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Annual Subscription Costs: 31,00€ within France, 20€ 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 48 of

This Month’s Advertisers

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine.

Bonjour à tous! I hope you have all settled into 2015 and are enjoying yourselves. We enjoyed our break over the Christmas period, but it’s quite nice to get back into our routines again. So - this is the month of luurve! Don’t forget to treat your loved ones, whether it’s a romantic meal for your spouse or a special food for your animals - keep St. Valentin in mind...... For me I especially like February for the pancakes! Officially pancake day here is in March, but the earlier the better for me. Perhaps we’ll celebrate both the British and the French day....just because we can! :-) Well, it’s a Sunday evening as I write this, and there’s still a lot to do until this is ready for I’ll be off now and wish you a LOVEly February. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) See you all in March, where, Spring will almost be here! Take Care.

à plus, Sarah

Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: Website:

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

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

4 6 10 13 16 18 20 21 26 27 28 30 34 36 41 45

79 Renovations 37 ABORDimmo 45 Ace Pneus (Tyre supplier & Fitter) 35 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) 2 Agence Mélusine 45 AgriPelle (Equipment Sales, Hire and Repairs) 36 AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) 37 A La Bonne Vie  30 Amanda Johnson (Le Tour de Finance) 47 Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) 39 ARB French Property 21 & 45 Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 23 BH Assurances/Allianz - Isabelle Want 43 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 39 Blevins Franks Financial Management 41 Buzz Transport 35 Caniclôture Hidden Fences 19 Chris Parsons (Heating/Electrical/Plumbing) 39 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 38 Cleaning Services by Karen 21 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 38 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 44 Darren Lawrence (Renovations etc) 37 David Cropper (Stump Grinding & Jungle Busting) 21 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 38 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 16 Down to Earth Pool Design 45 Duncan White - Agent Commerciale 46 Emilie Baudrez (French Classes & Translation) 9 Equi Libre Immobilier 45 Franglais Deliveries 35 GAN Assurances 35 Give the Dog a Comb (Dog Grooming) 19 Hallmark Electronique 38 Irving Location - Digger Hire 36 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 36 Jb Plumbing 39 J.P. Lainé Chimney Sweep 38 Julia Hunt - Agent Commerciale 46 Kelly’s Pampering Events 16 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 21 Leggett Immobilier 46 Mark Sabestini Renovation and Construction 37 Michael William Park Hair salon 17 ML Computers 29 Motor Parts Charente 35 M. Page Landscaping 23 Mr. Piano Man 11 MSS Construction 37 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Nathan Foster Building Services 37 Needa Hand Services 21 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 16 Photo Creativity - File Transfers 29 Plan 170 (Professional Scale Drawings) 38 Polar Express 31 R & A Services (Full & Partial Renovations) 36 Restaurant des Canards 31 Rob Berry Plastering Services 40 Robert Lupton (Electrician) 38 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 36 Sarl Faucon 37 Sat-Elec 29 Satellite TV 29 Siddalls (Financial Advisors) 42 Simon the Tiler 39 Simply Homes and Gardens 23 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 39 Steve Enderby (Painter & Decorator) 40 Steve Robin (Plumber) 39 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Suzanne Cole-King (Bowen Technique) 16 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vendée Pools (Swimming Pool Construction and Accessories) 47 Vendee Web Design 29 Victoria Bassey Jewellery Boutique 17 Yoga Vendée 16

© Sarah Berry 2015. 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. <<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, GraphicStock et Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: fevrier 2015 - Tirage: 4500 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 3

What’s On...

3rd February - Photo Workshop with 4th February - Hope Charity Shop Opens Please see info on P.19. 6th February - Start of RBS 6-Nations Championships See for all the fixtures and news. 14th February - St. Valentine’s Day 14th February - Cabaret Belleville ‘Les Baladins de la Médecine’ (medical professionals) present this show at 8.30pm in Mauléon (salle de la Passerelle) for the benefit of the associations ‘En Avant la Vie’ (support for brain tumor patients and their families) and ‘Apprendsmoi! Autisme et ABA’ (structure for autistic children). Reservations at the Mauléon Tourist Board on 05 49 81 95 22. Ticket prices: adults 10€, Children: 6€. 15th February - Hope Association’s Mid-Winter Mini Book Sale At St Laurent de Ceris from 10am. Please see advert on P.19. 17th February - Shrove Tuesday / UK Pancake Day 19th February - Kelly Pampering Events At Pause! Café, L’Absie. 10am-3pm. Please see advert on P.16. 22nd February - House Sale At 10 rue de la mairie, 85200 St Michelle Cloucq. See ad on P.5. 24th February - Live Opera: The Flying Dutchman Showing live in it’s original language at CGR Cinema in Niort at 8.15pm. For more information please see P.8. 25th February - Seasonal Work Forum At Salle du Parc des Loges de Parthenay, 2pm-5pm. For information please see advert on P.7.

Coming Up...

8th March - Closing of Exposition Souvenire 1914/1918 At Musée municipale de Parthenay. 17th March - Le Tour de Finance at Saumur See advert on P.47 for information. 18th March - Le Tour de Finance at Maulevrier See advert on P.47 for information. 19th March - Le Tour de Finance at Chef-Boutonne See advert on P.47 for information. 24th March - Blevins Franks’ Seminar at St. Maixent l’École Please see advert on P.42 for details. 25th March - Blevins Franks’ Seminar at Saumur Please see advert on P.42 for details.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2015

February 2015 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, hold English speaking monthly services. • • •

1st Sunday at 10.30am: At St Leger, near Melle. Followed by tea & coffee. 2nd Sunday at 11.00am: the home of Ann White, Jassay 4th Sunday at 10.30am: the Presbytery Rooms, rue de la Citadelle, Parthenay (opposite St Croix Church). Followed by tea & coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch.

A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website or contact us by email: The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact 05 49 87 89 16 or email: ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship A warm welcome awaits you at our meetings in the Vendée on the 1st & 3rd Sunday in the month at 11am. We meet at The Barn, off the D960B between Pouzauges and Chantonnay. To find out more please contact Chris Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or Des Vine 05 49 74 18 27 or visit:

LOCAL MARKETS Mondays.........

Saturday 14th February Valentine’s Day (Saint Valentin) Tuesday 17th February Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) Sunday 1st March Grandmother’s Day (Fête des Grands-mères) Sunday 5th April Easter Sunday (Pâques) Monday 6th April Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) Friday 1st May Labour Day (Fête du Travail) Friday 8th May Victory in Europe Day (Fête de la Victoire) Thursday 14th May Ascension Day (Ascension) Sunday 24th May Pentacost (Pentecôte) Monday 25th May Pentacost (Lundi de Pentecôte) Sunday 31st May Mother’s Day (Fête des Mères) Sunday 21st June Father’s Day (Fête des Pères) Sunday 21st June World Music Day (Fête de la Musique) Tuesday 14th July National Day (Fête Nationale) Saturday 15th August Assumption of Mary (Assomption) Sunday 4th October Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grand-pères) Sunday 1st November All Saint’s Day (Toussaint) Wednesday 11th November Armistice Day (Armistice) Friday 25th December Christmas Day (Noël)


Dates in blue are celebration days, not public holidays


What’s On...ONLINE

Wednesdays.... Thursdays........

Friday............... Saturdays........

Benet 85490 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Lezay 79120 Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Parthenay 79200 Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Thouars 79100 Melle 79500 Bressuire 79300 Chef-Boutonne 79110 Airvault 79600 - and - Niort 79000 Saint Maixent-l’École 79400 Fontenay-le-Comte 85200 Coulon 79510 Neuville-de-Poitou 86170

Online Calendar now available on

Share your events online for free - email the details to 4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

Paperback Jan Books in English Find me at these venues during February: 5th: 6th: 6th: 11th: 12th: 13th: 14th: 25th: 26th: 27th:

Bar Palais, St Aubin le Cloud 79450. 2pm - 4.30pm Bar de la Paix, Thouars 79100. 11.30 - 1.30pm Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux 79160. 3pm - 5pm Au Bec de Vin, St Jouin de Marnes 79600. 3pm - 5pm Pause! L’Absie 79240. 2pm - 5pm Jan’s Home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay 79390.11am - 4pm Bar Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole 79400. 10am - 12.30pm Jan’s Home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay 79390. 1pm - 5pm Le Relais des 2 moulins, Clessé 79350 4pm - 6pm Vue du Chateau, Bressuire 79300 11am - 1pm

Small Colour Advert

only 35€

Please note: Vouvant is cancelled for this month For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email:

From 7pm Top Hat Quiz & Curry

Dates & Venues for February: 2nd: Limalonges 5th: Chef Boutonne 9th: Theil Rabier 11th: Aigre 12th: Champniers Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 - more info at

Have you registered for your chance to WIN free tickets to the opera and ballet? All shows are broadcast live to the CGR Cinema in Niort, in their original languages. Visit our website:, click on the image shown below and send us your contact details. More information about this month’s show can be found on page 8.

Open 6-8.30pm La Vendée Chippy Wednesdays From 4th Feb: Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges. Fridays: From 6th Feb: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds On Sat 7th February find us at Le Marmiton, Antigny. Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 -

Mr T’s Friterie

With regular venues at: • • •

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Matha 17160 Gourville 16170

• •

Open 6.30-9pm

St Hilaire de Villefranche


St Jean d’Angély 17400

See for details or call 06 02 22 44 74


Opera Season 2015 Fish 4 Chip + Authentic Indian meals CLOSED FEBRUARY, reopening 3rd March

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20 -

Reel Fish & Chips We are taking our annual break and will be back in March 2015. The DSM magazines will still be available at; Argenton-lesVallées, Bressuire, St Martin de Sanzay, Etusson, Genneton, L’Absie & Bouillé-Loretz. A bientôt, Haley & Andy. Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 -

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine. Published by Sarah Berry 3 La Bartière, 79130 SECONDIGNY Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 5

Getting Out & About

Aidez Association ~ Update & SOS

by Lin Adams

Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the continued support you have given to us over the years. We have been actively organising markets for 9 years, and this will be our 10th year. Aidez is a non profitable Association with the object of raising money for French charities. We are fully registered with the Maisons des Associations in Bressuire and are also set up with the relevant legal, insurance and banking facilities that are required for a charity and to safely run markets. Over the years we have raised a considerable amount of money, which has all been donated to various charities: for example, local Resto du Coeur in Parthenay and Bressuire.

Unfortunately, due to health problems and committee members leaving the area, we are now sending out an SOS for help. To enable us to proceed with the two markets we have already booked for this year, one on the 26th April (a Spring market at St Germain de Longue Chaume) and the other on the 6th December (our usual Christmas Market in Terves), we desperately need additional help. If you think you can spare a few hours on these dates to help with the setting up and dismantling of tables, or even some hours helping in the cafe, the committee would be extremely grateful. Please can you contact me as soon as possible via e-mail at or telephone 05 49 64 84 95. Thank you.

HOWZAT HAPPEN? It was a dark November afternoon and everyone sat huddled over steaming glasses of vin chaud in the local bar. “Rehearsals for the Alan Bennett monologues are going really well,” said Richard Smith, TheatriVasles chairman, “but we really need to finalise our Spring 2015 production.” So many choices, so much enthusiasm. Suddenly the conversation changed from Christmas and chilblains to comedy and cricket. Cricket?! “Spring will be round the corner, people will want sunshine and laughter,” said Kate. “The smell of new mown grass, a good belly laugh,” mused Alan. “Cucumber sandwiches and couples in comic complications... It’s got to be ‘Outside Edge’!” laughed Debbee. ‘Outside Edge’ is a comedy about cricket, only it’s about the interesting bits that happen beyond the wicket (apologies to all cricket fanatics, but you know what we mean...). So there is chaos and catastrophe at the crease that will have you creased up with laughter; there are teas and teases, bats and bikinis, runs and romances, fielders and affairs. You probably get the picture by now. 6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

by Bernadine Smith

‘Outside Edge’ was first performed in London with a cast that included Julia McKenzie and Maureen Lipman in the stage play and Prunella Scales, Paul Edington (‘Yes, Prime Minister’) and Maureen Lipman in the TV version. The show was so successful that it is one of the very few plays ever to have been developed into a TV comedy series; 22 episodes, starring Brenda Blethyn, Timothy Spall and Josie Lawrence amongst others. So that’s ‘howzat’ happened that TheatriVasles chose ‘Outside Edge’ for its first comedy play. Written by Richard Harris, it is a masterly comic piece with just a hint of Ayckbourn that launched the careers of many of the actors who starred in the original play and series. The action takes place over one Saturday afternoon when Roger is trying to assemble his team: a team that includes Dennis the indiscriminate flirt whose wife takes a fiery revenge, Bob who has trouble with both his current wife and ex-wife, Kevin who spends most of the time ensconced with his wife in her fur coat and Alex whose girlfriend locks herself in the loo and has hysterics. The play is being performed at the The Maison du Village Theatre in Vasles on 27th and 28th March. Tickets (10€) are available from, Facebook TheatriVasles or call Kate on 06 15 48 00 89. Website

50th Anniversary SEASONAL JOB FORUM 25th February 2pm - 5pm at Salle du Parc des Loges de Parthenay (rue Salvadore Allende). Offering access to employment opportunities, the chance to meet employers and information on how to travel, this forum is free and open to all. Support is available to help make initial enquiries to employers and to create/update letters and CVs.

The 24th January 1965, 50 years ago, marks the death of Sir Winston Churchill. Mr Xavier Argenton, the mayor and the Councillors of Parthenay, would like to commemorate this occasion with a plaque placed along the banks of the river Thouet, in Parthenay. Parthenay has strong historical links to Great Britain and is today the home of many British people which is why Mr Argenton would like to honour this occasion. The actual ceremony will take place at a future date of which you will be informed and invited to participate. Articles will also be appearing in the French press from 24th January.

Contact Julia Salavat 46, bd Edgar Quinet, BP 90505, 79208 PARTHENAY Tel: 05 49 64 25 49

For further Information, please call: 05 49 94 23 46

Traveller in the rain


by Thomas Mombras

God, that accent ! I’d just arrived ‘oop narth’, near Stoke-on-Trent, ready to face six months of intense beer-drinking and travelling. As fun as that may sound, the beginning of it turned out not to be so bright. There was the rain, of course. It was not really pouring or anything, just that kind of drizzle which I’d been told was typical (along with the smog. People went on and on about the smog. Never actually saw it.) I’d also been told that from any place in England, you could always see a cloud, even on the sunniest of days. That day, I couldn’t even see an inch of blue sky. I’d been dropped off a fair way from where my digs were supposed to be. The thing is, there were plenty of houses, so I had to engage contact with some locals. I already knew how odd they could be. I was a different boy than when I’d first met the expats, at home in France. Having studied English for three years, quite dazzlingly and brilliantly I must say, I could say I was a specialist (or maybe that’s just me sounding very French). But I wasn’t ready for what came next. The day was January 20th, apocalyptic weather conditions (at least to me), and people were walking around in shorts. IN SHORTS!! AND T-SHIRTS!!! AND FLIP FLOPS!!!! Mon Dieu, I thought. I had to find my house though, so I started asking around (blatantly avoiding people in shorts).

I remember saying things like “Hiya” and “You alright mate?” thinking it would make me sound very cool. I even ended up saying “Cheerio”, without really knowing whether I was gassing about cereal or something else. But the accent !!! I’d trained. I could even understand some cockney thanks to Guy Ritchie’s films. But that northern drawl? Some guy told me the house was “over t’ill”. A till is supposed to be a sort of cash machine, right? Why would anyone live over one? Anyway, it turned out my block was just a sodden stroll away. Over the hill. I finally dripped into my room. Le coup de grace. The carpeting was blood red. The curtains were tackier than Camden on a sunny day. The covers on the bed matched them, of course. And there were no shutters. Maybe the sun never came out? The pints had better be cheap!

Do you have a Business to promote? Call us Today - Great Rates! 05 49 70 26 21 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 7

Tuesday 24th February, 8.15pm (Opera: 3 acts, duration 2hrs 20mins)

Le Vaisseau Fantôme by Richard Wagner


Royal Opera House Choir and Orchestra

Opera Season 2015 Fans of classical music and dance will love this!

In conjuction wil the Royal Opera House, the regular operas and ballets continue to be broadcast LIVE to your local CGR cinema in Niort. The greatest tenors, sopranos and orchestral leaders come directly to you highlighting the best of this classical medium. To find other cinemas particpating in this season of live Opera, please visit the website:

FREE Tickets !

The Flying Dutchman is condemned to roam on his ship until a woman offers her love and absolute loyalty. A Norwegian named Daland, interested in the fortunes of the Dutchman but ignoring the seven year curse, promises the hand of his daughter, Senta. Senta agrees to give her love and loyalty, but when he surprises her speaking with Erik, the Dutchman believes she has betrayed him and reveals his ghostly identity before returning to sea without redemption. To prove her love, Senta throws herself from the top of a cliff - the Dutchman is saved and the lovers are united for eternity.

We have 2 pairs of tickets to giveaway for each live Opera showing at the CGR Cinema in Niort. For your chance to win these free tickets, simply go to our website and register your name* and email address with us. A name will be drawn randomly 7 days prior to the next showing, and the winning tickets sent to you. *Only one registration allowed per person. The names will rollover to the next draw. If you don’t have access to an email address, please send your name, address and telephone number by post to: Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartiere, 79130 SECONDIGNY.

Plus a Special Discount for DSM Readers! T H E R O YA L O P E R A




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8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

Saint Valentine’s Day La Saint Valentin


by Sue Burgess

aint Valentin is the patron saint of people who are in love (le saint patron des amoureux).

I just read on that Saint Valentin might never have existed...but don’t say that to the people of St Pierre du Chemin, just over the border from the Deux Sèvres into the Vendée, where there is a festival for Saint Valentine’s Day every year. The festival lasts about a week with different events being organised. The church has been home to some of the relics (les reliques) of the Saint since 1847 and the relics have been authenticated by the Vatican. During the week of St Valentin there are concerts, meals and a cabaret. Details of this year’s festival can be found on the organiser’s website at Saint Valentine’s day (la saint Valentin, la fête de la saint Valentin) has its origins in Anglo-Saxon countries and has only really gained in popularity in France since the 1980’s. French is said to be the language of love, (c’est la langue de l’amour). So many French poets, writers and singers have expressed their passion without forgetting all the love birds who attach padlocks (les cadenas) to the Pont des Arts in Paris in order to seal their love. It is also in Paris, the capital of romance, (la capitale mondiale du romantisme), that lovers from all over the world leave their messages of love on the famous « I love you wall » (Mur des je t’aime). The wall is a monument dedicated to love which has been put up in the romantic garden of Jehan Rictus square in Montmartre. The work by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito has become a meeting place for lovers from all over the world. « I love you » (je t’aime) can be seen in over 280 languages.

The French language is full of words and expressions on the theme of love. Here are a few: L’amour fraternel................ brotherly love L’amour vache.................... love hate relationship Un chagrin d’amour............ heartache, unhappy love affair Une déclaration d’amour.... a declaration of love Filer le parfait amour.......... to be very much in love, live a great romance Un filtre d’amour................. love potion malheureux en amour........ lucky at cards, unlucky in love une histoire d’amour .......... a love story L’amour rend aveugle ........ love is blind mon amour......................... my love tomber en amour................ to fall in love avoir le coup de foudre....... to fall in love at first sight un tue-l’amour.................... a turn-off Tu es un amour................... You’re a sweetie Vivre une grande histoire d’amour.............................. to experience a great love affair. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 9

Hobbies More from local writer Alison Morton... Please see back issues of ‘The DSM’ if you would like to see previous articles.

Writers and the Community Drafting this article in the second week of January, I can’t help but be influenced by the murder of the cartoonists and journalists from Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine based in Paris. Yes, their work was often tasteless, cutting, provocative, aiming barbs at targets in establishment life that no other publication would dare to criticise. In line with the revered French traditions of disagreement and anarchy, Charlie Hebdo cartoonists wielded their pencils with pin-point accuracy; nothing was safe, no subject untouchable. Generations have grown up with Charlie Hebdo and every French person reads a copy sometime in their life. But the journalists are not just taking a stab at the establishment, they are the personification of freedom of expression so highly valued in France. When the ten were murdered, apart from condemning the barbarity of the murders, people saw it immediately as an attack on their freedom of expression. It’s been trotted out everywhere, but it was a Frenchman, Voltaire, who is credited with the expression, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” And those journalists died doing that. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly is not an ‘edgy’ magazine; that’s not its style or function, but the editor/publisher takes her duty to the community seriously when she publishes each edition. Writing is a joy, whether it’s serious academic work, poetry from the heart, a pacey thriller, saga or romance, or an article on a hot topic, print or online features, a biography, investigative journalism or short stories with a twist. Writers are encouraged to write what they know, but I’d say write what you want to write, however odd or edgy others may think it. A friend of mine’s mother loves the romances her daughter produces but my friend blushes when she thinks of her mother reading the sex scenes. Another friend writes Mafia stories and she obviously knows her subject thoroughly. I suggested that was possibly dangerous but she shrugged her shoulders. “If it happens, it happens.”

The Local Art Scene

by John Blair

My local artist this month is Kathy van Hooken. Kathy is an inspiration to us all, she paints in all medium and is the most prolific artist I have ever met. Kathy paints every day of the week but still finds time to come along to our art group to give workshops and is always available for advice. Well, after that introduction, what else is there to say about Kathy? Kathy has been painting her whole life and was inspired by her mother who was also a talented artist. Her main love is watercolours but Kathy is a great one for experimentation. I have heard her say, “Have a go, try it and see what happens”, hundreds of times. She has won many awards for her work including one of cows, from the Farmers Weekly! She did tell me that of the awards she has received, the one which gave her the most pleasure was for her sunflowers picture which was voted on by the public. She has won this prize a few times. Kathy also paints in acrylics, oils and pastels and writes poetry. She wrote a book called ‘Snails on my palette’. If you would like to see more of her work go and you will see many of her sketch pages. Top Tips from Kathy for aspiring artists:•

Inspiration is only good if you use it straight away, so carry a sketch book with you all the time. Stop comparing your work with others and start creating and get out of your comfort zone. And I would add, paint for yourself and not everyone else.

Writers, including me, are upset when somebody gives them a low-star review of their work. Does the reviewer not know the hundreds of hours poured into a book; the heartache and sweat required to produce it? Worse is when a review is expressed in personalised, inaccurate and even vicious terms. Friends commiserate, colleagues help to soothe the intense hurt. But that reviewer is fully entitled to be rude, obnoxious and unfair, and we should support their right to do so. It’s a subjective opinion and that’s all. (I just slope off and cry in the corner.)

Writing is a privilege and authors enjoy respect, but they have a responsibility to produce authentic as well as technically wellcrafted work. And they have a duty in their community to write what they need to write and not be cowed or intimidated. I was rather sad when British cartoonist Bill Tidy in an interview with Radio Derby said that cartoonists should pull back from religious subjects. Sorry, but self-censorship is almost worse than imposed censorship. Few would encourage malicious intent in writing; in fact, that would be bad writing, in my opinion. But we cannot claim to be a liberal society and enjoy the freedoms we do if we’re not prepared to be offended.

Kathy really does practice what she preaches as you will see on her blog.

#Je suis Charlie

My advice, go and have a look at Kathy’s blog. I think it will inspire you to do more sketching and as a result you will become better at drawing and therefore a better artist.

Alison Morton is the author of three novels, and The 500 Word Writing Buddy: 25 Inner Secrets for the New Writer, the compilation of articles from this column. 10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

When asked “What would you say was the biggest problem with most artists?” Kathy replied “Painting from photographs, it’s good from a practice point of view but paint something from life every day, and you will discover a whole new world and it puts life into your paintings”.

It’s so easy to find an excuse for not doing something, I do it all the time, especially when I’ve got my French homework to do! I had a tip the other day which you might find useful - put a basket of small items by your armchair. Have a board with your sketch pad on it and some blue tac. Stick one of the items onto your board and start to draw it while your watching TV. You want to make a cup of tea, no problem your subject item will be in the same position as it was when you left it.

YOUR Book Reviews

Thanks to Dennis Walby for sending in the review for this month.

Don’t forget our copy deadline:

‘Score’ by Jilly Cooper Like many lucky enough to live in France, I have collected a reasonable fiction library from books that visitors leave behind. As I can’t throw books away, I have a large, eclectic collection. One thing I have discovered is that one should not be snooty about the novels other people read. Before Jilly Cooper’s ‘Score’ was left by someone, I would have wrapped it in brown paper if I felt inclined to look inside, just in case someone caught me reading it. Not any more!

Patchwork Winners! Do you remember in November that a group of ladies from ‘Pause for Patchwork’ in L’Absie were creating a patchwork quilt? Well, here we have the winners of the three prizes: 1st Prize: 2nd Prize: 3rd Prize:

Doreen Enderby, Quilt and matching cushion Liz Thomas, Doorstop Chicken Julia Stiles, Patchwork Elephant 

Many thanks to all who participated. ALL donations are going to ‘Medicenes Sans Frontiere’.

Apart from the author, there are several other aspects that may well discourage the faint hearted from embarking upon this interesting literary journey. Firstly, it is about Opera. No, don’t switch off. It’s a murder mystery of the sort that I enjoy. It is fairly obvious that the most unpleasant character will get his just deserts and that nearly everyone else will have good reason to do it. Two other discouragements lie in the fact that there are lots of characters, just like opera, and they are not all chorus. Secondly, the author has seen fit to provide a map as a frontispiece to ensure everyone is able to follow the action. Ms Cooper has obviously done a great deal of research and it is reflected in the odd facts one picks up, even if it is about opera. The pace rattles on and a rather contrived ending certainly makes the journey worthwhile. Unless you have a good memory for names, the list of the ‘cast’ will be a boon. I suppose the only criticism is that the author has relied too much on standard caricatures, but it makes it easier to remember them. So if the rather gloomy weather is getting you down, this could be a great escape. Published in 1999, it’s fairly topical too.

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”! thedeuxsevresmonthly Contact ‘The DSM’ on 05 49 70 26 21 or by email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 11


he recent Sainsbury’s television advert depicting the Xmas truce of 1914, made in conjunction with the British Legion, has come in for some criticism such as “Exploiting the First World War for commercial gain is tasteless.” But if we look back nearly 100 years to the advertising associated with that conflict, we see that this advertisement is doing nothing that has not been done before. World War One came along at a useful time for the advertising industry in many respects. It was coming of age and companies used language and imagery that was acceptable at the time, despite sometimes appearing “tasteless” by today’s standards. At the turn of the 20th century Britain was flooded with massproduced, affordable consumer goods. It was the demand for these products that aided the rise of marketing and advertising that exploited emotion. So it was logical that such psychological techniques should ride the patriotic tide after war broke out. Companies were helped by a huge surge in newspaper readership as people clamoured for information from the front - turning themselves into potential customers as they did so. In an age before TV bombarded consumers with commercials, newspapers and magazines such as Punch and the Illustrated London News were the battleground for firms desperate to see off their rivals. But just how did they pitch their wares to the public and the men enlisted in the armed forces? It almost beggars belief that something as horrific as the Great War should have helped shape modern advertising: powerful ads from companies building emotional bonds with consumers. The conflict also created an environment that allowed new products to evolve, market sectors to be created and the establishment of global brands, some of which thrive to this day, such as OXO, Dunlop and Guinness.

Using the ‘First World War’ to Sell by Tony Barrett

Amid the bloodshed and brutality, companies were quick to cash in on the marketing opportunities provided by World War One. Jingoism, anti-German sentiment and guilt were all laid on thick to sell everything from food to fashion and with five million letters sent from foreign lands each week, pen manufacturers battled for business too. Each emphasised attributes such as their product’s trustworthiness and reliability for “the man who is fighting out yonder”. Soap advertisements were also common in a war that was notable for its dirt, mud and lice and many companies vied for business by using patriotic and war themes to push their products. Even bottled water took on added significance. Playing on nationalistic sentiment, in February 1915 Perrier asked “Do You Drink German Waters?”. It went on to state: “Perrier stands as the great representative of France against a host of waters from Germany.” Another company, Decca, whose association with the war may seem tenuous to us, claimed a solid and necessary link to the trenches. Gramophones, which were amplified by vibration rather than electricity, were popular in dug-outs, given their application as a means to drown out the relentless noise of war. Advertisers certainly did not shy away from representing the wounded. With so many men returning injured, the subject could hardly be ignored, and this provided a further opportunity to promote products for the wounded and convalescent. The interesting thing is that so many of the manufacturers who produced the most eye-catching ads are still in business today. The ads worked. It was an extraordinary time for the advertising industry, but it was an extraordinary time for illustrated magazines as well, before photography really took over. It shows the power of graphic art. Taken from a project on First World War advertising by Tony Barrett 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

Clubs & Associations Hypnotherapy Slimming Group

For four weeks only. Starts January 2015. Near Bressuire, dept. 79. Call Hypnotherapist/bodywork therapist Pamela Irving on 05 49 65 55 25 or email for more information:

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 Margaret on email:



AL-ANON Support Group

Le Tallud Boules en Bois

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

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

Scalextric Racers in the Le Busseau area Anyone interested in a bit of friendly racing on 26m of digital track and a beer/glass of wine? Please contact me on 05 49 04 21 98 or email:

If you enjoy singing and would be interested in starting a close-harmony group near Chef-Boutonne, please get in touch! Email me, Christine for further information: are offering sessions every Wednesday, 4pm-6pm from April to September and 2pm-4pm October to March at the parc de loisirs, Le Tallud. Everyone welcome. Details from Terry Hawker via email:


Please visit the branch website:



Fitness Class with James

We are a photography club who meet twice a month at Terves. We run work shops, and also arrange photoshoots. If you want to learn more then please go to our website

Franglais at Bressuire

FRANGLAIS at Thouars

An orchestral group who meet each Tuesday at the Salle de la Cendille at Limalonges at 8pm. All levels of expertise welcome....

A fun & lively Aerobic/fitness class run on a voluntary basis. Tuesday evenings 7-8pm at Salle de Fete in La Chappelle St Etienne. All ages, nationality & gender welcome. 15€ membership for the year which covers insurances & room. For further details please email James: Why not come and practise your French with a friendly and convivial group of French and English speakers? Each Wednesday evening (8-10pm) at the Centre Socio-Culturel in Bressuire. Phone Jan for further details 05 49 65 60 34.

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 49 87 91 79 or email:

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are now a number of English-speaking meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in the South West of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership and A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Roger: 05 55 76 22 65 or Nancy: 02 54 24 09 74. Email: or visit for details of English-speaking meetings.

Are there any other amateur woodturners/woodworkers out there who might be interested in forming a club to share ideas, tips etc? Any level of ability, beginners to experienced. Contact Roland 05 49 96 44 10, preferably evening.

We are a French-English speaking group who meet at Centre-SocioCulturel, Anne Desrays, Thouars on Wednesdays 7.30pm-9.30pm. We welcome all English speakers who want to improve their French. Come along or contact for more information.

Cancer Support Vendée

Helping to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Vendée. Helpline: 02 51 00 58 21 or email:

Alone in France?

We are a group of people living alone in the L’Absie area who meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 11am for coffee at the Pause! café in L’Absie. Our lunches are at different venues each month. A warm welcome awaits you. More details from Ros 09 67 49 21 44.

The Harmonics Singing Group

Based in the Salle d’Annexe in Civray. We meet each Wednesday 2pm4pm. No experience necessary, just a willingness and commitment to learn. We sing all sorts of music in several languages. Contact: Dave Lee: 05 49 87 53 93 /

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 13

Combined Services Support Group (CSSG) by Pauline Tonks



by Maureen Walby

The St. Clementin LitFest Association is pleased to announce that it has just been approved as a partner in a second project funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. The ECCE project (European Certificate in Community Entrepreneurship) brings St. Clementin a further 14,500€ to use for the development of local initiatives based on community social enterprise and to encourage entrepreneurship, especially amongst local young people. The project is led by an non-governmental organisation (NGO) in South East England called ‘Social Enterprise Kent’, with other partners in Sweden, Spain and Romania. On 21st December 2014, some of our committee attended the Pompiers Station in Mazieres-en-Gatine (79310) to present a cheque for 300 euros. This is part of the money raised at our highly successful Garden Fete held in St Pardoux in July. This money will be used to help the children of deceased firemen.

In the ECCE project the partner organisations share experience, skills and knowledge to inspire each other and to create new opportunities for micro-enterprise and community inclusion. There will be visits to partner countries with a modular training course open to anyone who is interested in developing community enterprise or rurally-based business for self-employment.

Have you bought your Grand Prize Draw Tickets yet? We have some great prizes on offer including J.K. Rowling’s book, ‘The Casual Vacancy’, signed by the author; also an original watercolour painting of a Tiger Moth, painted and donated by local artist, John Jeapes; plus many more prizes.

This new project extends opportunities established through the earlier funding which supports the bi-annual, bi-lingual Festival of Literature, next scheduled for June 2016 in St. Clementin. 59,900€ was approved to lead a partnership comprising small NGOs, all working for the promotion of literacy and numeracy through the staging of literature-based events.

The draw will take place at our St Georges event on 25th April. Further details of this will be in next months issue of ‘The DSM’. Tickets are 1€ each and are available from Terri Laverick. Telephone: 05 49 64 07 24 or email:

St. Clementin leads the partnership and works with Galica in Spain, Salerno in Italy and Canterbury in the UK. Each partner inspires creative writing through hosting community events in each country and culminating in a large event in St. Clementin.

Our next meeting, the AGM, will be held at the Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux, on 7th February at 11.00 am. A full English breakfast is available before the meeting if required. If you are interested in our group, just turn up at the meeting or contact for further details.

Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. including contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows. Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 45€ 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:


14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

EU Litfest partner’s meeting, November 2014

Again, visits to partner countries are financed by the EU and anyone interested in being part of any of these projects, or wanting more information about opportunities available, should contact the organisers. The world of European Funding offers many opportunities to support local groups and organisations. The St. Clementin LitFest Association is very pleased to support others who might be interested in finding out how the EU can provide resources to help support their activities. The EU funds exist to create mobility of opportunity across the European Member States and to help increase understanding between different countries and cultures. There are many programmes, each offering different, but specific support and each focussing on a particular aspect of life. There are funds to support business development, employment, education, cultural exchanges, twinning, environment, social justice and inclusion, integration, energy, research and development. Although the application process can be difficult, the rewards are great, not only bringing essential finance to make good things happen, but also providing opportunities for new experiences, new achievements on a personal and organisational level, leading for a more stable, secure, inclusive and socially just Europe for everyone. u Association Lit-fest Bi-lingual de St. Clémentin u

Reaction Theatre

I’ve always thought that it would be a great idea if someone could come up with a way of splitting Christmas and New Year holidays because it’s just too much celebration within such a short period of time, don’t you agree? Why am I still writing about this period of time when it’s now February when you read this? Well I’m actually writing it in early January so that Sarah can go to press for February. What a great job she is doing, where would we be without the DSM? Keep up the good work Sarah. Back to the future As I mentioned before, our next production will be the classic ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ directed by Tony Murdoch. Auditions will have been held in January and the cast selected. Scripts have been issued and rehearsals planned. There is a tremendous amount of back stage work required, Sue Daniels will love the planning and development of it. The set requires two floors, well three really if you include the cellar, but we don’t want to go there, do we? You’ll understand what I mean if you come to see the show. Tickets will be available from the 1st February either by phoning Maureen Murdoch on or contacting reaction. Performances are on Friday 1st May at 8pm and Saturday 2nd May (Matinee) at 2.30pm and (evening) at 8pm. On the 12th February the Annual General Meeting will be held in Le Petit Theatre foyer at 7pm. We will be looking for some new committee members, and a Publicity Officer. The latter role will include writing this column each month, so if you fancy joining the group and volunteering to help, let me know and I’ll pass your details on to our Secretary, Christine Hester.

Keynotes Singers

Not exactly a Keynotes event but a dozen of us went along to sing Christmas songs and carols at the La Maisions Retaite Feuillantines in Le Tallud on Christmas Eve, organised by Liz Plaatsman. We had a great time - I noticed only one person fall asleep during the performance, and he was in the choir! Having passed three score and ten a few years ago myself I was a bit worried they might keep me in, but I managed to escape. We got a return booking for this year as well. Keynote rehearsals have now started at the Cafe des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux every Friday afternoon starting at 1.45pm, come along and join in the fun.

The Art Scene

We also started art again in January. If you fancy joining our group, come along to Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux at 10am on Friday mornings - you will be made very welcome. Information on Reaction Theatre membership, Reaction Theatre and Keynotes performances, past and future, and The Art Scene meetings and can be seen on our website: www. or contact me for more information.

u u

A DIFFERENT FRENCH EXPERIENCE Suddenly on my own at the age of 68 in a very rural part of France and wondering how I can get out into the wider world than that usually frequented by expats, I came upon On Va Sortir (we are Going Out). The January edition had my introduction to this group and in this continuing account of their activities I return to last month’s venue, a blues concert at Cafe L’Agape in Niort. The songs being mostly traditional blues numbers, I was able to sing along; the guy next to me (a Sid James double!) asked if I had ever done any singing. The next thing I knew, he presented me with a list of songs the band might play and suggested I choose one, or more. On being asked why, he pointed to the band and urged me to go up and sing with them. People in our On Va Sortir group around us joined in with the encouragement and even the band members were beckoning me forward. Now, I do have British friends who may well have taken up the offer, but, luckily for the audience, my natural (English?) reserve (aka cowardice!) kept me in my seat. This was my first outing and I was feeling unsure of the whole thing, but later concerts were to show me that with some bands, it was perfectly natural among the French for audience members to join the musicians at some point. I really hope one day to have the nerve to get up there; my new Algerian friend, Katya, a lady with a heart of gold and voice to match, suggested that we could go along with On Va Sortir to a future karaoke evening and sing together. Perhaps I could cope with that; ‘Imagine’ is what she has in mind, which could be very poignant; as I write this the massive ‘Je Suis Charlie’ demonstrations are taking place in France and elsewhere. However, the karaoke nights take place in the billiard hall which may not be the ideal venue. It is massive, as I found out on my next outing. On the website,, I signed up to play billiard (pool to us) on a midweek evening. I was first there as usual and not sure what to expect. There were 20 plus tables, including one full-sized snooker table that nobody played on and a massive screen showing horse racing, with enthusiasts holding betting slips watching with various levels of enthusiasm. This was not at all the sophistication of the Cafe L’Agape! Members of OVS soon arrived, greeted me warmly, particularly ‘Sid James’ and his lady, B, who had been at the blues evening. These two lovely people are an example of those who have met through the organisation and now continue to attend the events together. Now, the key point about the pool evenings (which I now attend regularly) is that it is not at all about having a few drinks as part of the socialising. Many of those in the OVS group, 20 in total, did not have a drink at all and total expenditure for the evening for many was 2€ when it was their turn to rack the pool balls up. Typical of the club, on this first pool evening I was approached by two young ladies who were eager to practise their English, and once again, I felt so welcome. I had started the evening feeling daunted by the whole thing and, I must confess, it was one of my more sad days. As we left I felt compelled to thank people for their warmth and couldn’t stop myself pinching the cheeks of ‘Sid James’; he just has one of those faces and he and the others had lifted my spirits so much. This was greeted with much hilarity all round and just added to the all - embracing atmosphere of On Va Sortir.

John Blair E:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 15

Health, Beauty & Fitness


A “Hands Off, Hands On” Approach to Remedial Therapy by Suzanne Cole-King

The Bowen Technique is a non-intrusive hands-on therapy based on the theory that gentle moves over precise points of the body can prompt the body’s innate ability to heal itself, relieve pain and re-balance without any deep or forceful treatment. Its distinctive features are the minimal nature of the moves combined with specific pauses incorporated into the treatment. Patients find it gentle and soothing, often falling asleep or drifting into a pleasant trance-like state. At this point the body as a whole is letting go at a very deep level and is able to start the self healing process. After a short interview to understand a patient’s history, the session is usually conducted on a massage table, although can be done on a chair if lying down is difficult. Thin, loose clothing can be worn, although most therapists find that skin contact is preferable. Therapy involves a series of subtle but precise rolling motions along the muscles, tendons and connective tissue, interspersed with frequent pauses which are essential in allowing the autonomic nervous system time to respond. The moves are performed using the thumbs and fingers applying gentle, non invasive pressure in order to stimulate the muscles and soft body tissue and are often synchronized with the patient’s breathing. Since the main goal of Bowen Therapy is to stimulate the body to engage its own self-healing mechanism, it can reduce recovery time after any illness, surgery or injury, whether old or new. Many patients also find resolution to problems above and beyond those for which they have sought treatment, for example lack of energy, stress or emotional issues. Treatments vary between individuals, but as a rough guide one session per week for three weeks is usually enough to decide whether a patient is responding to Bowen Therapy. With nearly 20 years service in the NHS, Suzanne Cole-King was a Nurse Practitioner in the North-West of England before moving to France in 2007. Qualifying as a Reiki Practitioner in 2012, she started training as a Bowen Therapist under Louise Tremblay here in France. Now qualified, registered and fully insured, Suzanne offers treatments at her home 6km west of l’Absie, but can also do home visits if necessary.

u u

Suzanne Cole-King 02 51 50 28 47 or 06 02 29 18 46

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Fringe Benefits Following on from last months article where we talked about colour and cut, the other subtle but striking change you can make to your current hairstyle is to have a fringe.

February’s Birthstone... by Vicki Bassey Amethyst

A fringe can give an existing cut a whole new look and will accentuate the eyes and cheek bones. There’s a fringe to suit every face shape and this is one of the easiest ways of changing your look. Coupled with an edgy colour and cut, the difference can be amazing. For 2015 there are no limitations to taking your hair from ‘good’ to fabulous. Red is one of the strongest colours and whilst most people would shy away from it, again there is a colour to suit everyone from coppers, titian, and auburns. Even a shimmer of colour through the hair can add depth and shine and lift a style. Chocolates don’t just come in a box for Valentine’s but in the tube! Hazelnut, Mocha, Coffee, Ash Brown are beautifully rich without adding an inch to your waist line! This season is all about opting for something more statement so whether its fiery reds, platinum blonde or deep chocolate, now is the time to ring those changes. Love is in the hair (sorry but it is Valentine’s), if you’re not loving your hair come and let me transform you. That small change, whether it’s with a fringe, a new colour, a new cut will take you into 2015 looking and feeling fantastic. u u

Michael William Park 05 49 24 52 94 or 07 71 23 45 06

The God Dionysus, known for his love of wine, turned his drunken wrath on the maiden Amethyst. He sent two tigers to devour her. Amethyst cried out to the Goddess Diana who turned her into a pure white Quartz statue. Dionysus realised what he had done and began to cry, his tears falling into his goblet of wine. Dionysus collapsed spilling the contents of the goblet onto the statue which absorbed the wines colour. Amethyst was once considered a talisman against drunkenness. Amethyst shades from violet to purple is a symbol of royalty and is one of the most spiritual gemstones, promoting love of the divine and encourages selflessness and spiritual wisdom. Amethyst is coloured by an interaction of iron and aluminium. It is a variety of macro-crystalline quartz ranging from transparent pastel rose, known as Rose de France Amethyst, to deep purple and violets. The larger stones come from the Americas, however African Amethysts have a higher saturation of colour. Amethysts are given on a 6th and 17th anniversary, but there are many occasions for buying these stones; as a gift for loved ones or just as a treat for you.

u u

Vicky Bassey Jewellery 05 49 97 01 29 Follow Vicky on Facebook at

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 17

Our Furry Friends The Beginning of the End of the Beginning...


by Nigel Franks, NALA

r something like that. Nearly four years ago we had a meeting with the DDPP (Direction Departmentale de la Protection des Populations) who used to be known as the Department for Veterinary Services. In the course of this meeting we asked them for statistics on the number of stray animals in the Vendée and what happened to them. They replied that no figures were available, so we left it at that. Over the course of the next couple of years we learnt that every town should have or have access to a pound for stray animals and that every manager of a pound has to have a register which shows what happened to the animals. When we added to this the discovery of the French Freedom of Information (FOI) law which dates back to 1978, we came to the conclusion that we could find out the statistics ourself by asking every town to provide us with a copy of their register from 2002. So we did this in October 2013. The results were surprising: the vast majority of the 282 towns in the Vendée didn’t reply. So we sent a reminder a couple of weeks later. Again replies were conspicuous by their absence. Finally after another month we informed the holdouts that, because of time limits, we would have to ask the Commission for the Access to Administrative Documents (CADA) to make a ruling. We included a copy of a precedent that was in our favour and subsequently received some more copies of the registers. We sent our complaint to the CADA and waited... and waited and waited. Normally the CADA gives an opinion within two months, but in our case it took about six. This was because they had contacted the town halls to explain what was expected of them and to give them a chance to point out any potential difficulties with complying. One article of the FOI law states that if the body that is asked for documents doesn’t possess the documents it should pass on the request to the correct body and inform the person making the request. Most French towns belong to a Community of Communes (comcom) which share an animal pound or subcontract the task of dealing with stray animals to a private animal pound. It was amazing to see how many of the towns told the CADA that they couldn’t reply to our request as, because of this, they didn’t have a register... but didn’t tell us. There were also a number of towns who sent some of the documents that we asked for to the CADA... but not to us.

ECOLE DU CHAT LIBRE DE POITIERS 1 Place de Fontevrault 86000 POITIERS (answerphone)

Facebook: ecole-du-chat-libre-de-Poitiers

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

In June 2013 the CADA gave a favourable opinion to our request, so we sat back and waited for the copies to roll in. We’re still waiting... To cut a long story short, by the end of 2014 we had received the statistics from 2002 onwards from, wait for it, 31 out of the 282 towns. Another 67 provided statistics for some years and four towns and two comcoms said that we could consult the registers in person. Seven towns don’t have access to an animal pound and 66 don’t have a register. We have heard absolutely nothing from 71 of the towns. The private animal pounds, who at the moment serve nearly two thirds of the towns have not replied although one did send the figures for 2013... ( eyes roll) to the CADA. Notwithstanding this less than exemplary reaction to our request, we decided to look at the figures from the towns that fully complied. Because of the limited sample, the results are not conclusive: are we only looking at the best towns, because they obeyed the FOI request? Our preliminary conclusion is that the situation for dogs is improving with about 60-70% being reunited with their owner. This is probably due to them being identified. The situation for cats is not so good. Until 2008, there were less than 10 per year mentioned in the registers, mostly found dead on the public road. Nowadays there are 50 or more, but the majority are put down. This is probably because few owners have their cats identified. You can see more details on our website: Meanwhile has anyone got a thing for the more mature, sophisticated lady with a bit of character? Capucine is looking for a new home without competition from other cats. For more information please contact Sue on 02 51 00 53 80.

The HOPE Charity Shop Phoenix puppy ANNIE needs a home.

Annie is one of the many puppies taken in by Phoenix Association in December alone. Phoenix has managed somehow to squeeze in no less than four litters of unwanted pups. Each litter has arrived unexpectedly, and each has had nowhere else to go. Therefore, we are appealing for very good homes for puppies such as Annie here.  For details of all the dogs and cats looking for homes, please visit: Website: Facebook: PhoenixAssociationFrance Thank you to all of our supporters and here’s to a better 2015 for the animals.

The Hope Charity Shop will be open every Wednesday 10am-5pm from 4th February, selling books, bric-a-brac, pre-loved clothes and hand-crafted cards - plus the first Saturday of every month, from 7th Feburary. Please bring your unwanted items, clothing, bric-a-brac and books for us to sell to raise money for animals in need. Join us for a cup of tea/coffee and a slice of cake and a chat. Find us at: Route 66, Ave de la Liberation, 87320 Bussiere Poitevine

IODA is a 2 year old male Boxer/Great Dane X looking for a forever home.


IODA is a big lad with a lovely affectionate nature, but he needs plenty of regular activity - not just a run in the garden or a walk around the block!! Ideally, he would suit an active family who are able to give him plenty of daily exercise and stimulation and another doggy pal would be a real bonus. A large safe and secure garden is a necessity. He’s good with other dogs, both male and female, children and cats too. IODA is house-trained, obedient, lead trained, crate-trained and nonbarking. He is microchipped, neutered and his vaccinations are in order. He’s also been treated for worms, fleas and ticks. An adoption fee of 150€ will be requested towards his veterinary costs to date and Orfée will conduct a home visit prior to adoption. If you would like more information about IODA please contact: MARY - 0549506941 - CAROLINE - 0545960279 -

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 19

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres GOURNAY LOIZÉ The village of Gournay is situated in the South East of the DeuxSèvres near Chef Boutonne. At Gournay the landscapes are made up of open plains and hedgerows. 86% of the surface area of the commune is occupied by agricultural areas and it boasts 619 inhabitants. Gournay and Loizé have been associated communes since 1973.

by Sue Burgess

In the Middle Ages, the place was nicknamed ‘Jeules la Romaine’ and a fair and a religious ceremony were held at Jeules until the end of the 19th century for the summer solstice. Jeules was probably a place of worship connected with the worship of water - there used to be a spring on which a Christian Baptismal font was built. Jeules is certainly one of the first pagan sanctuaries against which the Christians fought one or two centuries before Saint Hilaire.


The name Agrip appeared for the first time in 1250 and by 1440 the name had changed to Grippo which later became Grip. Before the revolution Gript was ruled by the Marquis of Fors.


St Pierre Church Loizé (see main picture)


The communes of Granzay and Gript have been together as associated communes since 1973. The inhabitants of the commune are the Granzéens-Griptois. In 1218, Granzay was called Granzaicum which became Grancaium in 1245 and then Granzaium in 1260. By 1648 the spelling had changed to Grandzay. Before the revolution Granzay depended on the lordship of Frontenay. The parish of Granzay had two benedictine priories. Saint Vaize and Jules. The former church was outside the town centre near to where the cemetery is today. It was partly destroyed during the wars of religion, unfortunately too badly damaged to be restored, and so it was abandoned in 1750. A new church without any particular architectural interest, was built in 1771.

The Sundial Because of its dimensions, the sundial of Granzay Gript is one of the most imposing ones we can see today. It has a remarkable precision. It is of a polar type with three tables, each for four hours. The axis has the function of a needle and projects its shadow onto the table. Because of its size, the position of the polar star can easily be found. At Granzay there is a small church next to today’s village hall and the communal bread oven is situated near the village hall too.

A toll used to be collected on crossing the river on the road from La Foye Monjault to Niort before the N150 was built. The Jules Walnut tree. In his book, «Mythologie des Deux-Sèvres» Guy Pillard tells the story of a walnut tree. Newly weds used to go there on the day of their wedding. The bride would kiss the tree so that she would become a good mother. Sometimes the groom would kiss it in order to ensure his virility. Couples who were not able to have children also used to go to the tree, but their wish would not be granted unless they were there on the dot of midnght.

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

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

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by Vanda Lawrence

Move deciduous trees and shrubs now, before they start active growth again, digging up as much of the rootball as you can. Also, before active growth begins, it’s a good time to prune your summer-flowering Clematis to avoid the build up of old, dead wood under this year’s new growth. Deciduous ornamental grasses will benefit from a haircut any time now too. Cut down to about 3” above ground level, but take care not to damage any new emerging growth. Are you planning on growing Begonias this year? Start the tubers into growth now by placing them just below the surface in trays of damp compost, with the indented side uppermost. Plant out when they are growing well, once all risk of frost has passed.

Spring bulbs©Wikimedia Commons/Johnathan Kington

Feed established flower beds and borders with well-rotted compost and, if you are planting new rose bushes this year, I’ve read that it’s a good idea to add roughly chopped banana skins to the planting hole before the rose goes in. Apparently it improves soil texture, aids moisture retention and adds potassium. (Potassium is an essential for us too, helping to keep the heart, nervous system, muscles, kidneys and bones in good order - bananas contain a high dose of potassium and only about 100 calories per banana, so make this fruit one of your ‘5-a-day’).


Thinking ‘health’, last month I suggested using Nasturtium flowers and leaves in salads. Now that we have had some sharp frosts these are finished of course, but how about trying Viola tricolour to brighten your winter salad? Also known as ‘Heartsease’ it grows as a wild flower and is a bit more frost-hardy. Actually, as a herbal remedy this plant is used to treat chest and respiratory problems, skin problems and is a diuretic.

If you planned your vegetable plot during the darker evenings you will probably already have ordered or bought your seeds and be itching to get going. For those seeds which are sown directly outside you can warm the soil in readiness with cloches or plastic sheeting to help them germinate.

There are many other edible flowers and it’s probably possible to find something suitable to decorate food at any time during the year. In March/April you can pick the flowers from primroses and cowslips to add to salads or decorate rice dishes. In May/June you will find marigolds and borage flowers to use as a garnish. July/ August is the time for courgette flowers (pick the male flowers, leaving the female ones to produce the courgette). August also gives us runner beans (grow different varieties to provide different coloured flowers). Then in September/October the nasturtiums are back with us again and we have come full circle.

ell, here we are again with signs of approaching Spring in the garden. Bulbs are coming through so we shall soon have colourful flowers and wildlife is waking up as light levels and temperatures increase. Lovely!

So now, before anything else, spring clean the greenhouse and potting shed to prevent any overwintered pests/diseases appearing as conditions get warmer and more humid.

Broad beans, early peas, carrots, beetroot, lettuce and spinach can all be sown now but protect them from the cold, rain and hungry birds by covering with cloches. Celery, celeriac, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and outdoor cucumbers can be sown in a heated greenhouse. Start chitting early potatoes now too. Each seed potato will have a more rounded, blunt end where you will see a number of shoots or ‘eyes’. Stand the tubers, blunt end uppermost, in old egg boxes somewhere with plenty of natural light. Sometime next month, when the shoots are 1/2” - 1” long and the soil has warmed up they can be planted out.

So now, on that happy note, I shall wish you a month of nice weather and happy gardening. Bye for now .... Heartsease, Viola Tricolor©Wikimedia Commons/H.Zell

Autumn-fruiting raspberry canes can be cut back to ground level now. This will encourage new growth. It’s a good opportunity to maintain the supports and wires now too, while you have the space to work. In the ornamental garden, if you have hedges in need of a trim, do it now, before the birds start nesting. There’s nothing worse than finding you have disturbed a nest full of baby birds, wondering if you have frightened the parents away. Cut back Cornus (Dogwood) shrubs down to about 3” from soil level. This will keep the shrub a good shape and encourage more young red wood for next winter. 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 22

Deux-Sèvres Discoveries !


by Margaretta Barclay

had only been here in the Deux-Sèvres for six months when I came upon this unusual plant on the edge of a bog wood. Not knowing what it was, or able to find any information, I contacted Kew Gardens with my query and a photograph of it, and was referred to RHS Wisley. I was delighted to receive their response within two days! It seems that my discovery is a purple toothwort (Lathraea clandestina), a most interesting little parasitic plant which normally grows on tree roots. For most of the year it grows underground but, in the spring, purple tubular flowers appear in clusters at the soil surface. It grows wild in western Europe, excluding Britain, normally growing on the roots of willows, poplars and alders. L. clandestina is a perennial root parasite that lacks chlorophyll (the green pigment that allows plants to obtain energy from light) and its roots are yellow and tend to grow ahead of the rhizome (underground stem) at a gentle downward angle.

The haustoria (suckers) at the tips of the roots attach to roots of the host plants, generally on the upper side, and continues to grow and connect to a number of host roots. The rhizome is cream-coloured with succulent scale leaves with no aerial stems. If trying to root this plant, it is best to establish a root on one of the hosts already mentioned. I have learnt that this can be done by exposing some of the tree roots and either scattering seeds or placing a clump of the plant aside it. This purple toothwort is part of the broomrapes (Orobanchaceae) family. I’m looking forward to discovering more in the Deux-Sèvres! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 23


d l o t e R y r o t is H A by Mick Austin

uschwitz-Birkenau, Ravensbrück, Buchenwald, BergenBelsen. Names forever etched in history. World War Two concentration and extermination camps set up by the Nazis for the so-called ‘resettlement’ of Jews. The victims were told they were to be taken to labour camps, but from 1942 onwards deportation for most Jews meant transit to killing centres and then death. From March 1942 to August 1944, the methodical hunting down of Jews by the Nazi authorities and the French Vichy government led to the deportation of 76,000 Jews (including 11,400 children) from France to the death camps. Just 2,500 survived. Facing that kind of persecution, the Poitou region (some 80% of which was in the occupied zone) became both a path to exile and a shelter. Active help from the population - through mutual aid networks and Jewish and non-Jewish resistance organisations saved hundreds of lives. A recently opened exhibition in Thouars sheds new light on those terrible times. Through hundreds of documents, pictures and testimonials, ‘Traqués, Cachés, Sauvés: Être juif en Poitou (19401944)’ details how local Jews were rounded up and sent to transit camps, first-hand accounts of the efforts made by brave local people to hide them and what life was like for those who managed to survive the horrors.

A Survivor’s Story

The exhibition has three distinct themes: how the Jewish population was hunted down, identified and excluded from society; how they were hidden and helped by the local population; and how the fortunate few were finally saved. Discover how foreign Jews were placed under house arrest in several rural towns in the Vienne department, how 1,600 French and foreign Jews were interned in the Camp de la route de Limoges in Poitiers and how a network of foster families was set up in Poitou. Over two nights in July 1942, more than 13,000 Jews - including 4,000 children aged between two and 12 - were arrested in what was to be called ‘La Rafle du Vel d’Hiv’ (The Great Raid of the Vel d’Hiv), at the Velodrome d’Hiver stadium in Paris. They were kept there for five days without food or medical care before being transferred to Beaune la Rolande transit camp near Paris. Upon arrival, the children were separated from their parents, who were transported to Auschwitz and gassed. The children stayed in Beaune la Rolande, some for weeks, with many dying through lack of care and the brutality of the French guards. Finally they were all sent to Auschwitz to suffer the same fate as their parents.

Niort and the transit camp at Ida was driven to Melle, then to194 4, she was finally deported 10, uary Drancy before, on Febr p at Auschwitz-Birkenau. cam n to the dreaded exterminatio convinced she would still find During those few weeks Ida was a long time later she learned her mother safe and well. It was hwitz. her mother had been killed at Ausc ght to be older than she On arrival at Auschwitz, Ida was thou the concentration camp. for cted sele e thos ng was and was amo . bers cham gas The rest were sent to the As soon as the doors opened “The four days of travel were awfusl. barking and orders shouted dog , ams scre but we got nothing to abandon all the food I’d at us by the SS on the platform. I nhad rate men from women sepa to saved for my mother. The SS bega some heart-breaking scenes.” and children. It was awful. I’ve seen er charged with the selection “This day there was only one SS officng trucks, on his left a small erté” Lib & e nc sta ési waiti “R gional of women. On his right were 08. © Centre Ré : ‘Those who are tired…’ “and Ida Grinspan – 20 group of selected women. He saysent, and I don’t know why, I mom that At ks. truc pointed to the walk. The officer didn’t to er pref I that decide I’m not tired and nts, pare ish Jew mother she took me h my Polis to saw 9 I 192 time realise I was only 14. The last Ida Grinspan was born in Paris in -Semitism. They had been in cut. My fate took a hair lt to the hairdresser’s and I had an kadu who fled Poland to escape anti0, Ida was sent to live with a gave birth to me her mot my thin to 194 in like I re, ent. befo turn at that mom France five years le, Mel near I looked 16 and ent. Lié, e mom Jeun that of at ge in villa aga ll and twice, once as a baby family friend in the sma forbidden.” were ons. ren ricti rest child re food whe , entered the camp at Birkenau hopefully to escape bombings and her fellow inmates were get a warm welcome and for Over the following months, Ida and “I am not hidden as a Jewish child. Ifrom ats thre and bles trou “There are huge piles of the es. ston far ed life t mov set to work. First they two years live a happy, quie and we take them across k plan of stones. We put them on a kind long. The following day we are caused by the occupation.” a large field. And we do it all daySo it goes on for days and days. father saying her mother told to take them all back again. what we do is absolutely useless Then she received a letter from her self him e du Vel d’Hiv. He was We understand very quickly that had been arrested during the Rafl kenau in 1942. z-Bir hwit Ausc in d kille and d orte and is only meant to exhaust us.” dep ling rotten, frozen potatoes 4 there was loud banging Her next job was collecting and pee. “We worked more than two Early one Sunday morning in 194 childIda’s , Alice d rme info soup en for cem le poli and saving anything edib on the door and three e of potato. By the time Jew. We have orders and ths and never ate the smallest piec mon minder: “We are here to take the little d coul “I .” and s were at the bottom husb solid your , ners take the soup was brought to the priso if we can’t find her tonight we will e luggage som r mixed it. She only bed neve grab I soup me. the of ed ad serv inste who him st kapo of the pot. The never let them arre the other kapos.” for old.” part s d year goo 14 the just kept was I and served the clear part and food for three days.

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

Right: Jean Lazare hidden in l’Enclave-de-La-Martinière (Deux-Sèvres) by the Pelletier family. © Conservatoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation des Deux-Sèvres et des régions limitrophes. Far Right: Maurice Jacubowitch (on the right) hidden in La Carte (Deux-Sèvres). © Private archives, Jean-Marie Pouplain.

Following the atrocity of La Rafle, a shocked French people realised they had to do something to help the persecuted Jewish people. Individual acts of help, of protection, of goodwill and of civil disobedience.

Forgers made fake identity papers, members of religious orders handed out fake baptism certificates and doctors created fake medical certificates to keep the persecuted in hospital and so save them from deportation.

The Thouars exhibition re-lives how local populations set up different ways to help. In a desperate bid to find shelter, the persecuted left their homes and Poitou - like other regions split by the demarcation line - became a stopping-off point before the refugees could reach a non-occupied area and safety. Many Jews from towns like Chatellerault, Poitiers and Niort left their homes without a word. For others, the rural countryside was seen as a safe place to hide, with help from friends and local families.

From 1942, Jewish and non-Jewish resistance organisations created rescue networks to hide, guide and protect the Jews. Rural areas were mainly chosen to hide the children. Locals managed to hide almost 40 Parisian children in isolated hamlets in the Deux-Sèvres. The love and protection given by their foster parents helped those youngsters overcome the grief of separation from their parents.

Ida’s final job involved making fuses for hand-grenades. “We weren’t happy to work for the German army, but some French women doing the same work told us not to worry becaus would not be with our bad Auschwitz grenades that Germae it would win the war. So we worked and it was a little easier ny to survive a second winter by working indoors.” January 18, 1945 saw the evacuation of Auschwitz. shack chief tells us we are leaving. Despite the cold and “The tion we are happy to go. From our first day in the camp -exhaus every day since - the kapos keep repeating ‘the only wayand to leave Auschwitz is by the chimney.’ “Our only hope is that there will be no gas chambers at the next camp.” “We got a piece of bread and left on foot for a march that lasted three days. Just a few hours’ rest and no food. We walked by-five and the ones on the outside picked up fresh snow fiveand passed it on for the others to eat. We called these the marches because almost half of the prisoners died. Notdeath only through cold, hunger and illness, but also because if someo ne slowed down he or she was killed by the SS.” When the march finally ended at Ravensbrück Ida had six badly frozen toes, but she was excused work for three weeks before being moved to another camp close by, Neustadt, where she stayed from February 14 to May 2, 1945. It was Neustadt where Ida caught typhus. Howev a Polish nurse who had previously worked on foot wounder, managed to save her feet, fed her and encouraged her to get sstrong er. From that point, things moved pretty quickly. On April 30, 1945, the Germans fled leaving all the prisoners behind. Three days later, the Russians liberated the camp and Ida and other invalid were taken to a nearby hospital to recuperate. Then, at last, s Ida took a military flight to France to spend two months in hospita l in Broussais before transferring to Switzerland, along with other former prisoners, to recover her health and confidence.

Because of those Poitou rescue organisations - and the spontaneous help from local people - hundreds of persecuted Jewish people were saved from deportation and almost certain death.

* Quotes are taken from an interview given by Ida in May 2012. Ida, who is now in her mid-80s and living in Paris will be in Thouars to give a talk at the Centre Régional Résistance & Liberté exhibition venue on 20th April. Details from the CRRL.

Ida Fenstersz in Jeune-Lié © Private arcab ux-Sèvres) - 1943 hives, Michel Ch(De aumet

More information:

The Traqués, Cachés, Sauvés: Être juif en Poitou (1940-1944) exhibition is organised by the Centre Régional Résistance & Liberté and runs until June 7th 2015.

Écuries du Château, Rond-point du 19 mars 1962, 79100 Thouars.

Tel: 05 49 66 42 99. Email: Website:

Opening Hours: Groups (ten or more) every day with reservation. Individuals: Until March 30 Monday-Friday 2-6pm. From April 1-June 7 Sunday-Friday 2-6pm. Closed on public holidays. Rates: Permanent Exhibition: Adults: 4€. Children under 12 & members of the CRRL association: free. Temporary Exhibition: Adults 2,50€. Under 18s, students and job-seekers: free. The ticket to the permanent exhibition gives you free access to the temporary exhibition. Mick Austin is a freelance journalist based in the Pays-de-la-Loire. He has had his work published in several expat magazines and newspapers and has also written the Mayenne Tourist Board’s only English-language brochure. He also runs a gîte business at

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 25

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across:

8. Cartoon character created by Walt Disney (5) 9. Located, suited for, or taking place in the open air (7) 10. French gold coin of the reign of Louis XI (7) 11. Edible bulb (5) 12. Type of tree (8) 13. Not in favour of (4) 15. The back of the neck (4) 17. A red hot day (8) 21. The largest of the satellites of Saturn (5) 22. Not supporting either side in a contest (7) 24. Aroused to impatience or anger (7) 25. Join together (5)

DSM Toughie Crossword Across: 8. Instances of people in most odd surroundings (7) 9. Spread with vitamin removed, say? (5) 10. A nail knocked in upside down used for climbing plant (5) 11. Coming from 5, minus 100, from

Italian region (7)

12. The smallest part of ratio taken as context (4) 13. Regretting being seen and heard in the cheapest temporary accommodation? (8) 16. Treading haphazardly on the slope (8) 19. Over the top settlement? (4) 22. Rest disturbed about being unpopular and getting heavier (7) 23. Performed softly with heavy instrument (5) 24. There is nothing to unexpected snub for crew leader (5) 25. Account given for repaired chair is way out of date (7)


1. An addictive drug extracted from poppy seed capsules (4) 2. Throw, catch and keep in the air several things simultaneously (6) 3. Assemble in a proper sequence (7) 4. A low-lying region of west central France (6) 5. Simple chair without a back or arms (5) 6. A vague idea in which confidence is placed (6) 7. A wilderness at the edge of a country (8) 12. A quantity that does not vary (8) 14. Testing powers of endurance (7) 16. Edible tuber (6) 18. A nation in northern North America (6) 19. Exceedingly bad (6) 20. Foot joint (5) 23. Doesn’t tell the truth (4)

Down: 1. Slim gent engaged in process of rendering metal (8) 2. Briefly I am only a fraction of share (6) 3. Unusual snake in the grass (5) 4. Familiar French you seat wrongly together. That’s crafty! (6) 5. Change of air for odd layabout following a century in NW region (7) 6. NF exchange leads to trouble after antipodean speech (6) 7. Barn renovated for grain? (4) 14. Excellent finish for circus tent having gone up in stages (3,5) 15. Heather going around one street cataloguing (7) 17. Stimulate bitter confusion in hospital department (6) 18. Wisdom eg. originating in northern France? (6) 20. Caribbean language used in

articles about raw potassium (6)

21. Direction and speed needed to make an opening (5) 22. Cries when name withdrawn from those looking down on others (4)

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

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

1) What gift is traditionally given for a 30th Wedding anniversary?

10) Which chemical element has the symbol Pb?

2) Which Imperial measurement is equal to 304.8 millimetres?

11) Which clergyman is implicated in the legends of Robin Hood?

3) Which British Trad-Jazz band had a no.2 hit in 1961 with ‘Midnight in Moscow’?

12) What was the name of the English colonist whose life, according to legend, was saved by Pocahontas?

4) Which domestic animal has varities Papillon, Tosa, Boston and Basset?

And finally, assuming you have 12 correct answers what is the connection between those answers or parts thereof?

5) Boston is the capital of which U.S. state? 6) Whose world record for the most individual gold medals did Michael Phelps break at the 2008 Olympic Games?

Find the answers on our website:

7) Where in London is it believed that the Great Fire started? 8) What symbol is used by the B.S.I. as a sign of conformity? 9) Which drink was introduced into England in 1650, Oxford having the first houses where it was consumed commercially?

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

Copyright RJS 2014

French Life Our Journey to a




by Louise Read & David Hammond

ave a wee in the shower? Surely not! But it will, apparently, save us money, time and, if that weren’t enough, help the environment too. All we have to do is a little bit of multitasking, so to speak, first thing in the morning.

At this point, on paper at least, it’s beginning to sound like it’s a very sensible thing to do, but I still can’t get around the spectre of germs and bacteria and the general yeuch of it all. So what about the hygiene aspects and all the possible health implications?

Yes, although I hate to admit it, David and I are currently contemplating (and ONLY contemplating) the latest environmental initiative launched in October by the students at the University of East Anglia. They want to encourage everyone to do a bit more to reduce their environmental impact by having their first wee of the day in the shower. I’m not sure I need to save time that badly, but I’m certainly up for saving money.

Apparently the students researched the possible health risks of weeing in the shower before the campaign was started, consulting with a professor who assured them that as long as the water is flowing there is no hygiene risk as urine is sterile. So that’s alright then….

It seems a bit strange to be thinking about saving water when it’s tipping down with rain, and this irony is not lost on us as we try and dodge the puddles while we’re walking the dogs. But there’s no doubt that water is a precious resource, and unless you’ve piped in your own well water, which we haven’t, you are literally spending a penny (well about 3 cents by my reckoning, depending on the size of your cistern) every time you flush. That works out at about 10 Euros per person every year. We’d heard about saving water by flushing less, using the rather dodgy, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” refrain, but it’s never appealed in our house, so we’ve reduced the volume of water we flush away each time by putting a brick in the cistern instead.

The jury is still out here at Etang Foureau on this matter, and as I listen to the rain lashing down against the windows, contemplating saving water, I am happy to think that so far there has been no weeing in our shower! We’d love to hear what you think about weeing in the shower - is it something you already do, would you consider it, or does it just not bear thinking about? A quick update on the cling film challenge - so far we’ve cut back 100% because we ran out just after Christmas and as at the end of January have managed to resist the temptation to buy more! So far so good!

Anyway, this new campaign has been launched at the University of East Anglia (UEA), encouraging people to take their first wee of the day in the shower and it’s called “Go with the Flow” - and no, this is not a bad toilet humour joke! The calculations for the water saving benefits certainly look impressive - if all 15,000 students at UEA responded to their first call of nature in the shower each morning, rather than the loo, they’d save enough water in a year to fill an Olympic swimming pool, 26 times over.

u u

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Communications Preventative Maintenance Physical Cleaning (Part 1)


by Ross Hendry

eeping your PC in tip-top condition protects your data and investment in technology. In last month’s article I looked at backing up and this month it will be a physical clean-up.

Public enemies of your PC are moisture, heat and dust. Dust is the pest often responsible for blocking airflow and creating heat that does the real damage! Dust will clog and stick to the cooling fans, it will block airways and vents and this eventually leads to overheating, in turn causing thermal runaway. (Thermal runaway refers to a situation where an increase in temperature changes the conditions in a way that causes a further increase in temperature, often leading to a destructive result. It is a kind of uncontrolled positive feedback. Wikipedia). Dust will corrode components and electrical contacts and junctions, and if your room gets damp this will accelerate the corrosion. Remember that damp may be caused by temperature changes - if a room gets hot in the day then very cold at night, this may lead to condensation building up in the room, allowing damp in the air. This sticks to the dust obstructing the airflow in your PC and even more damage may be caused. If the dust levels in your PC are high you may even get an electrical short that could cause fire! To physically clean your PC you will need some lint-free cloths or specialist PC wipes and some PC cleaning fluid (normally this is a very weak solution of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water). You could look for TV cleaning kits for LCD and LED TVs, this will have the correct cleaning solution or fluid and cloths. I also use a clean, unused, 1” paintbrush, cotton-buds, a can of spray duster (compressed air) and a vacuum cleaner. Before cleaning make sure to turn off the PC and unplug the mains cable from the wall socket. I unplug all cables as these get a good wipe with a damp cloth as well, if you are not sure where they go, simply do one at a time and plug it back where it came from.

External Case Cleaning

I use a very mild washing-up liquid/warm water solution and a moist cloth to wipe the outer cases. The secret here is to wring-out the cloth pretty thoroughly before wiping the case to reduce the moisture levels as much as possible. If you are able to remove the panel you are cleaning from the case/tower, so much the better, but do not put the PC back together until the panel you have cleaned is thoroughly dry. A far safer way is to use proprietary wipes and discard them when they get slightly contaminated as you will spread more dirt and grime around your PC if you let them

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

get too dirty. When cleaning the case ensure you spend time making sure all of the air vent holes are unblocked and clean, this is where the paint brush and cotton buds are great. Once you have removed the dust, give each surface a wipe with the cleaning fluid to get rid of any residue that more dust can stick to.

Internal Cleaning of the PC case/Tower

Before removing any access panels, make sure you have unplugged the PC from the mains connection. I also remove any network or modem cables. Ideally you will use an anti-static wrist strap connected an earth point, but in practice most people do not own one. So to prevent static discharge damaging the delicate internal electronics, discharge any static you may have by ‘earthing’ yourself. This means simply touching something metal, then doing the cleaning before moving away and collecting more static. If you do get distracted, remember to discharge any static before you start again. First take a picture of your PC’s internals, this is just in case you dislodge a cable, plug or other component. You can refer to your picture to ensure everything is where it should be when you are finished. Now you should get rid of the dust, I try to loosen the dust first by using the spray duster and paintbrush, paying particular attention to the air vents and any cooling fans. There are usually at least three of these, one on the CPU, one on the case and the fan in the power supply unit. It will be difficult to get at this one because it is sealed in a metal case, but try to use the spray duster to get rid of what you can and then use the paint brush and/ or cotton buds to get the grime off the fan blades. Finally, once you have removed the dust use a wipe or an almost-dry cloth to remove any grime that more dust could stick to. Whenever you are removing dust with the air duster or paint brush try to capture it by having a vacuum cleaner near to where you are brushing/dusting, but not in the PC. This is because fast moving air especially from a vacuum cleaner can create static electricity. I try to brush the dust towards the vacuum nozzle. This is the best way to clean your keyboard, simply tilt the keyboard towards the vacuum nozzle and brush or spray the dust toward it. Remember! You are cleaning a precision instrument so take your time and be thorough, you should not need to do this too frequently depending on the conditions of your room. If it is a clean office, once a year should suffice - if it is in a workshop or somewhere where there is a lot of dust, such as a room with a log burner or open fire, you may need to do this monthly or even weekly. 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).

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

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

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

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or

Passport Advice

0044 208 082 4729

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Food & Drink French Village Diaries


by Jacqueline Brown

ne of the things I like most about the start of the New Year is that it is the perfect time to take on a new challenge. I have many friends who have begun their New Year being good, by giving up alcohol (I did that last year), juicing (I’ve tried that, but it’s very time consuming), going on a diet (January and February call for comfort food in my opinion), exercising more (I will cycle if the sun comes out) etc. However, I’m not like most people, I enjoy being a bit different. I have decided that 2015 will be my year of the patisserie and I’ve challenged myself to discover and devour more of the patisseries for sale in our village boulangerie. When we arrived in the village in the summer of 2004 we would buy our daily croissants for our leisurely breakfasts in the garden. With the village boulangerie only two doors away the divine smell as I opened the shutters every morning made it very difficult to avoid. As it’s a small family run business the patisseries are only available at the weekends, but from quite a young age Ed has loved the independence of walking to the boulangerie on a Sunday and choosing himself a treat. A creature of habit, he spent many years favouring the éclairs, chocolate, coffee or vanilla, before moving on to his current favourite the forêt noire (black forest gateau). Unfortunately for me the daily croissant had to stop. I was overweight when we arrived in France and the croissants, cheese and wine meant I was getting rounder by the day. By cutting back my food intake and increasing my exercise, I successfully lost fifteen kilos that I have kept off for over five years. However, the flaky buttery croissant has remained a weekly treat on a Sunday morning. Ed is now a teenager and never up in time to get to the boulangerie before it closes for the day at one o’clock so I buy him his gateau, but I’m now feeling very guilty that after ten years here I still haven’t sampled more than a handful of Bernadette’s sweet treats. My 2015 challenge is to buy a different patisserie every Sunday, along with my weekly croissant bien sûr, and to enjoy the simple pleasure of treating myself every week, as well as helping our local economy along the way. But what about the extra calories I hear you cry. Well, I don’t worry too much about turning back into the pudding I was after my first year in France. I now have a much more healthy attitude to food and as every French woman knows it is never worth missing out on the good things, but it is necessary to make adjustments elsewhere. I am paying attention to my portion sizes and it has also given me a good excuse to add in a few extra kilometres out on the bikes, something my husband is more than happy with.

CONTRIBUTIONS... We are always looking for new articles for consideration in future issues. Do you have an experience to share? Are you a tradesman with a Top Tip? or perhaps an avid reader who would like to contribute a book review? Whatever it may be, either long or short, we would love to hear from you.

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30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

You can call Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 with any ideas, or send them on an email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthlyfr

Cocktail Anyone?

Are Cocktails just for sunshine holidays? In my mind the answer is “Yes!” - but they don’t have to be. Valentine’s Day could be a perfect excuse for ‘shaking things up’ a little! Here are a few recipes to personal favourite is the Pina Colada - and having recently bought a new blender with an ice-crush facility - there’ll be no stopping me!


1 splash dark rum 1 1/2 oz raspberry flavoured schnapps 1 1/2 oz strawberry vodka 3 - 4 oz lemonade 3 - 4 oz cranberry juice

Mix the strawberry vodka with raspberry schnapps, then fill half way with cranberry juice. Top-up with lemonade and add a splash of dark rum on top.


1 oz vodka 1/2 oz triple sec 1/2 oz lime juice 1/2 oz cranberry juice

Shake vodka, triple sec, lime and cranberry juice vigorously in a shaker with some ice. Strain into a martini glass and serve garnished with a lime wedge on the rim.


1 1/2 oz light rum 2 oz coconut cream 2 oz pineapple juice 1 cup crushed ice

Pour the rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice into a blender with one cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth, and pour into a glass, garnishing with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.


Annual Subscription Costs: 31,00€ within France, 20€ 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 | 31

Cooking from the Heart


by Hazel Foster

ebruary is the time when we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, and it got me thinking about where this originated.

There are stories about pagan fertility festivals in Rome, Christian feast days and of course, Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers; then, following the first Hallmark Valentine’s cards in 1913, it became all about the commercial cards, chocolate and flowers we know of today. For me though, I like to think that Valentine’s Day can just be a day when we show our love and appreciation for everyone we hold dear - be it your other half, or family and friends. So, this month here are a couple of recipes to make for those special people. Enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse with Cherr ies & Heart-Shaped Biscuits ~ Serves 4 Cherry Compote As cherries are out of season I buy the jars of cherries in syru p. 150g cherries 4 tablespoons syrup from jar or water 1-2 tablespoons red fruit liqu eur (cherry, strawberry, raspber ry etc) 1-2 teaspoons of cornflour wit h 1 tbsp water added and mix ed • Put cherries, syrup and liqu enough of the cornflour mixeur in a pan, heat gently then add to thicken the sauce. Leave to cool. Chocolate Mousse 125g plain chocolate, coarse ly chopped 3 egg yolks 125g milk chocolate 1 tablespoon sugar 125ml water, divided into 60m l and 65ml 300ml double cre am, whipped 30g butter

4 Seafood Risotto ~ Serves good choice of seafood

ha risotto I chose this as there is suc but also as you can adapt around at the moment,dietary requirements – so make it option, to suit most tastes and shroom for a vegetarian your own - be it wild muese for those who don’t like or chicken and blue cheties are huge! The risotto method seafood – the possibiliadd the relevant stock and flavours will be the same just you like. 50g butter 2 shallots, chopped 1 garlic clove, chopped orio 350g risotto rice e.g. Arb e tead) 120ml/4fl oz dry whitenwin veg. or chicken stock ins use (ca ck sto fish of e 1 litr 25g parmesan 2 tbsp parsley, chopped like for example: Selection of seafood you - white or mixed 200g cooked crab meat s wn and taken 500g Pra (if in season) - cookedor and add 500g mussels/cockles sie liqu g ve the cookin from shells (you can ck) sto r you to m the avy-based , melt the butter in a he • To make the risottoshallots and garlic and sweat until pan then add the softened. nutes until stir for a couple of mie. Bring to • Add the rice andbu win the in ur Po r. tte well-coated with id. liqu the orb abs the boil and let the ricefull at a time, stirring regularly leck • Add the stock a llad your pan) until all the issto (otherwise it wil stick to e rice just (th ked coo is rice r you has been used and bite). tender but still firm to thethen add them with your raw are s wn pra the • If your y have time to cook. All end last ladle of stock so the at the gh ou thr red stir be cooked seafood can of knobs of butter, the parsley along with a couple san. You can keep back a few and the grated parme ls or cockles for presentation san shell-on prawns, musse with a little grated parme and top the whole dish and chopped parsley.

Hazel Foster ~ Homechef 79 Personal Chef for dinner parties, special occasions and catering services Tel: 05 49 63 29 98 Email:

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

In a microwave or bain marie, heat chocolate, 60ml water and butter until the chocolate and heat and cool for 10 minutes. butter are melted. Remove from • In a small heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, sugar and rem water. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 70aining degrees C (about 1-2 minute s). Remove from the heat, wh chocolate mixture. Stir until coo isk in led, about 5-10 minutes the in whipped cream. n fold • Spoon some of the cherrie s into your serving glasses and then spoon chocolate mouss e over. Refrigerate for 4 hours overnight. or Heart shaped biscuits (makes about 20) 100g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting 250g pack col d butter, in cubes 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp almond extract (or vanilla) 50g cornflour Cherry jam, sieved 50g ground almonds • •

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ga s 4. Sift the icing sugar, flour and cor nflour together into a bowl. Stir in the ground almonds and can bring it together to formextract and rub in the butter until you a dough. • Roll out to about 7mm on a ligh out biscuits using a heartshape tly floured surface, then stamp d cutter. Keep re-rolling the trimmings until all the dough is used. Carefully transfer the biscuits to baking trays line with parchment and bake for 8-10 mins until just pale goldden just . • Using an upturned bottle top or similar, press gently into centre of each biscuit to ma ke a round indent. Spoon in the jam and return to the oven for a little let rest on baking tray for a sho2 mins. Remove from oven, but at this stage, then cool on a wirrt while as they are very fragile e rack, before dusting with icin sugar to serve. g

To Air is Human, To Decant?


by John Sherwin

o how are the New Year resolutions coming along? I tried the whole thing once. I was young, impressionable, my friends were in to it and they said it was safe enough and legal. Just make a wish and you’ll feel free, elated, a new man. I resolved to be less perfect and gorgeous, but it didn’t work. It’s a cross I still bear.

the business end of a bottle which is, what, three cms across? By all means uncork a bottle an hour or so before you drink as this will let any mustiness dissipate, but that is not ‘letting the wine breathe’.

I figured I’d have another stab this year, don’t ask me why. To maximise my chances of success, I kept it simple: i) drink more water; ii) don’t buy any wine-related gadget. Of i), more later, but keeping vow ii) became so much easier after I discovered the arcane world of the wine aerator. I had heard of such things of course, even glimpsed them from afar, but to come face-to-face with them on my computer screen (I was searching for something else, honest) in all their breath-taking inanity was quite an eye opener.

There are also all manner of decanting machines on the market that some Heath Robinson would have been proud of. Decanting might, just might, be necessary in the 0.1% of bottles not covered above. The idea is to pour the wine away from its sediment. Period. That’s it. In the process you will also aerate the wine, as above. But be careful. Too much air over too long a period for an old wine can destroy it. That’s why your Gran gave up Nordic skiing. If you decant, be ready to drink up within the hour. Even with sediment present, a decanting gizmo is rarely if ever necessary - a steady hand is all.

Apparently, the wine aerator ‘is a great idea as it allows the wine to breathe and oxidise’. Let’s be charitable and leave aside the fact that ‘oxidised’ wine is vinegar (they meant oxygenate) and concentrate on the process and its whys and wherefores. You get up in the morning feeling a bit crusty. You take a shower followed by a brisk walk in the tingling early air. Home again you feel better, particularly after getting dressed (what were my neighbours staring at?). Same goes for 99.9% of the bottles of wine you or I will ever drink. The wine has been sleeping and needs a good dose of air to get its molecules going, thus opening up its flavours and aromas. You don’t need a gizmo to achieve this. The process goes as follows (don’t blink): open bottle; pour into glass or carafe; wait a few minutes. Da-dah! That’ll be £29.95 plus VAT, thank you. What you are doing is increasing the amount of wine in contact with the air. As you pour there’s lots of lovely surface area cosying up to oxygen – lots more surface area than appears at

The water? Still going fine, thanks. Just pinch your nose and swallow hard. Have a glass of aerated claret handy in case of shock.

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French Wine Tours 02 51 66 13 05 or

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 33


A Minor Miracle


conversation with my mother recently made me remember a summer job I had when I was 19, working in a factory making leather car seats for Morris Minors.

To be honest, I haven’t seen a “Moggie” for years, but they are an instantly recognisable “face” from my childhood, when I memorised all the marques in the Ladybird book of cars! I seem to remember them being popular with our school teachers too, back in the day. The factory I worked in now makes interior trim for a wide range of classic cars, but it all started with the Morris Minor. The Morris Minor debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, in 1948. Designed under the leadership of Sir Alec Issigonis, one of the most innovative car designers of all time (famous for designing the Mini) more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1972.  In fact the Minor was the first British car ever to hit the production mark of one million, and this was celebrated with a limited run of 350 two-door saloons in distinctive lilac paintwork and a white interior. The badge was modified to read Minor 1000000 instead of Minor 1000. Initially available as a two-door saloon and convertible, the range was subsequently expanded to include a four-door saloon in 1950, a wood framed estate (the Traveller) from 1952 and panel van and pick-up truck variants from 1953. The Morris with its rounded nose, frog-like headlamps and a windscreen split by a vertical bar was the “peoples car” of its day.  It was designed to combine maximum seating space with minimum size (12ft 4in long, 5ft 1in wide, 5ft high) – which was why it had such small wheels – as well as reliability, inexpensiveness and a top speed of 62mph. Looks were not top priority. Issigonis gave the car the most advanced suspension setup of its day, bestowing the Morris with a standard of ride comfort such as had never been experienced in a small British car before. The Minor was certainly a ‘new generation’ of small car. Although not very fast, everyone who drove the new Morris quickly discovered that its sure-footedness and light, rack-and-pinion steering (another innovation for a small car) made it a delight to drive. Other cars felt clumsy and unresponsive by comparison, and Minor owners were soon having fun leaving far more powerful and ostensibly sporting cars behind on twisty roads.


34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

by Helen Tait-Wright

A motoring journal said the Minor was “one of the fastest slow cars in existence”. In a nice historical quirk, the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show was also the launch of the Jaguar XK120, which was the fastest fast car in existence. So the Minor and the XK120 bracketed the consumer possibilities of the Fifties just as their successors, the Mini and the E-Type, did a decade later. And when you look at it, you just want to cuddle it! Some have said that this soft-looking car makes even hard men wistful. It is one of those rare things which, for reasons neuro-aestheticians must one day research, inspires universal delight.  Ironically however, Morris’s proprietor, Viscount Nuffield, is reported to have said that it looked like a poached egg. Today over 60 years after its launch, the Morris is, if anything, growing in popularity according to the Owners Clubs. To many owners, the Morris Minor is more than a car; it is a familiar, dependable friend that does everything asked of it, and for astonishingly little in return by way of running costs.  Being very simple, there is not much to go wrong. The components used in its construction have been tried and tested over many years of production, and consequently, there are few known weaknesses because the car pre-dates the “sealed-for-life” approach and most of these components can be lubricated and thus have extended lives. When something finally does wear out, the chances are that just a bush or a bearing can be replaced, and not the whole unit as with many modern vehicles. Owners do not regard their cars as being mobile museum pieces, but consider them to be entirely practical for the Twenty First Century. The Morris Minor is a phenomenon, and it deserves to continue its useful role, consuming little in the way of fuel or materials, and giving a great deal in return.

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Helen Tait-Wright

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 35

Building & Renovation

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 37

Siret: 533 313 508 00012

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

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PLUMBING TOP TIPS Heating Oil: When you have your oil tank filled, wait at least 1.5 hours before turning your boiler back on (Up to 3-4 hours is ideal). This helps prevent any disturbed sediment entering the components of your boiler. This sediment can block the two filters (1. in the glass jar usually in the pipeline beside boiler and 2. in the oil pump) as well as your burner nozzle.   The oil pump is a major part of you boiler and can be an expensive item to replace. 

Derek Marriott ~ Plombier et Chauffagiste Tel: 09 61 40 44 60 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 39

ASK about our special packages for New Advertisers! They are a great way to kick-start your marketing campaign.... Call Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 to find out more! 40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

Business & Finance France Taxation in 2015


by Bradley Warden, Partner, Blevins Franks

hat does 2015 hold in store for us, tax wise? Compared to previous years the 2015 finance bill did not introduce too many tax changes, but most of the reforms from previous years are still in effect and contributing to higher tax bills.

Succession Tax and Law

Income Taxes

UK Pensions

There has been some improvement for income tax. The 5.5% income tax band has been removed and the 0% tax rate extended to income up to €9,690. The other tax thresholds increased a little in line with inflation. Many households will pay less income tax this year (on their 2014 income) as a result. Income tax is payable on earnings, pensions, rental income and, since 2013, bank interest, dividends and capital gains tax on shares.

There are no changes to succession tax, other than two new gift tax allowances on development land and newly built properties. The new European Certificate of Succession regulation from August allows you to apply the succession law of your country of nationality instead of French law. If you leave assets to distant or non-relatives they will face tax of up to 60%, unless you plan accordingly. From April you will have complete freedom to withdraw as much of your UK pension fund as you wish, even the whole amount. You now have many options for your pension funds, and the only way to make the best decision for your personal needs is to look into all the options, the pros and cons, and weigh them up. French taxation is a big part of this – especially since it provides some opportunities. Your pensions are a major part of your financial security throughout your retirement years. You need to make sure you get it right, so professional, expert advice is essential.

The removal of the 5.5% income tax band presents tax planning opportunities for investors because of the difference in France between income and taxable income. Arranging your investments to produce non-taxable income and gains can make a significant difference to your tax bill.

It is important to understand how French taxation impacts you personally, and establish tax planning solutions based on your objectives and family circumstances. Seek specialist, personalised advice.

There are favourable tax reliefs available on shares you have owned for a number of years. You can take advantage of this and sell the shares to reinvest in more tax efficient arrangements.

Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.

semina rs

Book your place now by phone, email or from our website

“With so many options for my UK pension funds now, what are the best solutions for French residents?”

Talk to the people who know. With the new UK pension regime, it is crucial you understand how all the options affect you. Our seminars discuss this topic, and other important tax and wealth management issues affecting expatriates in France. book your seat now

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SAUMUR NORD Wednesday 25 March Hotel du Parc, 10 f or 10.30am until 12 noon Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided outside the UK, via the Insurance Mediation Directive from Malta, the regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks Tax Limited provides taxation advice; its advisers are fully qualified tax specialists. This promotion has been approved and issued by BFFM.

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 41

French Personal Taxation 2015

by David Hardy


he French Finance Bill for 2015 became law on 29th December 2014 and is a fairly uneventful affair, with the principle measure being that more people, who are currently paying little tax, will become nontax income payers this year. Detailed below is a brief summary of the new rates and bands:





The nil rate band has been extended by over 50%, however, with the removal of the 5.5% rate band the 14% band has been lowered. As concerns the rest of the bands they have been increased by 0.5% to reflect the very low level of price increases. Per household part: • Up to €9,690 • €9,691 to €26,764 • €26,765 to €71,754 • €71,755 to €151,956 • €151.957 and over

0% 14% 30% 41% 45%

Additional Tax on High Income For a single person: • 3% of income between €250,000 and €500,000 • 4% of income over €500,000 For a couple: • 3% of income between €500,000 and €1,000,000 • 4% of income over €1,000,000 Age Allowances & Thresholds For those over the age of 65, there is an extra tax-free allowance of €2,344 if total income does not exceed €14,710 and of €1,172, if total income is between €14,710 and €23,700.


There are no changes with bank interest and investment income taxed at 15.5%. All non-UK government service pensions, prestate retirement age, pay 7.4% taxes.


Here too there are no changes, with Wealth Tax being imposed on total taxable assets that exceed €1,300,000 as at the 1st January each year:Band Rate % • Up to €800,000 0.00 • Between €800,001 and €1,300,000 0.50 • Between €1,300,001 and €2,570,000 0.70 • Between €2,570,001 and €5,000,000 1.00 • Between €5,000,001 and €10,000,000 1.25 • Above €10,000,000 1.50 The information contained is a summary of our understanding of some of the main changes. For most residents in France, careful financial planning can mitigate personal taxation, but, as ever, the key is to take independent advice from experts who are fully familiar with the most appropriate financial and tax planning strategies for one’s individual financial circumstances and objectives. David Hardy is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Adviser, specialised in personal tax, inheritance, pension and investment planning for the British community in France since 1996.

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Siddalls France 05 56 34 75 51 or

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

Garantie des Accidents de la Vie / Accident Insurance


K, this is one of those insurances that you might think you don’t need, but when the accident happens, you wished you had. Especially if you are clumsy. Or if you are very sporty or like gardening.

There are around 11 million non-occupational accidents each year and four times out of five, the accident is self-inflicted, so if you don’t have this insurance, you won’t get any compensation. 23% of non-occupational accidents happens at home (BBQ, gardening, cooking, etc.) so don’t think it only happens to others. But - be careful, as this insurance is not for every type of accident and in my opinion, is not for everyone either. So read on to find out why...

What Does it Cover:

This insurance gives compensation when the insured has suffered a personal injury which leads to: • a permanent disability of 5% minimum. • an aesthetic damage (a major one, not just a scar) • death

When Does it Work:

This insurance covers you and your family (spouse and children) in case of injuries or death by accident in a non-professional situation. So it covers non-occupational accidents that occur: • while doing sport • while doing DIY or just being in your home • when you are a victim of crime or terrorism • resulting from natural, industrial or technological disaster • being the victim of a traffic accident (walking or cycling) • resulting from a medical accident • while using a motorised toy, a lawnmower or an electric wheelchair

Examples of Compensations:

Example 1: Sylvie is 68 and goes to Brazil on holiday. She falls there and is injured with a very bad fracture of the hip (fracture per-trochanterienne de la hanche). She is in hospital for 8 days. With this contract, she will be entitled to 10,000€ compensation for endured suffering, 4,000€ for aesthetic damages, 4,000€ compensation for loss of leisure activity (no more holidays!) 7,800€ for cost of adapting her car, 7,340€ for adapting the house and 20,000€ for permanent disability (20%). Total compensation from Allianz: 53,140€. Example 2: Marc, 31 years old, works as a manager for a building company and loses the use of his hand while manipulating some fireworks on New Year’s Eve. His job obliged him to use his hand. With this contract, he will be entitled to 8,000€ compensation for endured suffering, 2,000€ for aesthetic damages, 9,599€ compensation for loss of actual revenue, 60,901€ for loss of future revenue. Total compensation from Allianz: 80,500€.

What is Not Covered:


• •

It costs between 150 and 300 euros per year depending on your age and your family structure but it could cost you even more if you have an accident and you are not covered.

• • • •

damages resulting from a previous injury of the insured damages resulting from a disease (even heart attack) damages caused by intentionally injuring oneself damages resulting from an accident in a car, motorbike, caravan or camping car damages resulting from civil war or war damages resulting from nuclear exposition or biomedical experiment damages that are linked to your job

What Compensation is Covered:

For death: • funeral costs • loss of revenue for the close family • expenses for the close family due to the death • compensation for emotional distress for the close family. For permanent disability: • the future and actual loss of revenue • the temporary or permanent functional deficiency • assistance from a third person • the cost of adapting the house and vehicle to your disability • compensation for endured suffering • compensation for the loss of leisure activity (like not being able to do gardening, etc.)

Those are the conditions with the Allianz contract, if you have this type of insurance with someone else than Allianz, check the conditions.

We had a young customer who cut his hand (sectioned his ligament) while using his lawnmower and lost the use of his hand (10% disability). He was a butcher and therefore lost his job. He was unfortunately not covered and wished he was. Don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subject such as Funeral cover, inheritance law, car, house and top up health insurance, etc… And remember to check out our website where you can find all my previous articles under the ‘Practical Information’ page on the English site: You can also follow us on Twitter @charenteinsure N° Orias 07004255

Cap of Compensation:

1 million€ per victim, 20,000€ for actual loss of revenue and 20,000€ for temporary functional deficiency.

How Does it Work:

An insurance expert (medical) is involved and assesses what percentage of disability you have. Then, the insurance company follows the rules established by court of common law depending on several factors (percentage of disability, age and revenue of victims, family situation, etc.). So if you are 70 years old, you won’t be getting much as it won’t affect your revenues! In fact with Allianz we won’t cover people over 68 years old as we don’t think it is worth it.

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec Contact Isabelle Want: Tel: 05 45 31 01 61 Mob: 06 17 30 39 11 Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 43

Ask Amanda

Your Current Transfers...

Keep an Eye on the Future!

“Last year, I was too late to book into your ‘Tours de Finance’ seminar in Saint Loupe-sur-Thouet. Are you running any financial seminars this year, as I want to know if there have been changes in financial regulations which I may be unaware of?”

by Sue Cook

If you’ve ever looked at the foreign exchange rate you’ll have noticed how much it can change from day to day. This can really work to your advantage if it’s favourable when you need to make a transfer. However, what if you don’t have the funds at the moment, or if you don’t want to make your payment just yet? This is where a forward contract can really help you to capitalise on your investment. If you’re looking to invest in property abroad or send a large sum to family overseas, but don’t need to make a payment right away, you can place an order now to take advantage of today’s favourable rate, and then make your transfer at any time that suits you over the next 12 months. You only need to make a small deposit today to fix the rate for up to a year. Then you can put your feet up, knowing exactly how much currency you will receive when your money eventually travels abroad.

For the past few years, The Spectrum IFA Group working alongside Currencies Direct have helped hundreds of expats in the Poitou-Charentes through the information we share in our annual ‘Tours de Finance’ seminars. If you were unlucky enough to miss last year’s event at Chateau St Loup, we are just confirming venues and dates for the March 2015 tour: Dates: 17th - 19th March 2015 Venues (Dates for each venue being finalised) : • Ackerman, 49412 Saumur • Château Colbert, 49360 Maulevrier • Château de Javarzay, 79110 Chef-Boutonne The purpose of the seminars is for delegates to meet in an informal environment with the opportunity to listen to industry specialists explaining changes in financial legislation and how you can make your money best work for you. After a series of brief presentations, delegates can then discuss any queries they may have over an informal buffet with the presenters and their colleagues.

Le Tour de Finance

Would you like to hear more about our products and services? Well, come along to ‘Le Tour de Finance’ which is happening in your area very soon. Le Tour de Finance is the financial forum for British expats which will help you with a range of different financial products and services. Just as Le Tour de France takes a route throughout the regions of France, so too does Le Tour de Finance. We want to reach expats where you live so that you can seek advice particular to your local area. Tax advice, pensions, mortgages, healthcare, schools, business advice and making the most of your assets are just some of the subjects that expats need to know more about. Le Tour de Finance is the ideal opportunity to find answers to the most pressing questions facing British people living in France. u u

Sue Cook of Currencies Direct 05 55 03 66 69 or 06 89 99 28 89

This year changes in pensions, inheritance taxes and general economic performance across Europe will be of concern or interest for many people and will be covered during the event. Places are limited, so please register now if you would like to attend. 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.

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Amanda Johnson of The Spectrum IFA Group 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43

With Care, You Prosper. Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lausanne, Paris, Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Mallorca, Rome. «The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 «Société de Courtage d’assurances» R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - «Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers»

We’d love to hear your


What would you like to see in future issues? Tel: 05 49 0 26 21 Email: 44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly | 45

A Jewel of a Town


by Joanna Leggett

lmost at the centre of the triangle formed by Niort, Angoulême and Poitiers lies the charming little town of Chef Boutonne. This is home to the source of the river Boutonne, which flows eventually into the Charente. Its spring is the lavoir on the rue du Fontaine - once the site for the weekly wash, where women would spend the day kneeling, beating and scrubbing the clothes! Before lavoirs (and washing machines!) this ancient town first served the Gallo-Romans and there is even a Merovignian burial site at Javarzay - where a terracotta jewel box was found! Chef Boutonne was ruled by various nobles - the last had royal connections as he defended the ill-fated Louis XVI at his trial. His was the castle on the rocky spur overlooking the river from which there’s a fine view over the town from ramparts behind the church. This part of Deux-Sèvres has always been an agricultural heartland; these days its economy is fostered by the services sector and tourism. A number of important buildings, houses and streets of the town bear witness to its rich history. It was also the birthplace of entrepreneur, Jean-François Cail, who invented and built high speed locomotives, the Fades viaduct, agricultural machinery and was even involved in the modernisation of sugar refinery. Local Leggett agent, Maxine Enderby, waxes lyrical about her ‘backyard!’ “Chef Boutonne is a lively little market town and a great place to live. All the amenities are here: schools, doctors, dentist and supermarket - and of course weekly markets!” she says.

Just 5kms outside the town, she has listed a beautifully renovated detached stone property (Ref: 44044, see photo below) with large garden, countryside views and a barn for 246,100€.

Built in the 1800s, this spacious three bedroom home has been tastefully renovated from top to bottom. Outside are two terrace areas, the one tucked away at the back has wonderful views. There is also a large attached barn with adjoining workshop. In a quiet square within easy walking distance of everything on the edge of town, is a two bedroom townhouse (Ref: 47022) with spacious kitchen, living and dining rooms and office space. Well maintained, it has an exchange air heating system, double glazing and mains connections. As well as its integral garage there is a charming walled courtyard... For sale at a very affordable 109,000€! u u

Leggett Immobilier

46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The DSM magazine, February 2015  

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