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Annual Subscription Costs: 33,60€ within France, 28,80€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:.................................................................................................. Postal Address:........................................................................................... ................................................................................................................... Postcode:..................................... Country:............................................. Tel:.............................................................................................................. Email:.......................................................................................................... Please make cheques payable to SARAH BERRY.

Welcome! to Issue 82 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine...

...and to the end of another busy year - and what a year it’s been! For me on a personal level, it’s been one of the busiest and most accomplished years I’ve had in a long time. I’ve got myself fit, I completed my first triathlon and I took a week off work to raise money for a very worthwhile cause. All in all, I feel quite pleased with myself and what the teams have achieved, and am looking forward to a little rest now to recharge the batteries! As you would expect, there are many festive events happening this month - you can find the full list of commune Christmas markets on page 8, and there are many other independent markets in the What’s On listing along with carol concerts and quizes etc. I’m looking forward to enjoying a mulled wine or two and getting into the festive spirit. I would like to send our warm wishes to you all for the month ahead. Enjoy yourselves and if you’re travelling to see friends and family, please be safe. We’ll be back in 2018 with the February issue - don’t forget - no magazine in January... the printers need a little rest too ;-)

Merry Christmas one and all, Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Emergency Numbers:

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

Sarah x

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

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

This Month’s Advertisers

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

4 6 11 12 14 16 17 18 22 24 30 33 34 36 41 45

45 2 40 29 44 38

Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 21 Argo carpentry 36 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 35 Attention To Detail (Painting and Decorating Service) 39 Bar de la Poste 9 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 42 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 38 Blevins Franks Financial Management 43 Café Bonbon 6 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 47 Cherry Picker Hire 37 Chris Bassett Construction 40 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 38 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 36 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 45 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 39 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 44 Darren Lawrence 39 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 39 Down to Earth Pool Design 45 Ecopower Europe  45 Expat-radio 23 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 35 Hallmark Electricité 36 Haynes Carpentry (UPVC Double glazing) 36 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 44 HMJ Maintenance 39 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 38 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 37 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 37 Jeff’s Metalwork 40 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 Jon the Carpetman 19 KCR Service (Alarms and Security systems) 18 La Bohème Mervent (Bar & Restaurant) 9 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 19 La Petite Noisette (Bar & Restaurant) 28 Leggett Immobilier 46 L’Emporium (many small traders under one roof) 7 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 29 Le Relais du Poitou Gourmand 28 Lloyds Motoculture Services (Garden machinery) 20 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 40 Martin O’Neill Photography 9 Michael Glover (Renderer, Plasterer, Tiler) 40 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 36 ML Computers 23 Motor Parts Charente 35 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 19 OD Rénovation (stonemasonry) 40 Pamela Irving (Holistic therapist) 16 Polar Express (Frozen foods and groceries from UK) 29 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Restaurant des Canards 29 Rob Berry (Plasterboarding & Plastering) 39 Robert Lupton Electrician 36 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 22 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 20 Sarah Berry Online (Website design) 23 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 37 Satellite TV 23 Short Cuts (Mobile dog grooming) 11 Simon the Tiler 38 Smart Moves - Removal company 35 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 38 Steve Robin (Plumber) 38 Strictly Roofing 39 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 10 Susan4Translation 10 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 This Month’s Advertisers 3 Val Assist (Translation Services) 10 Vendée Glass Courses 15

© Sarah Berry 2017. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: decembre 2017 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 3

What’s On... Every weekend during December Le Grand Noël Magique, Parc d’animations de Noël, Domaine de la Bertrandière, Parthenay

9 - Christmas Sale at the Funny Farm Rescue. 10.30-4pm, Le Grand Beaupuits,

at La Sabliere Amailloux 11am-4pm in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. Also a chilli lunch and mince pies for 10€. Contact Denise on 05 49 64 29 83

at 7pm, Lion d’or St Hilaire de Voust.Email: cielquiz@gmail.com for menu before 2nd December.

2 - Pre Christmas Sale

2 - Keynotes Christmas Carol & Song Concert in Secondigny Church, 8pm 2&3 - Vineyard Open Day in Oiron

Vineyard Domaine des Terres Blanches opens its doors to the public, to show how they cultivate their vines, harvest their grapes and produce their wines. www. terres-blanches.fr 3 - Terves Christmas Market Organised by CSSG, 11am - 5pm. See advert on P.7 3 - Keynotes Christmas Carol & Song Concert in Vouvant Church, 8pm 4 - Art Expo in aid of Ian’s Orange Day. Read

more on P.17 of November’s issue 7 - Monthly Quiz at A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. Starts 7pm. Please see advert on P.28 8 - Opening of ice rink in St Maixent l’École (until 23rd December incl). A great

opportunity to have fun, for young and old, in the heart of the city centre, in a festive atmosphere 8 & 9 - Telethon 2017 The French fundraising event, which takes place each year with the help of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, millions of participants and lots of artists. 30 hours of television 8-10 - Vineyard Open Day in Cersay

Domaine de la Gachère - Discover this vineyard in Nord Deux-Sèvres. Alain and Gilles Lemoine welcome to present the results of their work and their passion for their craft. www.facebook.com/ domainedelagachere 9 - La Balade de Noël in La Mothe St Héray. Walk throughout the town (starting at the Tourist Office) by lanterns. Limited to 80 participants, prior registration essential Mathilde Allard 05 49 05 01 41

79200, St Germain de Longue Chaume.

9 - CSDS Christmas dinner and quiz

10 - Keynotes Christmas Carol & Song Concert in Amailloux Church 8pm 10 - Autumn Trail in Saint Jacques de

Thouares. Discover the landscape Thouarsais on foot, on horseback or by bike. For walkers, two courses of 10 and 12 km, for all others a 25 km course. Gourmet break offered halfway. Possibility to reserve a meal (10€). www.facebook.com/Equi-Chouette-79320413041474157/?fref=ts 10 - Fête de Noel Salle des Fetes, 24800, St Paul la Roche at 10.30am-4.30pm. Raising money for the dogs at Twilight. 10 - Artisanal Christmas Market

organised by Association Cats. At St Laurent Ceris (16450). See advert on P.7

13 - Afternoon quiz in aid of the furry friends fund. At La Bohème,

Mervent at 3pm. See page 9 for more info 15-17 – weekend of Gospel in Moncoutant. Concerts throughout the weekend at Cinema Stella, Moncountant Church and at MTP. Ticket prices between 12€-15€ or weekend passes available. Reservations and information: Laurence Leclercq (town hall) 05 49 72 60 44 www. moncoutant.fr 15 Dec until 7 Jan Christmas Lights in abundance at the home of Domi Parvaud. Christmas Novelties, a 6m Eiffel Tower, small Christmas Village, 50 metres of paths filled with magical christmas illuminations. Every evening from 15th December, 6-9pm, Santa Claus will be in attendance 7pm-8pm on 22nd and 23rd December. Free and open to all. 3 chemin de la Fontaine, 79420 Vautebis 16 - Concert ‘A trip to England’ by Ensemble Josquin des Près in Lezay. Bringing together more than sixty singers and 45 instrumentalists, traditional Christmas carols


6th  8th 15th

Étusson Genneton St Martin de Sanzay

Closed 16th December - 1st February Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 www.reelfishandchips.net

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

16 - Surprise concert in Luzay

Surprise concert to celebrate the closing of the season. www.trompesouriscafe.fr 17 - Christmas Down Under Lunch & Fair at Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys.

See ad on P.6

17 - Christmas Fête in Argentonnay

Treasure hunt in the town of Boësse, which will be followed by a show for children and adults. 2.30pm 20 - Christmas Charity Quiz at Bar de La Poste, L’Absie. See advert on P.9 for details. 22 - Christmas Carols, mulled wine and cake by Association franco-anglophone de bonne entent at l’église de Lorigné, 6pm Free entry. 31 - Scottish New Year’s Eve costume party at Café Bonbon

JANUARY... 6 - Bal Trad de Chiché. Dance, boogie,

sing, listen, eat, play..... this annual event supports the association ‘Un Hôpital pour les Enfants’ and promises to be a fun-filled musical event. 8.30pm, Salle des Fêtes Chiché, entry 8-10€. 10 - Les Soldes d’Hiver 2018. The Winter Sales begin 8am Wednesday 10th January until 20th February inclusive. 12-18th Feb Truffle Tasting at Puy d’Anché Farm, Sauzé-Vaussais. Appreciate 10 different ways of tasting truffles, with

contact ‘The DSM’

For CHRISTMAS Markets, please see page 8

Reel Fish & Chips

but also pieces by Byrd, Tomkins, masters of the Renaissance to Rutter, great composer of choral music of the twentieth century. Finally, trumpets and violins will join the choir to perform works by Purcell and Handel. Reservation form available at the Tourist Office. Information on 05 49 27 57 95 or by mail: reservations@scenesnomades.fr. (see advert P.7) 16 - Concert de Noël in St Hilaire la Palud. 8.30pm, Church St Hilaire. Free entry

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

La Vendée Chippy Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: Closed Thursdays until 22 February 2018 Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st of month : Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny Sat 9 Dec: Café des Sports, L’Absie Closed from 10th December. Reopen Fri 16th Feb ‘18 Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 www.lavendeechippy.com OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at:

• Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) • Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 • La Chapelle 16140 • St Jean d’Angély 17400 Closed for January & February. Back 1st March at Aulnay Tel: 06 02 22 44 74 www.frying4u2nite.com

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm

...DECEMBER 2017 tasting menus (72€ without drinks) 95€ (food and wine pairing). Reservation only. www.ferme-puyanche.fr 12-14 Houbaswing Festival, Niort www.houbaswing.fr 25 - Burns Night celebration at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.29 26 – Live Opera Il Trovatore transmission in Melle from l’Opéra National de Paris. 8pm at La Salle Métullum in Melle (79500) 28 – 10km run Niort

Les Foulées de l’IUT

COMING UP... 3rd February - The Bressuirais Running Trails 4th February - Trail de l’Abbaye, Celles sur Belles. http://running79.emonsite.com/pages/fiches-des-courses/trail-de-l-abbaye.html 21st March - The Australian Pink Floyd Show, Niort l’Acclameur. Tickets from http://www.az-prod.com/ 13/14th April - Theatrivasles perform ‘Ladies Down Under’. Will follow Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda on a holiday they’ll never forget!


The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, holds English speaking monthly services. Traitional Bilingual Service of Christmas Carols and Lessons (in English and French) - Tuesday 12th December 7pm, in the Parish Church, rue de la Roche, Pompaire. Followed by refreshments everyone welcome. For more Christmas services; please find details on page 6. A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website www.church-in-france.com or contact us by email: office. goodshepherd@orange.fr Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71. The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes www.thefillingstationfrance.com or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15.

Please note that ‘The DSM’ Office will be closed from 6pm Wednesday 20th December until 9am Wednesday 3rd January 2018.

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

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcomes you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.


1st and 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd and 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: www.therendezvous.fr

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 25th December


1st January 6th January

Jour de l’An Fête de la Galette

The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) invite you to join them at the R.C. Church in Arçay 86200 (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun) for their special Christmas service. Candlelit Carol Service, 17th December, 5.30pm. From January, we will revert to our normal service every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11am. We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Please see our website for details www.escoval.org



4th: 7th: 13th: 11th:

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) Closed 20th December - 26th February. Tel: 06 37 53 56 20 www.mobilefishandchipsfrance.com

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Aigre Theil Rabier

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 www.tophatquizzes.com OPEN 6 - 8.30pm FROM 7pm Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates




@The DSMagazine



YOU TUBE:  T he Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine INSTAGRAM: thedsm79 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 5

Getting Out & About

Christmas Sale at the Funny Farm Rescue by Heather Rosemary December Services in the

Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd

Date & Time



Sunday 10 , 10.30am

Carol service

Tuesday 12th, 7pm

Carol service

Thursday 14th, 7pm

Carol service

Sunday 17 , 10.30am

Carol service

Foyer Protestant, Jarnac Parish Church, Pompaire Parish Church, Courcelles Temple Protestant, Barbezieux Parish Church, Civray St Martin, Cognac Parish Church, Alloue



Monday 18th, 7pm Thursday 21st, 7pm Sunday 24th, 6pm

Carol service Carol service Carol & Christmas Eve Mass Monday 25th, 10.30am Christmas Day service Monday 25th, 10.30am Christmas Day service Monday 25th, 10.30am Christmas Day service

nce again, a massive thank you to all who came along and supported our Autumn Sale and helped to sterilise and O vaccinate some of our rescued pussy cats. We are thrilled that some have homes now too.

We are having a Christmas Sale on:

Saturday the 9th December 10.30 - 4pm at Le Grand Beaupuits 79200 St Germain de Longue Chaume There will be mince pies, hot drinks, hand-made cards, Christmas hamper raffle, table of gifts to buy for Christmas, decorations, many new donations and lots of kittens who need your support and will be waiting to be cuddled on the day. I hope you can all come along and join us. If anyone has any donations (we are so grateful for everything you donate) please email me: heather.rosemary33@gmail.com.

Parish Church, Genouillé Foyer Protestant, Jarnac Parish Church, Courcelles

Promote your event....

Size A colour (above) 50€ ttc includes: ad design,‘What’s On’ listing + coverage on Facebook

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017



by Sandra Lane

ladies from Pause! for Patchwork have been busily and quilting blocks to make up the charity quilt, Twhichhemaking will be raffled to raise money for the charity Rêves, for disadvantaged children. The quilt is now being put together by group member Hazel, who will have it finished by the next group meeting on 16th November. In addition to the quilt there will be many other raffle prizes.


Raffle tickets are now on sale at 1€, available from L’Emporium and Pause! Café, both in L’Absie.

Don’t worry - you can view them ALL online!

Please follow the Facebook page ‘L’Absie plus 30 minutes - useful contacts, events and discussions’ which will be updated with new places were you can purchase tickets. We thank you in advance for your support and will let you know how much money has been raised in a future issue.

Visit: www. thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr and go to Distribution > Magazine Archives

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 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 7

December’s Christmas Markets... Friday 1st December • Angers (49000) (until 20th December) The ‘doors’ to the Christmas Market officially open at 11am on 1st December.The official inauguration and switching on the lights, Saturday 2nd December 5.30pm Place du Ralliement, in front of Le Grand Théâtre. Market and various events throughout the month of December. More at marchedenoelangers.com • Poitiers (86000) (until 3rd December) Free Market. In its 10th year, the Free Market is a Christmas festival which includes concerts, a village of 40 creators and artists, exhibitions, DIY workshops and much more. More information www.facebook.com/ events/1360702897311035 • Poitiers (86000) Town centre - from the end of November to the first days of January, find Christmas presents and decorations in the small chalets that dot the heart of the city of Poitiers. Festive and friendly atmosphere, every day between 10am-7pm. Continue your walk to the Parc de Blossac where the whole family can enjoy magical animations: Ferris wheel, carriage ride etc... Saturday 2nd December • Cerizay (79410) Town centre, Saturday 3pm-8pm • Doué-la-Fontaine (49700) In the magical troglodyte caves, 4€ entry, (children U12 free), 10am-8pm • Iteuil (86240) Place de l’Eglise, from 4pm • L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer (85460) Salle des Fêtes (Avenue Admiral Courbet), 9.30am-6.30pm • La Chapelle St Laurent (79430) Place de l’Eglise, 5pm-10.30pm • Nanteuil-en-Vallee (16700) 9am-7pm at L’Abbaye • Saint-Loup-Lamairé (79600) Town Centre, 3pm-11pm Sunday 3rd December • Archigny (86210) Abbaye de l’Étoile 10am-7pm • Beaulieu-sous-Parthenay (79420) 10am-7pm • Brioux sur Boutonne (79170) New Salle des Fêtes, La Boutonnaise, 9.30am-6pm • Cerizay (79410) Town centre, 10am-6pm • Doué-la-Fontaine (49700) In the magical troglodyte caves, 4€ entry, (children U12 free), 10am-6pm • Exideuil (16150) Town centre, 9am-6pm, 100+ exhibitors • Faye-sur-Ardin (79160) Salle des Fêtes (Espace Magnolia), from 10am • François (79260) Salle des Fêtes du Breuil (Rue des Écoles), 10am-5.30pm • L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer (85460) Salle des Fêtes (Avenue Admiral Courbet), 9.30am-6pm • La Chapelle St Laurent (79430) Place de l’Eglise, 10am-6.30pm • La Ronde (17170) L’Espace Multipôle de La Ronde, 10am-7pm • Nanteuil (79400) Maison du Temps Libre, from 9am • Nanteuil-en-Vallée (16700) 9am-7pm at L’Abbaye • Saint-Loup-Lamairé (79600) Town Centre, 10am-7pm • St Martin des Noyers (85140) Le Chateau de la Grève, from 10am • Villiers-en-Plaine (79160) Salle des Fêtes • Vouille (79230) Salle Polyvalente, Rue des Piots, 10am-7pm Friday 8th December • Courçon d’Aunis (17170) Village centre, 5pm-11pm • Fors (79230) Salle des Fêtes (Rue des Écoles) 4pm-10pm Saturday 9th December • Apremont (85220) Hosted by Les Beaux Cadeaux, village centre. 2pm-7pm. Inside and outside stalls, food, traditional snacks and drinks. All gifts will be artisanal • Chalandray (86190) 5 Route de la Couture, 2pm-7pm • Champdeniers-Saint-Denis (79220) Salle des Fêtes (30 Rue de Genève), 10am-6pm • Charroux (86250) Rue des Halles 9am-6pm • Courçon d’Aunis (17170) Village centre, 10am-11pm • La Mothe-Saint-Héray (79800) Place Clémenceau, from 6pm (including lantern walk-reserve), Circus, 100 exhibitors • Louzy (79100) In and around La Salle des Fêtes Les Quatre Vents (Rue de la Mairie), 3pm-10pm • Niort (79000) (until 24th December) Place du Donjon, 40+ chalets in the Christmas Village. Mondays 4pm-7pm, Tuesdays-Sundays 10am-7pm 8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

• • • • • •

Nueil-les-Aubiers (79250) Place Jeanne d’Arc, 2pm-9pm Romans (79260) Salle des Fêtes (Rue Emile Aumounier), 4.30pm-9.30pm Saint-Marc-la-Lande (79310) Commanderie des Antonins, 2pm-7pm Saint-Maxire (79410) Salle des Fêtes de Romans Saint Varent (79330) From 4pm Thenezay (79390) From 6pm

Sunday 10th December • Apremont (85220) Hosted by Les Beaux Cadeaux, village centre. 10.30am-7pm. Inside and outside stalls, food, traditional snacks and drinks. All gifts will be artisanal. • Courçon d’Aunis (17170) Village centre, 10am-8pm • La Mothe-Saint-Héray (79800) Place Clémenceau, From 9.30am, including truffles walk, 100 exhibitors • L’Absie (79240) 10am-6pm • Celles-sur-Belle (79370) Place des Époux Laurent, 10am-6pm • La Rochefoucauld (16110) The Cloisers • Montbron (16220) Salle des Fêtes, 9.30am-6pm • Niort (79000) (until 24th December) Place du Donjon, 40+ chalets in the Christmas village. Mondays 4pm-7pm, Tuesdays-Sundays 10am-7pm • Nueil-les-Aubiers (79250) Place Jeanne d’Arc, 11am-8pm • St Amand sur Sèvre (79700) Salle la Libellule, 10.30am-7pm • Saint-Marc-la-Lande (79310) Commanderie des Antonins, 10am-6pm • St Pardoux (79310) - Foyer Rural 10am-6pm • Saint Varent (79330) until 8pm • Thenezay (79390) until 7pm Friday 15th December • Brûlain (79230) Salle des Fêtes, 4.45pm-8.30pm • Fontenay le Comte (85200) Town centre, quai Poey d’Avant 10am-8pm • Parthenay (79200) Esplanade Georges Pompidou (Avenue Pierre Mendès France), 4pm-9pm • Saint-Martin-de-Saint-Maixent (79400) Place de la Mairie from 6pm Saturday 16th December • Bressuire (79300) Town centre, Christmas market with entertainment throughout the weekend • Fontenay le Comte (85200) Town centre, quai Poey d’Avant 10am-8pm • Mauzé-Thouarsais (79100) La Salle des Fêtes René Cassin • Parthenay (79200) Esplanade Georges Pompidou (Avenue Pierre Mendès France), 10am-9pm • Sainsais (79270) At Chez Tante Mabel, Local artisans, food, beverages, raffle in aid of Charity. Live music throughout the weekend. www.cheztantemabel.com • Saint Laurent sur Sèvre (85290) 4pm-10pm • Thouars (79100) Town Centre, Place de Médard Sunday 17th December • Bressuire (79300) Town centre, Christmas market with entertainment throughout the weekend • Fontenay le Comte (85200) Town centre, quai Poey d’Avant 10am-8pm • Fressines (79370) Salle des Fêtes, 10am-6pm • Parthenay (79200) Esplanade Georges Pompidou (Avenue Pierre Mendès France), 10am-7pm • Sainsais (79270) At Chez Tante Mabel, Local artisans, food, beverages, raffle in aid of Charity. Live music throughout the weekend • Sigournais (85110) Place de l’Eglise 10am-6pm • St Maixent l’École (79400) Town centre • Thouars (79100) Town centre, Place de Médard Friday 22nd December • Coulonges-sur-l’Autize (79160) Les halles (Rue du Commerce), 4pm-11pm

A Famous Beauty Spot Reopens in Mervent


or those of you who like to walk in the forest in Mervent or fish, kayak and swim in the river, I am sure you will have noticed, with sadness, the continued closure of the bar at the top of the hill with the large terrace and the wonderful view. If you wished you could once again enjoy a drink and take in that incredible view I have great news, it has reopened and has been completely revamped!

Renamed La Bohème, the bar now features a really welcoming interior decorated with style in a dramatic blue with copper touches. I don’t think I have seen such a huge selection of spirits or wine in a French bar before. They have 16 Gins and all the speciality tonics which go with them, and an array of whisky from the celtic lands to keep any aficionado happy. They have 8 house choices of wine by the glass and you can buy it bottled from the impressive range with prices starting at 11€. They have over 15 choices of bottle beers from around the world to sample. All of this can be paired with their new food menu, opening midmorning with bacon, sausage or egg sandwiches, lunch and dinner has an interesting selection of platters and salads and caters well for vegetarians. A home-made soup is on offer daily and a feature is their home-made Irish brown bread, scones and cakes. I mention the celtic lands as the owners are from Ireland and Scotland respectively, and have invested heavily to bring this neglected bar back to life and to open that amazing terrace again for guests.


They are running special events throughout the winter including an Afternoon Quiz in aid of the Furry Friends Fund on the 2nd Wednesday of the month (next is 13th December at 3pm), a Whisky Tasting with Food Pairing (16th December, 7pm), Christmas Carols and Mulled Wine (17th December at 4pm), a Curry Night (20th December, 7pm) and a New Year’s Eve Dinner (31st December at 8pm).


For more information on these events and their menus, contact John or Maeve on Tel: 06 42 00 27 96 or follow them on Facebook/labohememervent.

Well, what do you know?: 1) ARSENe Wenger 2) David STEEL 3) RAPEseed 4) ROBin Williams 5) In a FORGE 6) BASALT (assault)

7) FRODO Baggins (fraud) 8) WAR 9) John STALKER 10) BATTERY 11) THE F T (theft) 12) A MURDER 13) The CRIMEan War

Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. happy new year 7. layered 8. white 10. yule 11. sleighed 12. tipple 14. agreed 17. reindeer 19. burp 22. emcee 23. poor box 24. one snow flake Down: 1. holly 2. payslip 3. yore 4. yawning 5. amish 6. headed 8. doll 12. turkey 13. ladders 15. exurbia 18. incan 20. pixie 21. roof Easy Crossword: Across: 1. socks 3. amass 7. merry 8. fairy 9. agism 10. believe 11. impartial 14. maestro 15. carol 16. share 17. igloo 18. reeks 19. virgo Down: 1. sleigh 2. christmas tree 4. away in a manger 5. strive 6. jabberwocky 12. dasher 13. ho ho ho

Take a Break - SOLUTION

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 9

O’ Christmas Tree! by Sue Burgess


hat are the different species espèces of Christmas tree sapin?

There are several different species and types of Christmas tree but two are particular favourites during the Christmas period les fêtes de fin d’année.

L’épicéa (Picea Abies) is the traditional Christmas tree le sapin de Noël traditionnel, with its small sharp needles ses petites aiguilles piquantes. It gives of a strong smell of resin une forte odeur de résine to perfume the house pour parfumer la maison. However, it is less resistant than the Nordmann and loses its needles il perd ses aiguilles. For some years now people have been choosing Nordmann (Abies Nordmanniana ou Caucasica) with its regular branches ses branches régulières, and its large supple and soft needles ses grandes aiguilles souples et douces. More heat resistant plus résistant à la chaleur, it does not lose its needles and its evenly spread out branches give it a nice cone shape conicité. It is less fragrant than the other type and more expensive when you buy it. The name Nordmann comes from the botanist le botaniste Alexander Von Nordmann (1803-1866) who discovered the tree. Once you have bought your tree and set it up, now comes the time to decorate décorer/dresser le sapin the tree. At the top the French tend to put a star une étoile whereas many British people place an angel un ange at the top of the tree. Baubles les boules come in many shapes and colours beaucoup de formes et de couleurs and there are also lots of other decorations to hang on the tree des suspensions. Tinsel is une guirlande and fairy-lights are les guirlandes électriques. The British tradition of sending lots of Christmas cards and displaying them at Christmas has not taken off in France. The French send a few cards for new year, although it is fine to send the cards anytime during January. Nowadays people often telephone to wish a happy new year souhaiter la bonne année.

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: le sapin de Noël .....................

Christmas tree

une boule de Noël .................. bauble une guirlande tinsel ............... tinsel une guirlande électrique ........ fairy lights une bougie ............................. candle la crèche ................................ nativity scene une carte de voeux ................. greetings card le papier cadeau .................... wrapping paper une étoile ............................... star un ange .................................


une renne ............................... reindeer le père Noël ...........................

Father Christmas

un (bon)homme de neige ....... snowman les cotillons ............................ party hats/squeakers etc. for New Year 10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

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DOB 12 June 2017

Fritz is becoming more and more confident. He was a nervous, skinny little boy when   he was found with his sister, Ziggy.  Phoenix had no spaces free in foster care so Craig and Nadia kindly offered to foster him and his sister, Ziggy, until permanent homes could be found for them. Slowly but surely he is getting used to their dog and even approached Percy, their big ginger tomcat, so it looks like he is a brave boy. Households with existing, cat friendly dogs and cats will therefore not phase him. Fritz loves lots of cuddles and fuss and loves to get up on your lap when it’s time for a snooze.  Feeding time is still rather frenzied – it’s like he’s never been fed before but, given that he and Ziggy were very emaciated when they were found, that’s hardly surprising! Fritz has had his first vaccinations, chipped and is flea and worm treated. If you would like further information, or would like to meet Fritz, please contact his foster carers:  Craig and Nadia Rea Email: nadia.rea@orange.fr or phone Jenny tel: 05 53 89 59 35 / 07 81 27 86 51 Fritz is in Dept. 33 near Monsegur


Monzon Abandoned following a family break up, MONZON is a stunning 5 year old Dogue Argentine X weighing 40 kg. He is a firm favourite with our volunteer walkers as he’s so easy to walk, responds well to training and is a big softie! Sadly, MONZON has been living in kennels for nearly a year now. He did get a short break spending the weekend with a foster family, during which time he behaved impeccably. He was fantastic with the children, obedient, affectionate, calm, good in the house and in the car. His one fault seems to be that he’s over excitable around other animals. His ideal home will be with owners used to large dogs, a large garden with high, secure fencing away from the temptation of other animals. He is OK when he meets other dogs on walks, but needs to be an only pet for the reasons mentioned above. ​ MONZON has been neutered, micro-chipped, is fully vaccinated and has been treated for worms, fleas and ticks. An adoption fee of 150€ will be asked for to help towards his medical costs.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 11

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

Freemasonry In France There are English-speaking lodges here in France. One such lodge, based in Cognac, meets six times a year. If interested in joining, please contact David Brieger: david.brieger@neuf.fr

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or visit www.cancersupportdeuxsevres.com THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Roger: 05 55 76 22 65 or Nancy: 02 54 24 09 74. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€pe.net or visit www.aafrance.net for details of English-speaking meetings.

Feeling anxious, not sleeping, low self esteem, sad, teary, depressed? Don’t suffer alone. Positive Thinking Group is a self-help support group who meet 4th Tuesday afternoon each month, 2.30pm at Le Regal’On Allonne 79130. Contact chezlesmets1@gmail.com The Jean David Art Group meets every Tuesday, 11am - 3pm at Fenioux (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit www.jeandavidfineart.com or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.


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

Amateur woodturners/woodworkers interested in joining our association ‘Faisons des Copeaux’. Any level of ability from debutant to experienced. We meet Wednesdays & Thursdays, 2-5pm, every 2 weeks. Contact Roland 05 49 96 44 10, preferably evenings.

Please visit the branch website:


Craft Café Creatif

Do you enjoy knitting or sewing in the company of others? Join us in L’Absie for an enjoyable afternoon over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. For details contact Carole on email: carole.stocking@gmail.com RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: rafasof@orange.fr or Tel Website Short URL: http://goo.gl/ut80T


Come and join us. Learn at your own pace within a mixed group of English and French speaking people, in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Every Thursday 8pm-9.30pm. Contact Penny 02 51 63 31 21 pennyhomewood@hotmail.com or Ray 02 51 61 28 69.

Les Amis Solitaires

We are a group of people living alone in France. We meet up for coffee mornings from 11am, every 2nd & 4th Thursday at The Lemon Tree in Sauzé Vaussais. More details from Gwen on 05 17 34 10 23 or email: LASdePoitou@gmail.com

ThouarStMed’Arts - Association that aims to bring together

TTL Photography Group

I’m Francis. I am 52 years old, French and have been learning English for a few years. I live in Aiffres (nr Niort). I would like to meet with English speaking people near me, to spend a couple of hours per week to speak in French or English. We could both improve our language skills this way. Contact me on francis.gaboriau@bbox.fr or 06 85 92 58 33.

Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay

people from the historic town of Thouars (Quartier Saint Médard) for a new development of artistic activity. Exhibitions, galleries, brocantes, creators, cultural events etc. Visit the website: thouarsaintmedarts79.asso-web.com

Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

Thanks to the support of the Centre we meet every Wednesday 7.30pm-9pm, at 7 rue Anne Desrays, for conversation in English & French, for a mutual understanding of each other’s language and culture. Contact 05 49 66 35 11 or the Centre 05 49 66 76 40 email jpc.allorent@orange.fr or eugene_mc_cabe@hotmail.com 2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club Come and join us for a bike ride, or just a cup of coffee and a chat, with bike-minded people. As the name suggests, we meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site. www.2ndsundayclub.fr 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Local photography group on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border. New members always welcome, all levels of expertise and knowledge. We meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 1pm at Pause! L’Absie (79240). Feel free to pop in and join us.

French 4-part choir established over 30 years (with 2 English members) always looking for “new blood”! Excellent Musical Director. Come to a rehearsal and see for yourselves. Contact Keith for more info keithandcarol@orange.fr 05 49 69 14 89 Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Membership Secretary Michele Hansford for joining details. Email: michelemhansford@gmail.com Tel. 05 49 64 21 63


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




by Eric Edwards


t the time of writing it is early November, when we traditionally remember the sacrifices made in the name of freedom. Such a time generates much conversation on social media amongst veterans regarding their experiences in war. This year has been no exception and a prolonged exchange regarding the sinking of HMS SHEFFIELD during the Falklands War between those of us involved in the rescue of her crew threw up some interesting comments. Without detailing the horrors witnessed on that fateful day, it is sufficient to say that many young men grew old in a matter of hours without realising it at the time. One comment that stood out for me was from someone who was a young man at the time serving in our ship. He said, and I quote “I’ve never felt that I’ve come home, I feel like there’s part of me that I never managed to bring home with me, I’m not religious but the closest way to describe it is that I left my soul down there and I’m never going to get it back and I’ll never really be at peace. I’ve learnt to live with it but it’s never far from my thoughts.” These words powerfully endorse the problems of PTSD, wounds that cannot be seen, suffered by many veterans from all conflicts and manifest across the spectrum of difficulties from erratic behaviour to complete breakdown and homelessness. Your Poppy Appeal contributions go to help these individuals and their dependents so thank you for any donations you may have made and please be aware that you may donate to the Poppy Appeal any time of the year, through the many fundraising events organised by our Branch members. Please see our website for details of current fundraising activities. One of our members, Alan Rowlands, completed the ‘Randonnée de Pays Basque’ in September, one of the famous Freedom Trails from St Jean de Luz, across the Pyrenees to Endralatsa on the River Didassa, the frontier between France and Spain. He has already raised a considerable amount of money but would be pleased to take any further donations.


by Tim Fitzgerald

heatrivasles has had a stroke of luck in the form of an amazing act of generosity. A few months ago we received a message, out of the blue, from a lady called Danuta. She said that she had a number of theatrical costumes that she would like to pass on to us in exchange for a charitable donation. We were astonished to discover that there were in fact over four hundred of them all lovingly hand-crafted to an incredible standard. We have Sheriffs to Shepherds and Joseph’s dreamcoat to Jack Sparrow’s eye patch. We could not be happier and they are now installed in their new home, the TheatriVasles wardrobe department (or at our house!). At least ten of the costumes have made their debut at the 10 Minute Play Festival and such a comprehensive wardrobe enormously increases the range of productions we can stage in the future. Sadly the Encore Theatre Group, whose costumes they were, are no longer putting on shows but everyone at TheatriVasles would like to say a huge Thank You and we wish everyone associated with them all the best.  I would also like to mention our friends at Reaction Theatre. As far as we are concerned, Christmas just isn’t Christmas until we’ve sung Christmas carols, so we can’t wait until the excellent ‘Keynotes Christmas Carol & Song Concerts’ take place in December. There are three venues on three dates so make sure you get there and get into the Christmas mood. • • •

2nd December at 8pm, Secondigny Church 3rd December at 3pm, Vouvant Church 10th December at 3pm, Amailloux Church with La Bie qui Chante Chorale

Theatrivasles will be back in April to perform the sequel to ‘Ladies Day’, our most successful production to date (at time of writing!). ‘Ladies Down Under’ will follow Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda on a holiday they’ll never forget! Performance dates are Friday 13th April and Saturday 14th April 2018. 

If you enjoy poetry and have access to the Internet, try watching the following video of ‘Yorkshire Prose’ and his poem, ‘Remember’: www.facebook.com/Yorkshireprose/videos/1616710138630095 Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

www.rblpoitou-charentes.fr Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. incl contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows.

Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 54€ per annum will be requested. How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us: info@ thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

© Theatrivasles 2017

TheatriVasles would like to thank you for your enormous support this year, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and look forward to seeing you at the theatre in Vasles, 79340 in 2018!

Visit www.theatrivasles.com or find us on Facebook The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 13


What length will you go to?



YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Jacqui Brown for sharing her festive book reviews with us.

by Alison Morton

hen we say ‘creative writing’ what do we mean? Poetry, a story, a play? Perhaps you are moved to write a short story or a piece of flash fiction. Or go for a full-length novel or its little sister, the novella. Let’s unpick some of these… Plays and poetry are well recognised as such but here I’m looking at stories written in prose – a form that shows a narrative with a natural flow of language in a grammatical structure. Novel. This is an easy one! A fictional narrative of over 50,000 words with a beginning, middle and end and telling a story. It can be literary, genre or popular fiction, highbrow or lowbrow. The most important aspect is that it develops a coherent story whatever its style. Most are around the 80,000 – 130,000 depending on genre; romance, crime, sci-fi often come in at the shorter end with historical and literary fiction at the longer end. Sometimes called “long form fiction”, novels are what most people pick up in a bookshop, online or at an airport when they want a ‘good read’. Novella. Currently immensely popular as an ebook, “...it allows for more extended development of theme and character than does the short story, without making the elaborate structural demands of the full-length book. Thus it provides an intense, detailed exploration of its subject, providing to some degree both the concentrated focus of the short story and the broad scope of the novel.” (Robert Silverberg) Today, a novella is often written in between novels, as an accompaniment or complement to other books in a series. Sometimes, an author may be trying out a new genre, character or storyline; other times, they may tell the story of a secondary character. These are quick reads, but no less enjoyable and are typically 20,000 to 45,000 words. War of the Worlds by H G Wells and Animal Farm by George Orwell are famous examples. Novelette. Usually around 7,000 to 17,000 words, so falling in between a novella and a short story. Not much in fashion these days, they are featured in some literary awards such as the Hugo and Nebula science fiction awards.

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

Fa-La-Llama-La by Stephanie Dagg


oelle arrives in rural France, in a snowstorm, a few days before Christmas, hoping the last minute pet-sitting project will help her struggling finances. However, although the llamas waiting for her are just as lovely as her quick Internet research led her to believe they would be, nothing else is quite what she was expecting. There is no power, no water and aside from the llamas, the company, to begin with, is rather difficult. The sensible option would be to leave as quickly as the snow will let her, but with nowhere to call her own, she opts for the adventure. Amid the snow, strange goings on seem to become normal, the nativity comes to life and with it there is a hint of romance in the air. This book is a warm, feel-good read that picked me up on a lonely weekend when I was at a bit of a loose end. Stephanie’s way with words and fun with accents made me laugh and I’m sure other word nerds will be just as entertained as I was. I could have stayed longer, but it finished.

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver


ewly single Rachel gets a surprise from her friends, a trip to Paris, with a catch; she has been entered into the competition to find Paris’ next patisserie apprentice. She has one week to prove she’s got what it takes to bake patisseries, in Paris.

Short story. Often the first way writers try out their writing legs, the short story is immensely popular. In general, it features a small cast of named characters, and focuses on a self-contained incident or theme, but uses the same techniques of writing as used in a novel. Short stories are often collected together as an anthology by the same author or different authors, or featured in magazines. Moreover, there are countless short story competitions! And their length? Sticking my neck out, I would say 1,200 to 3,500 words, although I was once commissioned to write one of up to 5,000 words!

When she first arrives the loneliness of her small Paris apartment, the competitiveness of the others she finds herself thrown in with and the arrogance of the French chef all make for dark times when the rest of Paris is high on Christmas. Full of self-doubt she wants to run, but to run away would disappoint those who have arranged this special treat for her. With determination she buries herself in flour, crème-patissière and beaten egg whites and begins to create her dreams. Paris in all her winter glory comes to life, the food descriptions are tantalisingly delicious and there is light at the end of the tunnel for Rachel.

Flash fiction . A very, very short and succinct fictional work that still shows character and plot development – a tall order! Examples include the  Six-Word Story, 140-character stories, also known as “twitterature”,  the “dribble” (50 words),  “microfiction” (100 words),  “sudden fiction” (750 words), “nanotales”  and “microstory”. At its best, flash fiction hints at or implies a larger story.

This is a good fun read, packed full of French patisserie delights, Parisian Christmas sparkle and even a sprinkling of romance. After all we can’t have the single heroine of a chick-lit set in Paris at Christmas time without a little Paris love and magic, can we? If you want a winter break in Paris, this book is the perfect getaway.

All fiction requires inspiration, good craft and technique. The shortest forms demand pinpointing and extreme distillation, but the long form needs stamina and application. Over to you! Practising what she preaches, Alison has written a Roma Nova novella, CARINA, which came out November 2017. Season’s Greetings to all and happy writing!

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Happy Christmas Reading...

Bees at the Little White House Experiences of a new Beekeeper... The Bee Killers


by Gloria Fisher

ello Bee lovers. This month I was going to tell you all about my honey harvest but I feel that I must tell you about the biggest evil problem that I’ve had to face so far. The more I find out the more I am horrified.

I really love watching and caring for my bees, so when one day I noticed a larger bee type thing hovering around my little bees, I was concerned. I got in touch with one of the bee people to find out what was happening, and the answer was not what I wanted to hear.  I have the dreaded Asian Hornet. They are evil, horrible, nasty things - they hover in front of the hive waiting to take a bee, either returning or going out to forage for pollen. They wait and when they have grabbed a bee, they fly off with it. Then they tear it apart and go back for another. One hornet can destroy up to 50 bees a day. If you have 10 hornets feeding on and destroying your bees then at the end of each day, they will have destroyed 500 bees.


I was devastated, my poor bees have no defence against this foreign invader. They are much bigger than a normal honey bee, what chance do our bees stand?

It’s time to take a festive break and snuggle up on the sofa with some popcorn...but which film will it be? Here are the TOP 10 festive films, as voted for by the ladies of Facebook page, LIFT (Ladies In France Together).





Love Actually (2003)

Home Alone (1990)

Above: Asian hornet © WikiCommons/Charlesjsharp

They first came to France in a delivery of china from the far East that landed at Bordeaux. Now they are all over France and as they colonise so quickly and the country is so vast, France had no chance. England is lucky with only have a few sightings which are dealt with rapidly by DEFRA. I hope that England can continue to be vigilant against this outsider. The only thing you can do is to put a smaller guard across the ‘door’ of the hive so it is too small for a hornet to enter. You can also trap them by using commercially bought traps or make your own with jam jars and wine bottles. (put jam, blackcurrent is good, around the rim of the jar or bottle, put water in the bottom and hang them up all around the hive and on the floor as the hornets go under the hive and attack from the back). Do not go near the hive without your bee suit on as the bees are already stressed from the hornets. Then at least once a day inspect your traps, even now in October I am still getting 20 – 30 a day. Some of the hornets will still be alive in the traps so empty the trap on the floor and dispose of them. I also learnt that bees are not so keen on brand new frames, my hive was expanding to such a degree that I thought they needed a Super. If any of you would like to get in touch with me, my email is littlewhitehousebees@gmail.com

Elf (2003)


It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)


The Holiday (2006)


Polar Express (2004)

Santa Clause the Movie (1985)


Miracle on 34th Street (1994)


The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)


Scrooge (1970)

PS. The picture last time was of the bee school in Magnarole.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 15

Health, Beauty & Fitness CAFE NETWORK



f it’s one thing we’ve learned about cycling, it’s that everyone likes a café stop! Whether it is a social ride or you’re en route to somewhere, taking a break with a good cup of coffee and a cake is a pleasure. However, when planning trips, finding a decent stop-off isn’t always easy and a recommendation is usually best. Cafe Network aims to bring together cyclists (and possibly others) from all over the UK and abroad to share information (the good and the bad) about cafes and tea rooms that they have visited. We are now focusing our efforts on Europe, starting with our nearest neighbour, France.”

CSDS LATEST NEWS by June Searchfield


s this will be the last article from CSDS for 2017 I thought I would re-cap on what we have done and achieved during this year.

We continue to support clients and their families touched by cancer and I am glad to report it has been quieter than 2016! As a group we have organised and held events across the DeuxSèvres, accepted invitations to receive donations from numerous people who have held events to raise awareness and funds. Many many thanks to all those lovely people for supporting and helping us. We continue to be actively involved with the hospitals in the Deux-Sèvres and I will be updating next year on the progress with the St Maixent l’Ecole SSR project.

John Bowerbank, a self-confessed cycling nut, and his partner Heidi run Cafe Network, which incorporates a Facebook page, Twitter account, website and free App, all aimed at making life that little bit easier for cyclists. The map is a work-in-progress and updates are usually carried out every two weeks, usually on a Thursday night/Friday morning but dates are notified on our Facebook page. John says “The map is built on recommendations by cyclists and we welcome suggestions for cafes, bike shops and accommodation. Please click the relevant button on our website home page to make a recommendation. From September 2015 through to now I’ve been creating a website to take all the traffic that was coming my way. As well as cafes, we now have clubs and accommodation and bike shops. The database has just expanded and expanded.” The app has all the forms for making recommendations and also includes a link to the map. The idea being that when people are out and about they can find a cafe en route and make a recommendation about that cafe there and then and send it to Café Network. “At the moment we have 1,900 users of the app.” John remarks.

We have again been invited to make a presentation at Niort Hospital explaining our association and to continue with our special relationship with Parthenay Palliative Care Unit. In 2018 we will be joining forces once more with La Ligue Contre le Cancer at Niort for the Relais pour la Vie ...more information will be forthcoming . I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Cancer Support Deux-Sevres


Tour de Rêves update We are pleased to announce that our final fundraising amount donated to Association Rêves is

2 605€

We’ve heard that Victoire will be visiting the Harry Potter Studios in London very soon and we will update you of his ‘dream’ in a future issue. A HUGE Thank You for your support and kind donations.

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Above: John and partner, Heidi. © John Bowerbank

“We are particularly keen to hear from cyclists in France as this seems a natural progression from the UK, particularly as the country has so much to offer the cyclist.” If you would like to make a recommendation, visit Café Network using one of the following links: • • •

Website: www.cafenetwork.info Facebook: www.facebook.com/CafeNetworkcycling Twitter @CafeNetwork1 

The app is available on Google & Apple app stores.

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres LA PIN

by Sue Burgess

The commune of le Pin is situated in the north-west of Deux-Sèvres, 10 minutes from Bressuire, 20 minutes from Cholet (49) and half an hour from Pouzauges (85). The river Argent crosses the commune and the 1070 inhabitants of Le Pin are known as the Pintais and Pintaises. A voir / Must See • Église Notre-Dame Notre-Dame appears for the first time in texts dating from 1090. The records of the Abbey of Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes have an act of donation in which the seigneur of Bressuire, Thibaud de Beaumont, gave the church to the monks of Saint-Jouinde-Marnes. Dom Fonteneau, Raoul de la Fustaye, monk of Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes, set up a convent priory there between 1098 and 1100 on which the churches of Saint-Jean and SaintNicolas of Bressuire depended. It is probably this building that was burned down in 1214 by Philippe Auguste during the war with John Mackland when the town was taken by the King of France. There are no written documents to show at what period the different restorations or reconstructions were carried out. However, a new construction which was of a style typical of Bas Poitou, was built at the end of the 15th century. The proof of this is the sculpted heraldic crest in the arched ceiling of the sacristy. The arms of the Laval-Montmorency family, worn between 1510 and 1528 by Gilles Laval-Montmorency, can be seen. The choir dates from the same period. It was the Laval-Montmorency family who had the magnificent bell tower erected. It is 56 metres high and the top is a copy of a Romanesque church. The church was not burned during the Vendée wars. However, the passing of time has not spared the building and there have been various restoration campaigns. •

Dolmen de la Voie or Dolmen de Prouet 500 metres or so north-east of Prouet mill, is a very old dolmen.

Pont Paillat The Paillat bridge played a rôle in the Vendée wars.

Château des Roches Blanches Doctor Morin, the owner of the château of Saint-Loup-surThouet, is said to be at the origin of the construction of this château in 1860. He had married a Miss O’Riordan, from the la Tremblaye domain situated close to les Roches. Doctor Morin had the gardens planned and established. The cadastral plans do not show any buildings before the Château des Roches Blanches but it is surprising to see the vaulted cellars and a spiral stairway which would date from the 16th century. The château is a B & B and gîte today.

Château de la Tremblaye The Tremblaye situated on the road from Le Pin to Nueil-surArgent (Neuil-les-Aubiers) was the seat of a domain mentioned in the 14th century. The château was in the form of a foursided figure with right angles with rounded towers. The oldest tower must date from the 14th century. A 16th dwelling was added and then prolonged in the 18th century with a staircase and forged iron guard rail.

PLIBOUX Pliboux is a small commune of 212 inhabitants surrounded by the communes of Linazay, Chaunay and Mairé-Levescault. Pliboux has changed it’s name twice in the history of the village. In 1793 the village was known as Plibou and in 1803 Plibon. A voir / Must see • Saint Martin’s Church The domain of Pliboux - Plibocio – was first mentioned in the middle of the 10th century. The church is dedicated to Saint Martin and until the revolution depended on the Abbey of Nouaillé who nominated the priest. The lords of Traversay were buried in the church but at the time of the revolution Pliboux was included in the Deux-Sèvres, Traversay in la Vienne. From the outside one can imagine the plan of the church. A single nave with a Gothic addition on the southern side, no transept and a choir with two areas, one for the choir and one for the bell. The square bell tower was transformed in 1878 by the architect Gilbert, de Ruffec. The two bells dating from 1865 were founded by the Tureau brothers of Poitiers and by the Bollée workshops in Le Mans. They are named Martin and Jean-Baptiste. The Angelus was rung morning, midday and evening by one of the locals until 1970. The church is very small, the nave is only 25 metres long and, as in many churches in the Melle area, the choir is narrower than the nave. Two of the stained glass windows were made by Maître Fournier, an expert glass worker of Tours in the last part of the 19th century. There are statues of St Martin on either side of the ‘Sacred Heart’ window.

The old manor belonged to the Bois Renaud Family of Geay. •

The River Argent Valley

The souterrain Annulaire An underground passage, Place Jeanne d’Arc, that can be visited during les journées du Patrimoine in September.

Photo: River Argent at neighboroughing commune, Voultegon © Wikicommons/Audrey79

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 17

Home & Garden KCR Service

Affordable Security Solutions


electing thehome correct Keeping you and your safe

type of security system for your home is not an easy task. You want it to be effective, meet the requirements of your insurer and most importantly be affordable. KCR Service, with offices in Chef Boutonne and a new warehouse due to be opened in Niort in January 2018, can provide all your security products and services which include CCTV, Access Control, Intruder Alarms, Intercoms, Security Lighting and Automatic Gates. All installations are in line with regulations laid out by APSAD, the French governing body for the security industry in France. KCR Service is a Limited French Company (SARL) and is run by Chris Browne & Stuart Cook. Chris has over 25 years’ experience within the security industry and still runs/owns a UK Security Company which was founded in 1999. Stuart has been in the service, commissioning & installation industry for over 20 years and for the past 13 years has been running a successful SARL in France.

Above: CCTV Installation - just one of the security systems supplied by KCR Service.

The monitoring of intruder alarms is an important aspect of security as it allows you to be ‘in when you are out’. KCR Service can monitor your intruder alarm when you are away from your property and upon receiving an alarm activation we will carry out your instructions and ring either yourself, neighbour or police etc. If the first person on the list doesn’t answer, then the next person on the list is contacted. All intruder and CCTV systems have the ability for you to monitor them yourself on your own mobile.

If you’d like to know more, please contact us for a free survey and quotation.

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

KCR Service works with all manufacturers and via its warehouse in Niort has Security products in stock to enable us to deliver a first class service.

Contact KCR Service Tel: 05 49 07 70 66 ~ Email: info@kcrservice.fr.

Keeping you warm and cosy this winter...and saving you money too!


aving experienced our first snowfall of the year here in the Correze in early November (albeit only lasting a couple of hours) it does remind you that we are definitely into winter and need to be thinking about keeping warm and cosy. Understanding that floors with no insulation account for between 10- 20% of heat loss in a room, what improvements can you make? One of the best ways to keep a home warm is with a carpet fitted over a good underlay - the insulation value of this can be up to 10 times that of a hard floor. Not only will you be warmer but you’ll save money too - it’s proven that a deep pile carpet could save you up to 12% of your energy heating costs.

DÉCHETTERIES Recent carpet installations © Jon the Carpetman

There are of course other advantages of a wall to wall carpet:


LUXURY - Carpet gives the look and feel of luxury.


 OST - Carpets of any quality will always be cheaper to C install than tiles or wood.


HEALTH - Properly maintained carpet will have a positive effect on indoor air quality by trapping dust particles within the fibres, reducing airborne dust by 50% more than hard floors and then the retained particles are removed by vacuuming.


SAFETY - Soft carpets improve safety, reducing slips and falls - and if you do fall the landing is much softer!

Do you forget the opening hours for your local déchetterie? Visit the website www.smc79.fr for details For waste disposal outside of the Deux-Sèvres there’s an alternative website www.decheteries.fr

10 years working in France, fully registered and insured to cover all parts of the country.

The DSM takes time to check that advertisers are registered with a Siret number. However, the system doesn’t allow us to verify all activities that one is registered for under that Siret number, so please consider this when asking a tradesman to do work for you. Any registered worker should happily confirm the trade/s that they can undertake.

Sarl PRINCE: 05 55 73 63 16 www.jon-thecarpetman.com

It is also advised to check references thoroughly before going ahead with any works.

So, if you want to be warmer and cosier this winter than last, and save money - give Jon the Carpetman a call......

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 19


in L’Absie


enneth Stuart Lloyd, known as Stuart, moved to SW France permantly with his wife, Lisa, in March 2017 after selling his house and buying a property in L’Absie, 79240.

Stuart has spent his entire working life learning about Motoculture, repairing all types of small engine machinery including compact tractors. Stuart started his trade at the age of twenty-one where he attended Brackenhurst Agricultural College in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. After training and receiving his qualifications and certificates, Stuart continued with lawn mower repairs where he was also Ransome trained, and over the next few years received many other certificates for many other manufaturers and machinery. Stuart can now repair all models of lawn mowers, rideon mowers, compact tractors and a wide range of other garden machinery with petrol engines- anything from chainsaws to rotovators and also including quad bikes. Apart from repairs and annual services to machinery he also offers a sharpening service for chainsaws, hedgecutters, mower blades and axes. Stuart has also received his welding certificate so he is qualified to do any welding that is required.



by Vanda Lawrence

inter is here again but as I write this at the beginning of November we have only just started to get colder temperatures – we have had a lovely autumn. But now, weather permitting, let’s start knocking those gardening jobs on the head. There are plenty of them so I don’t think there’s much danger of us getting bored, do you? Indoors you will have some nice fragrant corners to look forward to if you managed to find time to pot the Hyacinth bulbs. •

• • • • • • •

vacant, removing Dig over the potager as it becomes nish the soil, and reple to er matt nic orga ng weeds and addi ther to rid the soil then leave it for the birds and frosty wea e. Worms will ther er wint over t migh h of any pests whic ity too. also play their part in improving soil qual and broccoli, to sels brus as such , sicas Stake tall bras prevent wind-rock. s. Finish planting spring-flowering bulb ges. hed Cut back invasive roots of trees and ng mild weather Plant deciduous trees and shrubs duri anted shrubs ly-pl new and re-firm the soil around any loosened by frost. weather catches Finish planting deciduous hedges. If the in a frost-free ts plan new e stor ly safe you out you can shed for a few days. with sacking to Tie the branches of conifers together down. them prevent heavy snowfalls breaking plants into a cool Bring the more tender container-grown vely, protect by rnati Alte . greenhouse or light, airy shed shrouding with garden fleece.

After being employed for nearly thirty years in the trade, Stuart decided to set up his own business here in France as he wanted to be able to work for himself. Stuart has attended the relevant course and provided the proof of his qualifications in order to become a Micro-Entrepreneur and obtain his Siret number. Stuart works from home repairing machinery from his garage and travels to carry out services to compact tractors. Any repairs can be collected/delivered in his van or can be taken to his address in L,Absie.

For any further information, feel free to call Stuart on 05 49 69 87 06

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

For lawns – neaten the edges, scarify,

finish aerating and


top dress with a m ix compost to correct of loam, sand and well-rotted any surface irr • Tubs and co ntainers with wint egularities er-har should be raised on stones or sim dy flowers ilar to allow drainage and prev en weather will freez t water-logging, which in icy e hardy plants in tu and damage the roots. Nonbs should be protecte which are too big to move d that some pots wi with fleece, and don’t forget ll temperatures so if be liable to crack in frosty necessary, wrap so wrap around them me bubble– could save problem it doesn’t look that pretty, but s later. • Finish pruning ro • Put grease band ses to prevent wind-rock. s arou to stop female wint nd fruit trees (and their stakes) er moths climbing up and laying their eggs. • Take hardwo od cuttings from shrubs such as Forsythia, Hydr • Finish pruning angea etc. apple and pear tre • Cut back side es branches of grape . vines grown up a wall to 1 or 2 plum p buds from the • Make sure you have a supply of sa main stem. lt, sand or grit for icy drives and pa • Remove leave thways. s and debris from gutters. • Clean nest bo xe • Clear up fallen s ready for next year ’s bird families. leaves and add them to the compost heap or bag them separately for leaf • In icy weathe mould. r remember to br eak the ice on the surface of ponds to and gases to escape allow oxygen into the water to stop leaves fallin . If you have netted your pond g an escape route fo in, please ensure that there is r frogs etc. • Check stored fruit and vegetable s, discarding any with blemishes. • Order seeds an d plan next year ’s garden.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get around to it, they are readily available in the garden centres. Poinsettias are another favourite for indoor winter colour too and it is possible to keep them from one year to another rather than buy new plants each year. The red bracts should be pruned and the plant moved outdoors after the last frost, then before the first autumn frosts you can bring it back indoors to a room which is kept dark during the evenings. The plant will need a couple of months of uninterrupted long, dark nights for the coloured bracts to develop. Drain well after watering - do not allow the pot to sit in water. I’ve mentioned earthworms a couple of times, probably because they have been on my mind since watching one of this year’s Autumnwatch episodes. Very interesting! For instance did you know that there are hundreds of different varieties world-wide? Or that they can live for 6-8 years? They are hermaphrodite, producing both eggs and sperm, mating on the surface of the soil and exchanging sperm before separating. Later a ‘band’ forms around the worm, the parent worm crawls out of the ‘band’ filling it with eggs and sperm as it goes. The eggs hatch within 1-5 months, according to conditions and emerge tiny but fully-formed. They can eventually grow up to about 12”, according to conditions – in the Tropics they can reach nearly 10ft! Earthworms have no lungs but breathe through their skin. They eat fallen leaves and garden debris which passes through their system, moving soil nutrients such as potassium and nitrogen into the soil. Their movement in the soil helps to loosen the soil and allows passage of air.

So now I’ll wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year 2018.

Byeee ! PHASES OF THE MOON DECEMBER 2017 Full Moon Last Quarter 3rd December 10th December

NEW Moon

18th December

1st Quarter

26th December

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 21

Communications How to Reduce the Problem of PC, Tablet and Smartphone Data Loss by Ross Hendry


here are so many ways we can lose important data such as our documents, photos and media files. Besides the threats of viruses and malware, theft, failure of your computer, tablet or Smartphone, users of Microsoft Windows 10 also have the problem of uncontrollable Windows 10 updates. Earlier this year Microsoft announced that it is now committing to what it calls a “predictable twice-per-year” feature release schedule for Windows 10. Future updates will arrive in March or September each year, and Microsoft says each feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months.

“With Windows 10, we simplified the servicing process by moving to cumulative updates [which] are released on the second Tuesday of every month,” Microsoft’s Michael Niehaus explains. “Based on feedback from customers … we will [now] routinely offer one (or sometimes more than one) additional update each month.” Windows 10 has antivirus built in, in the form of Windows Defender, and this will need updating with new virus definitions at least weekly, if not more frequently. Microsoft are actually doing what we all need, ensuring that our PCs remain secure and up to date. The problem is that we do not have any real control of when these updates and fixes are applied. Why is this a problem? Every Windows PC in the world is likely to be slightly different in one way or another - for example, slightly different components inside, different programs installed on different operating systems on differing networks, differing levels of security, data stored in different locations; etc. Thus it is impossible to guarantee that the updates that Microsoft applies to our systems will all work properly. In the past few months I have found at least two customers that have had serious data loss from Windows Updates. The only solution is to make copies of your data, or backup your data if you prefer. This needs to be done at least weekly if you are creating new or amending data on your PC. That means downloading or changing the files and photos to your PC, tablet or Smartphone on a daily basis. The process of coping your files to another safe storage area or medium has never been easier or less expensive. Indeed, the safest method in my opinion is likely to be free for most home users. This method gives you the ability to automatically copy files and photos from all of your devices, including your tablet and Smartphone and is often known as Cloud Storage or Back-up. The reason I prefer this method is simply because once I have copied my files to my storage area and checked they are accessible, I know that they are safe and even if my house burns down or my PC is stolen along with all drives and disks etc., I may still recover my information. I do make local copies of data to USB storage, mainly so that I can access data on other PCs, these help as well. Most home users I encounter do not create large volumes of data, but do receive emails daily and like to keep their family photos or Genealogy 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

research up to date regularly, so it makes sense to make copies frequently. I wrote about the various methods of copying your data in January 2015, and in March this year I covered copying your photos from your Smartphone or Tablet to the cloud. Similar software is available to do this from your PC too. Please email me if you would like a copy of these articles rs.hendry@gmail.com. The Safest, Easy to Use, Free Cloud Storage Services The two services I have in mind are Google Backup and Sync and Microsoft OneDrive. Both offer their users free ‘cloud storage’ and excellent software to achieve the copying to the cloud. In both cases you have to register to have an account with them. This will give you an email address and presence in the form of your ‘Cloud Storage’ space and access many other features and services. If you have purchased other Microsoft products such as Microsoft Office recently, you may well be entitled to additional cloud storage space free of charge. There are of course many other providers of this type of service, for example Dropbox, who provide a small amount of storage space for free, and you may earn additional space by referring your friends and family. Although I use the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system, I prefer to use Google to copy my data and photos to their Google Drive space. Google generously give you 15GB of storage space when you register an account with them, this can go a long way to store your information safely. Google provide a free program called Google Backup and Sync and it could not be easier to install and setup, and seems to Synchronise (copy) my new and amended documents virtually as I press save. Google Backup and Sync is also available for your Smartphone and Tablet and it works with Windows, Android, and Mac iOS. Copy all of your Photos to Google Photos free of charge, unlimited storage space Their policy for the storage of your photos is also very interesting because if you store your photos with them at their chosen resolution, then they do not use up any of your allocated 15GB of free space. Storing the photos in Google Photos also makes it very easy to share them with your family and friends and they can be kept with those taken on your Smartphone or Tablet, which may of course see and share your PC photos. Please do protect your data by making a regular copy to somewhere safe, with programs like Google Backup and Sync there is no real reason why anyone should lose their data again. Learn more about Google’s Free Backup and Sync program here: https://support.google.com/drive/?hl=en#topic= Learn more about Microsoft’s OneDrive here: https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/ Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

Annual Subscription Costs: 33,60€ within France, 28,80€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:.......................................................................................... Postal Address:................................................................................... ........................................................................................................... Postcode:..................................... Country:..................................... Tel:...................................................................................................... Email:................................................................................................ Please make cheques payable to SARAH BERRY.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 23

Where We Live... Tired of the rat race and the materialism and consumerism of the south-east of England and convinced there had to be more to life, Kevin and Amanda Baughen remembered a piece of advice they’d been given years earlier. Advice that helped them with a life-changing decision that would lead them to making...

Banon (AOC)

Banon is a traditional, soft, unpasteurised goat’s milk cheese from the market town of Banon, in Provence. It’s said to date back to Gallo-Roman times and legend has it that Roman Emperor Antonius Pius ate so much he got indigestion and died! Back then, the cheese was mainly for family use, with any surplus sold at local markets. In 1849, Abbot Feraud wrote: “One holds in Banon several fairs which are frequented. The cheese that is sold there is highly valued.” After the Second World War, technical progress in the manufacturing process of Banon led to the reversal of the trend. Production was first intended for sale and surplus for the family.

Also known as Banon à la feuille, it’s easily recognisable as it’s wrapped in a parcel of four to eight chestnut leaves held in place with raffia twine. Local cheesemakers gather the leaves in autumn and dip them in eau-de-vie to give the cheese its unique flavour. It is the harshness of winter that led to producers wrapping their cheeses to preserve them. Originally they were surrounded by vine leaves, plain tree leaves or even cabbage leaves. Comfortably installed in its packaging, this round cheese is 7.5-8.5 cm in diameter and 2-3 cm high and weighs between 90-120 g. It takes a litre of milk to make 100 g of cheese. Banon is aged for a minimum of two weeks before it gets its chestnut overcoat and, as it gets older, the soft and sticky cheese develops a blue-grey mould on and under the leaves, leading to a strong, intense flavour. The casing of leaves protects the washed rind disc and allows the young, slightly acidic, cheese to stay moist. It also imparts a fresh vegetable flavour with a hint of wine. As a young cheese, it will be firm and crumbly and tangy or tart. If left to age a little, the leaf wrapper will darken naturally and the inside will begin to liquify and ooze, developing a stronger fruity and nutty flavour. It can almost be enjoyed with a spoon, it’s so mellow and smooth. It goes well with a crusty baguette, fresh fruit and a dry white or rosé wine from the local Provence region. * Banon can be made from goats, sheep or cows milk. Cheeses produced in winter are made from sheep milk, in Spring they are made from goats milk. Commercially produced Banon is typically made all year round from cows milk, but the best taste is said to come from goats or sheep milk.

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017



Amanda & Kevin Baughen “


e knew there had to be more to life and we wanted a change,” says Kevin. “We wanted to bring some of our passions into earning a living which involved educating and coaching people – and beekeeping! A mentor once said to me ‘Whenever you’re looking at a significant life decision, try to make sure you’re running towards something positive, not just away from something negative.’ We took that advice on board and, to this day, have never regretted it.” Leaving behind their hectic Surrey lives – where Kevin worked in marketing and communications and Amanda was a St John Ambulance fundraiser – they moved into their large art decoinspired villa on the banks of the River Vienne in Confolens, Charente, in 2015. There they are surrounded by three acres of land with wild flower meadows that are an essential part of their new way of life. The Baughens are passionate apiculteurs and love to share that passion with guests by hosting beekeeping holidays and workshops. “We had been interested in beekeeping for years, but the desire to learn more really kicked off in 2006 after I bought Amanda a day’s taster session at a local beekeeping association in the UK,” says Kevin. “She was totally smitten, so we invested in some training at a residential course in Shropshire. That gave us the inspiration to do something similar ourselves, in arguably a warmer and sunnier location.” “We were too young to retire and we needed to continue earning a living and running beekeeping holidays was the perfect solution,” says Amanda. “We spent the next five years working with beekeeping associations and practising what we had learned. But we soon realised that running beekeeping holidays in the UK was not going to be an option as it was too expensive to buy the property and land we would need without giving up our day jobs.”

by Mick Austin

...A beeline for France

“France was the logical answer,” adds Kevin. “We’d holidayed here for years and always talked about the advantages of living here as opposed to the UK. That was the ‘positive thing’ we were running towards. It wasn’t just that property is more affordable here, the greater sense of people behaving as a community is much more evident.” Kevin and Amanda took to the internet for their property search, with one of the key criteria being sunshine - “I worked too hard in the UK to spend five months under dark, drizzly skies,” says Kevin – and found Charente to be one of the sunniest places in France. “We get the best of both worlds – all of the greenery and the good weather.” The couple moved into their new home in May 2015 and in July started converting it into their home and a B&B with five ensuite bedrooms. It took nine months of pain and extra unplanned expense before they eventually opened their doors to guests in July 2016. The new venture – called 13 Bees (www.13bees.co.uk) after their Confolens house number, Kevin’s old rugby playing shirt number and the fact that 13 has always been lucky for them - offers threenight, five or six-night ‘beekeeping experiences’ designed to give an insight into the world of bees and what it takes to keep them. Guests look at areas including the bees themselves and their importance to our eco-system, hives, honey and the creepy-crawlies that make a bee’s life tough. The ‘experience’ includes three hours of bee-related activity every full day, theory and practical sessions, all safety equipment and tools (including wellies, subject to size), outdoor movie nights if the weather’s good and breakfast, lunch and evening meal. There are also occasional guest speakers. When they’re not sharing their

home with budding beekeepers, the Baughens also offer B&B rooms with breaks from two nights. They have also converted the basement into rooms from where they can run their courses when the weather’s not so good. Photos Main: Amanda demonstrating how to check a frame; above: Chez Baughen, 13 Bees. © Amanda Baughen 2017 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special

Photos from top left to right: uncapping first frame of honey; student bee-keepers checking frames; keeping the bees cool; lighting smokers in the workshop. Bottom left to right: The final honey product; one of the wild flower meadows; beeswax candles and balm. © Amanda Baughen

“We have 140 trees and a couple of meadow areas divided across the property,” says Kevin. “The wild flowers in our meadows are crucial to the taste of the honey. That taste, consistency and colour is totally dependent on what nectar the bees eat, which is why a colony feeding on sunflowers will produce much creamier, yellower honey than, say, bees feeding on wild flowers, where the honey is typically a clear, amber liquid like ours. “There are so many different types of artisanal honey around France that we feel spoiled for choice some times. To our minds, the other real benefit of the locally-produced jars is that they won’t have been heat-treated by large manufacturers who ship in tankerloads of mixed honey and process it all together. They are actually processing out all the bacteria and enzymes and bits of pollen that make artisanal honey good for you!” During their beekeeping workshops, the Baughens often do a blind tasting. “Almost without fail, people like our honey the best because it reminds them of what they had in their childhood,” says Amanda. “We’ve had a huge amount of fun running taster sessions this year and have had more than 50 people on half-day sessions where they get to look inside the hives and learn about what’s involved with keeping bees. “A lovely by-product of beekeeping (once it’s all separated, filtered and melted down) is the beeswax, which we use to make candles and gifts. Along with our friends at the Arbres et Abeilles nursery near Genouillé, in Vienne, we also run candle-making workshops for people to learn how to make their own. We’re having several sessions of those throughout November and December – fun afternoons making some great festive gifts.” Amanda also makes a healing balm from the beeswax, which is taken from the honey cappings (the thin layer of new wax that bees build over the top of dried honey) and mixed with calendula 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

flower-infused oil. “It makes a completely organic, natural balm that can be used for scratches, insect bites and minor burns. Production is in full flow and we’ll have several batches ready for Christmas gifts, strengthened this year by a bumper crop of calendula flowers.” However, 2017 has been a tough year for the stars of the show at 13 Bees, with strange weather patterns affecting their behaviour and health from the start of the year. “The warm winter meant more bees survived than normal and they were ready to swarm very early on in Spring,” says Kevin, “and instead of them stopping in the Spring we were still collecting swarms in July. A rainy Spring meant they were stuck inside the hives instead of flying out and about collecting nectar and pollen, so they were really grumpy. “A freezing snap in April killed many flowers and deprived the bees of natural food sources, so we needed to feed them. Then a scorching June meant they were grumpy and swarmed even more. We ended up buying parasols to keep the worst of the heat away from them! We collected swarms from people’s trees, houses and gardens and now have ten hives here at 13 Bees. At our peak in late July we had around 675,000 bees. “Honey production was substantially lower this year than last because of the weather, which meant our bee colonies simply did not have enough time to grow, reproduce (through swarms), gather enough nectar and then turn it into honey for us to harvest. Other beekeepers who live near huge fields of rapeseed and sunflowers fared better than us as we rely on wild and meadow flowers and acacia. That said, we did still harvest some honey and we are sharing this with our regular customers and attendees at our beekeeping experiences. We used to trade our honey and the balm with local farmers for meat, but we’ll just have to buy our steak and lamb this year!” The Baughen’s beekeeping enterprise has been welcomed by the

by Mick Austin

On this month November 19, 1703: ‘The man in the iron mask’, a mysterious prisoner held in the Bastille on the orders of King Louis XIV, dies. It was recorded that a man in his 50s was buried at the Saint-Paul Cemetery in Paris and his belongings and clothes were burned at dawn. It was said that the walls of his cell were even scraped and whitewashed. Rumours became legend after Alexandre Dumas wrote his famous tale and his true identity remains a subject of speculation. December 25, 1066: William the Conqueror is crowned king of England after invading from France and defeating King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. local people. “The reaction has been totally positive,” says Amanda. “They are all interested in what we’re doing. The French people here are lovely. It may sound obvious, but being able to speak French to at least a passable standard really does help make life more enjoyable and less stressful. We’re not fluent by any means, but we take regular lessons at the community centre in Confolens to make sure we keep on improving.

December 1, 1830: According to an agreement with his publisher, French novelist Victor Hugo is due to hand in a draft of his book Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Hugo, however, is busy on other projects and the book is not published until 1831. The book pled for tolerance of the imperfect and the grotesque, but it also had a simpler agenda – to increase appreciation of old Gothic buildings, which had become the object of vandalism and neglect.

“Our French guests have all been understanding and helpful with our learning and it has been a pleasure to have them stay with us. They all like to chat about life, love, politics, sport, anything really. You name it and they seem to have an opinion and love to discuss the issues of the day in a friendly and often passionate way. Learning the language is definitely worth persevering with, even though it’s still hard work.” Kevin and Amanda have a clear idea of how they’d like 13 Bees to evolve. “Professionally, we want to really build the education and experience side of the business, to introduce beekeeping and bees to as wide an audience as possible.” says Kevin. “We want a sustainable business, of course, but we want that business to, in at least some small way, provide for a sustainable future more broadly through helping people understand and positively contribute to the conservation of bees and their relationship with our direct environment. That will mean more effort is required on our part to improve our French so we can share our passion equally as well in two languages. “Finally, we’d like to be more involved with French beekeepers to share ideas and, if profits allow, set up a scholarship that would enable beekeepers from both France and England to travel and learn, as well as teach, best practices from around the world with the aim of lifting everyone’s knowledge in the face of continued threats to the delicate balance between bees and our dependency on them for pollination.” The Brexit result announced on June 24, 2016, has led to uncertain times for many ex-pats in France and the Baughens are no exception. “The result has been seen as sad by our French guests,” says Amanda, “many of whom share our philosophy that the EU as a machine is definitely broken but that the best way to repair it is from within, not from the outside. The vote made us and many of our friends here feel depressed for a while, but now we don’t worry about what we can’t see yet. We’ll all learn soon enough what the consequences will be. “Either way, we certainly aren’t regretting our decision to move to a more inclusive community culture here in France, rather than the one we left behind in the UK.”

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

A publicity photo from the 1923 movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame

December 2, 1959: The Malpasset Dam, on the Reyran river in the Cannes district near Fréjus, collapses leaving more than 400 dead. Fréjus, built by Roman Emperor Caesar as a port city which over time had moved a few miles inland, was devastated by the massive flood. Following a week-long rain storm, rock beneath the dam gave way under the pressure of the water, which rushed down a narrow gorge into Fréjus. Windows and doors were blown out by the water and some victims were buried in mud, while other were believed to have been swept out to sea. December 27, 1960: France completes a third nuclear test in the Sahara desert, at Reggan, in south-western Algeria, bringing it a step closer to developing a compact nuclear device to arm missiles. The bomb contained plutonium and had an explosive force equal to 10,000 to 14,000 tons of TNT – half as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. It was exploded at the top of a steel tower. Military equipment, dummies and caged rats and mice were positioned in the area of the blast and were monitored during and after the explosion. The rodents were later flown to Paris for examination. December 30, 1999: The world prepares to have a global party, with fireworks and special events, to welcome in the third millennium.

Mick Austin is an award-winning freelance journalist based in the Paysde-la-Loire. He has had his work published in several expat magazines and newspapers and has also written the Mayenne Tourist Board’s only English language brochure. He runs a gite business at www.gitefortwo.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 27

Snuggling Down for Winter


by Jacqueline Brown

he first frosty school run not only causes a panic, as my gloves and deicer are nowhere to be found, but also a chain reaction as we face up to preparing the house and garden for winter once more. The windows and doors can no longer be left flung open to let in the light and air; in fact the two north facing windows are now firmly closed, shutters too, with the curtains drawn to ensure the draughts of winter will be kept to a minimum. The windows on the south side will get a good clean to allow the sunlight, and the warmth it brings with it, in. Bertha, our old and slightly temperamental oil fired central heating boiler, splutters into life thanks to Adrian’s gentle caressing and persuading. Without his delicate touch and careful attention to her valves and pumps she is likely to dribble and hiccup as we coax warmth into her radiators once again. The paraffin heaters are in place, perfect for that quick blast of warmth as Monday morning breakfast at 6.30am can feel quite fresh in our kitchen. Breakfast of muesli and fresh fruit with natural yoghurt has been replaced with porridge, pepped up with home-dried orchard fruits. For lunch, salads are out but thick homemade soups are back and my shopping list now includes plenty of cheese and potatoes as tartiflette and other warming, comforting meals are now on the menu. The warm winter clothing layers have come out from their summer hiding, along with the heavy weight duvet, my fleecy pyjamas and new slippers, a gift from my Mum for my birthday every September. Our bed has always been a no-go zone for Mini the dog, although now she is almost ten, on a cold night when Adrian is away, neither Mini nor I worry too much about the rules as we snuggle up together on the bed. The tender plants and window boxes have all been moved under cover, or wrapped up in fleece to keep the frost out. The tonnelle on the terrace has been packed away for another year and my homemade bunting taken down, washed and folded neatly. We have left a table and chairs by the kitchen door, for those sunny winter days when morning coffee or lunch can be enjoyed outside in a sheltered spot. We will certainly be doing less cycling (although we will still get out where we can), but this just means more time for curling up in a chair and reading or planning our next cycling adventure. The only thing missing is the roaring log fire, but that is so out of my comfort zone I’m happy to leave that to the rest of you. At least this winter there will be plenty going on in the village bar to keep the community spirit up, including an Aperoake (apero/karaoke) night on the 1st Saturday of the month.

Happy Christmas, Happy New Year and thank you all for reading another year of my ramblings and for giving us all so much support for the Tour de Rêves.

www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: frenchvillagediaries@gmail.com

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

WINE Quiz results

Many thanks to all who took part in last month’s quiz. The standard was very high, you knowledgeable lot, but the winner was…. Well, I can’t tell you as this article has to be in before the quiz deadline of 15 November. I’ll let the winner know directly. Answers: 1C, 2A, 3C, 4C, 5B, 6C, 7C, 8D, 9B, 10C, 11C, 12D, 13B, 14C, 15D, 16C, 17B, 18A, 19A, 20D, 21C, 22D, 23B, 24C, 25D, 26A. As an add-on to my remarks about my perfect day in Sauternes, the question that had all but one of the quizzers flummoxed was about Yquem 2012. They didn’t make their main wine that year due to a belowstandard harvest. Neither did another great Sauternes maker, Raymond Lafon. John Sherwin

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 29

Food & Drink

Seafood Bisque

Turkey Ballotine

Festive Nut Terrine

Save up your prawn shells and crab remnants before Christmas and freeze until needed. This soup will then cost next to nothing to make as a starter on Christmas Day.

Turkey meat is often good value so a whole boneless breast from Lidl makes a turkey dinner at less than 2 Euros a portion.

If you’ve been busy gathering walnuts, hazelnuts and chestnuts it’s time to put them to good use with this dish that is perfect for vegetarians on Christmas day or as a filling stuffing for meat eaters.

Serves 4: • • • • • • •

Enough shells to fill a 2.5 pint bowl 1 onion, roughly chopped 1 carrot, chopped 1 stick celery, chopped bayleaf or bouquet garni 1 tbsp tomato purée Fish sauce to taste

Serves 4: • • • • • • • •

1 kg boneless turkey breast 2 tbsp butter 250g pork sausagemeat 2 finely chopped shallots or a small onion 60 g peeled and chopped chestnuts 60 g dried cranberries 1 tbsp fresh sage or 1 tsp dried 1 pack of streaky bacon

method: 1. Roast the shells at 200˚C, Gas 6 for 15 minutes. 2. Transfer shells to a stock pot and add carrot, celery, onion, bayleaf or bouquet garni and enough water to cover. 3. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours. 4. Remove the large pieces of shell and blitz the rest with a stick blender. 5. Sieve and add a few spoonfuls of the remaining sludge for extra flavour. 6. Transfer back to pot, season and add tomato purée and fish sauce before warming through. 7. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.

method: 1. Heat half the butter in a small pan and soften the shallots. 2. Combine the shallots, seasoning, cranberries, chestnuts and sage with the sausagemeat and shape into a sausage the length of the breast. 3. Open out the breast and place the sausagemeat inside. 4. Roll up the turkey and secure with string. 5. Melt the remaining butter, spread on the turkey and season before roasting at 180˚C for 40 minutes. 6. Remove string, garnish with bacon and roast for a further 30 minutes. 7. Let the joint rest for 20 minutes before carving.

The Frugal French Pantry DOES CHRISTMAS!

Fantastic food on a budget...

by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

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

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Serves 8: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

150 g green lentils 1 onion, finely chopped 100 g mushrooms chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 200 g chestnuts, cooked, peeled and rough chopped 100 g walnuts, rough chopped 100 g hazelnuts, rough chopped 3 eggs, beaten 2 tbsp fresh herbs or 1 tbsp of dried 100 g Emmenthal, grated 1 tbsp oil 140g dried cranberries 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper

method: 1. Rinse lentils and place in saucepan with plenty of water, bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until soft. Drain. 2. Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onion and mushrooms then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. 3. In a large bowl combine the onion mixture and lentils with the rest of the ingredients, aside from the cranberries. 4. Grease a 2 pint loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper with plenty of overhang. Press half the mixture into the bottom followed by a layer of cranberries before adding the remaining mixture. 5. Fold the paper over and cover the top with foil. Bake in a 180˚C oven for 50 minutes then leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out and serving. 6. Leave out the cranberries altogether or swap with apricots, spinach or lightly cooked carrots or other vegetables.

Celebtration Turkey Pie This is a show stopping pie and even a small slice is filling so great for feeding a crowd.

Serves 10: • • • • • • • • • •

800 g mix of minced pork and sausagemeat 1 tbsp mixed herbs 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper 2 minced shallots 150 g dried cranberries 400 g turkey/chicken escalopes to fit 2 layers 450 g plain flour mixed with 1 tsp salt 150 g lard 150 ml of water and milk Beaten egg to glaze

method: 1. Add boiling water to the cranberries and leave to cool then drain. 2. Combine the mincemeat with salt, pepper and herbs and then divide the mixture into two. 3. Make the pastry by heating the milk, water and lard in a saucepan until boiling. 4. Add the mixture to the flour and beat quickly to combine. 5. Tip out onto a floured board and knead quickly. 6. Reserve one third in clingfilm for the lid. 7. Roll out the remaining dough to cover the bottom and sides of a 7.5” spring form, loose bottom tin. Patch if needed. 8. Layer in the mincemeat followed by turkey, drained cranberries, turkey and final layer of mincemeat. 9. Roll out the lid and use beaten egg to seal with a fork, pulling the sides away from the tin. 10. Make a steam hole and decorate with the pastry scraps. 11. Glaze the top with remaining egg and then cook at 180˚C, Gas Mark 4 for 2 hours. 12. Leave in the tin overnight before unmoulding.

Slow Roast Belly Pork

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Proper crackling and always tasty and economical, serve this in squares rather than slices for a New Year Dinner.

This is a no fail cheesecake without the worry of using gelatin that feeds a crowd. It’s a perfect make ahead for Christmas and makes a change from a Christmas pudding.

Serves 4:

Serves 8:

• • • • • • •

1.5 kg pork belly • Flaked sea salt and ground black • pepper • cooking salt • vegetable oil • 2 onions, sliced • 2 tsp fennel seeds • 1-2 tsp chilli flakes

250 g speculoos biscuits, crushed 1 tin sweetened condensed milk 100 g melted butter 2 lemons, zest and juice 300 g cream cheese 2 egg whites 110 g caster sugar

method: method: 1. Score the surface of the pork in squares and rub a good layer of cooking salt all over the skin. 2. After 30 minutes rinse off the salt and pat dry. 3. Rub the skin with vegetable oil and sprinkle with the chilli, fennel, flaked sea salt and pepper. 4. Place the sliced onions in a roasting pan with the meat on top. 5. Cover with foil and roast at Gas 4, 170-180˚C for 2 hours. 6. Remove the foil and increase the heat to Gas 7, 220˚C for 30 mins. 7. Rest at least 15 minutes before serving.

1. Combine the biscuits with the butter and press into the base and sides of a 20cm loose bottom tin. Leave to chill. 2. Whisk together the milk and cheese then add the lemon juice and zest until the mixture thickens. 3. Spread the mixture over the base and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. 4. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks are formed then gradually whisk in the sugar. 5. Pipe or spread the meringue mixture on top of the cheesecake and use a blow torch to gently set the meringue. Chill until ready to serve.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 31

A Sweetly Perfect Sunday


o you have a list of your own perfect places? Places that make your heart sing, that resonate with your soul and draw you back time and again if only in the mind’s eye. Well, sometimes the mind’s eye is not good enough, so one day last month Hilary and I beetled down to Bordeaux to catch the Sunday of the Sauternes et Barsac Portes Ouvertes weekend. Sweet wine, dessert wine, call it what you will, but a king amongst wines. Why don’t more people like it? Never mind, more for me. After driving hours through squally showers (perfection comes at a price) we needed succour and respite. And food and wine. So to perfect place #1, Restaurant Le Saprien in the village of Sauternes. I take French Wine Tours’ clients here and love to see them case the unassuming exterior with a raised eyebrow and a pursed lip because I know, I know as day follows night, that they will fall for it as soon as they enter. This one storey village house has been transformed into an airy, light, welcoming restaurant, the kind where you let out a long sigh of pleasure because you realise you’ve just come home to a home you never knew you had. Tables are far enough apart to ensure privacy, but with the ensemble providing a background hubbub of people enjoying themselves – you don’t want to eat in silence, do you? We sat at a window table overlooking vineyards where the showers persisted, clouds scudding in on a west wind, but we were warm and being taken care of. Service here is not in the gimlet-eye Parisian style, nor of the lackadaisical approach found in too many ‘country inns’. It is personal and personable yet still ‘correct’. An aperitif? Why not. Two glasses of dry white from the Graves region, just down the road, then on to the menu. We chose from the Menu Carte at €29. Home-smoked salmon and terrine of duck foie gras to start; lamb chops with a superb gratin and the best roast chicken to follow; cheese and the lightest profiteroles (how do they do that?) to end. A little more dry white with the mains and a classic Sauternes with the desserts. Coffee and canelés. Still a-rain’in and a-wind’in outside, but we soooo don’t mind.

by John Sherwin

But we came here on a mission, so on to perfect place #2. Château Raymond-Lafon has been in the Meslier family since 1972. It’s worthy of note that Pierre Meslier, now the eminence grise of the chateau, was technical director at Yquem from 1963 to 1989. That’s 26 long years learning how to make the best Sauternes. Oh, and the vineyards of Yquem are their near neighbour – just there, across the narrow road – so they share terroir too. Best of all, it’s still in the family: my mate Jean-Pierre is sales manager, brother Charles-Henri the winemaker, and sister Marie-Françoise general manager. On this occasion of portes ouvertes, they had two wines for tasting. First we sampled the Jeunes Pousses de Raymond-Lafon 2013, essentially their second wine but made with the attention to detail they give to their main wine. Golden colour with aromas of honey and citrus. Full in the mouth but balanced by a good acidity; tastes of nectarine, apricot, quince, beeswax, mango and pineapple. Elegant, subtle, long finish. The Chateau Raymond-Lafon 2015 was the finale (can you have a finale of two? never mind): complex, dense, spicey on the nose against a background of apricot and fennel. Concentrated, but with elegant acidity. Very, very fine. Hilary splashed out on a bottle of Jeunes Pousses at €15 (really) which will go very nicely with foie gras or blue cheese or fruit salad around the Christmas table. The main wine is a steal at €40 and will keep for years and years if you can wait. My perfect day might not be yours, but if you’d like to try it out, check out www.restaurant-le-saprien.fr and www.chateauraymond-lafon.fr. After all, I do have other perfect places I’m going to keep well schtum about. Merry Christmas! For last month’s quiz results - please see page: 28

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com

Photo: Château Raymond-Lafon © WikiCommons/ Kassander der Minoer

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 1. Type of footwear (5) 3. Accumulate, collect or gather (5) 7. Festively happy (5) 8. Type of lights illuminating 2 down (5) 9. Discrimination against elderly people (5) 10. Have faith; be confident about something (7) 11.  Free from undue bias or preconceived opinions (9) 14. An artist of consummate skill (7) 15. A joyful song celebrating the birth of Christ (5) 16. Give a portion of something to others (5) 17. Inuit structure (5) 18. Smells badly and offensively (5) 19. The 6th sign of the zodiac (5)

Down: 1. 12 down helps to pull this (6) 2.  An ornamented evergreen used as decoration this month (9-4) 4. One of 15 across (4-2-1-6) 5. Try or attempt by employing effort (6) 6. Nonsensical language according to Lewis Carroll (11) 12. One of Santa’s reindeers (6) 13. Santa’s laugh (2-2-2)

DSM Toughie Crossword Down: 1. Buddy, helpmate, only lonely, like you, initially (5) 2. Lay pipes all over the place, with no direction and still get notice of remuneration! (7) 3. Street greeting about days gone by (4) 4. Any wing playing could say he has had enough for one day? (7) 5. French friend asking for quiet for strict sect? (5) 6. Led by notice about publicity (6) 8. Girl’s present at party for beginners? (4) 12. Country mating season put back for guide (6) 13. Runs in stockings when seeing a large number of snakes? (7) 15. Former girlfriend coming on as sub when moving further out from outskirts of town (7) 16. Have a quick look at exercise, then do it again backwards! (4) 18. Old South American imprisoned? (5) 20. PD exchange identifying little chap from the southern states (5) 21. No pressure needed for convincing evidence to get cover (4)

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

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

1) Who is the longest serving manager in the professional English Football League?

8) Who or what is the Second Horseman of the Apocalypse and is seated on a red horse (according to the book of revelations)?

2) Who was the last leader of the Liberal Party before its merger with the SDP to become the Lib Dems?

9) Who is the former Deputy Chief Constable of The Greater Manchester Police who headed the inquiry into the so-called Shoot-to-Kill policy during the Northern Ireland “Troubles”?

3) Canola and Colza are other names for which vegetable oil? 4) Which American actor played the title role in the film Mrs Doubtfire?

10) The invention of which device is credited to Alessandro Volta in 1800?

5) Where does a farrier make horseshoes?

11) Which national British daily newspaper is printed on pink paper?

6) Which volcanic rock forms the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland?

12) What is the colllective noun for a group of crows?

7) Which Hobbit is the “Ringbearer” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings?

13) Sebastopol and Balaklava were battles in which conflict? Copyright RJS 2017

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 33

Answers on P.9 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Across: 1. What an unusual way! “Pay per Hen”, an expression of goodwill? (5,3,4) 7. Old song presented to the queen, journalist follows up in style (7) 9. Snooker player hoping to get a colour this season? (5) 10. It’s reported you are going to make a log of the event..... (4) 11. ..... and that those on the skids were a 70s group? (8) 12. Give a hint to leaders of pleasure loving enthusiasts having a little drink (6) 14. No opposition to article on cupidity (6) 17. “If soused, ne’er ride a ruminant!” (8) 19. Pat on the back for baby, bringing up released pressure at first (4) 22. Item Ceefax included for one putting it all together (5) 23. Wretched, second rate, bovine collection! (4,3) 24. Somehow feel, (know?), a son is not like any other that may settle at this time of year (3,4,5)

Motoring Rear view mirror, and the road ahead... by Helen Tait-Wright


ear Readers, We are racing towards the chequered flag at the end of another year that has flown by in turbo charged record time, or so it seems. 

Consequently it is time for me to commit my end of year thoughts and ramblings on the motoring front to paper, and look forward to exciting things on the horizon! In world motorsport news, Lewis Hamilton has recently become F1 World Champion for the fourth time, many congratulations to him; and Felipe Massa has announced his retirement at the end of the season.   I have to admit that I have lost interest in F1 to an extent; the drivers are not allowed to race flat out anymore and the whole result is more down to team tactics than skill, which is a great shame. Ross Brawn, F1 Managing Director of Motorsports, seems to share my view, so we can only hope that this will change.

Here in France, since 1st November 2017, the Préfectures no longer deal with car registration matters. All matters such as change of ownership, address etc. should now be handled via the website https://immatriculation.ants.gouv.fr. This is fine if you have a car with a French registration plate already, however, at the time of writing, I have yet to ascertain how you now go about French registering a foreign car. I will keep on trying to get this information and will pass it on in due course. On my personal motoring front, readers may remember I was waiting for a “new” car in the middle of the year, and if you did not guess what colour it was going to be, it is orange! And I love it!  Another MX5 unsurprisingly, as my love affair with these wonderful little sports cars shows no sign of abating. Also, our Audi UR Quattro, which some of you may recall from appearing as Course Car at the racing in Bressuire, has had some long overdue jobs done, ready for the 2018 season, with new French immatriculation (thankfully completed before the end of October deadline).

Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia 2017 © WikiCommons/Morio 2017

Also on the speed front, first tests have recently been completed in Newquay on the new land speed record attempt “car”, Bloodhound. The low slung cylindrical vehicle is powered by a Rolls Royce EJ200 jet engine, capable of producing more than 135,000 horsepower - more than six times the combined power of all the Formula 1 cars on a Grand Prix starting grid, and will make its attempt to smash the 1,000 mph barrier in South Africa in 2019. I can’t even comprehend 1,000 mph ….. 

Full scale model of the Bloodhound SSC shown in Whitehall in 2011. © Angyalosi Beata / Shutterstock.com

On a more practical and sedate level, a small French start-up company ‘Navya’ has just unveiled the world’s first driverless electric taxi. Its first demonstrations to the public are planned during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2018, with the first shipments expected in July 2018. “It’s not something that will exist in the future, it’s something that exists before your very eyes,” CEO Christophe Sapet told Reuters. I’m not entirely sure I would be comfortable about going in one, but we will see! I suppose it can’t be any more hair-raising than travelling in a taxi through the crazy streets of Marrakech. In the UK, where traffic has reached record levels, traffic lights are to be installed on the M62 / M6 junction near Warrington in an attempt to ease congestion. This will be an interesting experiment  to watch …. 

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Helen’s orange MX5 © Helen Tait-Wright

Looking further forward, I have registered along with Haley Bennett, who many of you will know from Reel Fish and Chips, to compete in the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles in March 2019. For those of you who are not familiar with this event, it is a women only navigation rally across the Moroccan Sahara.  While it seems a long time in the future, we are already thinking about finding a suitable vehicle for our adventure. Clearly we will be needing a 4x4 with good ground clearance to navigate the dunes and dry rocky river beds we expect to encounter, but we also need to be able to fix it should we have any breakdowns in the desert. The other requirement is that it is diesel powered and have a fuel tank large enough to give a 400 km driving range. My gut feeling is a Land Rover Defender, (although we may need auxiliary fuel tanks) but the trusty Toyota Land Cruiser cannot be ignored.  If anyone out there has any experience of desert driving and can offer pointers, that would be most helpful, and I will keep you informed of our progress as we move forward with our planning.  

And so I wish you all safe driving and enjoyable end of year festivities ……. see you in 2018! Contact Helen: helen@stodel.org

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 35

Building & Renovation

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 37



38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 39

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Business & Finance Marketing Matters



by Katey Green

by Cindy Mobey

Review your Goals for 2018


ow is the time to have a final look at what you aimed to achieve during the year, review the business goals you made and ascertain what was successful.

Taking another look at your goals can help you tweak what still needs to be done and also helps you to plan for next year. It can give you a great sense of achievement to take a step back and see all the good things that have happened…and sometimes not so good. But even the not so good things can be turned into a positive, as you can look to see how you can improve what you do to achieve the things you didn’t quite manage.

Planning for a good year

Looking at the goals you set yourself last year can help you to make new goals for the coming year. Even if you achieved a goal, how can you go that little bit further to make it even better? If you managed to achieve everything you set out to do, now is the time to set yourself something more challenging… If your business involves sales, then you may find that you have achieved a certain level, but would like to go further – brainstorm ideas to help you get more sales – would a New Year campaign help? Could you set a competition or challenge to customers to encourage them to buy more from you? Customers always like an incentive and competitions are popular, particularly if there’s a good prize. Alternatively you could set a challenge. For example, invite your customers to introduce five new people who buy a product from you by the beginning of February…in return they get a voucher for 20% off if they spend 100€. Some of the big stores do this in the UK and it works very well for them.

What isn’t working so well?

Is there anything that you tried to do this year that just didn’t work? Sometimes there is no answer other than to bin it for now… or you could try and approach it a different way. You may simply have been a little over-ambitious. If this is the case, could you break down that goal into smaller, bite-sized chunks? The goal will take longer to achieve, but giving yourself a little flexibility will help make the long term aim much more attainable.

Set a ‘you’ goal

Most of us concentrate on our work goals and don’t remember to set aside some time just for ourselves…so make sure that you have a goal that includes something just for you. It might be that you need to have some time to recharge your batteries…a weekend break away from it all or a spa day…incorporating this into your business strategy will ‘give yourself permission’ to have a rest and you’ll come back to your business with renewed vigour and vitality. Achieving a work/life balance is something we hear about, but rarely manage to do if we run our own businesses, so bear this in mind when you are setting your New Year resolutions or goal setting for your business.


Caisse Allocations Familiales

he Caisse Allocations Familiales, or CAF as it is most commonly known, is the main Government body dealing with many of the allowances and benefits that may be claimed in France. Originally created in October 1945, CAF has its roots back as far as 1860 when sailors were given 10 centimes per day per child as a supplement to their income. By 1914, there were 40 organisations paying this type of family supplement and in 1918 caisses for compensation were set up. These were the forerunners of CAF with over 200 caisses by 1930. In 1932 a law was passed whereby all industrial, commercial, professional and agricultural organisations were required to pay or ‘cotise’ into a caisse for compensation, benefitting the families of workers and employees. Today it deals with billions of euros for a variety of allowances, many of which are means tested. To qualify for any allowance, you must fulfil the general conditions for droit de sejour or residency, no matter what your nationality. Members of the EU have the right to work in France, but may have to provide proof of this. Those who are inactive (retired or not working) MUST be able to show they have sufficient resources for their household so as not to be a burden on the State (minimum benefit levels are used) AND that they have health cover of some sort. Those outside of the European Union are required to have a valid titre de sejour which covers them and any minor children, though some benefits cannot be given until you have resided in France for 5 years. You must also not be considered a risk to the safety and security of France. To apply for benefits or allowances, there are standard forms to complete to determine which benefits such as family or lodging allowance you may be eligible for. There is a simulator for some benefits on the CAF website from which you can then apply direct. You need to supply details of all household members and your work status and current situation. You are also required to complete an income sheet showing all worldwide income and savings (in euros) from the previously declared tax year (so N - 2 where N is the current year). For 2017, income assessed is your income for Jan 1st to Dec 31st inclusive for 2015. CAF may, in some circumstances, use an estimated annual income based on the monthly salary or income at a set point. The usual mountain of documentation is required, but for those from the UK, a letter from the UK Child Benefit Office stating no child benefit is being received is often required for family allowance. Once accepted, you should be given an allocataire number and a code to set up an online account with your departmental CAF. You must do this quickly as it is time limited. You can check on your rights to allowances, do simulations and your quotient familial (QF) which is roughly taking your annual income and dividing by 12 and then dividing this by the number of parts in your family. The QF is used to determine what other benefits you may qualify for, such as reduced charges for leisure activities or holiday costs as per your department CAF options. Do you have a Question for Katey? Email: contact.thhs@gmail.com

Here’s to a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please see my blog to find out more about what’s trending and likely to be popular in the marketing arena in 2018…. cindymobey. wordpress.com Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: cindymobey@outlook.com

If you should need assistance with this or any other type of French administration, have queries or need simple advice, contact me on: contact.thhs@gmail.com or via my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheHandHoldingService Siret n° 451 059 323 00019 R.C.S Angoulême The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 41

Pet Insurance

by Isabelle Want


always get asked why French companies do not provide pet insurance but...... WE DO! French people love their animals too - I cried for two days when I lost my 14 year old Labrador three years ago.

When you know that the average price for a ruptured ligament is between 300€ to 800€; 1 000€ for a broken leg and up to 2 000€ for a hip replacement, why not consider pet insurance? Let me explain pet insurance in detail to you so that you can protect your pets. First of all, pet insurance is for dogs and cats only. We don’t particularly want to know about parrots, snakes, rats or other unusual animals that don’t sleep on sofas. Note that we do a special insurance for horses but it’s not referred to as ‘pet’ insurance. • • • • • • • • •

Dogs that are part of a stag or fox-hunt (too accident prone) are refused. Categorie 1 and 2 dogs: Staffordshire terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Mastiff, Rottweiller and Tosa have an increaseed premium of 17%. You must declare that your dog or cat is healthy at the time you take out the insurance and that it is up to date with all its vaccines. Your pet has to be tattooed or chipped to be insured. We only need to know their name, birth date and what breed they are to be able to give you a quote. For the contract, we need the tattoo number or chipped reference number. Your pet must be between 3 months and 6 years old. Before and after that age we cannot start the insurance. The level of cover does not decrease with the age of the pet and it will be insured until it dies. There are 3 levels of cover. Of course, the better the level of cover, the more expensive the premium.

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017




Hospitalisation, consultation, treatment, medicine, 50% 80% ambulance, exams, euthanasia, analysis. Cesarean fee 100 100 Excess per year 10 30 Preventive health measures such as vaccines, 0 45 castration, worm pills, flee and tick treatment etc. Cap per year 1000 1500 Premium per month (per cat) 12.92 26.29 (per dog) 14.20 30.75

• •

100 100% 100 75 85 2000 40.08 49.99

There is a respite for the claim of 3 days if it is an accident and 1 month if it is a disease. There is a discount when you have more than one pet insured (about 15% discount per additional pet).

So there it is, pet insurance is not complicated to understand so don’t hesitate to take on a new companion from your local S.P.A. (dog and cat rescue home). And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subject such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc…

Facebook @Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterps. No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

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

QROPS: The Pros and Cons of transferring your UK Pension

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks


However, with this freedom comes more potential to exhaust your funds – unlike a UK annuity or ‘final salary’ pension which provide an income for life.

Tax efficiency. Currently, French residents can transfer UK pensions into an EU/EEAbased QROPS tax-free. Other transfers could trigger 25% or 55% tax penalties, however, so take specialist advice.

As the value of any investment can vary, this introduces an element of risk that is absent from guaranteed annuities. However, a welldiversified investment approach can minimise risk.

ne of many pension options for British expatriates is transferring UK funds to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Once in a QROPS, funds are sheltered from UK taxes and stop counting towards your lifetime pension allowance, enabling unlimited growth without tax penalties. In France, pension income (including QROPS) attracts the income tax scale rates up to 45%. Although a quarter of UK funds can be taken as cash without UK taxation, residents in France face French taxes – albeit at just 7.5% under certain conditions. All pension income is subject to additional social charges – currently 7.4% but increasing to 9.1% in 2018 –unless you hold EU Form S1 or are not affiliated to the French healthcare system. French residents may find that reinvesting pension funds into an assurance-vie – a specialised form of life assurance – is more taxefficient than a QROPS. Flexible access. QROPS usually let you access your funds, however and whenever you want. You could, say, draw a higher income in early retirement and then reduce it, or take a lump sum and preserve the rest for later.

Investment choice. Most QROPS offer flexible, diversified options for investing your money to suit your circumstances, objectives, timeline and risk appetite.

Estate planning flexibility. While many UK ‘final salary’ pensions are payable only to your spouse on death, a QROPS offers flexibility to pass pension benefits to any chosen heirs, even across generations. Multi-currency opportunities. Some QROPS let you invest funds and make withdrawals in multiple currencies. This benefits expatriates by reducing exposure to Pound/Euro exchange rates and currency conversion costs. Freedom from UK rules. Funds in a QROPS – no longer governed by UK pension legislation – are protected from future rule changes. However, UK taxation could still apply if you transfer funds again to an unapproved scheme within five tax years (for funds transferred after 8th March 2017), or permanently return to the UK within ten years. Pensions are a complex, specialist area – and vulnerable to pension scams – so regulated, personalised advice is essential. Take care to explore your full range of options to establish the most suitable pension solution for your particular circumstances. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from all of us at Blevins Franks

05 49 75 07 24 niort@blevinsfranks.com w w w. b l e v i n s f r a n k s . c o m Blevins Franks Group is represented in France by the following companies: Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) and Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF). BFFM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided overseas, via the Insurance Mediation Directive from Malta, the regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissements Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on www.orias.fr). Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA).

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 43




Save Money


by Sue Cook

Q> “My wife and I relocated to France in 2014 but plan to return to the UK to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with our family. We’ll be home for about 4 weeks and need to pay for accommodation, food, nights out and gifts – what’s the most cost-effective option of moving the money from France?” A> If you were only planning to pop back to the UK for a couple of days, exchanging a few euros for pounds at the airport might tide you over – but as travel money providers tend to offer poor exchange rates you really wouldn’t want to use them to exchange larger sums. Carrying large quantities of cash around is also inadvisable, if it was lost or stolen you might have to cancel Christmas! As you’re returning to the UK for a month (during the most expensive time of year!) one of the simplest and most costeffective ways of moving your spending money from France to the UK is to use the online international money transfer services offered by some leading currency providers.

Ask Amanda


by Amanda Johnson

s we come towards the end of another year, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone who reads my articles a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I would especially like to thank Sarah, for continuing to provide such a worthwhile magazine for those of us who live in and around the Poitou Charentes. I hope 2017 brought success to you and your families and that my articles provided valuable information to help you plan ahead more effectively - however, if you didn’t get around to reviewing your financial position in 2017, maybe you can make it a New Year’s resolution for the first quarter of 2018?

Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated

to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

Simply open a free account with a currency transfer specialist like Currencies Direct and you’ll be able to move money from your bank account in France to your UK bank (or a nominated bank of your choosing) in just a couple of clicks. It won’t cost you a penny in transfer fees and as you’ll get a better exchange rate than you would with a bank or travel money provider, you’ll get more pounds for your euros. The festive season is a time of giving and generosity – but it’s still nice to make a saving when you can, so it’s well worth looking into your options. And if you don’t spend all the money you transfer to the UK, you can move it back to France just as easily when you return after Christmas. It’s free to open an account and costs nothing to keep it open – so you can use it to send money home year after year if you need to. With an online account with Currencies Direct you can also check live exchange rates, set Rate Alerts (which let you know as soon as your target exchange rate has been achieved) and track your transfers. The same handy services are even available in an app so you can make currency transfers on the go 24/7. Christmas might be the season to be jolly, but all the shopping, travelling, visiting and general hype can also make it quite stressful. Take one weight off your mind by making your currency transfers hassle free – and maximising your spending money in the process!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2018! 44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017


‘The DSM’ Feedback...

I find DSM very useful in planning my trips to Deux-Sèvres and things to do on holiday where I visit 3 to 4 times a year but more in general as it keeps me in touch with the area, whats on and a feel for every day life in the region.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017 | 45


Sauzé...a great place for dining out! by Joanna Leggett

eep in the lovely countryside of the southern Deux-Sèvres sits the small town of Sauzé-Vaussais. Easily accessed (it’s west of the N10 and not far from Chef Boutonne), this pretty place has much to offer with a selection of shops in its ancient town centre including several bakeries and bars as well as regular markets and a supermarket on its outskirts! Local attractions include its distinctive dovecote as well as the lovely lake – great for waterside barbecues in summer and fishing all year round. A newer addition is the ‘Swag Fountain’ purchased from the nearby town of Melle after the Canadian rapper, Drake, released a new album! Also attracting visitors and townsfolk are the choice of five restaurants in the vicinity – a boon for any smaller community in rural France – after all, cuisine is at the top of any French agenda! Just outside Sauzé sits an immaculate two bedroom home, extensively modernised to very high standards (Leggett ref: 79141, photo left). Downstairs is the fabulous kitchen with a great island while storage is maximised from a range of cupboards. There’s also a large lounge and dining room, both with wood-burners. Upstairs, one bedroom has a dressing room, another enormous one (could be divided into two) has a Juliette balcony and bathroom. Outside there’s a barn and workshop, gardens to the front and side with room for a pool! On the market for 183 600€.

Close by a spacious Charentaisestyle home with 4 bedrooms (Leggett ref: 77752, photo right) has also been carefully renovated, while retaining its character. There are stone walls, an imposing stone fireplace and exposed beams. The large entrance has its original staircase and there’s a massive living room and kitchen/dining room on this level. The bedrooms are more than generous in size and include an ensuite with potential for more bathrooms. The long driveway and courtyard form the beautiful entrance to this home, there’s also a luscious pool and beautiful garden – for sale at 251 450€. Back in the heart of Sauzé there’s huge potential with this commercial property (Leggett ref: 63899, photo right) with existing rental income from the Optician’s shop at street level. Accessed from a completely separate entrance are two floors already stripped back ready for fitting out – you could create one large penthouse style apartment, or two smaller ones – a great investment opportunity at 88 000€. Sauzé is just over 90 minutes drive from the beaches of La Rochelle and the Marais Poitevin is also close by – both popular summer locations – this is a great place to live! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents.com/poitou-charentes-property



Ref: 81718 Hamlet property with 3 bedrooms, outbuildings and woodland. SEPVRET €294,250

Buying or selling?

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 80722 3 bed house in desirable residential area. Short walk to town centre. SAINT MAIXENT L’ECOLE €219,350

Ref: 81083 Smart 4 bed / 2 bath Maison de Maître with courtyard and a garden. BOUILLE LORETZ €178,200

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: D

Agency fees included paid by seller DPE: C

Ref: 81949 Tidy and spacious renovated, 3 bed farmhouse, 10mins from Melle. LA MOTHE ST HERAY €203,040 8% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: D

Ref: 81850 Lovely 2 bed / 2 bath character home in need of completing. SURIN €119,900 9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Ref: 81713 Rural 2 bed house with a cottage to renovate, 38kms from Poitiers. ST MARTIN DU FOUILLOUX €109,000 9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Starting a new life in France? Want a new career?

Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents, so if you are looking for a job in France, drop us a line. 00 800 2534 4388 recruitment@leggett.fr

www.leggettfrance.com info@leggett.fr +33 05 53 60 84 88

46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, December 2017

Profile for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, December 2017  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, December 2017  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas

Profile for thedsm