What’s On... 3rd December - Reaction Theatre Christmas Cornucopia At le petit théatre, Secondigny at 8pm. Tickets 10€ p/p. (see advert opposite). 3rd & 4th December - Château du Pont Jarno Open Days 10am-5pm. Christmas gifts and decorations for sale, Mulled Wine (6€ entry). Lunch available from 12pm-3pm in the Chateau kitchens. Main course 10€ and coffee and dessert 5€. Taking reservations. 3rd & 4th December - Téléthon 2016 An estimated 5 million people in France engage in events across the country to raise money for the fight against rare genetic diseases. Most villages will have arranged fundraising events - visit your local Mairie for more information. 4th December - Marché de Noël At Golf les Forges, 10am-6pm. Exhibitors include photography, soaps and candles, bric-a-brac, sweets, jewellery, Mohair knitwear, handmade crafts and much more. Call 05 49 69 91 77. 4th December - Terves Christmas Market 11am-5pm at the Salle des Fêtes, Terves. Includes Keynotes choir. 9th December - Rock ‘n’ Roll Supper & Dance with Live Band To be held at Hotel des Mines Faymoreau, in aid of Galia Dog & Cat Rescue. Limited tickets, 20€ available from Fresco Interiors in Vouvant or call 02 51 00 50 59. 9th & 10th December - TheatriVasles present a David Tristram Double Bill. At the theatre in Vasles. See more info on P.6. 10th December - Concert including Melleran Chanteurs At centre culturel, Chef Boutonne from 8.30 pm. Free entry. 6 Choirs singing separately and together, including Melleran Chanteurs and a children’s choir from l’Academie Soirees Lyriques de Sanxay. Varied programme, not just Christmas songs, and in several languages. 10th December - Keynotes Choir Christmas Service See advert on P.6. 13th December - An evening with Phoenix Chorale and The Fun Choir at La Baronnière (between Charroux & Civray). Seasonal music with Mince Pies & Mulled wine, 7pm. 16th December - Christmas Quiz At Bar Le Clemenceau, 7.30pm. See advert on P.7. 16th December - Last Day for Paint Discounts! At La Couronne, in l’Emporium at L’Absie. 16th December - Concert de Noël with Prelude choir Accompanied by choirs from Dissay and Mirebeau at Jaunay Clan church, 8pm. 17th December - Grumpy’s “You’re Not here to Have Fun” Quiz At St Gemme 7.30pm for 8pm start - places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. Email email@example.com for more details. 18th December - Concert de Noël with Prelude choir Accompanied by choirs from Dissay and Mirebeau at St Clement de Chasseneuil church, 4.30pm. 20th December - The Garden Club Christmas Meeting At 28 Grand rue, 79110 Tillou at 2.30pm. For more information call Jacqui on 05 49 07 40 91. 21st December - CSSG Christmas Lunch Being held at La Petite Noisette restaurant, Vernoux-en-Gatine. Email: combinedSSG@gmail.com if you’d like to go along. 23rd December - Last Chance to Pick up Frozen essentials! Polar Express will be closing for Christmas at 6pm. So pop over to pick up your last minute Christmas foods. 31st December - New Year’s Eve Dinner & Casino At Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys. 4 course menu and extras plus betting chips! 49,50€ pp. See advert on P.30 for details. 31st December - New Year’s Eve Disco & Buffet At Bar Le Clemenceau. Tickets 10€. See advert on P.7.
See Reaction Theatre’s monthly column on P.13 to find out more about this event.
Quizwitch Quiz - every Thursday pm At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle from 8pm. 2.50€ p/p. Monies raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. Annie Sloan Workshops - every Tuesday & Thursday am Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see www.ladeuxiemechance.com Team Quiz - Third Wednesday of each month At Le Clemenceau Bar 7.30pm, in aid of animal charities. Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale - last Friday of each month Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96.
The Hope Association Shop 79 open every Tuesday At 19 rue de la Moinauderie 79120 Lezay, 10am-4pm.
3rd Tuesday of January (and February & March) Cookery demonstrations in Montournais (see article on P.7).
For CHRISTMAS Markets, please see page 8
FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: Reel Fish & Chips
Celebrating our 10th Year! 2nd St Martin de Sanzay 4th Terves Christmas Market 7th Etusson 9th La Chapelle Thireuil Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 www.reelfishandchips.net
OPEN 6 - 8.30pm
4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
La Vendée Chippy Weds: Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’ St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: Closed on Thursdays until March 2017 Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st Sat of the month, Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny We are closed from Sat 10 Dec ‘16 until Tues 31 Jan ‘17
Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 www.lavendeechippy.com OPEN 6 - 8.30pm
MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at:
Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 Gourville 16170 St Jean d’Angély 17400 Tel: 06 02 22 44 74 www.frying4u2nite.com
OPEN 6 .30- 9pm
...DECEMBER 2016 LOCAL MARKETS
Benet 85490 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Tuesdays......... Lezay 79120 Civray 86400 (1st Tuesday in month) Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Vasles 79340 Wednesdays.... Parthenay 79200 - and - Celles-sur-Belle 79370 Ruffec 16700 Thursdays........ Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 - and - Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Gençay 86160 Friday............... Thouars 79100 - and - Melle 79500 Secondigny 79130 (late afternoon) Saturdays........ Bressuire 79300 - and - Champdeniers 79220 Chef-Boutonne 79110 Airvault 79600 - and - Niort 79000 Saint Maixent-l’École 79400 Fontenay-le-Comte 85200 Ruffec 16700 Magné 79460 Moncoutant 79320 Sundays............ Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170 Thénezay 79390 Saint-Varent 79330 Saint-Loup-Lamairé 79600 Mondays.........
A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of seasona worship and fellowship at our Traditional Service of Christmas l Carols & Lessons (bilingual; English & French).
• Tuesday 13th December at 7pm in the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by coffee, mince pies, mulled wine etc. in the Salle de la Petite Ecole
For further information please take a look at our website www.church-in-france.com or contact us by email: office. firstname.lastname@example.org Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71 The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes www.thefillingstationfrance.com or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15 ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.
Remaining National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days of 2016
1st & 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd & 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: www.therendezvous.fr
Sunday 25th December.............Christmas Day (Noël)
Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm Email: email@example.com
The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us in our seasonal services. Held at the R.C. Church in Arçay (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun) 18th December 5.30pm - Carols by Candlelight A traditional service of readings and carols by candlelight. This year also including items by the ‘SINGwithSOUL’ choir (Pas-du-Jeu). 25th December 10.30am - Christmas Day Worship A short service celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Please see our website for details www.escoval.org
TOP HAT QUIZ & CURRY
FISH 4 CHIP & AUTHENTIC INDIAN MEALS
1st: 5th: 12th: 14th:
Mon: Bar Tilleuls, Champniers Tues: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square) Weds: Chef Boutonne (near Chateau) Thurs: Sauzé-Vaussais - Eve (Main square) Fri: Mansle (car park of Simply Supermarket
Chef Boutonne Limalonges Theil Rabier Aigre
Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 www.tophatquizzes.com FROM 7pm
Tel: 06 37 53 56 20 www.mobilefishandchipsfrance.com
OPEN 6 - 8.30pm
The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou- Charentes, hold English speaking services.
GET CONNECTED! FACEBOOK: thedeuxsevresmonthly TWITTER: @The DSMagazine PINTEREST: dsmmonthly YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine
Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 5
Getting Out & About
Bénéficier Resto du Coeur & SSAFA France
By Sue Fitzgerald
So far, in our short history, TheartriVasles has brought you a cricketing comedy, an avenging ghost, France’s first international Ten Minute Play Festival, restaurant theatre, Alan Bennet’s acclaimed ‘Talking Heads’ and plays performed outside in blistering heat at the Mad Hatter’s Summer Festival. This autumn we thought we’d bring you something different again, whilst at the same time listening to feedback over what you have particularly enjoyed so far. Back by popular demand, on 9th and 10th December, we are presenting a double bill of two short David Tristram comedies. Come and join us at the theatre in Vasles, 79340, for lots of laughs, mince pies, mulled wine and a pantomime horse to get the festive season underway in style! Friday 9th December, 8pm & Saturday 10th December, 3pm
TICKETS: Price: 10€ and are available from Dorothy on 05 49 05 67 41 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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”! www.facebook.com/thedeuxsevresmonthly
6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
SHARE YOUR EVENTS ! Entries into the What’s On Listing (P.4) are free! (12€ for businesses) + your event is added to our busy Facebook page.... Simply email us: email@example.com
Caroline’s Cookery Demos for Ian’s Orange Day Fundraising.... by Caroline Self
Would you like to learn some basic cookery techniques like the art of making crumpets or bread or scones? Then come and have a demonstration with me at my home on the 3rd Tuesday of January, February & March 2017. I live at Les Gibaudieres, 85700 Montournais, Nr Pouzauges. Maximum of 6 people at a time and free refreshments available. If you are interested please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org If there is enough interest I will add extra dates. Donations will be taken in aid of Ian’s Orange Day for Cancer Research.
Photos © Caroline Self
Take a Break - SOLUTIONS Easy Crossword: Across: 8. union 9. charles 10. eugenia 11. amigo 12. free will 13. chub 15. urge 17. egoistic 21. poise 22. vikings 24. auction 25. niece Down: 1. yule 2. jingle 3. unknown 4. scrawl 5. fatal 6. sleigh 7. ascorbic 12. foul play 16.
grinch 18. givens 19. tinsel 23. spew Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. midnight feast 8. raced 9. renegue 10. spa 11. commonlaw 13. omerta 14. sprawl 17. christmas 19. hue 20. infanta 22. donna 23. do they know its Down: 1. marys boy child 2. declare 3. indicates 4. harems 5. fun 6.
angel 7. the twelve days 12. opposed to 15. ashanti 16. embark 18. refit 21. nee Well, what do you know?: Connection - they are all names of backing groups or bands. 1) PHARAOH 2) COMET 3) PIRATES of the Caribbean
4) SILVER BULLET 5) SUPREME 6) The BLUEBELL Line 7) (Bean-Sidhe) BANSHEE 8) North and South DAKOTA 9) The NEWS Quiz 10) CRICKET 11) French REVOLUTION 12) WINGS
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 7
December’s Christmas Markets
[ Fors (79230): 4pm-10pm [ Luçon (85400): afternoon and evening of Saturday 3rd.
[ Cerizay (79410): activities on all weekend [ Champdeniers Saint Denis (79220): Salle des Fêtes, 9.30am-6pm [ Coulon (79510): Place de l’église, 2pm-10pm [ Doué-la-Fontaine (49700): 10am-8pm. 4€ entry for >12s Come share the magic atmosphere of Christmas in the exceptional setting of a troglodyte cave. The program for the two days: • More than 70 exhibitors from all over France will present a wide choice of regional and craft products and will offer tastings. • Free craft workshops for children • Many activities throughout the weekend. • In the Cave Foullon: magical and unusual decorations And of course, Santa has confirmed his arrival for the two-day party! [ Echiré (79410): school canteen, rue Léo Desaivre, 10am-6pm [ Fontaine Le Comte (86240): Salle de la Feuillante, 2pm-8pm [ Louzy (79100): 35 exhibitors in the town centre, 2pm-7pm [ Sainte-Néomaye (79260): Salle des Fêtes [ Sauzé-Vaussais (79190): Place de la Poste, 10am-5pm [ St Loup Lamaire/Loup sur Thouet (79600): 20th year of this very popular market
[ Aigre (16140) [ Cerizay (79410): activities on all weekend [ Coulon (79510): Place de l’église, 10am-6pm [ Doué-la-Fontaine (49700): (see above) 10am-6pm [ Faye-sur-Ardin (79160): Place de la Mairie from 10.30am [ Françoise (79260): Salle des Fêtes du Breuil, 9.30am-6pm [ La Chaize-le-Vicomte (86310): 10am-7pm [ La Chapelle St Laurent (79430): Place de l’Église, 10am-7pm [ Les Forges (79340): Golf club, 10am-6pm [ Nanteuil (79400): Maison du temps Libre from 9am [ Périgné (79170): Salle des Fêtes, 10am-6pm [ Saint-Martin-des-Noyers (85140): Château de la Grève, 9am-7pm [ Saint-Maurice-la-Fougereuse (79150): Salle des Fêtes, 10am-6pm [ Sauzé-Vaussais (79190): Place de la Poste, 10am-5pm [ St Loup Lamaire/Loup sur Thouet (79600): as above [ Terves (79300): Salle des Fêtes, 11am-5pm [ Villiers-en-Plaine (79160) [ Vouillé (79230): 70 exhibitors at the Salle Polyvalente, 10am-6pm
[ Brûlain (79230): Salles des Fêtes, 3.45pm-9.30pm
[ L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer (85460): 9.30am-7.30pm [ La Mothe Saint Héray (79800): over 100 exhibitors, plus truffles walk from 9.30am sunday. Open Saturday evening - Sunday evening. [ Lezay (79120) [ Montmorillon (86500): 5pm-9pm [ Nueil les Aubiers (79250): Place Jeanne d’Arc, 3pm-9pm [ Saint-Gelais (79410) [ Saint-Marc-la-Lande (79310): At La Commanderie des Antonins with 30+ exhibitors, 4pm-6pm [ St Maxire (79410): Salles des Fêtes, 30 exhibitors, 3pm-midnight
8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
by Julie Tee
[ L’Absie (79240) [ L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer (85460): 9.30am-6pm [ Beauvoir-sur-Niort (79360) [ Celles-sur-Belles (79370): Place des époux laurant l’église, 10am-6pm [ Fressines (79370): Salle des Fêtes, 10am-7pm [ La Mothe Saint Héray (79800): from 9.30am until evening, including famous Truffles walk [ Montmorillon (86500): 10am-6pm [ Nueil les Aubiers (79250): as shown on Saturday 10th, 11am-8pm [ Prahecq (79230) [ Puyravault (85450) [ Saint-Marc-la-Lande (79310): 10am-6pm
[ Coulonges-sur-l’Autize (79160): 4pm-11pm [ Fontenay le Comte (85200): evening [ La Crèche (79260): Les Halles, 5pm-11pm [ Parthenay (79200): Esplanade Georges Pompidou with 50+ exhibitors, 4.30pm-10pm
[ Bressuire (79300): Salle des Fêtes, 4pm-10pm [ Celles-sur-Belles (79370): Salles des Fêtes, 10am-5pm [ Charroux (86250): throughout the town, 10am-6pm [ Chef Boutonne (79110): Salle de Cinéma [ Civray (86400): Place de l’Eclerc [ Fontenay le Comte (85200): all day [ Parthenay (79200): as above, 10am-10pm [ Saint Maixent l’Ecole (79400): Fête des Lumieres, see text below [ Sansais-la-Garette (79270): 2pm-7pm. Includes ‘tree dressing competition’-an 80m alley of 40 ash trees which individuals, families, associations give life to a tree [ Thouars (79100)
[ Bressuire (79300): Salle des Fêtes, 4pm-10pm [ Charroux (86250): throughout the town 10am-6pm [ Fontenay le Comte (85200): all day [ Gençay (86160) [ Parthenay (79200): as Friday 16th, 10am-10pm [ Ruffec (16700) [ Saint Maixent l’Ecole (79400): Some sixty exhibitors. Gift ideas, flavours from around the world. Various activities include Santa, carriage rides, choirs.... [ Sansais-la-Garette (79270): as Saturday 17th
by Sue Burgess
hristmas (Noël) is synonymous with traditions. In France each family celebrates Christmas in their own way with their own specificities particularités and good things to eat bons plats.
The main meal of Christmas is on Christmas Eve la grande soirée du réveillon. For a lot of French families, the main meal is eaten on the 24th December in the evening le réveillon de Noël. France is a major oyster producer un grand producteur d’huîtres. Many French families propose oysters des huîtres as a starter. Like oysters, le fois gras cannot be separated from the Christmas season. You can find foie gras de canard duck or foie gras d’oie. The main course le plat principal may be turkey dinde or capon chapon or it could be game le gibier like venison le chevreuil or fish poisson or Scallops coquilles St-Jacques. In France, the before dinner drink l’apéro is taken in the living room but once the meal has started no-one leaves the table. Even after the meal is over, people stay seated around the table to continue their discussions. France is a great wine producer un très grand producteur de vin. Don’t be suprised if at Christmas great wines from the 70s, 80s and 90s are served on sort des caves à vin des grands vins de millésime des années 79, 80, 90. Christmas is a good excuse une bonne occasion to open one or more bottles of champagne une ou plusieurs bouteilles de Champagne. In France, the Christmas tree sapin de Noël is inserted in a log which has been cut in two une buche coupée en deux. Over the last few years the French have started to decorate the outsides of their houses with lights décorer l’extérieur des maisons. Towns decorate their main streets and one of the prettiest towns to visit at Christmas is Strasbourg where there is a big Christmas market marché de Noël.
A lot of French towns have Christmas markets des marchés de Noël. These markets bring together lots of local producers producteurs locaux and craftsmen artisans who display their wares in small chalets des petites maisonnettes. You can find mulled wine vin chaud and other Christmas specialities des spécialités de Noël like gingerbread pain d’épices. Vocabulary / Vocabulaire: un arbre/un sapin de Noël
un bas de Noël
une boule de Noël
une bûche de Noël
un cadeau de Noël
Christmas present / gift
un chant de Noël
croire au père Noël
believe in Santa Claus
une décoration de Noël
les illuminations de Noël
un lutin de Noël
un marché de Noël
la nuit de Noël (nuit du 24 au 25 déc)
veille de Noël
Are you a bit of a Bookworm?
If you are an avid reader and would like to share your book reviews with us, we would love to publish them! Please send to us by email: email@example.com
Reviews should be 150-200 words long. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 9
DECEMBER and ‘Les Calendriers Des Mois Romane’
by Howard Needs
his month sees the end of this series of articles on the year calendars to be found in some of the Romanesque churches in France. It began as an exercise in writing and at the same time pulling together things that I have been reading about and photographing for years and sharing with others. The historical connection of the calendars with medieval society is evident but what strikes me is that the connection with the church is not evident, excepting the church’s usual influence on the everyday life of the peasant. However, what we do find is, in January, the Janus figure with his two or three faces, the young man with bunches of flowers in April and the huntsman in May carrying sometimes a branch, all of which hark back to a preChristian pagan tradition.
Église Romane Saint-Martin, Sallertaine, Vendée. Photo courtesy of Monsieur JeanLuc MENUET, Maire de Sallertaine.
Pouzauges 85 has some rather complete fresques of the tale of Anna and Joachim and also a number of months of the calendar. Whilst you are in the neighbourhood, the church in La Pommeraie sur Sèvres 85 is also worth visiting with its seven deadly sins. Other calendars are at a much greater distance but if you look in the back issues of ‘The DSM’ you will find examples with name and village mentioned. Finally Poitiers, attractive town that it is, has five religious buildings with wall paintings. Saint-Agen, Brinay, Chere. © Howard Needs 2016.
Manuscripts almost exclusively portray the winter slaughter and preservation of meat for December. The church calendars, however, have in addition to the preparation and storage of the winters’ meat, representations of indoor life and jollification. December in Église St Agen in Brinay (photo left) shows a person seated with bread in one hand and wine in the other - winter good cheer. December in the Église Sainte Feyre in the Creuse sees a woman handing a man a glass of wine and I would not judge her to be a peasant – her head-dress is too ornate for that. So once again in the calendars we see that although work is portrayed by a peasant, other symbols of the season are portrayed by the more moneyed classes.
Notre Dame la Grande: Ste Radegonde: Cathédral St Pierre: St Hilaire: Baptistère:
Decorative pillars. Wall paintings Newly discovered wall paintings Dim and dark but for the acute eye some paintings Many old, old, old paintings.
And so well within my word count this time, I finish the series by wishing you a Christmas of good cheer.
Returning again to the cycle of the year and the cycle of the night sky, the zodiac – these can be found overall in stained glass, sculpture round a baptismal font, the portal of an abbey church, rich examples in various books of hours and last but not least the painted calendars in the Romanesque churches. The overall pattern is the same - I have described it in these articles and even children’s songs, in times gone by, repeat it. The almanacs of a hundred years ago or even fifty in my youth had a great collection of information, helpful in everyday life and that is a tradition one finds even further back. And one almanac from the fourteenth century that has survived, contained not only a rich mixture of recipes and horoscopes but also a Labours of the Year – a calendrier des mois. Chaucer refers to Janus’ two faces drinking wine as a festive symbol, but Janus may not be forgotten as the gatekeeper between past, present and future and he is so depicted in the January calendar. (photo top right). For those of you who might have a sudden desire to visit a church with a calendrier, we have no year calendars in the Deux-Sèvres but if you live in the north of the department the church in Vieux 10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
Église Saint-Étienne, Paulnay, Indre. © Howard Needs 2016.
A big “Thank you” to Howard Needs for this year’s contributions.....I’m sure you’ll agree, it has been a really interesting series of articles, and a pleasure to read.
A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres nEUVY-BOUIN
he commune of Neuvy-Bouin is situated on the Bressuire – Niort axis on the RD 748, 10 km north of Secondigny. The Sèvre Nantaise river has its source at an altitude of 215m on the Gâtine plateau in the village of Gâs on the commune of Neuvy-Bouin. The commune of Neuvy-Bouin was formed in 1791 from the fusion of the two communes of Neuvy (Novit in 1110, from the latin novus vicus → new town) and Bouin (Boyn in 1274; Bouyn in 1555; Bouhin in 1716; Boin in 1783). The Middle Ages The parish of Bouin belonged to Bourgueil Abbey and in part depended on the castellany of Châteauneuf-en-Gâtine (Largeasse). Nothing remains, apart from some ruins incorporated into other buildings, of what was the church of Notre-Dame-de-Bouin. It was demolished in 1811 under an agreement with the commune of Neuvy-Bouin, by the masons Baschard and Pradeau, from Fenioux, and a small house was built in its place. 16th - 18th centuries The cemetery which was situated in front of the church where there is a garden today, disappeared at the same period. Close by in a cul-de-sac is an old noble house dating from the beginning of the 17th century. It was the home of Hierosme Allard, the Lord of Bouin and husband of Anne Bourdet, the daughter of the prosecutor of Parthenay. At the end of the 16th century, the curate of Neuvy, François Baudin, lived at Rochevineuse, alias Boysnerbert. The church and the presbytery had been pillaged and partly destroyed during the Wars of Religion by the Hugenot Le Roux from Nueil-les-Aubiers. When the Archpriest of Parthenay visited in 1598, he noted that the church was in a pitiful state without a bell tower and that there was no roof. The priest was not able to celebrate mass there when it was raining. In 1639, the priest JaquesMulot had an inscription engraved on the door of the presbytery to remind everyone that he had had it rebuilt. At this time the church had a bell tower porch, one bell and two chapels. In 1686, Samoyault the priest said he was “short of everything”. In 1742, the altar was standing in water and d’Escoublanc, the lord of Bouin and Trayes, was thinking of having the church rebuilt with the help of the parishoners but in 1777 the situation was no better and masses were celebrated at Neuvy. The presbytery was destroyed during the Revolution. Today’s church was built according to plans by Boutaud, an architect from Poitiers, and it was consecrated on the 13th May 1901.
by Sue Burgess
at Neuvy-Bouin. There were demonstrations and public meetings until the project was shelved in 1990. Two associations worked together all this time, they were non-violent and always acted in full sight of the public. They had 24 tractors with fencing and granite blocks were used to wall the access. An observation caravan stayed on the site for fourteen months and all Andra’s actions were noted. The local population was mobilised and Andra’s temporary offices were destroyed. In 2010 the show “Village Toxique” (Toxic Village) by Nicolas Bonneau at the Nombril du Monde re-enacted the period. Nowadays At the end of 2015 the population was 491 inhabitants. The commune of Neuvy-Bouin asked to join the Agglomération du Bocage Bressuirais and this happened on 1st January 2014. There is just one commerce on the commune – the bar-restaurant Le Relais des Saveurs which offers a postal service, bread and a few groceries. A windfarm with 14 turbines has been set up on the communes of Neuvy-Bouin, Vernoux en Gâtine and Trayes. The Catholic primary school le Grand-Marronnier has 23 pupils in the infant department and 16 in the junior department. A voir / Must see • La croix du Petit Bouin • La croix Mongeais • Le Moulin au Petit Fay (19th century) • La Croix Hosannière de Neuvy (13th century) • Le logis de Beauregard (16th & 17th centuries): In 1581 Beauregard was part of the seigneury of la Poupelière of Azay sur Thouet. • Le logis du Vieux-Bouin (16th & 17th century) • Le logis de Rochevineuse (19th century) • Le bois de l’Ermite. The granite rocks of the bois de l’Ermite are a strange ensemble of rock formations. The whole thing is rather spread out and we can imagine that many years ago there was a cult worshipping stones, water and wood. • You can see the rock of Justice, la Grotte aux loups (the wolves’ grotto), la Chapelle aux druides (the druids chapel), le Rocher du Conseil (the rock of the Council), la Pierre du sacrifice (the stone of sacrifice) and not least the hermit’s grotto surmounted by a large moving rock. • The Resistance Memorial – monument dedicated to the resistants who were involved in different actions during the Second World War. The messages diffused by the BBC and the actions led can be seen on the right. (photo below)
The dangers of the closeness of the fighting of the Vendée Wars, and the passing through the commune of fighters from both sides, provoked a massive exodus of a huge part of the population. 19th century In 1830, the commune of Bouin was joined to Neuvy. At that date the inventory of the Préfet Dupin indicated: Neuvi and Bouin: commune to the north at 9km from Secondigny. The population of this commune is 361 people. The territory irrigated by several small streams without names produces rye, a little bit of buckwheat, flax and potatoes. There are some small woods and three ponds. There are two watermills. Cows and mules bred by the farmers are sold. 20th century In 1987 l’Andra (The National Agency for the Management of Nuclear Waste) carried out a survey about burying nuclear waste
Photos © Jan Thorpe 2016
More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 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, Roger: 05 55 76 22 65 or Nancy: 02 54 24 09 74. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€pe.net or visit www.aafrance.net for details of English-speaking meetings.
A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact www.theatrivasles.com, find us on Facebook or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Come KNIT/CROCHET with us every Friday at 3.30pm in the Café des Sports, Chef-Boutonne. Beginners to Experts - all welcome. Contact us via Facebook (Girls that do knitting and crochet) or Melanie on 06 65 17 89 16. Woodturners/Woodworkers Amateur woodturners/woodworkers interested in joining our association “Faisons des Copeaux”. Any level of ability from debutant to experienced. Contact Roland 05 49 96 44 10, preferably evenings. THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH
Please visit the branch website:
AL-ANON Support Group
Do you wish the Drinking Would Stop? Are you troubled by someone’s drinking? If so we can help. There is now an English-speaking Al-Anon meeting every Wednesday @ 2.30pm in the meeting room behind Civray Mairie. Just turn up or ring Angela on 05 49 87 79 09.
Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay
French 4-part choir established over 30 years (with 2 English members) always looking for “new blood”! Excellent Musical Director. Come to a rehearsal and see for yourselves. Contact Keith for more info email@example.com 05 49 69 14 89 RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 05.46.95.38.39 Website Short URL: http://goo.gl/ut80T
JUST BRASS 79
A British style band, who meet each Tuesday at 8pm, at the Salle de la Cendille, Limalonges (just 1km from the N10). All levels welcome. Contact www.justbrass79.fr or call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or Christian on 05 49 29 78 84.
Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres
Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or visit www.cancersupportdeuxsevres.com 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
Shamanic Drum circle for laughter and health.... held in Chanteloup Salle (near Bressuire - department 79) Wednesdays 3pm - 4.30pm Price 15€ To book your place or for more information please call Pam on 05 49 65 55 25 or email: email@example.com
Tai Chi in Bressuire and Le Breuil Barret
FANCY A KICK ABOUT?
CALLING ALL WALKING FOOTBALL PLAYERS
Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel
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, wet meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site. www.2ndsundayclub.fr
We are a netball team in Vasles (79340). We meet every Monday 6-7pm at the Salle Omnisports in Vasles for training with our qualified English coach. It’s fun and a great way to keep fit, so come along or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you enjoy knitting or sewing in the company of others? Join us in L’Absie for an enjoyable afternoon over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. For details contact Carole on email: email@example.com
We meet every third Tuesday of the month, 2.30pm with free tea/coffee and bscuits at Le Bon Vertoef, 28 Grand Rue, 79110 TILLOU. (Nr Chef Boutonne). Everyone welcome for garden talk! For further information contact Mike Curtis 05 46 33 66 17 (eves).
Each Tuesday evening (8.30pm-9.30pm) at the Centre SocioCulturel in Bressuire. Each Friday afternoon (3pm-4.30pm) at the Salle Communale in Le Breuil Barret. Simply turn up in loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear. Phone Terry on 05 49 65 60 34 or visit: www.chentaiji-fr.com Interested in playing walking football around the Dampierre sur Boutonne area? We really need more players of any level (and age) to join us for fun, competition and above all, the health benefits! Call Ted Sellwood on 05.46.32.18.51 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Craft Café Creatif
12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
We are a small group of footballers who meet on Thursday evenings at 7pm in L’Absie for an informal kick about in the park. New players of all ages and abilities always welcome. For details email: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Support Group (CSSG)
by Terri Laverick
t has just occurred to me that this is the last article I shall write for 2016, and am amazed that it only seems a little while since I did the December article last year, obviously the old adage, that “Time flies when you are having fun” is true.
We are looking forward to the Christmas Market in Terves on the 4th December, 11am until 5pm. The tables are booked, mince pies are nearly all made and the Keynotes choir are raring to go. Reel Fish and Chips will be there, so if you fancy some fish and chips, followed by tea, coffee and cakes, Terves is the place to be. If you don’t know who we are, we shall have a board and membership forms, along with badges etc near the Mulled Wine table! So come along, do some Christmas shopping and sing along with the Keynotes choir. The Christmas Lunch is becoming booked quickly, so if any members want to join us, a quick email will get you a seat at the table. This year we are going to La Petit Noisette in Vernoux-enGatine and the menu sounds delicious. Oh yes, the date for the lunch is 21st December. We shall incorporate a small meeting to set the date for the AGM, deal with any outstanding business, we’ll keep it as short as possible! We have had a very busy year with Race Nights, quizzes, and the Summer Market in July. Lots of money has been raised and passed to various ex-service charities and the local Pompiers, hopefully next year will be just as productive.
by Kate Jouanneau
A Christmas Cornucopia - What’s that all about? Well, members of Reaction Theatre and the Keynotes Singers get together each December to present a show containing lots of Christmas songs, carols and a number of sketches to get you in the Christmas mood! So why not come along and join in the singing and the fun? Song sheets will be provided as will a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Hurry though, it’s on Saturday the 3rd December at 8pm (see our advert on page 4 for more details). If you missed the show why not come along to Secondigny church on the evening of the 10th where Keynotes are performing a Christmas Carol Concert, it’s free entry. English and French carols will be sung so perhaps you could bring your neighbours. Christmas doesn’t normally start in our house till after my birthday on the 12th (just thought I’d get that in), but we’ll make an exception for the Christmas Cornucopia.
New members are always made welcome, we have regular meetings and love to get our hands on your spare cash. We can promise that almost every cent goes to charity, our expenses are minimal, in fact, more often than not we forget to claim them.
Keynotes will also be singing a few Christmas songs and carols at Terves Christmas Fair, which is on the 4th December. This is a charity event now run by the CSSG so see their article for more details.
If you would like to join us, or would like any information, please email me, Terri Laverick, at CombinedSSG@gmail.com and I will get back to you.
are back in Secondigny every Friday morning, we have lots of new members but there’s still space for a few more if you fancy joining us. We’ve been making Christmas swags, cards and other arty things for the Christmas period and we’re having our own Secret Santa. Everyone has to buy a little art themed present and we all get one but you don’t know who bought it! The idea is to remember what wrapping paper you used then to grab that present. Only joking, that’s not allowed.
The Committee and Members of CSSG would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2017
Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. including contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows. Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 54€ per annum will be requested. How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Play Reading Group have been working hard reading plays and trying to select one which will entertain you, our audience, and fit the profile of our actor base; I think the group have come up with a winner. What is it? You’ll find out in the January DSM. Publicity I’m sad to say that Kate, our Publicity Officer, has decided to give up the role due to pressures of work. I’m sure you will join me in wishing Kate every success in the future and a very big thank you for all the excellent work she has done for Reaction Theatre. So, I have come out of retirement to fill in until next years AGM, which will be in March. So if you fancy becoming our next Publicity Officer please let us know. Another change for 2017 is that our article will appear every two months starting in January. This will give Sarah an opportunity to provide more space for other local groups. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from everyone at Reaction Theatre group and hope to see you at one if not all our December venues. If you have any further questions you can visit our website
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 13
Hobbies FILMS IN ENGLISH There are cinemas in our department which show films in their original language. Marked as ‘VO’ (Version Originale) or ‘VOST’ Version Originale avec Sous-Titrage. These films can be seen at a selection of locations. Use the websites below to check your local cinema for screenings. Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: www.lefauteuilrouge.fr Parthenay Cinema: www.cinema.foyer.cc-parthenay.fr/foyer Melle cinema: www.lemelies-melle.info Niort CGR cinema: www.cgrcinemas.fr/niort/# L’échiquier at Pouzauges: www.echiquier-paysdepouzauges.fr and find others at www.allocine.fr
More from local writer Alison Morton... Please see back issues of ‘The DSM’ if you would like to see previous articles.
Overusing ‘had’, ‘been’ and ‘was/is’ A simple style keeps writing (better than ‘is’) vivid and clear and can be achieved (better than ‘done’) by using slightly ‘richer’ words without going into purple prose.
Ps and Qs -
Quirks in writing
Peeves and Quirks this month Peeves in writing
I’m sure you don’t do any of these, but here are a few common mistakes. Capitals when a noun isn’t a proper one e.g. ‘The gunman retreated into the house which the police then surrounded.’ If you’re referring to a specific police force, e.g. the Kent Police, then yes, but not generic police. Capitals are for names of specific places or people: Gran, London, Julius Caesar, Uncle Fred, but not ‘both my uncles’. Allowing sentences to run on and on without punctuation, leaving the reader to guess what’s happening. Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in James Joyce’s Ulysses contains a sentence of 4,391 words; it’s horrendous to read. Writing very long paragraphs. If you describe a different place, action or character, start a new paragraph to guide the reader through the chapter. When writing about animals (or even babies!), using ‘it’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’. Using multiple exclamation marks or overdoing the single ones. It may have been Stephen King who said you were allowed two per book. Misplaced apostrophes. Plurals are not shown by apostrophes - ever. Apostrophes have two jobs. The first is to show possession – Grandma’s hat, people’s opinions. If the subject is plural, it goes after the ‘s’ – commuters’ impatience, the dancers’ costumes. Their second job is to show that something is missing – ‘won’t’ for ‘will not’, ‘I’ll’ for ‘I will’, or in dialogue for ‘nothin’ ’ instead of ‘nothing’. Absolutely no tomato’s or banana’s, please! Lack of commas between clauses or after expressions of time or number. In June, they used to go to the seaside. First, they’d drop their bags at the cottage, then head off for a swim.
14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
Homonyms are words spelt and pronounced the same way, but which have different meanings depending on context. • mean – horrible or average • fawn – a deer or to be obsequious • book – something to read or to make a reservation • hail – ice from the sky or a wave for a taxi • kind – sort/type or considerate • wave – sea movement or a friendly gesture • rock – lump from a mountain or to move a cradle to and fro (or colloquially, a diamond or a true friend) • duck – a bird that quacks, a no score in cricket or a quick squat down to avoid a hit. Homophones are more of a trap. Each of two or more words have the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling. • Pore, pour, poor • Site, sight, cite • fair, fare • aisle, I’ll, isle • meat, meet, mete • saw, soar, sore • right, rite, wright, write • for, fore, four • doe, doh, dough • sew, so, sow And those everyday horrors where the first is a shortened form and the second shows who owns something. who’s, whose it’s, its you’re, your they’re, their (And let’s not forget ‘there’ which means not here!)
Happy writing and season’s greetings! Alison has compiled the articles from this column into The 500 Word Writing Buddy, available on Amazon. Her fifth novel, INSURRECTIO, is now out.
Our Furry Friends
There are currently more than 100 elephants in circuses and 540 elephants living in zoos across Europe. Did you know that an elephant can reach the age of 60 or more? So after their time at the zoo or circus, where does an elephant go to retire ? With a ban on elephants within circuses currently sweeping throughout European countries, the relocation of the elephants back to their country of origin is not always a realistic option, but creating a safe haven for them in Europe is. And that’s where the Elephant Haven comes in. It will be a retirement home for older elephants and those elephants in need of medical care. It is very much in the early stages at present, but when open Elephant Haven will be organising guided visits and day trips for the elderly and schools with fun and interesting educational information about the animals and their environment. All activities will take place within a sustainable context and with the help and respect of the local residents. Tranquility for humans and animals. Elephant Haven is situated in an amazing nature park in the Limousin: Parc Naturel, Régional Périgord Nord, Haute Vienne. There’s currently 70 acres of farmland, with a possibility to purchase adjoining land in the future. At least 5 acres of land will be required per elephant, along with a local supply of hay and water. TIMELINE As of 25th May 2016, Elephant Haven has completed the purchase for the amazing land in Bussiére Galant, 87230. The planning permission for the first elephant barn was submitted on 21st September. This barn will house 2 or 3 elephants and we have started to install secure fencing of the first 4 hectares. Thereafter more and more land will be secured with fences in preparation for the arrival of the elephants. The focus now is on fundraising to build the first barn when permissions are granted. In the coming months we will hold a Crowd-funding Campaign and organise some events to raise money so the barn can be built. We cannot do this ourselves - we need your help. This is a huge project, and any donation (big, small, monthly, yearly or one-off) is helpful and will give us the opportunity to offer a retirement home to the first elephants. Donations of equipment are also a big help. Do not hesitate to contact us to ask what we need. If you can help in any way, please get in touch.
Charlie & Cleo Charlie and Cleo are an inseparable brother and sister pair, both a little on the shy side but gaining confidence with every day that passes. As well as looking absolutely adorable and playing together beautifully, with the attention they are getting from their adoring foster mum it won’t be long before they are racing around like mad things! If you would like to give this gorgeous duo their forever home, please contact Caroline at email@example.com or call on 05 55 27 10 25 (19390 Beaumont, Corrèze) Charlie and Cleo will be chipped, vaccinated and de-parasited on adoption.
This beautiful lady is 8 years old and a pedigree Malinoise and has been a working dog all her life. When her owner could no longer care for her, she ended up behind bars in the Pound and has been there for almost 1 YEAR!
DWINY is a real ‘person’ dog and loves being in the company of people, particularly children. She will play all day given the chance and is excellent at retrieving a ball! She is desperately looking for a new loving home with somebody present, an enclosed garden and NO other animals. DWINY is microchipped, neutered and her vaccinations are up-to-date.
DWINY is a gorgeous girl who is affectionate, loving and will take every bit of attention you can give her! She’s obedient, housetrained, non-barking, good in the car, loyal and friendly and walks well on the lead.
The Assocation Orfee In English Contact Caroline: Tel: 05 45 96 02 79 / firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Mary: Tel: 05 49 50 69 41 / email@example.com Visit the website: www.orfeeinenglish.com
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 15
Health, Beauty & Fitness 12 Tips to Stay Healthy through December by Lorraine Wallace
Eat before you party!
You think you’re being ‘good’ by barely eating all day, but come party time your body will be desperate for anything as blood sugar levels will have dropped low! Have a healthy snack before leaving home so that you choose food more mindfully and avoid over-indulging.
A good breakfast!
Probably the one meal you are always at home for, so make it a good one throughout this period when lunch and dinner are often eaten out.
Dehydration causes hunger pangs before your brain works out that you are thirsty. So make a habit of drinking plenty of water.
Choose alcohol wisely!
Avoid high sugar mixers. Alternate alcohol with water. Drink from smaller glasses. A full glass in a small glass will be a lot less than a full glass in a large one, but in your mind it will still be ‘one’ glass.
Don’t get sucked in by ‘buzzwords’!
Organic and gluten free are fantastic and can make for very healthy choices but don’t assume. An organic or gluten free chocolate cake will probably contain the same sugar as a standard one.
Time for yourself!
We make poor food choices when we’re tired and can’t be bothered to cook, so schedule time to recover. Treat yourself to relaxing activities between events… reading, walking, yoga, a long bath. Don’t overdo it - only accept invitations to events you actually want to go to.
December is busy, but exercise is important to keep you energised. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing… If you already work out but are pushed for time, halve the routine. If you currently do nothing, pop on an Xmas CD and commit to dancing to one track every day!
Plan and prepare!
If you know you’ll be home late and will still need to eat, make sure you have at least part-prepared your meal in advance. Having a few veg chopped and the meat defrosting will deter you from grabbing a pizza.
A healthy mindset!
Decide what you are prepared to compromise on in order to enjoy the festive celebrations and eat and drink guilt-free on those occasions. Holding onto guilt will send you into a spiral of making poor choices the whole month.
Don’t write off December!
Remember, a meal is just a meal, not a whole month. So if you’ve over-indulged, let it go and get back on that healthy wagon for the next meal.
10 second rule!
When you know a food or drink choice is not a healthy one, apply the 10 second rule. 10 seconds is all you need to differentiate between what your head wants and what your body needs.
Plan New Year health goals now!
If your plan is to lose weight next year, be conscious that poor decisions now will make January that much harder. Give yourself a headstart by applying these tips now. Commit to being mindful about your choices so you can have your Christmas cake and eat it!
Have a happy & healthy Christmas!
www.lorrainewallace.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77
16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
CHRISTMAS CLOSURE Please note that ‘The DSM’ Office will be closed from 6pm Tuesday 20th December until 9am Tuesday 3rd January 2017. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
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Ballet Barre The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 17
Home & Garden Photo © La Deuxième Chance 2016
ème Chance by Sue Newell, La Deuxi
La Deuxième Chance Tel:05 49 27 12 62 ~ www.ladeuxiemechance.com
Current trends seem to suggest all things homemade will be fashionable this season, and why not? Homemade can save cash, be very rewarding, and if it saves items heading to landfill then I am all for it. So you can imagine how happy I was to discover that the recycled tree that I am planning may just have its origin in a very ancient tradition.
any of our much loved traditions may have begun in the Victorian era. In the late 1800s mistletoe first appeared hanging indoors (the number of berries dictating the number of permitted kisses!).
The Christmas cracker was invented in 1847. The first Royal Christmas broadcast, in 1932, was listened to in a room with fashionable Japanese lanterns and an artificial tree and balloons. The swinging sixties brought us glitter with artificial tinsel. (Perhaps because lights on artificial Christmas trees were still quite hazardous!) Ceilings were adorned with paper chains in bright colours. In the 1970s we hung foil garlands and satin wrapped baubles, while the 80s gave us artificial trees in white or silver, lots of swan designs and crystal. Oak kitchens, wallpaper borders and corner baths were the latest trends through the 90s, but thankfully our Christmas choices were beginning to become more themed and coordinated.
With the dawn of the 21st century came a trend to hang our lights outside; whole streets seem to be in competition. Not to mention Santa hanging from chimneys! Of all the decorations that have come and gone, the Christmas tree still remains one of the most popular in many homes. For thousands of years the fir tree has been used to celebrate winter festivals. Pagans used branches to celebrate the winter solstice, the Romans decorated their temples with fir trees, and for Christians the tree was a sign of everlasting life with God. One of the earliest recorded trees was in Riga, Latvia in 1510 (outside). The first person to bring a tree into the house in its present day form, may have been Martin Luther. For those who could not afford a real plant or tree, pyramid trees were made from scraps of wood and these were often decorated with paper, apples and candles. These trees may have their origins in the Paradise trees, which were used in medieval Miracle plays on Christmas Eve. Our tree does not have to replace your evergreen fir tree, it could be used as a decoration in the porch, or as a place to hang small ornaments, your Christmas cards, or family photographs.
MAKE YOUR OWN ... Homemade Christmas can be fun. Try our tree below, or perhaps glue corks together to form tree shapes, make door wreaths from coat hangers wrapped with greenery, fill hessian squares with Christmas spices, or fashion a Christmas star from twigs. Upcycle, recycle and have fun. You will need:* Old scraps of wood * Saw, screwdriver, wood screws, sandpaper * Paint and brushes * Soft Wax ,Wax brush * Hook to hang, or string. * Small ornaments, printed images, papers * Decoupage/image transfer gel Making your tree: 1. Decide on the size of your tree. I used the wood from an old pallet. Take one piece of wood to form the trunk, and then arrange the other pieces to form a rough triangle. 2. Cut the wood to make a pyramid shape, or leave with straight edges. Sand any rough edges. 3. Paint your base colour. Decide if you tree is going to have a two tone “distressed” effect, or a solid colour. If you have wood which is already painted why not leave it that way? (For the larger trees I chose traditional colours, Annie Sloan Emperors Silk (red) and Olive Green Chalk Paint™. For the smaller trees I applied layers of Miss Mustard Seeds Milk paint which naturally distresses and gives a perfect “aged” look.) 4. Allow the paint to dry and apply any motifs or decoration. This could be hand painting, stencilling, decoupage images or image transfer. Seal your work with a coat of wax to protect it. Top Tip! Use a wax brush for this, as it allows you to work the wax into all the grain of the wood. 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
5. Assemble your tree by placing the branches face down on a table. Place your tree trunk on top and screw in place from the back. 6. Adding a hook will allow it to be hung. Alternatively you could drill a hole and thread with string or simply stand it up. 7. Bring the whole tree to life by adding a string of lights. Finally, admire your handiwork! Whatever you make or however you choose to decorate it, have a fun Christmas! See you in the New Year. All products used can be purchased through our online shop or in store. Techniques are taught on our weekly workshops, including a Christmas “Make your own tree”.
, dark furniture
Next month...How to transform old
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‘The DSM’ Office Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 19
THE AMATEUR GARDENER
by Vanda Lawrence
e’ve had such a lovely November this year and the autumn colours have been absolutely spectacular – do you think it’s because we haven’t had much rain? Whatever, it’s been such a pleasure to be out walking the dogs amongst it all – even driving along the motorways is lovely, being able to see the myriad of colours in the distance. But now it’s time to bring in the frost tender plants to overwinter them in sheds or garages, anywhere light and frost free. My geraniums were still looking lovely when I brought them in, but I followed the ‘instruction manual’ and cut them back to about 10cm and will only water them when the soil is powder-dry. It’s hard though, to cut off all those lovely flowers and healthy growth. The only winner is the compost heap. Tubs and containers in your garden with winter-hardy flowers should be raised on stones or similar to allow drainage and prevent water-logging, which in icy weather will freeze and damage the roots. Non-hardy plants in tubs which are too big to move should be protected with fleece, and don’t forget that some pots will be liable to crack in frosty temperatures, so if necessary wrap some bubble-wrap around them – it doesn’t look that pretty, but could save problems later. Cutting back the geraniums leads me on to the compost heap and composting in general. When I was a girl my Dad used to dig a trench across the vegetable patch and Mum would drop in all the vegetable peelings etc each day, then Dad would fill in the trench by digging another alongside and the whole procedure would be repeated. In spring the vegetable garden would be dug over and planted up as usual, and the ‘trench’ system was held in abeyance until autumn when the vegetables had all been cropped. I wonder why we don’t follow this procedure these days? Having said that, I’ve recently read about ‘green manure’ as an alternative. These are fast growing seeds roughly sown to cover bare vegetable gardens; the foliage will smother weeds and roots will prevent soil erosion; they are dug into the ground in Spring whilst still green thereby returning valuable nutrients to the soil and improving soil structure. Clover is a good choice apparently.
20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
Other jobs in the garden this month include: • Tidying the lawns – neaten the edges, scarify, finish aerating and top dress with a mix of loam, sand and well-rotted compost to correct any surface irregularities. • Finish pruning roses to prevent wind-rock. • Put grease bands around fruit trees (and their stakes) to stop female winter moths climbing up and laying their eggs. • Clear up fallen leaves, and if you have netted your pond to stop leaves falling in, please ensure that there is an escape route for frogs etc. • In icy weather remember to break the ice on the surface of ponds to allow oxygen into the water and gases to escape. • Plant trees, shrubs and hedging during frost-free periods. • Finish planting bulbs ready for spring displays. • Take hardwood cuttings from shrubs such as Forsythia, Hydrangea etc. • Finish pruning apple and pear trees. • Cut back side branches of grape vines grown up a wall to 1 or 2 plump buds from the main stem. • Keep some salt or sharp sand handy to put down on slippery paths in icy weather. • Remember to keep the bird feeder filled and water bowls defrosted. Well, I think there are enough jobs there to keep us all occupied over the next month so I’ll take my leave now and wish you all a happy Christmas and happy and healthy New Year 2017.
Goldfinch feeding©Wikimedia Commons/Snowmanradio
Helpful Vocabulary....Gardening bêcher............................................... planter.............................................. semer............................................... arroser.............................................. faire du jardinage.............................
to dig to plant to sow (seeds) to water (plants) to do the garden
le jardin............................................. garden le patio.............................................. patio le parterre.......................................... flowerbed le pavé............................................... paving l’allée................................................. path la pelouse.......................................... lawn la haie............................................... hedge le potager.......................................... vegetable garden la serre.............................................. greenhouse le tas de compost.............................. compost heap le bulbe............................................. bulk les mauvaises herbes........................ weeds l’arbre................................................ tree le confière......................................... conifer à feuilles persistantes........................ evergreen à feuilles caduques............................ deciduous la plante d’ombre............................... shade plant l’annuelle (f)..................................... annual plant la vivace............................................ perennial plant la plante grimpante........................... climber l’arbuste à fleurs................................ flowering shrub les outils de jardin............................. garden tools le pot de fleurs................................. plant pot la feuille........................................... a leaf le feuillage....................................... foliage l’engrais (m)..................................... plant food la resserre........................................ garden shed la houe.............................................. hoe la bêche............................................ spade la fourche......................................... fork le râteau........................................... rake la tondeuse....................................... lawnmower la brouette........................................ wheelbarrow le terreau.......................................... compost le déplantoir..................................... trowel l’arrosoir........................................... watering can l’arroseur.......................................... sprinkler le tuyau d’arrosage........................... hose le parterre......................................... flowerbed la graines pour les oiseaux............... birdseed la gelée............................................. a frost mouillé............................................. wet le sapin de noël.............................. a christmas tree
PHASES OF THE MOON DECEMBER 2016
Do you forget the opening hours for your local déchetterie?
Visit the website www.smc79.fr for details
NEW Moon 1st Quarter 29th November 7th December
For waste disposal outside of the Deux-Sèvres there’s an alternative website www.decheteries.fr
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 21
Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword
Across: 8. A joining together of separate parts (5) 9 and 14 down. British novelist born 7 Feb 1812 ( 7,7) 10. Female Saint whose feast day is celebrated on 25 December (7) 11. Friend, pal, buddy (5) 12. The power of making unconstrained choices (4,4) 13. Freshwater fish (4) 15. Push for something (4) 17. Gratification of one’s own desires (8) 21. Coolness under strain (5) 22. Scandinavian sea raiders in 8th to 10th centuries (7) 24. The public sale of something to the highest bidder (7) 25. A daughter of your sibling (5)
Down: 1. Period extending 24 Dec to 6 Jan (4) 2. What the bells do at Christmas (6) 3. Secret, hidden, mysterious (7) 4. Write carelessly (6) 5. Having dire consequences (5) 6. Santa’s transport (6) 7. A type of acid (8) 12. Unfair or treacherous behaviour (4,4) 14. See 9 across. 16. A person who maliciously spoils the fun of others (6) 18. Assumptions that are taken for granted (6) 19. Christmas decoration (6) 20. A shade of brown with a tinge of red (5) 23. Expel or eject (4)
DSM Toughie Crossword
Well, what do you know?
With thanks to M.Morris
Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get?
1) King Amenhotep IV (1353-1336 BC) was the first ruler of Egypt to be addressed by which title?
8) Bismark and Pierre are the state capitals of which neighbouring U.S. states?
2) Which de Havilland aircraft was the world’s first jet engined passenger airliner?
9) Miles Jupp succeeded Sandi Toksvig as presenter of which popular BBC Radio 4 show?
3) Which series of Disney films is/was based on a ride at Disneyland?
10) Which sport is played at Eden Park, New Zealand; Ellis Park, South Africa; The Rosebowl, England and the Gaddafi Staium, India?
4) In the ‘Lone Ranger’ adventures, which object is left by the hero and as his ‘calling card’ and as a symbol of justice done? 5) What is the term for a breast of chicken or duck cooked and served with the humerus attached? 6) Running between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, what is the name of the first preserved, steam powered, passenger railway operated by enthusiasts? 7) Which Irish folklore spirit is said to wail when someone is about to die?
11) Which historical event is believed to have begun on 14th July 1789 with the Storming of the Bastille? 12) What is the third book in Terry Pratchett’s NOME trilogy? The first two are Truckers and Diggers. And finally, if you have 12 correct answers (or even if you don’t), what is the connection between those 12 answers or parts thereof? Copyright RJS 2016
22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
Answers on P.7 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr
Down: Across: 1. Hams dry by coil, being readied 1. Mind the gifts, a preparation for seasonal heart warmer (5,3,5) perhaps not a good idea on 2. State which will have real December 24th? (8,5) 8. Prepared missing bowler and then constitution after this month (7) 3. Unconventional saint rolling dice went really fast! (5) in shows (9) 9. Change your mind after finding 4. Significant stage following race in European green out of order (7) 10. Paris park a setting for a health cure women’s quarters abroad (6) 5. Have a good time after large (3) 11. Open country code for one kind of amount taken from kitty (3) 6. Glean something new for association (6,3) 13. Newcomer taking cover for keeping seasonal paragon (5) code of silence in brotherhood (5) 7. Seasonal period article on 14. Error in writing right drill for urban number of times related to 17 (3,6,4) expansion (6) 12. Against work put forward on top 17. See 23 across to release pressure (7,2) 19. First raise this and then cry for 15. African people put new southern pursuit of the guilty (3) 20. Popular follower volunteers to be a county in first class category (7) member of Spanish royal family...(7) 16. Get on and be involved with rewriting of Mark (6) 22. ..... growing up to be a lady, after 18. Decision maker given just the mother rejected by pop icon (5) 23,17. Bob and Midge inspired question thing to renovate (5) for those less fortunate? (2,4,4,3,9) 21. Born in marine environment (3)
Where We Live... The best things in life are free by Mick Austin
oodland and hedgerows are fantastic places to hunt for free food almost all year round. Hundreds of edible species waiting to be transformed into wines, soups, jellies and jams. Some, like blackberries and elderberries, are easily recognisable. Others, like lamb’s quarters and medlar, are more unusual. Our guide to foraging is by no means complete, but hopefully it’s enough to tickle those tastebuds.
Bay (Laurus nobilis). Grows just about everywhere. Fresh and dried leaves are commonly used in cooking. Beech nuts (Fagus sylvatica). The nuts, or masts, can be eaten
raw or used like pine nuts and added to salads. Lightly toasted (as for almonds and hazels) brings out their flavour. The masts can also be pasted and added to soups as a thickener.
Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus). Who hasn’t tasted the fruit of
the bramble? High in antioxidants and vitamins, the fruit is used in jams, jellies, pies and crumbles. And, of course, wine. A forager’s favourite.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). The blue-black fruit, called
sloes, are ready to pick after the first frost, or you can speed up the process by freezing them. Famously used to make sloe gin, but can also be used in jams.
Borage (Borago officinalis). An annual or biennial plant with
distinctive bright blue flowers and a flavour like cucumber. Leaves can be dipped into batter and fried.
Burdock (Arctium lappa). Those of a certain age will remember
the famous dandelion and burdock root beer. The roots have a crunchy texture when cooked, much like bamboo shoots, and can be cut thinly and stir-fried until tender.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus). Wild chicory, with its bright
blue flowers (occasionally pink or white), has leaves similar to the dandelion and can often taste bitter. Cooked leaves can be sautéed with garlic and other ingredients.
Chickweed (Stellaria media). A great salad addition found
almost everywhere most of the year. A plant can produce three of
four ‘crops’ per year and the young leaves can be used raw or in soups, or even blended into pesto. High in minerals and vitamins. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum). A commonly found herb.
The stems and the immature flower buds are used widely with fish, potatoes and soups. Also used as a garnish. One of the fine herbes of French cuisine. Its medicinal properties are similar to those of garlic.
Common Daisy (Bellis perennis). Add the young leaves to soups and stews or eat them raw in salads. The flower buds and petals can also be eaten raw. Crab apple (Malus sylvestris). The fruit is ready from autumn
into winter and can be red or orange or even yellow-green. Famous for making crab apple jelly.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). The bane of gardeners
the world over! The young leaves have a slightly bitter taste. The flowers can be used to make wine and apparently the roots can make a good coffee substitute once roasted.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra). Widespread and easy to
recognise late summer fruit. Flowers can be used to make a champagne, the unopened flower buds can be pickled and used like capers and the ripe berries can, of course, be used to make wine. Don’t eat elder bark or leaves.
Gorse (Ulex europaeus). The flowers taste and smell like
coconut. Can be used to flavour vinegar and ice cream and also to make wine.
Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea). This plant trails along the ground but is part of the mint family and is not an ivy. The leaves are useful for flavouring soups and stews and for stuffing. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). The fruit, called haws, can be eaten raw but are more usually cooked and used for making jams, jellies and syrups. They look like a small apple and are a deep red when fully ripe. Hazel (Corylus avellana). A common sight in hedgerows and
gardens, the hazelnut, or cobnut, can be eaten raw or roasted and is rich in protein and unsaturated fat. Plentiful from the end of summer, but get there before the squirrels!
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 23
Hedge ga rlic. © W ikiComm ons/San nse
Hedge garlic (Alliaria petiolata).
Can be recognised by its kidney-shaped leaves and small white flowers shaped like a cross. Has a mild garlic flavour. Young leaves can be used in salads. Horseradish (Cochlearia armoracia). Grate the roots to make your own
horseradish sauce. The young leaves can also be eaten.
Lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album). Also sometimes known as
fat hen, goosefoot or wild spinach, this is a fast-growing annual often considered a weed. Its goosefoot or diamond-shaped leaves taste similar to spinach and are used extensively in Indian cuisine, where is it called bathua. Eat in moderation as it has high levels of oxalic acid. Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris). A perennial plant often
Vacherin du Haut Doubs/Mont d’Or A superb cheese with something of a controversial past. Although it has been made in Franche-Comté for 200 years or so, there was a bit of a contretemps between France and Switzerland over its origins as the Massif du Mont d’Or sits close to their border. Both maintained they were first to make the cheese, but the arguments finally stopped when the Swiss conceded. France took the name Vacherin du Haut Doubs, while the Swiss version is called Vacherin Mont d’Or. Some confusion continues because in France (certainly in my local supermarket) it can have just Mont d’Or printed on the box. In other areas it can simply be called Vacherin. In France it is made purely with raw cow’s milk, while in Switzerland there can be both raw and pasteurised versions. It is made traditionally at the end of the milking season (August-March for consumption from September) when the herds move down from high ground to the valleys and there is insufficient milk production to make the larger cheeses, like Comté, made on high pastures during the summer. Just seven litres of milk is needed to make a kilo of the smaller Mont d’Or against 12 litres for Comté. The smaller cheeses were called vacherins to match the name given to small goat’s cheeses (chevrotins). Mont d’Or is extremely soft and spreadable – some recommend removing the whole rind and scooping out the paste with a spoon – and is traditionally wrapped with a spruce wood band and sold in a wooden box in which it continues to ripen. The scent of the spruce permeates the cheese and the band also helps the cheese keep its shape and should not be removed. If the cheese is sliced, the cut surfaces should be protected to stop the inside flowing out of the crust. The cheese’s surface is moist and the rind golden and slightly red, while the pale yellow inside is meltingly rich and creamy with the consistency of thick clotted cream. It is cured on a board of spruce wood and turned and rubbed with a cloth soaked in brine. After three weeks of ripening, the aroma of spruce is quite distinct and the cheese has a tender, delicate peach-pink rind.
grown in gardens because of its attractive leaves, the young of which can be added to salads.
Marigold (Calendula officinalis). Flower petals can be used
as both a flavouring and a colouring in salads.
Medlar (Mespilus germanica). The fruit of this member of the rose family
has been cultivated since Roman times and looks very much like a giant rosehip. The fruit is eaten when almost rotten – a process called bletting. It can be eaten raw or used to make medlar jelly or medlar cheese, which is similar to lemon curd.
Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana). Usually grown as an
ornamental tree, the seeds of this Chilean native, which are similar to pine nuts, can be boiled and eaten.
Mushrooms. With some 3500 species and varieties of the fungi group, of
which some 800 to 1000 species and sub-species occur in France, one cannot stress enough the very real danger of careless picking. Broadly speaking, 5-10% of mushrooms are deadly or potentially deadly; 40-50% are toxic; 30-40% are unpalatable but harmless; and just 5-10% are really edible. So be careful. Make sure you know what you are doing. If in doubt, ask at your local pharmacie.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus). Widespread garden plant. The flowers and peppery-tasting young leaves are good in salads. Pyracantha (Pyracantha angustifolia). The red berries of this garden
shrub can be eaten in jellies and sauces.
Ramsons (Allium ursinum). Much better known as wild garlic, this
perennial is one of the quintessential plants of late spring. The young leaves can be used in salads or added to soups, as can the flowers and flower buds. The young seedpods can also make a garlic pesto. The leaves of ramsons look similar to those of the poisonous lily-of-the-valley. Crush the ramsons and you will smell garlic. That doesn’t happen with lily-of-the-valley.
Rockpooling. Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside. The inhabitants of our coastline that can be collected are plentiful: cockles, mussels, razor clams, scallops, whelks, sea snails, oysters and, of course, various edible seaweeds. Rosehip (Rosa canina).
Commonly known as the dog rose, it’s widespread in hedgerows. The bright red hips can be used in jams, jellies, wines and syrup.
A whole Mont d’Or makes a luxurious dessert cheese, or it can be sprinkled with cumin seeds and accompanies by boiled potatoes. Or why not try it hot in the box with a selection of dips? Yummy! Photo: © Wikicommons/Arnaud 25
24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
...A look at what makes France so special Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia). Also
raham ommons/MichaelG Sow-thistle. © WikiC
known as Mountain Ash, it is a quite common member of the rose family. The red/orange berries are used to make rowan jelly. Ready throughout autumn. The fruit can be bitter, astringent and a laxative. In other words, better cooked!
Sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus). Almost as common as the
dandelion and, at first glance, the yellow flowers look similar, but these have a cluster of flower buds whereas dandelions have single flowers on their stalks. The young leaves are eaten in salads or cooked like spinach. This plant is also used in Chinese cuisine as part of a bitter vegetable dish.
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa). A common perennial found in
meadows, hedgerows and pastures. The plant has an acid taste much like rhubarb or lemon and can be used raw in salads or cooked like spinach.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). Can there be anyone who
hasn’t met up with one of these? In spring the young shoots make a pleasant vegetable addition to a meal. In older plants, use the top few fresh leaves. They can be used as a spinach substitute. As any child can tell you, where there are nettles you can usually find the broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) to rub on your sting. The very young leaves of this plant can be eaten when cooked but are nowhere near as tasty as the ‘stingers’.
Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa).
A common tree that probably needs no introduction. Roasted chestnuts are a well known autumn treat but the nuts can also be dried and turned into a flour. Families rummaging for chestnuts in ditches along the roadside is a common winter sight in France.
DID YOU KNOW ? The guillotine was the French state’s method of capital punishment until well into the 20th Century. The last person to have his head cut off by what was often called the National Razor was convicted murderer Hamida Djandoubi, who was executed in 1977. But the machine’s 189-year reign only officially came to an end in September 1981, when France finally abolished capital punishment. Similar execution machines had been around since the Middle Ages, but the French guillotine dates back to 1789, when Dr Joseph-Ignace Execution of Louis XVI of Franceon January 1793, from an English Guillotin argued that decapitation 21 engraving of 1798. by a lightning-quick device would be more humane than the often botched methods of beheading by a sword or axe. Guillotin helped with the first prototype, which was designed by French surgeon Antoine Louis and built by German harpsichord maker Tobias Schmidt. It performed its first official duty in 1792 and quickly became known as the guillotine, much to the consternation of Dr Guillotin, who was actually opposed to capital punishment. In the mid-1790s, during the French Revolution, thousands met their death by the National Razor. From common criminals to aristocrats and, of course, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Guillotine executions became major spectator events, with the Place de la Revolution packed with people eager to see the action. They included the infamous Tricoteuses, a group of women who supposedly sat close to the guillotine all day, knitting between the beheadings. The guillotine is usually associated with the French Revolution, but Adolf Hitler’s Nazis are thought to have beheaded almost as many people in the same way. The Third Reich’s use of the killing machine came to light when a guillotine was found in a Munich museum basement.
For agi ng Gui del ine s * Always get permission from the landowner . If in doubt, ask at your local Marie. * Know what you’re picking. Never eat anyt hing unless you are certain of its identity and that it’s safe. Use reference books where you can. If in doubt, leave it. * Check your own personal tolerance to any new edible wild plant before eating it in quantity, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medication. * Only collect what is plentiful. Leave plen ty behind for others and wildlife. * Some species are protected by law, so know what not to collect. * Don’t collect everything you find. Take and don’t damage areas you’re collecting what you plan to eat from. * Be aware of your surroundings. Is there poss ible contamination from effluent, exhaust emissions, pesticides eat dead, dying or discoloured foliage as , dogs etc? Don’t it could indicate the presence of weedkillers. Mick Austin is an award-winning freelance journalist based in the Paysde-la-Loire. He has had his work published in several expat magazines and newspapers and has also written the Mayenne Tourist Board’s only English language brochure. He runs a gite business at www.gitefortwo.com
On this month December 23, 1888: Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cuts off part of his left ear with a knife while staying in Arles. Apparently suffering from depression, he threatened friend and fellow artist Paul Gaugin with a knife before turning it on himself. Afterwards he allegedly wrapped up the ear and gave it to a local prostitute. December 12, 1917: More than 500 French soldiers are killed when their train derails in Modane. So many coaches were attached to a single locomotive the engineer in charge refused to leave the station on safety grounds. A French officer threatened him with a gun so the train set off, only to go out of control on a steep gradient. December 21, 1958: Charles de Gaulle is elected first president of the Fifth Republic by a sweeping majority – just three months after a new French constitution came into being. He had been called out of retirement six months earlier when a revolt in Algeria threatened France’s stability. December 1, 1990: Around 11am, 130 feet beneath the English Channel, workers drill a hole the size of a car through a wall of rock to connect two ends of an underwater tunnel, so linking England with the European mainland for the first time in more than 8000 years. The Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel, came into being some 188 years after Napoleon Bonaparte first suggested the idea!
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 25
Motoring An Orange Cat For Christmas?
a rlier in the year at the Le Mans Classic, I got up close and personal with the new offering in the Jaguar F-type range, the SVR. This is billed as Jaguar’s ultimate sports car and completes the F-type range, which took over from the old XK range.
Many of you may know that I own an XKR, the supercharged V8 monster from the old range, and I have to say that I still think it is much prettier than its replacement. Geoff Lawson’s styling of the XK owes much to the legendary E type, with the long nose and elegant lines, whereas the F-type is based on a shortened XKR platform, making it look more squat and rendering it a two seater ...... although to be honest the rear seats in the XKR are pretty useless unless you are one of Santa’s elves! The SVR is a bit of a beast ..... the 5-litre supercharged V8 that serves so effectively in the existing F-type line-up is carried over, with an additional 25bhp added in and a bit more torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission is also carried over, with software tweaks, as is the four-wheel drive system, modified to send fractionally more torque towards the rear axle. The car has been lightened by 25kg (remember what they say at a well-known supermarket chain, “every little helps”) and stiffened over the standard F-type, and with whopping 20 inch wheels and wide tyres giving improved grip, the 0-60mph time is quoted as 3.5 seconds! Many of these modifications have been engineered by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division. “It’s about taking the basic traits of a Jaguar and amplifying them appropriately” says Mark Stanton, director of the SVO. “We wanted to dial up the performance without losing everyday usability.” The SVO are used to getting involved in unusual projects, having previously converted the XKR into the unforgetable villain’s car of the 2002 Bond film ‘Die Another Day’.
by Helen Tait-Wright
I know, I know, being ‘green’ is the new thing, zero emissions are the way to go ...there is even an EPrix single seater racing series these days, admittedly with close and exciting on-track competition, but, without the noise it just isn’t the same. The SVR gives plenty of V8 rumble, accompanied by the howl of the supercharger at higher revs. Press the button for the sports exhaust and you’re treated to pops and crackles with every gearchange or lift of the throttle pedal. Sublime! And with Jaguar being the best in the business for comfort, you still get to enjoy “waft-matic” as Jeremy Clarkson christened it. Talking of Top Gear, which we weren’t really, the current Top Gear team was also at the Le Mans Classic to try out the SVR, loving the handling and performance, and overall rating it well, although criticising the restriction in vision from the cockpit over the long bonnet and beefy flanks of the car. So, will a change of Jag be on my Christmas list? Can the newly empowered Mrs Claus drop one off from her helicopter? Umm, no, not this year. With a price tag of over £100,000 I don’t think we could justify the expense even if we did have the money, and I really do prefer the looks of my existing Jag. However, the metallic orange paintwork we saw on one of the SVR’s at Le Mans is totally scrummy, so maybe a trip to the paint shop would give my car a new lease of life? That’s food for thought! But right now, I have a floor to tile ready for a new kitchen in the New Year, and a little of the scrummy orange just might creep in there! Enjoy your festive season folks, see you in 2017! xx
Now they have taken on a similar role to AMG with Mercedes and BMW’s M Sport, in developing the extreme, tuned versions of the production road cars, and the eagle eyed amongst you may have already noticed the ‘SVR’ moniker on the Range Rover Sport. Now, like my own XKR, the SVR has a V8, which is quite literally music to petrol head’s ears!
Jaguar’s new, 200mph-capable supercar, F-Type SVR. © Jaguar Land Rover Limited
© Helen Tait-Wrig ht 2016
26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2017!
The Deux-SĂ¨vres Monthly, December 2016 | 27
Food & Drink Creamy Salmon Toasts
Ingredients for 4 servings g each, 2 salmon filets of around 180 - 200 m crea 20cl double h dill, 1 1 good pinch of finely chopped fres tsp lemon juice, , 1 tbsp 2 thick slices of cucumber in tiny dice er, melted butt angle, 8 large baguette slices cut onts the best mixed green salad - young shoo are poach the Bring a pan of water to the boil and utes . Take salmon fillets for around 10 - 12 min out, drain and allow to cool. baguette Prepare the toasts by placing the olive oil with kle sprin tray, oven an onto slices a prein them e plac then per pep and salt and ted. heated oven until crispy and lightly toas Into . fork a g usin on salm Break up the cold ly diced a bowl mix together the cream, nfine , adding salt and pepper cucumber, chopped dill and lemo onjuice mix well, then add the and salm the to on this r to taste. Pou can then be placed ure mixt The n. agai mix melted butter and and topped with on pers each for ) into small glasses (verrines the green salad and ts toas a slice of lemon, served with the directly onto the toasts and ure mixt the ad spre Or, alongside. place on a bed of salad.
n i a t r e t n E h ease wit
Crispy Duck Breasts with Blac
kberry Sauce Ingredients for 4 servings 4 boneless duck breasts (m agret de canard), 1 tbsp olive oil, I tbsp hon ey For the sauce 30 cl chicken stock, 1 ½ cup s of blackberries, 1 tbsp brown sugar, glass of ruby port, 1 tsp butter, freshly ground black pepper , flour or conflour to thicke n Pre-heat your oven to around Score the skin of the duc 220 degrees. k breasts in a diamond pat without cutting through to tern the meat. Heat the oil in roasting tin, on top of the coo ker . Place the ducks skin sidea down in the oil - this will spi t! a few minutes and then tur Let the duck cook quickly for n the heat down quite continue to cook, until the skin is well browned. low and Turn the breasts and allow to cook just until the meat sealed. Then cut thick slices is way down to the skin, not into the meat, about 2/3 of the righ t thr oug h. Finish coo g in the oven for around 10 - 12 minutes. (Or to personal kin taste.) For the sauce, liquidise the full cup of blackberries with brown sugar and pass thr Melt the butter in a smallough a sieve to remove the seeds. hea vy based saucepan and the whole blackberries. gently with a wooden spoadd for a minute or two and Stir n add the glass of port, spo on in a little of the juices frothe on m coo chicken stock and pepper. Brin king the duck and add the g to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer gen Add a sprinkling of sieved (or conflour) to thicken, tly. not too much, stirring all the flour time. Just before serving, take the duc k bre ast s fro m the oven, brush the skins with the hon ey and glaze under a hot gril this stage it’s fine to let the l. At bre ast s sta nd for 5 - 10 minutes before serving if you wish. Giv es the chef time to breath before ‘plating’!
Seasonal Vegetable Bake
Ingredients Allow 1 parsnip and 2 medium potatoes, per person, 1 tin of chestnuts, rind and juice from 1 large clementine, 1 tbsp of clear honey, 1 good ‘shaking ’ of ground nutmeg, 50g unsalted butter, salt and pepper Peel and cook the parsnips and potatoes until just tender, the parsnips for around 5 minutes only. Slice the potatoes into rounds and the parsnips into batons. Drain and rinse the chestnuts then blanch in boiling water for around 5 minutes. If very large, chop in half. Pare the rind from the clementine and cut into thin strips. Blanch these in boiling water for around 5 minutes to reduce the bitterness. Extract the juice from the clementine and mix with honey. In an oven-proof dish, layer the vegetables, potatoes first, dotted with butter, then the chestnuts, sprinkle over the clementine rind at this stage, lastly top with the parsnips then pour over the juice and honey, sprinkle with ground nutmeg and dot with butter once again. If there is very little juice from the clementine add a coffee cup of orange juice. Cover with foil to prevent the parsnips burning and cook in a pre-heated oven, around 180 degrees, for about 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Serve with a green vegetable of choice and the duck and blackberry sauce. (Or with whatever takes your fancy !) Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full at-home catering service.
Tel: 06 23 00 72 04 ~ Email: email@example.com 28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
Caramalised Brandy Tangerines
Ingredients cl water, 8 tangerines, 250g brown sugar, 30 20 - 30 cl of brandy Little unsalted butter cutting in half across ways. Peel and pith the tangerines before, cut side down and dot with dish f Place these into an oven proo r over half of the brandy and butter cut into small pieces. Pou leave to one side. nce, even the day before) For the sauce (best prepared in adva and boil until syrupy. epan sauc a in r wate and r suga put the . When dessert time cool to allow and heat Remove from the heated oven and stillthe into es erin arrives, place the tang heat gently. and ve owa micr warm through, or place into the before serving divide and Place in individual dishes and just this stage you can flambée At dy. pour over the rest of the bran the syrup. (Warm this them if you wish before pourings aover too thick.) little seem it if or er, pref slightly if you nier, Cointreau or Triple This would also work with Grand Mar dy. bran the of e Sec in plac
Melted Cheese Weather
by Jacqueline Brown
he cold and frosts have arrived signalling the end of my summer rosé wine season and although I’m not sure whether it is brain or tummy led, I’m finding myself seeking warm, comfort food once again.
Since arriving in France in 2004 I have managed to lose over ten kilos and (mostly) keep them off for many years now. This has to do with an increase in exercise, namely cycling, but sensible choices of food and portion sizes have also played their part, which meant turning my back on rich, creamy cooking for a while. However, every now and then I crave the most comforting of comfort foods, which for me means anything with melted cheese. As a child it was macaroni cheese that was my favourite and even now I can get quite upset if Adrian tries to wash the oven dish before I have scraped every last crispy, cheesy crumb from around the edges. There is nothing quite like a thick cheese sauce clinging to the inside and outside of a pasta tube to put a smile on my face. One of my first culinary accomplishments in France was learning how to make a real béchamel sauce; I find 50g of melted butter and 50g of plain flour for every 100ml of milk works perfectly. I have tried very hard to think of a melted cheese dish I don’t like, but I can’t think of one and one of the best things about life in France is that it has given me plenty more cheesy delights to try. The mountain areas of central France and the Alps seem to be the epicentres of the warm cheese dishes and I can understand why, as cows and cold winters have given them the perfect combination of ingredients. Here are some of my favourites that I hope you will enjoy; just remember, less is more, so don’t over indulge. Aligot is a very cheesy mashed potato dish that I first discovered at a food fête where it was being made in bulk with a large wooden paddle and was a rather impressive sight. (photo right) Camembert baked in the oven is one of my favourite starters for a special occasion. Fondu Savoyarde is a warm melted cheese sauce made with white wine, that bread is dipped into. Raclette is a great social meal where everyone cooks their own food at the table and the charcuterie, vegetables and boiled potatoes get a special covering of melted cheese. Tartiflette is a delicious potato, onion and lardon dish, baked in the oven with Reblochon cheese, that is so easy to prepare it has overtaken macaroni cheese to become my favourite, a sure sign I must be becoming more French.
tiflette... My favourite, a Tar
Truffade is a dish of thinly sliced potatoes with tomme fraiche and that I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t ever eaten, but don’t worry, it’s top of my 2017 ‘To Eat’ list.
Thank you for reading my ramblings; I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year. www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 29
30 | The Deux-SÃ¨vres Monthly, December 2016
Tiny Tim said, “ What wonderful things to eat! by John Sherwin and the Wine ? ”
know that Christmas spirit should prevail but I’ve always thought Tiny Tim had more than a touch of the passive-aggressive about him. Fair enough though: once the victuals are sorted thoughts must turn to what best accompanies them. Only natural, and far be it from me to say, but I thought Charles Dickens missed a trick when ‘A Christmas Carol’ was not followed asap by ‘A Christmas Carol 2: the Wine List’. So here it is, courtesy of French Wine Tours. First, the all important aperitif. The whole object is to get your taste buds titillated. Forget the kind of drinks you see on a French carte listed as ‘apéritif’ – such things as pastis, port, whisky. These will only serve to lacquer your mouth so that any ensuing food or wine will simply pass down your oesophagus without having registered any taste or flavour at all. The French are without equal when it comes to wine, and wine and food matching, but they have an achingly large hole in knowledge/sensitivity when it comes to aperitifs. Everyone has a fault, and this one just makes our friends and neighbours all the more endearing. The classic is a simple dry white wine. What I mean by ‘simple’ is unoaked, so that the grape itself is not masked or muffled by toasty butter. Chardonnay, why not; chenin from the Loire; viognier from the northern Rhone. If you feel it’s the season to be bubbly go for champagne if you must, but great (and much more economical) options exist. Any bottle with a label ‘mousseux’ or ‘pétillant’ or ‘crémant’ will give you the requisite bubbles at a fraction of the cost of champagne from Champagne. Add a little cassis (blackcurrant) liqueur and you have yourself a Kir Royale. I wouldn’t go for fancy cocktails unless you’re a show-off for the above taste-bud smothering reason – plus they’re a pain to prepare properly when you should be schmoozing with the guests. Mulled wine is also a taste inhibitor. But I’m not a killjoy – I’ll let you off with a G&T. There are all manner of starters you could go with so I’m not going to go through umpteen wine permutations. Suffice it to say that if it were down to me I would continue with the same wine you
serve as aperitif. Nice segue and keeps things simple. It goes without saying that the food should be light. Now for the main event. If you’re adopting the classic turkeywith-all-the-trimmings approach, you’re going to need a wine that can handle all the gubbins, i.e. stuffing, bacon rolls, chipolatas, parsnips, sprouts and so on. White might seem the obvious choice (white meat/white wine), but it would need to be a wine with attitude to hold its own. Sauvignon blanc should have the necessary zing and acidity. But for me – and give me some latitude here – a good red will do wonders. A Beaujolais cru (ie from a named village), or a Côtes du Rhône from the southern end: look for Gigondas, Vacqueyras or Cairanne villages. If you’re going a bit more Dickensian with a roast goose, served with apple sauce, red cabbage and chestnuts, you will need something with a bit more whoomph to go with the rich, dark meat. We’re looking now towards Bordeaux, a claret with backbone. Doesn’t need to be pricey – look for a Haut-Médoc, or something from Listrac-Moulis, a region upping its quality game but still at reasonable cost. For cheeses (you are going to have the cheese course next, right?), the rule of thumb is: hard cheeses go with ‘hard’ wines, that is tannic reds (you could continue with the red above), while soft cheeses go with ‘soft’ wines, for example a classy chardonnay from Burgundy. If you opt for a stinky cheese, then contrast is the key: a sweet dessert wine from Sauternes, Muscat de Beaumesde-Venise, or Coteaux du Layon will swish the flavours around to great effect. If you still have room for pudding – well, it is Christmas, so take your time – Christmas pudding will go marvellously with, again, a dessert wine. My logic would be to go for a stinky cheese with a Sauternes (or one of the others above) and carry on with the same wine to the pudding, thus keeping the traditional order of service of whites to reds to sweets while making it easy. So, bon appétit, and Seasons Greetings from French Wine Tours. A final word from Tiny Tim: “God bless us, every one!” John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 31
The Man who Brought the Potato to France by Tony Barrett
ideas. But it would take more than a prizewinning essay to sway France’s working class and its aristocracy, neither of which trusted the suspicious-looking, leprous root. Parmentier was determined to save his countrymen, even if it meant tricking them into giving the potato a try. In 1785, he organized a series of promotional stunts to win public opinion. At a royal banquet, he served potato dishes to King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette and presented them with potato flowers; the king pinned a flower to his lapel and the Wueen wore a garland in her hair. The occasion instantly sparked a passion for potatoes among the nobility, who were slaves to royal fashion. Winning over the elite was simple; but Parmentier soon realized that regular folk weren’t so easy to convince. The scientist redoubled his efforts to boost the potato’s image, this time using even more creative tactics. He planted a field of potatoes just outside Paris and posted armed guards around the perimeter, rousing the curiosity of the locals. What crop could be so valuable that it needed armed soldiers to protect it? When the potatoes were ready to be harvested, Parmentier removed the guards, and the peasantry rushed in to steal what they could of the crop. The trick worked, and before long, the potato was loved by the whole country.
Portrait of Antione Parmentier, by French painter, François Duront
he young military pharmacist Antoine Augustin Parmentier was wounded and made a prisoner of war during the Seven Years war (1756-1763) and it was during his captivity that he spent time collecting plants in Hanover. The mainstay of the prison diet was potatoes, but it made Parmentier realise the nutritional value of a crop at that time seen as only fit for pigs and prisoners of war.
In 1802, he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by Napoleon for his work with the lowly potato. These days in Paris you will find an avenue and metro station that bear his name. The dish Potatoes Parmentier is almost like saying ‘Potatoes Potatoes’, which consists of small cubes of potato, fried or otherwise cooked in butter, with parsley and other herbs added, plus bacon and onions to taste.
Spanish explorers had brought potatoes back from South America in the 1500s but the tuber had few takers in Europe. Since God hadn’t mentioned potatoes in the Bible, the clergy preached that the starch was the Devil’s handiwork, (that it provoked lust, and anyway was a Protestant vegetable). Also, needless to say, the talk did little to boost the vegetable’s popularity. After his return to France in 1763, Parmentier had to work hard to promote the potato in the face of opposition from scientists (who said because the gnarly potato can look like a leper’s hand, rumours quickly spread that potatoes caused leprosy), and from the gourmands that it was tasteless, indelicate, and flatulent. Parmentier faced an uphill battle to get the vegetable accepted, changing the name to pomme de terre (apple of the ground) did little to help. It was still considered as an animal feed by the French. Some countries began to embrace the potato, but France remained a holdout. Finally, in the midst of a terrible famine in 1770, the government got so desperate that it offered a prize to anyone who could find a food capable of curbing the problem. Agriculturalist and pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier won the essay contest for his rousing defence of the potato. Parmentier believed that the humble starch could prevent the masses from starving to death, and both the scientific community and the monarchy endorsed his
A postage stamp issued on October 27th 1956 featuring Antoine Augustin Parmentier (1737-1813), plus the portrait which was probably a model for this stamp’s design.
Contact Tony by email: email@example.com
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Communications you probably do not have to log on again and when you view the page/s they are tailored to what they perceive your needs to be.
What Exactly are Cookies?
Along with helping authenticate your access to the site, persistent cookies can record your preferences for the site such as the language, menus, themes, internal site bookmarks or favourites. So What are Tracking Cookies? It is a mute point whether you see these as a threat or a benefit. Designed to record your preferences for particular products or services and the sites you visit in pursuit of them, the advertiser or website owner only wants to serve your interests (and theirs) by populating the pages you visit with adverts for things they think you want to buy.
by Ross Hendry
It is really obvious that this information may be stored, and when sufficient is known about your web surfing habits the info could be sold to third parties looking for customers with your interests. Many see this type of cookie as an invasion of privacy as it permits an advertiser/site owner to build up a profile of their users without their consent or knowledge. It is quite easy to see when this is happening. What you seem to see is every page has the product you last searched for as an advert, or indeed the last product you purchased online, especially if you spent some time searching for it. How to Manage your Cookies As some cookies are good and some can be tiresome, you can manage them using your browser program. You are able to decide which cookies to accept and how long you will keep them. I believe that having a good look at the cookies and understanding them and who puts them there keeps you in control, and you can decide to get rid of them at a stroke or selectively choose what to keep and permit. Managing cookies in Google Chrome and Opera you may use ‘Settings’; in Firefox look in ‘Options’; for Edge and Internet Explorer use ‘Internet Options’, and for Safari use ‘Preferences’. Another good method of keeping cookies in their place is to use the In-cognito or In-Private Browsing options offered by Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge respectively. Cookies are only retained for the duration of the session and removed when the session ends (you close all browser windows), this also clears the browser and search history from your computer. A kind of “stealth” browsing but you do however still leave “tracks” on the websites you visit and the servers you are routed through, so it is not completely anonymous. Here in the EU, legislation is in place to ensure that you are asked permission before you accept cookies. On some sites if you refuse the cookie, you maybe refused access to a site. This gives you the ability to weigh-up the risk visiting any given site. Until something better comes along cookies are here to stay and can really be made to serve you. Like anything else you just need to learn how to manage them. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing.
What Type of Cookies are There? Session cookies. This type is deleted once you close the web browser. It may also be known as a transient cookie, used for the duration of your visit to a website. They typically store info like the pages you visited, or in the case of a shopping site, the items you have placed in your shopping basket. Once you have placed your order they are no longer needed. Persistent cookies. These are like little memos left in your browser and they are designed to remember your preferences and information for when you visit that site again, the idea is that The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 33
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Building & Renovation
The roof, the whole roof, and nothing but the roof Malcolm has been working in the roofing industry for over 40 years. His experience has been sought after in America and Germany, where his roofing skills have been called upon in the construction of stately and unusual homes. In the UK he has re-slated many English Heritage buildings, churches and some of the UK’s finest properties. Since moving to France with his family, Malcolm has been very busy responding to anything from an emergency leak to replacing entire roofs. For a free estimation please call: 06 32 19 50 53 / 05 49 07 67 04.
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Annual Subscription Costs: 33,60€ within France, 28,80€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:.......................................................................................... Postal Address:................................................................................... ........................................................................................................... Postcode:..................................... Country:..................................... Tel:...................................................................................................... Email:................................................................................................ Please make cheques payable to SARAH BERRY.
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Business & Finance Marketing Matters by Cindy Mobey
Get More Business with a ‘Call to Action’
ou’re doing everything you can think of to market your business… you’ve got a website, a Facebook page and other social media sites, you advertise, but still you feel you could get more business? It could be that you just need to have a CTA – Call to Action.
A CTA does not simply mean adding a ‘Buy it now’ line at the end of your blog or advertising, it’s much more than that. The words you use are so important. Using active phrases as opposed to passive phrases work well, for example, rather than say “Get in touch when you’re ready to order” or “You know how to contact us”, use phrases that grab attention, such as “Call now” or use a persuasive phrase, “Buy now and receive a free gift”. A CTA connects you to your audience, it’s what turns a casual browsing reader into a customer. It tells the customer what to do next, it’s a hook that brings them to your business. Here are some ideas to get you started… Give an order deadline “Order by 10th December to get in time for Christmas” or “Special offer ends on 10th December so order now to avoid disappointment”. Always make sure that if you take this option that your deadline date is in the same month that they’ll receive the goods as this makes the deadline sound more urgent. Your customers only have a very small window in which to get this offer. Give a free gift We all love a freebie! Make it an urgent CTA by stating that the free gift is only available for a short period of time. It doesn’t have to be a product – if you write a blog about food for example, you could offer a free set of menu cards if the reader subscribes to your email list or newsletter. This way you get something too. Determine a trial period If you establish a trial period for a new product, it’s a great way to get new customers on board – for example, “Our new product is only available at this special introductory price for a month”. Your customers know that they have little time to decide to buy and that if they leave it too late, they’ll have to pay more. No risk to the customer If you introduce a trial period, then give customers the option that if they’re not entirely satisfied with your product at any time during the trial period, they can get their money back. Most people don’t bother to do this, but it is a great option, and if they do request their money back, honour your offer and do so. This then gives you the opportunity to find out what they didn’t like and offer them an alternative. Offer a percentage off their next order “Buy before 10th December and receive a voucher for 10% off your next order over 25€”. This encourages customers to look at all your products and to buy more. Introduce a friend Ask existing customers to recommend you to friends and family. If they recommend a friend or family member, who then buys from you, they receive a voucher for 10% off or a free gift. These are just a few ideas to get you started – do you have more? Email me to let me know, I’d love to hear from you. Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org See advert opposite 40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
FREE ADVERTISING! Our You Tube Channel is now live and we are inviting you to send us your short videos promoting your businesses. These will be added to our Channel and shared online, free of charge, for a 6 month period. Please email to: email@example.com or share to our Facebook page. We will upload to our You Tube Channel when content is approved.
Ask Amanda As we come to the end of what can be called a somewhat turbulent year and look forward to spending the festive period with friends and family, I would like to wish you all “a very Merry Christmas and happy
I want to send a big thank you to Sarah, who runs ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine. I am sure we all agree that it provides a great source of information for expatriates in France and continues to keep us up-to-date with what is on in our region, and what changes may be coming down the line and how they may affect us all. I also want to thank all my customers and everyone who has called me, or I have visited during the year. I will be taking some family time from Friday 22nd December until the New Year however, I will be happy to answer any of your questions up until then.
by Sue Cook
With winter settling in and Christmas approaching, I’m planning to send some money to family overseas. I’m worried I might lose money with all that’s happening with currency values at the moment. How can I make sure I get the best rates and transfer at the right time?
A: Whether you’re a Christmas shopping lover or are planning a family get-together for the festive season, you’ll most likely spend some extra money during this time of the year…and for those of us living abroad, away from our friends and family, it’s often the case that we want to send some funds back to our loved-ones for Christmas. Whatever the cause any extra expense such as gifts, chalet rental or trips away could quickly turn out to be more costly than expected if you were to choose the wrong time or service to transfer your funds to or from abroad. Indeed, recent upheavals on the global political and economic scenes have had a strong impact on the currency markets, incurring some sharp variations between Sterling and other major global currencies. Those wanting to send funds back to the UK from the EU of late will have benefitted greatly from a weakening of the pound versus the Euro, but those in a reverse situation will have been far less fortunate. When looking specifically at transferring extra funds between France and the UK, numerous options are to be considered. For example, if you already make regular transfers between both countries you could potentially benefit from a favourable fixed exchange rate and therefore you might think about increasing the amount you send each month for a certain period to gradually cover any sum you require by a specific date.
Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.
With Care, You Prosper. Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lausanne, Paris, Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Mallorca, Rome. «The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 «Société de Courtage d’assurances» R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - www.orias.fr «Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Fin
Amanda Johnson of The Spectrum IFA Group 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, one-off transfers might be more suitable to match your needs; currency transfer specialists offer a wide range of services which will give you great flexibility around the time and rate at which you would like to transfer. For instance, a forward contract would enable you to lock-in a chosen exchange rate weeks or even months before you actually need to transfer your funds, ensuring that you obtain the rate you’ve specified and at the time of your choice (at Christmas for instance!). They key to ensuring that you get the best possible deal when transferring your funds at Christmas, just like any other time of the year, is to speak with a currency specialist. They help you by keeping a constant eye on the market fluctuations, they’ll understand your specific needs and provide you guidance to ensure you make the right transfer decisions to ultimately avoid losing out on your money! Whatever your reason for a currency transfer, ensuring that you choose the right provider, service and time is essential. Speak to a currency specialist for expert guidance on the markets and products best suited to your needs.
The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 41
Are you Ready for Exchange of Information?
by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks
rom January 2016, financial institutions in over 50 countries began collecting information on their clients and their accounts. This data will be passed onto the clients’ country of residence next year.
This exchange of information will be repeated every year, with a further 47 countries starting to collect data in 2017, ready to exchange it in 2018. It is carried out under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The loss of financial privacy affects us all. If you live in France and have, for example, investments in the Isle of Man, or bank accounts in Switzerland, or pension funds in the UK, the French tax authorities will receive information on these assets. The information being shared includes your name, address, country of tax residence, tax identification number, your investment income (interest, dividends, income from certain insurance contracts, annuities etc), account balances and gross proceeds from the sale of financial assets. The financial institutions that need to report include banks, custodians, certain investment entities, certain insurance companies and trusts. The ‘early adopter’ jurisdictions will make the first exchange by September 2017, in relation to 2016 data. This includes France,
42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
UK, most EU countries, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The countries starting the following year include Switzerland, Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Panama and Australia. When local tax offices receive this information they will be able to verify whether the taxpayer has accurately reported their income on their tax returns. Cross-border taxation is complex. If you spend time in more than one country it may be hard to determine where you should be paying tax. If you live in France but have assets and receive income abroad, you need to know where you should be declaring them and where tax is due. You have to follow tax residency rules and double taxation treaties. This is also a good time to review your tax planning arrangements. Are they approved in France? If, for example, you use noncompliant bonds, such as non-EU bonds (including those from the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey), they are taxed more aggressively than compliant ones. We continue to have the right to structure our assets in the most tax efficient way, but we have to ensure we only use arrangements which are compliant in France. There are structures which can be very effective, but take specialist advice to make sure you get it right. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.
Changes to the French Personal Income Tax System
s part of his electoral program, François Hollande pledged deeprooted tax reforms, one of those being to implement in France a PayAs-You-Earn system for income tax. A draft bill presented on September 2nd 2016 aims to change the system from 2018.
The scope of income subject to the new withholding tax system is wide and covers most categories of income (employment income, pensions, replacement income, self-employment income and rental income). From January 2018 income tax will be withheld on a monthly basis for all resident taxpayers unless the tax payer is required to personally operate this withholding through “advance payments”.
How will this all work?
Each individual or tax household will file a return in April 2017 for revenue in 2016. The authorities will calculate a withholding tax rate to apply based on information known for each household. In summer 2017 a tax rate will be sent out and each tax household or individual will have the opportunity to opt for a neutral rate. A household may choose a lower tax rate or the third party operating the withholding will apply a default rate based on a defined list, but in such a case the taxpayer will be liable for ensuring that additional monthly payments are made to cover any remaining delta. A couple taxed jointly in France will also be able to opt for an individualised withholding rate if there’s a difference in income within the couple, as opposed to having one unique consolidated tax rate.
by Adam Nicol, Office Director Tours Office.
Taxpayers will still be required to file a self-assessment tax return each year to enable the tax services to ensure that withholding tax payments are adequate and that all revenue has been included. The self-assessment form will also allow for taxpayers to receive reimbursement of tax credits. If you have income here in France, you’ll need to pay specific attention to the calculation of your tax rate in 2017. As an employer in France, you’ll be responsible for withholding income tax when payroll is processed on a monthly basis. Although at this date we know that self-employed individuals will be required to make monthly contributions, further information is to be published on how the monthly contributions are to be calculated.
And what about all this talk of a tax free year in 2017?
Taxpayers would be required to pay in 2018 tax on income from 2018 and tax from revenue arising in 2017. To avoid this situation, an exceptional tax credit equal to tax payable on regular income in 2017 will be allowed by the French tax services. As a result, 2017 will go untaxed, but the majority of tax payers won’t feel any changes to cash flow having paid tax on 2016 income in 2017 and paying tax on 2018 income in 2018. Tax will be due on ‘exceptional income’ from 2017 in 2018. Government agencies are still working on the definition of ‘exceptional income’ but scope is expected to be very wide to prevent any window of opportunity. For any advice on your business in France why not get in touch? Grant Thornton - French Chartered Accountants 02 47 60 56 56 Email: email@example.com
In October, the chosen rate will be provided to the third party in charge of operating the withholding.
Road Traffic Accident - What to Do by Isabelle Want •
If you have an accident and the car is damaged, you must fill in a CONSTAT AMIABLE which is a friendly accident report. You must complete this even if you simply damage the car yourself or with an animal. You can ask for an accident form from our office, and we provide a translated version.
If the accident involves 2 vehicles, just fill one accident statement and each take a copy (be sure the writing on the first page copies through clearly to the page underneath). If the accident involves more than 2 vehicles, fill one accident statement per vehicle involved. e.g. for a pile up, you are in the middle, fill in a statement with the vehicle in front and another with the vehicle behind. Take photographs when possible.
Completion of the accident statement can get a little tricky! You must be very vigilant. Box 1: Date | Box 2: Where it happened | Box 3: Injured, yes / no Box 4: Damage other than vehicle A and B | Box 5: Witness name and address | Box 6: Your name and address | Box 7: Vehicle details | Box 8: Insurance company details (all the info will be on your green insurance certificate) | Box 9: Driver’s details | Box 10: Indicate where the damages are | Box 11: Write down the damage | Box 12: Please tick the correct circumstances; if none applies please do not tick anything and MAKE sure you check which box the other driver ticked! | Box 13: Draw a layout of the accident. ACCURACY is vitally important! | Box 14: Remarks
• • •
If you do not agree with the other person involved in the accident, do not sign the accident form and write your comment in box 14. If the other driver refuses to sign, make sure you write ”refuse to sign” in box 14. If the other driver refuses to fill in the accident form, make sure you take his number plate and write it in box 14. If you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, please call the gendarmerie. You must send your copy of the statement to your insurance company within 5 days. If you are injured and cannot fill in the accident statement, contact your insurance company or get someone else to do it as soon as possible. IMPORTANT FRENCH SIGNAGE Different Rights of Way...
One Time Priority
Types of Priority can get a little tricky Priority Road as there are ‘One-Time Priority’ (priorité ponctuelle), ‘Priority road’ and ‘Priority to the right’ Priorité à droite meaning people coming from your right have priority, even if they Crossroad with rightof-way to the right are driving fast. DRIVE SAFELY! And remember to check out our web site www.bh-assurances.fr for more information.
Isabelle Want: BH Assurances, Ruffec 05 45 31 01 61 or 06 71 30 39 11 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016 | 43
No Orias: 07004255
lthough it is not the funniest thing to talk about, you must know what to do in case of a car accident. It is better to look at it when you are calm and composed rather than finding out what to do after an accident, when you are stressed and shocked.
Property Boilers with Brains….
high percentage of homes in France don’t have any heating controls so are simply ‘on’ or ‘off’. This is like having a single switch for all the lights in your home. Smart heating control is ‘in’ with technology developing to make heating systems as efficient as possible, saving fuel and hopefully some cash. At Ecopower we have been testing a smart system on one of our pellet boilers. The boiler is fitted with sensors and a controller that collects data. The controller in turn is connected to a transmitter device and the internet. This enables anyone who is given permission to, to log onto the controller and, through some clever analytical tools, see the data in graph format. This allows observation and control of the most important elements of the heating system from your computer or smartphone etc.
The boiler sends data every few seconds which is automatically analysed. If anything goes wrong, the burner fails to light, no pellets reach the burn chamber etc. an alarm is sent to your phone. We are able to turn the pellet boiler on and off remotely, change the comfort and economy temperatures as well as monitor the burn parameters and make changes where they were not optimal. It can ‘learn’ the fuel spend by the hour, day, week etc. so giving you the power to budget fuel usage. Permissions can also be granted for the heating engineer and manufacturer to log on to make checks. “There are so many advantages to this system” says Paul, “Heating engineers will have information at their fingertips, be able to fault find from their office and have the backup of the manufacturer being able to log on and advise”.
HAVE YOUR SAY!
Space saving Ecopellet boilers with integrated pellet hopper available from 12KW output with smart monitoring added as standard. TO FIND OUT MORE contact Paul at Eco Power Europe PRACTICAL RENEWABLE ENERGY SOLUTIONS Tel: 05 45 32 65 57 ~ email@example.com www.ecopowereurope.com
Be on the lookout...
for ‘The DSM’ magazine Readers’ Survey which will be available via our website and Facebook page at the end of this month. Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey – it should only take 5 or 6 minutes. This is your chance to have your say. We value your feedback, your views, your opinions. It all helps us produce an even better magazine. u Thank yo
44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
What are Solar Air Heaters and what are their Benefits?
by Peter McCarthy
olar air heaters look like and function in a similar way to solar water heaters. Solar air collectors introduce air directly into your building providing reduction in dampness and mould plus lowering heating bills.
Many buildings are so well insulated that they suffer from damp or other problems of unhealthy air. Ventilation has been lost. Solar air collectors can combat this without the ongoing expense of dehumidifiers and heating. They can be left to run autonomously through the winter. Other buildings may benefit more from the reduction in winter heating bills e.g. commercial properties that are occupied during the daytime such as workshops and garages. Whilst there is an upfront purchase cost these units have no running cost How does it work? This illustration shows how we collect the air and distribute the flow to the outlet duct. This then travels via a connecting duct into the room. The interior inlet to the room is finished with a neat adjustable baffle.Â Poitou Solaire panels are made of 2.0mm powder coated aluminium. All the materials used resist corrosion and all major construction parts are made of non-ferrous materials. The internal components including the filter screens are also all made from coated aluminium . A multi-walled clear poly-carbonate front is securely fixed inside the unit and is UV protected against long term deterioration. Products Made in France - Poitou Solaire solar boxes are made in France in the Deux-SĂ¨vres using as much as possible locally sourced parts. Since two primary end uses are envisaged - humidity reduction and heating - we offer two variants of the same product. One will be set up to favour air volume and one to favour higher temperature. Poitou Solaire firstname.lastname@example.org ~ www.poitousolaire.fr Tel : 07 61 52 41 88
The Deux-SĂ¨vres Monthly, December 2016 | 45
Mistletoe and Vin Chaud...Right on your Doorstep! by Joanna Leggett
hristmas in France starts only after Hallowe’en and Toussaint have passed! Only then do decorations appear brightening shorter days ...
Every self-respecting town or village has a Christmas market! Stallholders offer wares from locally produced goods to curious objets enticing those seeking that ‘perfect’ gift. Then there’s all the food on offer – from local vin and aperitifs to charcuterie and cheese with everything in between to tempt the most jaded palate! Mistletoe is plentiful; while enormous bunches hang like vast green clouds in the countryside, buying at a Christmas market is more special! What could be better fun than browsing warmed with obligatory vin chaud? You won’t want to carry everything you buy too far – so we’ve selected three townhouses perfect for your Christmas stocking ... In the historical quarter of Thouars (with the largest farmers’ market in Deux-Sèvres) sits a 3-storey 18th century townhouse (Leggett ref: 66076, photo left) at the bargain price of 141 700€. With four bedrooms in the main house and a one-bedroomed house to renovate, it’s a real opportunity. The town’s amenities are within walking distance - not far to stagger home with all that shopping! All rooms are light and airy, but most charming of all is the private courtyard garden – lovely as a home. and as a “lock up and leave” property.
Parthenay is one of those towns which seems to have more than its fair share of medieval charm. With great views overlooking the city is a wisteria-clad 17th century logis (Leggett ref: 52549, photo right) on the market for 477 000€. It’s a successful up and running B&B with five ensuite bedrooms booked all year round, being sold fully furnished. Again you’re within walking distance of all amenities and the protected medieval historical district of the city! And there’s a garden and masses of potential! On the edge of the Marais Poitevin sits Niort. In its historic centre (close to everything and the TGV station) in a really convenient location with views over the rooftops and a private patio is our final townhouse (Leggett ref: 50157, photo left). Once owned and renovated by an architect, it combines a clever mix of ancient with modern. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms spread over three floors and spacious living at ground level, this elegant stone house also boasts two lovely balconies – for sale at 287 400€ - this house is so well placed you won’t even need a car! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents.com/poitou-charentes-property
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST
Ref: 69363 Open plan, 3 bedroom bungalow built in 2006 in a secluded hamlet location, 9kms from a market town. DEUX SEVRES €146,060
Ref: 69954 Located in a peaceful hamlet on the outskirts of the village are these three stone cottages to renovate. LA CHAPELLE THIREUIL €72,600
Buying or selling?
Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’
Ref: 69390 Renovations have started on the 3/4 bedroom house with garden, garage/barn and large store room. LORIGNE €99,000
Ref: 69971 18thC estate comprising main house, guest cottage, tennis court, pool, workshop, garage and 9 acres. CELLES SUR BELLES €858,600
Ref: 69704 Well presented 6 bed / 6 bath farmhouse offering many original features, outbuildings and 1.7acres. L’ABSIE €349,500
Ref: 69442 3 bedroom single story hamlet house with barns and big garden near the market town of Thouars. BOUILLE ST PAUL €88,000
Wishing all our clients, past, present and future, all the very best for the festive season and 2017. To find out about becoming a sales agent contact email@example.com
Tel: 05 53 60 84 88 or 0800 900 324 www.leggettfrance.com 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2016
English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas.